Thursday, August 29, 2013

Springfield Armory XD-S Safety Recall Issued 8-28-2013


This one really hurts to post, but another pistol I gave a glowing review last Summer is now under safety recall.  Before you freak out, please go to this link and make sure your serial number in included under the recall.  http://www.springfieldrecall.com/

I got one of the early XD-S 45's so I was positive I was included in the recall, but I still checked the website to be sure.  The recall return shipping request form was really simple to fill out and everything I needed to print my return shipping label via FedEx arrived in my email in-box within minutes.  At least they made that part of the process simple.

This is all hearsay at this point, but I understand that it will be late September before I get my XD-S back.  That's going to put a bit of a damper on short barrel 45 Auto terminal testing, but I'll muddle through.  Where did I put that Kahr P45?

For the record, I never had any slam fire incidents during loading or doubling during my hours on the range with my XD-S.  Per the technical bulletin, the potential for these conditions will be remedied by the recall service.

The XD-S has been a favored carry pistol over the last year.  It will be missed and I dearly hope it returns as reliable as it was before it went back.

Magtech First Defense 380 Auto 77 Grain SCHP Denim and Clear Gel Test


Magtech ammunition is made in Brazil by the largest ammunition maker in Latin America.  Magtech ammunition sold in over 50 countries around the globe.  As a supplier of ammunition to both military and civilian markets, Magtech maintains a commitment to producing quality ammunition and innovative new ammunition products.

I've used Magtech ammunition for many years and have always appreciated their reasonable prices and consistent quality.  I was intrigued when I learned they were jumping into the all copper defense ammunition market with their First Defense line of ammunition.  I like the concept of solid copper hollow point bullets, but hate the high prices as compared with more traditional copper jacketed lead core hollow points.  Magtech's First Defense was notably cheaper per round than other solid copper 380 loads available in the market place so I grabbed a box when it was available last year.

Weighing in at 77 grains, this copper hollow point is marginally lighter than other similar 380 loads which all seem to be 80 grains.  Manufacturing quality was exactly what I have come to expect from Magtech.  The First Defense line has also been upgraded with nickel plated brass.

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 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:
I had built up some high expectations for this ammunition after completing the initial chronograph testing.  The velocity seemed to be "about right" to allow the bullets to fully expand and still achieve a reasonable penetration depth based on test results observed in other all copper hollow point terminal tests.  I had my fingers crossed that perhaps this would be the all copper hollow point load that I could afford to shoot for practice and carry for defense.  Unfortunately, expansion was incomplete with the petals expanding to a diameter that was smaller than bullet's starting diameter. 

The limited expansion and light starting weight did keep the bullets from penetrating too deeply and both test shots came to rest between 13.5" and 14". 

Pick or Pan:
The incomplete expansion of this round when tested in my 2.5" barrel has convinced me to consider other ammunition choices.  The additional velocity generated with a longer barrel may allow this round to perform as expected with full expansion.  Those using a full size 380 Auto may want to consider this load. 



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.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

S&W M&P Shield Safety Alert Issued 8-22-2013


Well, it's now official so I better do my part to get the word out.  I hate doing this, but I did review both the 9mm and 40 S&W Shields in the last year and gave them both a thumbs up.  Earlier today I learned that S&W had issued a Consumer Safety Alert on the Shield.  They didn't use the "R" word and the inspection burden falls on the customer.  

Here's the official announcement and inspection process document from the Smith and Wesson website:  http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Category4_750001_750051_791654_-1_757978_757978_image

Per the Alert, you must immediately stop using your Shield and perform the inspection.  I followed both video and written inspection instructions and found them quite easy to follow.

The good news is my Shield isn't affected.  The bad news is that I have to post this blog because others won't be so lucky.

Speer Gold Dot 40 S&W 155 Grain GDHP Denim, Clear Gel, and "Bone" Test


Another big thanks to Richard at Guns, Holsters, and Gear for providing the ammunition for this test.

If you follow the blog, then you've seen several tests of Speer Gold Dot Duty Ammunition as well as their Personal Protection Ammunition.  While we will never know exactly how the two ammunition lines differ, the most obvious difference is in the package size.  Duty Ammunition ships in 50 round boxes and has an item number that starts with 5.  In this case, 53961.  A cartridge of the same caliber and grain weight is also available in the Personal Protection line packed in boxes of 20.  That item number is 23961.  The ammunition used in this test was from the Duty Ammunition line.

The major commonality with the two ammunition lines is the Speer Gold Dot bonded bullet.  Gold Dots have earned a remarkable reputation for reliable terminal performance in various structured testing protocols.  Gold Dots also seem to test well for those of us with a less structured testing protocol.

Since the 155 grain is the lightest bullet in Gold Dot 40 S&W catalog, I opted for a short barrel test.  I thought the lighter bullet, and faster velocity, might be a good match for the 3.1" test barrel.

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 first bare gel test shot into a block of Clear Ballistics Gel that is calibrated to 10% Ordnance Gel density.  Shot distance is 10 feet.
Step 4)  Run second test shot through 4 layers of 14 oz/yard heavy-weight denim.  Shot distance is 10 feet.
Step 5)  Run a third test shot through 4 layers of 14 oz/yard heavy-weight denim and simulated bone block of 1/2" red oak hardwood suspended in Clear Ballistics Gel.  Shot distance is 10 feet.
Run a third test shot through 4 layers of 14 oz/yard heavy-weight denim and simulated bone block of 1/2" red oak hardwood suspended in Clear Ballistics Gel. - See more at: http://mousegunaddict.blogspot.com/#sthash.ZEUI8539.dpuf
Step 6)  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:
This test leaves me feeling conflicted.  I love the performance observed in bare gel and also the denim and fake bone tests.  The denim only test results indicate inconsistent expansion when velocities drop into the low 1100's.  If I had selected a 4" test barrel, I bet the denim only test results would have been different.

Pick or Pan:
Inconsistent performance across all three test scenarios convinced me to look at other ammuntion options for the short barrel Shield.  Speer makes a Gold Dot Short Barrel 180 grain load that has been optimized for short barrel pistols.  While I have yet to test them, they may end up being the best performing Gold Dot load for our short barrel test pistol. 





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.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Hornady Critical Duty 45 Auto +P Four Shot Test with "Bone"


A big Pocket Guns and Gear Thank You! to Richard at Guns, Holsters, and Gear for providing the ammunition used in this test.

Critical Duty is Hornady's newest line of pistol ammunition.  Unlike Critical Defense, the Critical Duty line features a bullet that has been constructed with an "Interlock Band" to help the core and jacket stay together as they penetrate various barriers.  The "Duty" part of the name implies that this line of ammunition was created for the Law Enforcement market for folks that would use this ammunition in their line of duty.  This ammunition line is optimized for pistols with longer or "Duty" length barrels.  The Hornady documentation on this ammunition line states that it will pass the stringent FBI Ammunition Testing Protocol in all available calibers.

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 first bare gel test shot into a block of Clear Ballistics Gel that is calibrated to 10% Ordnance Gel density.  Shot distance is 10 feet.
Step 4)  Run second test shot through 4 layers of 14 oz/yard heavy-weight denim.  Shot distance is 10 feet.
Step 5)  Run a third test shot through 4 layers of 14 oz/yard heavy-weight denim and simulated bone block of 1/2" red oak hardwood suspended in Clear Ballistics Gel.
Step 6)  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:  I left a few of the blooper events in the video this time around just so you can see how things don't always work out perfectly on the range, but usually end up working out fine in the end.




My Thoughts on This Load:
Having previously tested Critical Duty in 9mm +P, 9mm Standard Pressure, and 40 S&W from short test barrels I was really curious to see how this load would behave in a full size duty length pistol.  There were no surprises in the test results as each test shot performed as we've come to expect from Hornady FlexTip hollow point bullets.  Each recovered bullet displayed the modest expansion and deep penetration performance that we've seen in past tests.  Weight retention was excellent, even with the bullet that was shot into our 1/2" thick red oak hardwood block.

The fake bone block was new for this test and you are welcome to view the following video for more background on the test. 

  

Pick or Pan:
One of the nice things about doing multiple shots per test is that you end up with several data points instead of just a snapshot of the performance of a single test bullet.  If the terminal performance of this test box is indicative of the typical performance of this load, I would consider this round a pick for cold weather carry where the chance of encountering significant clothing barriers is greatest.  This also assumes that the firearm used has a barrel length of 4.6" or more.  





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.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

2013 Wishlist Update - DoubleTap Defense 45 Auto DoubleTap Pistol

Earlier tonight I finally took delivery of my DoubleTap Defense 45 Auto Tactical Pocket Pistol.  I've been tracking this one since I first learned about it back in October of 2011.  They actually started shipping several weeks ago, but I held off my purchasing until I could find one a reasonable price. (below mfg. retail)

You can always count on Alan at Remora Holsters to have a holster suitable for what I think may be every pistol ever made.  I've never stumped him with a request he couldn't fill.  The 2A pocket holster was a bit too tight so I used the Remora heat, stretch, and freeze trick to make it a perfect fit.

  
I have to include a few obligatory comparison pictures.  While the DoubleTap is larger than the KelTec P-32, it's now the thinnest pistol I own.



I just had to include this picture.


A full review is in the works.  I've had quite a bit of time to come up with some interesting testing points that I would like to cover that other reviewers may not consider.  I'm really looking forward to getting this one out on the range.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

TANDEMKROSS Game Changer Compensator for Ruger Mk III Threaded Barrels



I discovered TANDEMKROSS at the end of June while attending our local Ruger Rimfire Challenge shoot. One of the items in our swag bag was their +1 magazine base plate for Ruger Mk III 22/45 magazines. I really liked the product and reviewed it here. TANDEMKROSS is based in New Hampshire and has started production of a line of upgrades and accessories for many popular firearms. Their company mission is: "to solve firearm problems that the manufacturers can't or won't, making good guns great!". The current product line features products to improve function, reliability, and general shoot-ability. All TANDEMKROSS products are made in the USA.  They graciously provided the Game Changer compensator tested in this article.

Over the last two weeks I've been working with their Game Changer screw-on compensator for 1/2" x 28 TPI theaded barrels. The TANDEMKROSS website lists this item as suitable for Ruger Mk. III 22/45 threaded barrels.

From the website, the key features of the compensator include:
  • The high quality and specially engineered TANDEMKROSS muzzle brake was designed specifically with the 22 LR cartridge in mind.
  • Made out of high strength T6061 aluminum this brake features strategically placed vents that dramatically reduce recoil.
  • Large openings for easy cleanings.
  • Installs in seconds.
  • 1/2" x 28 TPI (treads per inch)
  • Outside diameter of 0.950"
  • Compensator comes in Black, Gold, and Silver (clear) anodized finishes.
  • I will add that the compensator weighs about 30 grams.  That's about 6 grams less than the steel thread protector Ruger provides.

I've had a compensator on a Ruger Mk. II bull barrel since the 90's, so I'm really familiar with how they work on rimfire pistols.  If you stopped me in the street and asked me to describe how compensators work in 100 words or less, I'd answer as follows:

When you ignite a 22 LR cartridge, the bullet is propelled down the barrel by the expanding gases of the burning powder.  Some of the gases escape the barrel ahead of the bullet, but most of the gases follow the bullet out of the barrel.  A compensator directs the gases upward, through a series of ports, in a manner that pushes down the muzzle.  Essentially, redirecting gases moving horizontally to a vertical travel path.

My first review point was to test just how effective the Game Changer was as compared to the standard thread protection ring that Ruger includes with the threaded barrel.  To test this, I improvised a test rig that would eliminate as many human bias points as possible.  I decided that I would track muzzle climb by using a Crimson Trace Railmaster mounted on the sight rail.  I would shoot the pistol from the test rig and allow it to free recoil.  Using my high speed camera I would track the laser dot to find the maximum muzzle rise with and without the Game Changer. 


Later on in the review, I'll include the review video that has the entire comparison test.  The picture below shows a side by side comparison of muzzle climb without Game Changer (left) and with Game Changer installed (right).  The laser dot clearly climbed less with Game Changer installed.  

Another key concern with any compensator is "How easy is it to clean?".  Compensators get nasty dirty very quickly as the carbon builds up in the gas ports.  To test this, I weighed the Game Changer when it was new and it weighed 29.85 grams.  After running 300 rounds through the compensator, I removed and reweighed it.  After 300 rounds it now weighed 30.35 grams.  I gave the compensator a very quick cleaning and the weight was reduced to 30.33 grams.  The added weight comes from the carbon deposits that accumulate in the ports.  As with all compensators, removing the carbon will require a soak to soften the carbon deposits so they can be scraped, picked, or brushed out.

Sharing a best practice here, the best way to avoid carbon build up in a compensator is to pre-treat it with something that will keep the carbon from coming in direct contact with the compensator.  This is a really good resource on the subject by competitive shooters that run thousands of rounds through their compensators.

Another review point was to see if the compensator would stay tight after a few hundred rounds.  I got the Game Changer installed where I wanted it, then applied a strip of automotive pin striping tape to the barrel and compensator.  I carefully cut the tape at the point of union between the barrel and compensator so any movement would be seen as a change in the alignment of the two pieces of tape.  This was the before shooting shot.

The photo below was taken after running about 300 rounds though the compensator.  There was a very slight movement of the compensator that took place within the first 50 rounds.  After this initial movement, the compensator did not move for the rest of the testing period.  I may have over-tightened the compensator initially, or perhaps the compensator auto adjusted to the most suitable location.  I don't see any reason to believe the compensator won't remain tight over extended shooting sessions.  I believe you can also apply a thread locker if you want a less temporary installation.

The video below provides a bit more information on installing and removing the Game Changer Compensator.  I also have some range footage showing what it's like to shoot a Ruger Mark III 22/45 with the Game Changer installed.  The video also includes the head to head muzzle rise comparison test I mentioned above.


Overall, I'm really pleased with the compensator.  The fit, finish, and machining quality appear to be very good.  High speed video analysis demonstrated that the compensator does reduce absolute muzzle rise and the muzzle returns to target faster.  For the rimfire competitor, matches are won based on speed and accuracy.  The Game Changer will definitely help with speed.  As far as accuracy goes, I present the following video.  My left hand pistol was the Mark III 22/45 with the Game Changer installed.   Having it on the pistol certainly didn't hurt my accuracy.


If you would like to try a Game Changer, I put the squeeze on TANDEMKROSS for a blog exclusive discount code that will get you 10% off their current retail price.  I just tested the code and it's live and working.  Order one or several Game Changers from the TANDEMKROSS website and use coupon code gamechange to receive your 10% off each Game Changer ordered.  The discount is available from 8/10/2013 through 9/2/2013.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Lehigh Defense 9mm 70 Grain Maxiumum Expansion HERO Denim and Gel Test


I would like to thank the folks at Lehigh Defense for supplying the ammunition used for this test.  I introduced blog readers to Lehigh Defense back in May 2012 in this post.

Since the first introduction post, I've tested a few of their pistol loads from their Maximum Expansion line.  Overall results have demonstrated huge expansion from the four petal bullets.  I was really interested to see how this new 6 petal Professional Series H.E.R.O. load would perform in comparison to the heavier 4 petal loads previously tested.

H.E.R.O is a Lehigh Defense acronym for High Energy Retaining Ordnance.  By my dictionary, that translates to fast, light, lower felt recoil, and oodles of kinetic energy.  The energy is interesting because this new 6 petal bullet design introduces more drag on the bullet in the gel block which leads to some very impressive energy transfer.  As you watch the high speed video, watch how high the gel block jumps off the table and how long it stays above the table.  While the energy transfer is impressive, what matters most is hits on target.  The lower bullet weight and reduced felt recoil should facilitate faster and more accurate follow up shots.

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 first bare gel test shot into a block of Clear Ballistics Gel that is calibrated to 10% Ordnance Gel density.  Shot distance is 10 feet.
Step 4)  Run second test shot through 4 layers of 14 oz/yard heavy-weight denim.  Shot distance is 10 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:
The one thing you can expect from the Lehigh Defense Maximum Expansion loads is simply maximum expansion.  The bullets are designed and manufactured in a way that prevents the petals from collapsing back on the bullet shank like most typical jacketed hollow point bullets with a lead core and copper jacket.  When the bullet reaches maximum expanded diameter, the petals remain extended and our recovered rounds were nearly twice as large as their starting diameter.  The 4 layers of heavy denim posed no expansion challenge for the 6 petal bullet.

The very high velocity contributed to very high calculated energy values even though the starting bullet weight was a very light for caliber 70 grains.  In previous tests, velocity measures exceeded the manufacturer specification.  I was actually a bit surprised that we came in under the published 1650 fps published velocity specification with our 4 inch test barrel.   

Penetration fans will dismiss this load because it didn't achieve 12 inches of penetration in our testing.  Lehigh Defense publishes a 10" penetration specification for this load and our test results were within fractions of an inch of specification for both the bare gel and heavy denim test shots.

Pick or Pan:
If you are shopping for a round that delivers exceptional expansion performance, lower felt recoil, and limited penetration, then this load is worth a look.

Lehigh Defense does not label this load as 9mm +P, but the Starline brass cases have a +P headstamp.  If +P ammunition is not suitable for your firearm, it would be best if you contacted Lehigh Defense to confirm this is a standard pressure load before purchasing.






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.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Hornady ZombieMax 380 Auto 90 Grain Zmax Denim and Clear Gel Test


ZombieMax ammunition, from Hornady, is a bit hard to describe and explain if you have never seen it before.  It appears to be first quality ammunition that looks quite similar to Critical Defense except for a zombie green polymer hollow point insert and standard brass cases.  Things get strange when you read the package and website description of ammunition line.  There are warnings that the ammunition is not a toy and that it should only be used when facing zombies.  It's an interesting marketing angle, but it does put me off this line of ammunition.  

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:
All of the Hornady 380 Auto loadings specify a muzzle velocity of 1000 feet per second.  A quick check of their website confirms that their velocity measurements are done with a 4" test barrel.  It's understandable that our velocity was lower since our barrel was almost and inch shorter than the 4" Hornady test barrel.  As a rule of thumb you can expect to lose about 100 feet per second for every 1" reduction in barrel length.

I was really surprised by the terminal performance of this load for both test shots.  I don't believe I've ever seen petals pulled off a Hornady 90 Grain 380 bullet from over expansion.  Driven at close to 950 feet per second we had fragmentation on both of our bare gel shots (shot 1 was lost when it flew out of the block).  The heavy denim test shot suffered from incomplete expansion.


Pick or Pan:
The "gimmick" nature of this load, combined with poor terminal performance during this test is enough to put me off of this round.  If I was faced with a choice between Critical Defense 380 Auto and ZombieMax 380, I would pick up the Critical Defense.

If I was facing down a zombie horde, I'd still take the Critical Defense.....but that's just me. 





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.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Hornady Critical Defense 380 Auto 90 Grain FTX Denim and Clear Gel Test


The Critical Defense line from Hornady was created for concealed carry pistols that typically have barrels that are shorter than service length pistols.  The entire line has been optimized for short barrel pistols and features nickel plated brass for corrosion resistance and slick feeding.  Propellent powder is low flash to protect night vision and also generates lower felt recoil.  The FTX bullet has a red polymer plug inserted into the hollow point cavity during production that aids in expansion when the bullet is fired into heavy clothing barriers like denim or leather. 

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:
All of the Hornady 380 Auto loadings specify a muzzle velocity of 1000 feet per second.  A quick check of their website confirms that their velocity measurements are done with a 4" test barrel.  It's understandable that our velocity was much lower since our barrel was 1.5'" shorter than the Hornady test barrel.  As a rule of thumb you can expect to lose about 100 feet per second for every 1" reduction in barrel length.

The FTX bullet performed exceptionally well in this test.  This is the first 380 Auto load that I have tested, though the 2.5" barreled Kahr, that expanded and penetrated to 12 inches or more in bare gel and also heavy denim and gel testing.  I was genuinely surprised to see how well the FTX bullet performed in the denim test.         

Pick or Pan:
One test doesn't represent a statistically significant sample set, but I am still very impressed with the performance of this load.  It is one of the very few 380 Auto loads that can expand and penetrate to 12 inches from a short barrel pocket pistol.  The heavy denim clothing barrier presented no significant challenge to terminal expansion performance.  I will definitely be adding this loading to my ammo shopping list and may do a follow up test at a later time with additional test shots.

Recovered bullets photo series with bare gel on the left and heavy denim on the right.


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.