As a shooting instructor, I constantly stress the importance of practice. I also advocate using a practice handgun that’s the same or very similar to your carry or defense handgun. In situations where the need for self-defense arises, you must be confident that you can perform and that confidence can only be achieved with repetition. In order to be effective in a life or death situation, you must be able to shoot accurately without having to think through the process and this ability only comes with practice and familiarization.
Practice comes with a cost, both in time and money. Many new shooters are shocked at the cost of quality defensive ammunition, but when your life is on the line, you don’t want to scrimp on price. Of course, there’s cheaper ammunition available, but I’ve always told my students to make sure their practice ammunition shoots to the same point of impact as their defense ammunition. Because of recoil, a handgun moves before the bullet leaves the barrel. Different bullet weights move the gun differently and therefore affect point of impact. Normally, lightweight, high-performance, high-speed bullets shoot lower than heavier, low-velocity bullets used for economical practice. For confidence-building practice, your practice load should have the same impact as your defense/carry load.
By providing the same bullet weight and velocity, the new Winchester W Train & Defend line provides the same point of impact with its training ammunition as with its defense-oriented ammunition. The big difference is in bullet construction. The “Training” part of the line is a full metal jacket, low-cost bullet constructed for reliability and accuracy with lead-free priming for indoor range use. The bullets in the “Defend” side of the product line are hollow point bonded bullets designed for combined penetration and expansion. This assures that if, God forbid, you have to use your defensive pistol or revolver against an assailant, you’ll have both accuracy and maximum stopping power.
Train & Defend comes in .380 ACP, .40 S&W, 9x19mm, and .38 Special. Appropriately, these cover all the most popular defense/carry calibers. I tested the 9x19mm, .38 Special, and .380 ACP loads in a Smith & Wesson M&P9, Smith & Wesson Model 637 CT, and Glock 42, respectively. Accuracy levels of both the Training and Defend loads are excellent: from a standing position at 10 yards, 10-shot composite groups of five rounds of each load ran less than once inch.
The Training loads come in boxes of 50 rounds while the Defend loads come 20 to the box. With so many new firearms owners interested in concealed carry and home defense, this is a great idea whose time has come.
Image by Dick Jones