If you’re anything like most gun owners, you’ve got an assortment of different rifles, pistols, revolvers, and shotguns. Some are probably fancier than others and there’s probably a few you got on a whim. Today, we’re going to talk about ammunition interchangeability. That’s the ability to use ammunition through multiple weapons rather than having a requirement for fifteen different types.
Why Ammunition Interchangeability Is So Important
In a sustained period of uncertainty, you don’t know the next time you’ll be able to reliably get more ammunition. And if you’re the type that sets up caches and various resupply points, you don’t want to have to guess which cache holds which ammo.
Revolvers That Use Pistol Ammunition
Revolvers predominantly come in .38 Special/.357 through .44 caliber. But did you know there were revolvers on the market that also accept 9mm Auto, .45 ACP and other traditional pistol ammunition?
The reason why it hasn’t been more common is revolver ammunition usually has a “lip” to keep it in place in the cylinder. Revolvers that accept pistol ammunition typically have moon clips – or thin metal devices used to hold pistol ammunition in place.
A historical example of this is the British Webley Mark IV and a modern example is a Ruger LCR 9mm.
Rifles That Use Pistol Ammunition
While typically not recommended due to range restrictions, there are rifles that can accept pistol ammunition. For a modern example of a carbine-style firearm, Beretta makes the Cx4 Storm.
Some models have interchangeable magazines with the Beretta 92F – a very common and durable SA/DA 9mm pistol. While it seems like a capable enough carbine from field testing, it’s real charm comes from its pricepoint (MSRP $800) and the ability to incorporate it into a system of weapons.
For those looking for a more traditional, rugged firearm, Legacy makes an M-1 carbine that accepts Beretta 92F magazines as well. One of the great things about the M-1 carbine is it’s a simple design, semi-automatic rifle that doesn’t look like it’s made completely out of polymer (like the Cx4).
But for those where a synthetic stock isn’t a problem – Legacy and other manufacturers produce this M-1 carbine variant with a sturdy black polymer stock. It’s really just a preference.
How It All Ties Together
Drawing from a previous article where we discussed the importance of establishing caches and resupply points along likely routes of escape, using one type of ammunition for an entire system of firearms makes the planning process that much simpler.
Does it have to be 9mm? Absolutely not. The above examples were just meant to illustrate working through a system (pistol, revolver, rifle) chambered in 9mm. There are options for .40 S&W, .45 ACP and even 5.56 NATO.
It doesn’t matter what type of ammunition you use – so long as you don’t have to guess where the ammunition is located.
Considerations for Ammo-Interchangeable Weapon Systems
Given enough time, the weapons you are using will fail. In a true emergency situation where it’s uncertain what will happen from one moment to the next, it’s best to stay as flexible as possible. If you didn’t know already – the only ammunition you should ever put into a firearm is the one it’s chambered for. Notably exceptions are .38 and .357.
NOTE: The 7.62x51mm is NOT interchangeable with the .308 Winchester round. Yes, they fit in the same space but they use different specs. It’s not even recommended in an emergency situation. Some gun enthusiasts will disagree but it’s a great rule to follow.
When in doubt – go .22LR. Not only is the .22LR caliber bullet versatile, light, and cheap – it’s also extremely interchangeable between pistols, revolvers, and rifles. More importantly, in a survival situation, weight is at a premium and you should always be looking to reduce your pack load – not pack more on. Carrying 500 rounds of .22LR and a Savage rifle will probably get you much farther than hauling a FN FAL .308. That’s not to say the FN FAL .308 isn’t a fantastic weapon system – but it’s not the thing you want to haul over countless miles of unknown terrain.