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Not everybody’s idea of “home defense” is to fire two negligent discharges into the air from a double-barrel shotgun. Some of us think it might be more effective to actually shoot the ammo *at* an invader. And for more and more people, they’re foregoing the shotgun and instead reaching for an AR. An AR-15 for home defense? Why not? Powerful, low recoil, easy to aim, high capacity, easy for smaller shooters to handle. It may not be everyone’s choice, but it is the most popular rifle sold. Surplus military ammo, though, is probably not the most suitable round for home defense. In this video, ShootingTheBull410 takes a look at Winchester’s PDX1 223 Defender; it’s purpose-built ammunition designed specifically for the modern sporting rifles and for personal defense use.

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  1. You guys were miles ahead of me. My first reaction to last night’s melon video was to want to see a shooting the bull test.

  2. Interesting test! A part of me is thinking, “Good grief, don’t let an Anti-2A see that video, what with all of the talk of ‘exploding bullets’ and ‘shrapnel.'” On the other hand…I pity the fool who is shot with this in a self-defense situation. The aggressor could have saved himself a metric crap-ton of pain if he’d just behaved.

    I wonder what this kind of round would do if it hits sheetrock, a building stud, or mortar work. You know, anything other than a bad guy that might get hit in a self-defense scenario.

    • That is what I was thinking. If you live out the country not much of a concern but in an urbanized area it very important to know how these rounds penetrate building materials.

    • It’s impossible to know without testing.

      A lightly constructed 5.56 bullet will shatter when impacting drywall at 3000+ fps. However a heavy bullet can sale right through without a problem. Also a bullet that shatters out of a long barrel AR will happily sale through several walls when shot out of a short barrel.

      When properly setup the _lack_ of penetration is one of the reasons why ARs are good for home defense, but it won’t happen by accident.

      • Exactly. A 70 grain 5.56 TSX will zip through barriers well – for a 5.56 – whereas a 55 grain FMJ at above 3150 FPS from a 20″ barrel will fragment pretty quickly. The 40 grain .223 round fragment even faster. So will the 110 grain .308 round, its not just a caliber thing.

        The Hornady LE ammo catalog has gel shots of handgun and rifle defensive calibers and photos. They also have more detailed charts with max expansion, penetration depth, cavitation, etc.

      • So I’ve been told but I have also seen testing that shows standard non-frangible ammo sails right through 4+ panels of sheetrock. There has always been a lot mythology about what a 223/5.56 round will or won’t do. . If standard 5.56 ball ammunition really did fragment on contact with lightweight building materials then it would be useless as a military round since almost any solid object would be turned into cover so excuse me if I remain skeptical the “safe” for built up areas claim for AR-15 rounds.

    • How much is your life worth?

      It’s not like you are planning to take this out to the range and shoot up a couple of mags every weekend, that’s what the Milsurp ammo is for.

      • What’s your life worth to you doesn’t really seem to apply…

        XM193 at 1/4 of the price will still kill the hell out things, it also may be more likely to over penetrate, but it’s no less deadly.

      • > How much is your life worth?

        It’s worth enough that I won’t trust ammunition I can’t afford to practice with. I’ll use cheap stuff for most shooting, but I definitely want to be able to know how any defense ammunition is going to perform in a magazine dump or two.

        The worst thing people do at a range is take the defense rounds out of their gun before they shoot it for the first time.

    • I think I got these from Academy for about $25/box… so that’d be around $1.25/round. shows two retailers with it in stock for $1.20 to $1.49 per round. So, yes, it is expensive as compared to military ammo, but not quite as expensive as you were thinking.

  3. I have 2 boxes of this, one full 30rd magazine and 10+ 20 generic 5.56 for home defense for use in a Tavor. To me it’s worth having the more expensive ammo for a home defense situation. I still need to get another box of it for some practice at the range, its a little hard to get in GA, luckily I found it on the shelf at a sporting goods store in Texas.

  4. Nothing like a sawed off (legal length) shotgun for home defense, even if it’s only a .410.
    The problem with the AR, or any gun shooting a solid projectile, is the chance of the bullet penetrating your wall and maybe wounding or killing someone next door, or in your own home. It happens frequently.

      • Maybe I should have said “once in a while” There was a news report not long ago about a girl being shot and killed that way, and I have seen other instances reported on the nightly news.

    • A shotgun will easily penetrate further then a AR 15 with proper ammo.

      The reality is, however, anything powerful enough to stop a attacker is going to go through a house. And a 410 shotgun is a shit defensive gun. You’d be better off with a 10/22 with minimags.

      • Under what conditions would a 40-grain .22lr be considered superior to four 90-grain, .40-caliber buckshot balls from a .410?

        I would agree a 10/22 with minimags would be better than birdshot from a .410, but it wouldn’t be in the same class or league as a blast of 40-caliber buckshot or 5 pellets of .36-caliber 000 buckshot. A .410 shotgun launches 360 grains of lead in 5 separate wound paths with enough force to blow completely through an attacker.

      • I’m going to disagree with the .410 being a shitty defensive weapon.

        I’ve used .22LR rifles and .410 shotguns to dispatch small, fur bearing, nuisance animals and I’m here to to tell you, one round of .410 buckshot is nasty and makes quite a mess. Unlike the .22LR which usually requires more than one round to kill the animal quickly and makes very little mess of flesh.

        I would take a .410 pump shotgun as a defensive weapon over any pistol, or .22LR rifle, any day of the week.

    • You’ll have the same issue with 9mm-.45 ACP JHPs. Overpenetration can occur with just about anything – even birdshot is essentially a solid mass for the first 8-15 feet.

  5. Can we really say that it is the most popular rifle sold? Just curious as I thought that the .22 rifles were still king and the lever actions have something north of 10 million+ combined sold over the past century.

    They certainly sold a lot of AR pattern guns, but I believe that they are still probably outnumbered 5 to 1 in private hands.

    • Most popular presently sales wise, they aren’t most popular on overall numbers yet but it’s climbing fast. Ans .22s aren’t really considered rifles, they are considered rimfire

      • The round is a rimfire round because that is where the primer is. A long barreled weapon with a stock that fires rimfire cartridges is still called a rifle.

  6. damn. And, only penetrated to 13″. Does not seem like over penetration is a problem here. Makes me rethink what I have now. It looked to me like there was some shrapnel flying out of the gel or off the table too. Reminds me of a video on ballistics where the doctor said, had this been a rifle round there’d be nothing that could be done, but since it was only a .45 the victim survived.

  7. What happened to the 9 mm tests? I am looking forward to the test of the PDX1. They run great in my .45, some bad reviews notwithstanding, and (if and when I can find any) I’d like some for my EDC. Currently I have critical duty–only because there was NOTHING else on the shelves, or that which is, is WAAAY overpriced (e.g., hydroshocks for $1.50 a piece).

  8. (Check with your lawyer before commenting on penetration, no, not that penetration). I have friends and relatives that own one flavor of AR, or other. My only real experience with one was back in ’65’, in a real bad neighborhood. These days I am sticking to my 12 gauge shotgun and .380 lil dog for home defense, if I need an AR I’ll pick one up somewhere.

  9. Bull, would love to see some gel testing on the PDX-1 7.62×39, as far as I can tell, neither video
    nor even a write up exists for scientific terminal performance of that round anywhere on the internet. Seems like something that would attract quite a few views…


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