Monday, March 10, 2014

Winchester PDX1 40 S&W 165 Grain Bonded JHP - 4 Shot Clear Gel Test

The Winchester PDX1 Defender features a bonded JHP bullet and low flash powders.  It's the flagship loading in Winchester's civilian personal defense ammunition line up.  Last May, I tested the 180 grain version of this load with less than satisfactory results.  You can see that test HERE.  At the time, I was encouraged by YouTube viewers and blog readers to contact Winchester and tell them about my test results.  To their credit, Winchester arranged for the remaining rounds to be shipped back for testing.  In return, they sent me back two boxes of the 165 grain PDX1 that was used for this test.   

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 various terminal test shots, with and without simulated clothing barriers, 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.

Test Results:

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

My Thoughts on This Load:
It was great to see such good performance from this load across all three test scenarios.  The PDX1 performed exactly as you would expect a premium personal defense load to perform.  Expansion was full and came very close to 1.5 times initial diameter in all tests.  Penetration of all test shots fell within the 12 to 18 inch preferred penetration depth.  File this test away in your mind as an example of what a good test result looks like.

I will circle back on this load with a test from a shorter barrel length (Shield, PM40, or G27) at a later date.  For now, it's nice to know how it performs from a 4 inch barrel and that it may be a viable candidate for a short barrel pistol.  

Pick or Pan:
Are you really going to make me say it?  Ok, I will.  Based on this test, the 165 grain PDX1 is a personal pick when fired from a 4 inch barrel.  It tested really well.  

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. 180 grain PDX1 at 1025+ fps will do even better than this; out of a 4" barrel it's better than anything in 9mm and rivals better loads in .45.

  2. So would firing it from a 4.48" barrel only increase the effectiveness/performance, over the 4" barrel?

    BTW, LOVE your tests!

    1. In theory yes, but a test should be conducted to be sure. Thanks for the comment on the testing.

  3. The WIN. PDX1 165 grain is the ammo that I carry on all 3 clips for my Beretta PX4 Storm .40 I feel very confident with these. IMO, you can never go wrong with Winchester. They've been around for around 150 years for a reason.

    1. Feeling confident in your choice is very important. Probably second only to selecting ammunition that you can find in quantity sufficient for your practice and carry needs.