Enough Ammo

From Clay Martin (via Peter’s blog):

The one thing I see over and over again in prepping circles is a belief that a mountain of ammo is all you need. Absolutely not true! In fact, I believe that most people would be better off with 300 rounds and the skills of having shot 20,000 as opposed to 20,000 stockpiled and the skills of having shot 300.

Amen to that.  I cannot tell you the degree of comfort I feel when I unholster my Springfield 1911 and raise it to a shooting position.  I’ve put a lot  more than 20,000 rounds through this old friend, and I’m not sure that I can operate any other  piece of machinery as well as I can my 1911.

As for rounds on hand:  I have an ungodly amount of FMJ practice ammo, and maybe a few hundred rounds of self-defense ammo (which I add to on a monthly basis, a box or two at a time depending on the status of my bank account).  I’d have more of the HP stuff, but at the range I always shoot off a mag of premium hollowpoints first — following the maxim of “practice with what you’ll use” — but I can’t afford to shoot 200-odd rounds of premium self-defense .45 ACP ammo every week, sue me.  So I shoot 8, buy 20, week after week.  In my 1911’s “grab ‘n go” ammo bag, I have 200 rounds of .45 loaded in magazines, after which I’d probably need a rifle anyway.  Which brings me to my next point, and a confession.

I don’t have the same degree of familiarity with my rifle  part of the SHTF equation.  I know I should shoot the AK more, but hell;  in my life I’ve probably fired an AK more often than any rifle other than .22, and what’s to remember about shooting an AK-47?  I’m confident that in any SHTF (urban street fight), I can put 20 rounds into a dinner plate-area at 50 yards, shooting “aimed-rapid” (which is all you need to do in that scenario.  At 100 yards, I can’t even see  the damn target anymore because Old Fart Eyesight, and at that point I’d go to one of my scoped rifles anyway).

So I break out the AK every few months (vs. every week for the 1911) and shoot off three or four mags (20-rounders) before I get bored and put the thing away (after letting the barrel cool and the handguard stop smoking, don’t ask me how I learned to do that  before putting the thing away in a foam-rubber-lined gun case).  And yes, I have an ungodly amount of 7.62x39mm ammo too;  in my AK’s “grab ‘n go” ammo bag, I have 400 rounds of the “39”, which should suffice for any urban unrest I’m likely to encounter;  and let’s not even look into Ye Olde Ammoe Locquer for more.

Practice more, folks, and you’ll end up needing less ammo in storage.  To repeat those wise words:

Most people would be better off with 300 rounds and the skills of having shot 20,000 as opposed to 20,000 stockpiled and the skills of having shot 300.


  1. Yes, shoot a lot, if you like it.
    My ammo?
    FY and blow it out your ass, I will have what I want.
    These arguments are silly.

  2. I used to think I knew how to shoot and I was reasonably good. I grew up in the 1950’s shooting and hunting a lot, spent four years in the Army but after my first year only shot qualification twice in the last three years. Then from 1970 to 1993 I probably shot less than 400 rounds in more than 23 years and still thought I could shoot until I started shooting on a regular basis once more and discovered how bad I was, with shotgun and pistol and reasonable with a rifle without being in a hurry.

    I started shooting skeet on a weekly basis and improved, I did more with a rifle but until five years ago I was still weak with a pistol, thinking if I ever had to use one it would be a close up encounter so why worry. Now I shoot competition once a month, against time with pistol and rifle in Steel Challenge and with practice three or four times each month I have improved over the past three years. Lots of rounds shot and lots of training with hand eye coordination to get a combination of speed and accuracy, go fast and miss, go slow and hit when shooting five steel plates ranging from seven to 25 yards out.

    I totally agree with the premise: ” I believe that most people would be better off with 300 rounds and the skills of having shot 20,000 as opposed to 20,000 stockpiled and the skills of having shot 300.”

    One other thing I have learned is how to keep my guns clean, well lubricated, sights aligned and red dots with good batteries, magazines all functional, holsters and mag holders that work and stuff organized in shooting bags along with extra tools and lubricants. There is a lot more to being competent with a firearm than purchasing one, going out and running through a box of amor and then sticking it on a shelf, just in case.

    The result of all of my shooting in competition shooting against people who have been doing it for years and they are really good, after three years i no longer come in last and I now shoot within reasonable times.

  3. “enough ammo”

    Really, Kim? Is there such a thing?

    My problem is that I have too many calibers, ranging from .25 to 8mm Mauser, and a whole lot of stuff in between. That’s the price of collecting all the WWI/WWII toys. Oh well. I don’t practice as much as I would like, but I get out regularly. I have little doubt I can put rounds on target should it be necessary.

    1. I’ve got a bunch of fun plinkers in oddball calibers – 7.5 Swiss, .303 Brit, 7.62×25, .25-06, .44 special (well maybe not a plinker but fun to shoot). I have one or two hundred rounds in each of those calibers so I can have a day at the range without having to find ammunition on the way. I decided to concentrate my bulk purchases and reloading efforts on common calibers that I can obtain easily in Wally World or Bass Pro – or by private purchase or barter or even battlefield pickup in worst extreme.

      So my main pistol ammunition stockpiles are in 9mm, .45acp and .38/.357. There isn’t as much .38 around as there once was but everybody sells and uses 9mm. The same for the rifle rounds – lots of 5.56, .308 and -06. Should the stuff ever hit the fan it will be lots easier to find .308 than 6.5 Creedmore. Oh yeah I’ve got lots of .22LR too. I got caught after Sandy Hook and don’t want to go there again.

      One last thought – every collection should include a good high velocity air rifle in .177 or .22. In many jurisdictions they aren’t regulated except by minimum age and pellets have been cheap and available even during panic shortages. I was buying .177 pellets in Walmart at the “regular” price when there was nothing else on the shelves. An air rifle will keep you in practice and it can kill small game at close range.

      1. Yep, I think I have about 11 different center fire rifle calibers and I want more which is totally nuts. As for the air rifle, I was working with an old .177 pellet gun I use to shoot squirrels in the bushy part of their tails which keeps them off my bird feeders, I don’t want to hurt them but it scares the crap out of them. If a person really had to shoot for meat to stay alive then a pellet gun might be the best choice of all, there are plenty of birds around and I have been told that most all are edible along with rodents. A nice helping of rice with a little bit of dove protein would keep a person going day to day.

      2. If I were collecting for TEOTWAWKI, I’d have only .22, 9mm, .223/5.56, and 12 gauge. They’re plentiful to find, reasonably cheep, and can do anything I might need to do. And yes, I have enough, I think of all of those, and plenty of ammo supply to keep them fed, should the need arise. Though, as I pointed out, there’s no such thing as “too much.”

        As for the rest, well, I keep enough to make a range trip a grab and go proposition, with the assurance I won’t run out.

        BTW – reminder of our little WWII gun shoot here in El Dorado, Kansas on October 12. Y’all are very much invited. Gonna have a good time. Bring nothing but some cash!

      1. This. I was fortunate to get picked in the LaRue Tactical BuildAR list, but as a result I now have a .300 Blackout and a .224 Valkyrie rifle that want to be fed, and they’re not cheap so it also led to purchase of dies, brass, and some powder (at least the bullets I had…).

        It never stops. I should get rid of a caliber to make room, but its hard… so hard….

  4. Why not embrace the healing power of “and”?

    None of here is, I believe, a “beginner”. By now, we should’ve attained a reasonable level of competency at arms, and the more accomplished amongst us has likely participated in various competitions, attended advanced shooting classes or some combination of both.

    That stipulated, then why not also amass an obscene quantity of ammo in all of your favorite calibers, and even in some for which you’ve no arms.

    It’ll never lose value, will always serve for “barter”…even as a boot on a neat gun deal, now n’ then.

    Plus, there’s something comforting about a stack of ammo that’d need a pallet jack to move.

    I mean, c’mon…. I didn’t install reinforced joists and flooring in the gun-room for nothing!

    Sunk New Dawn
    Galveston, TX

    1. I’ve bought ammunition in calibers I do not own and some calibers I will likely never own, because it is a great courtesy at a range or elsewhere to bring one’s own ammunition when you ask to try someone’s rifle.

  5. So. You have a mule (owned, not rented so take care of it), a dog and you’re about to cross the continent. How are you armed? What do you pack. What route do you take from say, Wash DC to San Francisco ca 1850-ish? (the boomsticks can be post 1850 to present day, unless you *want* to go old school) KdT one of these what ifs is long overdue, sirruh.

    Also assume you have good enough maps and can route plan. Indigenous folk and critters, yer on yer own.

      1. But lots of chewing over alternatives. The best part.

        Think of it as a virtual general store pickle barrel session. An American institution that deserves to be remembered.

  6. I maintain the only time you have Too Much Ammo is when you’re trying to swim with it or your house is on fire.

    1. You store it in your house??? That’s what the detached tornado shelter is for! Gun safe, too, for that matter. A man’s got to have his priorities.

      Come my Lottery win, the tornado shelter is going to be a two bedroom suite with bath, kitchen, gun room, pantry, living area and an underground passage to get to it. Might even make it my basement. I met some folk in Kentucky whose entire basement was their tornado shelter. They lived just outside Brandenburg, KY which got flattened by a tornado back in the ’70’s. I respected their reasoning.

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