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Today’s test could prove interesting; I’m trying Winchester PDX1 (124gr +P) through the 3″ barrel pistol. Now, PDX1 is advertised by Winchester as being the FBI’s duty load, and since I’m using the FBI standards for penetration, surely PDX1 will pass with flying colors, right? The only problem is . . .

The FBI doesn’t use 3″-barrel pocket pistols. They use full-size duty guns. And I’m sure PDX1 passes all the FBI battery of tests handily when fired from those bigger pistols. But the question I (and other concealed-carriers) have is, will the ammo still perform well when fired from a pocket pistol?

Simultaneously, I’ll be testing Winchester Ranger 124gr +P, another bonded jacketed hollowpoint design from Winchester. It looks physically identical to the PDX1 (except for the bullet’s color), and the ballistics printed on the box are exceptionally close. I’ve heard tell that the bonded Ranger and the PDX1 are in fact the same bullet, so testing them side-by-side from the same pistol into the same block of gel should answer that question.

And hey, if they are the same, does that mean you can just buy the less-expensive Ranger instead of the more-expensive PDX1? And do either of them perform well enough from a pocket pistol that you’d want to buy it? Hopefully this series of tests will get us some answers.

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  1. Have fun shooting! Wish I was there with you instead of here in the *^#&^@%^# office.

  2. Unfortunately, I have seen the same results with the Ranger 124gr +P shooting into water. Out of a 3″ barrel the round only partially opened while out of a 4″ barrel it fully blossomed. Just like ShootingTheBull410, it got me looking for a new 9mm round from my 3″ barrel…

  3. The 124gr PDX1’s are +P rounds. Well, out of a short barrel, you’re going to receive little to no improvement out of a +P round, because there’s not enough time in the barrel to get the velocity up as a result of higher pressures.

    I’d be curious to see what the same test in the same gun with the 147gr standard pressure rounds would be. My hunch is that the 147’s will perform better than the 124’s.

    There’s no real substitute for mass.

  4. Pretty sure the FBI standard issue is the Glock 23 –
    AKA “The One Gun To Rule Them All”.
    and many carry the G27 “Baby Glock” as their concealed backup:

    I believe the California Highway Patrol shoots Ranger, and a couple years ago, I recall they sent a big batch back for some sort of a minor problem- tried to get some in the open market but it all got snapped up. Pretty spendy at retail for range time.

    I’d interested in a comparison of the two in .40, and thanks
    Dys, on your mention of mass. Pretty sure the FBI uses 165g JHP,
    I guess because its less snappy for smaller shooters,

    but thats harder to find retail, so I practice with 180g factory Wally White Box, which is cheaper too.

  5. I would love to see stb410 do some .38 ammo tests. I have not seen many positive results for many loads in .38 out of 2in barrels. Out of 4in barrels it seems like most of the SD loads do fine in .38, but I like how he does videos especially for the short barreled guns.

  6. Question: if caliber doesn’t matter then what difference does it make how well these bullets work? If the only show stopper in over penetration then any round that consistantly stays within the 12-18 range should be a just fine to use.

    • The short answer is that caliber does matter. So also does barrel length, bullet construction, and bullet mass. There is a whole lot less that can go wrong with bigger bullets. The thing is that shot placement trumps them all.

      • I was semi-trolling.

        If caliber really didn’t matter then we wouldn’t care what ammo we used. But I think deep down inside everybody believes caliber and ammo performance makes a difference. It’s not sole factor in lethality but it is an important one.

        • Caliber certainly matters, a lot. Except when it doesn’t. And that’s what makes the whole subject confusing.

          If you hit someone in the brain stem or spinal column, they’re going to stop — immediately. And it doesn’t matter whether you hit their brain stem or spinal cord with a .22LR or a .44 Magnum… either way, they will stop, immediately, and (in the case of a brain stem hit) permanently.

          But the odds of hitting your attacker in those tiny spots are so low, that we instead normally rely on upper center of mass hits, to disrupt the circulatory system vital organs. And in that case, bigger holes are better than smaller holes; bigger bullets will hit things that smaller bullets might miss. More damage > less damage. A more powerful round will stay on target better than a lighter, weaker round might; small bullets can turn and veer off path once inside the body, heavier bullets are less likely to do so.

          So when it comes to picking a self defense weapon, I always advise to choose the biggest, most powerful, most damaging round that you can accurately and safely handle. It does no good if your shots miss, of course; a hit with a .22 is better than a miss with a .45. If a .22’s all you can handle, then hey, go for it, but understand that you’re accepting a much larger burden of the workload in that case — to stop a determined aggressor, your aim and placement will have to be absolutely perfect. If you can handle and conceal and carry a more powerful weapon, and accurately place the shots, you will be better off.

        • I fully agree with your conclusions it’s just that a significant number of TTAG patrons don’t. I was simply making the point that if you really believe caliber is unimportant then the only thing that would matter is if a particular round over penetrated.

  7. Second that for the request for 38 spc from a short barrel. I’d be VERY interested in those tests. Doesn’t have to be as expansive as the 380 but a few of the major brands.

  8. The pdx1 works fine out of my glock 26 and out of my taurus pt111 g2. I’d definitely trust my life with it. Expansion is more than adequate to put down a thug trying to harm me and my family.

  9. I really like watching this channel but I just feel that the ammo reviews are not fully complete and accurate. For myself, I use a full sized duty pistol. So to recomend or not recomend ammo based on a 3 inch barrel is misleading. So the channel tests for micro, compact or sub compact handguns. A lot of the ammo used isnt really given the chance to fully expand, get up to max velocity. I would like to see tests with barrels 4+ inches in length. I am sure the results for some of the ammo would be completely different than his 3 inch barrel tests and reccomendations. Maybe at the very least do a 3 inch test and then do a 4+ inch barrel test to see the difference. There are some people that just buy self defense ammo based on his reviews, I find that quite concerning. just my 2 cents

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