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By James England via concealednation.org

Not too long ago, we did an article discussing rotating the rounds that go into your everyday carry gun’s chamber. What we didn’t expect was how prevalent a concern this was in the concealed carry gun community. In this article, we’re going to talk in a little more detail on what happens to the round that gets chambered in your concealed carry gun — and a little more on how you might go about rotating it . . .

Ease Up On The Upper Receiver

Everyone likes that “clink-clunk” noise the slide makes when it slams down on a round. That said, the lighter you set down the upper receiver onto the round in the magazine, the lighter the impact on the cartridge casing. If you’re at the range and planning on expending that ammo, there’s very little to worry about. Modern munitions and most handguns are designed to accomodate those tolerances. The biggest obstacle we run into is the repeated impact of the upper receiver onto the same bullet casing multiple times.

One or twice? No problem. You can potentially keep the same round chambered in your handgun for several months (or longer) depending upon how gently you chamber that round.

Here’s the ugly part: every time a bullet gets loaded into the chamber of a handgun, it’s going to take the force of the slide hitting it.  Every handgun is going to be slightly different in terms of the force it exerts on the bullet itself. There’s no all-inclusive set of rules governing when a round should be cycled out. So, we’re going to have to use common sense on this one.

Weekly Assessment 

Concealed carriers tend to use specialized self-defense rounds. These are bullets designed to expand when they hit soft tissue and, thus, have a greater impact on potential bad guys in a self-defense situation. These rounds are usually quite a bit more expensive than standard full metal jacket bullets so gunowners are understandably more hesitant to “throw away” (shoot at the range) an expensive self-defense round.

When we unload our carry guns — either to clean the, or before a range session — we have a tendency to eject the round and then put it right back in at the top of the magazine. It’s expedient and convenient. Before you throw that round right back at the top of the magazine, take an honest look at it.

Three Things To Look

The back of the casing is pretty resistant to impact but, after awhile, you could see dents start to form on the back of the casing. You may also notice dents along the side of the case. These are especially important to note. Dings, cuts, carves, and dents are all signs that a round needs to be cycled out.

Inspect the following points on the round:

  • Back of the bullet case
  • Sides of the bullet (full 360° turn)
  • Indents or scrapes on the primer

Once the round starts showing signs of wear and tear, don’t wait — cycle it out. If you’re at home or some place convenient, cycle the rounds out of the magazine and then put the “most frequently chambered” round in first.  Stack the rest on top.

Ideally, take the round out of circulation altogether.  Throw it in a safe container where you keep rounds you intend to shoot at the range.

If it’s heavily degraded or bent, decommission it.  If you’ve never had to decommission a bullet, talk to the guy or gal at your local gun shop that handles the reloading.  He’ll know more about the proper way to fully decommission a bullet that’s been severely damaged.  This doesn’t happen too often.

In conclusion, as annoying as it may be to ditch an expensive self-defense round, it’s far better to stay safe.  The biggest threat isn’t the round going off on its own, it’s usually a failure to fire or failure to eject.  None of the above are ideal for a concealed carrier using his or her handgun in self-defense.

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108 Responses to Setback: Why It’s Important to Cycle Your Concealed Carry Rounds

    • I take it back. Only the title of the article is worth reading . Setback is undesirable but the article never discusses that.

      • Well, I’ve got a habit of locking the slide back, dropping the round in the chamber, then letting the extractor clip over the rim of the cartridge rather than “slamming it home”. I’ve even been known to pull out the calipers once in a while – so far that technique doesn’t shove the bullet into the case after a few years.

      • I thought the same thing. Here, I’ll fix it for you: You can eyeball bullet setback (i.e., how far down in the casing the round has been pushed by impacting the feed ramp) by lining it up next to fresh ammo. If it is noticeably shorter, get rid of it or shoot it off on a range day. Stop carrying it. Setback can cause a dangerous increase in pressure that could kaboom the barrel, your hand…etc.

        • With a Five Seven, I am not comfortable without measuring the OAL of any rounds I remove from the chamber. I remove the chambered round almost every day for drawing and laser dry fire practice. Due to their construction my rounds are almost never damaged. Due to careful rechambering they are also rarely shortened. If it is one of my hand loads that is short, I disassemble, resize, reload and put it back in the rotation.

    • Agreed. But I’d like to suggest using an FMJ round as your chambered shot; not only is it cheaper, but it’s safer for you in the advent of an accidental discharge. The rest of your mag would consist of your favorite defensive ammo.

      • How is a bullet that gets 3-4 times greater penetration ever ‘safer’. If anything, use a hollowpoint, those are practically less than lethal rounds at handgun velocities.

      • Aside from increased tissue damage defense ammo also reduces the chance of over penetration. I’d rather take a gamble on whether or not the defense ammo expands properly than use FMJ knowing it won’t expand well.

  1. I have been cycling mags as well as the top round on each mag weekly for awhile now. I also chamber my rounds as slowly as possible. By doing this I can usually go 1 to 2 years before I need to get new carry rounds.

    • I take a fine black sharpie and mark underneath the case rim a line that tells me the round has been chambered, I make sure not to chamber it again if I can help it and replace my carry ammo at least once a year. This system has worked well for me.

  2. I don’t understand why people chamber and unchamber rounds a lot. I carry with a round chambered, and very rarely ever have to unchamber a round — cleaning and practicing. If I clean after practice, that generally doesn’t require unchambering a self-defense round. I’ll unchamber a self-defense round maybe three or four times a year.

    When I practice, I’ll fire the currently-chambered self-defense round, and sometimes at least one magazine of self-defense ammo, before moving onto the FMJ.

    • So… do you leave your gun on you while you shower and sleep, or do you leave a loaded gun unattended in your house?

        • I have no children.
          In the rare instance one might be in the house, I have mini-vaults. If they’re in the house, the firearm is on my hip.
          I irregularly check to make sure the round is in battery. The deck gets shuffled when I compete in a match.
          Unless required by law, loading and unload seems like playing with a certain part of your anatomy without purpose. I’m told females can get a round off without being noticed or having an ND.

        • I shower with my gun. A home invasion could happen at any time, and it saves me from having to clean it. 😉

      • Like the Gov. says, I have a safe. I have several safes, including some strategically placed push-button handgun safes. Any gun I think I might need in a pinch, which includes all my carry guns, is kept loaded in the safe.

        Shall I fill your mind with frightening thoughts of the cocked-and-locked 1911 in the safe?

      • I have three “unattended” firearms in my house, sometimes four. But I have no children or grandchildren, so there is no one to protect but me, and I am unconcerned

    • I unchamber rounds daily because my EDC gun is stored in the safe on a rod that inserts into the barrel. I used to leave a round in the gun but, after a while I realized that the tip of the round was just barely making contact with the plastic tip on the end of the rod. (It’s an M&P Shield). Over time the weight of the gun was bearing down on the round just enough to crimp all of the soft serrations in the hollow point together. I was walking around with an FMJ in the chamber and didn’t know it until I looked at the round one day. Lesson learned.

  3. These rounds are usually quite a bit more expensive than standard full metal jacket bullets so gunowners are understandably more hesitant to “throw away” (shoot at the range) an expensive self-defense round.

    Absolute worst case is maybe a buck a round. Just fire your chambered round. It won’t break the bank. You practice weekly? A buck a week extra.

    • Unless you do all your training at <7 yards you should bite the bullet (so to speak) and blow 3 rounds of your carry ammo to start every range day and make sure they're hitting exactly where you want them to. Cheap FMJ ammo is often loaded to lower velocities and their point of impact might not be the same as your carry ammo. Cold, clean barrel, three shots, just like a DGU. Small price to pay.

      • I pocket carry, and only go to the range 3-4 times a year. So I shoot all the ammo that has been loaded in my magazines, and then switch to practice ammo. Usually, I put my ears on, and draw and shoot just like I might have to someday. Lint usually flies everywhere the first few shots. But it goes bang, which builds confidence that it will do so when called upon.

        • Also a good argument for cleaning your EDC even if you haven’t shot it, just because it’s been riding around on your hip or in your pocked for a while.

      • I used to save them up for a beach fire: before starting the fire, bury them a couple inches down in the sand under it. They’ll bake off as a surprise.

        I say “used to” because the local state police and sheriff have decided that rounds set off in a beach fire is good reason to arrest people. Now they’re just plain campfire rounds.

    • Ruger SR9c, even with the short magazine = 11 rounds of Hornady Critical Defense @ $1.40 per round, or $15.50.

      Not everyone can afford to just blow off full power EDC rounds at that rate. Pop off the first two or three in the mag, that may be more realistic.

      As for me, I unload the Hornadies from the mag and leave them in a pile, then load up my range ammo. When I am finished I reload the mag in random order so the chances of the same round going into the chamber are about 10:1. Problem solved at no expense.

  4. Yet another example of the superiority of the revolver. Keep a round in all six chambers. No worries.

      • It’s tricky finding a comfortable IWB holster for this, but problem solved. 🙂

        http://www.everydaynodaysoff.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Revolver-Gun-handgun-Multiple-Cylinder.jpg

        Seriously, I am fully-aware of the saying “nobody in a gunfight ever wished they had less ammo.” I carry both revolvers and semi-autos, depending on various factors, but my life just ain’t dangerous enough that I feel really concerned when all I have is 5 rounds of .38 +p plus six rounds in a speed strip.

        • Do they make those in .357 magnum?

          Odds of a civilian in the USA, especially those places where a carry permit is obtainable, needing more than 5 rounds of just about any caliber (but especially .357) are akin to winning the lotto and being struck by lightning on the same day. But if you’re really worried about it, with practice speed loaders can be extremely fast. I settle for six in the cylinder and 6 in a speed strip, and I’ll being looking for cover to reload. You could easily carry 3 or 4 speed strips since they’re nowhere near as bulky as magazines.

    • Perhaps – but if you shoot hard-recoiling rounds that aren’t properly crimped, you can have a failure in the opposite direction from setback – the bullet moves forward as the gun recoils (actually, inertia makes the heavy bullet want to stay in place, as the gun and fixed cartridge case recoil away from it.) The end result is that you can have bullets sticking out the front of the cylinder far enough to prevent it from rotating. Unlike a semi-auto, where a quick tap-rack-bang is generally enough to fix most issues, a jammed revo cylinder is usually fight-stopping.

      For self defense in a revolver, buy or make high quality, well-crimped ammo!

    • I agree. I’ve started carrying revolvers more and more. I can clean my LCR a couple times a week (quite job of unloading the cylinder, running a patch down the barrel, and a quick wipedown) and not have to worry about setback. I also don’t have to worry about keeping rails lubricated (although any semi-auto used for defensive purposes should be able to reliably run a few magazines dry.)

  5. I don’t carry, but shouldn’t you check the weapon every time you pick it up or store it away? I.E., drop the mag, clear the chamber and visually inspect. Then, store it in a safe condition or reload it for carry or HD-ready use.

    Leaving the same round chambered for months?!!

    ETA: Comment directed @Cloudbuster above.

    • Leaving the same round chambered for months?!!

      And? Is something bad going to magically happen to the chambered round?

      You might as well say “leaving the same round in the magazine for months?!!”

      Anyway, as I said, I always fire the chambered round when I practice, which effectively eliminates the concern that the round is there “for months?!!”

      ETA, regarding this part: “I don’t carry, but shouldn’t you check the weapon every time you pick it up or store it away? I.E., drop the mag, clear the chamber and visually inspect. Then, store it in a safe condition or reload it for carry or HD-ready use.”

      Why? Constantly changing the state of your gun is when accidents happen. If it’s loaded in the safe, it’s in a safe condition.

    • “Leaving the same round chambered for months?!!”

      Is that really much different than leaving the same round in a box on a shelf for months? What’s going on inside your gun’s barrel that’s going to mess up the ammo?

      • Carry guns get carried. So at least for me, that means they are exposed to a LOT more heat and moisture than the rounds boxed up in a climate controlled safe. Which, in theory shortens the life of the ammo.

        • That’s an argument for periodically using up your self-defense ammo at the range, not for constantly chambering and unchambering. The kind of damage cause by oil or sweat seeping past the crimp isn’t the kind of damage that’s going to be easy to detect from a visual examination.

          OTOH, more than once I’ve had a speed strip go through the wash. I take the rounds out of carry circulation (obviously), and shoot them at the range, and I’ve never had one of the washed rounds fail to fire!

        • I had a speed strip go through a metal detector at a court house once, but never the wash. Apparently brass and lead don’t set them off.

    • Check the weapon for what? I don’t play with loaded guns. If I get paranoid, I can run my finger over the loaded chamber indicator and know it’s good to go.

      But… The range I go to has rules. Every gun I carry in there must be unloaded and cased. So I need to unload before I go.

    • Uh. No. If I can shoot ammo from the cold war that’s utterly reliable (and I can) I have no issues with loading my EDC gun with high quality ammo that’s a few months, or even a year or two old. No need to be cycling ammo, dropping mags, all that stuff – I know what condition my firearm is in. It’s like those silly movies where the good guy press checks his pistola for dramatic effect before he charges into the room full of bad guys – what, he runs around town with a gun for which he doesn’t know the status?

      • Although I agree with your comment, I have found that my lube dries up fairly quickly, and so I field strip, run a patch through the barrel to clear the lint, wipe the old oil off, and relube at least once a month.

        • Same- Once a month (on the first, so today!) I check the batteries in my red dots (the one in my OH SH*T AK is left on at “1” all the time, so if i have to grab it quickly, I don’t have to worry about fine motor skills turning it on) strip and wipe down my carry piece, and run a rag through the barrel. I will start rotating the top round, though. Also, not letting it slam forward. Looking at it now, it looks good, but can’t hurt.

  6. The word “setback” was not mentioned in the article.
    Worthless.
    A scratched case won’t blow up your gun.

    Bullet setback is what you want to watch for. Get out your calipers and measure the oft-chambered rounds against some fresh ones. A bullet set back a bit too far can make pressure increase dramatically. Kaboom.

    • Another thing to remember is that if you chamber a round and then top off the magazine, there will be two rounds in that cycle.

      • Huh? The top off round is sitting in the mag with all of the other rounds, not in the barrel. Not being chambered, it isn’t being subject to the forces that cause setback.

        • Two rounds. It works like this:

          1. Start with an empty gun and a loaded magazine.
          2. Insert magazine, chamber round(1).
          3. Eject magazine. Top off with loose round(2). Re-insert magazine.
          4. Next time you clear your weapon, round(1) becomes a loose round.
          5. When you reload and chamber, round(2) goes into the chamber, and, typically round(1) tops off the magazine.
          6. Every time you repeat that procedure, round(1) and round(2) exchange places in chamber and top of magazine.

  7. I shoot my carry mags every 6 months. I seldom rotate the top round. I have never had a failure when I burn the ammo before replacement and have been doing it for 15 years. I think we underestimate the robustness of modern ammunition.

  8. How many times have we heard “Don’t ride the slide,” yet this article seems to advise just that. I guess there are different schools of thought.

    • My thoughts exactly. Years of sling-shotting the slide home before I put my carry piece in a holster, and I’ve never seen wear and tear on a defensive round. I’ve noticed tarnishing on the bullet’s jacket, or on the case (if brass), but no bullet deformation or setback, and no damage to the rim or primer. About every 6mo I’ll use those rounds at the range to simulate a real DGU. But in that 6mo period I probably chamber the same round 100-150 times.

    • Yes, there are two schools of thought on chambering a round in a semiautomatic handgun: the one presented in this article, and the one that’s actually correct.

    • Anner and Stinkeye are absolutely correct. No adminstrative, pussy-footed gun handling please. And for 1911 aficionados, don’t be dropping a shell in the chamber and letting the slide slam home on in; that plays Hell on the extractor. Pretty much any autoloader should be charged from the mag, then drop the mag and top it off.

      The article has nice sentiments, but didn’t address the title subject, and is full of quaint but archaic techniques.

    • Although I have heard it said many times, and in gun stores, that one should never use the “slide release” to load a pistol, Kahr in fact not only recommends but insists upon it in their owner’s manual. Riding the slide will result in a failure to full chamber a round, and slingshotting is somewhat iffy. “Oh, it will wear down the slide release!” Oh yeah? Well heck, it is a cheap and easily replaced piece of metal.

  9. BTW, if you ease the slide down too gently you could leave your pistol out of battery and not even notice. Until it’s time to go bang, then it will be pretty obvious.

    • Yeah I agree with you. I think that aspect of the article above is bad advice, and the whole thing is kinda meh.

      My work Glock 22 gets unchambered at least once a week and I keep the same two rounds that alternate betwen being in the chamber (one that gets ejected replaces the round loaded from magazine). I slingshot every time, and it slams home full force.

      These rounds get shot twice a year. No issues, ever.

  10. I’ve never noticed setback in my carry rounds but it was so bad in my AR 5.56 that after only chaimbering the same round twice, the entire bullet would get shoved inside the case. I had a chat with regularguy90 and he said sounds like bad ammo. This happened with all brands of ammo so I thought my gun was defective. He said that was unlikely. I started manually placing the first round in the chamber but regularguy90 said that would “bash the fuck out of your extractor”. So I started letting the bolt forward gently then using the forward assist to set the extractor.
    Then out of concern for my pistol carry ammo, I started doing the same with my Glock. I put the plus 1 round in the chaimber by hand then let the slide down gently. Then I push the slide into battery to set the extractor.
    Anyone see a problem with this method?

    • Sounds reasonable, but I’d try it a few times at the range just to make sure you’re not risking a malfunction.

    • If your arsenal of guns for serious purposes do not include a 1911, then yeah no problem as long as you ease down the bolt/slide. The stripping-and-shoving-it-up-the-feedramp-against-friction-and-mag-spring motion is a very strong cushion and that’s why it’s inadvisible to just drop the action like it’s not designed for.
      I shoot 1911s for fun and 2011s for comp and those are the guns you never do this to, because the nose of the extractor claw is rounded, which will be bashed heavily by the case rim, instead of shaped like a chisel (DLSports has a fix). And those internal extractors are not designed to over-exert to the range of motion caused by dropping over the rim. So i just do the load, drop mag, top off, reload thingy for all my guns including Glocks and ARs.
      I dunno about springfield XD, i’ve done it several times just because i can, never had any ill effect.

      • I load the first round like that so I don’t have to take it out of the rotation.
        I know how to load from the magazine. I only do it manually when returning my hollow points into the gun after target practice.

    • I only had the issue with Varmint tipped rounds, I ended up reading they were designed for bolt action guns and not the harsher action of the AR platform. So I discontinued their use and haven’t had an issue since.

      • Yeah I first noticed it with Hyper 75 grain match ammo.
        Since then, I only use 55 grain 5.56 NATO that was designed for the AR. But it still happens if loading the same round more than twice from a topped off mag.

  11. What?

    No cartridge ever cycle through my defensive guns twice. If it’s been ejected out of a chamber, it goes to a small bin, where they’ll be used as range ammo, always. How much is a kaboom gonna cost ya in a deadly scenario? All it takes is one to kill me either by itself or by its consequence. Not risking it.

    Just make the most out of your practising and you’ll walk away feeling ok.

  12. I replace my concealed carry ammo every 3 months. I’ll use it for target practice then load new ammo. And I always leave a round chambered, when I am cleaning my gun I cycle the round that gets chambered for these same reasons as the article discusses.

  13. I always change out all of my CC rounds once a year. The gun and all of the extra mags see a lot of temperature change daily and that can lead to expansion and sharp humidity swings that can damage the bullet. If you can’t justify spending $30 for a box once a year to make sure you have fresh ammo, you are doing yourself a disfavor. Also, load up 3 mags and fire the remaining when you put the new stuff in to help determine if you may have a bad batch or will have some feed problem with your most important tool.

  14. Um. “Slowly chambering the round” is called “riding the slide.” It’s a no-no and a well documented cause of malfunctions. This article is rather questionable…

  15. Article didn’t mention setback.

    I shoot 1x per month or more, and will usually shoot about 2 (or 3) rounds of my defense ammo each time. They are the 2 or 3 that I cycle during the course of that previous month. When I remove a round from the chamber I put it 2 or so deep into my mag, and cycle them that way during the course of the month. That way I’m cycling 3 rounds. I dry fire practice regularly (1-2x per week).

  16. Helpful article even if it never deals with setback which is IMO the most important thing to pay attention to. A nifty trick I learned to monitor setback is take two new rounds that have never been chambered before and set them on either side of the round that you are concerned about, runs straight edge across the top of the 3 rounds, if the straight edge isnt touching the middle bullet it is best to either rotate it to the bottom of the mag or toss it in the range bin. In addition to that test, if I have to chamber a round multiple times I take a look at the meplat (the rim of the hollow point cavity) and if it looks like it is deformed I rotate the round to the bottom of the mag.

    Ever since I started carrying earlier this year, the carry gun gets chambered (after making sure the breach face is dry and clean to avoid killing the primer) and holstered. When it isn’t on my hip it is locked up. I fire the chambered round at the next range trip just as a sort of smoke check of my gear. The bedside table gun gets left in condition 3 as an extra barrier to a sleepwalking ND.

  17. My 38 special Nyclads are somewhere in the vicinity of 30 years old. They have been shooting just fine everytime I’ve tried – even after sitting in a revolver for years at a time.

    Since they are hard to come by I don’t test them just because an operator operating says that is the way to operate.

    Sorta like testing a match to see if it still works.

  18. Hey check it out! it’s that intellectual property thief and editor of dead hooker magazine, Damn Zimmerman!

  19. This article is bad advice.

    Most common semiauto rounds head spaces on the case mouth, not the bullet. You can’t have setback if the bullet doesn’t touch the chamber walls. (Aside from momentarily while being stripped from the mag.) If you get setback your rounds are to long. Google the SAAMI spec and get your calipers out and check the length of your rounds. If your rounds are to long and the slide has to push the bullet back to chamber it you pretty much guarantee a malfunction. I’ve been checking for setback in all of my handguns and have never seen it except with large bullets loaded longer than spec (that I loaded myself). It would be plain silly for a modern firearm to setback a bullet changing the characteristics of the round. I generally blame setback on out of spec ammo although it is possible some guns may have out of spec chambers. Just measure them and see. If you have setback don’t shoot that ammo!

    Also, gently lowering the slide is a guaranteed malfunction waiting to happen. We see it with new competition shooters all the time. Slowly drop the slide then pull the trigger and no bang! Slide isn’t in battery. Happens regularly. Let those springs do their job. It doesn’t hurt the gun or the ammo if both are in spec.

    I clean and lube my carry gun every couple of months because of lint. I shoot my carry ammo up once or twice year or so I know it eats it and goes bang. Usually at an IDPA match.

    M&P Shield in 9mm loaded with Hornady Critical Defense but I checked my Springfields, Glocks and others. No setback. It stays loaded 24×7.

    • Hold your horses, not too soon to the conclusion. It has nothing to do with rifling pushing on the projectile.

      Get 10min of free time.

      Take one of your edc guns (no competition recoil spring), and two cartridges without a cannelure around the bullet shank (that pretty much means any ammo on the market).

      Measure everything, make sure within SAAMI spec, or CIP if you feel like it.

      Observe all safety rules.

      Load up a mag to full capacity, with the top round being one of the two you just picked.

      Insert mag – rack the slide like you mean it – drop the mag – eject the round – put the same round back in as the top round – repeat. Do this 50 times over.

      Compare the two rounds you originally picked.

      If there’s no setback i’ll eat my hat.

      Every time the gun feeds, the bullet gets violently crashed into the feedramp. Adding to this effect, the up tilting motion of the cartridge is resisted by the follower spring, which is at its strongest when the mag is fully loaded, and this resistance is defeated by the camming motion where the slide forces the bullet nose rubbing up the feedramp.

      • I did this 40 times with Remington Golden Sabers in my SR40C. Yes, the scary kaboom 40 S&W. It set back by 0.001″, maybe… It banged up the brass quite a bit, but the bullet has an immeasurable amount of setback given the variation of the hollow point face. I measured at several clocking angles. I tried the same thing in my Kahr CM40. Again, no setback, but even worse brass damage.

        I personally think setback is an overblown internet myth. By the time I have chambered a bullet 40 times the brass doesn’t pass my QC check, and gets tossed in my range ammo bag.

        • It’s reliably repeatable in my G21gen4 with all the ammo i would carry. Blackhills, Corbon, Federal, Speer, all 230gr FMJRN standard pressure.
          Maybe your ammo is better than mine, or does it have a cannelure on the brass supporting the bullet tail?

    • If you are about to start a match, you are about to shoot that first round. That’s not what this article is talking about.
      If you shoot 200 rounds a week with your carry gun like I do, repetitive chamber of the same round can damage that round. It is suggested to rotate that round out of the gun. I just manually chamber it then press the slide into battery. This doesn’t cause a malfunction.
      I was shooting an old pistol that had fees problems and a bad magazine. I shot a dozen rounds in a row manually chambering each one.

  20. I unchamber to clean or practice. I sometimes cycle the rounds but sometimes not. I have yet to see any wear or measure any setback, so I’m not really too concerned. If I still EDC’d a .40 S&W I might be more concerned, but my .40 carry ammo was cannelured anyway to prevent just such a thing, and 9mm is much less sensitive to setback issues anyway.

    This is more of an issue for those who have to unchamber daily (or multiple times a day), as some police and security forces require. IMHO, that’s way too much administrative handling to be worth it or safe.

    • I carry the 40 every day. Never encountered measurable setback in any of my carry ammo. Even did a 40x chamber test with the same round. Only brass damage. Unless they are doing an extra crimp below the bullets base the upper cannelure does nothing for a taper crimped auto cartridge, only for roll crimped revolver cartridges.

      • I’ve still got some PowR’Ball that is in fact crimped below the projectile.

        Even so, the only ammo I’ve ever seen any setback with is Liberty, and it’s still good for 20 loadings before I’d ever cycle it out.

    • Dry fire much?

      I agree we should minimize the amount of “messin” with loaded guns. Best to just leave it in the holster until the need arises. But we should practice at the range when we can, and dry fire at home between range trips.

      • If money permits, i’d say buy a dedicated training beater that’s identical to the carry piece. My beater stays unloaded at home and only gets hot on a firing range. Use the beater for dry firing to save the slide of the carry gun. Or better yet buy a SIRT, again, if money permits.
        When i unload my carry gun, like, once a week, that round goes to the range bag to be used next time through the beater. One box of ammo per year, 2 max. Not really a big deal.

      • I do most of my dry fire with a revolver. I figure if I achieve good control with a DA revolver trigger, everything else will seem easy, and if I want single-action practice, I can do that with most of my revolvers, too.

  21. Lots of good thoughts here.
    I have a C9 and will soon have a 38 spcl. 38 as a back up or primary…. Either one. The 5 round 38 shoots well at 10 yards. The 9 up to 13 yards with a 10+1 . Either ONE would work with the odds of needing more than 5 are higher than I hope to ever need.
    Again…the 9 is more for a public shooter than a personal defense and even then I would want to be as close as possible to avoid unintended consequences
    I practice several times a week and will soon start several rounds of hollow points and dang the expense. Cheap insurance.
    I also clean and rechamber regularly…again for my own piece of mind…small as it may be at times.

  22. Never noticed any setback in my M&P45. Still cycle my carry ammo out though, reasons of temp and humidity swings. 25 bucks for a box of PDX1 is cheap insurance against potential ammunition issues.

  23. Simple but expensive solution. Buy two similar guns. E.g., a CZ-75 full size and a compact, or a G17 and a G19. (Depending on the size gun you carry, of course!) Shoot one at the range, carry the other. The carry gun never gets unloaded. Maybe every six months switch guns.

    I’ll add, with tongue in cheek, that if anyone barges in shooting up the range during practice, you’ve already got a gun loaded with defensive ammo, with which to take care of the loser. No need to drill him with 27 hollowpoints looking for the stop.

  24. As a reloader I can attest you will notice a deep set round as you fire it. But I ha vent had a problem.

    Carry ammo should be replaced if its visibly damaged. You should avoid over lubing any defensive weapon to avoid any chance of oil soaking primers. That will require you to exercise your failure to fire drill.
    be nice to your edc weapon, mags and ammo, and worry about something else.

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