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Should You Train With Your Carry Ammo?

When it comes to concealed carry, selecting the right ammunition is as crucial as choosing the right firearm. However, an often overlooked aspect of firearm proficiency is the importance of training with your carry ammo. In this article, we’ll delve into why this practice is essential for anyone serious about their concealed carry responsibilities.

1. Ballistics and Performance

Carry ammunition, often referred to as defensive ammunition, is designed differently than target or practice ammunition. Typically, carry ammo is hollow-point or other specialized rounds engineered to expand upon impact, maximizing stopping power while reducing the risk of over-penetration and collateral damage. Training with your carry ammo allows you to understand how these rounds behave in real-world scenarios.

The ballistic performance of carry ammo can differ significantly from practice ammo. For instance, the recoil might be more substantial, the muzzle flash might be different, and the point of impact might shift slightly compared to practice rounds. Regular training with your carry ammunition helps you become accustomed to these differences, ensuring no surprises if you ever need to use your firearm in a defensive situation.

FMJ = Full Metal Jacket. This ammunition is typically used as range ammo. JHP = Jacketed Hollow Point. This ammunition is typically used as self-defense ammo.

2. Accuracy and Precision

Your firearm may handle differently when loaded with carry ammo. The weight and balance of the gun can shift, and the aforementioned ballistic characteristics can alter the trajectory of the bullet. These differences can affect your accuracy and precision.

Regularly training with your carry ammo helps to fine-tune your aiming and shooting skills with the exact ammunition you would use in a defensive scenario. This practice ensures that you are as prepared as possible for the unique dynamics of a real-life situation.

3. Reliability and Function Testing

Every firearm-ammo combination is unique, and what works flawlessly in one gun might cause issues in another. It’s vital to test your carry ammo in your specific firearm to ensure there are no functional issues, like misfeeds or jams.

By training with your carry ammo, you can confirm the reliability of your firearm with that specific type of ammunition. This practice is crucial because a malfunction in a critical situation can have dire consequences.

4. Mental Preparedness and Confidence

Using your carry ammo in training also plays a significant role in mental preparedness. Knowing that you can handle your firearm effectively with the actual ammunition you carry builds confidence. This psychological aspect is crucial, as handling a firearm in a high-stress situation requires not only physical skill but also mental readiness.


While it’s more cost-effective to train with less expensive practice ammo, incorporating your carry ammo into regular training sessions is a practice that should not be neglected. Balancing the use of practice and carry ammo in training routines offers the best of both worlds: cost-effective skill development and familiarity with the specific ammunition you rely on for defense.

Remember, the ultimate goal of concealed carry is to be prepared and responsible. Regular training with your carry ammo is a critical component of that preparedness. Stay safe, train regularly, and always respect the power and responsibility that comes with carrying a concealed firearm.

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