Ammo Review: Doubletap .380 ACP Barnes TAC-XP 80gr

The Good
Wow! Two complete milk jugs in our highly scientific penetration testing protocol – with a .380 ACP!
The Bad
The expanded bullet looks really, really scary. Scarier than over-age circus clowns even.
The Ugly
We have an uncontrollable urge to buy this years entire production run of 2 liter Cheerwine – just to shoot them with this load.
Our Rating
3 Nuns Four Nuns!

Doubletap .380 ACP Barnes TAC-XP 80gr

Price: $59.95 per box of 50

www.doubletapammo.com

Doubletap .380 ACP Barnes TAC-XP

Doubletap .380 ACP Barnes TAC-XP

Call us skeptical. Even cynical. Maybe we’re just jaded from listening to politicians pretend to care about the deficit. When we heard about a new .380 ACP cartridge from Doubletap Ammunition on Tom Gresham’s GunTalk Radio Show, it sounded a little too good to be true. But we trust Tom in all things, except poker of course, so we decided to give it a try.

The basics. This load uses a Barnes TAC-XP 100% copper bullet weighing in at 80 grains. Doubletap has formulated a propellant that not only minimizes muzzle flash, but drives velocity to 1,145 fps in a mid size .380 like the Bersa Thunder according to factory specs. Of course the solid copper bullet features great weight retention, but more importantly it claims full expansion and deep penetration. Huh? An 80 grain .380 ACP that expands and penetrates? That would be akin to finding both a pot of gold and a stockpile of ammo at the end of the rainbow. Back to the point. We could see it achieving results like that in marshmallows maybe. So if you’re attacked by the Sta-Puff marshmallow man or similar ethereal gelatinous phantasm, you’re in great shape. And if your aggressor is more solid in form? Well that’s what we intended to find out with this trial.

Enter the guinea jugs.

Enter the guinea jugs...

Enter the guinea jugs…

Lacking any nearby and willing zombies that weren’t too far decomposed, we had to revert to the classic milk jug o’ water test for expansion and penetration. We’re lookin’ out for all you dairy intolerant folks out there – one milk jug at a time you know. We lined up four milk jugs at a range of about 15 feet – based on some seriously scientific pacing and eyeballing – and took a shot. Let’s just say the results were impressive. In the first iteration of the test, the bullet traveled through two full jugs – that’s 12 inches of water with a little plastic for good measure – and ended up lodged half in and half out of the back of the second jug. In round two, the bullet passed through the first two jugs and sliced open the 3rd. On both cases, the Barnes TAC-XP projectile expanded fully. Yes, from a .380 ACP. As you can see from the photo, the result was one scary looking hollowpoint. And we do mean scary. Like Rosie O’Donnell loose at a chocolate bunny farm kind of scary.

Works as advertised!

Works as advertised!

We also brought our fancy Shooting Chrony to the range to clock this bullet of doom’ load. Bad idea. Either one of the Doubletap TAC-XP’s veered 3 inches to the right mid flight, or we gorked a shot – because we (meaning I) managed to shoot the living cr@p out of one of the light screen support bars. No worries, it’s one of the cheap parts. We looked for that blowed-up part for quite some time and never did find it. We’re pretty sure the Doubletap TAC-XP vaporized it into a parallel universe along with Jimmy Hoffa, but Doubletap doesn’t claim that in their marketing material. Fortunately we managed to clock 10 rounds before blowing up our Shooting Chrony. In a very old, but exceptionally cool Cylinder and Slide customized Walther PPK this load averaged 975 fps. We’re not particularly concerned that we didn’t get 1,100 fps velocities out of this gun, as the other defense load that she mentions below also clocked in about 100fps less than rated – about 880fps in our gun. Mileage will vary depending on the specific gun for sure. The important thing for us is that it easily outpaced our previous carry load of choice by a good 100fps in our particular gun. Apples to apples so to speak.

All in all this is a really impressive load – it sure surprised us in a pleasant way. At about a buck a round, the price is right in line with competitive high-performance ammo. We can’t wait to try it with some other guns. We’ll post updates when we do. In the meantime, this load has earned a permanent place in our Walther PPK.

He said She said
The biggest deal for me was the consistent expansion performance. Yes, we were shooting into milk jugs full of water, which is perhaps the most forgiveable test of expansion, but it still was really cool to pull fully expanded .380 ACP hollowpoints out of the muck time and time again. Cool. They look great on my desk. What was most noticeable to me was how this load shoots. I loaded a number of two cartridge magazines – 1 Doubletap TAC-XP and 1 unnamed defense load using a 90 grain hollowpoint factory rated at 1,000 fps. Shooting the two loads back to back several times, it was really noticable how much less perceived recoil and blast the Doubletap load had. I’m anxious to try it in something really small and light like a Kel-Tec P3-AT or Ruger LCP.
Check out other My Gun Culture product reviews here!

Comments

  1. Its that Barnes Bullet that makes it such a magic bullet. Every one that I have ever seen looks like those pictures you have posted. Expansion is a monster!

  2. See? Those’re some o’ them whirling fan blade petals of death, right there!

    • :-) I *still* laugh at that guy – 5 years later. If it wasn’t one of the saddest things I’ve heard it would rank among the funniest!

  3. This appears to use the same bullet that Barnes will load into their new TAC-XPD defensive ammo. Any idea which will perform best? Seems like the BB might be using a higher powder charge than Barnes has spec’d for their own rounds? Would be interesting to see a comparison test.

    • They are the same, or very similar at least, projectile. The BB uses the TAC-XP projectile too. I’ve seen really good performance out of the TAC-XP in a variety of loads. I haven’t checked out the specs on the Barnes ammo yet but will be getting some to test out and post here.

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