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By ShootingTheBull410

Following up on last week’s drywall test, this video is a more thorough examination of Federal’s Guard Dog for general purpose self-defense use in a 3″ barrel 9mm pocket pistol. In this video, I put Guard Dog through the regular ballistic gel test, as well as repeating the footage from the last video where Guard Dog faced off against four sheets of 1/2″ drywall and then impacted a block of ballistic gel . . .

Guard Dog is a uniquely marketed product. It’s an expanding full metal jacket design. That means it delivers the type of expansion commonly encountered with conventional hollow points, but without a hollowpoint cavity. Instead of the bullet expanding due to hydraulic pressure filling up a cavity, the Guard Dog expands by basically smashing its nose flat against whatever it hits. Whether that’s a wall, a body, or ballistic gel, the impact will cause the thin jacket to smash flat, resulting in a big bullet about the size of an expanded hollow point. That’s interesting from three angles:

1) Some jurisdictions or countries prohibit civilians from using hollow points. In those territories, Guard Dogs might be legal, and if so, they would give you a lot of the expansion benefit that a hollow point would have.

2) Guard Dogs should be immune to the denim test. Normally in ballistic testing for self defense we run two tests, against bare gel and against denim-covered gel.  The denim is designed to challenge a hollowpoint’s ability to withstand clogging.  Well, without a hollowpoint, the denim becomes irrelevant, and (theoretically) the Guard Dog should expand every time, right?

3) Guard Dog advertises that it will reduce over-penetration through walls. The idea is that a hollow point won’t expand due to impact with a wall, but a Guard Dog probably will. An expanded bullet is a lot tougher to push through another wall than a smaller/unexpanded bullet would be, so the Guard Dog should have a harder time successfully penetrating multiple walls — or, at least, it should have a harder time doing it than an FMJ or conventional hollow point would. This could or should lead to less penetration and, therefore, pose less of a risk to innocent people on the other side of those walls, in the case of a missed-shot situation.

Spoiler alert — for those who saw last week’s video, you already know that the Guard Dog blasted through four sheets of drywall and still penetrated a potentially lethal nine inches into ballistic gel. Is that any better than a conventional bullet? Well, better, yes — a DRT penetrated those same four sheets of drywall and through12 inches into the ballistic gel, so the Guard Dog’s nine inches is technically better. The question is — does that difference actually matter?

In both cases, the bullets would still be potentially lethal after passing through two interior walls! Dead’s dead, so — was the Guard Dog actually that much safer?  In my opinion, not really — I think it may start to make a difference if we added a lot more walls; maybe after five or six interior walls the penetration would be down in a less-than-likely-lethal range, whereas the conventional bullet might still be lethal, but — in my opinion, while it did make a difference, I don’t think the difference really matters.

To me, when people are talking about interior house walls, they’re frequently talking about their kids in adjoining bedrooms, etc — and in a case like that, for the Guard Dog to still be potentially lethal after penetrating two walls, it says to me that it really doesn’t make a difference for the scenario that many people would be most concerned about.  It might make a difference if you were shooting down an entire row of apartments, but for reasonable case of protecting those in your own house or those in an adjoining apartment, I don’t think the Guard Dog’s expanded FMJ design makes enough of a difference to warrant it being viewed as a significantly safer bullet.

In my testing I think it performed superbly as a replacement for FMJ’s for those who cannot use hollow points, but if you can use hollow points, I think there are better performers out there that will serve you better.

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  1. TL;DR, if you’re in New Jersey and can’t use hollow points, these are a good bit better than FMJ 9mm.

    That said, Pow’R Ball and Critical Defense aren’t technically hollow points either, and will probably do a better job at hurting goblins.

  2. I noticed that the velocities were 1165, 1158, 1127, 1076, and 1163fps. If you watch the video closely you can see the one that over-penetrated was the one next to the 1076fps. As is usually the case with JHPs, it’s the slow one that won’t open up. That’s a pretty wide spread, but they would probably perform perfectly with another half inch of barrel.

  3. I appreciate this review, but they didn’t go into what happens if you shoot a physical carcass (pig, whatever, you pick) and then see if it goes through a wall. From what I see on YouTube, it does live up to its name in that scenario (i.e. bullet exits bad guy and doesn’t go through the wall and kill your kids). Could we have that type of test done, please?

  4. Now that Im carrying a 9mm full time, same gun to be exact as he used.
    I can say with 101% confidence.
    Nothing will take the place so far of a Federal 124gr HST for my everyday ammo choice.
    With Liberty Critical Defense being my indoor choice of in the store ammo.
    Now if only I knew more about 9mm ammo weights in general………………………as a 9mm novice.
    I have no clue what the real differences are between 115,124 and147 grain bullets are, nor how to find out.

    • Slower, heavier bullets tend to penetrate deeper while leaving less damage outside the direct path of the bullet while faster, lighter bullets make a bigger splash, so to speak. The diameter of the expanded bullet, however can depend widely with bullet construction, so there’s no telling whether a 115gr will expand more than a 147gr. or vice versa, but the 115gr. will be traveling faster, which (theoretically) should make it expand more reliably.


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