I firmly believe that you should always use factory ammunition for personal protection carry. When you purchase your chosen personal protection ammo from a reputable company always try to purchase 3 boxes of the same lot. I know ammo is expensive; however, isn’t your personal protection ammunition more important than a few high-priced cups of coffee?
You should examine every round for proper primer seating, case integrity, and bullet defects. Fire a few rounds from one box to confirm your pistol’s zero and point of impact with that lot of ammunition. After you load your magazines for carry save at least five rounds in the box. If you ever find yourself in a short range defensive situation, the forensics examiner can use the ammunition sample from the lot that you have saved to verify distances with powder testing. Large ammunition makers keep samples for each lot for exemplar testing for 10 years as well.
What about rotating your ammunition? I periodically (every six months) rotate my carry ammunition and always confirm that the point of impact for a new lot is where I expect it to be. What do I do with the ammunition I retire from my carry pistol? I place them in a box and when I have enough to fire a standard qualification for practice, I use that ammunition. This lets me reaffirm that my pistol functions with my carry rounds and reminds me what firing that ammunition feels like.
A good practice when loading and unloading your pistol is to rotate the rounds in the magazine so that you are not always chambering the same round. Repeated chambering may eventually cause the bullet to set back in the case and could damage the hollow point’s opening, the cartridge rim, etc. I know it is a pain; however, periodically removing all the rounds in the magazine and placing the #1 round in the #15 (etc.) position will minimize the potential damage.
For Winchester’s view on rotating your ammunition (courtesy of Massad Ayoob) please see the following: Common Sense Duty Ammunition Rotation
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