Thursday, September 19, 2013

RareAmmo C.O.P. Copper Only Projectiles 380 Auto SCHP Denim and Gel Test

If my memory serves, the Copper Only Projectiles (C.O.P.) line of ammunition from RareAmmo started showing up several places in 2011.  Solid copper hollow points were really starting to catch on and commanding very high prices as compared to traditional hollow point bullets.  The COP line was enticing with a retail price per round that was roughly half of the big name brands.  This was one of my first structured tests I did for the blog so if you want a good chuckle, you can read that post HERE.

These boutique brands seem to recover a bit faster than the big names, so if RareAmmo survived the component shortage I expect we'll be seeing more of this ammunition available soon.  I never did get the chance to test this in gel so consider this a retest with the updated protocol.

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 8 feet.
Step 3)  Run first bare gel test shot into a block of Clear Ballistics Gel that is calibrated to 10% Ordnance Gel density.  Shot distance is 8 feet.
Step 4)  Run second test shot through 4 layers of 14 oz/yard heavy-weight denim.  Shot distance is 8 feet.
Step 5)  Run a 600 fps calibration test bb shot into the Clear Ballistics gel block and record penetration depth.

Test Results:

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

My Thoughts on This Load:
Having tested this previously, I would have been surprised to see good performance in the gel tests.  The bare gel shot did expand much better in this test than it did in the previous water jug test so at least we now know what an expanded bullet looks like.

Ultimately, this load is velocity starved.  Most 380 self defense cartridges develop about 165 to 170 ft./lbs of energy.  Using this as a rough rule of thumb, this load should be generating velocities of 1000 feet per second to generate that energy.  With velocity readings in the low to mid 800's, this simply couldn't perform when fired through the denim barrier.  The bare gel shot did expand, but fell short of what many feel is the minimum 12" penetration depth.

Pick or Pan:
Aside from an exceptionally low price for a solid copper hollow point round, I found nothing else to like about this load.  It simply didn't perform to expectations due to exceptionally low velocity.

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.


  1. It's quite obvious you don't like this round, but IMHO there are other factors to consider. #1 your test gun is slightly shorter than a P238 or a Kimber Micro CDP. It may puff a little more energy, say 10% #2 accuracy and #3 speed of target acquisition after the first shot (lighter recoil will allow you to do this faster) #4 there is something to be said for practicing with the same ammo that you carry... (cheaper ammo helps with that)

    1. I don't like the terminal performance as compared to other rounds tested from the same pistol using the same test protocol. It's not that I don't like the round, brand, or company that makes it. To your point, I do like the price as I too am a fan of practicing with your carry ammo.