Are You Damaging Your Carry/Duty Ammo?

by Bill Kincheloe (

This topic came up in a recent CCW class at Creedmoor Training Academy and I thought it should be shared.

If you are unloading and clearing your carry/duty pistol every day, you could be reducing its reliability.

Assuming you are carrying with a round in the chamber (a topic for another day), every time you re-chamber a round the shock of chambering potentially damages the mercury fulminate primer compound. This primer compound can crack or crumble in the area of the primers anvil leading to misfires or hang fires.

The other possibility is that repeatedly chambering the same round can seat the bullet deeper and potentially cause an over pressure situation. Quality duty ammo will be firmly crimped to prevent this but enough repetition may dislodge the bullet. Target/practice/hand-loaded ammo is often not crimped and should not be repeatedly re-chambered.

So, if you are unloading at the end of the day and setting aside the chambered round and reloading in the morning, adding the previously chambered round to the magazine, you are putting a lot of extra wear & tear on those first two rounds.

I recommend:  

1. Use a quick access safe and leaving your carry pistol loaded as much as possible.

2. Shoot your carry ammunition every 6-12 months and replace it. You should be practicing with it occasionally anyway.

On a related note, dropping a round in the chamber and releasing the slide to top off your pistol is hard on your extractor, it was designed for the round to slip up from underneath and not snap around the case rim. Take the time to "barney up" from the magazine and then top off.

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Thanks and see you at the range.