One of the criteria that some in the gun media as well as buyers use to judge a pistol 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 different kinds of ammunition well will work well if you have to use a different brand or type than your usual stuff. That means you can expect the gun to run 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 State or whatever. 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 Herter’s brass more than other brands of FMJ, and Speer Gold Dot over other brands of JHP. Ergo, I buy UMC or Herter’s 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 they 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 target ammunition. And most often, it’s one of the cheaper versions like Winchester white box, American Eagle, Herter’s, Blazer and so on.
Also keep in mind that when a semi-automatic gun has feeding problems, the magazine is most often the problem.
Most gun stores carry a range of ammo to choose from. Very few only carry obscure surplus ammo that nobody’s sure about. In my observation — and your mileage will vary — shooting cheap(er) steel-case stuff like TulAmmo only saves about a dollar (maybe two) over Winchester White Box, Remington, or American
Eagle. Range ammo is generally affordable…well, it used to be, when you could find it. It probably will be again, some day.
In short, while it’s nice, it isn’t really important to buy a gun that shoots any and all ammo. Spend some money buying a range of different ammunition. Then take the time to try them out at the range testing both function and accuracy. Even if your gun will cycle and shoot everything under sun, there will definitely be some brands and types it shoots best. It’s well worth finding those.
In the end, if your gun fits you and you shoot it well, and you identify the one or two brands and types that work best in your gun…what else really matters?
What about you, though? How many different brands do you actually buy and use on a regular basis?