2015 TTAG Reader’s Choice for Best New Ammo: Lehigh Defense Xtreme Defense Ammunition


Every year we here at TTAG try to review what’s new and cool in the firearms industry. We try to expose y’all to the best (and the worst) the firearms manufacturing world is producing and let you make your own decisions about what’s awesome and what’s awful. That collective sentiment is expressed in our annual Reader’s Choice Awards, where thousands of you tell us which products you liked best. We completely neglected the Lehigh Defense Xtreme Defense ammunition this past year, but it seems that you didn’t . . .

And as a result, Lehigh Defense walked away with a whopping win for Xtreme Defense ammo, with three times the votes of the next most popular choice. We’ll be passing your kudos along to the folks at Lehigh Defense at the 2016 SHOT Show.


  1. avatar def says:

    Was this on the survey? Sketchy..

  2. avatar John Ski says:

    I used their version of this in my muzzle loader this year for whitetail, over two 50gr pellets. Accuracy a little over 1″ @ 100 yds. WOW! One boiler room hit @ 100 yds… ran about 25 yds more & dropped; the other facing me @ 50 yds, thru the front of the neck, one n’ done, dropped on the spot! What more could you ask for??

    1. avatar What The Heck Is That says:

      Well I’m sold.

  3. avatar Doc Samson says:

    This ammo is the main reason I feel relatively comfortable when carrying my Sig 238 rather than my 9mm choices. Good stuff!

    1. avatar DAN V says:

      “Relatively comfortable”

      1. avatar Doc Samson says:

        Well, yeah. I’d always take a larger caliber over a smaller when possible, but my 380 is able to go into “forbidden zones” with ease as it can be pocket carried, while my 9’s cannot.

        1. avatar Accur81 says:

          I’m actually in the same boat – pocket carrying a Bodyguard .380. Except mine is loaded with the Precison One 90 grain XTP’s.

        2. avatar J.lo says:

          “Forbidden zones”… Can’t be easy to draw from under duress.

    2. avatar Jeff Bridges says:

      I bought a Kimber Micro .380 for the same reason! Phenomenal ammo

    3. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

      .380, it’s what I carry when I don’t want to carry a gun.

    4. avatar Paelorian says:

      I hope you mean the Xtreme Penetrator and not the Xtreme Defender, which is a different bullet designed for shallower penetration. XP is ideal for .380 ACP, XD for 9x19mm.

      1. avatar Jade says:

        I carry alternate XP and XD in my Sig 238 magazine for EDC…
        I have test fired several magazines loaded this way with no problems..

  4. avatar Anner says:

    STB410 had a great video on the xtreme penetrator. Has he done one on this stuff?

    1. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

      No, but MAC has done two.

    2. avatar Ed Rogers says:

      I’m not STB410 but I did perform my own tests. Spoiler alert: While the Xtreme Defense doesn’t create the massive 2.5″ permanent wound channel, it does compare with other hollow point permanent wound channels.
      Their Xtreme Penetrator wound channels looked like FMJs.

      What makes me excited, is that it penetrates adequately but probably won’t over penetrate!

      1. avatar Gel Tester says:

        You used silicone-based gel; try again with FBI 10%

        1. avatar Ed Rogers says:

          The ClearBallistic’s gel meets the calibration requirements, as stated here: Clear Ballistics’s Ballistic Gelatin Calibration

          We follow the FBI Protocol for calibrating ballistic gelatin developed in 1988. This protocol is as follows: “firing a standard .177 caliber (4.5 mm) steel BB from an air gun over a chronograph at 590 feet per second (fps), plus or minus 15 fps into the ballistic gelatin. The penetration of the steel BB must result in 8.5 centimeters (cm), plus or minus 1 cm, penetration (2.95 inches to 3.74 inches.) The steel BB must penetrate within that range to pass as ballistic gelatin.” All of our ballistic gelatin in its finished state passes this protocol 100%.

          That said, the other YouTube video (MAC 9mm) appears to use watered down collagen gel. His calibration test was with a bb of undetermined composition at a velocity of under 500 fps.

  5. avatar Mark Lloyd says:

    If they make one that looks like Torx bit instead of a Phillips head, I’ll buy!
    Ever seen tamper proof Torx? Essentially it looks like a hollow point Torx.
    It doesn’t matter if it works, just say it does and sell it.

    1. avatar WedelJ says:

      Are you critiquing the ammo in the artical, the ‘Torx’ ammo you imagined, or the tamper-proof Torx heads? Your comment was a little vague.

      1. avatar Mark Lloyd says:

        Well gee whiz! My point being….I don’t have a point other than the ammo looks like a Phillips head and what could be possibly better than one that looks like a Torx® and even better, tamper proof Torx® that looks like a hollow point Torx®

        1. avatar Geoff PR says:

          It’s tamper resistant, *not* tamper proof.

          Happiness is a full set of ‘security’ bits in the toolbox…

        2. avatar Mark Lloyd says:

          And the tamper resistant Torx is marketed as “tamper proof”
          Google tamper proof Torx if you don’t believe me

        3. avatar JSJ says:

          X-Treme bullets has a nice little hex head hollow point (non-expanding) for those who like allen wrenches.


  6. avatar Noah says:

    I could probably keep a few of these in my tool kit instead of my ammo belt.

  7. avatar geoffb5 says:

    MAC on the Underwood loading of the Extreme Defender, link.

  8. avatar Joe R. says:

    What is that projectile? Like an exploding #4 Phillips?

    1. avatar geoffb5 says:

      It redirects and accelerates the tissue it passes through into four high velocity streams which disrupt the surrounding tissue and deposit the projectile’s energy there. The bullet does not deform or breakup.

      1. avatar Chris says:

        Alright, finally an explanation as to how this thing is supposed to be better than an expanding round. I wonder if militaries will start using this technology, if it actually is more damaging

        1. avatar Jeff Bridges says:

          They already are… 😉

        2. avatar int19h says:

          The problem with these bullets is the cost. The reason why Lehigh can do all these fancy bullets is because they machine them out of solid copper stock – modern computerized mills allow for extreme precision and all kinds of complicated cuts. But this process is inherently expensive and hard to scale, which is why they sell them for $1-2/round.

          So this might work for specops and such, but not for regular soldiers. Way, way too expensive.

        3. avatar geoffb5 says:

          The Polycase/Ruger ARX uses the same mechanism to transfer the bullet’s energy to the target, but a different design & material made differently.

        4. avatar int19h says:

          Those ARX bullets look interesting, but they’re not quite in the same category overall, because they’re not barrier-blind (indeed, it seems that this is presented as a feature for defensive use). Lehigh’s solid copper bullets, OTOH, will stay intact and undamaged going through barriers, and because of that, will still produce the usual devastating effect on what’s behind them.

        5. avatar geoffb5 says:

          Barrier blind can be good or bad depending on what you are shooting at and what happens if you miss. From the Extreme Penetrator to Extreme Defender to the ARX there are a range of options in bullets using the same method of transferring energy to a target.

          The one thing to look out for in them is that the profile of the Extreme Penetrator may have feed problems in some pistols.

  9. avatar Westwood says:

    Where the heck is shootingthebull410 when you need him?

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      He reviewed it. He liked it in .380, but was concerned that it massively overpenetrated in 9 mm. The tests I’ve seen show it going through plain gel, four layers of denim, and a windshield and still completely penetrating a gel block. The bullets do not deform or tumble either. The two tests I’ve seen showed different sized wound tracks, one being about .5″, the other much larger, with twisting slices through the medium.

      I have test fired 8 rounds (these puppies are pricey). They were accurate and fed perfectly through a Kahr with a 3.5″ barrel. Although the 124 grain rounds are not listed as +P, the recoil was much stouter than the other 124s I usually shoot.

      1. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

        He reviewed the .380 Xtreme Penetrator. The Xtreme Defense was not yet out when he signed off for a while.

    2. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

      He said he had medical issues to deal with a couple month’s back, I think.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        I hope it wasn’t due to an inadvertent ammunition pen test…

  10. avatar Scott says:

    This looks really cool and useful. I’ve been wondering for a while if I should carry FMJ or hollow points when I’m walking around in bear country. Bear muscle is more dense and there is more of it to go through to get to the internal organs. Basically, I’m worried that hollow points, even in my 45, wouldn’t be reliable against a bear. With this new ammo, however, it looks like it might be equally effective against both man and beast.

    1. avatar Jeff Bridges says:

      Scott, I’d suggest the Xtreme Penetrator line for big furry things.

      The .45 ACP XP penetrates 27″ (in FBI gel) and creates a 2″ permanent wound channel. http://www.lehighdefense.com/collections/ammo/products/45-acp-p-200gr-xtreme-penetrator-ammunition?variant=1066312156

  11. avatar Jeff Bridges says:

    Scott, I’d suggest the Xtreme Penetrator line for big furry things.

    The .45 ACP XP penetrates 27″ (in FBI gel) and creates a 2″ permanent wound channel. http://www.lehighdefense.com/collections/ammo/products/45-acp-p-200gr-xtreme-penetrator-ammunition?variant=1066312156

  12. avatar Chris O says:

    Their customer service is fantastic and I have several of their product. The quality is simply amazing. I’d buy more if it weren’t so expensive! That is not a negative, it is what it is to produce what they do. The fact is, I will buy more and I hope they invest to make mass quantities to bring the cost down. I’d like to see our soldiers with this. That is how strongly I feel about their product.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      I’d be interested in hearing about hunting results with that ultra-expanding .410 round they have…

  13. avatar MJH121 says:

    As Tim at Military Arms Channel has tested it does not overpenetrate. It is very consistant no matter what it is shot thru. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0piGeTVMZWs

    Seems to be great ammo.

  14. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    Praytell where does one buy this ultra deadly super ammo except online??? I don’t add to the bill when I can easily get an in-store deal at my local Cabelas…pretty damn pricey on their website. But it does look interesting.

  15. avatar Todd G says:

    Fine for guns that feed it. I have a number of .380s and only a couple will feed it reliably. And at the price of these I don’t want to shoot enough to ensure reliable feeding when it has issues just racking the rounds by hand.

    Not that one, another one.

  16. avatar Keith Vreeland says:

    Anyone know if there is a noticeable difference in recoil between the 65 gr XD and the 90 gr XP?

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