This past weekend I had the opportunity to train with Larry Vickers in one of his advanced combat pistol courses. The class was excellent to say the least. Numerous drills that 100% pointed out every weakness a person can have related to pistol shooting. The majority of the course was focused on accuracy. We did some reloading and some malfunction drills but mostly just trigger work.
I shot a couple of different guns throughout the weekend including a G19, G34 and P320. All 3 guns suffered a couple of light primer strikes over about 700 rounds throughout the weekend. I found it strange because these guns really never have issues. It got me wondering, was it the gun? Ammo? Operator? None of the light primer strikes stopped me from shooting as I went right into tap, rack and fire in no time at all. It’s second nature to me to clear a malfunction immediately. The gun stops working, don’t worry about why, just fix it and get back in the fight. In fact, I had one instance during a timed drill where I had to clear this malfunction and was still under the time of the drill. How was I able to do this? Because, that’s the way I train.
So, the subject of this blog came to mind during the training and issues I had this weekend. I was able to identify the issue as the ammo. I typically go to the range with an ammo can full of assorted rounds. It makes it easier to carry instead of having to open box after box of ammo and deal with the trash. So, obviously there are a few different manufacturers’ rounds in the can at any given time. With the help of Larry Vickers who has a wealth of knowledge on designing firearms and testing ammunition we determined that one particular brand uses very hard primers and this was the sole reason for the light strikes and had nothing to do with the firearms.
One student made a comment that they wouldn’t be buying this ammo anymore and I initially thought to myself that I would not either. But then it hit me, why not? For one, you should be training with dummy rounds in every few magazines when you go to the range anyway. Just mix some in every now and then so they come up at random. It keeps you honest on the flinching aspect of things and also helps you get in the habit of clearing a malfunction immediately. If you aren’t training like this you are doing yourself a HUGE disservice. Second, if you find some ammo that doesn’t work 100% in your gun why not mix it in for practice? Then you truly have an unexpected malfunction coming up at some point but you don’t know when and that is perfect for training purposes.
I won’t be buying a lot of this ammo but I’ll be buying some more of it and keeping it separate from my other ammo so I can introduce it whenever I feel like it. Just some food for thought. I think it’s a very valuable training aid. And remember, at the very least, go buy dummy rounds in your caliber and train with those every time you are at the range practicing. You’ll be glad you did.