What ammunition do you carry?

arms and ammunition

I get a lot of questions while teaching our concealed carry classes about the best caliber to carry, or the best gun to carry for protection? These are good questions but the main reason to carry a firearm for self protection is stopping the threat. The answer to which gun/caliber is best to carry, is always the largest gun you are willing to carry, that has the largest caliber you can shoot accurately.

Ok, let’s get back to the ammo. There is no prefect answer here, just like there is no one size fits all gun. We are all different in size, weight, shape etc. but we can get down to some basics so you can choose both a gun and ammo combination that will fit for you.


1. Shoot the largest caliber you can shoot accurately. Bullets do not get smaller once they are shot. Bigger bullet = bigger holes and hits are the only thing that count, plain and simple.

2. Use a medium to heavy weight (grain) hollow point type bullet. They are designed to expand when entering a target. (See 1.)

3. It’s all about power! Mass x Acceleration = Force. You want enough force to penetrate the target. The rule of thumb for self protection is 10 – 12 inches of penetration into ballistic gelatin.

4. Availability of Ammo. If you can’t find the ammo you saw in a review on some website, video, or magazine well it doesn’t do you any good.

5. Test the ammunition in your carry gun. Make sure it feeds well and then practice with it from time to time. You should be using fresh ammo in your carry gun anyway. Shoot your old ammo and replace your carry ammo with fresh rounds.

The last thing you want is to find out your gun doesn’t work with those magic bullets you bought. Test them for proper function, and remember even if you have not shot your carry gun in a couple of months you still need to clean it!