Tips on Buying Carry Ammo For Your First Pistol
Jon Stokes 01.16.18
I have a friend who’s buying his first gun for prepping reasons, and who also might get into shooting. Myself and another friend of his have independently talked him into 9mm SIG DA/SA guns for a variety of reasons, so he’s going down that road right now.
Anyway, he was asking me about picking self defense ammo, so I sent him a longish email with some advice and I figured I’d reproduce it in slightly edited form here and let you guys pick it apart.
When picking up your first batch of ammo, you want two types: range ammo to practice with, and defensive ammo. You’ll want to get the cheapest Wal-Mart stuff you can find to train with, and carry the premium stuff. As for which ammo, as far as I know this AR15.com FAQ is current and it’s the best one I’ve found.
What I did when buying defense ammo for the first time is go to a gun store with a large ammo selection (in my case GT Distributors in Austin) and load that link up on my phone, and see what I could find that they seem to stock a lot of that’s on the Arfcom list.
In my case, I initially ended up with the Federal HST 147gr JHP loads, so I began buying that on a regular basis. I’d drop in and get a box or two a month, to build up a stockpile. At some point last year, though, I got to see some gel tests with the Remington Golden Saber and TAC-XPD, so I’ll typically carry that stuff now.
One thing to note: the “+P” designation of some of some ammo means it’s loaded extra hot (more powder, so a bigger bang and a bigger kick). It is not a problem to run the +P loads in any SIG pistol — they’re all very durable and rated for it — but with your SP2022 you’ll want to either skip the +P ammo (since that gun is lighter and will be harder to control with +P) or you’ll want to buy just one box of it first and try it out at the range and see just how much kick there is and if you’re comfortable with that.
In fact, for any defense ammo you should always buy one box on your first trip and then run at least two mags of it through your carry gun to make 100% sure that the gun will eat that ammo before you start stockpiling it. There should not be a problem, but it does happen that some guns can be finicky, so you just want to be extra sure that you didn’t get a finicky gun that hates some specific flavor of ammo. Because the time to discover that problem is BEFORE you’ve either spent a bunch of money on the wrong ammo or you have to bet your life on it.
So, how did I do? Have at me in the comments, and tell me if I did this guy right or if I need to go back to him with better advice.