Comparing Handgun Calibers

Comparison of various calibers

Experts argue over which handgun calibers are the best. They compare accuracy, price, and stopping power. Each has an opinion as to what gun and ammo works best in a specific situation. Following are comparisons between the .357 Magnum, .38 Special, and 9mm.

.357 Magnum

The .357 Magnum was introduced in 1934. It was designed using the S&W .38 Special as a model. Phil B. Sharpe, Elmer Keith and D. B. Wesson of Smith & Wesson and Winchester collaborated on the ammunition, lengthening the case of the .38. The team’s purpose was to create ammunition that could compete with the Colt .38 Super Auto. The Colt .38 Super Auto was the only round that offered muzzle velocity above 1,000 FPS. The ammo’s high velocity was imperative as a deterrent to bootleggers and gangsters who had been using bulletproof vests and automobiles as shields. The .357 helped police target their adversaries and the ammo became a top choice for law enforcement. It also introduced the “Magnum Era.” The dual-purpose cartridge is used for self-defense, hunting, and target shooting.

.38 Special

Smith & Wesson introduced its .38 Special ammo in 1898. S&W created the centerfire ammunition as an alternative to the .38 Long Colt. Law enforcement officers embraced the .38 Special from the 1920s until 1990s. Police used the .38 Special as the standard issue service cartridge. WWI soldiers carried the round into combat. The revolvers and ammunition faded from everyday use but remain the symbol of the law.

Shooters buy .38 Special calibers frequently for self-defense, pest control, competition shooting, and target practice.

9mm

DWM firearms designer Georg Luger introduced the 9x19mm Parabellum in 1902. Luger created ammunition to be used as a service cartridge for the Luger semi-automatic pistole. The 9mm was accurate and compact. 9mm pistols hold more ammo than previous models. Luger showed the ammunition to be lethal at 50 meters.

World War I introduced submachine guns. Submachine guns used 9mm ammo to penetrate field gear, an important aspect of eliminating the enemy. The ammo played a big part in World War II. The military and law enforcement agencies accepted the 9mm immediately. The 9mm replaces the .38 as a standard issue sidearm. Civilians followed suit, using the 9mm for self-defense due to its size, weight, and low recoil.

Comparison

Each handgun caliber has its merits. The .38 is a classic ammo for a revolver. People use the ammo for self-defense and concealed carry. It has a longstanding history of being used as military and police sidearms.

The .357, based on the .38, is a more powerful round. Like the .38, it can be chambered in a revolver, but is also common in a semi-automatic.

The 9mm is the most popular ammunition in the world. It has replaced the less powerful .38 for military and police use. A wide variety of weapons are chambered in 9mm. Although more expensive then the .38 or .357, a major benefit of the 9mm is the mild recoil and the increased capacity of the magazine.

Making the Choice

The differences between the three types of ammunition are negligible. The user determines the need and use for the ammo and the calibers. In most situations, any of the above will work well. The gun plays a part in the choice, as well. Making a choice on ammo should be based solely on the need and experience of the shooter.

 

 

Concealed Carry Tips and Safety

Man showing how to carry concealed

People carry concealed weapons (CCW) for various reasons, the most common of which is for personal protection. Gun owners must be trained and pass a test before they’re allowed to have a concealed firearm. States vary on their laws regarding CCW, so you shouldn’t assume that you can carry in any state. Some states, such as Virginia and California ban concealed weapons altogether, while others, such as Massachusetts and Illinois, ban them in specific areas of the state. Know your laws before you travel. If at any time you are pulled over by the police, you must tell the officer immediately if you have a loaded weapon in your vehicle. Otherwise, the consequences could be dire.

Choosing Your Gun

Gun owners must pick a gun that suits them regarding cost, weight, grip, caliber, and recoil. Common guns for concealed carry include .22, .357, .380, 9mm, and .45 ACP. You shouldn’t take advice from anyone other than a trained professional on which gun is best suited for you. It must feel comfortable; powerful enough to do the job but not so powerful that you won’t hit the target. Gun choices depend on what will work for you. There isn’t a certain type of gun for men and one for women.

Tips & Safety

Choose the Right Holster

Experts know that there is no one-size-fits-all holster. A holster should be made for the gun you use. The holster should fit snugly on the gun and be comfortable to wear, without blocking the safety or sights. Some people like to carry on the hip, while others prefer to use an inside the waistband or ankle holster. If people want their weapons to be hidden, chances are that the gun will be inside the waistband of their pants. Movies and TV shows often show people carrying a gun in the waistband of their pants, with or without a holster. A holster is the smarter way to go as it keeps the gun close to the body. Companies like Sneaky Pete and EAA make holsters for belts that look like phone or device cases. Since most people carry a phone, the holster blends into the background.

Carry-Friendly Clothes

Some clothes make it impossible to carry concealed, especially in the summertime. If you want your gun to remain hidden, consider wearing shorts with a firm waistband, a light overshirt, or lightweight pants. Whatever you choose, make sure your access to the gun isn’t hindered.

Carry Position

Most people carry a gun on their hip, so it’s the first place someone will look. You can move the gun to a slightly different position, such as two or four o’clock, which changes your silhouette and makes the gun less obvious.

Correct Posture

Standing up straight is good for your body, and for carrying a concealed weapon. It helps to hide the gun because your clothes will hang straight and not show off the outline of the holster or firearm. Good posture will also help with your shooting technique.

Conclusion

People often get shot due to the unsafe handling of their guns. Follow these safety tips and be careful. Also, remember that pulling a gun should be the last resort; if you pull it, be prepared to use it.

 

Fiocchi Ammunition Changes With the Times

Logo for Fiocchi Ammunition

Giulio Fiocchi is a legend in the munitions world. His story seems to be one made by chance, yet the Italian accountant took an opportunity that created one of the most respected ammunition companies in the world.

Birth of Fiocchi

In 1876, Guilio Fiocchi worked as an accountant in a bank in Milan. Fiocchi’s job included collecting debts from past due clients. During a trip to Lecco, Fiocchi met with the owner of a company that manufactured black powder and muskets. The owner told Fiocchi that he was unable to pay the loan and had gone bankrupt. Fiocchi met with his brother, Giacomo, and the pair decided to buy the ammunition business. Guilio secured a loan from his bank and the brothers bought the company. They named the company Giulio Fiocchi Enterprises.

The Great World Wars

The Fiocchi brothers renamed the company Fiocchi Ammunition (Fiocchi Munizioni). Fiocchi changed operations when the muzzle-loader was replaced by the breech-loader. Fiocchi made reloadable primer cases. The Fiocchi’s changed operations once again when black powder was no longer being used.

Before World War I, Fiocchi was dedicated to manufacturing ammunition for hunting and sports shooting. World War I brought the opportunity to make and sell ammo to the Italian army. The Germans seized Fiocchi Ammunition during World War II, but the company’s employees managed to hold them off from the ground. Sadly, Allied planes destroyed the original factory.

The Fiocchi’s built a new plant in 1946 after the war. The company upgraded its equipment and began to produce more advanced ammunition.

Being Resourceful

Fiocchi has always been a resourceful company, which may be because of Guilio’s financial background. Initially, the factory threw away its scrap metal. It was suggested that rather than throwing it away, they could use it for another purpose. The company began to produce metal snaps, saving its money. The fashion industry had made the use of snaps popular, so making the closures was short of genius. Fiocchi sold that part of the business in the 1980s for a large profit.

Giving Back

The Fiocchi family helps employees and the community by giving back. In 1904, Fiocchi built houses for its employees, provided childcare and paid for medical insurance, something that is still done today.

Fiocchi of America, Inc.

Fiocchi arrived in the U.S. in the 1950s, when it shared an Illinois factory with Smith & Wesson. The partnership ended when there were disagreements between the two companies. Things changed again when Carlo Fiocchi, great-grandson of Giulio, visited to the U.S. on his honeymoon. In 1983, Fiocchi of America resumed business in the U.S. and began to import ammunition.

Fiocchi couldn’t keep up with customer demand. Carlo and company president Paolo Fiocchi talked about building a plant in the U.S. to help them fill orders. History repeated itself when the Fiocchi’s bought land from a farmer who couldn’t make his mortgage payments. The fourth generation of Fiocchi’s now operate the company and it is stronger than ever.

 

The Iconic .22 LR

.22LR can be purchased in bulk

In 1857, Smith & Wesson introduced the .22 LR, which became the most popular rimfire cartridge in history. Enthusiasts use  it for target practice, training, plinking, sporting events, and varmint control. Shooters love the economical price and the fact that it is easy to buy in bulk. Shooters use the round in a variety of guns including handguns, shotguns, rifles, and submachine guns. Users appreciate the low recoil and small muzzle flash, which also makes it desirable for young and novice shooters.

.22LR ammo has four velocity ranges: subsonic, standard velocity, high velocity, and hyper velocity.

A Brief History

The .22 was designed for Smith & Wesson’s First Model. Designers modeled it after the 1845 Flobert BB cap. Weapons manufacturer J. Stevens Arms & Tool Co. had combined a .22 Long casing with a 40-grain bullet used for the .22 Extra Long. Manufacturers have modified the bullet to accommodate additional grains of powder; currently, there are three types: .22 Short, .22 Long, and.22 Extra Long. The .22 Short is not often seen on the market although it can be purchased through online sources.

The .22 LR is interchangeable between guns which is a benefit for those using a variety of weapons. The round is not recommended for self-defense or large game hunting due to its lack of power.

Currently, the .22 LR is the only .22 rimfire cartridge seen on the market. The .22 Short is rare and in most circles has become scarce.

Self-Defense

Despite the fact that the .22 LR doesn’t have a great deal of stopping power, it is still a common choice for self-defense and concealed carry. The round can be chambered in small and lightweight pocket guns, easily carried in a purse or jacket.  Experts say that the cartridge will work well in most up-close situations, as long as the shooter has good aim. Shooters can fire the bullet fast and accurately so multiple shots are a possibility if they are needed. Since many people shoot to scare away their target, the .22 will work just fine.

Experts say that the brand of ammo is important when choosing a .22 LR. While many brands work well, you will find, on occasion, some that jam or misfire. Shooters should test different brands to find the one that works the best with their weapon of choice.

Popularity

Novice shooters use a .22 for target practice and training. The lack of power makes it safer for new users. The low recoil keeps the round from startling the shooter, thereby disrupting his posture and aim at the target. Countries restricting larger caliber bullets tend to permit the use of a .22 caliber.

It remains the bullet of choice for various organizations including the Boy Scouts of America and 4H Clubs. Military cadets use .22 LR cadet rifles for basic weapons and marksmanship training. The .22 LR is widely used in competition shooting, including the Olympic games, pistol and precision rifle competitions.

 

 

 

Powerhouse .50 AE

.50 AE Desert Eagle

The .50 Action Express was introduced in 1988. The cartridge was designed by Evan Whildin, former vice-president of Action Arms. Whildin designed the cartridge as part of a program to boost the performance of the semi-auto pistol by creating a new cartridge design. Whildin developed the Action Express line to travel faster and fire hotter than standard forms of ammo. When testing was complete, Whildin released the line to the public. It included the .50 AE, a 9 mm and .41 caliber rounds. Although the smaller calibers never gained popularity, the .50 Action Express caught the attention of the firearms community. The ammunition is still available from several major manufacturers including CCI, Speer, Hornady, and IMI (imported by Magnum Research).

The .50 AE was destined to be used in the IMI Desert Eagle, a semi-automatic pistol imported by Magnum Research, Inc. The gun was already chambered for the .44 Magnum, and would only need a barrel change to use the .50 cal. The .50 AE features the same rim diameter and overall length as the .44 Magnum.

Ballistics

The .50 Action Express ammo is one of the most powerful pistol cartridges on the market. It has a .500-inch bullet diameter enclosed in a 1.285-inch straight-walled case with a rebated rim. SAAMI says the maximum pressure of .50 AE should not exceed 36,000 PSI.

Users report a significant recoil and muzzle blast. Many compare the recoil to the .44 Magnum.

The .50 AE uses a 325- grain bullet and offers a muzzle velocity of 1400 FPS. The 300-grain bullet has a muzzle velocity of 1400 FPS and offers 1414 ft-lbs of energy.

Types of .50 AE Ammo

The .50 AE cartridge is available in several bullet types, including jacketed hollow point (JHP), Bonded Jacketed Hollow Point (BJHP), soft point (SP) and Jacketed Soft Point (JSP).

JHP ammunition uses a lead bullet encased in a hard metal, typically copper. The bullet contains a hollow point, which allows the bullet to expand upon impact. Users choose JHP ammunition for personal protection, home defense, and game hunting.

Soft Points do the job although they offer less stopping power. It gives shooters a slower expansion and deeper penetration. Manufacturers use a soft lead projectile. As a result, hunters will use soft point bullets  in areas where JHP cartridges are restricted.

Popularity

Whildin had a contract with the Israeli military. The Israeli Military Industries (IMI) Magnum Research Desert Eagle uses the ammunition, however, it was not the first gun to use the round. The first firearm chambered in the .50 AE caliber was the Arcadia Machine and Tool Automag V, a semi-auto, single action pistol. The weapons is described as the most “ergonomic and lightweight” of big caliber handguns.

Usage

Shooters choose the .50 AE when they want maximum power. Users prefer the round for silhouette shooting and medium to large game hunting, suitable against large predators such as bears. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) categorizes the non-sporting round as a destructive device under its current regulations.

 

Law Enforcement Chooses .45 GAP Ammo

Florida Highway Patrol Chooses .45 GAP

Glock introduced .45 Glock Automatic Pistol (GAP) ammunition in 2003. It was the first cartridge manufactured by the Austrian firearms manufacturer. The ammo is a rimless, straight-walled round that shares the same bullet diameter of the .45 Automatic Colt Pistol (ACP). The diameter is .451 inch. The .45 GAP is housed in a .755-inch casing, the same length as a 9mm shell). The cartridge’s overall length is 1.070 inches.

The ammo is made with a big bore bullet and uses a small pistol primer. Its maximum pressure is 23,000 pounds psi. It is ideal for self-defense and concealed carry. The round is suitable for use by civilians, military and law enforcement. It is efficient, accurate, and reliable. Glock has supplied United States law enforcement with more handguns in the last twenty years than any other weapons manufacturer.

Development of the .45 GAP

Glock aimed to design a .45 cartridge for a compact handgun that didn’t have an oversized grip. The design would allow the weapon to be used for concealed carry. In 2003, Glock introduced the Glock 37. They collaborated with ammunition designer Ernest Durham, an engineer with CCI/Speer.

Glock told Speer what it needed in new ammunition. They wanted a .45 caliber bullet housed in a case no longer than the one used for a 9mm Parabellum or .40 S&W. They also requested a cartridge that could easily fit inside a grip similar to their Model 17 or 22 pistols. The size would ensure that the gun could be used by most shooters, regardless of the size of the user’s hand.

Speer delivered the cartridges. The finished product was created using bullets ranging from 165-grain to 230-grain. The .45 GAP ammo’s muzzle energy averages 400 to 500 foot-pounds (ft-lbs).

The Popularity of the .45 GAP

The public quickly embraced the .45 GAP. As a result, several firearms manufacturers made pistols to house the new ammo. The trend died down and eventually Glock and Bond Arms became the only companies to continue production.

Currently, Glock offers several pistols chambered in .45 GAP: Model 37 (full-size), 38 (compact), and 39 (sub-compact).

Some shooters falsely claim that the .45 ACP and .45 GAP are interchangeable. The extractor grooves are cut differently which makes the main difference. Additionally, the .45 GAP uses a small pistol primer whereas the .45 ACP uses a large pistol primer.

Law Enforcement

Glock’s biggest success with the .45 GAP has been with the law enforcement community. Several state law enforcement agencies use the Glock 37 with .45 GAP ammo as standard issue. The ammo has similar fire power and performance compared to the .45 ACP yet is more compact.

Many law enforcement agencies have switched from .45-caliber weapons in favor of guns chambered in 9x19mm and .40 S&W. Despite the trend, three state law enforcement agencies have chosen the .45 GAP as a replacement for their standard issue 9mm Parabellum (New York) or .40 S&W service weapons (Florida and South Carolina). Smaller law enforcement agencies have also chosen to use the Glock 37 and .45 GAP. They include the Burden, Kansas Police Department, Greenville, North Carolina Police Department, and the Berkeley, Missouri Police Department.

The Georgia State Patrol previously carried the Glock Model 37. It has replaced it with the fourth generation 9mm Glock 17. The South Carolina Highway Patrol also abandoned the Glock 37 in favor of the Glock 17 “M” also chambered in 9mm.

The Pennsylvania State Police used the Glock 37 from 2007-2013. Lack of ammunition caused the agency to adopt the fourth generation Glock 21 chambered in .45 ACP. The police experienced recall issues and switched to the SIG-Sauer P227 in .45 ACP.

Types of .45 GAP Ammo

Several ammunition manufacturers produce .45 GAP ammunition, but it’s not a popular round. Most shooters looking for bulk ammunition choose from full metal jacket (FMJ), total metal jacket (TMJ), or jacketed hollow point (JHP) rounds.

  • Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) ammo is a lead bullet enclosed in a metal, typically copper, casing. The casing helps the projectile maintain its shape from firing to impact at the target site. FMJ rounds are typically used for plinking and target shooting. They can also be used for self-defense purposes.
  • Total Metal Jacket (TMJ) ammo is like FMJ in that it uses a lead bullet sheathed in a harder metal. The lead bullet is exposed within the round’s casing, unlike the FMJ. TMJ bullets feature a projectile is encased in copper. The shooter’s exposure to lead is limited due to the cooper casing. Some indoor shooting ranges in the U.S. require this configuration.
  • Jacketed Hollow Point (JHP) ammo also uses a lead bullet encased in copper, but this bullet has a hollow point in its center. The hollow point allows for greater expansion upon impact. The expansion creates a larger entrance wound while reducing the risk of over-penetration.

 

 

 

The .25 ACP Survives Test of Time

25 ACP Pistol

The .25 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) is a straight-walled, semi-rimmed, centerfire cartridge designed by John Browning in 1905. The ammo was released along with the Fabrique Nationale M1905 pistol. Introduced in Belgium in 1906, the Fabrique Nationale is a vest pocket pistol intended for use by gentlemen of the era. The 25 caliber ammo came to the U.S. in 1908 alongside the Colt Model 1908 Vest Pocket.

Often referred to as .25 Auto, .25 ACP ammo measures 6.35 x 16mmSR. It features a 50-grain bullet that feeds into the chamber through a removable magazine. The projectile is .251 inch, has a rim diameter of .302 inch, and a .043 inch rim thickness. The case is .615 inch with the full cartridge measuring .91 inch. While a .25 caliber ammo is a low power cartridge, it has an average penetration of 7-11 inches. Estimates say that with proper placement, 25% of .25 ACP rounds can incapacitate a threat.

Popular names include:

  • .25 Automatic Colt Pistol
  • .25 ACP
  • .25 Auto
  • .25 Automatic
  • 35mm
  • 35mm Browning
  • 35 x 16mmSR

The .25 ACP for Self Defense

Famed Marine and gun enthusiast Lt. Col. John Dean “Jeff” Cooper commented on the .25 ACP: “If you do shoot someone with it, and they find out, they will be very upset.”

Despite Cooper’s comments, many people continue to choose .25 caliber weapons for self-defense.

In the early 1900s, vest or “belly pistols” were popular among civilians. The lure was that they were easy to conceal and ideal for self-defense. People don’t take the pistols seriously due to low power and lack of penetration. Some called them “mouse guns.” Despite their inadequate performance except at close distances, many small handguns are modeled after this style.

Because of the round’s small size, the guns chambered for .25 caliber ammo are smaller than a man’s hand. Although it’s small, it addresses several common problems that face other small caliber bullets. The .22 Short, .22 Long, .22 LR, and .17 HMR have experienced reliability problems due to the rimfire design. The .25 ACP is more reliable because it used centerfire primer. An additional improvement is the use of hollow point bullets, which improves on the stopping ability of the round.

Experts often discount the .25 caliber ammo as being insufficient for self-defense. The ammo accomplished the job as long as there is proper placement. The important thing is stopping the threat.

Types of .25 ACP Ammo

The .25 caliber isn’t as popular as 9mm or other larger calibers, but it comes in some variations. Styles include:

Full metal jacket (FMJ): FMJ is the most common .25 Auto ammo found on the market. It’s ideal for training and target shooting. It is not well-suited to self-defense.

Jacketed hollow point (JHP): The JHP bullet narrows to a lead center. The bullet expands on impact. This creates a higher level of damage and improves stopping power. JHP is the most popular type of self-defense .25 ACP ammo.

Gold Dot hollow point (GDHP): Gold Dot designed the GDHP for self-defense purposes. It is a hollow point round with a pre-fluted core with fault lines to control the bullet’s expansion.

Hornady Extreme terminal performance (XTP): Hornady designed XTP bullets for self-defense. The basic JHP contains serrations to divide the round’s outer cover into equal parts. These serrations allow for controlled expansion, despite the cartridge’s low velocity.

Popular Firearms Chambered in .25 Auto

Modern handguns are more effective than the .25 ACP which was part of the ammo’s decline. However, there are European companies that still manufacture the weapons. Companies manufacturing guns chambered for the .25 caliber ammo include Ruby, Sig Sauer, HK, Raven, Bauer, Taurus, Phoenix Arms, Sterling, and Kel-Tec.

Buyers in search of vintage or antique arms can find weapons manufactured in Italy, Germany, Belgium, and the former Soviet Union.

  • Colt 1903 Hammerless
  • Colt Model 1908 Vest Pocket
  • Beretta 950 Jetfire
  • Walther TP & TPH
  • Standard Manufacturing S-333 Volleyfire
  • Phoenix Arms HP25A
  • Kel-Tech P32
  • Raven MP-25
  • Baby Browning
  • Beretta Bobcat
  • Taurus PLY25
  • Astra Model 2000 “Cub”
  • Vaclav Holek’s vz 21

What Is A .22 Long Rifle?

The .22 Long Rifle is a rimfire cartridge that takes the top spot as the most common and popular cartridge in the world. While it’s not quite as readily available or inexpensive as it used to be, target shooters, small game hunters and competitive shooters have propelled it to become the standard cartridge for rifles. It is also the cartridge of choice for international sporting events such as the Olympic Games and other competitions including: Olympic precision Rifle and Pistol shooting, bullseye, biathlon, metallic silhouette, benchrest shooting, and pin shooting, as well as many youth events with the Boy Scouts of America, 4H, and Project Appleseed.

History of Rimfire Cartridges

Rimfire cartridges hold the distinct honor of being the oldest self-contained cartridge in existence. Originally made with copper casing, the bullet was the ideal for use in pistols and repeating rifles. Manufacturers chose copper casing due to the low cost and its malleability. This was less taxing on the weapon’s mechanisms, which often broke with larger caliber ammo.

The .22 LR first came on the scene in 1857 when Smith & Wesson developed it for their First Model, a spur-triggered revolver with a bottom-hinged barrel. The cartridge, loaded with 29-30 grain lead bullet with 4 grains of black powder, quickly caught the attention of shooters worldwide due to ease of use, portability, and economy. S&W had intended the .22 to be used for recreational use and competitive shooting but it soon became the choice of those wanting to carry small pistols for protection.

In 1871, the casing was extended to include an extra grain of black powder, renaming S&W’s offering .22 Short. In 1880, the cartridge morphed again when the Extra Long added yet another grain of powder, totaling 6 grains. The reduced accuracy caused shooters to shun the new cartridge which was eventually retooled in 1887 by the J. Stevens Arms & Tool Company. The .22 LR was born.

Since that time manufacturers have continued to make improvements on the cartridge, seeking to improve its accuracy and velocity. It remains relatively inexpensive to produce and you can use it in an infinite number of handguns and rifles.

The .22 LR Today

Today’s .22 LR loads are divided into four categories, based on velocity:

  • Subsonic, including “target” or “match” loads: below 1100 fps (feet per second)
  • Standard-velocity: 1120–1135 fps
  • High-velocity: 1200–1310 fps
  • Hyper-velocity/Ultra-velocity: over 1400 feet fps

Some argue that the .22 LR doesn’t wield as much power as the larger bore cartridges. While this is true, its diversity, accuracy, and low recoil continue to increase its popularity. Experts claim that the cartridge shouldn’t game hunters or those looking to protect themselves shouldn’t use it. However, it has proven that it can and will do the job if the placement is accurate. In some cases,  law enforcement and the military used it due to its low noise and ease of portability. The .22 LR is great for sporting events, target practice, training, and pest control.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get the Most from Your Suppressor with the Right Ammunition

When it comes to using a suppressor, more than just the suppressor impacts the volume of your gun fire. The ammunition you choose to fire also alters the sound and the decibels.

See, when you fire a bullet, three distinct sounds occur:

  1. Muzzle blast: When a bullet leaves your gun’s muzzle, high temperature and high pressure gases closely follow it, escaping. These gases cause both a bright flash and a loud blast.
  2. Sonic boom: Many bullets travel faster than the speed of sound (1,126 feet per second), causing a loud crack as the bullet forces its way through the air.
  3. Mechanical noise: All firearms make mechanical noises when your fire them. This includes the movement of the slide or blot action.

The Right Ammunition for Your Suppressor

When you use a suppressor, you quiet the muzzle blast.  A suppressor essentially captures gases that escape your gun’s muzzle, forcing them into baffles where they cool and dissipate before their release. This works great to lower the volume of the muzzle blast, and in many cases, can allow shooters to forego hearing protection.

But a suppressor does nothing for the shockwave sound created from a sonic boom. That means if you shoot a bullet with a velocity greater than 1,126 f/s, the loud crack that accompanies firing a gun still occurs. Sometimes called the sonic signature, this sound lasts as long as the bullet travels faster than sound.

To rid yourself of the sonic boom, you must increase the bullet’s weight to lower the velocity of your ammunition. Because of the added weight, these bullets slow down and the velocity falls below the sound barrier threshold. Called subsonic ammunition, these cartridges only make a slight change when shooting an unmodified firearm, but from a gun with a suppressor, subsonic ammo can make all the difference.

With a quality suppressor and the right ammunition, you only hear a few decibels of mechanical noise, which you can’t eliminate.

And while a suppressor can’t really silence a firearm the way the movies do suppressed sniper rifles, with subsonic ammunition, it may not make it silent, but it sure makes it quiet.

The Best Way to Store Ammunition

When boxes of ammo start to stack up in your closet, you want to make sure you’re storing it right. When exposed to certain elements, ammo can become damaged, and when you need it the most, it can fail. Yet when you store ammunition correctly, ammo can last a lifetime, if not longer.

Store your ammo properly with these simple tips.

Ammo Storage tip 1: Keep It Dry

To guarantee your ammo stays dry, consider keeping it in a new or used ammo can. Made from metal or plastic, a good ammo can has a rubber gasket that creates an airtight seal, keeping moist, humid air out and dry, cool air in. If you live somewhere with high levels of humidity (or even if you don’t), you should include a few moisture-absorbing packs in your ammo cans.

Ammo Storage Tip 2: Keep It Cool

When ammo gets too hot, it can impact the gunpowder’s chemical properties, so be sure to keep it away from extreme temperatures. Furnaces, wood burners, and even space heaters can cause temperature jumps, which are also important to avoid. While a 10-20 degree change over the course of year isn’t a big deal, 0-100 degrees can be, which means outdoor storage isn’t advisable in many areas of the country.

Ammo Storage Tip 3: Keep It Dark

Beyond cool and dry, keep your ammo in the dark, or at least away from the sun’s UV rays. Over time, the sun damages bullets in the same way it damages the metal on your vehicle. But if you store ammunition indoors in standard ammo cans (not clear plastic totes), it’s safe.

Ammo Storage Tip 4: Keep It Labeled

If you’re using multiple ammo cans, label the outside of each can with its contents. That way when you’re looking for ammo for a 9mm, you don’t keep opening ammo cans filled with .22 bulletsYou should also write the date on ammo boxes when you get them and rotate your stock. This guarantees you know what ammo is the oldest and use it first.