The Arab-Israeli War of 1948 started when five countries invaded territory after Israel announced its independence.
Arab groups attacked Jewish cities and armed forces that were part of the Jewish militia.
The goal of the Arab forces was to prevent the establishment of a Jewish state.
But Jewish forces had been preparing for war for years.
Before Israel declared independence, the leaders of the militia knew they would need ammunition.
In 1948, just outside the town of Rehovot, Jewish forces had set up a secret ammunition factory to produce 9mm bullets for use with the Sten submachine gun.
All of this was done right next to a British military base.
The militia commander decided to build the factory next to a British camp because he believed it would be the last place anyone would look.
They dug down 25 feet under a laundry facility to create the ammo factory. The facility was about the size of a tennis court.
It was designed under the laundry facility so that the smell and sound from the ammo-making would be masked.
The factory even used power from the British camp so that no one would be curious why the laundry facility was using so much electricity.
Members of the militia smuggled in bullet-making machinery from Poland.
For three years, 45 men and women worked underground to manufacture 9mm bullets.
The factory workers were supposed to be picking fruit outdoors. So, they took turns using a tanning bed to make it appear as if they had been out in the sun.
The bullets were tested in a tiny shooting range, and they smuggled the ammo out of the facility in milk cans.
In three years, they manufactured over 2 million rounds.
The Israeli’s had to use what they had and improvise what they didn’t have. In that environment, it’s hard to ensure production was held to exacting standards.
Thankfully, the facility operated undetected and didn’t have any accidents despite the tight space, explosive materials, and limited ability to test.
Bad ammo can cause misfires, catastrophic damage to a firearm, and even kill the operator if things go horribly wrong.
Which is why, long before Israel set up its secret ammo factory, the U.S. government worked with private ammunition manufacturers to develop ammunition standards.
The result was the creation of the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturer’s Institute in 1926.
What is SAAMI?:
If you ever pay close attention to the ammunition you buy, the box will likely say, “SAAMI Approved.”
SAAMI is the U.S. authority for ammunition standards (though It’s not a government entity).
The organization focuses on firearms, ammo, and the components to manufacture, and regularly publishes information for manufacturers and consumers.
Most gun owners know of SAAMI as an ammunition approval organization.
Who is part of SAAMI?:
Being part of SAAMI is voluntary.
But even though it’s not a government requirement, most reputable ammunition manufacturers are part of the organization.
It’s one of those organizations that being a member of helps your business – like being a AAA-approved auto facility.
Gun and ammo manufacturers in the U.S. don’t need SAAMI approval or membership to sell their products.
Yet, if a manufacturer wants other companies to use their products, they will want SAAMI approval.
For example, companies like Smith & Wesson won’t want to sell ammunition that hasn’t been SAAMI-approved.
What does SAAMI approval mean for customers?:
First, SAAMI-approved means that the ammunition meets physical standards such as length, ensuring that the ammo will safely work with a specific barrel.
In addition, the SAAMI standards limit the amount of pressure created by the ammo.
These standards help the customer know that the ammo will operate safely in the firearm they are using.
Customers want to know that the ammo will work as intended, and consistently, with minimal deviation, and the least amount of failure possible.
Why SAAMI is a good thing:
The reason you should use SAAMI-approved items is that you know the product has gone through safety testing.
The approval process is thorough and takes about six months. So, you know the ammo will be consistent and safe, and not explode or ruin your gun.
Another benefit of SAAMI is that it publishes specific standards for each ammunition.
This allows ammo makers to produce each other’s ammunition.
Even though SAAMI is not a government organization, it allows ammo manufacturers to safely produce ammo.
And if you use ammunition that isn’t SAAMI approved, be cautious – you don’t know if it was manufactured in a garage or even a secret factory below a laundromat.
Having the right ammo for your gun can make all the difference in a life-or-death situation.
You don’t want a misfire, or malfunction in the midst of a gunfight…
Which is why I choose specific ammo to use in my home and self-defense guns.