Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Ruger ARX 9mm +P Ammunition Test and Review

This is my second test of the Ruger ARX ammunition produced under license by POLYCASE Ammunition.  My first test was run on the 380 Auto ARX and I would encourage you to link over to that review if you wish to know more about the ARX bullets and their unique bullet shape that enhances hydraulic displacement as the bullet plows through the gel test media.  My previous test of the Ruger ARX 380 Auto can be found HERE.

Coming out of the ARX 380 Auto test, I was thinking to myself that the 9mm +P ARX might be a great ammunition choice for the Ruger LCR 9mm revolver.  The short barrel on the LCR revolver doesn't build velocity the way a longer barrel can.  To date, I've only found one jacked hollow point ammunition that will reliably expand when tested from the LCR revolver.  My gut told me that the 9mm +P ARX would be a decent performer in the LCR 9mm revolver.  I just needed to get out on the range and get it tested.

Test Pistol:

Test Protocol:
Step 1)  Measure and record temperature and relative humidity.
Step 2)  Run a 5 shot velocity average over a ProChrono Digital Chronograph at a distance of 10 feet.
Step 3)  Run various terminal test shots, with and without simulated clothing barriers, into a block of Clear Ballistics Gel that has a similar density to 10% ordnance gelatin.  Shot distance is 10 feet.
Step 4)  Run a 600 fps calibration test bb shot into the Clear Ballistics gel block and record penetration depth to verify density.

Test Results:

Video Documentation of the Entire Test from Range to Bullet Recovery:

Direct Link to Video on YouTube

My Thoughts on This Load:
Man, I love it when my gut steers me right.  As it turns out, the Ruger ARX 9mm +P performed exceptionally well in this test.  Hitting all the marks I look for on penetration across all test scenarios.  The video didn't cover this, but I do want to mention that felt recoil from the ARX is about 10 to 20 percent less (as felt by me) than shooting my chosen 9mm 124 grain +P load in the test revolver. With those little bantam grips installed on the LCR, any recoil reduction is welcomed as long as the ammunition performs on par with traditional jacketed hollow point bullet designs.

For those that may consider this ammunition for use in your revolver, I can also report that bullet pull or crimp jumping is negligible. To test this I loaded a 5 shot moon clip with three rounds of ARX and  two rounds of Golden Saber +P 124 grain.  I fired 4 rounds from the revolver and measured the last remaining ARX round.  The overall cartridge length had increased from 1.147 to 1.149.  As I suspected, there wasn't enough bullet movement to worry about it.

For those concerned that the tested velocity was 100 feet per second less than the 1445 specified by the ammunition manufacturer, I think it's fair to assume their test firearm wasn't a revolver with a 1.875 inch barrel.  I expected to see less velocity in this test, but what I found interesting is that the ARX generates nearly identical impact energy as the 9mm +P 124 grain JHP ammunition I typically use in this revolver.

Pick or Pan:
I will certainly use Ruger ARX in my LCR 9mm revolver.  In this test it has shown it will penetrate to the desired depth, without the risk of over penetration that exists when traditional jacketed hollow point bullets plug with fabric and fail to expand.  The small reduction in felt recoil over my usual ammunition is a secondary benefit that also entices me to use ARX.  For now, the ammunition is generally available at prices comparable to other premium self-defense ammunition options.      

Disclaimer....This test should not be considered an endorsement or recommendation for the product(s) tested.  All tests represent actual performance in ballistics testing media.  Terminal performance in all other media will show different results.  It is up to each individual to make their own personal decision on which specific ammunition to use for their needs.  It's also critically important to test any ammo in YOUR SPECIFIC FIREARM before relying on it for any purpose.

Ammunition labeled as +P or +P+ should only be used in firearms that have been certified by the manufacturer as safe for the additional pressures generated by these ammunition types.