I was able to lay my hands on a small number of the controversial Winchester 9mm Black Talons. Demonized by politicians and gun control groups when it came out in the early 90’s. Designed to pass the FBI standard how does it stand up today to the latest offerings in the world of defense ammo.
Six rounds into two 16 inch blocks of Clear Ballistics gel at 10 feet. Test gun used is a Sig P229 with a 4.9-inch barrel and a S&W shield with a 3.1-inch barrel. Two rounds into the bare gel and two into gel covered with heavy clothing from the Sig. Finally, two rounds fired from the Shield into the bare gel.
The first round fired info the bare gel had a velocity of 983fps penetrated to 16 inches and expanded to .55 inches. Round two also penetrated 16 inches with a velocity of 986fps and expanded to .61 inches.
I didn’t get any velocity reading for either of the rounds fired through the heavy clothing. The first hit the table top about halfway through the first so I didn’t measure the penetration but it still expanded to .54 inches. Round two penetrated to 15.5 inches expanded to .52 inches.
The first round out of Shield into bare gel had a velocity of 939fps penetrated to 19 inches and expanded to .58 inches. Round two expanded to .52 inches, penetrated to 19.5 inches and had a velocity of 920fps.
Today I had the opportunity to shoot some Hornady 135gr FTX Critical Duty Into some 10% Clear Ballistics gel. Test pistol was a Sig P229 with a 4-inch barrel. The rounds where shot into two 16 inch blocks of Clear gel stacked back to back for a total of 32 inches.
The chrony didn’t pick up the velocity of the first round shot into the bare gel and it exited out of the side of the gel block at about 15 inches and expanded to .44 inches. The bullet was found on the floor after hitting the rubber backstop. Round two penetrated to 18 inches with a velocity of 977fps and expanded to .44 inches also. I decided to shoot a third round and it stopped at 18.5 inches, expanded to .46 inches with an impact velocity of 997fps.
The first, and only, round fired through heavy clothing completely passed through both gel block and was not recovered. At this point I decided to stop the test and save my gel for testing something else.
I became curious as to what would happen I the polymer plug was removed and if it would change its performance. I fired one shot into a bare Clear gel block at 10 feet. I didn’t set up the chrony but penetration decreased to 15 inches and expansion increased to .52 inches.
Sig V Crown 9mm 115, 124, and 147gr JHP in Clear Ballistics gel. All of the Sig’s 9mm offerings tested. Two rounds in bare gel, two in heave clothing at 10 feet. All shot from a Smith & Wesson M&P compact 2.0 with a 4-inch barrel. I continue to have a problem with the chronograph and I’m going to have to find a remedy to the problem.
Let’s start off with the 115gr. The first round didn’t register on the chrony but penetrated to 12.75 inches and expanded to .64 inches. Round two had a velocity of 1229fps and penetrated to 13.25 inches and expanded to .64 inches. In heave clothing, the first round penetrated to 20 inches and expanded to .54 inches. Round two exited the side of the first block at 15.75 inches, expanded to .55 inches and was found laying on the floor.
The first round of the 124gr in bare gel hit at 1199, penetrated to 15.25 inches and expanded to .60 inches. Round two had a velocity of 1191fps and also stopped at 15.25 and expanded to .61 inches. The heavy clothing test was a little disappointing. The first shot had a velocity of 1195fps and passed completely through both 16-inch gel blocks and was not recovered. Round two penetrated to 17.75 inches and hit at 1213fps.
Now the 147gr loading. Bare gel shot penetrated to 18.75 inches and expanded to .58 inches. Round two penetrated to 18 inches and expanded to .68 inches. No velocity on either round. Like the 124gr, the 147gr was a bit of a disappointment. The first round had a velocity of 1007fps, penetrated to 19 inches and expanded to .50 inches. Round two hit at 1034fps but passes through 32 inches of gel and was not found.
Normally I would do a short barrel test but because of the chrony problem, I will update later when I have a chance.
A recent post on one of the forums I frequent brought up the idea that of using common carry pistols as a defense against dangerous animals one may encounter when enjoying the great outdoors. When talking about common calibers I’m talking about pistols chambered for rounds as small as the 9mm. Most would consider carrying anything less than a .44 magnum to be silly if not downright dangerous but people have used much smaller rounds to defend themselves against larger creatures up and including grizzlies.
Apparently, a relatively new bullet has changed the minds of many and that bullet is the Lehigh Defense Xtreme Penetrator. Lehigh states about their Xtreme Penetrator ” The progressive nose geometry allows for deep, straight penetration while creating a permanent wound cavity diameter exceeding that of most expanding bullets.” Well, that sounds great. In my opinion, deep penetration is the most important aspect of a good pistol round when trying to stop a large animal bent on hurting you.
The 10mm seems to be the favorite caliber when using this bullet up in Alaska, but I don’t live there and I don’t have a 10mm. What I do have is a Colt 1991 in .45ACP. When I lived in Eastern Washington I carried this pistol with a hot loaded 230gr FMJ ball as my woods gun until I replaced it with a S&W Mountain gun in .44 magnum. I no longer live in Eastern Washington and I no longer have that .44. I do however still have my .45 and I still have that hot load to carry in it.
So the thought came to me, maybe this Lehigh bullet would give me more penetration and be better suited as a woods load. I ordered a box of 50 from Midway USA and with shipping, it brought the price of each bullet to almost one dollar each. Certainly not cheap but if it performed as well as I hoped, then I felt it would be worth it. 50 bullets isn’t a lot when trying to develop a new load so my first stop was the Lehigh’s website. They have a PDF one can download with data for both standard and +P loadings. It had one powder listed that I had and so I started with their max load instead of starting at the recommended starting load. I know this isn’t best practices but with so few bullets to try I went with this course of action. The data showed a velocity of 960fps but it was coming in well under this just breaking 900fps. I was also showing signs of slight pressure and so decided to look for something else. After trying a few different loads with another powder found a load that was getting me the 1000fps I was looking for with no sign of pressure. Even though the load was not showing any pressure I had to go well above standard or +P data and into .45 super data to achieve it. Shooting the round at 10 yards, the point of impact was dead on just like the two 230gr rounds tried. Recoil wasn’t much more the Winchester but was noticeably less my 230gr handload. None of them were partially harsh.
Now that I found the load I was looking for it was time to try it out in Clear Ballistics gel. I also tried my current 230gr woods load and a round of Winchester 230gr USA “white box”. I tried to think of something that would simulate bone but I could not find anything I felt would make a suitable substitute and just decided to see how it did in bare gel and I would revisit the idea if I thought it had merit.
The Winchester round had an impact velocity of 834fps and penetrated to 26.5 inches. The chronograph didn’t pick up the velocity of my handload but it has an average velocity of around 1000fps. It penetrated both 16 inch blocks and 6.5 inches into an old block that I used to stop anything that went more than 32 inches. That gave it a total of 38.5 inches of penetration. The Lehigh had an impact velocity of 1002fps and penetrated to only 23 inches. Yes, the Lehigh penetrated less than the generic Winchester ball and much less than my “woods load”. I was surprised and disappointed, to say the least.
This limited test doesn’t take into account what may happen if a shot was taken at a bears head. I do feel like it would probably do much better at not glancing off then round nose ball. I also feel that the .45ACP may not be the best platform for this bullet. I’m thinking the 10mm would do much better in this role. For now, I will just stick with my handload. The animals I’m likely to encounter now are not nearly that big with small black bears being the most I would have to worry about.
Barnes has long been known for their solid copper rifle bullets with a well-established reputation in the hunting fields. Something that may not be as well known to some is their line of defensive ammo. This Barnes 9mm load is labeled as +P but the velocity seemed a little low in my sample. This ammo was shot using a Sig P229 with a 3.9-inch barrel. Shot into two 16 inch blocks of Clear Ballistics gel. Two round into bare gel than two rounds into gel covered with heavy clothing and then finally two rounds out of an M&P Shield with a 3.1-inch barrel.
The first round into the bare gel had a velocity of 1047fps, penetrated to 13.5 inches and expanded to .68 inches. Round number two penetrated to 13.25 inches, expanded to .69 inches and had a velocity of 1067fps.
The first shot into the heavy clothing gel did not register on the chronograph but penetrated to 12.5 inches and expanded to .70 inches. The second round also expanded to .70 inches, penetrated to 13 inches with a velocity of 1048fps.
The velocity out of the Shield dropped a bit with the first shot coming in at 997fps, penetrated to 12.5 inches and opened up to .69 inches. The second round also penetrated to 12.5 inches with a velocity of 980fps and expanded to .70 inches.
I’ve been meaning to get to this for some time now and finally had the chance today. Plenty of people have asked and now it’s here. I will say there were no surprises and it performed very well as one would expect. The test gun was a Sig P229 with a 3.9-inch barrel. The short barrel test was with a S&W Shield with a 3-inch barrel. Fired at a distance of 10 feet into two 16 inch blocks of Clear Ballistics gel. Velocity was measured using a PACT infrared chronograph. Here is a link to my earlier test with the standard pressure 124gr HST.
Federal 9mm 124gr HST in Clear Ballistics gel.
The first round into the bare gel hit with a velocity of 1174fps penetrated to 16 inches and expanded to .65 inches. Round two had a speed of 1130fps expanded to .63 inches and went through 16.5 inches.
The first round into heavy clothing didn’t register on the chrony but penetrated to 17.5 inches and expanded to .61 inches. The second round had a velocity of 1154fps but hit so low in the gel that it hit the table the gel was sitting on so I’m not going to report the penetration or expansion.
Finally, the two rounds fired from the Shield. Round one, into the bare gel, hit at 1106fps penetrated to 15.5 inches and expanded to .61 inches. The second round had a velocity of 1099fps penetrated to 15 inches and expanded to .63 inches.
The second .357 Sig load my coworker wanted me to try was the Speer 125gr Gold Dot. Test gun was a Glock 31 fired into two 16 inch blocks of Clear Ballistics gel.
The first round into bear gel had an impact velocity of 1415fps, penetrated to 14 inches, and expanded to .70 inches. Round two’s speed was 1409fps with a penetration of 16 inches and expansion of .68 inches.
I didn’t get a velocity of the first round in the heavy clothing but it penetrated to 18 inches and expanded to .58 inches. Round two had a velocity of 1425fps, penetrated to 17.5 inches and expanded to .56 inches.