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Ammo recommendation for qualification

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  • Ammo recommendation for qualification

    I am a civilian planning to take the "Stressfire" course offered by the Lethal Force Institute here in WI, with a final classroom course taught by Massad Ayoob. The two day range portion will involve about 500 rounds with a qualification course of 50-60 rounds. I have been advised by one of the training officers to shoot the qualification with the gun I would carry if and when Wisconsin passes a concealed carry law (the legislature's veto override last year failed by a single vote). He also stressed the importance of shooting the ammo I would carry for the certificate, and to find out what police depts. authorize for revolvers in order to cite that if necessary. Before I check with my local village dept. (who carry autoloaders I'm sure) I would appreciate any advice from law enforcement officers who suscribe to this forum. I own three S&W .357 carry guns: a 327 Perf. Ctr. 8 shot 2" N-frame Scandium revolver; a 640-1 stainless J-frame; and a 342PD J-frame Scandium (incredibly light but unpleasant to shoot). The only advice that I have received so far is Federal Personal Defense Hydra-Shok JHP in either .38 spl. or .357 mag. There seems to be a wide range of opinions regarding suitable ammo for 2' snubbies. I expect that someone will advise me that I would be better off with an autoloader, but I have previously owned a Browning Hi Power, HK P7M13, and Kahr early model K9. I eventually traded them all in for revolvers, which I prefer (the only one I regret selling is the HK P7 - mainly because of what they now cost and the rave reviews I have read about it).

  • #2
    Since you are putting out good money for training with one of the greatest self-defense experts in the world, you can afford to spend a couple of bucks and try a few different boxes of ammo to see what you like.

    Like perhaps most cops who have some firearms training and experience, I favor the semi-auto in .40 or larger caliber for several reasons: Most of the newer autos are extremely reliable, able to engage multiple assailants with rapid reloads, come in compact versions, and have a better grip angle for accuracy. But if you are happiest with the .38/.357, then find a round that delivers the most punch for the recoil that you feel that you can handle.

    I guarantee that after you take Mr. Ayoob's course, your accuracy will be such that you can then make fine-tuned decisions on what ammo is best. But you don't want to use low-power wadcutters because you won't have handled such things as flinch avoidance with overly mild rounds. Thus the advice to train with the ammo that you intend to use.

    Some powders have tremendous muzzle blast from short barrels, since their effectiveness depends upon a slower burning powder that burns all the way down a longer barrel to push the projectile to higher velocities than a fast burning powder like Bullseye. In a snubby, all that unburnt powder flashes in the air since there is no more barrel. While it looks "neat," that is precisely what will blind you at night when you need that second shot. There are many factory loads that are specifically formulated for 2" or short barreled handguns, and you need to look at these. Ask a local dealer, if he is knowledgeable. Hydra-Shok is always a good option. But there may be better choices, like the Federal Silvertip which was manufactured for 2" barrels, exclusively. I have not kept up on the latest, since the advent of +P loads for the .38 are dizzying.

    DON'T use a full bore .357 load for a snubbie - the powder is wasted out the end of the barrel and you deal with excessive muzzle flip, recoil and flash (remember - nighttime defense).

    You may also want to look at Hornady's site, since they have TAP-FPD (Tactical Ammunition, Police - For Personal Defense) rounds in several handgun calibers that claim to have maximum terminal effect and miminum blast.

    I'd personally try using http://www.google.com and entering in the search engine:
    .38 defense 2" ammo (and, in another search) .38 defense 2" ammunition
    ...and see where that leads me. That's what I used to help decide on the Silvertip ammo for my wife to use, a while back, in my old 2" aluminum airweight (non +P) .38 snubby as a home defense weapon when I'm not around.

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