Testing 9mm Ammunition for Serious Purposes


Testing 9mm Ammunition for Serious Purposes
Testing 9mm Ammunition for Serious Purposes

Ft Collins, CO –-(Ammoland.com)- Ammunition performance:

In Pensylvania last weekend, during a DTI Urban Rifle Course, we had the opportunity to test the terminal performance of high-performance pistol ammunition on blocks of ten-percent gelatin.

My long-time friend, Mike Shovel, currently the sales manager for Cor-Bon, made all this possible.

Mike has been in the serious ammunition business longer than nearly any of my other friends and has forgotten more about the subject than I’ll ever likely know.

When Mike talks, I listen.

Gelatin, as a ballistic test-medium, or “human tissue ‘simulant’” is undoubtedly not without critics.

Homogeneous (and mostly transparent), “ballistic” gelatin may be useful for comparing various brands of serious ammunition, and it is probably as close to “reality” as we’re likely to get, but its “predictive ability” is far from universally acknowledged.

Thus, we need to be cautious about making sweeping conclusions, derived solely from gelatin data.

Still, I test ammunition in gelatin every chance I get.

I test ammunition in gelatin every chance I get. File Photo
Lehigh Defense 300 Blackout Whisper Bullet 10% Ordnance Gelatin Shot

FBI testing protocol correctly requires that bullets first penetrate “normal” clothing before entering the gelatin block itself. “Normal clothing” is usually defined as four layers of substantial denim, as one would typically find in denim work pants.

That fabric “barrier” is significant! I’ve witnessed more than one high-performance hollow-point bullet monotonously expand “by-the-book” when penetrating bare gelatin, but perform significantly less well, and with far less consistency, when penetrating fabric barriers first.

Under these conditions, I like bullets that reproducibly penetrate twelve to eighteen inches of gelatin (FBI Standard), but many of my colleagues believe nine to fifteen inches of penetration represents a more delineative standard, particularly for personal defense.

A persuasive argument can be made either way.

Out of my SIG 320 (9mm), with its 3 and 5/8 inch barrel, we tested:

These four turned-in superior performance, expanding consistently/symmetrically (with the exception of Lehigh’s FTM bullet) and penetrating to a uniform fifteen inches. Cavitation in the gelatin between the four was essentially identical.

Tissue destruction is accomplished via bullet expansion and jagged frontal area (after expansion) with conventional hollow-point bullets. Something similar is accomplished via plasma jets created by Lehigh’s FTM bullet (which does not change shape) as it passes through tissue.

In any event, between the four, I was able to see no difference in shape, nor appearance, of wound channels. Velocity variation between rounds, with all four, was small, less than 30f/s, indicating excellent quality control during manufacture. Super Vel’s velocity was the most consistent, but all were very acceptable.

My conclusion is that any of the above four represents as good a performance as we are ever likely to see from serious pistol ammunition, from serious carry-pistols.

  • Poor performance was turned-in by Federal Hydra-Shok, 124gr. Expansion was generally incomplete and consistently inconsistent.
  • Federal is a fine company, and their quality control is probably the best in the business, but the Hydra-Shok round, while still in production, represents a dated technology and is mostly obsolete, in my opinion.
  • Federal’s 124gr HST represents a much better choice!
  • Hornady’s 124gr Critical Duty also represents a good choice

The preceding is, of course, my observation and my opinion. When you carry a 9mm pistol, I can comfortably recommend any of the rounds I mentioned favorably.

I should add that ammunition from companies I did not mention, like Underwood, Gorilla, and Black Hills also enjoy good reputations.

Eventually, I’ll test them all!


Defense Training International, Inc

About John Farnam & Defense Training International, Inc
As a defensive weapons and tactics instructor John Farnam will urge you, based on your own beliefs, to make up your mind in advance as to what you would do when faced with an imminent lethal threat. You should, of course, also decide what preparations you should make in advance if any. Defense Training International wants to make sure that their students fully understand the physical, legal, psychological, and societal consequences of their actions or in-actions.

It is our duty to make you aware of certain unpleasant physical realities intrinsic to the Planet Earth. Mr. Farnam is happy to be your counselor and advisor. Visit: www.defense-training.com

  • 28 thoughts on “Testing 9mm Ammunition for Serious Purposes

    1. All good points . last point , I would rather have a Gun in my Hand then a cop on the phone = no matter what ammo , Federal 124 gr HST +P

    2. Practice, Practice, Practice, The Most Expensive Round You Shoot Will Do No Good Unless It Hits It’s Target !

      1. Agree, but simply shooting at paper targets is only slightly better. Check out training classes at local ranges and regularly take them to progressively increase your skills, step up your fundamentals of putting rounds on target UNDER TIME, and, more than anything else, CLEARLY UNDERSTAND THE LEGAL RESPONSIBILIIES OF USING DEADLY FORCE. If you don’t have legal representation on call (USCCA, FLP, etc), you are asking for trouble – and the necessity for this is independent of whether your shooting is ultimately justified or not.. Responsibility goes well beyond shooting at paper targets.

    3. Quality control is.lacking in most of the major manufacturing companies. In the last year I have had a Federal match round that would NOT chamber due to the brass casing being too long. Also had that same problem with a Remington .45 round. These were both rounds of ammunition that had been issued to me as a Federal law enforcement agent. If you want TRUE quality control look at Black Hills Ammo. I took a tour through their inspection area a while back. Each and EVERY round is hand inspected and checked in chamber gauges to insure that they WILL chamber in your weapon.

    4. The first rule of a gunfight: HAVE A GUN! Second rule: PRACTICE WITH THAT GUN! Shot placement is everything. I saw it many times while working as a Peace Officer in SoCal for over thirty years. The one sure way to drop your target is use the: “CENTER OF FACE” technique first proposed by Gabriel Suarez. This was brought out after the North Hollywood bank robbery shoot out with the two thugs armed with AK’s who took on quite a few of the LAPD. This was back in the 1990’s. Practice. Practice. Practice.

    5. I’m NOT a fan of Federal ammunition at all. Quality control seems poor. So poor, that they seem to be selling mostly rejects from an assembly line intended for someone other than us common folk. Perhaps their quality control is very very good, and someone is getting the stuff that isn’t rejected by their excellent quality control, and the common folk get all the rejects, eh? But your use of the term “obsolete” is maybe not so correct. After all, criminals are still made the same old way, so the projectile still works the same old way. I’m NOT saying there haven’t been improvements, but that hydra-shok bullet still performs the same way it always did, although I prefer the 147g projectile. I’ve stopped buying Federal ammunition though . . . . . . .

    6. What a bunch of bullshit. Farnam needs to stay in his lane; whatever lane that is. Using the term “plasma jets” just points out how badly he is trying to sell something. Having tested many thousands of bullets I have a good understanding of how terminal ballistics works and how to make happen what you want to make happen. You want to know what screws up expansion comparisons; body fat. Try this experiment: take a jug, or jugs, of water and check a bullet’s expansion. Then repeat the experiment except this time put a quarter cup of oil in the water and shake it up before firing the bullet into it. Terminal ballistics is an interesting and rewarding endeavor.

    7. A lot of this newfangled ammo, especially police ammo, is not designed to kill… it is designed to keep people alive by ventilation (ask the Feds).. a lot of police officers are having to fire multiple shots with this so-called controlled expansion ammo.. if you want good ammo for defense use a hunting round or old school Cop load.. look back in time at some of the ammo with real street credibility.. I hear a bunch of talk about how bple 9mm +p+ doesn’t perform well in jello…JELLO IS FOR DESSERT!! Ask an old Illinois State Patrol officer, a DeKalb County Georgia Deputy or an old school border patrol officer if it worked.. because you can’t ask the deceased criminals that’s for sure.. some people say the Old Chicago/FBI load 38 Special round is “no good”.. are you kidding!! I don’t think a criminal or violent perp will laugh if he gets shot with it !! Practice.. practice.. practice shot placement and quit overthinking ammo!! And by the way, some of this so-called obsolete ammo has turned cheap.. so you can buy way more of it and even practice with it and not go broke.. and you can even get it in a box of 50 !! omg!!

    8. Go to the market and spend $25.00. Buy a pack of pork ribs and a pork roast. If you want to get real, get a pig torso complete w/ skin, ribs and internals. This is the most realistic test medium I have found. It’s summer now so put a tee shirt around it and start testing. Pig skin, ribs, internals VERY closely duplicates a human body. You might even have enough left for the BBQ. Ballistic gel is expensive, pork isn’t. Ballistic gel IS TEMPERTURE SENSITIVE, pork isn’t.

      Back in the day, the military did tests of every major type of pistol round on cadavers and later on condemned criminals who volunteered. Their findings were/are the larger diameter, heavy weight bullets did the most damage when all else is equal. For the record, the only thing that will reliably knock a man down is a 3″ cannon ball to the hip/femur. Hand gun bullets work by permanent wound cavity, blood loss and vital organ damage.

      In the tests I have done, a large, heavy hollow point at moderate speed does the most damage as far as traditional hollow points go. Simple physics. If per chance the bullet misses bone, the larger diameter bullet has more of a chance compromising arteries and veins as far as blood loss and organ damage goes. You can make a plaster cast of the actual wound to verify this. If you want major organ damage you can over speed the bullet’s design. I learned early that a 180g 44mag loaded with 29.5g of h-110 launches @ 1,935fps out of an 8 3/8″ barrel. Nothing, no one I ever shot with it ever survived and the bullet never exited. Deer, javalina, pigs, elk and yes, urban varmints in far away sandy places. These days a 14 round 45 super with 2 extra mags will handle most anything a hand gun will handle. Think 185g 45 hollow point @ 1,370 f.p.s. This is a 45 super load, not 45 acp. The bullet flys apart starting about the 3/4″ mark and does not exit–ever. If you don’t hand load you might want to look into Glaser safety slugs. This ammunition features a bullet jacket that is filled with #12 shot and caped with a piece of plastic. Think of a contact wound with a light 410 shotgun load. While it MAY be possible to survive a solid torso hit, after seeing the results on live pigs, deer, coyotes and an elk, I doubt it. None of them did. Liberty makes solid copper hollow point fragmenting rounds. I have tested 40 S & W and 45 acp in the above medium. They do indeed fragment as advertised.

      All of this is academic if you can’t place a round on target. If you can’t hit an “A zone” sized target @ 25 yds. at 1 sec per shot–practice till you can. Arm up, carry on.

    9. The thing that really sucks is that a lot of SCUMBAGS didn’t read the ballistic reports and don’t know the have been hit with the best bullet technologist can build. What ever you choose to load your favorite blaster with it’s hard to go wrong. TRAIN/ PRACTICE that’s what really counts

    10. There is all kinds of research data available on ammunition of all types of ammunition available. 90 % of it is very good. Shooting into living flesh is pretty much a thing of the past in America. The only real way that ammunition can really be accurately tested is shoot something that is alive when you shoot it, plain and simple. Unlike the NAZI & Japanese research collected during WW2 we can’t actually shoot living people to see what happens. The down side is ballistic gel has never been alive. The performance is very different. Wet news paper being paper is composed of fiber simmiler to flesh. Wet paper is a lot like live flesh. Human tissue is 7/10 fluid. The real world performance confounds testing regularly. FMJ bullets are very good killers. They enter and exit and like opening two holes in the water jug the blood flows out faster. Lose of blood is what actually kills. The concept of energy dumb into the target sounds good until you understand that pistol bullets don’t pack that much ass to start with. Keeping in mind that the .22LR kills more people accidentally than all of the center fire rounds put together do intentionally. In 45 years of military and lawenforcement, I’ve seen a lot if gunshot wounds. It matters what the bullet hits not what type of bullet it is. Tissue and organ damage cause blood loss that ultimately kills sometime even in surgery. Sometime the blood loss is so rapid it can’t be replaced fast enough. Solid bullets tend to produce this more frequently than do hollow points. The penetrate deeper and can bounce around inside. To sum up. Use what ever ammunition that you like. It’s all the same.

      1. No, it is NOT ‘all the same’. If it was, why are ZERO police departments in the USA issued FMJ ammunition for duty use, which is much cheaper than hollow point rounds? Methinks someone who claims they were in ‘lawenforcement’ (NOT one word, by the way) is full of bilge water. Nice try; no cigar.

    11. Lucky Gunner has done a plethora of testing lots of self-defense type ammunition in most major calibers (380 ACP, 9mm, 40S&W, 45 ACP, 38 SPL, 357 MAG, 357 SIG, and 10mm) from short barrel handguns. Their findings also repeat the same findings you have above as far as the 9mm goes. They don’t really give any opinions on the rounds, they let the tests speak for themselves.


      1. I read that same report and was impressed how thorough it was. It opened my eyes to what was working better than some of the others. Good link.

      2. Their pictures of the rounds that they tested really show a lot more than the numbers. They went the extra mile to give folks a good comparison between the different types of ammo out there. Hard to argue with the pictures of whether the rounds mushroomed or not.

    12. The LeHigh extreme defense screwdrivers is a joke, it only makes cool patterns in gel (not tissue) due the low elastic limit of ballistics gelatin, for the same temporary stretch cavitirs do the same in gel and not tissue. If it actually was doing the same amount of damage/work as a hollow point it would slow down just as much (or accelerates negatively that is. Force = mass * acceleration, for terminal ballistics and car crashes that force is calculated the rate at which an ok biect decelerates) just as much. As it would expending energy to do so, and it cannot violate the laws physics – primarily the law of the conservation of energy. If it was creating a wound like a hollowpoint (via imagnary hydraulic jetting or whatever you want to call it) it would equal resistance as and expanded round to generaye equivalent energy. Also the hydraulic or pneumatic pressure it would have to lose energy. This is why if you shoot a pork shoulder with lehigh screwdrivers you only get a wound no different than a FMJ, as tissue has expinonetially higher elastic limit than gelatin, thus that is why temporary stretch cavities create permanent damage in gel hut not in animal tissue. But anyways if you eant trust your life to FMJ wounds for self defenss, I can’t stop you no matter how ohysics and materials scoences I throw at you.

      1. Very well said, and spot on. Gel isn’t even close to reality. Best way to find out for sure, get some meat and bone. I’ve tried quite a few. I really do like the federal HST. NoI find it open up real quick..which means I might not shoot the neighbors baby if I have an intruder. Hydroshock is as good as a fmj. Hornady critical duty opened, but not much. HST opened huge and dumped all that energy in a short space. If there is something better I can gauntlet test, let me know. I’d love to know a favorite sub round, I’m looking into velocity, sd/bc, mass vs bouncing.
        Glock 19…9mm I’ll see about posting some reality pictures.

        1. Critical Duty needs to be looked at as barrier ammo. FBI testing has shown it’s the most barrier blind ammo. It’s also the most accurate ammo the FBI has ever tested. There are better rounds for soft tissue only. But traditional JHPs suffering problems when going through things like vehicle doors and glass as well as sheet rock.. I won’t detail those “FMJ-creating” issues here but, if you want to learn more about CD, you might want to try and find the Oct 2018 Guns & Ammo issue. Very informative and it’s the reason my 2nd BU mag is always CD, be it 9mm, .40 cal or 357sig.

      2. It’s interesting that you mention the “screwdriver” aspect of the Lehigh projectiles, and that you say they are “a joke.” I had a similar discussion regarding this on TFB about a year ago. I tested out what a rapidly spinning Phillips screwdriver head does when it contacts animal tissue and fluids. The results were . . . interesting.


        What it appears to me, based on my understanding of physics and fluid dynamics, as well as my observations of the wounds, is that the forward momentum of the round is transferred by the flutes to the medium through which it travels, the same way a propeller would fling water out of the way—or anything that is caught by them rotating at about 50,000–100,000 rpm.

        I simulated this once by taking a very high-speed motor from a very powerful vacuum cleaner and attaching a Phillips head screwdriver bit to the motor’s shaft. It was probably 20,000 rpm in that configuration, and I dumped a cup of chicken bone pieces, guts, and that Jello-like collagen-rich goop onto the point of the screwdriver. Little pieces and jets of meat flew off of it when the flutes on the screwdriver bit caught them, hard enough to embed bone chips and even meat into the heavy wood boards and inch-thick acrylic that I was using as a splatter shield. Imagine it as a little propeller; what happens if you throw a handful of pebbles into a fan blade? Or spray water on it? It gets flung out to the sides at a high speed. Same thing happens with the flutes on these projectiles, only much, much faster.

        Now, imagine something spinning 2 to 5 times faster than that, traveling through flesh and fluids and bone at 1,000+ fps, and flinging the material that it is chewing up at those speeds. The surrounding tissue is going to be cut, disrupted, and shredded by even liquid traveling that fast, to say nothing of hard bits of cartilage, sharp bone fragments, and other pieces of fast-moving tissue.

        The reason they don’t over penetrate like a FMJ or other non-expanding round is that because the projectile is not being continually spun by a motor or some other source of rotational power, the forward momentum is rapidly converted to horizontal, rotational force that the flutes transfer to the fluid and flesh around it, which slows it down very quickly. The larger the flutes, the faster the transfer of energy, which is why the Xtreme Defenders don’t penetrate as deeply as the Xtreme Penetrators; the former has larger flutes and a lighter projectile, while the latter have a heavier projectile and smaller flutes. The Xtreme Hunters have larger flutes but a heavier bullet, so it penetrates somewhere between the two in terms of depth, I have found.

        And the more solid/thicker/denser the medium through which the rounds travel, the harder it is going to be for those blades to turn, and the faster the projectile will slow down.

        In meat and bone, that’s pretty quick, but there is a LOT of damage done from all of that rotational energy being transferred to the medium (a body) in which it is traveling terminally.

        I have also tested the Underwood loadings of the Lehigh Xtreme (Defender, Penetrator, Hunter) in whole hog carcasses that weighed from between 150 to 200 pounds, alongside just about every “industry standard” self-defense ammunition, between 2015 and early 2018. Additionally, another individual on a Disqus board had done some separate testing, with pork ribs and ballistic gel, along with layers of denim. The results were also quite interesting. I’ll cut and paste the information I discussed in those other forums, as well as what the other individual sent me of the data from his own testing.

        You might find the results . . . interesting.

        I’ve shot .380, 9mm, .40 S&W, 9×25 Dillon, 10mm, .45, and .460 Rowland in whatever versions of the XD/XP/XH rounds from Underwood are available for each caliber, into fresh hog carcasses, alongside the usual JHP suspects such as Ranger-T, Gold Dots, XTP, Bonded JHP, HST, hard cast, and soft lead, then dissected the carcasses to check the terminal ballistics and wound channels in flesh.

        Without exception, the Underwood loadings of the Lehigh projectiles do superior damage to soft tissue, vastly superior damage to bone (turning it into shrapnel when it hits, creating numerous secondary wound tracks, and the worst organ damage I have seen handgun rounds inflict. They will do that through heavy clothing, auto glass, car doors, sheet metal, wall material such as wood board and drywall, and even ballistic protective material (up to soft Level IIIA for the 10mm, 9×25, and .460 Rowland). The faster these type of projectiles are driven, the more effective they are and the greater the wounding mechanism that this type of round delivers. Compared to Lehigh’s loadings, the Underwood versions are far superior due to the greater velocities that Underwood loads them to (and I have chrono-ed all of them, to faster than listed on the boxes in many instances). So, go with the +P or +P+ loadings if they are available.

        Additionally, I have never had a pass-through on the pig carcasses with even the Xtreme Penetrators, except in the 9×25 occasionally and the .460 Rowland (which blow through with unbelievable damage), which I use as my field rounds that I would employ against bear or other large predators, where deep penetration is vital.

        The only hollow point that seems to match it is the Underwood loadings of the Maximum Expansion all-copper hollow points, whether in .380, 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45. Those are superior in barrier penetration to any traditional JHP that I have tested, and how they expand into four razor sharp “fan-blades” slices and disrupts tissue amazingly.

        Also, I have tested these against the ARX rounds, and while those are decent, they don’t have nearly the barrier blindness or structural tissue damage capabilities that Underwood’s Lehigh Xtreme loadings do.

        I know what these will do in actual tissue, so in the unfortunate necessity of needing to use them to protect myself, I carry .40, 10mm, and .460 Rowland as my EDC ammunition, depending on if I am in urban or field settings, and I am more than confident that anything that I shoot with them will receive the most effective self-defense round I can acquire.

        I don’t have any affiliation with Underwood or Lehigh, by the way. I’m just an ex-military/tactical security guy who also happens to have worked in research fields for many years, and I thoroughly test anything that I use for important purposes, and I can think of nothing more vital than protecting me and my own. So you better believe that I have put these through their paces and they have passed with flying colors.
        * * *
        Law enforcement agencies do not have the wherewithal or inclination to do the sort of testing in actual flesh targets, such as the pig carcasses that I described in my reply to JohnnyG’s comment, not to mention that such testing is not considered to be politically correct these days.

        I’ve shot literally hundreds of the Xtreme rounds of all variations into fresh pig carcasses, and did so alongside the “industry standard” self-defense JHP rounds, and then cut open the carcasses to examine and compare the wound tracks and terminal ballistics. The Xtreme rounds produce more damage in flesh than any of the “tried and true” JHPs, and they are vastly more barrier blind.

        Quite frankly, my testing is superior to that which law enforcement might do, because I have the resources and lack of accountability to pursue it.
        * * *
        I actually only started using them the past few years. I was doing some work with a tactical security/military contractor organization, and came across the Lehighs and Underwood loadings doing research for them for a barrier-blind carry loading. I told them what I needed for testing and then did an extensive series of evals and experiments, and the Lehigh/Underwoods came out on top in real-world conditions.

        It’s also how I know they will work “in the field” because the folks I did the testing for currently use them, and the results are impressive and effective.

        As for my screwdriver experiment, I’m an empricist, so I wanted to see just how the mechanism worked in theory. I have a pretty well-stocked workshop, and I can get access to pretty much any materials I need, so I approximated the cross-tip profile of the Lehigh projectiles and did some rotational calculations, and tried to find the fastest motor I could get a hold of. Even with the conservative rotational rate of 20,000 rpm that the vacuum motor produced, the spin-off achieved some pretty impressive velocity and damage. I also tested it with a pork shoulder next to the spinning Phillips bit and the bone and meat shrapnel embedded into it surprisingly deep.

        So, imagine what something going potentially over 100,000 rpm will do, with flutes that are designed to maximize the rotational energy transfer in a ballistic application.
        Why is it people say Extreme Defender won’t produce the same results in gel or Paul Harrel’s fruit torsos as it would in human flesh. I have first hand experience testing it in flesh. You should see the wound tracks in the wild boars I’ve shot with the 40 and 45 rounds. They have tougher skin, ribs and internals than humans do and have massive cavitation. Wound tracks in the boars are typically larger than the gel tracks. Critical Duty in 40 cal in wild boar only opened up a 0.73” diameter wound track while the 45 only opened up 0.79” diameter wound track. Both critical duty rounds in 40 and 45 only went 8-11 inches from 10 ft away. Likewise in Alaska I’m seeing more and more hunters carrying Underwood Extreme Hunter rounds in there 357mag and 44mag sidearms as backup. My brother in law in central Ca shoots coyote every week on his ranch with his rifle. When my family stayed on the ranch this summer and we used the coyotes as testing mediums for 380 and 9mm with Extreme Defenders. Almost identical results as the gel however the tracks were slightly bigger in the coyotes with the 9mm while the 380 tracks were the same as my gel tests.

        I’ve tested these rounds extensively. Here are my test results. I’ve spent thousands of dollars and over 50 hours testing 30 of the top rated defensive ammo in 3 major calibers. Below I’ve posted the top 6 defensive rounds in each caliber from best to least. Notice Even though I tested Hornady critical duty, it did not make my top 6 results in any of my test calibers.

        Medium used: 3 layers denim, pork ribs, FBI water based gel block. Fired out of 3.6″ barrel.

        Depth = length of total wound track

        exp = represents wound channel diameter.

        vel = muzzle Velocity

        ftlbs = foot pounds of energy

        Underwood 120 gr Extreme Defender +P
        Depth 16.7″ exp 3.6″ vel 1,409 ftlbs 532

        Winchester 230 gr Ranger T-Series +P
        Depth 14.5″ exp .99″ vel 904 ftlbs 495

        Federal 230 gr Tactical Bonded +P
        Depth 14.6″ exp .86″ vel 887 ftlbs 460

        Winchester 230 gr Ranger T-Series
        Depth 14.5″ exp 1.0″ vel 900 ftlbs 400

        Remington 185 gr Golden Saber +P
        Depth 15.5″ exp .75″ vel 1019 ftlbs 534

        Federal 230 gr HST +P
        Depth 14.9″ exp .79″ vel 844 ftlbs 461

        Underwood 115 gr Extreme Defender
        Depth 17.9″ exp 3.2″ vel 1,404 ftlbs 499

        Winchester 165 gr Ranger T-Series
        Depth 21.0″ exp .67″ vel 1071 ftlbs 476

        Remington 180 gr BJHP Ultimate Defense
        Depth 15.9″ exp .79″ vel 977 ftlbs 415

        Federal 180 gr HST
        Depth 18.5″ exp .72″ vel 964 ftlbs 408

        Winchester 180 gr Defender
        Depth 16.5″ exp .71″ vel 995 ftlbs 375

        Winchester 180 gr Ranger Bonded
        Depth 16.9″ exp .72″ vel 930 ftlbs 388

        Underwood 90 gr Extreme Defender
        Depth 15.9″ exp 2.6″ vel 1463 ftlbs 421

        Remington 124 gr Golden Saber +P
        Depth 16.2″ exp .66″ vel 1170 ftlbs 384

        Federal 124 gr HST +P
        Depth 15.4″ exp .66″ vel 1168 ftlbs 363

        Federal 124 gr HST
        Depth 14.3″ exp .61″ vel 1135 ftlbs 364

        Remington 124 gr Golden Saber Blk Blt +P
        Depth 18.3” exp .59″ vel 1121 ftlbs 354
        This other video completely disproves false assumptions that Extreme Defender doesn’t produce the same results in flesh as they do in gel or other test mediums. But of course, some people will watch the video link below and probably continue to tell others this new Extreme Defender round is a gimmick.


        1. The biggest problem with what you said is that the bullets are not spinning and “chewing” things up. Most handgun bullets will not make a full revolution if it passes completely through a human body, thus negating much of the hype about the effect of their “high rotational velocity” many manufacturers and writers lavish upon them. As the poster above brought up, my testing of the Ruger ARX +P at 1,657 fps. average “did no real work.” It produced almost no damage or destruction on water-filled gallon milk jugs. The good hollow points practically blew them apart and only penetrate into, but not through, the 3rd jug for the most part, The ARX and other gimmick rounds will go through 5-7 or MORE.

          1. Actually, you’re absolutely incorrect about the rotations within a target during terminal ballistics. A spinning bullet would “not make a full revolution if it passes through” the distance that represents the distance of the width of a human body, THROUGH A NON- OR MINIMALLY RESISTANT MEDIUM SUCH AS AIR. The reason for that is that the rotation rate will slow down much less quickly than the forward momentum, which will cause multiple rotations during that travel distance as the forward momentum is converted to horizontal force transfer. It’s especially noticeable in this video by Lehigh Defense showing both the Xtreme Penetrator and Defender:


            Note that especially with the Xtreme Penetrator it is visible that there are far more than a just two rotations in the 30″+ inches the projectile travels; it looks like as many as 6 rotations. With the Xtreme Defender, it’s about 3 rotations during 18″ of forward travel. So, you get that “blender” effect, but also a “cutting jet” effect as tissue and fluids (and bone/cartilage fragments creating secondary wound paths if it hits those in actual flesh) are flung off at about 2-3 times the forward velocity of the projectile. The reason that the Defender’s wound channels are so much larger is that the flutes have commensurately more surface area and a steeper pitch, so the energy transfer from forward to horizontal through the flung-off material happens more precipitously. Thus, it decelerates more rapidly and more force is transferred in a shorter amount of time, the same way that hitting a harder object slows you down more quickly during a fall, causing more damage than a slower deceleration would.

            So. from what I observed from close examination of the tissue is that it got both pulverized by the spinning flutes and that tissue got flung off at such high velocities that it served to cause damage to the surrounding tissue that was in its path as it blasted into them.

            It’s really a fantastic use of physics and fluid dynamics as a wounding mechanism, something that happens on a much smaller scale with rotating expanded hollow points (which also “propeller” through tissue and fluid, but don’t redirect their forward momentum horizontally nearly as efficiently as a projectile with hard, specifically shaped surfaces optimized to do so will).

            In any event, if one even marginally understands what it does and why, it’s impossible to deny that it’s very effective and has multiple wounding mechanisms. We haven’t even gotten to talking about the fact that this kind of round, traveling faster than most similar caliber handgun rounds, more effectively causing a hydrostatic shock effect similar to what faster rounds such as rifle bullets will do from sheer velocity when hitting and displacing tissue and fluids in the closed system of the body and circulatory system. Fluids, as you know, are non-compressible, so the more quickly the force is transferred, the greater the effect it will have in shoving blood and elastic tissue out of the way at extremely high speeds.

            Remember, I’ve dissected DOZENS of pig carcasses and directly observed the wound tracks of HUNDREDS of projectiles, in particular the Underwood loadings of the Lehigh Xtreme projectiles. I’d wager to say very few, IF ANY, other people have had that much face-to-face experience with what those projectiles do in actual animal carcasses, not ballistic gel, not “meat targets,” not water jugs, but ACTUAL 150-200 POUND ANIMAL CARCASSES.

            Ultimately, it’s the performance in animal tissue, whether it is a human-sized pig carcass (the best analog to shooting a human body available) or an actual human. Please note that in my previous very long reply, I specifically said . . .

            “It’s also how I know they will work “in the field” because the folks I did the testing for currently use them, and the results are impressive and effective.”

            Let me say directly what that means:

            I have seen the results (on video and photo) of actual humans shot with Xtreme Defender rounds. They were AT LEAST as effective as as any of the rounds I shot into the pig carcasses, and EVERY SINGLE TARGET WAS STOPPED . . . IMMEDIATELY.

            Now, you can try to argue with me, but until you’ve done well over 100 hours of testing and dissection of animal targets to determine the actual terminal ballistics of these, or ANY round (and I’ve done it to just about every round that you can imagine) for that matter, your knowledge on this subject is vastly inferior to mine, and if you opinion differs from my viewpoint, then you’re simply incorrect. No two ways about it.

        2. Thanks for the review. Nice to see the good same results I have seen in other tests for the Remington Golden Saber’s in 185gr .45 acp, my winter EDC and 124gr 9mm, my summer EDC. The bonus with these was stockpiling them when they had the $10 per box rebate a couple of years ago. Nothing like getting 25 high quality defense rounds for $5 a box, 20 cents a round after the rebate w/ free shipping. Cant get .45 FMJ target ammo for that, at least not that I know of. Had a lot of friends and relatives ship them to their addresses so I could stock up and use them to train with also since they were +P’s. I love them. In my Sig Tac ops .45 at 30 ft. a 1″ group or less is a breeze.

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