About Us

Shooting The Bull is a site dedicated to discussing all aspects of personal defense through the use of firearms, spreading some truth you can bullieve in, and dispelling a lot of the bulloney out there.

On these pages you’ll find equipment reviews, ammo tests, and general articles on how to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.  What you’re not going to find is a lot of hype, or politics, or rabble-rousing or stirring of the pot.  There’s enough of that out there on the internet, we don’t need another voice contributing to that cacophony.

Over here, we’ll challenge common assumptions, we’ll put equipment to the test, we’ll document the results and you can decide whether a particular claim is something you can bullieve, or if it’s bulloney.  We’ll do it with precision, with personality, with humor and with sincerity.  After all, if it’s no fun to read or no fun to watch, why would you read or watch it?

We’ll also be a definitive source of information for the Taurus Judge (inspiration for our logo) since it’s an incredibly popular, and incredibly maligned, piece of equipment.  We’re not limited to discussing just one brand, but we think you’ll find Shooting The Bull to be the most comprehensive source for information about the Judge and how it really performs.

Welcome.  Sit back, relax, read, watch, enjoy, and comment.  And if there’s something in particular you want to see, send us a note at shooting.the.bull.410@gmail.com.

 

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67 thoughts on “About Us

  1. William L Noble Jr ( Bill )

    I’m in mourning…the HPR webcatalog/magazine does not list the .380 90gr XTP .
    Re: the TCP 780, .380 ammo test series results. I’ve emailed them about it and am waiting
    to hear. Meanwhile, you’ve really got me wondering how the CorBon .380 HP would
    do in same gel test by comparison? Do you plan on putting CorBon through the gauntlet,
    ( in case HPR is done with their’s, for whatever reason ) ?

    Bill

    Reply
    1. Shooting The Bull

      Hi Bill,

      Have no fear, the HPR .380 round is alive and well. It’s just not on their website, for some infathomable reason. Look for it on ammoseek.com and you may find it; right at this moment it’s showing it as in stock at ammo supply warehouse. There are also other rounds that use the Hornady XTP bullet besides HPR; you’ll see in upcoming tests that I put the Fiocchi Extrema, Precision One, and Hornady Custom through the tests too, and all perform well; some better than others, but all performed basically as well as the Gold Dots and Hydra Shoks.

      I don’t have any of the CorBons right now, but have been planning on picking some up to test.

      Reply
  2. Russ

    Did not see the CorBon 380 90gr JHP’s .. if you couldn’t find any Cabela’s has them right now, as well as a couple other places listed on GunBot. I know your into the finals now, but maybe you’ll allow a late entry.

    All the results I’ve seen show them at 12-13″ and near a half inch expansion with clothed gelatin. Problem is, I can’t find anyone who’s posted results for bare gelatin. The only concern being they may open up too much and run shallow in a bare gel test.

    – Thanks

    Reply
    1. Shooting The Bull

      I’ve got a box of CorBon 90-grainers in my ammo can right now ready for the next trip to the range. You’ll see a test in bare gel soon.

      EDIT: video now posted.

      Reply
  3. chris

    Hey I’ve really enjoyed your .380 comparison videos! I’ve had a little difficulty navigating all the videos, though. Could you maybe create separate playlists for the initial clear gel tests and the finals? Maybe even create a chart on your website with a summary of the results? It would be nice to see all the results in one place for easier comparison. Maybe that’s already in the works…

    Also I didn’t see any Remington Ultimate Defense. Did I just miss it?

    Can’t wait for the 9mm results!

    Reply
    1. Shooting The Bull

      Hi Chris,

      I totally understand. Yes, navigation would greatly be enhanced with playlists etc; this whole thing just spiraled out of control as I kept finding more and more ammo to test!

      I plan on doing two things to rectify this:
      1) I’m going to post a summation video that separates the ammo into various classes (i.e., “never use this”, “this is better than nothing”, “this is decent”, and “these are the winners”). That should make for one-stop viewing.

      2) I’m going to do a tabulated, organized blog post that summarizes overall performance of each round, including links to their video reviews.

      Once those two resources are posted, I think it’ll be a lot easier to navigate.

      And yes, I’ll try to take the lessons learned in creating this series, forward into the 9mm series, so it should be easier to navigate and follow the 9mm Ammo Quest.

      Thanks for reading and watching!

      Reply
  4. dlj95118

    Just want to say how much I appreciate your efforts in testing , producing, and publishing your material. I cannot image the amount of time required.

    So, thank you. I’ve found much useful info and frequently point people to your YouTube channel for, as I tell them, “clear and concise” information.

    Regards,
    Dave

    Reply
    1. Shooting The Bull

      Thanks Dave! It’s been a lot of work, but I’m glad I did it and I’m doubly glad that other folks are finding it useful. Check out the latest blog post (http://shootingthebull.net/blog/final-results-of-the-380-acp-ammo-quest/), I put up a summary of the entire .380 Ammo Quest so you can quickly review and compare all the tested rounds, see pictures of the recovered bullets, and there’s links to all the videos for further research. I hope it becomes a reference page for people searching for the best ammo for their .380 micro-pistol.

      Reply
        1. Shooting The Bull

          Donations can be sent to:
          F.I.F., Inc.
          3091 College Park Drive, Ste 240-6
          The Woodlands, TX 77384

          It’d be best to check with me to see if I already have what you’re considering sending, or if I can even test what you’re asking for (I may not have an appropriate firearm that can even chamber the round you may want tested).

          Thanks!

          Reply
  5. Brad

    Are you going to continue the “9mm Ammo Quest” series with denim and gel? That would be a HUGE service to the “pocket carry” CCW crowd.

    Reply
    1. Shooting The Bull

      Hi Brad,

      Yes, there are many videos coming in the 9mm Ammo Quest series. The second one is actually going public today, the test of Hornady Critical Defense.

      Reply
  6. rw walden

    first – thank you, thank you for the 26 videos regarding 380 ammunition.

    second – would you consider setting up a test protocol that uses actual garments vs. folded denim? thinking
    real world clothing combinations would be most illuminating for 380, 9mm and 38spl. here in the rockies,
    we get hot summers and cool, cool winters. actually seeing the results of clothing barrier penetratin would
    “clinch” the speculation regarding whether or not we need hand cannons (4-something or higher) in order
    to adequately deal with the clothing issues).

    third – would you consider testing through pork shouders (bone and meat). actual result of light bullet
    meets flesh and bone would go along way to deal with all the mathematical theorists.

    fourth – would you consider polling your u-tube audience for financial support to conduct the tests?
    (recognize you have a DONATE button here, but your audience may not object to a broader survey)
    i would be up for a donation of a hunnert or two toward the expenses.

    ah ‘preciate it, and good nite !!

    Reply
    1. Shooting The Bull

      Hi rw walden,

      Thanks for the comments! Let me address ‘em here…

      1. Actual garments — that’s more like the FBI’s “heavy clothing” test; they use t-shirt denim, polartec fleece, etc., in a specific combination to simulate “heavy clothing”. I follow the IWBA protocol instead, which uses four layers of excessively heavy denim. The idea is to get a full spectrum of bullet performance, from the best-possible case (the bare gelatin) to the worst-possible case (four layers of heavy denim). It’s not really designed to emulate clothing, it’s designed to challenge the bullet’s hollowpoint cavity and its propensity to deform when striking a substantial barrier. So in reality, if the bullet can pass both tests, it should also perform well in any imaginable clothing situation. Or, put in other words, if the bullet doesn’t deform or clog on four layers of heavy denim, then there’s no way it’s going to deform or clog on a t-shirt or a blouse. Does that make sense? Or do you still think there’s a necessity to do alternate clothing tests? I could run a “light clothing” test just to illustrate the point, if you think it’d be helpful.

      2. Pork shoulders — this is a common test among amateur bullet testers or do-it-yourselfers, but it’s not done among professional testers. It seems on the surface to make sense — humans are made of meat, so why wouldn’t you test in meat? Seems logical, right? But in fact it’s a completely invalid test! The reason is simple: living tissue and dead meat aren’t the same and they don’t respond the same way to bullets. If you wanted to shoot into a cadaver to test bullet performance, you would have to do so within about 15 minutes of the body dying. Tissue decay and rigor mortis set in very rapidly and change the density of the (well, I guess I have to say the word) meat. Living tissue is very wet, it’s hydrated by a massive network of blood vessels and capillaries. But when the heart stops pumping, that fluid stops flowing, the meat stops being hydrated, and — at that point, it stops reacting like living tissue does. It doesn’t provide valid testing data. Shooting a cadaver gives no indication of what a bullet would do in a LIVING body.

      That’s where ballistic gel comes into play. Dr. Martin Fackler developed it to simulate the density of living tissue, not dead corpses (like a ham or beef ribs or whatever). He killed a lot of pigs to do it. He shot into living pigs, and he also killed pigs and shot into their absolutely-fresh thighs, and he was a combat surgeon so he used his own experience and correlated with coroners and medical examiners and forensic pathologists to get data on what real bullets did in real living flesh. He compared that against cadavers and found that cadavers simply didn’t react the same as living tissue did. He then formulated ballistic gel (which is, by the way, actually meat — it’s dried and powdered pork skin, reconstituted with water). He formulated it to deliver basically exactly the same deformation, expansion, and penetration characteristics as living tissue did. He tested it against bullets fired into living pigs, and into freshly killed pigs (as in, fresh — less than a few minutes). He fine-tuned the formula until he got ballistic gel to the point where the bullets pulled from a fresh pig through fresh meat, and those pulled from ballistic gel, were identical in size, shape, penetration, and performance.

      So that’s why we use ballistic gel, and not hams/roasts/pork etc. The dead meat just doesn’t give legitimate performance as compared to what really counts — living tissue.

      3. Financial support? Sheesh, that’d be most welcome — this stuff is getting expensive! I calculated that it costs me about $10 for every round fired, $50 per block of gel with five rounds fired in it. And that doesn’t count the cost of my time to film and edit the videos, those usually take several hours each. So, yes, it’s expensive, and if people wanted to donate that would be most welcome, but not expected — I’m doing testing because I want to know, and I love to teach, so I’m not expecting or demanding contributions. And while my videos are monetized on youtube, the money they make is laughable. I’d probably have to get over 75,000 views on each one just to make back the hard costs I spend in producing them. But I’d be lying if I said that contributions don’t help, because of course they do. Thank you for thinking of it, I appreciate the sentiment. The question would be — practicality? How does one ask youtube viewers to donate? If there’s a simple and unobtrusive and socially acceptable way to make it available without turning it into a beg-fest, I’d certainly do so — but I don’t want to turn my videos into something that resembles “pledge week” on NPR or PBS, that would be counterproductive. Any ideas?

      Thank you very much for the comments and for thinking of ways to support the efforts here, it’s much appreciated!

      Reply
      1. rw walden

        wow ! really surprised at the detailed response….because i know you are busy.

        re the “real clothes” test, most of us out here are not academics. ballistic gel tests remain in the “theory” territory. seein’ is belivin’. the suggestion for “real clothes” is to let us see as close to “real world” as possible how cloth affects bullets. not just t-shirts, but things like 5.11 gear, sweatshrits/hoodies, navy P-Jackets, ski jackets, sweaters and such combos. it is one thing to demonstrate, “see, if it will do this in gel, it will do the same/better/worse in any type clothing. with many of us speculating that maybe 380 is ok for attackers sporting summer wear, we need to move to 9mm or larger for winter clothing. we haven’t seen any tests to validate/de-bunk, but our “theory” seems sensible.

        as to “meat” targets, the demo of impact damage is nore vivid than gel. yes, the dead meat and live (or near live) meat respond differently, but the visual is more powerful than gel (and sometimes we need to see what happens when bone is actually struck (gell generally does not cause bullets to act unpredictably or erratically, whereas real bone can be an eye-opener.

        donations….how ’bout setting up a demo with real clothing covering a pork shoulder, and in the narrative note that the demo is a prototype. if the youtube audience would like to see more, fuller demonstrations, donations of $XXXX is needed. you could provide an address for checks, a paypay venue, or go through kickstarter (in any event all money will be returned if the goal is not reached). cannot verify, but from the youtube comments it seems people might be willing to donate if they know in advance what they will get, and when.

        cheers…

        and merry christmas

        Reply
        1. Shooting The Bull

          Hi RW Walden,

          I can certainly see the visual appeal of what you’re describing — but what I’m struggling with is how to do such a thing while having it still be actually relevant to the viewer. I mean… I don’t want to do something just for the visual appeal, but have it actually mislead the viewer (which is what I think pork/ham tests do… they’re not representative of real bullet performance, and they lead the viewer to form a false impression of what damage they should actually expect.) To me, it’s like using clay to test — you can get some incredible images from using Plastilina clay, because it leaves the temporary cavity permanently embedded in the clay. But — it’s misleading, because in handgun rounds, the temporary cavity is usually basically meaningless, it doesn’t lead to actual damage to the body, it just makes some stretching (not all that different from flexing muscles or someone sucking in their gut — a lot of motion, sure, but no damage). So dead meat may leave a lot of false impressions because it’s not wet, it doesn’t stretch like living tissue does, and so it may look like there was a lot more damage done than there actually was, and I wouldn’t want to leave an audience with those false impressions.

          Ballistic gel isn’t “theory”, it’s settled science. It was designed by a combat surgeon who saw bullets every day, who knew exactly what bullets do to real flesh, and who wanted to design a testing medium that would result in damage craters and bullet damage that’s exactly like what one would see in real tissue. Have you seen my tests of the Lehigh Maximum Expansion rounds? In those I show a cross-section of the damage the round does to the flesh simulant, and I think it’s pretty convincing…

          As far as clothing itself — the science says that if it passes the 4-layer denim test, it’ll handle any combination of clothing anyone’s likely to be wearing. However, in this case I can certainly see room for some “seeing is believing” — people would probably like to see what the real-world difference is between a t-shirt and a leather jacket or ski jacket etc. That type of testing I can certainly do. And I recognize your point about the debate of whether one has to move to a larger caliber in winter (i.e., maybe .380 is okay for summer wear but to get through winter wear you’d need something more substantial). That could be an interesting and informative test and I’ll put that on my schedule of things to do.

          Do you have specific clothing combination suggestions you’d want to see tested?

          Reply
  7. rw walden

    hi,

    and happy and joyous new year to you and yours.

    i reckon the thing most folks in cold country would like to see is a test with heavy wool, i.e. navy pea coat, or something from cabelas, placed over sweatshirt or two, or sweater and flannel. also, the leather jacket over something has appeal.

    as to ballistic gel “theory”, science in the lab is not as informative (impressive?) as science demonstrated in common environments. i don’t expect to be shooting through engine blocks or car doors, but where those events are shown on video, i can get the “light bulb” to turn on with a, “hhhmmm, reckon it would penetrate dry wall if i miss my target” sorta thing.

    as a former air force pilot, i can grasp the science behind induced drat, coefficient of lift and L over Dmax. but it was made patently clear when i attempted my first 3G turn and saw the airspeed decay at an alarming rate, along with loss of altitude at a most inauspicious moment.

    thanks for everything you do, and for taking time to continue this string.

    cheers

    Reply
    1. Shooting The Bull

      Gotcha. Well, I’ll try to think of ways that can make the demonstrations more clear and approachable. Everybody loves blowing up pumpkins or other such stuff because of the wonderful visuals, and I’d like the audience to receive as much value and knowledge from the tests and articles as I can deliver. I just want to make sure that I don’t show anything that is misleading, as I fear a meat shot would be. That’s one reason I like using ballistic gel, because the damage it leaves is pretty much exactly the same damage that would be observed in a body hit by that same bullet, but I understand that it doesn’t have quite the same “sex appeal” as when someone shoots a thawed turkey or ham…

      Unfortunately there’s always more ideas than there is time to implement them; I have an outline for an idea that will hopefully really get people to understand “kinetic energy” and how much importance they should attach to it, which uses some rather interesting (or, hopefully, at least entertaining!) examples that really put things in perspective. Just gotta find time to get to it…

      Thanks for your readership and support!

      Reply
  8. rw walden

    like your ideas. will be very interested. do you blast an announcement to your audience so we know when to look to youtube?

    let me know what i can do to help.

    wasn’t “blowing up pumpkins” a rock band once upon a time????

    cheers,

    Reply
    1. Shooting The Bull

      I think the band in question is “Smashing Pumpkins”.

      For notifications on when a new video is posted, the best thing to do is “subscribe” on the YouTube channel (or, alternately, on Google+, but obviously YouTube subscribing is more likely to be effective).

      Reply
  9. rw walden

    :)

    hi,

    tried to subscribe; google wants too much, and is the only way to subscribe since purchasing youtube.

    btw, tried to pm your email, but yahoo, hotmail, lycos do not recognize the gmail fractioning of addresses. have one successful gmail pen pal, but only one dot (.) in the address prior to @.

    hope this year is off to a good start !!

    Reply
  10. NotoriousAPP

    I’ve watched some of your recent videos via http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com, I really like what you’re doing. I get so tired of people making decisions and statements about firearms (or anything for that matter) which are not based on data or reality.

    I’m an engineer and one of the tools I use in my job is applied statistics: I specialize in data collection, organization, analysis using statistical techniques, interpretation and presentation of data. I noticed in Part 1 of the Judge video you stated that the difference between the bullet speed between the XDS and Judge were, “practically statistically a tie”. Yikes!!! Did you perform statistics on the results of the bullet speed? If so, can you present the data?

    I’m not here to flame you, I think you present the information better than almost everyone on the internet today. I’m offering to help, if you would like me to perform statistics on your testing results just get with me before you run the test so I can understand what you’re doing to make sure that you’ll collect enough data. I can also advise you on how to setup the experiment such that it is a proper statistical experiment. If you add this element to your testing I think it would go a long way with your “brand” and reputation.

    Reply
    1. Shooting The Bull

      Hi NotoriousAPP,

      No, you’re right, I shouldn’t have used the word “statistically” because there weren’t enough data samples to truly compile representative and meaningful statistics. I should have left it at “they’re within about 3% of each other” without invoking the word statistics. Sorry ’bout that!

      Reply
  11. rwwalden

    hi,

    just saw the 115 corbon 9mm test video. your technique/methodology was previously the best on the net, and provided what is probably the closest results to RW. changing methods to catch-up the backlog is customer friendly, but degrades the testing standard you already set. my input is, take your time with the tests; we will wait for the full range of candidates. the HST round (and the CORBON) give us good rounds for the interim, and there should be no rush to get a bunch more brands on video. if voting is allowed, count me in the slow, but relentless camp endorsing your methods for the 380 quest.

    cheers,

    Reply
    1. Shooting The Bull

      I do agree that the more methodical standard and 10 rounds per test is a higher standard. I still think 5 shots is better than one, but I would prefer to do 10 shots whenever possible and will try to adhere to that as best I can.

      Reply
  12. rw walden

    random thought (question, actually) floating by, and i captured it.

    what’s up with all the forum/blog claims regarding “energy dump”? if the blunt end of a baseball bat impacts a human chest at 300fp, will the reaction not be different from a 124gr 9mm (or larger , or smaller) bullet impacting with 300fp? seems to me the “energy dump” of the bat will likely dump the recepient, where the bullet will penetrate, but not dump the receiver. i can understand the thought that a big bullet (.454, or .500) will blast a person off their feet, and back several feet, but that would mean the shooter would experience the same – in the opposite direction. is there anything useful about knowing the amount of enegry dump (probably should have restrected this entry to that last question)

    thanx,

    Reply
    1. Shooting The Bull

      Ah, the “energy dump” or “energy transfer”… that’s one of the most misunderstood, and misleading, and annoying claims that happens in all of ballistics.

      Put simply, it seems like some people believe that “transferring energy” or “dumping energy in a target” is somehow equivalent to damaging or stopping the target. And, of course, it isn’t. A bullet wounds or stops a target by damaging them through stress — by cutting, ripping, crushing, or stretching tissue. “Dumping energy” doesn’t have anything to do with it. Energy is the ability to do work, but what counts is what work gets done.

      Simple example — a .32 ACP FMJ, and a .32 ACP hollowpoint, both have identical energy. Both will “dump all their energy in the target” — meaning, after the bullet leaves the muzzle, it will possess about 133 ft/lbs of energy, and both will come to a stop within the target’s body, so when they stop they will have zero ft/lbs of energy. Accordingly, both will have “dumped all their energy” in the target. They will have “transferred their energy.” But — one of them will have shredded some flesh superficially and penetrated poorly (the .32 HP), and the other will have penetrated deep enough to actually potentially disrupt the vital organs (the FMJ). So which is the more effective bullet? Unquestionably the FMJ in this case. Yet both “transferred all their energy”.

      Another example — a .45 ACP Critical Defense hollowpoint bullet weighing 185 grains, fired from a 3″ barrel, possesses about 333 ft/lbs of energy, penetrates 12″, expands to gigantic size, and is an excellent manstopper. It will come to rest entirely within the body, thus “transferring all its energy”. In comparison, a CCI pest-control shotshell in .45 ACP carries 120 grains of #9 shot at 1100 feet per second, for a total payload of 322.34 ft/lbs of energy. Basically identical energy, right? But #9 shot is designed to be used against pests, rats, squirrels, maybe pigeons. It is not a “manstopper” by any stretch of the imagination. If you were to shoot a person with a CCI #9 shotshell out of a .45 ACP pistol, it would indeed hit them, and it would indeed transfer 100% of its energy to them, but all it would do to them would be to cause a nasty, big, ugly flesh wound. There’s pretty much no stretch of the imagination anyone could take that would say that a .45 ACP CCI shotshell would be as effective in stopping a person as a .45 ACP Critical Defense bullet! Yet, in both cases, they “transfer” the same amount of “energy.”

      Energy doesn’t wound. Energy doesn’t damage. Cutting, ripping, tearing, crushing, smashing — those are the things that damage.

      Now, if you had a case of the identical same bullet, and one has more kinetic energy than the other, then it’s possible that the higher energy bullet could do more damage. Possible, but not guaranteed. Energy is the capacity to do work, but it depends on what work gets done! If all the energy goes to making the bullet expand bigger, such that there is very little energy left over to propel the bullet deeper, then no, that will not be a more effective manstopper, even though it has more energy.

      Think of energy like money in your wallet — technically, having more money should be better than having less money, right? But it really depends on what you spend it on. If you blow all your money gambling and lose it all, and I spend my money on basic supplies, then — does it matter that you had twice as much money as I did, to start? Who’s better off? The guy who spent his money wisely, that’s who.

      So it is with energy. You can totally waste your energy by making a fragmenting projectile that disintegrates and doesn’t penetrate any more than 4″, or by making a ratshot cartridge that sends lots and lots of ineffective tiny projectiles… or you can spend your energy wisely, by making a bullet that penetrates deeply, expands largely, and cuts and destroys a lot of tissue.

      So what’s with all the talk of “high energy transfer” and “maximum energy transfer”? It’s marketing. It plays well to the audience. Bigger numbers and more exciting claims make you think you’re getting something special. But in actual scientific terms, it’s not the energy that you have, it’s the WAY the energy is deployed, it’s the work that gets done, that determines a bullet’s effectiveness.

      Okay, last thing — you said ” i can understand the thought that a big bullet (.454, or .500) will blast a person off their feet, and back several feet”… and that’s a complete fallacy. No big bullet is going to move a person at all. All this stuff about people getting knocked over by a bullet, is straight out of Hollywood. It’s movie special effects, but it’s not reality. The Mythbusters tried to tackle this one; they showed that even a 12-gauge slug would move a human-sized target only an inch or two at most.

      Reply
  13. Kevin

    Hey STB. I love your videos. I look forward to when your videos are posted. Very professionally done and entertaining. Just wanted to drop a quick note.
    Thanks

    Reply
  14. Dean

    Bill,
    Might ammunition designed to meet the FBI spec, that will penetrate a barriror and then get the bad guy, tend to over penetrate the ballistic gelatin that you use for your test. Where this might not be the case with personal defense ammo not designed for that purpose. Love the vids!

    Reply
    1. Shooting The Bull

      Hi Dean,

      This may seem counterintuitive, but actually, the reverse is true — typically ammo performs much deeper through barriers than it does through the bare gel. Bare gelatin tends to result in the shortest penetration depths; gel covered in denim tends to produce deeper penetration, and bullets that first pass through plywood, auto glass, wallboard or car doors all tend to penetrate deeper than they would through bare gel.

      The reason is due to bullet deformation. On the bare gel, the bullet impacts the gel directly, and because there’s nothing interfering with it, it expands to its biggest size. So even though it has the most velocity at impact (because it hasn’t been slowed down by having to penetrate barriers), it still stops the soonest because it expands to such a larger size that there’s so much additional drag caused by that large size (like a parachute) that it slows the bullet down quickly.

      Whereas when going through denim, the bullets tend to expand to a smaller size. And that smaller size puts up less drag, and results in the bullets penetrating deeper, in general, than the bare bullets did.

      And when you get to hard barriers like plywood or auto glass, those can cause the bullets to deform somewhat, which means that they don’t expand nearly as large as the bare bullets. And, as such, they penetrate deeper or even much deeper.

      As a quick example, let’s use the Gold Dot 147 grain 9mm. According to le.atk.com, it penetrates like this:

      12.58″ in bare gel
      14.93″ through FBI “heavy clothing”
      19.43″ through car door steel
      15.63″ through wallboard
      16.13″ through plywood
      12.90″ through auto windshield safety glass.
      16.93″ through IWBA heavy denim.

      My conclusion here is that ammo that performs well on the FBI test, is also ideally suited for personal defense use. You can largely ignore the barriers because they don’t (typically) play a role in self defense usage; as long as it performs well through the bare and denim tests, that’s what we in the self defense community are primarily concerned with. If it also happens to perform well through the other barriers, that’s a bonus, but not something we need to be overly concerned about.

      Reply
  15. MDdiddy

    I love your tests. My question would be why havent Federal Hydra-Shok 9mm been tested in 124 or 135 grain? They are such a popular round and perform out of a full size duty weapon but they need to be tested out of a 3″ barrel. So many people carry these that it would be really helpful to see them tested out of a shorter carry gun.

    Reply
    1. Shooting The Bull

      No reason other than that I haven’t got any and haven’t gotten to them yet. I do have some Hi-Shoks, and lots of HSTs, but don’t have any Hydra-Shoks on hand. Once I get through all the other ammo that’s already been bought or donated, I’ll look at Hydra Shoks.

      Reply
  16. DeeDee

    I have drank your Kool-Aid, it is epiphany laden. Thank You Sir.

    My question, revolves around a desire to find an answer that lays on the opposite side of your investigative inquiry. I introduce small weak hands to the pocket pistol world. If you don’t want to carry/conceal (on the physical person) because of styles of attire, a defensive firearm serves diminishing utility.
    The .380, small, light, etc., is specifically for conceal-ability purposes, not because it’s hand-held inertia is the most stable platform, nor because it’s comparable ballistics are cliché ridden vis-à-vis effectiveness. So, the question is, of all the .380 ammo out in the marketplace, which would you judge might be the least snappy, jumpy, pushy, flippy (et. al.) of those factory brands readily available.
    I used the phrase “… would you judge …” because I fully realize you are a clinician/technician who uses real comparable measurable and repeatable data as the standards to formulate your analysis. My answer, if held to your adopted standards really lies with the use of force gauges with peak readouts and high speed vids to simultaneously observe movements and motion distances while in something akin to a purpose designed Ramson. Understood. Since both of us are apparently light in those departments at present, I cede to your impressions and “better judgment” experiences to help me with this ‘guesstimation’.
    Keeping in mind, this is not intended to be the defensive carry round, just the introductory target ammo for total ‘newbies’. Also, that all the often described procedures for attaining proficiency and confidence in the chosen carry round (XTP, thank you again) will be employed. This is all about incremental introduction to specifically small weak hands and wrists. .22lr is/were the starting point(s).
    To reduce the info void, the present procedures start with the G 42, then go to the S & W BG, then to the TCP which is my (and their, though for some different reasons) most desirable of the field in the DA only mousers, when considering weight and size immediately behind function(ality) as the effective requirement.

    Thank You for Your Service,
    D.

    P.S.: (IMHO): You should be given a ‘blind’ industry grant to pursue your investigative approach to the fullest of your imagination. Ammo functionality really should be tailored to the specific firearm (barrel length). Great call. With a ‘voluntary’ “Bull” standard printed on the box, ie. Bull A1 = 4″ barrel & Bull A3 = 3 1/2″ barrel. Yo, Bulldude, start the Standard(s), “… if you build it, it will come …”.

    Reply
    1. Shooting The Bull

      Hi DeeDee,

      Recoil is a really tricky thing to scientifically expound upon, because there’s observable calculatable “free recoil”, but there’s a subjective feeling known as “felt recoil”. And it isn’t related to the ammo so much as it is to the ammo from a particular gun. There are some simple observations we can make, such that Underwood XTP ammo (at 913 fps) is going to have more felt recoil than HPR XTP ammo (same bullet, but at only 790 fps). Obviously the equal-and-opposite-reaction is going to apply, and the Underwood is exploding with more force, so you’re going to feel more.

      But the weight of the gun makes such a big difference. Example — I have a couple of Taurus Judges, the little 2-lb Public Defender and the gigantic 5-lb Raging Judge. Using the same ammo in each, the difference in recoil is simply astronomical — rounds that make the Public Defender want to leap out of my hand, have absolutely minimal recoil in the Raging Judge. And polymer guns of equal weight to steel guns may reduce felt recoil a little, because the polymer frame itself can “give” and absorb some of the impact.

      Recoil is felt hardest when it’s experienced in a shorter period of time. The more time it takes for the shock to play out in your hand, the less you’ll feel it. That’s why many people refer to the .40 S&W as a “snappier” round with “more recoil”, as compared to the .45 ACP, even though the .40 has a lighter weight bullet and perhaps even less total kinetic energy. The .40 is a high-pressure round and it exerts all its force faster, where the .45 ACP is typically a lower-pressure and slower-moving round, so its energy burst happens a little slower.

      All of which is to say — it’s really difficult to put a scientific number on, or scientifically evaluate, “felt recoil”.

      What I can say is this — if you want the lightest recoil for any given round, use the heaviest gun. A Sig P238, for example, is an all-steel gun that weighs over 15 ounces. The Taurus TCP is a polymer gun that weighs about 10 ounces. Even though both are shooting .380 rounds, even the same round, the Sig is a much softer shooter than the Taurus. But that’s not all there is to it, because in my experience with the Ruger LCP (which is equivalent size and weight to the TCP) I found the Ruger to be “jumpier” in my hands than the TCP was. It was easier to shoot straighter and faster with the TCP, than with the Ruger. Shape of gun, grip, bore axis, weight, they all play into the equation.

      Back to back, the Glock 42 gave off substantially lower recoil than the TCP. If you’re dealing with someone who has small weak hands, my overwhelming recommendation would be to run to the store and look at the Glock 42 and the Sig P238. Besides being softer shooters than the others, these two are so much easier to rack than just about any other pistol I’ve tried. My wife has difficulty racking the slide on most semi-autos, but she loves Glocks and Sigs, they’re so much easier to rack that it’s not even funny. It really was a night-and-day difference.

      And yeah, let’s work on getting that blind industry grant, that would be awesome. This is an expen$ive hobby! :)

      Reply
  17. rw walden

    OK, anyone got ideas on how/who would be the starting point to get a “blind” industry grant? anyone ever written a grant request?

    cheers, ya’ll

    Reply
  18. Blaine

    I have been hooked on your videos for the past few months, and watch it when there is an update. I have to appreciate the comprehensive reviews you conduct. I have looked through your videos and do not see one for Winchester PDX1 9mm in a short barreled pistol. I currently carry their 124+P in my Shield, and am hoping to see a review of that round, or a similar round, soon. Based on your review, I will probably switch to the HST 124s soon.

    Reply
    1. Shooting The Bull

      PDX1 reviews are coming (sooner or later!) I have both the 124 and 147-grain versions sitting in my ammo box right now, just waiting their turn. So, stay tuned!

      Reply
  19. John F

    Hi I came across your videos on you tube and absolutely love them. I have a question though I am fairly new to guns. I own a glock19 gen4 and a smith wesson shield! I do have a ccw permit! Should i use hst tactical 147grain or 124 grain hst tactical?? both your videos on them looked great I have both I want something that does not have a bad recoil and kick. Thank you so much if you respond and keep doing the great videos you are very good. Thanks

    Reply
    1. Shooting The Bull

      Hi John,

      Frankly, the two rounds you’re debating between were both spectacular performers. You wouldn’t go wrong with either; both should perform very well from both pistols.

      At this moment I’m still in the process of testing 9mm HSTs, I’ve done the standard-pressure 124 and 147, but I still have to test the +P versions of both. So it’s possible that one of the +P rounds would be even better-performing than the existing ones. We’ll have to wait until the testing is complete to know.

      If you’re wanting to keep the recoil down, you may want to go with the 124-grain version, and you would probably definitely want to avoid the +P versions for now. And remember, your ammo is only a small part of the overall picture of being effective with a handgun; where you place the shot, and how much control you have, are both more important than what bullet you use. That said, you always want to use ammo that will perform well. Great ammo won’t make up for lousy shot placement, but lousy ammo can ruin great shot placement. Great shot placement + great ammo = the best odds of successfully defending yourself against an attack.

      My simple advice would be to grab some of the 124gr HSTs and not worry about ammo anymore, you’ll have some excellent stuff, and you should then focus your energies on becoming comfortable with your pistols and practice with them to the point where they’re intuitive and second-nature. Welcome to the world of armed self defense!

      Reply
  20. John S.

    Hello,
    I’ve found your denim/gel tests to be very informative; and recently came across your blog with summary information regarding .380 testing. Great job. I’m very interested in the new Remington Compact Handgun rounds – particularly in .380 ACP. I see that they are now available. Would you be interested in conducting denim/ordnance gel testing on these if I purchase some and send them to you?
    Thanks,
    John

    Reply
    1. Shooting The Bull

      Hi John,

      That Remington bullet looks exactly like the Golden Saber that I already tested in different loadings from Remington and Underwood. It also carries the exact same weight (102 grains). I don’t know anything else about it; is there any reason for optimism that there’s something different about it, versus the Golden Saber? Have Remington said anything along the lines of it being reformulated for today’s smaller pistols, or anything like that?

      If there’s something new about it, I’d love to test it. If it’s the same old ammo in a new box, then I don’t see why it would give results any different than what I already got from my prior tests, here:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSAecgxVmno
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jM_uLhwvM-c

      So, yeah, if it’s different, I’d be glad to test it.

      Reply
  21. John S.

    Yes, I too am wondering if Remington is simply re-branding their Golden Sabre round, or otherwise hurriedly making minor revisions to it; but I am cautiously optimistic that the Compact Handgun ammo is indeed carefully engineered to expand at lower velocities than the GS version. The right formula of powder type, lead composition, jacket design and even primer selection can make a significant difference in (A) optimizing bullet acceleration through a short barrel, and (B) optimizing the ability of the projectile to expand at low velocities (with softer lead, more forgiving jacket, etc.). A potential, inherent advantage of the heavier-for-caliber bullet (102 gr.) is that a heavier bullet has longer dwell-time in the barrel, allowing it to absorb more “push” from the expanding gasses behind it (or so says another major ammo manufacturer). Case in point is the Speer GD “Short Barrel” line of ammo, which uses heavy-for caliber- bullets with great success (I am a big fan of this line; unfortunately they don’t have a Short Barrel version of .380 ACP – yet). Of course, bullet weight has to be balanced against the need for adequate velocity for expansion.
    Here is Remington’s description of the new line:
    “OVERVIEW:
    Designed with the concealed carry permit holder in mind to deliver big gun terminal performance out of shorter barreled pistols and revolvers. This round has been engineered to provide optimal penetration and expansion through even heavy clothing at lower velocities for maximum stopping power. It’s all of our premium features now finely tuned for your most important handgun.”
    Here is a comment form another site/blog? “The Shooting Wire” which includes some a summary of test data from the 9MM version:
    “The Ultimate Defense Compact Handgun will have a somewhat familiar brass jacketed hollow point. The new bullet has spiral nose cuts and a “hex-punch” hollow-point cavity in the soft lead core. Low flash propellants are used and the case mouth and primer are water-proofed.
    Will the round perform? The 9mm Ultimate Defense Compact Handgun load was fired in a ballistics demo from a ca. 3 1/4″ barrel compact pistol into calibrated ballistic gelatin and “heavy denim.” The bullets expanded nicely and gave 15″ of penetration. The velocity reading was 1072 feet-per-second. Note this load is not Plus-P.”
    If the data above are correct, then it would seem to me that Remington IS doing a good job of optimizing velocity and expansion from short barrels.
    I will obtain a box of the new .380 line to send to you for testing.
    Thanks,
    John

    Reply
  22. John S.

    To add to my post of earlier today…I’ve come across a website with photos comparing the Remington GS .390 round with that of their new Compact Handgun line. The jacket of of the new round is described as being more “like the HST” bullet whereby there is less lead near the edge of the hollow point. Maybe this will lead to more reliable expansion. Here is the site with the photos and commentary:

    http://sigforum.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/410601935/m/8500032153

    Reply
    1. Shooting The Bull

      Nice find! I am officially very interested now. If they’ve actually redesigned it to perform better with compact handguns (which it looks like they may indeed have done) then that does definitely warrant a new test.

      I was at AmmoToGo.com yesterday picking up some new ammo to test; unfortunately they didn’t have any of these new Remingtons, but I’ll be on the lookout for them.

      Reply
  23. John S.

    I have 2 boxes (20 ct.) on order from Midway USA, and expect to receive them next week. If you’re going to conduct a denim/10% ordnance gel test, I will send you some. Just let me know how to go about it.
    Thanks,
    John

    Reply
  24. Keaton Hamilton

    Hi, I have a question for you and I know this would require a lot of time and money( I would donate if I could.( I’m broke for the next 2 weeks at least) By quick calculations and allowing a margin of error of 5%-10% shows that when “Precision One” shot out of a G42 and into layer of denim and ballistic gel that it would under penetrate 2 out of 5 and 1 clog and over penetrate leaving 2rounds at an average of 12.58 inches and I was wondering if it could be tested. If this is true could it mean the fiocchi extrema is a better choice. So if possible can you do both of these rounds with the G42 into heavy denim layered ballistic gel and show us the results please?

    Reply
    1. Shooting The Bull

      Hi Keaton,

      I can’t test that because I don’t have access to a G42 anymore. However, I am not sure I can agree with your basic premise, because bullets typically penetrate deeper when they’ve first encountered denim. In all my testing with .380 XTP rounds, penetration through denim was usually at least the same, and frequently deeper, than penetration through bare gel. There were a few odd exceptions, like with the Hornady Custom, but in general denim penetration was as good or better.

      Why do you think they would underpenetrate through denim on the G42?

      (and, for the record, I do think the Fiocchi Extrema would be an excellent choice as well).

      Reply
  25. Keaton Hamilton

    I looked each test and calculated each one and usually on the denim I agree but for some reason I don’t know if it’s the propellant or what but my calculations ended up different only for this round out of that gun the ones that under penetrated had really good expansion I will admit though that it still did better than what I thought it would but it was like instead of clogging they opened up too soon which I’ve never seen before like that really

    Reply
  26. George Ernul

    GREAT .380 test! Thanks ! I live in the SE and carry in my pocket a Ruger 380 LCP, ALWAYS. I just loaded it with G2′s 380 RIP bullets and believe it to be the best for a defense bullet after reviewing all the testing and videos. I don’t plan on a shoot-out and figure the gun’s use will be at a couple feet out to perhaps 10 (I hope). Anything past ten means my situational awareness failed. Do you plan on testing this round…soon?

    Reply
    1. Shooting The Bull

      Hi George,

      I haven’t tested the R.I.P. in .380, but from the results of my testing it in 9mm, I am not optimistic. In 9mm it wasn’t a bad round, it did still retain the ability to cause a potentially incapacitating hit, but I found it to be grossly overmarketed and an underperformer when compared to a conventional bullet.

      In .380, I’d be concerned that the “trocars” would be taking away the already limited potential that the .380 has to penetrate deeply enough. But that’s speculation, I couldn’t say for sure until actually testing it. I don’t have any plans at this time to test it.

      Reply
  27. George Ernul

    G2 shows 9-11″ penetration, the ‘minimum standard’ so it still looks good-to-go. The Glaser tests didn’t show as good penetration but from field reports from RVN, any type bullet fragmentation was nasty and effective up close with illegal ‘stared ammo or buckshot. Shooting/practicing the use of your personal carry gun at over ten feet is good for fun but self defense will find you shooting at 1-10 foot. I understand some live tests on enemy POWs was done in the Philippines way back when they could get away with it and the results were not as predictable as thought. Live sheep and pigs would do these days and the Army routinely conducts live animal test for chemical warfare so I imagine bullet tests are also don but for PC reasons, classified.

    Reply
  28. Craig

    I enjoyed your video Federal .410 OOO vs 4 buck. Have you ever completed a test using Hornady 410 Critical Defense 2 1/2 shells? These have a hollow point bullet followed by 2 balls. Or have you tried Leigh Defense multiple projectile 45.

    I have a Circuit Judge and was wondering if you have any plans on doing pattern and ballistics test with this gun. I used to load mine with 3″ Winchester PDX1, but my last trip to the range I was able to do some pattern testing and did not like the results with just the thread protector. I also shot some of the Hornady and was very pleased with the pattern, but cannot test penetration. I would love to see a penetration test using Hornady, OOO Federal, Winchester PDX1, Leigh Defense multiple projectile, and Leigh Defense maximum expansion. I am concerned about over penetration with the longer barrel.

    Thanks
    Craig

    Reply
    1. Shooting The Bull

      Hi Craing,

      I’ve done a ton of patterning with the Circuit Judge, and posted a couple of ballistic tests from it. Unquestionably, without a doubt, you *have* to use the straight-thread rifled choke to get good patterns from any birdshot or small-buckshot load (so PDX1, or 4 buck, etc). With the straight-thread choke installed, it performs reasonably like a smoothbore shotgun. With just the smooth thread protector in place, it sprays wildly wide patterns.

      I haven’t done ballistic testing on PDX1 or 000 buck. I did use the Lehigh Maximum Expansion, and it performed pretty much identically to the Raging Judge. Lehigh Multiple Projectile is not a great load from the Circuit Judge because it stays very much in a single column — in my testing it didn’t really separate out and create multiple wound paths; in fact if I remember correctly from the CJ I got two wound paths, one for the lead bullet and the other was the four smaller projectiles all following each other. Then again, that may have been from a Raging Judge; I do remember getting wider spread from the shorter barrel Public Defender for sure.

      Reply
  29. Brian

    I wanted to firstly thank you for this test battery you are doing. It’s so refreshing to see actual data and actual repeatable testing as compared with surfing the web and begging gun stores to give you advice, rather than just try to sell their products. I don’t own a 380 or 9mm as of today, so I’m looking forward to your 40 S&W series. I’ll send you some ammo if you get to that caliber (Federal Hyrdroshok is my go-to round, but I also have some Gold Dot I am unsure of).

    Anyway, from an engineer who’s known to be a bit picky about details, I truly appreciate the effort and clarity you’re putting into these. Keep ‘em coming.

    Reply
  30. Jimmy

    I was recently looking at ammo, more specifically .45 acp pow’r ball ammo. I was wondering if this ammo was worth it considering the price tag or should I just stay with my +p ammo for personal protection rounds?

    Reply
    1. Shooting The Bull

      I haven’t tested Pow’r Ball specifically. My understanding of it is that it is designed primarily to ease feeding concerns for guns that will properly feed round-nose FMJ’s, but have trouble feeding bullets with the truncated nose profile of a conventional hollowpoint. For cases like that, the Pow’r Ball provides a polymer insert that gives the bullet the same feeding profile as a round-nose, while the ball itself is used to help trigger expansion of the soft lead core. It was introduced to the market about 13 years ago.

      Reliability is the #1 most important concern for handgun ammo; reliable feeding and firing and extracting are all vital tasks that have to happen. So if your gun won’t properly handle conventional hollowpoints, by all means give the Pow’r Ball a good look. But if your gun does reliably feed hollowpoints (and I believe all modern handguns should) then I think there are probably better choices on the market. This review from The Gun Zone doesn’t really seem to show superior terminal performance from the .45 Pow’r Ball: http://www.thegunzone.com/powrball.html

      (of course, that’s just one review, other reviewers may come to opposite conclusions)

      I have yet to conduct my Ammo Quest on short-barrel .45 ACP pistols, but I can say that based on my testing in other calibers, I would be optimistic about the type of performance that you would likely encounter from the CorBon DPX, rather than the Pow’r Ball, or the Federal HST. Sooner or later (probably later) I’ll do proper testing on the short-barrel .45, but as of right now I have HST loaded in mine.

      Reply
    1. Shooting The Bull

      Liberty does actually attain those velocity levels; I observed 1900 fps out of a 3″ barrel and 2300 fps out of a 6″ barrel.

      As to whether that translates into improved terminal performance or “stopping power”, that’s a different question entirely. In general, fragmenting handgun rounds are the domain of specialty ammo makers, and have never been accepted or adopted by the mainstream. For example, you won’t find a fragmenting or frangible round offered for self defense or duty use by any of the major ammo makers (Federal, Hornady, Speer, Remington, Winchester etc). Frangibles and/or fragmenting rounds have been around for at least 40 years now, yet they are offered (and aggressively marketed) by smaller niche companies (DRT, Extreme Shock, Quik Shok, Liberty, G2 RIP, HPR Black Ops, etc). And some of those (like Quik Shok and Extreme Shock) have already gone out of business; in fact Extreme Shock issued an apology to their customers, and blamed their marketing company for (and I quote) “marketing that described Extreme Shock ammunition into magical performance levels that defied both basic ballistic knowledge and the laws of physics.”

      I’ve tested Liberty, and found it to be exactly what I expected. I am trying to figure out how to do a comprehensive exotic ammo test to determine just what these types of rounds can do, and what they don’t do, what’s marketing and what’s reality. Still working on that.

      Reply

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