We’re in an election year, which means there’s a good chance that before the year is out there’ll be a run on ammunition.  We don’t know yet who the Democrat nominee will be, but we know every damn one of them is running on an anti-gun platform.  It’s not a bad time to stock up on ammo.  Prices are the best they’ve been for a while. Don’t expect that to last forever.

Super Vel ammo is running a big customer-direct sale.  A bit of background. Back in the Sixties, Lee Jurras changed the face of the handgun ammo industry when he came out with his Super Vel brand ammunition.  Instead of round-nose lead or full metal jacket, you could finally buy jacketed or semi-jacketed hollow points using lighter, faster bullets that expanded when they hit flesh.  Super Vel brought the 9mm Luger and .38 Special rounds up off their knees and made them viable self-defense cartridges.  In a second generation of ownership, by H&H Cartridge, Super Vel sponsored me at the Second Chance Pin Shoot, where I won a bunch of guns shooting their high speed, wide mouth 190 grain .45 hollow point that just reefed the heavy bowling pin targets three feet back off the table. That was something like forty years ago.  I shot some critters with Super Vel, and it was devastating.

Time went on. The big ammo companies copied Super Vel’s design, and the smaller firm just couldn’t compete. Well, a few years ago, shortly before Lee Jurras passed, my old friend Cameron Hopkins thought it would be a good idea to resurrect the brand, and he got Lee’s permission to do so.  Cameron is a good dude, an honest man, and knows his ammunition.  The current Super Vel includes about the hottest load out there for snub-nose .38 Specials, the Super Snub, which sends a 90-grain hollow point out of a two-inch barrel at a hellacious velocity of more than 1300 feet per second. In addition to old school hollow points, Super Vel also has Barnes-type all-copper hollow points, which work well against barriers while still expanding reliably in flesh. Their copper HP .380 load looks as if it will both expand and penetrate to FBI-approved levels for service pistol ammo when fired from, say, a Walther PP.  They’ve currently got a big sale going, 35% off on that snubby load and 20% or more off on most anything else, factory direct.  Check it out at supervelammunition.com.


  1. Mas, I’ve got the ammo covered. I started to gradually stock up on ammo when President Obama got elected in 2008. That is also when I acquired my handgun carry permit.

    During the early Obama years, I stockpiled some ammo. I had to stop, however, when all the ammo dried up during Obama’s second term.

    When President Trump was elected, I knew I had been granted a reprieve. When the ammo supply opened up again, I started stockpiling in earnest. Not only fixed ammo but reloading supplies and tools as well.

    At this point, I honestly cannot say how much ammo I have stockpiled. I probably need to do an inventory of it. However, it is safe to say that I am very well-stocked. If the Democrats take over Congress and the White House (God Forbid!) and shut down firearm and ammo sales, I will be OK. At least as long as they don’t move to outright confiscation of what people already have on-hand.

    I figure that, just using my existing ammo supply, I can shoot 30 practice rounds per month and still have enough ammo to last me until age 100 at least! 🙂

  2. By improving ammo performance, I’m sure Super Vel saved many innocent lives. Reliably stopping a violent criminal attack is a wonderful way to help people in need.

    I remember hearing stories of cops emptying the cylinders of their .38 Special revolvers into the upper body of thugs, only to be shot dead because the thug was still able to fight. Hollow points are a big help.

  3. Regardless of who wins the election, just look at Virginia – copying California and doing them one better. That’s going to continue until/unless the Supreme Court decides to get involved in 2A issues. WA is following CA and likely will follow VA soon.
    WalMart locally (western WA) no longer stocks most handgun ammo (except 22LR) and a few other local general merchandise stores are also not reordering stock. Liability fears, perhaps?

  4. Mas—the video for the 38 special indicates 8 inches of penetration. Isn’t that at least 4 inches less than the minimum FBI standard? How is that a good thing? Also, the last expert i read on temporary stretch cavities opines that most handgun bullet stretch cavities are temporary only because of lack of velocity. The video shows a huge cavity but if it’s only temporary….?

    • Not everyone feels the FBI standard is controlling for self-defense needs, particularly those whose threat profile is such that there are likely to be innocent parties behind the perpetrator. As to temporary stretch cavities being meaningless, consider that a solar plexus punch also leaves a “temporary cavity,” but…

      • Mas, it’s coming up on twenty years since the third Marshall and Sanow book giving results of that long running study. There is a whole generation of people who have never heard of it. One of the interesting things from reading the results tables- In every caliber, without exception, the deepest penetrating loads were at the bottom of the list in terms of effectiveness. It may be time for you to do a series on the lessons from that study for a new generation.

    • Different types of gelatin give varying penetration of given bullets (see the PoliceOne) website). Paul Harrell has Internet tests on video that employ target media that appear to give better real-world simulations than does gelatin. If you study Paul’s videos, a lot of hollow-point bullets give greater penetration than one might anticipate, especially those that show limited expansion. The light, high velocity SuperVels could in reality be the right reliably-expanding bullet for use in short-barreled handguns in crowded human environments where over-penetration is likely to hit bystanders. Testing in various media will provide the best proof.

      • Strategic Steve,

        “Testing in various media will provide the best proof.” I don’t understand why some American testers simply don’t ask to carry out tests in countries which have capital punishment more often than we do. For instance, Saudi Arabia, China and North Korea might be willing to have their convicts executed by firing squad. In such a case, the American testers could ask to use this ammunition, then study the results on real human beings.

        If this is not a workable solution, the testers might try shooting pigs or human cadavers. A physician told me pigs have a lot of anatomy in common with humans, especially their skin.

  5. Mas, any data on how the ARX and other fluid displacement type ammo is doing on criminals?

    I will be getting at least one box each of the 9mm and .38 Special Super Vel ammunition to try them out. I still have some of the original Super Vel ammo in various calibers and look forward to chronographing the new stuff to see how they compare. The good thing about .45 ACP is that any decent JHP load will beat any of the 9mm/38 Special calibers with their fancy bullets, but the smaller calibers do have a place as hideout guns.

    • Tom, I don’t know of any shootings of humans with these rounds. In the animal testing we’ve done, wound pattern has been about the same as a good jacketed hollow point.

      • Thanks Mas. I will stay with conventional HP ammo including the Hornady polymer tipped loads until the ARX type bullets establish a proven track record.

  6. I’ve still got some of the original, think

    I’ve still got some of the original, think I’ll dig it out.

  7. Too bad this ammo cannot be shipped to the Democratic run state of Connecticut.
    Disgraceful, what has happened to this once great state.

  8. Thank you, Mas, your history with Super Vel exceeds mine! I never made it to Michigan for the Second Chance, my biggest regret from the American Handgunner days. Regarding penetration and our “Super Snub” .38 Spl. +P load, we typically get 11″ to 13″ in naked or denim covered Clear Ballistics synthetic gel. I know, I know, it’s not the FBI approved organic gel, and I acknowledge synthetic and organic results are NOT comparable but the results still show the three things we want to know: 1) retained weight 2) expansion and 3) penetration. It was no mean feat to come up with a load that both meets SAAMI specs and achieves 1,300 fps from a 1 7/8″ barrel. We are using a non-cannister, OEM propellant, so a handloader cannot duplicate this load… at least not within safe pressures. If you have a J-frame, you owe it to your snubby to try some Super Snub!

  9. I’m not seeing the sale prices, Mas. The .38 snubby ammo is currently advertised on the website at 85 cents per round. If that were the 35%-off price, the non-discounted price would be nearly a buck-and-a-quarter per round!

    There’s no “customer direct sale” advertising on the website so I’m assuming they still have their normal prices up and you didn’t give us a coupon code so I see no sign of a sale.

      • Thanks for your interest in Super Vel Ammunition, Calin. When Mas was referring to the discounted prices, he was comparing our former retail prices before we discontinued our dealer program, thus eliminating “dealer price.” This transition happened in December, less than a month ago. The former dealer prices now became retail prices as we switched to an online retailing program. The typical dealer margin was between 30% and 40%, so that is the price drop Mas is referencing. And yes, you’re entirely correct— the prices were high before. I resisted a factory-direct sales program for a long time because I truly believe the small stocking gun shop owner is the backbone of our industry. I used to work in a gun shop, I totally appreciate the value of dedicated small gun shops. However, this is the internet age. Premium, niche brands of ammunition are all sold online. I tried to support firearms dealers, but it just didn’t work. Sales have more than doubled since I dropped the dealer program and gave everyone “dealer price.”

      • Thanks for your reply and explanation, Cameron. I did a little shopping around and even though ammo prices have dropped since the last Presidential election, I was still a bit shocked to see the current prices for “hyper” ammunition (as YouTuber and “meat target” inventor Paul Harrell calls it). I’m still working my way through a large quantity of Critical Duty 9mm that I bought for only about 50 cents per round when it first came out, but I might buy some of your 38 spl and even ask Paul if he will accept a donation of a box from me for evaluation on his meat target.

        I agree with you about LGS ammo sales and, fortunately, I have a family-run LGS nearby that sells FMJ ammo at excellent prices. It’s mostly what I used for regular practice and training so I don’t go through my “hyper” ammo inventory very quickly (just enough to make sure my EDC pistol continues to have an appetite for it as the pistol ages and wears).

  10. Mas, this is partially off-topic but I thought that you, and the other readers of this blog, would be interested. One of the first cartridge revolvers issued to law enforcement was the Webley Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) model. In 1867, 1000 of these revolvers were purchased and issued to the RIC. A “User Manual” was also drafted at that time to explain how to use this new, cutting-edge technology handgun. I recently acquired a copy of this manual and I think that you will find the following, selected excerpts, of interest:

    “Two Revolvers, if possible, are to be served out for each Station, but, should the number be insufficient, then those Stations situated in a quieter locality need have one only each.”

    “Service – The Revolvers are for the use of men required to proceed in plain clothes on any particular duty; or one of them may be carried when the neighborhood is in a disturbed state, by the Constable on patrol at night, instead of his carbine, and the other left in the possession of the Barrack Orderly, when two or three chambers of the pistol should be loaded.”

    “Use – As the Constabulary pistol is a weapon of defense, it should never be discharged unless as the only means of preserving the life of the man who carries it, and then only at a distance not exceeding two or three yards, aiming at the centre of the body of the assailant. Every man armed with such a weapon should be at once temperate and determined.”

    “On no account is the pistol to be fired for practice; not only because the ammunition cannot be easily replaced, but also because the loading and unloading is so simple (according to the directions that will be found below) that very little instruction will be sufficient, and firing for practice is, therefore, not necessary.”

    “The pistols are for the exclusive use of the Head and other Constables, and not for the officers; if officers desire to possess them they cam be purchased at Messers. Trulock & Harris, Dawson Street, at the contract price , £3, including 50 rounds of ammunition.”

    Some observations about the above. First, their views on practice and training do not match our modern ideas but it is interesting that shooting for the “Center of Mass” was as popular back in 1867 as it is today as is the requirement to be “Temperate (Sober) and Determined”.

    Second, if an officer really wanted to be armed, he would likely have to buy a revolver for himself. However, I doubt that many did so because the price is fairly steep (roughly equivalent to $1100 in Year 2020 US dollars) and I suspect that police officers, such as members of the RIC, were as poorly paid back in 1867 (relatively) as they are today. 🙁

    Finally, it looks like each Revolver was issued with a single box of 50 cartridges and they had to make them last since it was likely all they would get. I guess ammo was in as short of a supply, back then, as it was during President Obama’s Second Term!

    Anyway, I think that this is a bit of interesting history that is probably not well-known.

  11. Friend TN_MAN, running math on 3 Pound British Sterling (3 GPB) from 1867 I get about $442.90 today. Used $112.6974 x.03) x $1.31. Might try to find average Bobby’s earnings for 1867. Winston Churchill’s famous bodyguard, Walter H. Thompson, retired briefly in the late 1930’s as a Scotland Yard Detective Sergeant at about 107 GPB per year, which would be about $7,250 today.

    • @ Strategic Steve – “running math on 3 Pound British Sterling (3 GPB) from 1867 I get about $442.90 today.”

      It is difficult to truly adjust for inflation from a period of 150 years ago. My estimate was based upon the price of gold. During most of the 19th Century, the UK was on the Gold Standard. The price of gold, during the 1860’s, was pegged at about £4.24 per ounce. Therefore, the RIC revolver (plus 50 rounds ammo) price of £3 was equivalent to about .706 ounces of gold. Current gold spot price is about $1,558. Therefore, I computed the 1867 value of a RIC revolver, in 2020 dollars, as:

      RIC Cost (Current dollars) = 0.706 oz of gold X $1,558 per oz = $1,099.95 (rounded to $1,100).

      One could argue that, since the UK abandoned the Gold Standard in the 20th Century, the above estimate may be high given that the price of Gold has floated high in recent years. However, I still think that it is a reasonable estimate and that your value is quite low. Consider, the actual wages paid in the UK at the time. See this link:


      Note the following excerpt from this web page:

      “For most trades, wage rates throughout the period covered by the Proceedings changed little. In the hundred and sixty years between 1700 and 1860, for instance, a carpenter’s daily wage rose only gradually and intermittently from 2s. 6d. per day to around 5s. per day. By the middle of the nineteenth century, a skilled engineer could command 7s. 6d. a day, or around £110 per year, if fully employed, but this was not significantly more than their eighteenth-century predecessors. In the last decades of the nineteenth century William Booth estimated that a working family needed an income of at least 18s. to 21s. a week, or around £50 a year, just to get by, and 22s. to 30s. a week (£57 -£78 per annum) to be ‘comfortable’.”

      From this reference, an annual wage of £57 -£78 was necessary for a working class family to get by comfortably. Let’s pick a mid-range value of £66 to work with. Dividing this by £3 gives a ratio of 22. Now, let’s use your value of $442.90 for £3 in today’s dollars. This would make for an annual working class salary of:

      Annual Salary = 22 X $442.90 = $9,743.8

      Honestly, do you think that a working class family, today, could live “Comfortably” on an annual salary of less than $10,000?

      Sorry, your value is definitely too low.

      Now, let’s use my “Gold Standard” value:

      Annual Salary = 22 X $1100 = $24,200. As you can see, this is a better estimate of the true value of a “Living Wage” back 150 years ago.

      Another way to look at it is as follows. If £66 represents a working class annual living wage, then £3 represents about 1/22 of an annual salary. Given that there are 52 weeks in a year, it would be 52/22 = 2.36 weeks wages. I can only say that, if I worked 2.36 weeks and only received $442.90 in wages (here in 2020), I would hold myself “ill-used”. I might get to thinking that I was working for Ebenezer Scrooge! 🙂

      • Friend TN_MAN, back in horse and buggy days people generally produced a lot more of their own food, clothing, and shelter. They also often had to make do without new stuff. So they had and used much less cash than we do now (including cards as cash).
        They often only bartered. Horse stealing was also common, a more dubious form of informal economy. Gold and silver have had a varied history. I would argue that we are back on a de facto gold standard today. Likely silver will regain more status. Get me not wrong, I like both. The “gun standard” seems to have similar traction.
        I wonder if many of those first police pistols are still around, and what they would bring on today’s market. I would guess about 440 bucks apiece as collector’s items? Back in the day, .455 Webleys were considered manstoppers, with 265 grain bullets or so at only about 650 fps. Possibly the “heavy revolvers” the feel of which comforted Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes nights out on the Baskerville moor. Nowadays Webleys are converted to .45 ACP and used as target pistols. Not in England these days, I imagine.
        Man, do I want a Webley. Only want to pay about $440, though. Love those break-open actions! By the way, Arthur Conan Doyle mentions “Eley” pistols a time or two. Eley made cartridges, but not firearms. No reason not to refer to ordnance by its cartridge, though, much as the 1911 Colt is commonly referred to as “.45 automatic”. Just some trivia that has intrigued me over the years. What is your estimation of why loading only a few rounds in the early police pistols was recommended? Less of an explosion if the pistols blew up?

      • @Strategic Steve – “I wonder if many of those first police pistols are still around, and what would they bring on today’s market?”

        My understanding is that hardly any of that original 1000 pistol lot survived. At most, one or two may still exist. However, the RIC pistol was a fairly popular model for Webley, although not as popular as the stub-nose “British Bulldog” pistols that were based upon a modified (and downsized) RIC frame. I believe that Webley continued to make and sell RIC revolvers well into the 1880’s. I am not sure when production ended.

        So, RIC Model pistols (but not from the original RIC batch) are available on the collector’s market. See this link:


        If you scroll down the above web page, you will find three (3) RIC pistols for sale priced at $1,495, $1,650, and $1,795. The one priced at $1,650 is closest to the original RIC model because it is in the same .442 caliber.

        Some say that General Custer may have carried this model pistol at the Battle of the Big Horn. See this link:


        If so, it was still not enough to “save his hair” on that day!

      • @ Strategic Steve = “By the way, Arthur Conan Doyle mentions ‘Eley’ pistols a time or two. Eley made cartridges, but not firearms. No reason not to refer to ordnance by its cartridge, though, much as the 1911 Colt is commonly referred to as ‘.45 automatic’. Just some trivia that has intrigued me over the years. What is your estimation of why loading only a few rounds in the early police pistols was recommended?”

        Yes, the references to Eley by Arthur Conan Doyle have puzzled people for years. For example, in “The Adventure of the Speckled Band”, Sherlock Holmes tells Dr. Watson the following:

        “I should be very much obliged if you would slip your revolver into your pocket. An Eley’s No. 2 is an excellent argument with gentlemen who can twist steel pokers into knots.”

        What the devil did Holmes mean by this? Here is my theory. The revolver in question was, without doubt, Dr. Watson’s Service Revolver. Dr. Watson served in the British Army during the period of 1879-1880. The service cartridge, at this time, was the .450 Adams which was officially known as the .450 Boxer MK II cartridge.

        If we assume that Dr. Watson’s revolver was chambered for this cartridge, which is logical, and if we assume that Dr. Watson favored Eley-Brand ammunition for use in his revolver (logical since Eley Bros. was a major English cartridge maker at the time), then Holmes was really trying to say:

        “A revolver, chambered for and loaded with the .450 Boxer MK II cartridge, as manufactured by Eley Bros., is an excellent defensive tool for use against a hostile opponent who has great physical strength.”

        This is long-winded and, since Holmes and Watson both knew the revolver and ammo in question, Holmes cut his statement down to a cryptic reference to an Eley No. 2 instead of saying Eley-brand .450 Boxer MK II.

        As for the reason why only 2 or 3 chambers would be loaded by the RIC, I can only speculate. With these old revolvers, it is a wise safety measure to keep an empty chamber under the hammer as is often recommended for the old Colt 45 SAA. The RIC revolver cylinder holds six (6) cartridges so I could easily see loading 5 only with an empty chamber under the hammer. But why load only 2 or 3?

        Was it because of the limited ammo supply (just one 50 round box) and they wanted to be sparing with ammo? Or was it because they were accustom to single-shot or double-barrelled percussion firearms and felt that 3 rounds would be plenty? After all, even today, most police and defensive shootings are resolved with 3 or fewer rounds expended.

        It was clearly related to the mindset that prevailed back in those more peaceful times. Nowadays, we want a stack of loaded 30 round magazines available. Maybe the pressures of modern living has made us more paranoid?

        I freely admit to not knowing a firm answer here.

    • Just a final comment about RIC pay. See this link:


      As I suspected, few officers could afford to buy their own revolver. Their pay was just over £1 per week. Therefore, the £3 price of a new Webley Revolver (plus a box of 50 rounds ammo) would represent almost 3 weeks pay. I suspect that few officers had that kind of money just lying around and “burning a hole in their pockets”.

      An officer would also have to be careful, if he was issued a revolver, to not lose it, damage it or let it get stolen. The “User Manual” (referenced above) also said that, if an officer lost or damaged the revolver, he was on the hook to pay for it. I suppose that they would dock his wages a few shillings, each pay-period, until the revolver was paid off.

      Indeed, as Gilbert and Sullivan noted, in The Pirates of Penzance, “A Policeman’s Lot is not a Happy One”. 🙁

      • Friend TN_MAN. You are a walking encyclopedia of gun lore. Thank you for your excellent extrapolations. As an aside, I would speculate that 1 pound sterling may originally have referred to 12 Troy ounces of the metal, and still could, I imagine. For a significant length of time a pound was said to equal five U.S dollars. Time to look at the history of all that, as well as the idea of the unfortunate Queen Mary’s “honest shilling.” Sounds like it was to be backed by bullion. Mexico has probably produced the lion’s share of the world’s silver over the years. Just one mine in Guanajuato alone, the Valencia or Valenciana, has produced four times that of the huge Comstock Lode. The old Mexican peso probably carried about an ounce of silver. This silver peso is said to have been ubiquitous as currency in the Southwest back in the day. Times when cowboy wages were 30 dollars (or silver pesos) and found per month.

      • @ Strategic Steve – You are pretty accurate in your observations about the origin of the term “pound sterling”. See this link:


        Historically, gold has been valued, against silver, at a ratio of about 15 or 16 to one. In other words, 15 or 16 oz. of silver was considered about equal in value to 1 oz. of gold.

        By historical measures, silver is undervalued (today) with respect to gold. The spot price of gold (as I write this) is $1573.90 per oz. The spot price of silver is only $18.20 per oz. A ratio of about 86 to 1.

        So, either gold is way overpriced or silver is way under-priced or it is some combination of the two. If you want to invest in precious metals today, it would seem that silver offers the greatest potential upside opportunity since it is so under-valued.

        Anyway, just an observation.

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