Generally I don’t have all that strong attention to detail – I play the averages; however, when it comes to my carry guns I am a little pickier. Looking at the odds I will ever have to use my gun to defend myself or a loved one, I have to admit it would be a rare day. But when I apply risk management to the odds, I see that while it might be rare, it would also be catastrophic.
I take the extra steps to ensure my gun is well cared for, my duty ammunition is quality, my training is up to date, and my skills have not atrophied through lack of practice. Because if I ever have to use my gun, I have already been on losing side of the odds – I cannot afford to be on the losing side of the fight – it’s already a bad day, it would be worse if I expected a bang and heard a click…
With that said let me tell you about a 2 minute routine I go through with my carry/duty ammo.
Ammo is made in huge lots by machines – I like machines, and they make things easier, but I don’t trust them, they are made and maintained by people – and a lot of us are lazy. I have seen several rounds that made it past quality control that were obviously deformed.
Probably the most common factory ammunition defect is an upside down or sideways primer. This will also make “gun don’t work”. To mitigate this, since I cannot prevent it, when I open a box of ammo (either carry or practice) I take a quick scan to make sure the primers all look the same.
If its self-defense ammo I bend down to look across the top of the cases to look for raised primers – You could run a ruler or something across them, but that runs the risk of hearing a bang that you are not expecting it.
Next, I take a quick second to visually inspect each round, as I do this, I have pulled the barrel out of my carry gun, and after I inspect the round, I drop it into the barrel’s chamber to ensure that the round is not bulged out and will fit in the gun.
I know that may be a little anal retentive, BUT it only takes a few extra moments, and my life is worth that.
It is like visual AND physically checking the chamber, or saying out loud “I am done dry firing my gun” when you are dry firing to prevent that “one last practice shot” that kills your TV, or removing the ammunition from the room when you clean. Its extra, its overkill, but no one is hurt by the overkill, and several have been hurt by not going the extra step.