Palm38 Tri‐Plex Multi-Projectile .38 Special Cartridge

Constitution Arms, the firm behind the Palm Pistol, has developed an interesting multi-projectile .38 Special cartridge called the Palm38 Tri‐Plex.

Three lead bullets, totaling 158 grain, are stacked on top of each other and backed by a copper gas check. The load has been designed to have ultra-low recoil and has a velocity of 658‐678 ft/sec depending on the model of revolver it has been fired from. The maximum range of the round is 10 feet.

The idea behind this round is to increase the frontal surface area of the wound channels, at the expense of penetration.

The concept is similar to the Winchester PDX1 Self Defense .410 Shotshell round that was designed for use in the Taurus Judge line of .410 revolvers. Winchester loads the PDX1 with three copper discs backed by shot pellets.

Winchester PDX1 Self Defense Shotshell ammo

If you are interested in the rounds specifications and testing results you should take a look at this PDF document from Constitution Arms.

The round will go on sale next month. If the Taurus Judge has taught us anything, it is that there is a market for interesting self-defense ammunition. I expect it to sell well.



Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • DJ

    So, if I shoot one of these out of an M4 then I should get a multi million dollar contract out of the Army.

    Call em up and tell them that their crisis is averted; I’ll take my payment in gold coins please. =p

  • FW226

    The maximum range is TEN FEET? Wow. I haven’t followed any of the 410 ammo, but that still seems short, even for indoor use.

  • Will

    “The maximum range of the round is 10 feet.” Whaa….

  • Sean

    10 feet? While I would imagine that most self defense shooting with .38 take place that close, what happens if you need to shoot farther? I think I will stick with the 158 grain LSWCHP +p in my Airweight.

  • John

    Maybe I’m just being opposed to innovation, but I still think multiple-projectile small arms rounds are a very bad idea for reasons I admit I can’t adequately explain.

  • mike

    sooo, 3x 53gr chunks o metal at about 670 fps

    thats about 53 foot pounds of energy each

    enough to stop the charge of a trio of enraged geckos.

    I bet that the ads are gonna be even better than the “extreme shock” ones.

  • AZRon

    While this MAY be an improvement, it is nothing new. I remember reading about multi-ball loads in .358 caliber at least 35 years ago.
    I remember trying it myself in a .357 mag. using three 000 buck balls over a medium charge of Unique powder. It was interesting as an exercise but seemed to be lacking in benefit over a single, well placed round.
    To me, it’s another answer to a problem that doesn’t exist.

  • TCBA_Joe

    John, its the ballistic concept of “common sense”

  • Dual bullet cartridges were used generations ago. The stuff works at short ranges, but the external ballistics aren’t great unless the bullets only separate on impact. The latter doesn’t improve the hit probability, of course.

  • SpudGun

    @John – there is a very good reason that multiple-projectile / fragementing rounds are a bad idea and it has nothing to do with self defense. Statistically speaking, the vast majority of gunshot wounds are accidentally self inflicted.

    Now, you’re going to be having a bad day if you shoot yourself with a Hydrashock or any other form of standard defense ammo, but when the Paramedics arrive, at least they can look for a single hole and a single bullet.

    My biggest problem with these unjacketed bullets is that I’d be worried the discs might get lodged in the barrel. It’s probably paranoia on my part and these multi-rounds most likely work beautifully every time.

  • 45er

    The maximum range of the .38 round is ten feet (which is still pretty limiting even for a .38). The .410 PDX1 is much farther. I have seen it easily penetrate plywood at 30 feet. The comparison was made to help people understand the design that SD ammo manufacturers have taken with this type of ammo. In actuality, I think the PDX1 ammo fit a niche market in SD ammo that the popularity of the Judge created. I don’t know that the market exists for .38 ammo.

  • Sian

    interesting=unproven and hell if I’m going to trust the lives of myself and mine to it.

    Especially this multi-projectile stuff that has 3-10x the potential for lawsuits than standard ammo.

    Clearly the range is 10 feet because the projectiles are inherently unstable and can’t be trusted to anything more ballistically specific than a general compass direction near the point of aim. This is bellygun range stuff.

  • Paul

    Wow. . . That takes the “heavy, slow” bullet argument to a whole (lower velocity) level.

  • Royi

    Iirc, this has been tried before. Except did they had a small hole/cut near the center of each projectile wich made them wobble off course (ie. spread). Was made for rifled barrels actually.

    I’ll have to look in the big storybook tonight to check who was the inventor of that.

  • drewogatory

    Seems like a answer to a question no one asked. I’m not losing sleep at night wondering about the .38 Specials incredible potential for over penetration.

  • Jim

    Ten feet. Why not just get a 2 foot bayonet and you’re already touching the guy at that distance?

  • Jerry

    Looks like a round tailored specifically for their palm pistol. Single shot so the lethality have to be improved; designed for home defense scenarios so range is not a big issue; intended market being the elderly/handicapped so the low recoil is a must.

    Given the purpose, the compromise of the round seems appropriate.

  • Multiplex loads for handgun cartridges have been marketed in the past without much interest by the public. The price alone will kill most potential sales: $29 for six rounds.

  • MF

    Penetration of around 10″ is not something to write home about, according to the FBI defense rounds should have penetration of 12″ or more in gelatin to be good stoppers.

  • Lance

    Looks nice how much a box?

  • Chrontius

    How deep is the penetration in that block?

    If it meets FBI standards, this might actually be a good answer to the JHP that fails to expand through heavy winter clothing, if the range issue is overstated.

  • jdun1911

    I saw hickok45 video on Winchester 410 Special Cartridge for the Taurus Judge a month ago. I was not impress. In fact I wouldn’t recommend it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRlry5KH6I0&feature=channel_video_title

    As a rule of thumb you need enough penetration to destroy vital organs. Anything less is not worth it in regards to personal defense ammo.

  • Matt Groom

    My guess would be that the range is considered limited because of the absolutely terrible accuracy and rather large spread that you’ll be getting beyond that distance. They’re essentially a single projectile at “point blank” ranges, but they’ll probably spin themselves apart beyond that, and the buffeting that’s created by their shape and the fact that they’re traveling in file initially might cause them to flip or tumble in the air at extended ranges. They are admitting that it doesn’t work as well as SWC-HP at Point Blank, but does better at 10′.

    I think it’s a good idea, and it sure makes a heck of a lot more sense than buying an oversized revolver in a shotshell cartridge of dubious merit. It wouldn’t be my first choice for a .38 (which is probably my all-around favorite cartridge, even thought I don’t carry it) but it’s probably better than alot of other options out there.

    However, the requirement that it be shipped to an FFL dealer to purchase it, and the price tag of $6.67 PER ROUND is what will doom this idea to obscurity.

  • derfel cadarn

    AT THE EXPENSE OF PENETRATION sounds like a formula to die by and I do not mean the perpetrator. Better to shoot the prep. 3Xs with a 22lr,penetration is everything.

  • coyote

    If you need stopping power, get a revolver in 41 Mag. Problem solved.

  • Good post, Steve!

  • Doc

    Being a customer who bought a defective Judge,I advise anyone who is thinking about buying any Taurus firearm…..DON”T!Having dealt with their customer service for 3 months and still no handgun,I find their customer satisfaction rateing is laughable!!!It’s a shame Rossi was purchased by such a crappy Co.

  • nelson a escueta

    This was first invented in the Philippines by Inventor Rodolfo Arambulo, FIS (Filipino Invertors Society) member. The brand name is MULTISHOCK.

  • nelson a escueta

    This was first invented here in the Philippines by Inventor/Retired Capt Rodolfo Arambulo. He is a member of the FIS (Filipino Inventors Society)

    • This was actually invented in the late 1870’s by American inventor Henry Mason, who worked for the Phoenix Metallic Cartridge co. of Connecticut. The patent # is: 219,491 and these were sold commercially in pistol calibers of .32 long rimfire, .38 long rimfire, and .44 S&W Russian. Several other pistol-caliber multiball loads would follow from other companies in .45acp, 9×19, .38spl, and .357mag well before the 1980’s. If Capt. Arambulo is responsible for the Armscor “Strike-3” type load from the 1990’s / early-2000’s, then this load type was actually also already done using the Speer shot capsules & lead buck as described on pages 22 & 23 of the “Handloader’s Digest” 6th edition.

  • Torn

    I think that is a typo in that I have shot these rds. back in the early 70’s. and we were shooting them at 7yds., getting 4 to 5 in. groups per rd. the pic looks very similar.