Corbon 9mm Urban Defense Ammunition

urban response

In a fairly quiet manner, Corbon introduced a new 9mm cartridge earlier this year. Part of the company’s small Urban Response line, the new load is the first handgun caliber to be added to the group.

The Urban Response 9mm uses a light for caliber bullet moving at pretty fast speeds: 100 grains @ 1,475 fps. According to Corbon, the hollow point bullet uses a soft lead alloy with a new gilded metal jacket. This design allows for excellent expansion in tissue.

A black polymer ball is crimped into the mouth of the hollow point. This ball is supposed to enhance feeding, improve aerodynamics and prevent the hollow point cavity from being plugged with debris. In theory, the ball delays expansion slightly to improve penetration, but ensures reliable expansion. A similar design concept is used by Hornady in its Critical Defense and Critical Duty lines of ammunition.

Corbon already makes a hollow point ammunition line that uses a polymer ball. Called Pow’R Ball, this line of ammunition has been around for many years and has quite a few devotees. Some of the ballistic gel testing I have seen with Pow’R Ball suggests the round is a credible self-defense choice.

Here is an older video of the Pw’R Ball in gel (skip to 1:12 to get to the actual shooting):

A polymer ball is not used in the rifle calibers in the Urban Response line.

Compared to the Pow’R Ball, the new Urban Response uses the relatively new Ducta-Bright 7a nickel coating process on the case. This process increases the strength of the case, making it better for +P ammunition and reloading purposes. Ducta-Bright 7a is also being used by SIG on its Elite Performance line of ammo.



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/.


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  • Sulaco

    Hmmm going to have the same PR problems as Black Talon with those “razor sharp petals”.

    • Fruitbat44

      Hmmm . . . possibly, but then again Cor-bon haven’t given their product a name which sounds like a comic-book Super-villain.

    • whskee

      No no no, see, they called those BLACK talons, and that got everyones panties real twisted. That’s why they changed the name to Ranger…sounds like authority! Must be good! These had a ‘safe’ name so they’re good to go…

      Just kidding around but I’m surprised the G2 RIP crud hasn’t set off a frenzy in the anti crowd. I guess they’re under the radar until someone stupid does wrong with them and they get a spotlight for emotional knee-jerking to commence.

      • Sulaco

        As I recall Black Talons were under the radar until the manufacture started TV appearances and a heavy add campaine. The petals were attacked by doctors who claimed they would puncture rubber gloves in surgery among other things like claiming the bullet (Black Talons) would turn the insides of people shot to suchi…

        • whskee

          Pretty much, the ad campaign pissed off some anti’s, who kicked up their efforts to drum up a public backlash by bringing out doctors and others to state just how menacing they were. This all was around the same time as the ‘teflon’ coated bullets nonsense if I remember right.
          Then the movies just had to get in on the fun, remember Lethal Weapon 3? I remember them being dramatic about kids with ‘cop killer black talon’ bullets in that one…and Ronin, which is still one of my old-school favorites, one of the guy’s (Robert Deniro) gets shot with a ‘teflon coated bullet’. Like I said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same tactics used against the decidedly dumb G2 RIP stuff. Black Talons just got renamed and only slightly changed and kept on producing as the Ranger SXT. I was joking about the “It’s because I’m black!” AR-15 meme. Pow’rBall = Safe, Black Anything = Must Be Bad.

  • It seems to be identical to their existing Powerball lineup. 100gr @ 1475fps, polymer ball, nasty fragmenting/ expansion hybrid performance. Other than the slight change in Nickel coating I don’t see what the difference is.

    • Sianmink

      People who think Pow’R Ball is a silly name might try this instead.

  • USMC03Vet

    I notice they didn’t list length of barrel they are shooting from, so I can only guess it’s 5 inch from the video which means using the sub compact carry guns with 3 inch barrels these rounds like most supposed defensive ammo will perform terribly.

    • Website lists it as from a 4″ barrel.

    • Vitor Roma

      The bullet is quite light, it will have enough velocity even in short barrels. Considering that a lot of .45s expand well at 870fps, why the skepticism of the bullet expanding at 1000-950fps?

    • Sianmink

      4″ is standard for testing 9mm and .40.
      Cor-Bon rounds generally underperform a bit when fired from a smaller pistol. The Pow’R Ball really needed full velocity to open up all the way, from personal experience.

  • Don Ward

    I am not buying something called “Pow’RBall”. Does Corbon – or whoever their parent company is – have that little regard for the intelligence of its prospective customers? I mean, what is even the point of substituting the “e” for an apostrophe? It’s not like it saves space in the printing? Somebody in their marketing department deserves a swift kick in the Pow’RBalls!

    • Kelly Jackson

      I imagine because it’s a name that can be trade marked where as “power ball” either either already owned, or far to general

    • Edeco

      Added flavor, I don’t mind it. Like the ö in Motörhead.

  • RVN SF VET

    A key, unmentioned benefit of the polymer ball is that it ensures reliable feeding in any gun. For example, the pointy Hornady version hangs up in my Glock 22. Corbon Pow’RBall – no problem. Same for a ,380 that I have. I don’t care how they spell it.

    • FightFireJay

      I’m glad it works for you, but Ive never had a problem with any hollow point in 4 different handguns, including a Glock in .40 S&W.

      • RVN SF VET

        I don’t understand it myself. The Hornady works in my 27 and we can find northing in the barrel’s finish, etc. or in any magazine to explain it. We tried the 22’s magazines in the 27 – no jam. Still, I have a working combination that’s reliable and powerful. I do note that my favorite ammo tester (tnoutdoors9) on YouTube consistently gets jacket separation in gel on the Pow’RBall round, but I’m not sure it matters.

  • INFI

    This junk AGAIN?? Unfortunately uninformed masses will buy anything with good marketing RCBD, R.I.P, Glaser safety slugs, EXTREME SHOCK .

    • FightFireJay

      I think there must have been a gigantic mark up on RCBD, my LGS guys were TRUE believers.

      “It’s the kinetic energy that stops ’em, you see.”

      I still have most of the over priced box.

      It does blow up gallon jugs of water with alacrity!

      • INFI

        LOL I just remember the story about a dude that got shot in the ass and his front end exploded, shot by some contractor in Iraq (RCBD). We live in an age right now, where really good vetted ammo is only a mouse click away. But some companies still want to keep a ridiculous concept alive.

  • FightFireJay

    You might be able to talk me into this round, IF…
    1. It penetrates 12-18″ in ballistic gelatin (with and without heavy denim).
    2. It penetrates fewer walls than my current JHP (which is popular with LEOs).

    • RVN SF VET

      Check out gel tests by tnoutdoors9 on YouTube. He does his tests scientifically.

  • DIR911911 .

    corbon is in my gun , but i go more for the heavy +p stuff 45 230gr.

  • Sianmink

    So this is basically an upgraded Pow’R Ball, which is good because the original was kind of so-so. I mean decent enough for a defensive round but totally outperformed by more modern designs like Critical Defense, HST and such.

    • FightFireJay

      I’m not sure this is an “upgrade” per se, more like a different version. This one is lighter but faster than the original.

      • Sianmink

        Just to my eyes, the ‘ball’ is bigger and expansion is a bit improved. I think they put more redesign into the projectile than is obvious.

        • FightFireJay

          Most, if not all, manufacturers modify the properties of their JHPs depending on the caliber, weight, and velocity of the bullet.

          Federal modifies the depth of the cavity, Hornady uses different density in their plastic plugs for their FTX bullets, and many adjust jacket thickness and core hardness.

          My concern with this projectile is that it will actually over expand and not penetrate deeply enough, as is common with fast and light handgun projectiles.

  • Patriot Gunner

    “You want performance! Check that, hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh performance!” LOL!