Tag Archives: Training

Winchester USA Forged / 9mm Steel-Cased

I am not a big fan of steel-cased ammunition. It has never really been that much of a savings per round vs. the quality you have to deal with. Recently (Ammoman.com) was kind enough to reach out and provided some ammunition to us. One of the rounds sent to us for testing is the new Winchester USA Forged ammunition line in 9mm. The USA Forged line is Winchester’s attempt to get in on the cheap, high volume shooting steel-cased ammunition market, but offer a slightly better product than the foreign steel-cased ammunitions on the market.

Winchester USA Forged Steel-Cased 9mm Amminition
Winchester USA Forged Steel-Cased 9mm Amminition

There are some slight differences in the USA Forged line vs. other steel-cased ammunition. The Winchester USA Forged is 100% USA made and it uses an all lead bullet core with brass jacket (FMJ). There are no bi-metal components in the bullet. It has a non corrosive boxer primer and uses a clean burning powder, per the manufactures markings on the box.

I shot 200 rounds of Federal American Eagle 115grn FMJ before switching to the steel-cased USA Forged 115grn FMJ, just to compare how the steel functioned against a decent brass offering. I used a 19 year old Gen2 Glock 19 and a brand new H&K VP9 to test the Forged ammunition. Each firearm had 100 rounds of American Eagle though it before using the USA Forged ammunition.



I shot 450 rounds of the Winchester USA Forged 9mm. As I was loading rounds I noticed how scraped up and ruff the steel casings were.  The Forged ammo does not have a lacquer coating or any kind of washed finish on it that I could see. Winchester says they have a proprietary surface treatment on the casings but the three boxes I received, most of the casings look pretty rough. The proprietary surface treatment is extremely inconsistent. It looks like plain exposed steel  most of the time. In several images and videos from some of the industry magazines out there, all the rounds looked the same, with a nice even casing coating.  This was definitely not the case for the boxes I received.

Inconsistent Surface Treatment on Casings / Rough
Inconsistent Surface Treatment on Casings / Rough

It took a little more elbow grease to load up magazines as they seemed to not want to slide in smoothly, due to the rough casings. Once loaded up, I quickly started dumping rounds down range at a rapid pace. I noticed a little more recoil from the Forged ammo. The steel casings were really flying out forcefully. I quickly burned through 85 rounds. On the 86th round I had a Failure to Extract (FTE) resulting in a Double Feed. I notice the casing was a quarter of the way out of the chamber and another round had fed into the back of it.  I cleared the magazine  and racked the slide to reengage the head of the un-extracted casing. Once the extractor and slide reengaged the lip of the casing I was unable to rack the slide to extract it.  I ended up having to smack the nose of the slide against the ground several times, to unseat the stuck casing enough to rack it out. The casing looked normal but you can see where the extractor slipped of the rim of the casing.

86th Rounds FTE/Double Feed
86th Rounds FTE/Double Feed
FTE/Double Feed

Except for the one (1) FTE resulting in a double feed, I had no other firing function issues. There were a few things that caught my attention as far as the quality of the individual rounds. At the end of the day these did not cause actual function issues but it did make the overall use and enjoyment of the Forged ammunition not as enjoyable. They are a little nit-picky but worth mentioning.

First; This ammunition is dirty. Dirty to handle and dirty shooting. It says clean burning powder is used and I was thinking, compared to what?, sticking my hands into a bag of coal dust. I’ve been to courses where I shot 1500 rounds in a day and my hands were not this dirty.  Second; There was a large noticeable powder cloud after firing each round and from time to time un-burned powder pieces would ignite in the air after firing rounds. It seemed to be as dirty shooting as any other steel-cased foreign ammo. Third; The above mentioned difficulty loading magazines. The rough, dirty and inconstantly coated  shell casings just made loading more difficult.

Support Hand
Support Hand
Primary / Shooting Hand
Primary / Shooting Hand


I did not spend any time on in-depth formal accuracy testing.  The USA Forged ammunition is 115grn FMJ plinking ammo and I shot it all off hand. I took my target from 7 to 25 yards and all in between. All the hits were there and the round is going to hit what you’re shooting at.  At 25 yards I shot 20 rounds and they were all center mass within an extreme of  4 to 6 inches of center from each other, that’s good enough for me.

450 Rounds on Target
450 Rounds on Target

Final Thoughts:

Overall the Winchester USA Forged ammo worked. It does have a slight edge over foreign/imported steel-cased ammunition as far as the FMJ bullet is concerned. The best thing the Forged ammunition has going for it is the traditional FMJ bullet construction. I don’t think it is worth shooting over any brass-cased ammunition. In checking on Blazer Brass, PMC Bronze, Speer Lawman and American Eagle, all were between .21 and .26 cents per round depending quantity. I found the USA Forged is also going for .21 to .26 cents per round.  At these prices I don’t personally see that the Winchester steel-cased offering is saving any money. Thanks again to (Ammoman.com) for supplying the ammunition for the review.


SWISS 7.5×55 Inert Training Rounds

Here is something you certainly do not see every day.  Arsenal dummy rounds  for use in 7.5×55 Swiss.  Used for training purposes and sundry.  The rounds have something inside that  gives them the sound of powder when you hold it close to the ear and shake.  And as you can see in the picture an indent for the firing pin to strike. The stripper clip is the usual construction  but painted red for ID’ing.  The charger for rifles before the adoption of the K-31.


On Back Up Sights

I have seen many arguments online about the necessity of back up sights on a rifle using optics.  The general concensious seems to be that they are needed on military rifles, but not on civilian rifles.  This is not the case.

In the military people work in teams and are almost never alone.  Should a rifle go down it is not really an issue as you still have many other people capable of continuing the fight.  For the civilian and the police officer this is often not the same.  If someone wakes up in their home and finds the battery dead in their reflex sighted rifle it helps to have iron sights.  However if a Marine’s optics fails, he is only reducing his squads fighting ability by 1/13 its firepower.

So do you need back up irons?  First needs to consider if the rifle is a toy, or a tool for fighting.  If it is a toy, back up sights are not necessary.  If it is a fighting tool, look at its role and how it is set up.  If you are running battery powered optics or magnified optics on quick detach mounts, I would suggest back up sights.  So if you need to use a wrench to remove your optic, back up sights may not be practical for you and you may be better off switching to a different weapon.

“Damn, the batteries are dead.”  Is not an uncommon saying at the range I work at.  Not only among cheap optics with poor battery life, but often about Eotechs.  Batteries discharge, cheap batteries and cheap optics drain even faster.  Even the best optics can be broken.  On the range this is just an annoyance, for the Soldier or Marine it means that their buddies will have to take up the slack.  However if you, as a lone civilian or law enforcement officer, have this happen in the fight, the results can be costly.

I highly recommend back up sights on the individuals fighting rifle.  If you are fighting by your self, being able to keep your weapon in the fight is crucial.

On that note, also make sure to keep your back up sights zeroed.

Condition One and only


This video is a reminder of the results from not being ready for a fight when it happens, and not making sure to always keep your side arm in condition 1.  Not only did the would be hero get shot, but he lost his gun to the bad guys and if they got away its likely they will use or already have used it on some one new.

Thoughts Magpul DVDs


Now that the magpul DVDs have been out for a while and it seems everyone has seen them, I have noticed a few common ideas about them people seem to have especially on internet forums.  A lot of people I talk to about them seem to miss some of what I think is the real point and value of them.  they obviously can not substitute for real hands on training, but they do have some real benefit despite what some say. Mainly I think the point lost on a lot of people is the video really help with weapons handling and manipulation. Even if you are a long time AR15 user, you can learn some pretty good stuff, even if you do not adopt  their procedures it gets  you thinking ( if you have enough brain) about cleaning up your own sloppy actions.

If you do choose to use their version of each operation its still some good stuff.  Its in style now to rag on them and make all the useless and pointless tier 1 jokes in a worn out attempt to be sarcastic, but in doing so, some real chances to learn are lost.  I for one have become a lot smoother with my weapons manipulations and have even modified some of what they teach to better fit me. You do not have to do it exactly their way but it is a great starting point for basic manipulations and smoothing your own self out.

Another thing people seem to  get the wrong idea bout is speed, or how fast they can put 5-10-20 whatever rounds out. We have seen a lot of guys shooting at ranges who seem to think the point is to get the mag half empty in 3 seconds even if they hit the dirt 5 feet in front of them!! The videos do not demand  1 MOA groups on target, but a balance between  speed and accuracy that is good but not slowfire at the NM good.   But it seems that because it is so cool to see those two guys  dumping rounds on target in seconds people just forget you also need to actually hit with those rounds. The more the offender seems to blaze away at a break neck speed,  the worse they were at just plain marksmanship to start with.  The idea being forget precise shooting I will just do a mag dump!  Few seem to want to train smooth a slow so they never gain the speed that  comes through the repeated movements done correctly.