Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lehigh Defense 9MM 105 Grain Maximum Expansion Test

Late last month I posted a blog about Lehigh Defense ammunition as well as a preliminary test done with 4 layers of denim and some water jugs.  You can read that post HERE.  The post explains how I got my hands on this ammo for testing along with the background on Lehigh Defense.  This post documents my first denim and gel test with the 9mm Maximum Expansion load.

If you follow my blog and my tests, then 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 4 inches away from the SIM-TEST block.  This testing was done with a Glock 27 with a 9mm conversion barrel and a Diamondback DB9.

Test Pistols
Glock 27 with Lone Wolf 9mm Conversion 3.46" Barrel
Diamondback DB9 with 3" Barrel

The recovered bullets, and their corresponding measurements, are shown below.  The results were pretty close to what I expected they would be after my initial denim and water jug test last month.  Even with the short barrels on the pocket sized test pistols, velocities were coming very close to the advertised 1150 fps.  The recovered bullets had fully expanded to more than double their initial diameter and penetration was pretty good for a lighter weight 105 grain bullet.

My Comments: 
This was my first exposure to testing a solid copper hollow point in 9mm.  Overall test results matched up really well with the ammo specifications on the Lehigh Defense web site/web store.  My velocities and penetration depth measures came up a little short of the published specification, but I attribute that to the shorter barrels of the test pistols.  I have no doubt the published specifications would be met and exceeded from a service length (4.5") barrel even with the additional barrier of 2 layers of denim.  Expansion specifications were met even though the recovered rounds show a final expansion measurement less than .82".  As you can see in the photo below, both rounds expanded fully before their petals started to slightly fold back on the bullet base.

Lehigh Defense ammunition is in the super premium price category.  For those looking for super premium expansion performance and good penetration performance, from a standard pressure 9mm load, this ammo is worth a look.    

Disclaimer....This test should not be considered an endorsement or recommendation for the product(s) tested. It is up to each individual to make their own personal decision about 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.


  1. Wow, those maximum expansion bullets look very scary and I would think that if you didn't have an airtight case of self-defense that their destructive nature could go against you. But I can hardly afford range ammo and will not be buying any. I'm wondering if a drop of curare on a cheap bullet would be just deadly...

    1. Hey Bob. I can't and won't comment on the "lethality" of any ammo I test. Too many variables come into play. I just try to offer an apples to apples test across several brands/varieties so the readers can take the decision making process from there. With that said, they do expand pretty well.

    2. Pump a couple of these into a bad guy's groin area and I would bet he will drop like a bag of dirt. Threat ended.

    3. If you don't have an "airtight" case of self defense you already have a big problem. It wouldn't matter what round you used