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A good defensive round is the ARX Inceptor Ammo. It's a copper/polymer fluted projectile designed for short barrels. The .380 round is 56 grains of attitude. It is virtually barrier blind with respect to clothing and has incredible velocity. Because of the flutes when it enters soft tissue it opens up a wound cavity that is comparible with a heavier lead core hollow point. This is called hydraulic cavitation.

Pocket Guns and Gear did a gel test on .380 ammo with a 3" Kahr a few years back. The projectile developed over 1200 fps velocity and opened up a sizeable wound cavity. Great ammo for short barrels.
 

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Anything in 380 with the XTP bullet are stellar rounds for Defence. I carry Hornady Custom XTP’s in my Micro.


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A good defensive round is the ARX Inceptor Ammo. It's a copper/polymer fluted projectile designed for short barrels. The .380 round is 56 grains of attitude. It is virtually barrier blind with respect to clothing and has incredible velocity. Because of the flutes when it enters soft tissue it opens up a wound cavity that is comparible with a heavier lead core hollow point. This is called hydraulic cavitation.

Pocket Guns and Gear did a gel test on .380 ammo with a 3" Kahr a few years back. The projectile developed over 1200 fps velocity and opened up a sizeable wound cavity. Great ammo for short barrels.
I'm running a Kahr. 380 mainly as a backup but also solo (with an extra mag) for those very few times when the J frame didnt want to play conceal me. I liked the way the Underwood Xtreme shot in the Kahr: surprisingly accurate for such a small gun and the felt recoil seemed far less than the Hornady XTP. Problem is, the ARX and UW Xtreme are too damn expensive to practice with.
 

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I'm running a Kahr. 380 mainly as a backup but also solo (with an extra mag) for those very few times when the J frame didnt want to play conceal me. I liked the way the Underwood Xtreme shot in the Kahr: surprisingly accurate for such a small gun and the felt recoil seemed far less than the Hornady XTP. Problem is, the ARX and UW Xtreme are too damn expensive to practice with.
I agree. I practice live fire mainly with ball ammo and end my session with several rounds of the carry ammo to confirm point of impact. I actually do the brunt of my practice with a dry fire regimen. This includes proper draw, grip, presentation, safety release and trigger discipline. These are the skills you will need to have perfected during a defensive encounter. When the shit hits the fan and you experience an adrenaline surge your fine motor skills disappear...you will then fall to your level of practice. It's an inexpensive way of ingraining these skill sets into your psyche. I find it as enjoyable as shooting and by far a lot less expensive.
 

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I can't decide if I buy into the fluted bullets or not. They seem to work in gel, but I can find almost no feedback on actual living critters or use in self defense scenarios. Price doesn't help either, although now Underwood (my favorite SD ammo manufacturer) has slashed the price on some of them.
 

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I can't decide if I buy into the fluted bullets or not. They seem to work in gel, but I can find almost no feedback on actual living critters or use in self defense scenarios. Price doesn't help either, although now Underwood (my favorite SD ammo manufacturer) has slashed the price on some of them.
The Gel Test is a consistent test medium where most projectiles are measured for their penetration and expansion. It's a level playing field. How is a 9mm 65 grain fluted copper/polymer projectile pushing fluid out (cavitation) as it penetrates and creates a pronounced wound channel any different than a .38Spcl 125 grain lead hollow point doing the identical thing in gel. They both penetrated and they both created an equal wound channel due to cavitation. The fluted projectile got it done by the flutes during rotation and the lead hollow point got it done by expansion. Same end result. Actually the fluted projectile holds the cavity open a little longer in most cases.

Where the difference lies is that hollow points have greatly diminished or no expansion due to low velocity and clogging when going thru heavy clothing when fired out of short barreled guns. Inasmuch as most carry guns have short barrels for the concealment factor, the ARX projectile was developed with short barreled guns in mind. It's a injection molded copper/polymer fluted projectile that is non expanding. It's lighter weight gives it greater velocity and the flutes are barrier blind when going thru heavy clothing. When the fluted projectile enters a fluid medium the rotation from the firearms rifling cause a hydraulic cavitation with the outward thrust of fluid thus expanding the wound cavity. As the projectile travels forward it tumbles 180 degrees and slows its forward progress thus minimizing collateral damage.

So if I can take a short barreled .380 and spit out a 56 grain projectile at around 1200 fps and penetrate up to 12" in gel..create a sizable wound cavity but not over penetrate.. what's not to like?

The FBI's criteria is 12" - 18" of penetration for their test rounds in the same gel.

For some insight at how much damage these projectiles do to bones and lung tissue and how well this round works in a meat target you'll want to take look at the 14 minute:38 second mark of
 

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I consider gel only a starting point base line at best, but I am a huge fan of Paul's meat target!

Way too much carry over credibility from gel to "street use" is applied these days. For example, Federal HST's are among the kings of gel tests, but only produce an average showing against Paul's meat target.

And you have manufacturers now constructing bullets to specifically do well in gel blocks because in the end it will sell ammo.
 

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KCJeep, I have no problem with gel as a tool to properly discern an ammunition's speed, expansion and the ability to resist fragmentation.

Let's suppose an avid target shooter wishes to recreate a human thoracic density. Since the human body is mostly water, what would be wrong with mixing up a gel using that same liquid volume for shooting tests?

Now, I have more pistols than brains. As stated, I have .380 pistol as back-up carry. I use a Hornady round which uses a cone-shaped bullet and a red plastic plug in the hollowpoint. I have never fired this pistol into a gel block, as they insist on paper targets at the nearest range.

You might shake your head, but what other choices do I have (as I write this) against an assailant if I can't rely on any course of action other than squeezing off three rapid shots?

If I had access to gel, and the little pistol failed, I'd want to know that immediately.
 

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I consider gel only a starting point base line at best, but I am a huge fan of Paul's meat target!

Way too much carry over credibility from gel to "street use" is applied these days. For example, Federal HST's are among the kings of gel tests, but only produce an average showing against Paul's meat target.

And you have manufacturers now constructing bullets to specifically do well in gel blocks because in the end it will sell ammo.
To each their own. We all have to make a decision about what round to carry. Based on the the "gel tests" and Paul Harrell's "meat test" I have become a fan of this ammunition and use it for my defensive carry. YMMV.
 

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In regard to the FTX Hornady bullets....

I do not carry a .380 but own a few (EDC's are 9mm & .45). Although I did an informal expansion test recently with one of my 3" 9mm's on water-filled gallon milk jugs lined up in a row of 8 just to see how far they'd penetrate and how much they'd expand in just a water medium.

I realize the nine has more velocity than the .380, but this test shows, if nothing else, that these bullets do indeed expand in a liquid medium. I'm not restricted to an established range, so my testing was out in the boonies of the central Orygun outback where we can do pretty much as we please.



Range was ten feet, the jugs were lined up touching each other. The bullets all stopped in jug #5 each time.

And for a comparison, here's a single jug shot with Civil Defense 9mm 50gr HP at a claimed 2,000 fps. I don't carry this stuff, but it made for an interesting show of hydrostatic energy being released.....



I got soaked by the explosion from 20' away! The effect was like the jug was smacked by a 5.56 round in CQB! Wicked stuff for sure (never found the expanded bullet).

Two different .356" diameter bullets, two vastly different expansion results I thought I'd share with the crew. JME
 

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In regard to the FTX Hornady bullets....

I do not carry a .380 but own a few (EDC's are 9mm & .45). Although I did an informal expansion test recently with one of my 3" 9mm's on water-filled gallon milk jugs lined up in a row of 8 just to see how far they'd penetrate and how much they'd expand in just a water medium.

I realize the nine has more velocity than the .380, but this test shows, if nothing else, that these bullets do indeed expand in a liquid medium. I'm not restricted to an established range, so my testing was out in the boonies of the central Orygun outback where we can do pretty much as we please.

Range was ten feet, the jugs were lined up touching each other. The bullets all stopped in jug #5 each time.

And for a comparison, here's a single jug shot with Civil Defense 9mm 50gr HP at a claimed 2,000 fps. I don't carry this stuff, but it made for an interesting show of hydrostatic energy being released.....

I got soaked by the explosion from 20' away! The effect was like the jug was smacked by a 5.56 round in CQB! Wicked stuff for sure (never found the expanded bullet).

Two different .356" diameter bullets, two vastly different expansion results I thought I'd share with the crew. JME
How many jugs did the Civil Defense 9mm 50gr make it thru?
 

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How many jugs did the Civil Defense 9mm 50gr make it thru?
The bullet expanded and apparantly disintigrated upon exit. For the Civil Defense 'test', I only used one jug. Looked but never found the bullet.

The blown-up jug pretty much tells the story.
 

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The bullet expanded and apparantly disintigrated upon exit. For the Civil Defense 'test', I only used one jug. Looked but never found the bullet.

The blown-up jug pretty much tells the story.
Yep...hydraulic cavitation redistributes the energy.

I was looking at the gel test video...it appears the the projectiles petals spread out in the first few inches but show rather shallow penetration except for one small piece that got some distance. Just an observation.
 

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Don't misunderstand me, I am not opposed to gel testing. It's a great medium for establishing a base line as to which bullets tend to expand and which ones don't, or which ones tend to penetrate and so on.

Somehow along the way we ended up with many people believing it is the "end all be all" which it most definitely is not. Paul's meat target is a lot closer IMO, but that still is NOT a living thing that moves, with a bad attitude spurred on by illegal or mind altering substances and a notion to kill you.

If I lived where I could hunt wild hogs regularly man I would have a field day testing "defensive" ammo. It would be "hog heaven" literally!
 

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If I lived where I could hunt wild hogs regularly man I would have a field day testing "defensive" ammo. It would be "hog heaven" literally!
KC: When I lived in northern CA (ugh), we hunted hogs on a regular basis in the coast range there. Virtually all my hog hunting then was with dogs, and we used .357 Mags with Keith 158gr SWC's and/or .44 Mags stoked with the Keith 245gr SWC hard cast over 20.0 grs of 2400.

All hogs only took one hit, especially when using the .44's, and complete penetration was the norm. No expanding bullets were ever used.

Food for thought. :)
 

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Thread sidebar: (sorry) :eek:

I see a difference of opinion here amongst my peers IRT to the reliability of small frame auto's. But my experience, although limited to about 20 or so guns of that description over my shooting career has been a bit different.

Early on I discovered that a very firm grip is required, and the gun must be kept clean. Beretta's, Bersa, Walther, Colt and other little pocket autos came and went, and all shot reliably. Only the long gone AMT Backup .380 was the exception. Had two, neither was reliable; toads, gone. Even two baby Browning .25 autos shot reliably, and even a Walther TPH, and they don't get much smaller that those lil guys.

I currently have Colt 1903 and 1908 Pocket autos in .32ACP and .380, Walther PPK .380, a Seecamp LWS .32 auto, Sig P938 9mm and a Micro 9. ALL are completely reliable or they don't get a place in my safe (remember the 'toad' mention?)

If you're willing to work with the gun, the ammo, your shooting style/skills, these little puppies run quite well if we do our part. At least that's been my humble experience.

Display of opinion done....thanks. We now return to our regular programming. :)
I go with Rick here.

I believe the problem is the mass (or lack thereof) of the micro guns. I took my micro-9 to visit a family member a couple of months back. We went out into his back yard to play around with it. He had a heart transplant almost 20 years ago and is pretty frail. I fired a mag with no problems. He fired the second mag and the first round fired, but not the second. failure to feed. Cleared it, handed it back to him and a repeat. I watched more carefully and the gun was showing a remarkable recoil jump. When I fire it, no such jump.

I concluded that Kimber was borrowing part of my body mass (my hand/forearm) to serve as part of the frame mass on my micro, so that the slide/barrel could overcome the recoil spring and fully function. Family member's grip was simply too weak, and he did complain about the recoil, which I really don't even notice.

I'd suspect that any light-framed gun might teeter on the edge of failing to eject/feed with a weak grip. Some of the guns in the
"fist to fire" thread were heavy frames, and limp-writing had no effect. Until a polymer frame was fired.

I shoot enough different handguns that my grip is always firm out of self-defense. Don't want to be limp-writing a 44 mag or 454 Casull. Can get painful. Moral: Grip the gun firmly. If it still fails to eject or feed, then it probably needs some help. A heavier bullet with a little more recoil energy to function the slide properly, maybe. Or a lighter recoil spring. Only danger there is beating the gun to death...
 
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