October 12

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Why Haven’t You Ever Heard of This Ammo?

By Eric Ward

October 12, 2021

ammo, ammo shortage, consumer safety, guns, opinion

I just can’t take it anymore. 

I have to speak up.

As a firearms instructor, ammunition dealer, and avid shooter-

I cannot watch this insanity happen any longer without saying a few words.

You know what I am talking about.

It’s the Ammo.

In fact, it’s the ammo, the prices, and most importantly the “Ammo you have never heard of”.

You know how this plays out-

You visit your favorite website, 

Or head to your nearby Big Box Store,

And all your favorite Ammo brands are sold out,

Or way higher prices than they were back in 2019,

And you kinda freak out a bit.

 

Maybe you bite the bullet and buy your favorite ammo at perceptively elevated prices.

Well, that is- when you can find it.

But maybe, you hold out-

And you keep shopping, and searching websites.

There’s even popular websites like Ammoseek.com where you attempt to find the lowest prices on ammo anywhere online.

Then, there’s this final “solution” that I see more and more shooters deciding to try out-

And that’s buying the “UNKNOWN” ammo.

This is really what I wanted to talk about today.

This is the crux of the issue.

Because every. Single. Time. there’s an ammunition price spike,

All the “usual suspects” creep back out of the woodwork from the dregs of the underworld.

From places where you would absolutely, positively never ever think about ordering ammo from-

Places over halfway around the world,

From cities you have never heard of-

And manufacturers with shady history that have employees who have vodka sandwiches for lunch.

Or ZERO prior experience making ammo.

And 100% brand new tooling, equipment, workers, and processes.

Places where “until the price is right”… that ammo would NEVER make it into the hands of American shooters.

Places with such subpar or unknown quality records-

…That until you are ABSOLUTELY DESPERATE for cheap ammunition, you would never actually run it through your weapons.

I’m sure many of these places claim to be NATO Spec.

Or reputable sources with long term production history. 

Maybe that is the case.

Maybe their ammo is perfectly safe and you have nothing to worry about,

Sure. That’s feasible and very much so possible.

It still begs the question-

Why have you never heard of them before now?

Think about it.

You are a well informed shooter.

You probably shoot quite a bit, 

You have a favorite ammo,

And you peruse the online bazaars of ammo pretty regularly.

I bet you have noticed it too. 

All these names you have never heard of, 

Creeping up into the searches you normally do online for your ammo purchases.

The prices look somewhat appealing,

Especially compared to your faithful, trusty (now inflated) ammo you have been running for years in your weapons.

Maybe you try it out.

Maybe you don’t.

But, what I am going to tell you next is going to piss a lot of people off.

Especially the people who worked really hard to get those weird name brands here from half a world away…

Or spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to “set up shop” and start making ammo as a new pandemic pop-up manufacturer.

What I’m going to say will be controversial and will probably get me hate mail or derided on social media.

But I cannot withhold these thoughts any longer.

Because Capitalism has a place, a wonderful place-

And if you want something bad enough, some industrious individual will find a way to get you what you want, at a reasonable price.

But here’s the thing- these industrious individuals know something very important.

And I’m going to share it with you.

When you use that ammo you have never heard of before-

They know that if your gun blows up,

Or you get shrapnel in your eyes,

Or you lose a few fingers,

They KNOW there are numerous and varied ways that they can claim it wasn’t their fault that you got hurt.

They know that YOU know ammo is supposed to be dangerous.

And that you are supposed to wear eye pro,

And ear pro, 

And practice safe gun handling.

Any only use guns rated for particular types of ammo.

It’s right in your weapons owners manuals.

They know that the chances of getting sued over shitty, sub par, low quality ammo from Turkenistan

Is worth the risk compared to the massive profit they can be making right now from the ravenous black hole of ammunition demand that just keeps growing larger by the day.

(Yes I made up Turkenistan. You don’t have to google that.)

And so… they take the risk.

They sell you an unproven product in pursuit of profit and HOPE it all goes okay.

We know you see it too.

Don’t you see on social media a higher number of ammunition failures?

 

Don’t you see more FTF, FTE and Out of Battery Discharges?

Maybe you haven’t (because you use proven ammo from reputable dealers).

Maybe, perhaps you have had this issue yourself and didn’t think much of it.

Until it happens twice in the same 50 round pistol box.

Or three times in the same 20 round box of rifle rounds. 

The really scary part- 

Maybe even the “reliable, reputable” manufacturers are rushing production

and skimping just a little bit on QC right now to satisfy ravenous demand.

I mean, really- we are only one school shooting,

Or one Edict from Uncle Joe,

Or one more pandemic lock down,

From ammunition prices higher than we have ever seen.

So look, take what I am about to say with a grain of salt.

I am a sample size of one user, anecdotally reporting to you what we see on the firing line.

I’m sharing with you what we see from students, and emails from customers.

I’m also sharing with you little known knowledge where large dealers

Get in a “ton” of this type of shit ammo from Turkenistan and then try to unload it on the smaller unwitting dealers.

Obviously, if you buy a ton of really great stuff right now that everyone and their momma is buying online- 

You have absolutely ZERO reason to sell it to other dealers instead of just putting it on your own website. 

Unless of course, there’s other things at play here that they aren’t sharing with us. (hint hint)

So without further ado, here’s my completely unscientific and anecdotal list of ammunition quality. 

This list is not exhaustive and is definitely incomplete. 

I’m  already sure I have left out some really good brands,

And incorrectly categorized a few brands simply because I do not have enough experience with them.

So this isn’t iron clad dogma here, just observational data.

I went ahead and made 3 lists of ammunition brands for easy perusal.

I even put it in alphabetical order for you.

There’s “Ammo We Know Is Good”, “Ammo we know is Dirty But Reliable” and “Ammo We Know Nothing About”.

Now, before all you Brass Goblins shoot me a screaming email because your favorite brand is on the shitty list-

Realize that there are no real shitty lists here.

The challenge is always shooting something you know nothing about.

I’m sure there are PLENTY of decent, reliable brands on the “Ammo We Know Nothing About” list.

I just have zero experience with it.

Remember: 

There’s stuff we know

Stuff we don’t know, 

and stuff we don’t know we don’t know.

If I am going to do something that puts me in potential harms way, 

I am always going to go with the Known Quantities- the proven, safe options.

And I recommend wholeheartedly that you do the same.

The basis rule of thumb is 2 Simple Statements:

 

  1. If you have never heard of it- Don’t Buy It.
  2. If it’s been reloaded by someone else (including companies) – Don’t Buy It.

 

Ammo we know is good:

Aguila

Armscor

Barnes

Browning

CCi Blazer Brass

Eley

Federal

Fiocchi

Fort Scott

Frontier (federal)

G2 Research

Gorilla

Hornady

IMI Systems

Magtech

MEN

Norma

Nosler

PMC

PPU -Prvi Partizan

Remington

Sellier and Bellot

Underwood Ammo

Winchester

 

Ammo we know is dirty, but reliable:

Barnaul

Brown Bear

Bosnian Surplus

Maxxtech

Red army standard

Sterling

Tula

Wolf

 

Ammo we know nothing about- (Approach with Extreme Caution)

Any “Reman” Ammo

Archon

ATI

Australian Outback

Belom

BlackWater

BMZ

Bulk Ammo Solutions

DRZ

Fetter

Grind Hard

ICC

Igman

Mesko

MKE

Morte

OMPC

Ruag Geco

Texas Ammunition LLC

Turan

Venom

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