Thursday, September 26, 2013

DoubleTap 45 Carry Ammo Testing

As many of you know, I've been expecting the DoubleTap for almost two years.  In that time, I had plenty of time to decide what purpose it would serve if I eventually ended up getting one.  Some folks consider a modernized Derringer a "gimmick", but I prefer to think of it as "special purpose".  You can hunt turkey with just about any shotgun with the correct choke tube installed, but an entire sub category of shotguns has been developed with the "special purpose" of turkey hunting.  I saw the DoubleTap in the same way.  Sure I could run any of the rounds featured in this article through a Glock 21 or 1911, but what if I was on a woods walk and didn't want 40 oz of poly/steel hanging off my belt?  I saw the pocket-sized DoubleTap as an ideal solution for that situation.  It allowed me to carry some protection from critters without weighing me down.

So, you get three tests this week as I run through some "special purpose" ammunition choices I had picked out for the DoubleTap.  Two choices sit well off the beaten track and the third is a more conventional option if I ever wanted to use the DoubleTap as a true backup pistol.  This week is going to be different with the featured content being the actual test videos with some additional commentary and wrap up from me at the end.

Test Pistol:

Test Results:

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

Wrap Up:

CCI Shotshell - This load performed as I expected it would.  Previously, I've used CCI shotshells in revolvers ranging from 22LR to 44 Magnum.  They consistently get the pest taken care of.  Depending on your target and shooting distance, the 45 shotshell delivers a heavy dose of micro shot in a fist sized pattern with a good amount of fliers to compensate for your aim being off a bit.  Empty cases were easily removed from the barrel so this is a good fit with the DoubleTap.

Lehigh Defense Multiple Projectile - When I learned about this load, my first thought was that I would do an ammo test with it if I ever got my hands on a DoubleTap.  One of the biggest objections to the DoubleTap is that there are other small pistols available that hold more ammunition.  I can't disagree with that objection, but I knew this option was available and would turn my 2 shot DoubleTap into a 6 shooter.  The load performed exactly as it was designed to do.  Each shot delivered 3 sub-projectiles on target in a fairly tight group at 10 feet.  Penetration was shallow when compared with other solid projectiles of similar weight, but I think I understand why the velocity was so low.

Check out how massive the projectile stack is with the Lehigh Defense Multiple Projectile load.  Compare it to the unexpanded HST 230 grain JHP immediately to the right.  Now visualize both loaded into the empty 45 Auto brass case on the right.  The Lehigh Defense load doesn't have much room left over for a powder charge.  Less powder means lower velocity and much less felt recoil.  The load was amazingly soft shooting as you expect it would be.

Lehigh has currently deleted this item from their catalog.  While it performed as expected in our test, case extraction was very difficult as the brass swelled into the chamber requiring me to poke out the empties from the muzzle end with a brass rod.  It wasn't a good match for the DoubleTap.

Federal Premium 230 Grain HST - With velocity measurements in the low to mid 700's, I would have been shocked to see the 4 layer of heavy denim test shot expand.  I tested it anyway just to see how far it would run down the block before running out of steam.  We caught it lightly embedded in our backer phone book after traveling through 18 inches of gel and tumbling as it went.  The bare gel shots are simply awesome because velocity was high enough to cause expansion, but not high enough to fold the petals back against the bullet shank.  I would have to go back and check previous tests, but I think these may be the largest recovered HST rounds I've ever seen.  The good news is they work, and may actually expand if they don't encounter a heavy clothing barrier.  Empty cases were easily removed so this load is a good fit for the DoubleTap.

As I was wrapping up my review last weekend, I started working with 185 grain bullet weights.  I thought preliminary velocity testing results were very promising.  I think I've contributed as much as I will be contributing to the DoubleTap ammo selection body of knowledge so perhaps someone else will pick up with the 185 grain testing.

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. Always interesting to see these results, even when they match one's expectations. Thanks once again, Bruce.

    cheers, erich

  2. No more doubling? I thought you gave up on the pistol.

    1. I conducted these tests on August 18th with the original DoubleTap. Often weeks or months will pass between the time I conduct a test and when it finally gets published.