Sunday, May 13, 2012

Corbon DPX 380 Auto Test

This is undoubtedly the most requested .380 ammo test by a very wide margin.  Over the last few months, as I ramped up my testing and developed my test methods, I would frequently receive emails or messages at various forums that I really needed to test the Corbon DPX .380.  I knew I would eventually get around to it after I shelled out the money for this very expensive box of 20 rounds.  I actually ran the test yesterday. 

Corbon DPX falls in the ultra premium ammunition category.  Boxes of 20 run close to $30 with tax or shipping.  It's loaded with an 80 grain solid copper projectile, manufactured by Barnes, that is claimed to exhibit massive expansion AND deep penetration.  After testing scads of 380 ammo over the last few months, these claims got my attention because we've discovered that massive expansion comes at the cost of deep penetration.  Keeping an open mind, it was out to the range to dump a couple of rounds into the Denim and SIM-TEST.

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 Kahr P380 with a 2.53" barrel.

The recovered bullets, and their corresponding measurements, are shown below.  The results were pretty close to what I expected they would be.  The recovered bullets had fully expanded to nearly double their initial diameter, so the X claim was met.  They didn't deliver the DP (deep penetration) part of their name at all with both rounds penetrating less than 7.5".   

My Comments:  You just can't cheat physics.  As I stated at the beginning of this test, I was open-minded, but a bit skeptical about the claims made about this ammunition.  It's really peppy so speed isn't the issue.  The issue is the massive expansion of the petals acts like a parachute that slows the bullet down so quickly that it can not deliver the deep penetration claimed by the manufacturer. 

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. Would like to see a pork shoulder or actual meat + bone shot with this round to gauge expansion.

    1. I don't shoot food. It's wasteful unless you are harvesting wild game for the freezer. I'm working on a synthetic substitute at the moment so stay tuned.