Thursday, July 31, 2014

The New Leader at Taurus Holdings - Anthony Acitelli

Lots of buzz this morning about the Sr. leadership change at Taurus.  A new leader has been named.  Anthony Acitelli has been announced as the new President and CEO of Taurus Holdings.  The official press release follows.  CARRY ON

(Miami, FL) – Taurus Holdings, Inc. announces Anthony Acitelli as their new President and CEO. Taurus Holdings encompasses the Taurus®, Rossi®, Heritage and Diamondback FirearmsTM  product lines. 

Mr. Acitelli is a longstanding industry veteran and joins Taurus with over 20 years of experience in the firearms industry, spending the last year as Senior Vice President of Sales at Colt. He has a proven track record with manufacturers such as ATK where he progressed in the company to President of the Accessory Division. As part of Mr. Acitelli’s industry tenure, he served as VP of Sales for Tasco Worldwide and led the sales and marketing team at Federal Cartridge.

"Anthony will be a solid asset for Taurus with his ability to grow brands as well as his experience in leadership," states Andre Balbi, President and CEO of Forjas Taurus. “We look forward to seeing Anthony’s direction as we continue to develop closer relationships with our distributors, retailers and consumers alike.” 

Mr. Acitelli’s education runs deep with an MBA from Thunderbird Global Schools of Management, a bachelor’s degree in Finance from the University of South Florida, a general management certificate from Harvard Business School and has had executive management training at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.  


Thursday, July 24, 2014

PROGRADE 10mm 125 and 140 Grain Barnes TAC-XP Denim and Gel Tests

Back in April of this year I started testing 10mm ammunition using a Glock 21 with 10mm conversion barrel, Glock 20 magazine, and stouter recoil spring assembly.  It worked well enough for the first round of tests, but through a very generous donation from a blog reader I was able to purchase a dedicated Glock 29 Gen4 for on-going 10mm testing.  For the Glock 20 fans, have no fear as I also purchased a Lone Wolf extended barrel for the G29 that allows me to test both the G29 and G20 barrel lengths.  The G29 is my first Gen4 Glock, if you don't count the G42, so I may review it in the coming months.

This was my first exposure to ProGrade Ammunition.  I don't know much about it other than they offer a wide variety of loads for hunting, sport shooting, and personal protection.  These two loads are from their Defense Grade range of personal protection ammunition.  Overall, the ammunition appeared to be well made, was clean and shiny, and well packaged.  I'd buy ProGrade products again if quality and appearance were the only factors considered.

Test Pistol:

Test Protocol:
Step 1)  Measure and record temperature and relative humidity.
Step 2)  Run a 2 shot velocity average over a ProChrono Digital Chronograph at a distance of 10 feet.
Step 3)  Run third test shot through 4 layers of 14 oz./yard denim into a block of Clear Ballistics Gel that is calibrated to 10% Ordnance Gel density.  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 to verify density.

Test Results:

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

My Thoughts on This Load:
I was slow putting together the blog post on this test.  The video went up several hours ahead of the blog and I've been watching the comments come in on the video.  In general most were disappointed by the velocity I recorded during the test.  ProGrade publishes 1500 fps for the 125 grain, and 1425 fps for the 140 grain when fired from a 5 inch test barrel.  Since I used a 3.75 inch barrel with this test, I wasn't surprised or disappointed by the lower velocity.

Terminal performance was very good.  Both loads expanded fully and penetrated between 12 and 18 inches in the Clear Ballistics Gel.  As we have come to expect, the Barnes TAC-XP bullet maintained 100% of the stated bullet weight.  These loads hit all the performance expectation benchmarks we look for.

Pick or Pan:
Based strictly on our target terminal performance criteria, both of these loads are picks in the short barrel G29.




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.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Size Matters - Pocket Auto Size Comparison Chart


One of the perks of running this blog is frequent interaction with the folks that watch the videos and read the blog posts.  One type of question I'm frequently asked is to compare the size, weight, and pocket-ability of one handgun versus another.  While I wish I had the funds to own them all, the sad truth is that I have to pick and choose what I purchase just like everyone else.  I also realize that running this blog implies a small amount of experience/expertise with pocket pistols so it's long overdue that I share my go-to source for comparison questions like these.

I don't know if the creator/owner of this chart is named Bob O. or Bobo so I apologize in advance for that.  Generally referred to as Bobo's Pocket Auto Comparison Chart around the internet, the chart has become a valuable resource for prospective buyers who wish to compare the relative sizes of different handguns before they head out to make the hands-on buying decision.  You can view the chart through the following link.  Bobo's Pocket Auto Comparison Chart

I certainly appreciate the work that goes into keeping this chart up to date.  If I had unlimited funds, this would be my shopping list.  It's frequently updated, and has all the latest and greatest pocket handguns represented.  You should check it out.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Remington's New Golden Saber 45 Auto 230 Grain BJHP - Ultimate Defense Terminal Test


In the wine and craft beer world, the concept of a vertical tasting involves sampling a similar wine or beer from several different vintage years.  This ammunition test follows along with that concept, but we'll be testing Remington's original Golden Saber and new Ultimate Defense 45 Auto 230 grain loads in a limited head to head comparison test.

The Remington Golden Saber line has been Remington's flagship personal protection ammunition line since the 1990's.  It's strange how things play out over decades, but my first Golden Saber purchase was a box of 45 Auto 230 grain that I kept in my S&W 625 revolver for home protection.  This was back in the 1990's.  It seems strangely appropriate to circle back on this load 20 years later and see how it compares to Remington's newest personal protection loads they now call Ultimate Defense and Ultimate Defense Compact Handgun.

Ultimate Defense started appearing on store shelves in 2013, and Remington added the Ultimate Defense Compact Handgun ammunition line in early 2014.  I think we all quickly figured out that Ultimate Defense was the same Golden Saber ammunition in new packaging.  Remington also cut the number of rounds per box down to 20 instead of the 25 rounds in each box of Golden Saber.

Things got very interesting this year when Remington extended the Ultimate Defense line with a load tailored to compact concealed carry handguns.  The information available on the Remington website describes Ultimate Defense Compact Handgun as follows.  "Designed with the concealed carry permit holder in mind to deliver big gun terminal performance out of shorter barreled pistols and revolvers. This round has been engineered to provide optimal penetration and expansion through even heavy clothing at lower velocities for maximum stopping power. It's all of our premium features now finely tuned for your most important handgun."  All that sounded great to me.  I just needed to find some, which didn't take very long.

So now Remington has piqued my interest, and I really wanted to see how this new Ultimate Defense Compact Handgun load compares to Golden Saber and the standard Ultimate Defense.  Lined up side by side, I didn't see much difference between the Golden Saber on the left and the two Ultimate Defense loads in the center and on the right.  It does appear that Ultimate Defense is loaded to a shorter over-all length than the Golden Saber, at least with my testing samples.  The dial calipers confirmed this with Golden Saber averaging 1.232" vs. 1.212" for the Ultimate Defense.

From L to R:  Golden Saber, Ultimate Defense, and Ultimate Defense Compact Handgun.

The biggest difference shows up when you look down into the hollow point cavities of the three loads.  The Ultimate Defense Compact Handgun does have a much different hollow point cavity than the other two loads.  The standard Ultimate Defense looks nearly identical to the original Golden Saber.  I couldn't wait to get out on the range and see how all three loads performed in a head to head test when fired from a compact handgun.

From L to R:  Golden Saber, Ultimate Defense, and Ultimate Defense Compact Handgun.

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 terminal test shots into a block of Clear Ballistics Gel that is calibrated to 10% Ordnance Gel density.  4 layers of 14 oz. denim is placed in front of the block for each shot.  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 to verify density.

Test Results:

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

My Thoughts on This Load:
Remington is our home team here in Arkansas, so I was really hoping to see good results from all three test shots.  I was even hoping for great results from the Ultimate Defense Compact Handgun test shot.  Unfortunately, that wasn't the case in this test.  All three tested shots completely plugged with denim and passed through the 18" block of Clear Ballistics Gel.

The Golden Saber and Ultimate Defense also passed through an additional 7.5 inches of gel before ending up in the dirt berm.  I had Lucas on the range with me on test day and we suspect he recovered one of these test shots from the berm.  We aren't sure if it was the Golden Saber or the Ultimate Defense test shot.  The Schwartz model predicted both rounds would penetrate more than 25 inches. 

The Ultimate Defense Compact Handgun test shot behaved a little differently as it progressed through the 18" gel block.  Instead of just plugging with denim and passing straight through the block, it tumbled or yawed and decelerated more quickly than the other two test shots.  We caught the bullet in the second backer block and it was recovered completely plugged with denim with no signs of expansion.  We got lucky.

Remington publishes a velocity of 875 feet per second for the Golden Saber and Ultimate Defense.  They don't specify their test barrel length, but I think it's safe to assume a 5 inch test barrel.  As expected, our 3.3 inch test barrel generated about 100 feet per second less velocity.  Remington has not published velocity data for Ultimate Defense Compact Handgun at the time of this write up.  Our sample box tested about 20 feet per second less than Ultimate Defense.

Pick or Pan:
I consider myself a reasonable and realistic person.  I don't consider a single test shot from each of the three tested loads to be comprehensive test, but it does provide some new comparative data points that didn't exist prior to the test.  So far, I'm not impressed with the terminal performance of either bullet design.  The terminal performance of the new compact handgun bullet may perform better in other calibers with lighter bullet weights, but the 230 grain 45 Auto at less than 800 feet per second doesn't look very promising.

It will be interesting to see what other independent ammunition testers discover with their tests.  I'm looking forward to seeing their results.

   


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.