A gun you have at home, whether it's used for hunting, home defence, or just scaring away pests on your property, is only as good as its ammunition. Poor-quality ammunition that has degraded over the years can cause a misfire, meaning it doesn't actually leave the gun, causing the gun to jam. Your choice of ammunition size will also depend on the reason you want to own a gun. Note a few commonly asked questions about your gun's ammunition so you know to get the right type of gun for your intended use, and how to maintain that ammunition properly.
How does ammunition work?
Inside a gun is a firing pin that hits the back of a bullet, or what's called a primer. Striking the primer this way causes a small spark, similar to what happens when you hit two rocks together. Gunpowder in the gun is then ignited by that spark, and this tiny explosion pushes the bullet out of the casing of the ammunition, and out of the gun barrel. It's important to know these basic mechanics of a bullet so you better understand how to choose the right size gun, and how to properly store your ammunition.
How do you choose a size of gun?
If you're shopping for your first handgun, consider your reason for having a gun; if it's for home defence, you want ammunition that will be large enough to actually stop a person from continuing to come forward. A small calibre of ammunition can hurt a person; however, like a pellet gun, it might do nothing but stun them!
On the other hand, a large calibre weapon will mean a larger explosion inside the gun to push the bullet out of the casing. This means more resistance or blowback; first-time gun users especially can be very surprised at the force of this blowback, and can even be knocked off their feet. Choose a calibre that is no larger than what you need for defence, for scaring away rodents, or just for simple target shooting.
How do you store ammunition?
It's good to ensure the gunpowder inside the ammunition stays dry, and free of excess humidity. Many brands of ammunition are sold in cardboard boxes; these are good for short-term storage, but can actually collect humidity and moisture over time. Invest in a metal ammunition storage container instead, and be sure to give the ammunition periodic checks to ensure it's dry and hasn't started to rust or show other signs of damage. Also, when you first use older ammunition, take extra precautions against possible misfiring by fully extending your gun arm and ensuring you're wearing proper eyewear.