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How To Choose The Best Handgun Practice Ammo

This is about how to choose the best practice ammo for your handgun, by a process of elimination. 

Most people who carry guns, carry with a specific type of hollow point ammo for self defense. Choosing the best practice ammo that aligns closely with that is critical in establishing, and maintaining your accuracy.

That can be a matter of life or death should the unthinkable happen, and you have to use your gun for self defense.

The video below is this process demonstrated. 

Simple And Effective Practice Ammo Choice Process

This best practice ammo choice process is simple and effective. 

It requires that you have chosen your self defense ammo, and intend to stick with it. Whatever you have confidence in, is what has to be compared.

What I use for this demonstration is not important. What is important for you is how it all works with your gun(s), and your self defense ammo.

This is not a brand evaluation. Just a demonstration of how to choose the best practice ammo to align with any self defense cartridge.

Ammo Choice Process Setup

Our thanks to for providing ammo for this test.

Above is the ammo I used for the comparison. On the right is Remington Golden Sabre hollow points. From left to right - practice ammo: Blazer Brass, Winchester white box, Speer Lawman.

All .40S&W ammo. All 165 grain bullet weights. 

This test should be done from one gun for all types of ammo tested. Each gun you use should get its own ammo comparison for comparable ammo accuracy. 

In these two tests I used a Gen 3 GLOCK 23, and a .40 cal Stoeger Cougar.

  • Start with a simple piece of poster board
  • Mark the poster board with 4 'Xs' like in the picture. 
  • Above each X put the name of the cartridge.
  • Mark the self defense bullet target on the top left. 
  • Mark distance line 20-25 feet from the target. 

Your test should be done at 20-25 feet from the target. Further out, you may lose the effect of consistent bullet placement. 

Closer in, you won't get the effect of movement in your hand affecting where the bullets land.

Trust me here. 20-25 feet is ideal for this ammo comparison test.

Mental Focus For Your Ammo Choice Comparison

At this point, you have to push out all the usual mental gymnastics that you usually go through when watching a gun or ammo demonstration. 

This is not to see how great a shot you are. 

This is to test practice ammo against self defense ammo, at the level of shooter you are right now. 

This is not a fast-fire process. But it is a steady aim, and careful firing proccess. Not slow or fast, just steady.

Best Practice Ammo Shooting Test

Start by shooting five (5) rounds of your self defense ammo into the first X at the top left of the poster board.

Follow up with five (5) rounds of each of your practice ammo into the other Xs on the board. 

After your shooting, you'll have to do something counter-intuitive.

We all know how we like to get those little 'tight groups' when we shoot. Always important in working on our accuracy to improve that.

But the purpose in this test is not for tight groups.

The purpose in this test is the closest comparison to the bullet points of impact from your self defense ammo. 

In your initial test, you may find that you get a better group with one of the ball ammo types than you did with your self defense ammo.

If it does not most closely align with your self defense ammo point of impact, ignore it. 

You are looking for the one that most closely resembles the bullet point of impact from your hollow points. 

Completing The Best Practice Ammo Test

When you see that (you will). Time to mark another piece of poster board.

Do it all over. See if the ammo that was most consistent is still consistent.

It's a process of elimination until you are able to make a clear decision to choose the best practice ammo for your self defense rounds.

You should be able to determine clearly which ammo most closely aligns with your self defense rounds. It may be more than one, which is a bonus. 

Consistently using that or those type rounds in your practice will ensure you are maximizing your capacity for accuracy.

And give you the best chance of accurate shooting should you ever have to use those self defense rounds to protect your, or your family's lives.

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