Lehigh Defense Xtreme Penetrator Ammo

Lehigh XP

Lehigh Defense recently introduced a new ammunition line that uses unusually shaped, solid copper bullets. According to the company, the “resulting permanent wound cavity is two to four times greater than that of a flat or ball nose bullet and often larger than traditional expanding bullets.”

If the Xtreme Penetrator bullet design does create a larger (than ball) wound cavity, it may be a good option for anyone carrying a firearm where hollowpoint ammunition is prohibited.

This video shows a comparison of the Lehigh Defense ammo compared to the Hornady Critical Duty ammo:

This video attempts to address some of the concerns people may have with the ammo feeding properly:

From Lehigh Defense:

Lehigh Defense announces the release of their patent pending Xtreme Penetrator bullets and ammunition.  Available for both handguns and rifles, the Xtreme Penetrator has a progressive nose geometry that allows for deep, straight penetration while creating a permanent wound cavity diameter exceeding that of most expanding bullets!  The engineering behind this innovative bullet centers on the radial flutes and sharp cutting edges of the nose design, and its environmentally-friendly solid copper construction.

First, the nose design of the Xtreme Penetrator utilizes radial flutes to force the hydraulic energy inward, then (as the energy is restricted) accelerate outward creating high pressure spikes that damage surrounding tissue.  The resulting permanent wound cavity is two to four times greater than that of a flat or ball nose bullet and often larger than traditional expanding bullets – exceptional penetration coupled with a larger permanent wound cavity.

Second, the nose incorporates sharp cutting edges that rotate at the same rate as the barrel twist to ensure effective penetration of any barrier.  Where flat nose and ball nose bullets tend to push material away, the Xtreme Penetrator nose has minimal surface area, which causes an increase in force at the point of barrier contact (in the pounds/inch formula, when you decrease the square inches of surface area, you increase the pounds of force).

Finally, the solid copper construction of the Xtreme Penetrator is environmentally-friendly, and strong enough to penetrate any barrier.  Unlike lead jacketed bullets, the solid copper design will not deform when contacting hard surfaces, nor will it fragment as some hard cast lead bullets are prone to do.  This allows it to overcome surface barriers and penetrate straight and deep, while creating a massive wound channel.

For more information on the Patent Pending Xtreme Penetrator technology, visit http://www.lehighdefense.com/index.php/our-technology/xtreme-penetrator or contact Lehigh Defense at 215-536-4100.

Richard Johnson

An advocate of gun proliferation zones, Richard is a long time shooter, former cop and internet entrepreneur. Among the many places he calls home is http://www.gunsholstersandgear.com/.


  • priest

    I want to make a penis joke, but I’m too hungover.

  • Nick

    Personally I wouldn’t want to use it in a gun I carry since I want my bullets to stop inside the bad guy not go through them and endanger someone else due to “increased penetration”. I’d be interested to see how this preformed against soft body armor though. On a side note the music in that first video is horrid.

    • iksnilol

      If it stops in the BG how can you be sure it will pierce his vitals? I know there were instances of HP ammo expanding so much that it didn’t reach the heart.

      • I think he means he doesn’t need a solid bullet that will penetrate barriers, because he’s worried about collateral damage. He’d rather have something that will penetrate less, with less risk of passing through.

        • sianmink

          SImply put there are very, very few accounts of a shot fired in self-defense by a civilian passing through the target and hitting a bystander. It should be correspondingly low on your worry list. The round doesn’t plow super deep like round tip FMJ and stops generally in the sweet spot between 16 and 18 inches. It’s not going to go through 5 people like +P roundnose FMJ would.

        • iksnilol

          But what if the BG is behind cover, things like concrete walls? Huh? Whatcha gonna do then?

          In seriousness something like this seems nice if you come up against thick-skinned large animals like the deadly moose. Don’t laugh, if you do you are mocking all those people killed by the things.

    • bbmg

      You should be much more concerned about rounds which miss your target completely, which is a much greater risk than the bullet penetrating the target and then hitting a bystander.

      Assuming all your shots are going to hit your target is a false premise to start with.

  • bbmg

    “Second, the nose incorporates sharp cutting edges that rotate at the same rate as the barrel twist to ensure effective penetration of any barrier.”

    Are they seriously suggesting it drills through barriers?

    That being said, the apparent size of the permanent cavity while not losing penetration depth does look quite impressive when seen in the gel.

  • Giolli Joker

    Lehigh usually deliver what they promise (according to independent video tests)…
    I’ll wait for ShootingTheBull test.

    • Guest

      Back on July 23rd he posted a video testing the .380 version

      • Giolli Joker

        Thanks, I’ll check it!

        • big daddy

          This guy is very scientific and does his evaluations without any prejudice. I trust him, he’s a debunker, a mythbuster. I will be buying these as soon as I can for my .380 Bodyguard. I have been using Federal JHPs since the Precision One’s are impossible to find, they rated highly also. I know the .380 is not the best choice for self-defense but it is what it is and the gun is small, concealable. Yet it still has enough power with the right ammo to allow you to flee or get away by incapacitating an attacker with enough hits and good shot placement. This ammo should help in that regard, I’m always looking for an edge. By nature I am skeptical, but using real science not magic can help to design more effective ammunition designs. It’s possible they did use real science unlike some other companies that use magic mumbo jumbo.

          • mrt

            check his review of the 5.56 Controlled Chaos from the same company.

  • Frank

    Wouldn’t it being solid copper make it potentially an AP round?

    • Giolli Joker

      There are plenty of solid copper options on the market.

      • Sulaco

        That “concern” is the reason there a no longer any brass bullets.

      • gunsandrockets

        Plenty of options for solid copper rifle bullets, true enough. But what about handgun bullets?

        • Giolli Joker

          “Projectiles or projectile cores which may be used in a handgun and which
          are constructed entirely (excluding the presence of traces of other
          substances) from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron,
          brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium; or full jacketed
          projectiles larger than .22 caliber designed and intended for use in a
          handgun and whose jacket has a weight of more than 25 percent of the
          total weight of the projectile. The term does not include shotgun shot
          required by Federal or State environmental or game regulations for
          hunting purposes, frangible projectiles designed for target shooting,
          projectiles which the Director finds are primarily intended to be used
          for sporting purposes, or any other projectiles or projectile cores
          which the Director finds are intended to be used for industrial
          purposes, including charges used in oil and gas well perforating
          As long as you don’t use beryllium copper you’re OK.
          Barnes Bullets are the most famous example (the fact that they’re hollow point doesn’t matter, we’re talking about legal definition of AP, not real-world (common sense…) piercing performance): http://www.barnesbullets.com/products/components/pistol/

    • Geodkyt

      That would only apply if it was made from a berylium copper alloy, which is a very different cat than most copper alloys, not to mention pure copper.

    • gunsandrockets

      Yeah, that was my concern too. I’m going to look up that Federal law which prohibits handgun bullets of certain compositions.

  • dan citizen

    “utilizes radial flutes to force the hydraulic energy inward”

    I don’t think it works like that…

    (I could be totally wrong, I am pre-coffee)

  • BrassAttack

    Also great for killing vampires due to the cross-like ballistic front end.

  • I’m really disappointed they didn’t take any high speed video of the gel shots. They’re nigh worthless without it.

  • Sulaco


    • Dan Atwater

      not a scary expanding hollow point, all copper, no lead = organic, non GMO, eco-friendly!

      • Sulaco

        True, but a DA would say: Non standard, designed to kill more, shows evil intent on the part of the defendant is more my point…

  • Vitor

    ShootingtheBull410 reviewed their .380 and was quite impressed. And that guy is so rigorous that is almost annoying.

    • Grindstone50k

      Is he the same guy that showed the Ripout to be a sham?

      • mrtr

        great guy. actually replies to emails too

      • tt_ttf

        Yes he was – not worth the hype of $2.50 a round

        That self promoting ex-seal Sawman tried to take him to task over it – but cleared showed he was a G2 shill when he stood next to the gel in the video on G2’s site comparing himself to the gel – gel is not a 1:1 analog to a body and shows he might be an operator but clearly not a ballistics testing expert.

  • maxim

    Looks like these are based on the Devel Radially Dynamic ammunition that was developed by the very talented Charlie Kelsey (RIP) but never released to the public. The patents have expired a few years ago and anyone is free to make a copy of his designs and Im glad someone has.


    1. http://www.thegunzone.com/people/charlie_kelsey2.html

    2. http://www.firearmstactical.com/tacticalbriefs/volume4/number2/article422.htm

    Original patents:

    1. https://www.google.com/patents/US5133261?dq=inassignee:%22Kelsey+Jr+Charles+C%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=DcsNVN3OOoKZyATa_4CAAw&ved=0CCAQ6wEwAA

    2. https://www.google.com/patents/US5116224?dq=inassignee:%22Kelsey+Jr+Charles+C%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=DcsNVN3OOoKZyATa_4CAAw&ved=0CCcQ6wEwAQ

    • JSmath

      Thanks for posting this.

      Kind of saddening that that article points out that the original designer suffered extensively from people in the weapon industry not crediting for his work…

      • maxim

        There is a reason Wayne Novak has a large collection of Devel pistols, Charlie is a legend in gunsmith circles. The Devel Gammon pistol he designed was cutting edge and dominated IPSC competition in its day. Also you can thank Charlie Kelsey for the 8 round 1911 magazine, modern subcompact 9mm handguns and Browning Hi-Power drop safety. To put it bluntly the man was a genius was extremely influential on modern gun design. He was taken away from us much too soon.

        On a side note, I hope to one day find a Devel 1911. If anyone knows of one for sale you can drop me an email: gmaxim (at) gmail com

  • big daddy

    For .380 I would rather use a flat nose copper projectile than a poor performing hollow point. If it does work like they say it would be better than the best JHP for the .380. After watching it tested on a Youtube video by a person I trust it seems like this just might be the answer to the questions about the effectiveness of the .380 ACP round. I’ll try some if I can find them and keep an eye out for more testing on the interent.

  • powerwiz

    For a supposed next generation idea there editing looks like it came from the 80s along with the music.

  • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

    This is the holy grail for 10mm defense loads, if it does in fact deliver on its promise. All current 10mm defense loads utilize bullets designed for .40S&W velocities and tend to fail at 10mm velocities instead of expand properly.

    Being a solid bullet where expansion is not an issue, this should solve that problem. I want some for testing in 10mm now.

  • joe

    Isn’t solid copper considered illegal armor piercing?

    • Geodkyt

      Only if it’s berylium copper alloy.

  • mosinman

    i’m curious , since i’m far from familiar with the Hague convention , would rounds of this design be banned from battlefield use? i ask because these are not hollowpoints nor are they expanding bullets

    • iksnilol

      They don’t expand or flatten so I doubt they wouldn’t be OK to use.

      • mosinman

        I c

        • Jhuff

          Didn’t even think about that. This could be a very useful round for military purpose, could revolutionize the 9mm service pistol.

          Though the Hauge convention seems a bit odd in its application. It says the ban only is in effect when signatories are at war with each other, if a non-signatory enters the ban is lifted for that conflict. And the only signatories are the US and China right now…

          • mosinman

            maybe even give em a go on the old 556

          • Jhuff

            Maybe. Only problem is the military (army in particular) is so damn cheap with their guns. Held like 50 competitions to replace the M16 only to find out “nothing available is good enough to justify the cost of scrapping our current M4 inventory”. Plus, they seem to be partial to steel core 5.56.

            I don’t know. Maybe because ammo goes faster than guns they’ll consider adopting XP 5.56 at some point? Really isn’t too much risk in terms of cost.

        • iksnilol

          From what I know HP is commonly used in pistols due to the Taliban/whatever not being a signatory of the Hague convention.

          • thebackwoods

            The Taliban deserve spitzer or poly tipped rounds in my opinion, their tactics don’t exactly align with any Convention approved tactics that I am aware of!!

          • iksnilol

            Ambushes and landmines (IEDs are pretty much landmines) are pretty old. What is the legality of landmines in modern times?

            I don’t like the Taliban but they use pretty old techniques.

          • thebackwoods

            I was thinking along the lines of flying airliners into buildings and such, to me any way to inflict that maximum amount of pain to any active member of the Taliban is approved by me!!

  • Tinkerer

    Looks like a Philips driver bit. Does it mean the target gets screwed?

    • thebackwoods

      I would not want to be on the receiving end of this screwdriver bit shaped round….or any other round including round nose ball ammo.

  • Jhuff

    Note multiple times in the video it left a note saying the Critical Defense did not function properly

  • Guest

    This could (potentially) take hold with the regular military. No hollow point = not violating Hague Convention, and since it doesn’t look like the Army/ USMC is moving away from the M9 anytime soon…

    • MR

      The enlarged permanent wound channel could be viewed as causing more suffering than necessary, which is why hollowpoints are forbidden.

  • gunsandrockets

    Question: did anyone ever experiment with full or semi wadcutter handgun bullets made from solid aluminum? I think such a bullet would make for one interesting self-defense cartridge if loaded hot in a .45 or .44 caliber.

  • Francine Hildeguard

    The Hague convention has a thing about shapes as well, and this would not be permitted. Read it on a tech forum elsewhere.

    But XP in 38 Special has yet to be tested in Gel. It may be even perform better than 380. Tame in sub 2″ snubbies. And have model 10/64 k frame 4″ models even better for recoil sensitive nightstand duty. And no feeding ramp issues.

  • J.T.

    It would be nice if they used a slightly heavier bullet in the 9mm loading instead of the same 85 grain one that is in the .380.

  • Some have asked about feeding reliability. This video is from Lehigh firing the 200 grn. +p 45 acp

  • jeff

    cool i like new bullet designs (well new patent lol)
    would love to see what a 7.62 does to the gel though

    maxim awesome reserch thank you for that

  • Brenda

    Might see a military value for these in providing better stopping power than regular FMJ but still staying within Hague convention/Geneva Convention rules. They are technically not expanding, explosive, frangible or hollow points. FMJs in many calibers have a tendency to overpenetrate anyway, so overpenetration is not so awful here if what it replaces already overpenetrates anyway. It is not going to be any worse there. Would like to find out what the ballistics look like at different ranges.

  • Brenda

    Read this about The Hague Convention limits. Ruled in the 1990s and 2000s as not applying to terrorists as they are not legitimate and authorized military forces of two warring nations. 1993 JAG position cleared SOCOM to get Black talon JHPs.