This is a six part series of which this is PART 2. (you can find links to the rest of the parts at the end of this article).
Thomas Gomez and I were approached about doing a test shoot of four different defense rounds:
- 9 millimeter Radically Invasive Projectile, R.I.P from G2 Research.
- 9 millimeter Xtreme Penetrator from Lehigh Defense.
- 9 millimeter Inceptor ARX from Polycase
- 9 millimeter Civil Defense from Liberty Ammunition.
The company that made the request, strangely, was not a manufacturer–it was Clark Armory. They were interested in having TFB perform an independent review (though pseudo-scientific as we will explain later) of some of the defense rounds that they sell. Of course we accepted.
Disclosure: They did not pay for this review though they did send us two boxes of each of the four rounds, two ballistic gels from Clear Ballistics (and the necessary stuff to reset the gels for reuse). All of the other materials we provided along with nine range trips, and the countless hours Thomas Gomez spent melting and resetting the gels.
Session 1, R.I.P. and Lehigh Defense, Bare Gel
We weren’t entirely sure what to expect once we started our first test. How was the gel going to react? Did we set the baseline up correctly? Were we missing anything? We had a ton of questions and worries about doing a review like this since neither of us had ever done a ballistic test before.
Ultimately we just went for it and decided we could redo a test if we significantly screwed anything up, since the gels were resettable.
We stacked the gels on the folding table, measured out the distance, set up a shooting platform on the other table and set up the cameras (which we found later was not without challenges for doing the video).
The G2 Research R.I.P penetrated approximately 15 inches. The G2 created 9 wound channels, 8 from the trocars and one from the main body of the bullet. From the main wound channel, the trocars spread out 5.5 inches from the main projectile and penetrated 5.5 to 6 inches. The trocars did, in fact, tumble through the gel. The main body of the G2 round did not expand but it did tumble through the get. All the trocars separated from the main round. The FBI wants at least 12 inches of penetration in ballistic gel to guarantee penetration of major organs. Penetrating 15 inches, this round would pass the FBI test.
The Lehigh Defense Xtreme Penetrator round went straight through all 16 inches of the Ballistic Gelatin. The round did not tumble and it created a permanent wound channel of .38 inches. Lehigh states that the round will create a 1.5 inch permanent wound channel. This round did not create the stated wound channel, though it did pass completely through the gel, passing the mechanics of the FBI test.
Session 2, Liberty and Inceptor, Bare Gel
Our second shoot was not without challenges. If you ascribe to the concept of fate/universe/otherworldly interference, you will see the humor here. If not, well, then feel the frustration.
We decided to shoot after work on a Friday, much to the chagrin of our spouses, both who were clearly expecting more traditional “date night”. Thomas met at my house and we loaded up his truck with all of our gear. And by “all” I mean “most” of what we needed. And by “most”, I mean everything except for the rounds we were going to test… Which of course we didn’t discover until after we arrived at the range and had set everything up.
My awesome wife made a special trip out to the range to deliver the forgotten rounds. Thomas and I didn’t want to lose the berm and twice the time to break down everything and bounce a trip. Anyway, she brought us the rounds and we started our shoot.
First round through the chrono was the Liberty (rated at 2000 feet per second). The chronograph measured 704 feet per second. WTF. Fired another round. 672 feet per second. We checked all of the connections. Everything was solid. Problem was that it was too overcast out. And I had failed to load the IR light bar accessory with the batteries it needed. We pulled the sun shades off and I fired another round over the chronograph. And then the front sight nearly fell off of my Glock 17. Sigh. Clearly today was not going to happen. Or if we did push it, we were going to have a kaboom, or some some magic bullet style ricochet would have taken out an eye or something. In any case, we decided to call it, regroup and shoot the next day.
Session 2 Redeux, Liberty and Inceptor, Bare Gel
This day was much better.
We got out the range, and all but one of the berms was taken. We drove up, parked and started pulling out the gear, and a Sheriff’s SUV pulled up next to us. Actually to ask if we knew if there were any other berms available. Turns out he wanted to get some practice in at a range closer to his house (the LE only range was 30 miles away). We invited him to share with us which he took us up on.
After we finished our shoot, as we were breaking down, the local Ranger stopped by for a chat as well (we were shooting on BLM land). We showed off the gel and rounds, and we had an overall good chat. With all of the negative media around law enforcement lately, it is refreshing to be able to meet up with some (that were previously unknown to us) and reaffirm that they are just real people with a job and have the same interests as we do–not some class of statist thug intent on oppressing our rights. So, our crappy previous day was more than made up for by getting a good test and meeting some local law enforcers.
When shot into bare ballistic gel, Liberty Ammunition’s Civil Defense penetrated 10.4 inches. The hollow point section split off into 8 “trocars” and penetrated 5 inches deep. The spread on the trocars was 3 inches, or 1.5 inches out from the primary wound channel. Since the round only penetrated 10.4 inches, this round would not pass the FBI test in regards to penetration.
Unfortunately the video for the Polycase Inceptor was corrupted. When shot into bare gel, the Polycase Inceptor hit, penetrated and tumbled from 4.5 inch mark to the 7 inch mark. It penetrated 15.8 inches. The round did not break apart. Maximum permanent wound channel was .5 inches where the round tumbled. The Inceptor round penetrated more than 12 inches, passing the FBI test.
Articles in Series
Note: The below links are not immediately live. Each part will be released a day apart (by Dec 7th all should be available).