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How much ammunition does the average "defensive" pistol shooter keep on hand? Login/Join 
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posted
By "defensive" pistol shooters, I am referring to people who own defensive-style pistols like Glock 19s, Beretta 92s, SIG P220/226/229 etc. I am excluding 22/45, Thompson Contenders, etc pistols/revolvers that are not intended for personal defense. This also does not mean their mindset is actually "defensive" as some owners of defensive pistols don't really have the combat-preparation mindset.

Recently, I've taken a number of new shooters to the range and will usually wind up contributing ammunition because they just don't have enough 9mm to get through an hour of shooting. Admittedly, this is on steel, so our sessions are efficeint.

Most buy the gun, and maybe 1-2 boxes (50-100 rounds total) of practice ammunition, and maybe, maybe 1 20 round box of self-defense ammunition. They often cannot articulate why their "self-defense" ammunition is different from the practice ammunition (though they have universally heard of the term "hollow point" they have no idea how a hollow point might behave differently in terms of terminal ballistics).

One new shooter came back the 2nd time I took him to the range and was proud of himself for sourcing 500 rounds of 9mm FMJ. And he should have been proud, because this was 3 weeks ago.

1) How much practice and defensive ammunition do you think the average "defensive" pistol owner keeps on hand?

2) Do you think the amount they keep is enough?

3) If not, why do they understock themselves? Is it because they don't practice?

I understand that some stores are limiting supplies, but this same didn't-buy-enough-to-get-through-an-afternoon-at-the-range phenomenon actually happened before the 'rona/riots of 2020 too.
 
Posts: 17721 | Registered: August 12, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Fighting the good fight
Picture of RogueJSK
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1) For the average gun owner? 1 or 2 boxes of each.
2) No.
3) Certainly because they don't practice. But also because they think that, like everything else, they can just go out to the store and get some more anytime they need it. (Similar to the reason that most people only have a few days' worth of food on hand.)


I'd wager that the average gun owner shoots their gun less than once per year (on average). I've known people who have only ever fired their gun(s) once or twice, total.

Keep in mind that we're "gun guys". Many/most of us carry guns regularly, and practice regularly. We're not the "average" gun owner.

There are more people than you may think who seem to view a gun as a magic talisman or security blanket. As in, as long as they own one, they're covered, that box is checked, and bad things won't happen to them. It then lives in a dresser drawer or closet, and never gets shot, other than maybe once when they first bought it, and then maybe every many years if another friend happens to invite them to the range.

Hell, I know cops who only shoot once per year because they're forced to by mandatory annual qualifications. I know more who only shoot twice per year, with an "oh shit, I have quals coming up so I'd better practice" range session followed by mandatory annual qualifications.
 
Posts: 26122 | Location: Northwest Arkansas | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
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I have no ideas about 1 or 2, but as for 3, why?, I can think of a number of reasons because I was in the “understocking” category myself for most of my gun-owning life.

First is probably the “don’t practice” reason, and that has several sub-reasons.

Lack of a place to shoot is a major one. My whole shooting life changed when I moved to my present residence, but before that just the logistics of practicing were daunting. Ranges were not conveniently located; their hours were limited; they were expensive for me at the time; often they were fully occupied and that meant long, uncertain waits; there were rules or other factors that restricted what one could do; and just walking into one memorable place was a serious health risk because of the visible lead deposits. When I was working full time there was also the “I have a life” demands of other activities.

Many new, or even experienced shooters have no idea how and how often they should practice. How often do we see posts here by someone who stood at the 7 yard line and fired 50 rounds without so much as changing the target? If someone believes that that’s a meaningful practice session, he probably doesn’t believe he needs a large stock of practice ammo. And somewhat paradoxically, the less one practices in meaningful ways, the less appreciation he may have for how important meaningful practice is.

Until someone gets into a routine of meaningful practice drills, he may have no idea of how much ammunition can be required. The “El Presidente” drill requires 12 rounds that are fired in 10-12 seconds or less; do that four times and that’s practically a full 50 round box expended in less than a minute of trigger time total. Something called the “John Wick” series requires 18 rounds that are fired in a total of less than 20 seconds, even for us slow shooters. A friend and I typically run it three times in a get-together session, so that’s another less than a minute of shooting to expend more than a full training box. I’m not suggesting that such high speed, high volume drills are all that good for developing meaningful skills or are best for many shooters, but many people may think, “Fifty rounds? Wow, that’s a lot.”

The other issue for me for many years was the expense. Even if I had understood how much ammunition was necessary for a meaningful session, I didn’t have a lot of discretionary cash to spend on stockpiling the stuff, and if I had had the understanding that would have been a chilling effect in itself: “Man, I need to find a less expensive hobby.”

There are other factors as well, but the above were the most significant for me when I was in the group who never kept large stockpiles of ammunition on hand.

I believe that the answers to the question about how much defensive ammunition gun owners maintain are somewhat different. Expense is part of it, but I don’t have nearly the amounts that some people evidently do simply because I see no need for such quantities. I don’t believe I must replace all my carry ammunition every three months or even that I must discard a cartridge merely because it’s been chambered a time or four. Nor do I fire a magazine or two of defensive ammunition at every range session because its recoil and muzzle blast are significantly different from the training ammunition I shoot; that was a valid concern back when LEOs carried 357 Magnum ammunition in their revolvers and trained and qualified with 38 Special wadcutters, but not so much these days.

That type of defensive ammunition also evolves fairly quickly as well, and I don’t want to be looking at a large stash of one load and be thinking I’d rather have something better.

I also believe that in the extraordinarily unlikely event that I’ll ever get into a firefight for any reason at this stage of my life, my training/practice ammunition will be fully adequate for the purpose, and I have lots of that.




“The fundamental cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.”
— Bertrand Russell
 
Posts: 42691 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Leatherneck
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In the last 4 years I’ve introduced two of my friends to defensive firearms ownership. One owned rifles and shotguns for hunting. He had many firearms that he had no ammo for. In total maybe he had 100 rounds. The other surprisingly had been a police officer for a short time before he was seriously injured in an auto accident and could no longer be a cop. He owned no firearms. Both are extremely conservative and support the second amendment. Both ended up buying two handguns and an AR.

Ever since then, everytime I found a great deal on ammo I’d send them the link. I did this for the last two plus years. Then March hit and they started texting me. Neither has more than a few hundred rounds of 9mm or 5.56. I can’t tell you how many times we had conversations where I told them to stock up.

I think most of it was money. They are both married with three kids living on one income so they don’t have a bunch of extra money. It took them months to save up for their pistols and probably that long to convince their wives they needed one. Spending 20 or 30 bucks is one thing, but buying a $300 case of ammo is an expense that they have to justify with their wife.

It’s made me think that the next time I’m going to use a different approach to get people to stock up. When I started out I started my stockpile by buying an extra box or two everytime I went shooting, and then not shooting that ammo on the next trip. It took some time but within a couple years I had a few thousand rounds.

Now I buy it by the case. But I also know that not everyone has the money to do that when they are just starting out.




Georgia Carry MemberNRA Lifetime Member

“With no police to protect you, did you own a gun? Did your neighbor?” - The Division 2

“Everybody wants a Sig in the sheets but a Glock on the streets.” -bionic218 04-02-2014
 
Posts: 13750 | Location: Florida | Registered: May 07, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
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a box or two ... if that??

of course we here at Sigforum are extreme outliers as we are gun enthusiasts

my handgun skill among the members here is likely average at best but compared to the Gen Pop I am on par with John Wick

plus -- all ammo is SD ammo if the situation calls for it. IMO having 'premium' SD ammo ranks low on the list of preparedness well behind training, reliability, proper mindset, tactics, etc.

and i agree with the sentiment regarding cost -- ammo approaching $1 / rd is going to be 'no' for many people

and not even getting into recent lack of availability-- holy cow the hoarding is at epic levels

------------------------------------------


Proverbs 27:17 - As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
 
Posts: 8154 | Location: Florida | Registered: September 20, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Orive 8
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1) 500-2000 rounds, this answer is based on what several of my shooting buddies tell me they keep on hand. Though I do have a couple of friends that have a "bit more" shall we say.

2) Maybe yes, probably no. Most of them only shoot a 100-200 rounds a month, so if they have 2,000 rounds it should last them almost a year.

3) Its just not a priority for them.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tomorrow's battle is won during today's practice.
 
Posts: 1583 | Location: Collier Twp, PA | Registered: June 08, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Old Air Cavalryman
Picture of ARMT Guy
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quote:
Originally posted by LDD:

Most buy the gun, and maybe 1-2 boxes (50-100 rounds total) of practice ammunition, and maybe, maybe 1 20 round box of self-defense ammunition. They often cannot articulate why their "self-defense" ammunition is different from the practice ammunition (though they have universally heard of the term "hollow point" they have no idea how a hollow point might behave differently in terms of terminal ballistics).


quote:
This perfectly mirrors my experience working at the LGS.


1) How much practice and defensive ammunition do you think the average "defensive" pistol owner keeps on hand?

quote:
Not much. About what they picked up when they first bought their handgun.


2) Do you think the amount they keep is enough?

quote:
Nope.. far from it.


3) If not, why do they understock themselves? Is it because they don't practice?

quote:
I feel that they haven't looked any further down the road after buying the weapon.. they think they've 'checked the block' and don't realize how pitiful a box or two of ammo is.


I understand that some stores are limiting supplies, but this same didn't-buy-enough-to-get-through-an-afternoon-at-the-range phenomenon actually happened before the 'rona/riots of 2020 too.


quote:
Again, I agree with this 100%




"Also I heard the voice of the Lord saying who shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, here am I, send me."




 
Posts: 7421 | Location: Georgia | Registered: February 19, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
There are more people than you may think who seem to view a gun as a magic talisman or security blanket. As in, as long as they own one, they're covered, that box is checked, and bad things won't happen to them. It then lives in a dresser drawer or closet, and never gets shot, other than maybe once when they first bought it, and then maybe every many years if another friend happens to invite them to the range.


I could have written this myself, and in fact, I almost did, but didn't want to taint the answer pool. And I understand that those answering this question are not the average gun owner, which is why I was asking about people we forum members know, not forum members ourselves.

I've stopped being irritated with new shooters who think that shooting will be easy and started letting them shoot off a magazine just to prove to them that it's not. I make sure they do it safely, but don't introduce any marksmanship techniques other than making sure they understand how to use their sights.

Lesson number one for new shooters is safety.

Lesson number two is you can't shoot for shit.

Yes, the first round usually hits the target, but after the third they start to develop a flinch and that's when they begin understand that this isn't a video game.

I think it's not till someone actually starts getting some instruction that they realize how much investment it takes to be a good shot (and that's before introducing position shooting, drawing, reloads under pressure, etc).

But, for the sake of new shooters, is there a non-range way to get across the need to invest in an adequate ammunition supply?
 
Posts: 17721 | Registered: August 12, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Leatherneck
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quote:
Originally posted by LDD:

But, for the sake of new shooters, is there a non-range way to get across the need to invest in an adequate ammunition supply?


Maybe take pictures and screen shots of current inventory levels and prices. I spent time telling my friends about the panics during Obama’s terms but perhaps if I sent them the pictures of empty shelves, websites with out of stock notices and cases of 9mm for $600 they would get it better.




Georgia Carry MemberNRA Lifetime Member

“With no police to protect you, did you own a gun? Did your neighbor?” - The Division 2

“Everybody wants a Sig in the sheets but a Glock on the streets.” -bionic218 04-02-2014
 
Posts: 13750 | Location: Florida | Registered: May 07, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Be Like Mike
Picture of CEShooter
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1) I would suggest 25-50 (1 box) of hollow point and 200 Rds of FMJ.
2) Yes, that is enough.
3) N/A

I think “understocking” is 100% subjective. I’d submit you typically only need as much ammo as you plan on shooting at your next session. Historically, ammo is pretty available so I personally would question suggesting someone new to shooting invest what can be for some a sizeable amount of money for something that would likely sit in a closet for a long period of time.

At the end of the day most of us stockpile because it is our long term hobby and it’s what we choose to spend our disposable income on. If they enjoy shooting enough they will buy the ammo. If they don’t enjoy shooting then they just aren’t going to shoot no matter how much ammo they have.


---------------
"Structural engineering is the art of moulding materials we don't understand into shapes we cannot precisely analyze, so as to withstand forces we cannot really access, in such a way that the community at large has no reason to suspect the extent of our ignorance." Dr. A. R. Dykes
 
Posts: 2098 | Location: 500 Miles from the homeland | Registered: February 21, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
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quote:
Originally posted by LDD:But, for the sake of new shooters, is there a non-range way to get across the need to invest in an adequate ammunition supply?


I don't think so and I say this as one who has recently returned after not owning firearms since 1994…

And you are right about the first shot hero syndrome. After not having fired a gun in 26 years, I loaded up my snazzy new 229 in .40 and aimed at my target some 15 yards away and came within 1” of a bullseye. But after that it was “The Flinch Who Stole Christmas”. I did not feel like I sucked at using the pistol, I just knew I had to practice so right away I started buying SD ammo by the hundreds and range by the thousands.

I just don’t know what is the average shooter either, pre-2020 madness or post? I bet the differences are numerous considering how many I know on both sides of the aisle who have procured a firearm for SD this year.

But I get the question and it is a valid one, I just think it is far too subjective to have any real answer and of course the ammo shortage and related pricing is not going to help matters. Those who have guns that live amid socks will not stock much in the way of ammo, those of us who use them regularly to remain proficient have made sure we are set to get through the next 1-2 years.

I’m happy to say that since getting my 229 in April, I have done well in all regards.
 
Posts: 5 | Registered: April 02, 2020Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by LDD:
Recently, I've taken a number of new shooters to the range and will usually wind up contributing ammunition because they just don't have enough 9mm to get through an hour of shooting.


That's really decent of you, especially considering a box of 9's are over 30 bucks.
 
Posts: 46 | Location: Lone Star State | Registered: March 11, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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After seeing this topic, I decided to make a check on ammo levels.

I think that by comparison to many here, I may have a good starter set. Among my primary 3 calibers, I would guesstimate 4,000 rounds.

Among other calibers (4), probably another 1,200 - 1,500 rounds.

I have already cut way back on shooting time/volume. Replacement cost for ammo now is just too high if you can find it at all.
 
Posts: 389 | Location: NW North Carolina | Registered: November 04, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Tordon:
That's really decent of you, especially considering a box of 9's are over 30 bucks.


It's more like $20-22 in my area, but yes, I will give them a box of 50 FMJ to go home with. That doesn't include the ammo of mine that we actually shoot at the range.
 
Posts: 17721 | Registered: August 12, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
I'd rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I am not
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every average person I ask has 20-40 defensive and 100-200 in taget ammo
 
Posts: 7236 | Location: Bismarck ND | Registered: February 19, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of ruger357
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5000 defensive per caliber.
10,000 practice per caliber.

More for 9mm and 5.56


-----------------------------------------

Roll Tide!

Glock Certified Armorer
NRA Certified Firearms Instructor
 
Posts: 7247 | Location: Hoover, AL | Registered: November 06, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Junior Member
Picture of Hoplite
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quote:
Originally posted by LDD:
By "defensive" pistol shooters, I am referring to people who own defensive-style pistols like Glock 19s, Beretta 92s, SIG P220/226/229 etc. I am excluding 22/45, Thompson Contenders, etc pistols/revolvers that are not intended for personal defense. This also does not mean their mindset is actually "defensive" as some owners of defensive pistols don't really have the combat-preparation mindset.

Recently, I've taken a number of new shooters to the range and will usually wind up contributing ammunition because they just don't have enough 9mm to get through an hour of shooting. Admittedly, this is on steel, so our sessions are efficeint.

Most buy the gun, and maybe 1-2 boxes (50-100 rounds total) of practice ammunition, and maybe, maybe 1 20 round box of self-defense ammunition. They often cannot articulate why their "self-defense" ammunition is different from the practice ammunition (though they have universally heard of the term "hollow point" they have no idea how a hollow point might behave differently in terms of terminal ballistics).

One new shooter came back the 2nd time I took him to the range and was proud of himself for sourcing 500 rounds of 9mm FMJ. And he should have been proud, because this was 3 weeks ago.

1) How much practice and defensive ammunition do you think the average "defensive" pistol owner keeps on hand?

2) Do you think the amount they keep is enough?

3) If not, why do they understock themselves? Is it because they don't practice?

I understand that some stores are limiting supplies, but this same didn't-buy-enough-to-get-through-an-afternoon-at-the-range phenomenon actually happened before the 'rona/riots of 2020 too.


1 - none to maybe 2 boxes of 50 rounds a year for practice. Most people I know who bought guns in the last year feel fine with just the mags the gun came with filled and whatever left over in the box.

2 - no.

3 - the gun is a safety blanket and they believe nothing will ever happen to them. they also fail to practice and if they do practice its target shooting.
 
Posts: 3 | Location: NY | Registered: January 14, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Anyone else interested in posting their opinions on this subject? I have to admit that I would like to read other members’ viewpoints. Thanks.
 
Posts: 389 | Location: NW North Carolina | Registered: November 04, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by LDD:

1) How much practice and defensive ammunition do you think the average "defensive" pistol owner keeps on hand?

2) Do you think the amount they keep is enough?

3) If not, why do they understock themselves? Is it because they don't practice?

I understand that some stores are limiting supplies, but this same didn't-buy-enough-to-get-through-an-afternoon-at-the-range phenomenon actually happened before the 'rona/riots of 2020 too.


1) The majority of casual shooters buy ammo on a "as need" basis. They usually have a supply equal to 1 day at the range. Their defensive ammo consist of a box or two.
.
2) 9 out-of 10 are completely unprepared for shortages. For the past 2 years I've been preaching to fellow shooters to stock-up while the prices were still cheap. No one took me seriously including my own son.

3) Why? Beats me. One of the guys I shoot with is a M.D. general practitioner. In January he shows up with a brand new CZ Shadow 2 and a Sig P210....life was good. But because he can't find 9mm ammo anymore, he's bought a Glock 44 (22 LR) just to have something to shoot. Now he's getting into reloading only to discover that primers are harder to find than ammo. He's a nice guy and all...but I did warn him last year. Don't get me wrong....I'm not claiming to be Nostradamus but this is an election year. No?
 
Posts: 46 | Location: Lone Star State | Registered: March 11, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Non-Miscreant
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Guess I'm kind of out of touch... Big Grin OK, really out of touch with the market. I've even sold ammo in the past. Foolish boy, I understand. Usually ammo that I now longer own a gun that uses it. The problem being I usually end up with another. Even the despised 32s. Now I wish I'd held on to the 32 ACP ammo I bought at a garage sale, all 1000 round for cheap. And it came in an ammo can! Ever looked for and found 32 Colt? Yeah, I bought it at a collectors table. The fool even told me 32 S&W and Colt were the same. OK, I was the fool, and I knew better. Maybe I should just sell the Colt.

So lets get back to the idea we're not average. I might even have 500 or more 30 Luger. I have a friend who owns and shoots a 32 Mauser. Talk about weird. OK, the 30 Luger is for my 3 caliber P210. Its just not moral to own a gun and not have anything to feed it.

Everything isn't viewed the same by non-gun folks. Years ago, maybe 20, we made a road trip. Went to the gun show to buy ammo. Thats more expensive than buying a gun. Anyway, it took multiple trips to the car. When we got back to the jeep club we belonged to, our wives and kids were there. We had to drive around to off load the ammo to each of us (4). Inside we found a really good friend. His first question was "where've you been". Followed by did you get any guns? Of course not, we went ammo buying. The guys answer was if you include 22s and shotgun shells, I bet I've got 400 rounds.

None of us responded, figuring we'd each bought nearly that much per caliber. Better still I have the components to double my number of rounds. Yeah, for each caliber.


Unhappy ammo seeker
 
Posts: 17345 | Location: Kentucky, USA | Registered: February 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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