Ammo Alone Won’t Keep You Safe. Here’s What To Do When It’s Hard To Find

Ammo Alone Won’t Keep You Safe. Here’s What To Do When It’s Hard To Find

The Biden administration’s decision to stop the importation of ammunition from Russia has some supporters of the right to arms chafing, but its effect can easily be minimized.
Mark Overstreet
By

The Biden administration’s decision to stop the importation of ammunition from Russia—which it claims is in retaliation for that country’s attempted assassination of a political opposition figure—has some supporters of the right to arms chafing. However, it is relatively inconsequential and its effect can easily be minimized.

Biden’s decision is relatively inconsequential because, first, it pales in comparison to everything else he, the left’s civilian and uniformed quislings, and other Democrats are doing to harm the country. Second, it makes only slightly worse the limited availability and higher cost of ammunition that has been going on for the last year and a half, so it’s less a problem for people who need a relatively small amount of ammunition in case they have to defend themselves—against common criminals, at least—than for packrats who hoard ammunition they will never use and profiteers who hoard it to sell at inflated prices to people who don’t know they’re being ripped off.

Third, there have been ammunition crunches before, the right to keep and bear arms is still holding its own, and the current crunch will be no different. The first crunch in modern times occurred in 1993-1994, when President Bill Clinton signed two major anti-gun laws into effect. One was the Brady bill, which began as a waiting period on handgun purchases and after five years transitioned into the background check system Democrats are trying to morph into a gun registry with their “universal checks” legislation. The other was Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-California) 1994-2004 so-called “assault weapon” ban.

Contrary to their intent, both laws led to a dramatic increase in the number of gun owners and Americans’ purchases of the very guns the laws were intended to reduce. Another crunch occurred when President Barack Obama was elected the first time, and another when he was reelected and immediately began attacking gun ownership, in both instances inspiring increases in gun owners and gun acquisitions.

Fourth, in the long run, Biden shutting off ammo from Russia will have the same unintended result as Clinton shutting off ammo from communist China in the 1990s: It will force Americans to purchase pricier, but superior ammunition made in this country and in countries allied with us, rather than from our adversaries, and incline gun owners to think about how to improve their skill while firing fewer rounds, instead of burning through larger numbers of rounds just for fun.

The Most Efficient Way to Get Better

Fifth, while a lot of ammunition is needed for serious practice over time, the most efficient way to improve one’s firearm skill—in terms of the time, money, and energy invested in relation to the return on that investment—is without ammunition, by what is commonly referred to as “dry firing,” the required safety precautions for which can be explained by any competent instructor.

According to former Army Special Forces soldier Mike Green, whose company, Green-Ops, conducts defensive firearm classes and dry-fire clinics in Northern Virginia and South-Central Texas, “dry-firing is the most often overlooked element of a comprehensive training program. But it shouldn’t be. It’s simple and almost cost-free.”

“All you need is an unloaded firearm, a room that has no ammunition present, a target and a safe direction in which to place it, and a shot timer app downloaded to your smartphone. Set the timer to a ‘random’ starting beep and to a ‘par’ time. Begin each drill on the first beep and try to complete it before the ‘par’ beep.”

The timer is important because marksmanship is accuracy and speed—the ability to fire a sufficient number of sufficiently accurate rounds in a sufficient amount of time to accomplish the task at hand—and speed is objectively measured with a timer. In dry-firing, accuracy is objectively determined by seeing where the sights are, relative to the target, when the firing mechanism “clicks.”

Sixth, the most important purpose of ammunition is to be used to help you stay alive, but there are things besides an abundance of ammunition that can help you achieve that end. For example, be as physically fit as possible. Given a choice between being exceptionally physically fit and so-so in terms of gun skills, and the inverse, take the former.

Never underestimate the importance of being able to move quickly, with strength and agility, when fighting for your life. Physical fitness also benefits you generally, whereas defensive gun skills come in handy only if you are unlucky enough to need them.

Also, if Duke Ellington was right when he attributed his success to “doing the right thing, at the right time, in the right place, with the right people,” the inverse must then also be true: Don’t go to the wrong places, hang around with the wrong people, or do things likely to get you into trouble.

Also, just to name a few more things to consider, keep your residence secure, pay attention to your surroundings, don’t use outdoor ATMs, don’t get into arguments with strangers, don’t wear earphones when outdoors in public, keep moving and watch your back if approached on the sidewalk, keep your windows up and doors locked when driving and especially at intersections plagued with panhandlers, watch for suspicious people in your rearview mirrors, and have a sequence of procedures to follow when approaching, getting into, and departing your vehicle.

Additionally, don’t fall for the idea that your raison d’être is to protect strangers who don’t carry guns to protect themselves. If you see a crime that doesn’t threaten you, don’t reflexively rush in, especially if you are not highly trained. You don’t know how many criminals there are, or who and where they are, or what their plan is, and neither does the other aspiring hero or the off-duty, plain-clothed cop who may be there too, or the uniformed police officers when they arrive on the scene, any of whom, seeing a gun in your hand, might mistake you for a criminal.

Don’t Make The Next Crunch Worse

In the last year or so, crime has been increasing, due to Democrats encouraging their rioters, refusing to prosecute their rioters for crimes, and defunding the police. As a result, millions of Americans bought their first guns and the ammunition required for them, having decided enough is enough and that they’re not going down without a fight. But the supply of ammunition has not been able to keep up with demand mostly because of hoarding by gun owners who already had more ammunition than they will ever use.

First came the Chi-Com virus situation, on the basis of which the hoarders theorized they would need ammunition to fend off marauding bands of riff-raff who might try to forcibly relieve them of their toilet paper stashes. Second, every Democrat candidate for that party’s 2020 presidential nomination advocated banning AR-15s, and half of them— most conspicuously Biden—advocated confiscating the guns.

Nothing sells guns and ammunition like Democrats rallying their base with calls for civilian disarmament. Then, because Antifa and Black Lives Matter rioters were tearing things up in Portland, Seattle, Kenosha, New York City, and Washington, D.C., the hoarders convinced themselves they needed more ammunition because their residential neighborhoods were next.

Events likely to cause another crunch or perpetuate the current one are almost certain to occur. The Chi-Coms will hit us with another biological warfare experiment, leftists will start rioting again, some blowhard ignoramus will start carrying on about confiscating guns, there will be one or more terrorist attacks, you-know-who will somehow become president before Inauguration Day 2025, or who knows what.

So, when you can, get top-notch ammunition with which to defend yourself. Consult this list, reflecting the research of terminal ballistics expert Dr. Gary Roberts. For practice ammunition, go with the less expensive fully-jacketed bullet variety, made by a quality American, European, or Taiwanese company. But don’t buy more ammunition than you’ll ever use for training and practice, and be realistic about how much ammunition you would need to fight for life and liberty in a worst-case scenario.

Test your ammunition with your guns, with your magazines, to make sure everything works without malfunctions. Make sure your guns are zeroed with your defensive ammunition and that you know the relative impact points of your practice ammunition. As another longtime firearm instructor, James Yeager, often says, “Remember, your responsibility to be ready for the fight never ends.”

Mark Overstreet is a firearm instructor and freelance writer in central Texas. He retired in 2016 as the senior research coordinator of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, after 25 years with the organization. He is also retired from the Army Reserve, after 23 years including duty as a combat cameraman in Iraq. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the NRA or the Department of Defense. He can be reached at PanoplyTactical.com.

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