Fiocchi ammunition is affordable and relatively easy to find. Often a box of 50 rounds of Fiocchi ammunition will cost less than a typical box of 20-25 rounds. But are there trades-offs here? And who or what is Fiocchi?

At a high level, Fiocchi is an Italian manufacturer represented here, in the U.S., by Fiocchi of America. The US entity is based in Missouri and started doing business back in 1983. But who are these folks and what is Fiocchi ammo all about? More importantly, is this imported ammo good enough for your firearms? Can you use budget ammo to shoot more without compromising safety? If you want to learn more about Fiocchi ammo-read on!

I'll start by stating that I'm typically wary of low cost ammunition. When it comes to imported ammunition I'm even more cautious and, in reflection, probably even biased against it. I bought a very large stash of a Russian ammo brand for my frequent AR rifle usage and was deeply disappointed. It was unreliable, dirty and poor overall. I ended up selling the remainder of that Russian ammo in a gun show, and at a big loss since I shared my experience with the ammo vendor I sold it to. From then on I decided to stick with U.S. made ammo, even for my training purposes. Up to the Big Ammo Shortage, I was quite content, but then prices went up significantly and, even worst, ammo of all types became rare. Out of necessity more than curiosity, I decided to try out the Fiocchi brand.

So who are these folks? I typically enjoy researching the history of each brand and firm. I'll admit to being surprised in finding that Fiocchi had a fascinating history. Michael G. Sabbeth did an excellent job in documenting the history in a work titled "FIOCCHI: All in the Family". It is included in the FIocchi's online catalog and is well worth reading. In any case, Mr. Sabbeth states that "The Fiocchi Empire began improbably with a bit of a splutter, born of a predecessor's failure and a bank foreclosure."

I found that interesting because my research into the history of the U.S. arms industry shows more than one example of this historical trend. One man starts a venture with good ideas and high hopes, only to fail and later sell his business to someone else, who through hard work and ingenuity turns failure into success. In my mind both men deserve credit, but I'm veering off course. Giulio Fiocchi, the financial brain and his brother, Giacomo, an engineer, combined efforts and started a venture that would last for generations.

As Mr. Sabbeth notes "Giulio persuaded his Milan bank to loan them the money to buy the defaulting company. They ceased musket production, and in 1877 hunting and sporting ammunition production began under the name Giulio Fiocchi Enterprise." Theirs is a truly fascinating history which entails dealing with World War I and, later, the Nazi occupation, as well as rebuilding after the destruction of World War II. If you enjoy history and seeing how good men prevail in hard times, I strongly recommend you read the entire story.

Back on target, I started by ordering a few boxes of Fiocchi 9mm and 45 ACP ammo. The boxes were well-made; the ammo was well-packed, which to me means that the ammo is able to retain its position within the box and that rounds don't touch each other. A close inspection of the ammo revealed high quality rounds with new brass, proper sitting of both the bullet and the primer, and overall good looks of proper ammo. I felt sufficiently confident to load this ammunition into my self-defense handguns for a thorough range test.

At the range the Fiocchi ammo exceeded my expectations. I took about 400 rounds of 45 ACP and 9mm ammo and each and every round fired. The accuracy was great and there was consistency between shots, which to me means proper loading and usage of good powder. I experienced 100% reliability in feeding, firing and ejecting. I was very pleasantly surprised but I wasn't sure if this fun experience at the range will trigger a long cleaning session at home. Was Fiocchi ammo dirty? Was it easy to clean? These thoughts ran through my mind as I packed my gear and headed home to clean my kit before lunch.

After disassembling my 1911's (a Nighthawk Custom & Wilson Combat in 45 ACP and a S&W in 9mm), I found that they were not very dirty and pretty much on par with shooting Winchester white box ammo and Black Hills ammo. For the second time that day, I was pleasantly surprised with the Fiocchi ammo brand. Later that evening I got over my initial caution or snobbery and placed an order for both 45 ACP and 9mm range ammo. I even intend to switch over to their rifle line, in my most trusted rifle, as soon as I finished my Federal training ammo. That's how much I approve of the Fiocchi ammo line for training.

For completeness, Fiocchi has several different lines of ammunition which include: Rifle Center fire, Pistol and Revolver, Primers & Components, Target Shotshells, Hunting Shotshells, Field and Upland, Rim fire and even Specialty and Blanks. Fiocchi also makes self-defense ammunition, but I can't comment on it because I haven't tested or used it.

I am personally partial to Law Enforcement Only (LEO) Ammunition (i.e. Winchester Ranger, Speer Gold Dot and Federal HST) and use nothing but these for carry. Given the extensive testing and usage of these brands, in addition to my own extensive (and expensive) testing, I feel confident that these brands will perform in the harshest conditions, that is if I do my part and stick with them despite the added cost. But that's just me and you must realize my reasoning before assuming my way is the best way. Still, I think it will be foolish for you not to examine the self-defense options from these folks. You may be able to get good quality ammo at a reasonable price and, since LEO ammo is exceedingly hard to find, this may be your only viable choice. In other words, keep an open mind, do solid testing and make an informed decision.

In summary, after testing the Fiocchi ammo in 45 ACP and 9mm, I decided to add them to my short list of good training ammunition. They are clean, reliable and accurate and, in addition, affordable. The Fiocchi line exceeded my expectations, and if you are in the market for training ammunition, I would recommend you take a hard look at the Fiocchi ammo and try a few boxes in the caliber of your choice.

Until next time, stay safe by staying alert!