Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Dynamic Research Technology DRT 9mm 85 Grain Pentrating Frangible HP

I'd like to thank Nathan at Dynamic Research Technologies for providing the ammunition used in this test.

If you follow the blog, you might remember the DRT 380 test I conducted earlier this year.  I encourage you to take a look at the previous test results since I will be referencing the previous test as I recap the test results with the DRT 9mm.

Dynamic Research Technologies has developed a bullet technology centered around a compressed powder core enclosed in a copper jacket.  The bullet design allows it to fragment into powder when striking a hard object.  This minimizes the chance of bullet ricochet.  The bullet also fragments and penetrates when striking soft objects.  The fragmentation in soft targets minimizes the risk of the bullet passing completely through the target.   

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 test shot through 4 layers of 14 oz/yard heavy-weight denim.  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.

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

My Thoughts on This Load:
For me, the most interesting part of this test was seeing the difference in terminal performance between our initial bare gel 380 test and this simulated heavy clothing 9mm test.  Since it initially appeared that the same 85 grain bullet is loaded in both the 380 and 9mm cartridges, I was very curious to see what differences an extra 200 feet per second muzzle velocity would make with terminal performance.

In reality, the bullets are of similar weight but actually much different.  The photo below shows two bullets that I pulled from unfired rounds.  The 9mm bullet is on the left and the 380 Auto on the right.  You will notice the absence of skives cut into the 9mm jacket and also the longer overall length.  This leads me to believe the 9mm and 380 bullets have been optimized for their target velocities. 

In the previous 380 test, I actually recovered a large fragment of powder core along with the bullet jacket, which is displayed in the picture below.  In this 9mm test, there wasn't any core left with the bullet jacket.  The extra velocity actually allowed the core to fully fragment and disintegrate.

With the absence of a heavy core component, the 9mm test shot actually penetrated a bit less than the previously tested 380, but appears to have performed exactly as designed.

One other observation was the very light recoil generated by this load.  I rarely notice recoil when conducting tests, but this load was notable for the absence of recoil.

DRT also produces a 105 grain load in 40 S&W and a 150 grain load in 45 AUTO.  Since I started with the smallest and am working up through the largest, I'm very curious to see how the heavier bullets behave.  Perhaps one of the heavier bullets may deliver similar terminal performance, and also penetrate past the magic 12" that so many consider the bare minimum penetration depth in ballistics test media.   

Pick or Pan:
As I mentioned in the video, I would really like to see some real world terminal performance feedback on this load.  Most of the available information is still very much focused on the rifle calibers.  The 9mm load definitely performs as designed with 100% fragmentation and none of the fragments penetrating past 10.25".  I'm willing the bend the 12" penetration guideline with 380 as it is a compromise caliber.  With 9mm and above, 12" to 18" of penetration is expected in controlled terminal performance tests.

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. Very interesting test, thanks for putting this together Bruce, and thanks for using denim with this round. I often have one of these in the pipe when I carry, and it's reassuring to see that this round worked great from a shorter barrel through denim.

    I haven't seen delayed fragmentation with these DRT pistol rounds before, they usually seem to fragment within the first few inches with the base traveling deeper (then again, I have usually seen this tested on bare gel). Tnoutdoors9's test used denim but had a 4" barrel and fragmented pretty quickly. I'm wondering if the shorter barrel combined with the denim can account for the somewhat delayed fragmentation in this test.

    I'll be looking forward to the .40 and possibly .45 tests, thanks again Bruce!

  2. Still fails the FBI protocols for penetration...just don't believe it will stand the test of "real-world" shootings...give me the newest Winchester Ranger, Bonded SXT in 9mm 147gr any day...proven stopping power since the mid 90's, in hundreds of L/E shootings.

  3. According to DRT website these are supposed to delay fragmentation about 2" into the target and then expand. Which judging by the video it did just that!