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Precision One Ammunition is a company out of South Carolina that is doing a great job making affordable, accurate, and reliable ammunition. In this ammo test I will be taking a look at their highly regarded .380 ACP 90r XTP load. I love some good .380, and I had high expectations for this load. I wasn’t disappointed.

Precision One has been a niche maker of some impressive ammunition for years now. If you’re not familiar with them:

(Precision One) manufactures new and remanufactured ammunition. Our company goals are to bring a consistent and accurate round to the marketplace. Only top quality components such as the brass, powder, primer, and bullets are used in all of the manufacturing processes. Most factory ammunition for the consumer is made with generic powders and broader tolerances. Our products are developed for optimum accuracy and functionality with tighter tolerances using top name brand products.

These statements were all proved true by my testing. I was happily surprised that a brand I’d never shot before was loading such good, clean ammo.

Accuracy and Basic Performance
I fired this load from my SIG P238 Emperor Scorpion. This is a very good, solid, and reliable .380 pistol that’s very popular on today’s carry market. I fired this load at 15 yards for accuracy from standing and discovered that it was really impressed. My average for five shots at this distance was 2.5”.

I had no reliability issues with the ammunition at all. The gun fed, fired and ejected all rounds like it was a walk in the park. The recoil was a bit greater than some other .380 ammo I’ve used, but it wasn’t a wrist-wrencher by any standard. Follow-up shots were fast and I had no problem staying on target through the recoil.

Velocity for ten shots was 845fps over my Oehler 35 P chronograph.

Ballistic Performance
I received a 10% FBI gel block from Clear Ballistics for my testing. The load was fired from the P238 at a range of ten feet to simulate a CCW encounter. The bullets fired into bare gel penetrated to an average depth of 13”. This was very, very good for a .380 hollow point and that performance translated to excellent results through everything but the heaviest materials.

The bullets achieved excellent expansion and penetration through normal fabric (left bullet) and denim right bullet), but it choked a bit going through leather (middle bullet). You can see the middle bullet has leather fibers stuck in the tip. Despite that, this bullet managed to pass through 13” of gel as well, despite tumbling and yawing.

Other rounds fired into leather and heavy material expanded just fine. You can see in the below photo that there is leather in the center of the bullet and that it expanded perfectly.

I would not call these results erratic, as they just can’t always be predicted. Seeing one expand and another not isn’t always encouraging but, just like the occasional flyer, you can’t always guarantee that an individual bullet will do exactly what it needs to do.

Wounding Capacity:
The Hornady XTP bullet is a known, proven performer and Precision One loads it in a very stout way. The load generates a tremendous amount of power for a .380. The wounding ability of this bullet is already great to begin with, even with some clogging.

Wound channels were deep and wide for a .380. The permanent wounds began at about 2” in the gel and displayed a cavity about 5” long and about .5-.6” wide. Combined with the great-for-caliber penetration, the load was capable of delivering excellent wounding results.

The clogging is somewhat of a concern, but seeing it still penetrate to such an extent with a wad of leather jammed in the cavity was encouraging. Plus it didn’t over-penetrate, which is a concern of mine when it comes to EDC situations.

Overall Impressions
This was the first Precision One Ammunition product I’ve tested. They sell in 50-round boxes and are quite affordable as personal defense rounds go at $28.99. I really appreciate the accuracy, power, and reliability in my P238 and what this company does for the everyday shooter.

Ratings (out of five stars):

Accuracy: * * * * *
This load produced excellent groups and was very easy to make hits with.

Handling: * * * * 
Recoil was reasonable and rapid follow-ups were not a problem. The SIG P238 is an easy gun to handle and this load made it just that much easier.

Reliability: * * * * *
I experienced no problems of any kind while shooting this cartridge.

Terminal Performance: * * * *
This is a very good, powerful .380 personal defense load that uses a proven bullet. I wish it did a little better when shooting through thick materials, but it demonstrated good expansion and excellent penetration for the caliber.

Overall: * * * * 1/2
Good, quality self-defense ammo comes in many forms. This is one of them. I was happy with it and my P238 was happy with it, but my gel was quite unhappy…and that’s a good thing.


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  1. Better ballistics through science and technology is opening up my mind to carry a .380.
    I’m seriously considering carrying a .380 for my EDC.

    • Tom,
      I have a little Taurus 380, weighs only 11 oz. I have carried as my only weapon. It’s a great little gun. However it does not have an automatic reset for the internal hammer (you must rack the slide again if you should get a light firing pin strike, or any other reason the round doesn’t go BOOM!) For this reason I usually carry it as a backup only.

      • A 1911, Glock, Browning hi power, S&W M&P or virtually any other modern striker fired pistol doesnt have “second strike” capability either.

        I think you should re-evaluate your criteria.

        Probably would not be a bad idea to re-evaluate your brand choice in firearms either.

  2. Good price for 50…I “may” get a 380 for deep concealment. Had one before(TCP) with zero problems. Mebbe a LCPII.

    • I’ve decided to stick with my original design LCP. Ruger did a redesign of the LCP and made a much better trigger in it’s 2nd gen version which I have. The 2nd gen original LCPs are now selling in the $150-170 range. With Hogue grips this makes for a near perfect mouse gun. It’s still not as much fun to shoot as my P238 but it disappears into a pocket like few other handguns.

    • Nothing says “good idea” like a pocket pistol with a single action trigger and no safety.

      The LCP Custom model with improved DAO trigger and excellent sights is by far the best LCP money can buy.

  3. Usually, plugging up the cavity in a hollow point bullet results in more penetration, not less. The bullet doesn’t expand and acts like an FMJ.

    First priority in a defensive cartridge is adequate, but not excessive, penetration. The bullet needs to get deep enough into the target to cause incapacitating damage. However, energy is wasted if it passes all the way through and keeps going. In ballistic gelatin, the optimum depth is 12″ to 18″. Second priority, after adequate penetration has been achieved, is expansion to maximize diameter of the wound. The problem with calibers like the .380 is that they use up most of their limited energy in penetration leaving little for expansion. What should be remembered is that you don’t want the reverse — a wide but shallow wound that doesn’t penetrate deeply enough to incapacitate the bad guy.

    ShootingTheBull410 found that all of the cartridges that use Hornady’s XTP bullet performed well. It seems to be perfect for the .380. Federal’s Hydra-Shok was the next best choice. Their HST cartridge, which performs very well in other calibers, is short on penetration because it expands too easily.

    • ‘Excessive energy is great for smashing bones or things like cell phones in pockets, and still achieving adequate penetration.

      Through and through penetration means two holes to bleed out of, instead of one.

      I am extremely dubious of the “max penetration” of 18″ in gel. There are no bones or other intermediate barriers in ballistics gel, and this therefore greatly minimizes the benefit of having “excessive” penetration.

  4. This is what I carry in my Springfield 911 after much research into the best .380 self defense load. This load and others that perform similarly well, including the Hornady Custom XTP and Federal Hydra-Shok, have made the .380 a perfectly viable self defense caliber in recent years.

    • Somewhere in the world, a mechanical engineer just started ranting about imperial-metric unit conversions and has no idea why.

  5. It’s not “+P,” and at 845 FPS it’s only running 142 foot pounds. I’m torn between this and the much more powerful – for a .380 – Buffalo Bore stuff in my Smith BG 380 that isn’t rated for “+P.” My Sig P365 is nice, but has significant primer swipe – perhapa a stronger recoil spring would help. Still, a .380 in the pocket is a lot better than a full sized .40 sitting in a safe.

    • What did you think of STB410 putting the BB stuff in the ‘not as good as FMJ’ category, for underpenetrating when it expanded, and acting like FMJ when it didn’t expand (in other words, as good as FMJ some of the time)?

      (3:20 into the ‘final wrapup’ video in the comments above)

    • My SWBG.380 has run a couple mags of BB 90s without issue other than snappy recoil…but I’m told that with old/dirty mags the increased slide velocity can cause FTF when the mag doesn’t present the next round fast enough and or the slide bounces forward off the stops due to excessive energy.

      I trust the guys who reported it, so there is something there, and I’m loath to test much in my EDC BUG. Just something to be aware of.

    • Your gun is SAAMI Pressure tested with proof loads. It will be perfectly safe to fire “+P” ammunition in it, just don’t overdo it.

      • 380 is not Saami tested, saami has never set a pressure for .380 caliber to be tested at. That is why gun makers do not approve their guns for a .380 +p ammo.

        • I left out the +p in my comment, saami has never set .380 +p pressure to test at. Since most gun makers say it is safe to use +p occasionally if it is saami tested and approved, it does not include .380+p. Saami never tested or approved it.

        • Agreed, there is no such thing as .380 +P ammo. If anyone claims otherwise, my next question would be, “then tell me, exactly what is that?”, and they can’t tell me, because “.380 +P” is undefined.

  6. “I would not call these results erratic, as they just can’t always be predicted.”

    Isn’t “can’t always be predicted” pretty much the very definition of the word “erratic”?

  7. This is shitty ammo, if this review is even truthful, he got REALLY lucky or they sent him some hand inspected, pristine examples to do his test with. Everyone I know of that bought this crap ammo regretted it. Some of if will work, a lot of it won’t. Don’t waste your money, spend a little more for good ammo that always works…..this isn’t it.

    • What does it do badly? I live near them and have tried the subject .380, several of their 9, 5.56, and .40 loads. I even bought a bunch of blems. In fact, I buy mostly blems and bulk. I shoot a lot, and compete, in 3 disciplines. The only one of their loads I didn’t like was the subsonic 9mm.

      • I had the owner/manager approach me at a public range and give me his card when I was testing out an echo trigger I had just installed (multiple mag dumps). He was also handing out samples to guys doing more precision stuff. Still have the card in my truck. Do you compete locally? I’ve done some cursory searches for competitions with no luck.

  8. While I like XTP bullets in a number of different calibers, I decided to go with handloaded Remington 88 gr JHPs in my Taurus PT58. The load below squeezes about out all you can get from a SAAMI spec 380 ACP. These rounds have been fired in a number of different 380s and have functioned flawlessly. I attribute this to the nice rounded profile of the JHP nose.

    Ballistics calculated using Quickload for 4.0″ Taurus PT58 barrel
    88 gr JHP / 4.1 gr Universal / 0.960 OAL
    19520 psi / 1119 fps / 244 ft-lb / 93.4% Burn / 88.6% Fill

    The ballistic performance of commercial 88 gr JHP Remington rounds is mixed due to marginal velocity to get uniform expansion of the JHP bullet. This load bumps up the velocity enough so this is no longer a problem. If you reload, try this load. I think you will really like it.

    • 88gr remington JHPs in 380 perform very poorly in gel tests.

      You’d be better off carrying off the shelf WWB 90gr jacketed flat nose rounds.

  9. My P238 is my go to for summer/deep concealment and an absolute pleasure to shoot.

    .380 ACP has come a long way. Lucky Gunner has some great data about the currently available loads – you can meet FBI standards with .380 out of a small barrel these days – just do your research.

    • I carry my LCP (currently a 10th anniversary edition, but previously a 1st gen with Innovative arms sight upgrade then a LCP custom model with a tritium front night sight) 365 days a year.

      With this ammo it passes the FBI protocol with flying colors, so why burden myself with a big paper weight that is far less convenient to carry? (I personally use .380+P xtreme penetrators, but i’d not hesitate to carry XTP+P either)

      I know so many people with permits that don’t carry -anything- because “it’s a pain.” You suggest a .380, and they start with the whole “It’s too weak for self defense” routine.

      Right, cause the gun you DON’T carry in 9mm/.40/.45 is going to do you a hell of a lot of good when you’re at the mall with your family and some mass shooter opens up on the crowd.

  10. Underwood xtreme penetrator or defender ammo is the another great option. No hollow point to plug and produces similar or better wound cavities than HPs. And great penetration for a 380. Fourteen inches plus. YouTube vids abound.

    • Underwood .380+P XP’s is my choice. It is the best round on the market for defeating auto glass and heavy bone (which gel tests do not test for at all).

      I’ve personally shot this load through .5″ thick polycarbonate “bulletproof glass” that stops .45 acp 230gr FMJ.

  11. Get serious boys and girls. P232 and Underwood Extreme Defender .380 +P. 65 gr. can say hello at 1400 fps. You don’t want to clean up the bio-hazard.

  12. used this ammunition in BOTH my fierarms. ruger LCP and P238. flawless… fires, ejects, repeat x 2000.

  13. I feel my P232 with Fed HS 90gr or Fiocchi Extrema xtp 90gr will see me through pretty well The 3.6 bbl length gives a bit of speed boost over the pocket guns

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