Monday, April 2, 2012

Testing Double Tap 380 AUTO 95 Grain JHP

I really don't know much background on Double Tap Ammunition.  I believe they they started out loading 10mm ammo that were full power loads, while many of the mainstream ammo companies had turned down the heat of the 10mm to make milder shooting loads.  At least that's what I remembered reading about them.  Over time, their product catalog increased in size and breadth with loads now available for the .32 H&R Magnum up through .50 BMG. There are two other things I know about Double Tap from my limited usage of their products.  The first is it's very expensive ammo.  The second thing is that there is no other standard pressure .380 loading that can come close to matching the velocity of the Double Tap 95 grain FMJ and JHP loadings.  Last July, I tested dozens of different 380 rounds for velocity in a few different pistols.  You can read about that testing HERE.  The only loads that achieved higher velocities were designated by their makers as "+P".  When my testing was complete, I was often asked which load I opted to carry.  I honestly admitted that I was going to carry Double Tap 95 grain FMJ and JHP until my supply ran out and then I would re-evaluate my choice of 380 carry ammo.

In the back of my mind, I always wondered how the 380 JHP load would perform in a terminal ballistics test.  Being faster and heavier than the rest of the field, I was hoping for good expansion AND deep penetration.  I finally had the chance to test it out last weekend.

If you follow my blog and my tests, you know my testing process.  If you are not familiar, please view the video as it includes footage from the range and also footage from the bench where I extract the captured bullets from the SIM-TEST ballistics media.  My testing process is pretty simple.  I take two shots at a SIM-TEST block that is loosely draped with 2 layers of medium weight denim.  I take the shots from 8 feet away and impact velocity is measured 8 inches away from the SIM-TEST block.  This testing was done with a Kahr P380 with a 2.53" barrel.

The captured bullets were recovered, cleaned, weighed, and measured.  All statistics are shown next to the recovered bullets.

My Comments: I was pleased to see that my early testing carried forward in my terminal testing.  Both tested rounds expanded completely and uniformly.  Penetration was consistent with other 95 grain JHP loads I have tested.  I'm looking forward to retesting this load in the future with a calibrated block of ballistics media as I think it will end up being a top performer in the 380 JHP category as fired from sub 3" barrel pistols.  This load has a nice balance of expansion and penetration.

Double Tap is definitely a premium priced ammunition that appears to be worth the purchase price in terminal performance.  The manufacturer also states that Double Tap has "virtually no muzzle flash".  This could be an important factor if you find it necessary to shoot this load in low light conditions.


  1. After years of doubting whether I would ever carry a .380, I recently purchased a Bersa Thunder 380 cc. It's a little bigger than the micro 380s, (closer in size to an LC9), but still much more comfortable to carry than my all steel j-frame. I had been looking for the best .380 acp ammo available, and had narrowed down my choice to Speer Gold Dots & Hornady's Critical Defense. After viewing your tests, the Doubletap offering seems to be the far superior round. Thanks for the review. I plan on picking some up soon to see how the Doubletap feeds and shoots out of my Bersa. After years of being a naysayer, I'm a believer in the .380 now.

    1. Thanks for the comment. I second your high praise for the Bersa Thunder CC. I've had one for several years and really hoped to review it and the Thunder 32 ACP at some point, but have not gotten there yet. One caveat on this test. Please check with DoubleTap and find out of they are still using the Montana Gold bullets. This box was purchased during the ammo drought prior to this one so components may have changed over the years.