Liberty Ammunition Civil Defense Ammo – Range Test & Review

By Bob Shell
Bob Shell reviews Liberty Ammunition Civil Defense Ammo in .45ACP and .357 Magnum.

Liberty Ammunition Civil Defense Ammo
Liberty Ammunition Civil Defense Ammo
Bob Shell
Bob Shell

USA-( I recently ran across a ammo manufacturing company, Liberty Ammunition, that produces a light weight line of bullets that fires at high velocity to be use for personal defense.

They produce the Liberty Ammunition Civil Defense Ammo in 380, 9 mm, 40 caliber and 45 ACP. All have very lightweight bullets at high velocities.

In addition they produce 38, 357, and 10 mm rounds. The bullet is copper monolithic with nickel plating which gives them their silver color.

They are not pre-cut to facilitate expansion. They achieve their results from very high velocity. The projectiles are deep hollow points, which aids in destruction of tissue.

Liberty Ammunition Civil Defense Ammo

The purpose of Liberty Ammunition Civil Defense rounds is self-protection and they are well designed for that purpose. With the high and consistent velocities it is evident that some thought and research was put into the ammo to produce these results. It is more than just adding a little extra powder to produce the desired results. They also make some 223 and 308 ammo. For more info you can go to

All of the Liberty Ammunition Civil Defense Ammo has hollow points prominent for opening up
All of the Liberty Ammunition Civil Defense Ammo has hollow points prominent for opening up.

The Liberty Ammunition Civil Defense Ammo is a specialized type meant for self-defense. Due to the light weight it would not be suitable for large game and would probably destroy a lot of meat in small game. For varmints it should be outstanding within its ranges as accuracy is good. Since the .357 Magnum Ammo and .45 Colt Ammunition may be used in some rifles the range can be extended a little.

Since it is pricey, practice can be done with generic ammo and use the Liberty for serious use. Just shoot a few as they will be different then conventional ammo.

As a rule lightweight and fast bullets will hit to a lower point then the slow moving slug. The reason is a slow bullet stays in the barrel longer so it is pointed higher when the bullet exits.

In a Kahr 380 Pistol, as well as a Kel Tec, the ammo performed well with no jams. Most 380 ammo is pretty anemic, but the Liberty Ammunition Civil Defense Ammo puts the 380 in the serious self-defense category. Most 380 ammo shoots an 85 or 90-grain bullet at around 900 FPS, which is better than nothing but leaves a lot to be desired. These loads make the 380 a more serious social gun.

Liberty Ammunition Civil Defense Ammo Range Results

380 handguns used in test with Liberty Ammunition Civil Defense Ammo
A variety of 380 handguns were used in test with Liberty Ammunition Civil Defense Ammo.

LOAD                 .380 BULLET                   VELOCITY                   COMMENT

50 grain                       Kahr                                   1409                                       nice

50 grain                       Kal Tec                               1319                         2” very consistent

Some sample 9 mm ammo was sent to me from Liberty Ammunition and of course it wasn’t long before we took it out for testing. Two guns were used with different barrel lengths so we could get more complete info. Shooting through the Caldwell G2 Chronograph revealed that the velocities were as advertised. The 5” Beretta went slightly over 2,000 while the shorter Glock checked in at slightly under 1900 FPS.

That is to be expected as a shorter barrel will produce less velocity especially with high performance ammo which this is.

Baretta Bottom and 9 mm Long Slide Glock
Beretta Bottom and 9 mm Long Slide Glock

Accuracy testing at 10 yards showed both guns shot it well, and since it is such a light bullet it will slow down rapidly after a few yards. Since this is close range defense ammo that isn’t a problem. Neither gun jammed or malfunctioned due to the ammo. However, if you limp wristed it, the gun would jam. That would be expected with light bullets. Recoil is very modest again because of the lighter than normal bullet.

One thing that surprised me was when we shot a couple of 8 LB. powder bottles filled with water. In both cases the bullets went completely through and didn’t appear to expand. In view of the velocity that wasn’t something I expected. One jug was set so that the bullet had to go from side to side which is about 8” of water. They show the bullet being shot into ballistic gel and the penetration looks to be about 6” with the bullet coming apart which is what I would expect out of these types of projectiles. Further testing would be needed in order to draw any conclusions. As time permits more testing with different materials will done, and the results will be reported.

LOAD                 9mm BULLET                   VELOCITY                   COMMENT

50 grain HP              Beretta 5”                              2025                                  consistent

50 grain HP              Glock 26 2”                           1885                                     high es

One of the newer offerings in Liberty Ammunition Civil Defense Ammo is the 38 special. For testing a Ruger with a 4” barrel was used and like the 9 mm, comes in a 50 grain bullet, the 357 round was also tried. With such light bullets recoil isn’t a problem. If you have a small frame 38, that is safe with high performance ammo, this would be the ammo to carry. Even the lightweight 38 Taurus did not have a recoil problem, and if I carried that gun, Liberty ammo would be in the cylinder without a doubt.

LOAD                 .38 – .357 BULLET                   VELOCITY                   COMMENT

50 grain Taurus 2”    38 special                            1469.6                                     nice

50 grain Ruger 4”     38 special                              1520                                      nice

50 grain                    357 mag                                 2086                                 impressive

The 40 auto is a very popular round and is employed by many police departments. It was shot in a Baby Desert Eagle with a 4.5” barrel. Advertised velocity is 2000 FPS, so it exceeded that. The 40 auto is one of the most popular guns and many police departments use them. If I had a small 40 as a backup gun this would be the ammo I would employ.

LOAD                 .40 Auto BULLET                   VELOCITY                   COMMENT

Liberty                      60 gr HP                                2110                                   awesome

The 10 mm has been brought out with a 60 grain. Shot in the Ruger revolver 6 ½” barrel. Like all of the ammo tested, it chronographed at or near the advertised velocities. With those velocities it should be an outstanding choice for self-defense in almost any situation.

Just as a note on the revolver, the Ruger was a special order that has a 38-40 and 10 mm cylinders and was made in the 1990’s.

Ruger 10 mm Revolver
Ruger 10 mm Revolver

LOAD                 10mm BULLET                   VELOCITY                   COMMENT

60 grain                     10 mm                                  2584                                   awesome

60 grain (Glock)         10 mm                                 2328                              very consistent

I received some 78 grain for the 45 auto. We tried some in a Kahr Arms with a 5” barrel. Velocity checked out at 1919 FPS and was consistent. It was benched at 15 yards with the Kahr, which is a basic GI model heavy trigger and basic sight included. It printed a group that was about 2”, which would be good for that gun. A target model would probably do better. More important ammo functioned 100% which is much more important then gilt edge accuracy in a self-defense gun. As with the 9, recoil is greatly reduced. In a Mag Tec 45 auto with a 3 ½” barrel velocity dropped to 1710 which is a drop from the 5”. Some drop would be expected due to high performance ammo and a shorter barrel. It functions and feeds well in all of the 9 mm and 45’s tried. My Ruger Commander has that ammo for home defense as it functions perfectly and should do the job if called upon.

LOAD                 .45 BULLET                   VELOCITY                   COMMENT

78 grain              Ruger Commander                     1919                                       nice

78 grain                   Mag Tec 3”                             1710                                        ok

78 grain        Ruger Redhawk moon clip 4”           1748.8                                consistent

Liberty Ammunition 45 Long Colt
Liberty Ammunition 45 Long Colt & Moon Clips

Another recent offering is the 45 Colt with a 78-grain bullet. As are all of them, bullets are silver in color. It doesn’t say if these are +P loads and should be used in only modern guns. Like every type of ammo some guns prefer some types over others. The 45-auto ammo was more consistent then the Colt at least in the guns tested. Accuracy was good in all of them.

Liberty Ammunition Civil Defense Ammo in a rifle such as thus Uberti in 45 Colt would make a nice pest gun.
Liberty Ammunition Civil Defense Ammo in a rifle such as thus Uberti in 45 Colt would make a nice pest gun.

LOAD                 .45 Colt BULLET                   VELOCITY                   COMMENT

78 gr handgun         Redhawk 4”                           1908                                    high es

78 gr rifle                  Rossi 20”                             2355.4                                  high es

78 gr rifle                 Uberti 18”                              2365.5                                 decent

A Windham rifle 223 with a 16” barrel was tested with the Liberty 55 grain load. That would be typical with such a short barrel. The bullet is a silver colored HP. It shows what 4” of barrel can do to increase velocity. Such a difference is common with high performing ammo.

LOAD                 .223 BULLET                   VELOCITY                   COMMENT

55 grain                      223 16″                               2945                                       OK

55 grain                      223 20″                             3248.12                                nice load

Liberty Ammunition Civil Defense Ammo Last Words

Liberty ammo has an interesting concept by using such light weight bullets at high velocities. It cuts down on the recoil and damage caused by the bullet is greater when propelled at such speeds. Even if it doesn’t expand, damage will be greater due to the speed tissue displacement. While not a new idea it is something to seriously consider when shopping for good self-defense ammo. For those who take self-defense seriously I would definitely recommend trying this ammo. While pricey, it won’t deter any serious person from purchasing it. Since most people are not going to buy a large quantity cost should not be a factor in a purchasing decision regarding self-defense ammo.

About Bob Shell:

A Custom Reloader of Obsolete and Antique Ammo, Bob Shell, writes about the subject of Guns, Ammo, Shooting and Related Subjects. For more information,

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Old Curmudgeon

No way would I carry defense ammo that only gets 6 inches penetration in ballistic gel…not enough to reach the vitals of even an average sized man. Add heavy clothing and you reduce penetration even farther. Minimum of 200 rounds needed to test functionality in any semi-auto and it sounds like the price would prohibit that.


6″ penetration is not enough to reach vital organs? If you’re home invaded by a gang of Sumo wrestlers, maybe…

John Glenn

I loaded 5 rounds of Liberty CD .357 into a Taurus 605.
Fired the 5 rounds and tried to eject the cases from the 605.
Stuck tighter than “Dick’s hantband.”
Had to wait about 5 minutes until the shells apparently returned to their original diameter and could be ejected.
I had been firing Federal .38 Spls sans problem. Later tried American Eagle .357 (painful), likewise, no ejection problems.
Taurus said the dun was fine, albeit it did NOT test the weapon until the consitions, or with the ammunition, in which it failed.


“Tighter than Dick’s hatband”… I had a friend who used this phrase often. He was taken from us in the mid 90’s during an assault. I miss him, he was a really good friend, and this was a good memory… thanks!

John Glenn

I several times complained to Liberty — NEVER got a response. Between Liberty & Taurus a shooter is SOL. Taurus said it lacked a contract with Liberty and would not even con tact the ammo maker; I offered to provide 5 rounds but that, too, was unacceptable.
The Taurus is loaded with 5 rds of Liberty; I hope I never need a 6th rd. (But then the Taurus has a 2″ barrel and is suitable for very close range only so 5 rds ought to be sufficient.)

Ben Dover

Which gun was used for the 357 load?
Pont ever gas


Ultra-light, high speed bullets are comparable to pre-fragmented loads like Glaser and Magsafe. An excellent choice for warm weather carry. Heavy winter jackets, sweaters etc. present a problem with penetration and I personally would carry standard weight, high quality hollow points when the snow is falling.


no nothing like glaser and as far as some jacket stopping it they are one of the only non ap ammo to zip right thru not only all soft armor but also goes thru hard plate IIIA like butter as well. Sorry but if thats bad penetration then I do ot know what good pen is. This ammo also has the highest ME of any ammo for 9mm 10mm Damage is estimated by energy retardation rate over distance. 12-14 inch for that much ME with 6 separate damage paths cutting at the same time you have max stretch cavity expansion… Read more »

John Miles

Ballistic gel tests show twelve inches penetration with most loads. They tend to blow up quick, but the base becomes a disc that continues to penetrate with an awesome wound channel. Sort of the best of both worlds. They blow through a ballistic vest like a rifle. I shoot them in my 38 Special, 9MM, & 40 S&W. What this guy didn’t mention is they are loud and have a bright flash. I have had no jams and have shot about 500 rounds in my S&W 40 Compact.


‘Bright flash’ is very bad in a self defense round, and with today’s know-how there is little or no reason to settle for it. Perhaps steps have been taken to mitigate the flash now, production is about a year older. I would not buy it for my daughter without knowing it has been corrected, however.

Stan Kuciejski

Sounds like you have developed a cartridge for true defensive protection!

JorgeNorberto Pedace