Ammo Test: Barnes TAC-XPD .40 S&W

Expansion was picture perfect for all projectiles fired.

Over the years, .40 S&W has been disparaged as a mediocre compromise round. You’ve probably heard some of the descriptions. .40 Slow and Weak .40 Short and Weak I’ve never really understood that. Sure, most cartridges have pros and cons relative to others, and as study after study shows, none are perfect. All handgun calibers […]

Ammo Test: DoubleTap 9mm 77-grain Lead-free for Compact Handguns

This ammo is designed specifically for the new breed of compact 9mm handguns.

Do you suffer from a short barrel? Unfortunately, this problem afflicts millions of gun totin’ Americans. With the explosive growth of pocket .380 ACP pistols like the Kel-Tec, Ruger LCP, Smith & Wesson Bodyguard and Glock 42, just to name a few, gun makers just had to up the power level as their next move. […]

Ammo Test: Sig Sauer’s Elite V-Crown 9mm Self Defense

These Sig Sauer V-Crown 9mm bullets expanded perfectly after passing through the four-layer FBI test fabric.

While the Sig ammo is a relative newcomer to the market, the people are not. I spent some time talking with Dan Powers, who runs the ammo show, and it’s clear that the folks behind Sig Sauer’s new ammunition division have been there and done that. Because every caliber, load and brand combination is different, […]

The Top 5 Best 9mm Self-Defense Ammunition Choices

Once you get away from controlled gelatin testing scenarios, fired bullets tend to look more like this.

Do you want the good news or the bad news? The good news is that there are more than five great 9mm defensive ammo choices. The bad news is that there are more than five great ammunition choices. So what to choose? That depends. If you look around on Youtube, you’ll see lots of ammunition […]

I Feel the Need for .45 Speed!

The Doubletap Ammunition .450 SMC rounds work from a standard +P rated .45 ACP pistol.

Sometimes we shooters do things because, well, why not? It’s as good reason as any, right? At first glance, the .450 SMC cartridge may appear to fall into the “why not” category. When you start to look at specifics and potential use cases, it can make a whole lot of sense. What’s a .450 SMC […]

Top 10 Self Defense Ammo Picks

Top 10 Self Defense Ammo Picks

With a controversial and opinionated topic like this, I have to include a couple of explanations and disclaimers. You do have to be careful about blanket statements when it comes to ammo performance. There are just too many variables. For example, you can’t necessarily say things like “Mega Blaster Yellow Tips” are the best. You […]

Fun and Games with the .257 Weatherby Magnum

The .257 Weatherby Magnum has a lot of cartridge case behind a little bullet.

I’ve got a thing for the more unusual calibers. Probably because I’m a reloading addict. I just don’t care that commercial rounds of .300 AAC Blackout cost over a buck each. Or that .357 Sig pistol ammo is crazy expensive relative to 9mm. Or that no one stocks 6.8 SPC ammo. I don’t know why, […]

Choosing Ammunition for the Springfield Armory XD-S & Other Short Barrel Handguns

These Speer Gold Dot .45 ACP 230 grain Short Barrel bullets were shot from an XD-S through four layers of denim and still expanded properly.

The performance of any gun is only as good as the ammunition you put into it. And I’m not just talking about using any quality self-defense ammunition. One of the reasons that 9mm guns are more effective today than ever before is the performance of modern 9mm ammunition. Of course, improvements are not limited to […]

Ammo Test: Speer Gold Dot .40 S&W 155 Grain Self-Defense Ammunition

Speer Gold Dot 40 SW 155 grain self-defense ammo

One thing I’ve found testing thousands of rounds of ammunition through a wide variety of traditional, and sometimes non-traditional, targets is that you can’t generalize. Broad generalizations just don’t hold up. I mean, there’s the obvious exception of Justin Bieber – ALL of his songs are roughly comparable to pre-gelatinized narwhal poop, but in most […]

Ammo Test: Winchester PDX1 Defender .38 Special +P 130 Grain

Winchester's PDX1 Defender .38 Special +P self-defense load.

When I lug my ammunition testing setup to the range, I get more strange looks than Michael Bloomberg lactating at a Mayors Against Legal Governing (MALG) press conference. That’s because I bring a couple of now-perforated trash cans full of soaking wet newspaper, some old boots and a bunch of discarded clothing. Shooting into water […]