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Training with different rifle ammo than you would use in a real-world incident Login/Join 
My comment in another discussion seemed equally relevant here, in the training discussions. Do you keep an inventory of better-performing, more expensive rifle ammunition, for use in a real-world incident, but train with cheaper ammo? Obviously you will have shot the nice ammo, to ensure that it functions properly in your rifle, and assessed it's trajectory at longer ranges, to know the appropriate holds. How often would you feel you'd have to refresh that experience, in order for you to transition well, in a real world event? The cost is initially a turn-off, when it comes to investing in a "combat load" of good ammo, but it is then exasperated even more, when you take into account regular practice with it. For years, I have been a M193 dude; adopting the mindset that it's affordable, it's what I practice with, and I sure as shit wouldn't want to be shot at with it. Lately though, I have been reminded in a few different ways of the compromises in terminal ballistics made with M193, especially out of shorter barrels, where velocity is lost. I should reiterate that I am posing this question in a context where trajectories at ranges out to 500m are relevant. I understand that a lot of folks in a LE environment may see no issue in training with X and keeping Y loaded in their carbines for duty, when the overwhelming majority of their engagements are likely inside 100m, and differences in trajectory are rendered meaningless.
Posts: 2316 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of sigfreund
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Originally posted by KSGM:
Do you keep an inventory of better-performing, more expensive rifle ammunition, for use in a real-world incident, but train with cheaper ammo?

Most assuredly yes, if we’re referring to the 5.56/223 ARs that I maintain for the admittedly highly unlikely possibility of a defensive situation under 150 yards or so, and probably much less.

Even if the ammunition I’ve chosen to rely on for a “real world” incident were readily available to replace what I shot (which it isn’t), the expense would be prohibitive. But what’s more, I see no reason why it’s necessary to use the high-priced stuff.

There was a now very old lesson from when law enforcement agencies started upgrading from 38 Special to 357 Magnum revolvers. Because of the higher cost of the latter, but especially because the more powerful ammunition was much less pleasant to shoot, many agencies issued 357 for duty, but used light load 38 Special for training and qualifications. When some trainers started challenging the practice, though, and insisted on using the duty load for everything, they found that qualification scores plummeted.

That’s hardly the case with common 5.56/223 loads, however. Ballistically there isn’t enough difference between the two categories of ammunition for me to worry about, and I don’t. Although even bulk FMJ isn’t exactly cheap these days (and really never was), I can shoot as much as I want to satisfy my training goals without fretting about the cost, and being able to train as much as I want is more important than concerns about minor differences in ammunition performance.

And FWIW, the same is true of most of my handgun training and practice. Even though there are power differences among the various loads I rely on for carry and training, they aren’t great enough for me to believe it’s necessary to shoot large quantities of the premium loads.

That is not true of precision rifles, though. Not only do I require a much higher level of accuracy when training with such guns, the trajectory differences among various loads are important. That’s not to say I never train with less expensive ammunition because I even use a .22 rimfire rifle for some of it, but I regularly confirm the performance of myself and my rifles with what I would rely on if there were ever some real world need.

Posts: 47479 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Still finding my way
Picture of Ryanp225
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Ultimately, I'm pretty sure if it's coming out of an AR and goes bang it'll do the job. I don't get hung up about brands types or weights. Just that I have plenty of 30 round mags loaded.
Posts: 10851 | Registered: January 04, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I’m hugely confused in reading your post. I’m around a lot of different manufacturers of ammo and rifles in a years time.

During that time, I see very little difference between accuracy and performance between “good” ammo and training. Over the years, the HK416D is the only rifle that I have observed be finicky with ammo swaps for training.

The rest is so marginal that most shooters won’t recognize the difference.

There’s this completely false idea circulating that you have to “train like you fight” and you have to shoot full power ammo, blah, blah, blah. I have even heard ( and seen it written on the internet) that you should occasionally not wear hearing protection because “when the balloon goes up type crap” you won’t have it on. Truth of the matter is most of that stuff is written by people that have never been in a gunfight. In no other sport does this horseshit exist.

You will do as you train. If you input solid training into the pipe, you will get performance out the other end.

"It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it works out for them"

Posts: 37133 | Location: Logical | Registered: September 12, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Prepared for the Worst, Providing the Best
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I use whatever I've got on hand....typicaly my bulk .223 handloads, that I produce with the cheapest 55gr components I can find. My carbine handles them all pretty much the same, and I do try to load to similar velocities as my duty ammo. My bolt action gets better stuff...higher quality components, I weigh every charge, etc...but that gun has a different intended purpose, and eats through far fewer rounds. All that said, I typically don't do much shooting beyond 100 yards.

I guess I question what sort of situation you plan to be in where you would need to engage a target out to 500m with 5.56. The only scenario I can think of is military, and I'd hope that they'd be providing the training ammo if that's the case...and it would probably be the same bulk stuff that they'd issue you to carry. As a civilian and a cop, engaging at such a range is incredibly unlikely, and apart from the most dire of circumstances, going to be VERY difficult to legally justify. There has to be an element of imminence to the threat, and I'm not sure how you articulate that when they're half a kilometer away, unless you've pissed off somebody who has sent snipers after you.

I do have certain factory loadings that I like and prefer for my defensive handguns. I shoot them some, but the bulk of my training is done with my reloads, because I simply can't afford to buy all that high dollar defensive ammo. And these days, you're lucky to find any at all, so you have to take what you can get. Just the other day I found some .357 Mag carry ammo at the was the first I'd seen in months. It wasn't my preferred brand, but I grabbed a box because I haven't seen that one in over a year, and I've gotta have something on hand.

Ultimately in an ideal world, would it be better to use identical ammo for practice and duty? Sure. But it's not realistic or practical, and the increased trigger-time I can get by using accessible, affordable ammo for practice far outweighs the benefits of trying to shoot only premium loadings, at least for my purposes.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: 92fstech,
Posts: 8834 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The discussion was proposed in the most dire context; therefore the ranges I inquired about are, IMO, valid. I am not implying that we ought to be seriously considering training with the ammo we might prefer to use in those most dire circumstances; just that we perhaps ought to train with it a bit more, under circumstances that will exacerbate the differences between it and the ammo we typically train with.

I am not concerned about accuracy discrepancies; but trajectory differences. Because I have not done it yet, I can only speculate, but I'd venture a guess that a 77gr 5.56 out of a 10" barrel is going to have a different flight path than a 55gr M193 bullet out of the same gun. If one thinks that they'd be better served in most of their potential dire circumstances by the 77gr, they might do well to learn their holds at extended ranges, and refresh their memory from time to time. That's what I was getting at, in my OP.
Posts: 2316 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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