UPDATE NOVEMBER 2, 2012:
Based on feedback I’ve received since I’ve written this review, I can no longer recommend USA Ammo as a source.
- Ammo quality has deteriorated seriously in the time since this review was written.
- Delivery is now obviously not a priority for the company, and attempts to contact them for comment have gone unanswered.
For more information see this post, The Decline and Fall of USA Ammo:
In June 2011, on the advice of a fellow shooter, I bought 500 rounds of 115 grain FMJ 9mm ammo from USA Ammo. At the time I was very impressed by the delivery and performance of the ammo, and I gave it 4 eye patches.
Later in 2011, they ran a special on GearHog, and a lot of people bought a lot of good ammo. Still, I was pleased.
Then something terrible happened.
From what I can tell from posts on other sites, the company wasn’t able to keep up with ammo production to fill the GearHog orders, and they started having problems shipping orders on time. Customer service suffered at that time, too. Calls to the company went unanswered, messages were unreturned, and emails seemed like they were going to a black hole.
The appearance of the loaded ammo changed was well. In the first batches of ammo I had gotten, the bullets were shinty and unblemished. Later batches had bullets that were full of small dents and dings, which seemed to indicate to me that the bullets had been in storage or shipment for a long time.
Based on these, I can no longer recommend USA Ammo.
I will continue to follow their progress and update as I see it.
On the advice of a shooting acquaintance, I recently bought 1,000 rounds of 115 grain 9mm JHP ammunition from USA Ammo. This weekend, I did an inventory, and it turns out I’ve shot just about half of it, so I thought I would review the ammo for others.
Having never done an ammo review before, I read a few, and decided on a format. I will give you my impressions in 4 areas: price and availability, cleanliness, operation, and accuracy. I will rate each area with an appropriate unit of measure, the Rooster Eye Patch.
USA Ammo loads their own ammo, and sells both new ammo, and reloaded ammo made from once-fired brass. Both are very economical – the new ammo is currently $9.45 for a box of 50, and the reloaded ammo is $1 a box cheaper. Shipping on a 1,000 round order was around $17. The ammo was available and shipped as ordered.
When I opened the first box, my first impression was very positive. The ammo comes 50 rounds to a box, loose in the box, which at first threw me a little, because the photos on the USA Ammo website showed them in a tray. But after some thought, I guess it doesn’t really matter to me. For one thing, it makes the boxes a little smaller without a tray.
I was also taken by how bright and shiny the rounds were. Loading magazines didn’t leave my thumbs black, either, a nice change. This carried over to the end of the shoot, too, as my Glock 17 and Glock 19 appeared above average in cleanliness after shooting. Shooting at an indoor range, there were no black deposits on the flat surfaces on unused targets.
How to measure accuracy? Now, I am not a bullseye competitor, and I don’t have a Ransom rest. My most stringent accuracy requirements are being able to make a shot into the USPSA A zone. As an engineer, I also know that of all the factors acting to make a shot go out of that zone, bullet accuracy is way down on the list. In other words, most ammo is going to be a lot more accurate that I am.
Having said that, I decided I needed an accuracy test for this to be a respectable review, so I devised the Zombie Accuracy Test. Every shooter needs to be able to make a reliable zombie headshot. So, using the zombie head target from Zombie Squad, I shot a full magazine – 19 rounds – from 7 yards, as fast as I could accurately shoot, about 3 shots per second. A passing score is to get all the shots in the head. USA Ammo 9mm 115gr FMJ passes the Zombie Test.
I also used this ammo in two Pistol Steel Challenge matches, and had no complaints. I had zero failures of any kind during the first 500 rounds. There were no mis-loaded rounds, dented cases, or other defects.
So, I give USA Ammo’s new 115 grain JHP 9mm a Rooster rating of 4 Eye Patches.
Disclosure – I bought all the ammo used in this test, and performed all the testing myself. There has been no influence or contact in any way from USA Ammo.