One of the criteria that some in the gun media as well as end users judge a pistol by is whether it digests a diverse array of ammunition. Brass case, steel case, multiple brands of FMJ, JHP maybe even flat-tops, JSP, hard cast and so on.
It’s a decent predictor of reliability, as a gun that reliably cycles lots of ammunition well will work well if you have to use a different brand than your usual stuff. That means the gun runs well to a greater degree than a gun that’s more finicky about what it’s fed.
Or is it? Is it really that realistic an indicator of reliability? Is that actually something that most people look for or should even worry about? Any sort of qualitative measurement of anything is going to have an inherent flaw somewhere. The “multiple ammunition” criteria has some too.
Guns are machines. Simple machines, but machines all the same and like other machines, they function best within certain parameters. Car guys have their preferred brand of oil whether it’s Castrol GTX, Valvoline, Quaker or whatever it may be. It’s generally well known that it’s a good practice to find the brand or brands of ammunition your gun likes best and shoots most accurately and stick with those.
For instance, my 1911 loves Remington UMC and Herters brass more than other brands of FMJ, and Speer Gold Dot over other brands of JHP. Ergo, I buy UMC or Herters for practice ammo and Gold Dot for carry ammo and leave it at that. If it ain’t broke, there’s no reason to think about fixing it.
The gun industry doesn’t have (or seem to have) the sort of publicly available consumer survey information that so many other verticals do. Therefore, it’s difficult to determine for sure what brands of ammunition the gun-owning public uses most. However, what seems to be the case is that most people tend to find a brand or two that works for their gun and stick to those.
The modern gun owner will do almost all of the shooting they do in their lifetime on a gun range, and what people use most there is FMJ. And most often it’s one of the cheaper versions like Winchester white box, American Eagle, Herters, Blazer and so on.
Most of these are incredibly common and widely available. Very few gun stores only carry obscure surplus ammo that nobody’s sure about. Most of these are very affordable. In my observation – and your mileage will vary – shooting steel-case TulAmmo only saves about a dollar (maybe two) over WWB, or American Eagle.
In short, it isn’t really important to buy a gun that shoots any and all ammo. If your gun fits you and you shoot it well, and you identify the one or two brands your gun loves to shoot…what else really matters?
What about you, though? How many different brands do you actually buy and use on a regular basis?