Train and defend are simple watchwords. About 99 percent of the ammunition we fire is in practice. Competition shooting takes a lot of ammunition, although staying sharp also demands its share. The problem often is finding a good practice load. We spend plenty of time considering factory gelatin results and empirical test procedures and performing our own testing. The defense load must first be reliable.
- The self-loading handgun should feed, chamber, fire and eject with every pull of the trigger.
- The powder burn should be clean.
- A revolver should always go bang, and the ammunition should be accurate enough for personal defense.
.380 ACPI tested the 95-grain training load in a Ruger LCP and GLOCK 42. The load ran fine and burned clean. In the GLOCK 42, both loads ran fine and gave good accuracy. The GLOCK 42 is surprisingly accurate, and each load worked well in that exceptional handgun. Limited testing showed the bullet expands even at LCP velocity. Remember, an FMJ bullet simply pushes flesh aside. Any expansion results in a blunt profile and cutting, rather than pushing flesh aside. A JHP also is less likely to bounce off a bone. The Defend load has a lot going for it.
9mm LugerThose loads come in 147-grain weight. Accuracy with the combination is potentially high, and penetration is the long suit. Lighter loads expand more and penetrate less. The 147-grain weight is easy to control and provides excellent accuracy. I fired a box of the hollow-point loads each in a Smith and Wesson Shield 9mm and CZ 75 B. The loads functioned as expected—excellently. However, the powder burn was unusually clean. I sat at the bench and registered a 1.8-inch, 5-shot group with the super-accurate CZ 75 B. Control was never an issue, and both loads cut one ragged hole in the target, each centered on the same aiming point.
.38 SpecialThose loads are each in 130-grain; the Train version is a flat-topped FMJ and the Defend, a JHP. In that version, I cheated because I used a handgun I wanted to test for absolute accuracy. The Colt Officer’s Model 6-inch .38 was the top target .38 of the day. Sitting down for a group, I fired a box of the Train version from the bench. The tight old Colt delivered a 1.5-inch, 25-yard group. That type of accuracy is not demanded of a training load but, just the same, it is nice to know the 130-grain FMJ is accurate enough for competition and hunting. I fired five rounds of the JHP with similar results and a number of the JHP loads in my backup Smith and Wesson 442 with good results. There was no point in bench-resting that one because I am not that sure and steady with a 2-inch .38. The J frame, in common with most 2-inch 5-shot .38s, fires a bit low at 15 yards. Both the Train and Defend loads struck to the same point of aim. Those are not high-velocity loads. The 130-grain Defend clocked 809 fps from the 6-inch Colt and just more than 750 fps from the Smith and Wesson. As I said, they are controllable loads, accurate and clean burning. They serve a real need, and the quality is all Winchester.
Have you used the new Winchester Train and Load in your favorite handgun? What were your results? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
Bob Campbell is a former peace officer and published author with over 40 years combined shooting and police and security experience. Bob holds a degree in Criminal Justice. Bob is the author of the books, The Handgun in Personal Defense, Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry, The 1911 Automatic Pistol, The Gun Digest Book of Personal Protection and Home Defense, The Shooters Guide to the 1911, The Hunter and the Hunted, and The Complete Illustrated Manual of Handgun Skills. His latest book is Dealing with the Great Ammo Shortage. He is also a regular contributor to Gun Tests, American Gunsmith, Small Arms Review, Gun Digest, Concealed Carry Magazine, Knife World, Women and Guns, Handloader and other publications. Bob is well-known for his firearm testing.
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