When to Recycle Your Defensive Ammo

GUNS & GEAR — On numerous occasions, students have questioned when they should recycle defensive handgun ammunition. Unfortunately, there is no one concrete answer. The answer depends on a number of factors:

When ammunition is not damaged by manual cycling through the gun, there generally is no problem and the gun functions just fine. However, you need to think about how many times per week or month you are cycling a loaded round through your gun in loading or unloading. If you cycle the top bullet from the magazine into the chamber each time, you are getting plenty of hits on the bullet nose, extractor groove, and case rim with basically steel on brass. What do you think will give first? If you guessed the brass or the copper, you are correct.

Every time you cycle a round into the chamber, the nose of the bullet hits the feed ramp causing a slight denting of the hollow-point bullet mouth. The size of the dent depends on the weapon feed ramp design and the shape of the hollow-point bullet nose. If the bullet nose hits against the feed ramp enough times, with multiple re-chambering of the same round, you could get enough of a dent to cause a miss-feed and/or a jam, rendering the weapon temporarily out of service, if only for a critical moment.

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