Testing G2 R.I.P., Liberty Civil Defense, Inceptor, and Lehigh Defense Rounds – Part 6 – Conclusions


This is a six part series of which this is PART 6.  (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:

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.

Overall Observations

Clothing - G2 - 1

To date, this has probably been one of the coolest reviews we’ve had the chance to do.  Seriously, thank you Sawyer and Matt at Clark Armory for providing the materials for this process.

Since we could “reset” the gels, we could have situated bone in the gel for a better simulation of center mass on a human, but that would have introduced a lot of variability to the path and fragmentation of the wound.  There was even an initial discussion about shooting into some beef–but, seriously, why waste delicious meat?

Thomas G’s Thoughts


My favorite round was the Xtreme Penetrator from Lehigh Defense followed by the R.I.P round from G2 Research. I would load both rounds in my magazines. The first 6 rounds out of my barrel would be the G2 R.I.P round followed by the Xtreme Penetrator. The logic being, if I haven’t put a threat down in 6 rounds, the threat is probably taking cover and trying to get rounds in me. From testing we found the Xtreme Penetrator had no problems punching through a solid medium. The larger wound channels, though variable, would also do a lot of tissue damage.

The Polycase Inceptor was a great round and did very well during testing. If I was told, “this is the round you will be shooting for the rest of your life, deal with it,” I would shrug my shoulders, load up my Glock and get on with life. The Inceptor is a good round. It tumbled during bare gel testing, creating a larger wound cavity and still penetrated 15 inches. It didn’t do very well on glass. Personally I put a premium on the ability to shoot through automotive glass, and had an instance in my life where I had a drunk/high mugger aggressively approach my vehicle demanding cash while waving a metal rod. The Glock 21SF being pointed at his face as well as the strong verbal commands deterred the mugger. I may have had to take shot through my windshield.

The Civil defense from Liberty Ammunition was the worst round we tested. It failed the F.B.I test and didn’t do anything well. It would created a hell of a surface wound but would fail to penetrate bone and muscle and hit major organs.

Tom R’s Thoughts


Personally my favorite round is the Inceptor.  I think it showed the best balance of all of the rounds that we tested.  While it did deep penetrate on bare gel, it seemed to stay in the “body” for the other tests.  Based on the video showing the cavitation injury, it had a decent wound channel in all cases.

My next favorite was the Lehigh Defense.  Everything from the aesthetic of the design to the sheer consistency was great.  The reason it is not in my top position is that it punched through everything and still went through the entire length of gel.  You should ALWAYS be sure of the target and of what is beyond it, doubly or trebly so with this round because it is going to go through.  I would have a slight concern about this in the confines of a dwelling.  I think it still causes a great wound channel, the penetration is just a concern.

The G2 RIP is just a messy round.  Yes it creates a lot of damage as the trochars detach and tumble, assuming the material allows for it.  I just felt it did not perform consistently through all of the materials. It did fine in bare gel and heavy clothing, but in drywall it behaved like a penetrator.  I understand that is what their intention was with the round—that it should adapt to the first barrier it encounters. My feeling is that I want consistent behavior when it enters my “terminal” objective. I don’t want a “sometimes penetrator” or a “sometimes fragmenter”—I want it to do one or the other.  Great marketing and very aggressive looking round, though.

My least favorite was the Civil Defense.  While it is the fastest of all of the rounds, it is just too light. It seems to have similar intended behavior to the G2 R.I.P., in that it adapts to the medium, but in our tests it didn’t do terribly well against non solid barriers.  The round really disintegrated and the little bit of slug that occasionally made it “deep” into the gel was minimal. According to the FBI test, we are looking for twelve to eighteen inches of penetration and this round just did not perform in our tests.  That said there are reports of it causing really disturbing injuries to a side of beef.

Overall I was most interested in the cavitation injuries caused by each of the rounds, and showing the comparison of that when interdicted by each of the media that we shot against.  We can open the debate (and invite in the trolls 🙂 ) about the suitability of calibers and platforms.  But at the end of the day, as a good doctor friend of mine explained “With a pistol round, pick an organ, punch a hole, repeat as necessary”.  The cavitation provides damage outside of the direct wound path, increasing the likelihood of disrupting an organ.  Assuming you can accurately put any of these rounds into a body, where you want them, you will likely disrupt your opponent.  Some of them will do a better job and let you be a sloppier shooter.  Despite the results of our testing, a Liberty Civil Defense put in an attacker’s orbital window will still convince them to break off from their shenanigans.  Ultimately, find the rounds you can afford and want to carry, assess your threat profile, and train, train, train.


Bare Gel - Civil - 2

We hope you readers have enjoyed this multi-part article series.  Opportunities like this are generally only available when we have sponsorship from the industry and this one is different in that the sponsorship was not from a manufacturer wanting a review of their product, but a retailer wanting to answer some questions about a product they sell.


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).

Session 1 – Bare Gel
Session 2 – Heavy Clothing
Session 3 – Automotive Glass
Session 4 – Drywall
Observations and Conclusion

Tom is a former Navy Corpsman that spent some time bumbling around the deserts of Iraq with a Marine Recon unit, kicking in tent flaps and harassing sheep. Prior to that he was a paramedic somewhere in DFW, also doing some Executive Protection work between shifts. Now that those exciting days are behind him, he has embraced his inner “Warrior Hippie” and assaults 14er in his sandals and beard, or engages in rucking adventure challenges while consuming craft beer. To fund these adventures, he writes medical software and builds websites and mobile apps. His latest venture is as one of the founders of IronSights.com; a search engine for all things gun related. He hopes that his posts will help you find solid gear that will survive whatever you can throw at it–he is known (in certain circles) for his curse…ahem, ability…to find the breaking point of anything.


  • Laserbait

    Thanks guys, this was a truly interesting series, and well thought out. I hope for more in the future!

    • Thomas Gomez

      We would love to do similar tests in the future.

  • Swarf

    Good deal. Thanks for putting the time and effort in to doing this.

    Especially the straining tiny fragments from gel part.

    • Doc Rader

      That was all Tom G… 🙂

    • Thomas Gomez

      Thank you Sir!

  • Big Daddy

    I’ll use what my local PD and the FBI uses in 9mm. For the simple reason that those rounds have a proven track record and there are legal ramifications if you have to use the rounds tested in this article against another person.

    To that I will say the ATK Speer 124+P Gold Dot and Federal HST 147 & 124+P have proven themselves over and over again in actual shootings. Some agencies are using the barrier blind Hornady Cricital Duty 124+P for their better penetration.

    With a defensive handgun you are potentially putting your life on the line. I would want to have the confidence of using a proven round not some experimental stuff even if they perform well in gel testing. Better safe(alive) than sorry, there are no do overs in real life.

    The FBI tried the Speed Gold Dot G2 and it failed. they pulled them immediately. That says a lot about how serious they take their ammo choices. I take mine just as seriously not only with my handguns but with all my guns. My life does not have a price on it, whatever they use I want to use and for the same reasons. If it costs a lot so be it. I’ll use it and even train with it. There is a huge difference between practice and duty ammo in terms of recoil and accuracy. Most 9mm ammo out there shoot soft, the duty +P stuff does not shoot nearly as soft and it is important to train with it as much as possible. I do use a similar range ammo that is very close to duty ammo but I also use duty ammo at the range.

    It’s silly to always go to the range and shoot cheap ammo yet load your defensive guns with the good stuff. You will not be ready for the extra recoil and change in POI. I’m not saying to ALWAYS use duty ammo to train but do so as much as financially possible. I also use duty ammo to make sure all my guns will work with it and are 100% reliable with it. Yes it’s expensive but necessary to insure you are prepared for the unthinkable, to actually be in a situation to have to use your gun. As I said before there are no do overs.

    • Laserbait

      I don’t know, FBI pulled the 10MM, so that tells me they’re really not all that serious about their choice of ammo.

      What legal ramifications are there for using this ammo? I’ve never seen a single case where the brand/type of ammo as ever been a factor in a self defense shooting case.

      • MadMonkey

        I would also like to know what “ramifications” there are. Not that I’d be using any of this ammo in the first place.

        • Swarf

          I have read that reasoning over and over and never read of a case where it was actually true.

          Nothing wrong with any of the three brands you listed, Big Daddy, and I don’t want to come across as attacking you for your comment, but I’m not sure there is as much validity to the logic behind your ammo choices as there is to the ammo choices themselves.

          • Big Daddy

            Some of the things I said are based on what Mas Ayoob has said in print and responding directly to a few questions from myself and others. He has testified many time in self-defense shootings and is considered an expert on the subject, although take it with a grain of salt.

            The more I read and talk with law enforcement the more I am much more careful what I do with my self-defense guns, especially ammo choices. I won’t go into specifics because every state and locality has their own laws. But like the Zimmerman case an overzealous DA can make your life a nightmare even though you are in the right. I’m not a lawyer and do not want to get into a semantics type argument with other people here, one reason I do not comment here anymore.

            I felt this was a subject with so much misinformation, myths and uninformed opinions concerning ballistics and the laws for self-defense I wanted to voice my opinions. The whole caliber argument for instance being one of those ridiculous arguments.

            I live in Texas so I don’t worry much about certain things. In other places in the USA you should learn your local laws and past legal experiences with self-defense shootings. You might be surprised that even though your local politics are conservative they do not support armed self-defense by citizens.

            I did have an incident recently and was very disappointed in how the local PD responder acted. I joined Texas Law Shield later that day because of that incident.

            The fact is using those rounds I mentioned you have the best there is right now in terms of self-defense ammunition. 9mm is the best choice for many reasons especially using those rounds, yes 9mm is a compromise but the good outweighs the bad. What does matter most is shot placement and training. The old statement is so true; “A hit with a .22 is better than a miss with a .45.”

          • Swarf

            Fair enough, thanks for taking the time to respond.

          • Bill

            Make that a BIG grain of salt. Writers have to write to get paid. Some of them take an incredibly small sample and blow it’s significance WAY out of proportion. Some “experts” are also experts because they say they are and convince other people likewise.

            In a self-defense shooting, the second one attorney raises the name of a round as an issue, the opposing attorney is going to be howling about relevance and attempts to prejudice the jury and so forth. It just isn’t going to fly, but it makes for a good story.

          • Cymond

            What’s your take on the Harol Fish case in Arizona? His choice to carry a 10mm with hollowpoints was brought up by the prosecution.

        • Marcus D.

          There is no “legal” ramification, in the sense that I don’t believe, other than Black Talons (as in San Francisco), there are any local restrictions on particular rounds. Check your local laws. Some states (read: New Jersey) prohibit hollow points outside the home or the range, so even if you are one of the lucky few nonLEOs to get a CCW there, possession of HP ammo in a carry piece is a 2-yr felony (so I am told).
          That said, there is an oft stated concern that in a SD shooting (or any shooting when it comes right down to it), the DA may make an issue as to the use of “dangerous” “more deadly” HP ammo. As a starting point, it is lame because law enforcement now carry HPs, probably universally, but this was not always the case.
          The subsidiary–and true issue is the recommendation of using hand loads. There are no end to issues that could be raised, and the fact of the matter is that there is no reliable and repeatable performance data when you are called upon to prove that you are not using “cop killer” ammo and are an evil person who must be guilty. And that was the issue in the early days–that it really wasn’t a SD shooting, you were just out looking to kill someone. Restated in legal terms, the DA may try to use the type of ammo you are using as evidence of “intent”, a required element in a first or second degree murder prosecution.

      • jman69

        The FBI pulled the 10mm because most of their female agents could not handle the recoil. There are plenty of law enforcement agencies that carry the .40 which is nothing more than a more controllable and weaker version of the 10mm.

        • Laserbait

          And now they’re switching to 9mm. So are the agents getting weaker, or, do they need more rounds in the mag because their marksmanship is getting worse? 😀

          Either way, the FBI “Standards” seem to be a matter of convenience, rather than effectiveness.

          • Marcus D.

            There is usually no more than 1 round difference between a .40 and a 9 mm, but as with the 10 mm, female agents had difficulty with recoil. More importantly, current testing reveals little if any significant difference between 9, .40, and .45 in terms of wounding and effectiveness, but more shooters are more accurate with the 9, plus it is cheaper than the other two, a significant issue when you are buying millions of rounds a year for duty and training.

        • matt

          .40 and 10mm is also a lot harder on the pistol. You have to think about longevity and cost of parts/repairs.

        • Bill

          It wasn’t only female agents. They also arguably erred in picking a platform the size and shape of a hammer drill, the S&W 1076, for an agency that is exclusively plainclothes.

    • Thomas Gomez

      Excellent comment. Thank you for the insight!

    • TechnoTriticale

      re: I’ll use what my local PD and the FBI uses in 9mm.

      And that may be fine if your barrel length matches theirs. “Duty” ammo may be optimized for “service” handguns, and not compacts or subcompacts. Discharging duty in your subby might just mean more muzzle flash blindness at night, and actually less velocity than the comparable “defense” load.

      Duty ammo may also be optimized for duty scenarios, which may have significant differences from any given individual’s reasonably conjectured self defense scenarios.

      Local PD standards, just like mil standards, may also be influenced by politics, and not effectiveness.

      But sure, picking an FBI round is a safer default choice than falling for someone’s “Perp Vaporizer” marketing spin.

      • One_Jackal

        I agree totally on barrel length. Many hollow points are designed to work at a certain FPS. If you have a carbine test your ammo. Many hollow points that are great in a pistol are shredded on impact when fired from a carbine. I have had better results with heavy for caliber 9mm ammo in the carbine, 135 gr and up.

  • Jakewwa

    If you don’t like the Xtreme penetration, checkout Xtreme Defense.

  • Marcus D.

    First mag (8 rounds) is XTPs. Second mag is Lehigh. Currently. But I always shoot one mag of HP ammo every time I shoot, so I cycle through. I have had PDX1s, for example, and some Golden Sabers, bought when there was nothing else on the shelves. Fortunately, I have never had to determine the actual effectiveness of any of these rounds, and hope to keep it that way.

    • Thomas Gomez

      Cheers Marcus! Thank you for the insight.

  • Shinypartsup

    Short of a forensic ballistics expert helping you design the tests, I think you both did wonderfully giving readers a chance to look at the new products on the market. Having a control HP ammo with proven characteristics added (though also with the expense and trouble) would have been wonderful. This is not definitive testing, but it is thought provoking. I want to thank your wives and family for helping drive equipment to your location and aiding behind the scenes for our education.

    • Thomas Gomez

      Thank you. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  • Thomas Gomez

    Tom R and I are working with our editor perhaps to make this a series.

  • ozzallos .

    The inceptor also appears to “vaporize” on hard barriers, and by “hard” I mean brick-hard. I suspect that this is because of it’s composition.

    Interesting how the Civil Defense round clogs. Wonder if one could add a rubber tip like the Hornady Critical Defense to mitigate that…?

  • Sianmink

    Welp, this might get me to switch away from those Liberty CDs to another lightweight round for my backup mag.

  • Mike H

    I’d be interested to see these rounds tested against other proven “duty” rounds, like Gold Dot, HST, etc.
    My suspicion is that all these new gimmicky rounds can’t hold a candle to them.