A great combination: Sig Sauer's P226 Single Action Only pistol and Barnes TAC-XPD ammo.

A great combination: Sig Sauer’s P226 Single Action Only pistol and Barnes TAC-XPD ammo.

I’ve tested a variety of factory ammunition from Barnes and two things always stand out with their handgun rounds.

They group closer together than a Range Rover-load of frat boys visiting San Quentin.

They expand faster than Michael Moore’s midsection at a Krispy Kreme Grand Opening.

This Barnes TAC-XPD 9mm +P load is no exception. It’s capped by an 115-grain, all copper projectile with a hollow point cavity big enough to hold your morning Cheerios.

I’ve been testing this load in a variety of pistols over the past couple of months and find it to be worthy of consideration for concealed carry or home defense. Normally I wouldn’t switch carry ammo horses, at least until they stop running, but this ammo performs brilliantly.

Here’s what I found testing for velocity, accuracy, penetration and expansion.


As a 115-grain +P load, you would expect this one to hum along in most any size gun. I checked it out using a Shooting Chrony Beta Master Chronograph placed 15 feet down range and proceeded to fire strings from four different 9mm pistols. I averaged out the velocity readings for each gun to arrive at these numbers.

Sig Sauer P226 Single Action Only: 1,194.4 fps
Springfield Armory EMP: 1,074.5 fps
FNS 9mm Compact: 1,045.0 fps
Sig Sauer P229 Legion: 1,027.8 fps

The Sig Legion velocities were a bit lower than you might expect – probably owing to lower temperatures at the range they day I shot that configuration. I shot these strings on different days over a period of weeks and temperatures ranged from the mid-70s to 50s. In any case, my readings bookended the rated factory velocity of 1,125 feet per second. Given that my reading on the Sig P226 with its full-length barrel exceeded the factory number, while compact pistols came in a bit slower, I’m confident that the factory rating is a good representation of the “average” gun.


I did accuracy testing on a day when I had the two Sig Sauer pistols at the range. To get a perfect sight picture, I mounted a Bushnell Elite 3500 Handgun Scope on each gun using a UM Tactical Rail Mount. I’ve found that this setup gives me a much better representation of the accuracy of any given combination of gun and ammo will do as it removes any “old guy eyesight error” from the equation. You can get small groups carefully shooting at 25-yard targets with iron sights. You can always get even smaller groups using a magnified optic. When measuring the mechanical accuracy of a handgun, the human eye is definitely a weak link in the chain.

Read the rest at GunsAmerica.