Ruger ARX Ammunition by Polycase Provides a Real Bang for Your Buck

by Dr. Jim and Mary Clary
Dr Jim reviews the Ruger ARX Ammunition by Polycase.

Ruger ARX Ammunition by Polycase in 9mm Luger
Ruger ARX Ammunition by Polycase in 9mm Luger
Jim Clary
Jim Clary

USA -( We received our allotment of Ruger ARX ammo (.45 ACP & 9mm Luger +P) last Spring for testing, but we were so busy with other reviews that we did not get around to it until now.

In actuality, that is probably better for all concerned. The dust has settled after the initial introduction of ARX, other writers and editors have had their say, and we now get the last word.

Polycase ARX was designed to be the ultimate self-defense ammunition for home and law enforcement.

ARX ammo uses a lightweight, non-expanding, copper-polymer matrix bullet with unique scallops that are intended to maximize stopping power.

Ruger ARX Ammunition

The lower than normal sectional density (SD) of the lightweight ARX bullet decreases penetration compared to heavier for caliber, non-expanding bullets (FMJ, hard lead or solid copper).

This reduces the potential for collateral damage due to over-penetration when compared to conventional non-expanding bullets. However, compared to typical JHP expanding bullets, ARX bullets exhibit increased penetration.

Tests in 10 percent ordnance gelatin confirmed that penetration was 10 percent to 50 percent greater than selected JHP ammo.

The following table illustrates the penetration results with five Ruger ARX cartridges:

Ruger ARX Ammunition Penetration Table
Ruger ARX Ammunition Penetration Table

Rather than trying to paraphrase the specifics surrounding the Ruger ARX Ammunition, the following statement is from the ballistic engineers who designed and tested it:

“The non-expanding ARX bullet exploits the bullet’s forward velocity to redirect energy laterally via flutes in the bullet ogive. This unique profile transfers maximum energy to its target through a fluid dynamic effect. The result is a bullet with stopping power and terminal performance that rivals many expanding handgun bullets.”

One of the first things we noticed while testing the Ruger ARX Ammunition was the reduced recoil of the .45 ACP and 9mm rounds we were firing.

This reduced recoil allowed us to get back on target faster than when using conventional rounds.

How much less, we could not say, but a factory engineer was able to measure a reduction of 15 to 35 percent less recoil, on average.

Ruger ARX Ammunition Recoil Table

ARX Recoil Table
ARX Recoil Table

Maximum energy transfer and lower recoil are great, but if the accuracy is not there, what’s the value? As with all of our tests involving pistol ammunition, we did our shooting at 25 yards, using the Caldwell Pistolero Handgun Rest.

To achieve the following results, we fired multiple five-shot groups for record. Our 9x19mm test gun was a Springfield Model XD-9 and our .45 ACP test gun was a Colt Gold Cup Series 80 MK IV.

  • 9mm Luger +P, 80 grain ARX, MV 1,445 fps, ME 385 ft. lbs.: Smallest group 1.12 in.; Largest group 1.50 in.; Average group size = 1.35 in.
  • .45 ACP, 118 grain ARX, MV 1,307 fps, ME 448 ft. lbs.: Smallest group 1.25 in.; Largest group 1.75 in.; Average group size = 1.55 in.

Ruger ARX PolyCase Round

Ruger Polycase ARX Ammunition
Ruger Polycase ARX Ammunition

This is excellent accuracy for self-defense handgun ammunition. The Ruger ARX Ammunition is not only very accurate, it appears likely to maximize energy transfer and minimize potential collateral damage in close quarters combat, especially when compared to ammo loaded with conventional non-expanding bullets.

However, due to its lighter than normal bullets and higher than normal velocity, ARX loads are unlikely to shoot to the same point of impact as conventional ammunition.

If you decide to adopt AXR ammo as your service ammunition, you will probably need to re-sight your handgun.

This should not be a problem if your gun has fully adjustable sights, but it is likely to be a problem if you are using fixed sights that do not incorporate elevation adjustment.

Polycase Inceptor Sport Utility Ammo

Polycase Inceptor Sport Utility Ammo
Polycase Inceptor Sport Utility Ammo

Ruger/PolyCase ARX is too pricey for most shooters to use for routine target practice or plinking. For routine target practice, Polycase offers its Inceptor Sport Utility Ammo.

This ammunition is ballistically matched with equivalent ARX loads and it is priced competitively with conventional FMJ cartridges.

Inceptor ammo is designed for training purposes and offers high frangibility against hardened steel targets. This allows it to be incorporated into close quarters drills using steel targets.


About Jim and Mary Clary:

Jim and Mary Clary have co-authored over three hundred and fifty articles, (and counting) on shooting and hunting. You can read many of them on AmmoLand News.

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Kenneth Dougherty

I’ve used the ARX .45 ACP in three different 45’s that I own. It feeds reliably in all three. But that’s only 20 rounds per pistol. I have no reason to think it wouldn’t continue to be reliable just by the shape. My Colt Gold Cup 1911 liked it. As did my Ruger P90 and Glock Model 30 Gen 4. To judge recoil I used my Glock because it holds ten rounds in the mag. I used Blazer 230 grain, CorBon 165 grain powerball and the ARX. I loaded the clip so it shot a Blazer, then Powerball then the… Read more »


I did extensive testing of these bullets in reloading. Since there was no data available for reloads, I had to work up my own specs using Hodgdon CFE Pistol powder. I essentially ended up with a +P load because of the physics of using a light projectile. Anything less would not properly cycle in my Ruger SR9C. I’ve fired hundreds without a hitch. And impact in a jug of water is very impressive. Do not shoot at close range or you’ll get wet!


Right on, Ken! I can attest to what you’ve experienced. The muzzle report is a little louder and the recoil a tad less. But there is joy in carrying less weight around all day. And at the end of the day, let’s be accurate and stay proficient.


I have run many boxes of the original 74 grain 9 mm and 80 + p, 65+p grains through my 17 and 19 Glocks along with my Sig p320 sub. and full size with no problems. This ammo on my guns was very accurate and hit POA and no adj. needed on any of them. I carry this in all my guns.


Wow, I was thinking of trying this ammo because it looked new and interesting. After these reviews, I will stay away from it.

Earl Brake

I was test firing a new Kimber 380 Micro using Polycase Inceptor Sport Utility Ammo, after firing 10 rounds the 11th round was a squib and the bullet stuck in the chamber. I had to take weapon apart and hammer the bullet out. The client that was firing decided that this round was not reliable and would not use it any more.

Voyne Boggs

I’ll just stick with my 185 XTP with minimum powder loads. Get good penetration without going through!

Dave Greer

Thanks for a good article! I have a new Ruger SR9c that I’ve put about 200 rounds of fmj through with no problems until I bought some ARX 9mm +P 65 grain ammo. I attempted to fire 10 rounds through it and the 3rd round didn’t fire-the firing pin depression was shallower in the primer than the other rounds. At the 7th round the casing did not fully eject and stuck in the discharge port so the next round wouldn’t feed. Have you seen any reports of misfires and what may be cause? Ammo or something in the gun?



Some guns – mostly full sized pistols – cannot handle like lighter bullets (65 gr.) because of their short lengths. The feed ramps tend to snag on the edges of the cartridge case due to the gap between the feed ramp on the frame and the feed ramp on the barrel . The shorter overall length of the round also causes it to flip upwards earlier than normal rounds when it exits the feed lips on a magazine. I would think that small, single-stack carry pistols in .380 and 9mm with virtually no gaps in between their feed ramps would… Read more »


Thank you Bob G.,

More frangible? 4-H kids shooting targets at our gun club means what? Dangerous!

Adjusting sights? For self defense? Really!

‘Final word’ is what?

JD hicks

Do not use these rounds if you plan on shooting bullet proof glass, or any hard objects, the bullet will bounce back and hit you or a bystander, believe me it happened to me, I do not use the bullets anylonger.

Bob G

So…. What’s the verdict?

Does this “last word” recommend this ammo for defensive use? Does their testing indicate that this would be a good replacement for my high-quality jhp defensive ammo? You did test the ammo, right?

Technical jargon that we could read at the manufacturer’s own website isn’t necessary to be repeated in this forum.