OATH Ammunition Testing: What 12 GA Squibs Sound Like

Oleg Volk Oath Ammo

Under the heading of “Dangerously bad ammunition,” popular gun rights advocate and photographer Oleg Volk posted information regarding a range test of the OATH TSR shotgun round.

In his article, Volk stated that “…the problems with OATH ammunition are the result of a systematic disregard for quality control.” For evidence, Volk included the below video showing that there were multiple malfunctions when running a semi-automatic shotgun with the OATH TSR ammunition. Specifically, there appeared to be multiple squib loads*.

The ammunition used in this video was apparently factory ammunition that seems to have mirrored problems with pre-production ammunition that Volk had tested in September. In the earlier article,Volk stated “My sample pack had four squibs out of ten…”

You can clearly hear the squib loads in the video, and the shooter has to manually work the action after each one.

Two things I’d like to point out:

  1. Test any ammunition you wish to use for self-defense. Yes, self-defense ammunition is expensive, but it is vastly cheaper than your life. You may discover that your gun doesn’t function well with the selected ammo, or that the manufacturer had a bad lot slip past the quality assurance folks. This can happen with any brand of ammunition.
  2. If you encounter a squib load, do not chamber a new round and continue shooting. Always keep the gun pointed down range and make 100% sure that there are no barrel obstructions. Should a projectile fail to exit the barrel, shooting another round will most likely result in a gun blowing up in your face. This can maim and kill you, plus those around you.

*Squib loads are defined by the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI) as “A cartridge or shell which produces projectile velocity and sound substantially lower than normal. May result in projectile and/or wads remaining in the bore.” (emphasis mine)

Contrary to popular belief, a squib load does not mean that the projectile fails to exit the barrel, rather having the projectile stuck in the barrel is simply one possible result of a squib load. Other people may use different definitions for squib load, but SAAMI is the clear authority when it comes to ammunition standards and manufacturing in the US.

Richard Johnson

An advocate of gun proliferation zones, Richard is a long time shooter, former cop and internet entrepreneur. Among the many places he calls home is http://www.gunsholstersandgear.com/.


  • Will P.

    GY6 had the same problems, squibs and the ones that did fire were very inconsistent.

    • Giolli Joker

      In his video the final comparison against a “cheap”, regular slug tells all the story we need to know.
      Cool looking slugs and shells, though, great conversation pieces for sure.

      • Bill

        I’ll have to get some to add to my weird ammo display, with the Aquila minishells, dragon’s breath and flechette rounds.

        • Dave Acklam

          The minishells actually kind of ‘go with’ a weird mag-fed pump-action shotgun from South Africa….

  • M.M.D.C.

    I kept waiting for the barrel to blow.

    At the end of the video he makes it clear that knew the slugs cleared the barrel, but it still seems risky.

    • ExMachina1

      While I’m glad they pointed that out, it was still foolish of them to simply assume that each squib behaved the same way. Even if he saw each slug exit the barrel, a stuck wad is enough of a bore obstruction to damage a barrel.

      • Sianmink

        When you can see and hear the slug impact the berm, you’re pretty much GTG.

        I don’t think the Oath slugs use wads or cups at all, they’ve got those o-rings instead.

        • ExMachina1

          If that were true than possibly…but neither the video nor the comments to the video ever say the squibs hit the berm–they were described as being “pushed” out or “dropping” to the ground. You could be right about there being no wad but still, overall the video was an poor lesson in the proper handling of a squib.

          • Sianmink

            Agreed. I don’t think they were being unsafe, but they weren’t presenting it well.

        • GetFactsBeforeFormingOpinions

          If you want to take that chance, its your choice I suppose. Anytime I hear a squib load, I’m checking the barrel for obstructions. I’ve seen it happen more than once, unfortunately. Someone “thought” the barrel cleared, then kaboom. (20+ years NRA Shotgun Instructor/Coach plus 20+ years youth trap/skeet coach for one of the largest youth teams in the country)

          • Sianmink

            It’s a little more iffy when shooting birdshot into the air versus slugs at a berm. But as a rule of thumb, if you saw a wad fly out, you’re going to be good to go.

            Granted it’s less of an issue with singles and over/unders.

          • GetFactsBeforeFormingOpinions

            I’m not doubting that you are correct, but for 5-10 seconds worth of checking, you may save yourself a lot of trouble. I would NEVER instruct a new shooter to just watch for the wad/slug to exit the barrel. He may have thought it cleared, but why take the chance, and why post a video without a disclaimer at the front – or not post it at all – or post it with the proper procedure when there is a squib load.

  • 22winmag

    Maybe Liberty will take a stab at 12ga in the future. Their handgun ammo has made a believer out of me. Nothing quite like getting an ultra-reliable 2,000fps with .40S&W in a 4″ FNS and 2,600fps in a 16″ Sub2000.

    • gordon

      You don’t mind the lack of penetration and that it does not meet FBI standards?

      • iksnilol

        Not at all, since it goes so fast the shockwave will travel through the target and turn them to mush from the inside.

        • gordon

          You’re a funny guy Sully;-)

        • El Duderino

          You mean turn them inside out like one of those Water Weenies from the ’80s.

          Liberty ammo makes the FBI shootout historian cry.

          • iksnilol

            Yeah, but what about all those SCHV proponents? They’re jumping with joy.

          • Dave Acklam

            SCHV only works when the ‘V’ is much higher than you will get out of a stubby little pistol barrel.

          • iksnilol

            No offense, but 450 meters per second is wiiicked fast for the lil’ .38 special…. let’s just conveniently ignore that the bullet only weighs like 25% more than a .22 lr bullet.

      • Dan

        In my experience when you lack penetration speed usually works well to compensate. Oh wait you meant bullets ah.

  • Giolli Joker

    I’m happy to see Volk objectively evaluating these rounds, considering that he provided some, presumably commissioned, high quality photography of the products in the initial phase of their promotion.

    • Oleg Volk

      I didn’t want to peddle BS to the readers.

      • Giolli Joker

        Thanks for that!
        It’s appreciated.

  • Beju

    Gimmick ammo is gimicky.

  • Bill

    Observations, just because:
    The guy needs to work on his immediate action drills.

    Freakin’ A right that the safety disclaimer was too late. Downloading, running a rod thru the barrel and pressing on wouldn’t be nearly the headache that huffing the gun would be.

    Brass-hulled shells are wicked cool, assuming they work.

    It may not apply in this specific instance, but a quality ammo test will include firing it out of more than one gun, just in case the test weapon has weird mechanical issues. Will it keyhole out of a different gun/different style of barrel?

    • Oleg Volk

      I used four different guns to test those, two rifled, two smoothbore.

      • Bill

        Good to know.

      • CA ST

        Did you ever try a pump shotgun instead of a semi auto?

    • Giolli Joker

      Note to the next tester: use a SxS or O/U, makes it much easier to check the barrel. 🙂

  • Bradley

    Quality issues aside, this isn’t something I would have expected to be reliable in an autoloader. I don’t like the whole “gimmick” attitude in general. Don’t get me wrong, if something doesn’t prove to be an improvement then that’s that, and that happens more often than not. I just feel like a lot of people automatically dismiss anything different. Just because something works it doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. Failure is a big part of the cycle of innovation.

    • throwedoff

      The method of operation of the weapon had no bearing on the functioning of the ammunition. It wouldn’t have mattered whether it was an automatic, pump, or single shot. The primers were struck but did not ignite the powder charge. This was an ammunition quality control issue not a weapon issue.

      • Bradley

        Obviously. You’ve either misunderstood or neglected to read and fully consider my comment. As I stated “quality issues aside” I just wouldn’t have expected this ammunition to function well in an auto loading shotgun. That is assuming the loads had functioned as intended.

  • Joseph Smith

    “1. Test any ammunition…”

    Always and at $6/round although such testing is expensive, each round should go bang. Why isn’t a recall on OATH’s webpage? Has OATH been sued out of existence yet?

    • Flounder

      He isn’t using the brass cased stuff for most of the video. The plastic stuff is only 2 bucks a round. last i checked at least.

      • Arie Heath

        I’ve seen multiple videos of the brass cased stuff doing the same thing.

      • Tom Currie

        Don’t you know? The more these gimmick ammo companies charge, the faster the fools like up to buy their magic bullets.

  • Herschel Walker

    I’ve shot probably a dozen squibs over the years but never checked the barrel. It should be part of all gun safety training to check the barrel after a light boom. A novice, or even an experienced shooter, cant be expected to inherently know the dangers.

  • Scott Tuttle

    damn that made me cringe when he just loaded another round in and started firing

  • RealitiCzech

    I hate squibs so much. Any other issue you can at most drop the mag, run the action a few times, reinsert and go again. Squibs? If you don’t know the bullet left the bore you have a long and slow process to clear them.

  • iksnilol

    More like ten bucks a round since 4 out of 10 failed.

  • Swarf

    While these are pretty, and quite the engineering feat, I don’t think they would make a thing much more deader than a 12ga slug. Even if they worked.

    Which they don’t.

    A magpie and his money…

  • Nathan Means

    I was just sitting here waiting for an explosion. If your round malfunctions clear the weapon and make sure there is no mechanical failure, and that the barrel is clear… I mean there was about 20 times a fizz could be followed by a big boom and flying fingers.

  • Nashvone

    I don’t care if it’s two squibs or two hundred squibs, the only way I would chamber another round is to visually assure that the bore is clear.

  • Jake

    why do so many firearms channels feature people that literally look 5 seconds away from a heart attack?

    • Flounder

      Cause AMERICA man. We like our burgers and pizzas and mcflurries too much.

    • Dan

      There just happens to be a lot of people that like to eat. Probably an equal amount of overweight firearms channel people as there are people that needlessly complain in the comments section of blogs.

    • 2805662

      At least 30 seconds away..

      • Cottersay

        You’re an optimist….

    • Jim Slade

      You can have my bacon double cheeseburger when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.

  • Flounder

    WHY DOESN’T HE STOP SHOOTING!!!! Not once does he check the bore!!!!

  • El Duderino

    I had one with a .38 a while back. Have to pay attention out there folks!

  • BaconLovingInfidel


  • uisconfruzed

    I won’t be putting that in my Benelli.

  • GetFactsBeforeFormingOpinions

    I stopped watching at the third or fourth shot. Obviously a squib load, and this “expert” didn’t bother to check to see if the bore was obstructed? Even at the trap/skeet range, if something sounds funny, you certainly don’t just chuck in another round and fire! Please take this video down before someone follows your poor safety skills and gets hurt. With a shot shell, even if you see something exit the barrel, you still don’t know if the wad cleared, and even a wad can cause a shotgun to kaboom. Horrible practice, please stop promoting “gun people” as knuckle-dragging idiots, and maybe take an NRA shotgun class to start. I’m embarrassed for you.

  • jonp

    Yeah..with the other comments. The warning should have come at the beginning of the video. After the first squib when he just went ahead and pulled the trigger without checking the barrel for an obstruction I cringed.

  • glenn cheney

    I find just one ounce of solid lead works most reliably for me, I do not require a 6 inch wound, yes, we have a sausage grinder. Cheers.
    Old school, class is still in.