I recently re-organized the various ammo I’ve got waiting to be tested and realized…this is gonna take forever at my current pace. As such, I’m taking some steps to speed up the process. So in this one video I get through evaluating four different loads. They are . . .
1. Underwood 124+P Gold Dots: these are fantastic. They achieve velocities almost exactly the same as, and even a tiny bit higher than, the best-performing 124+P Gold Dots I’d previously tested (Speer’s 124+P Short Barrel). Since it’s the same bullet, at the same velocity, it gets the same recommendation — this is good stuff for use in a 3″-barrel 9mm pistol.
2. Black Hills Ammunition’s 115+P TAC-XP: I’d tested the Barnes TAC-XP bullet in two prior loads with two very different results. The Barnes loading from Barnes themselves didn’t deliver enough velocity and resulted in some partial expansion and even a failure to expand. But the same bullet loaded by CORBON (and labeled DPX) was over 100 fps faster than the Barnes loading and did spectaculalry well. It’s one of the best-performing loads I’ve tested for the 9mm short-barrel pistol. These Black Hills cartridges are loaded with that same bullet and achieve almost identical velocities as the CORBON loading. Accordingly, these are superb performers.
3. CORBON Original JHP 115+P: CORBON first introduced their ammo around 1982, a good five years before the landmark Wound Ballistics Conference of 1987 that established the modern standards for ammo performance. How does it hold up against the modern standards? Not great, but not too shabby either. They don’t reach the 12″ minimum penetration depth from a 3″-barrel gun, and the bare-gel bullets did kind of disintegrate into chunks and pieces, but the denim-gel bullets held together and expanded to decent size. They performed better than I expected them to, but they’re not up to the standards of modern rounds. If you want a 115+P from CORBON, I’d highly recommend the DPX instead.
4. CORBON Pow’R Ball: this is an ultra-light, 100-grain projectile that is rated at an extremely high velocity of 1,475 fps. It’s a wide-mouth bullet with a big hollowpoint cavity, with a large plastic ball stuffed in its mouth. The Pow’R Ball was intoduced a little over a decade ago, and the ball is there for two reasons:
a) it rounds out the profile of the bullet, making it more resemble a roundnose FMJ, which CorBon says increases feeding reliability, and
b) the ball itself should help with ensuring the bullet expands properly; when impacting, the ball should drive down into the hollowpoint cavity and push the petals outward. This should also provide reliable, consistent performance through denim, if it works.
In my testing, the Pow’R Ball penetrated about the same as the Original JHP — the bullets didn’t reach 12″ but they were consistently over 10″. The expansion was beautiful, pristine, and consistent whether through denim or bare gel, and the bullets retained their integrity.
The velocity from the 3″ barrel was nowhere near the rated 1,475 fps (nor did I expect it to be); it averaged 1313 fps. Still, that’s moving along at a pretty good clip, and the high speed caused a large temporary cavity which resulted in the gel block being picked up and pushed around some. I do believe that a bad guy shot by these would notice it.
The temporary cavity doesn’t generally wound though, so in terms of damage done, the permanent cavity is what matters — expansion size and penetration depth. And while these were okay, and could certainly be effective against a bad guy with proper shot placement, I’ve tested too many rounds that reliably expand and penetrate to 13″, 14″, or 15″ or more, to recommend a round that only goes about 11″.
So, that’s this week’s report — two outstanding winners, and two “thanks for playing” entrants. If I can speed up the pace of getting my testing done, the possibility exists that I might be able to conclude this 9mm Ammo Quest…maybe even this year… Thanks for your patience!