Ballistic Testing of G2 Research Civic Duty in 9mm

Ballistic Testing of G2 Civic Duty in 9mm

Welcome to the second installment of our ballistic gel testing series.  The current series is sponsored by Clark Armory who provided the testing medium and rounds.

Technical Details of G2 Civic Duty in 9mm

The G2 Research (G2R) Civic Duty Ammunition features a similar design to the G2 R.I.P. Ammunition but with a heavier bullet and it is designed to not break apart. It is also 100% copper.

Typical bonded hollow point bullets over penetrate, leading to insufficient energy transfer, damage and trauma inside the intended target. G2 Research has taken its innovative Trocar design of the solid copper R.I.P. fragmenting projectile and adapted it to the Civic Duty Expanding self defense round. The Civic Duty defeats barriers as effectively as the R.I.P. and expands 2.5 times its initial diameter after coming into contact with a fluid medium. The Extreme Expansion of the Civic Duty leads to 100% energy transfer and total weight retention inside the intended target without concern of over penetration in CQB situations.

There were not a lot of technical details on G2 Research’s website regarding the round.

  • 9-10″ Penetration
  • 100 gr. solid copper / lead free projectile
  • 1230 FPS average (+10%)

About G2 Research:

G2 Research made big waves in the personal defense world when it released its Radically Invasive Projectile (R.I.P.) in the major pistol calibers.  The R.I.P. utilized a solid copper fragmenting hollow point design to cause massive trauma in the first 12″ of penetration.  More recently, G2 Research has applied their R.I.P. concept to their “Rip Out” and “Trident” rifle rounds as well as their Civic Defense pistol ammo.

G2 Research’s website:

Test Parameters and Setup

Our evaluation format is based on testing a single round per article against the following four tests: against bare gel, gel covered with several layers of clothing, gel behind drywall and gel behind automotive glass (both of the last two will also have a layer of clothing over them).

First order of business will be testing the density of the gel with a BB fired at a known rate. We will fire this into a corner of the gel

Each round will be fired through a chronograph to test comparison to stated velocity from the manufacturer.

The test will look like this:

  1. Set up shooting position and recording devices
  2. Fire two rounds through the chronograph at the bullet trap
  3. Set up naked gel
  4. Fire BB at 500 to 600 feet per second at Gel and photograph penetration
  5. Fire round at gel while filming video and then photograph penetration from front, side and top.
  6. Repeat steps 3 to 5 with the other tests.

We chronographed three rounds and they were slightly above the stated velocity, technically outside of the stated error range of 10% (max should have been 1,353 ft/sec).

Rounds were a little faster than stated velocity. It could be because we are a mile up...

Rounds were a little faster than stated velocity. It could be because we are a mile up…

Test 1: Bare Gel


BB Penetration to about 3.75 inches

Front Shot

Front Shot, bare gel.  Note you can see the “star” pattern forming in the gel.

Side Shot 1

Side Shot, Bare Gel. Roughly penetrated to 11.25 inches

Side 2

Side Shot, Bare Gel.  Note the wound channel in the first few inches.

Top, Bare Gel. Wound Channel.

Top, Bare Gel. Wound Channel.

Top, Bare Gel. Note the flowering of the brass petals.

Top, Bare Gel. Note the flowering of the brass petals. (We fired a second shot and got this clearer shot of the round)



The round went a little farther than advertised.  The petals fully open just after entering the gel and stayed attached to the body, causing a terrific wound channel.

The round would not technically pass the FBI standards as a significant portion of the mass did not penetrate twelve inches.  However, I think we can all agree this round would cause some discomfort to a person shot with it…

Test 2: Heavy Clothing

BB Test, Heavy Clothing

BB Test, Heavy Clothing.  3.5 inches penetration.  I fired the Civic Duty from one side while Tom G simultaneously fired the BB from the other side.  Basically a trust fall, TFB style.  KIDDING.  We forgot to take the picture of the BB before we shot the gel…

We failed to take a picture of the front of the gel.  Let this be a lesson that you need to have a written script/storyboard for doing this kind of test.  The front wasn’t really that exciting, anyway… 🙂

Side, Heavy Clothing

Side, Heavy Clothing.  Penetration to about 11 inches.

Side, Heavy Clothing

Side, Heavy Clothing.  We did a second shot suppressed.  Because Walt brought the Osprey 45 into the bay, and really, how could we refuse?  Funny thing was that the suppressed round went almost an inch further and one of the trochars separated.

Top, Heavy Clothing

Top, Heavy Clothing.


The round again went a little farther than advertised.  The petals stayed attached to the base as advertised.

Around two seconds into the video there was some weird flash from the round inside the gel.  Not sure what that was from.  Perhaps unicorn dust igniting?

The round would not technically pass the FBI standards as a significant portion of the mass did not penetrate twelve inches.  Again, this round does a good job of staying together and causing a huge wound.

Test 3: Dry Wall

We did not get a picture with the BB test.  This particular gel is starting to get pretty opaque from the introduction of dry wall material.


Top, Dry Wall, 1st Shot. The round deflected up and exited the top of the gel.

Top, Dry Wall, 1st Shot. The round deflected up and exited the top of the gel.

Side, Dry Wall, 2nd Shot. Round stayed in the gel.

Side, Dry Wall, 2nd Shot. Round stayed in the gel.


We conducted this test twice as the first shot actually deflected upward nearly a full inch and a half.  The second round deflected the same amount but transited the entire length of the gel. We did not recover either round from the bullet trap, but our assumption is that the rounds pack full of dry wall and behaved like a penetrator.

And again a weird flash of light from within the gel.  I promise there was no HE inside the rounds.

Test 4: Automotive Glass

The automotive glass was conducted using Tom G’s scaffold from the previous tests we did. This time we were able to cut the windshield down into more manageable pieces. The glass was placed at a forty-five degree tilt, rotated forward by fifteen degrees, and set eighteen inches in front of the gel.

BB Test, Glass

BB Test, Glass, 3 5/8 inches penetration.

Side 1, Glass

Side 1, Glass.  Again the gel is really getting fogged.  But you can see the round at 9.25 inches.


The round punched a huge hole in the glass, but apparently packed full of glass as it stayed together in the gel.  The round did meet the advertised penetration distance, though the trochars did not open.  They did, however, stay together with the base.

Round Deformation through glass

Round Deformation through glass.  We dug out the mangled mess of the round from the gel.

The round would not technically pass the FBI standards as a significant portion of the mass did not penetrate twelve inches.


Despite not technically passing the FBI depth of twelve inches (with the exception of the dry wall test, which was an over penetration), both Tom G and I liked this round.  The size of the round after the expansion of the trochars was quite impressive and the wound channel was well defined.  We would both carry this round for defensive purposes.

The drywall test was interesting in that we had an upward deflection, though it was not unexpected that it behaved as a penetrator.  I would venture that most rounds with a hollow cavity will pick up material and stay in their general form.

Again, we can debate the efficacy of the FBI standard (in the comments), but it is a pretty well defined and understood test at this point, and provides a good way to compare rounds.


Thanks to Clark Armory and BMC Tactical for sponsoring and supporting this test. Clark Armory provided the Ballistic Gel from ClearBallistics and the G2 Civic Duty 9mm.

BMC Tactical provided an indoor lane with consistent lighting and temperature to run the test (and an Osprey 45).

We appreciate these two companies providing necessary materials and infrastructure for the tests.

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; 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.


  • Big Daddy

    I’ll stick with Gold Dot and HST.

    • Some Rabbit

      Ditto that.

    • sliversimpson

      I’m a big fan of Gold Dot.

  • 2hotel9

    “Civic Duty”. I can hear lefty heads ‘splodin’ from just seeing those words on a box of ammo! lol

    Seriously, though, looks like an acceptable rd design, can I get it in 135 or 167 grain. Light weight, high velocity hollow points sort of defeat the purpose of using hollow point rds.

    • Jwedel1231

      Defeat the reason, or take that reason to it’s logical (or illogical) extreme?

      • 2hotel9

        Seems like(if you are referring to light, fast hollow points)that is the direction, anymore. I like heavier rocks for my slingshot.

    • Bart

      They did do a good job of PR with that name. It is much more politically correct than calling it the “rip-shredding zombie killing bullet of mass destruction”.

      • 2hotel9

        I do like that name! Hope they become successful just so I could use that joke.

  • NDS

    That flash of light is something called “sonoluminescence” – look it up for a full on sciencey definition but the TL;DR version is air bubbles are formed and then collapsed under the weight of gelatin. You see the light because the air reaches something like 8000 degrees Fahrenheit, if only for a split second.

    Also it’s not much of a surprise that the can made that round penetrate further; every silencer will increase muzzle velocity to some degree. Good test, dry wall is a tough one for these light-for-caliber rounds.

    • R H

      This has been debated in the more “nerdy” parts of the internet gun world. There are actually several observations that suggest it is not sonoluminescence at all. Most importantly, this flash is unique to the clear ballistics gel tests. It doesn’t show up at all in the organic gel. I’m more inclined to believe the theory that the flash occurs due to a diesel-like effect in the gel. The clear gel is pretty flammable, so as the bullet passes through the gel block you get pressure and heat, then air coming in behind it. As the cavity expands and retracts, you get a mixture that will ignite. This would cause the flash that you see AND explains the burnt looking smears observed in the gel afterwards as well as the puff of what looks like smoke coming from the entry hole in other videos. I believe the Brass Fetcher vid is the one that I’m referring to, but I just don’t buy the sonoluminescence theory.

      • Jwedel1231

        Are these not the same theories? Air enters behind the bullet in the temporary cavity, gets compressed by the retraction of the gel, pressure increase means heat increase, the air gets super hot and either ignites the gel or the air itself.

        • ostiariusalpha

          No, other than that they both involve creating heat through pressure, they are not entirely the same. Because dieseling is a combustion process that involves the breaking down of complex molecular chains in a chemical reaction, it can take place at much lower pressures than sonoluminescence, but it does require a fuel for ignition. Sonoluminescence, on the other hand, is really the excitation of the actual atoms of the molecules under such pressure, that even without any actual combustion taking place, the atoms themselves emit light in order to try to shed energy before ionization can occur. So one is a lower pressure chemical reaction and the other is incandescent radiation.

          • R H

            Oh Lawd at all the science!!

          • Scott Tuttle

            dieseling is the word we’re looking for.

          • Jwedel1231

            So, dieseling is combustion, but sonoluminescence is creating plasma for a split second? Then it’s probably dieseling.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Well, thermal incandescence doesn’t actually require ionization (turning the heated material into plasma), in fact there’s a good deal of ionization in both the dieseling effect and sonoluminescence.

          • Spikey DaPikey

            But, but, UNICORNS !!

          • ostiariusalpha

            Gawd, doesn’t anybody pay attention in Mystical Science class anymore? Unicorns are the exception that proves the rule, since the rare vermillion Ukrainian unicorn is the only thing that can luminesce with heatless ionization. I can’t believe how many times I’ve had to go over this stuff with people.

    • ozzallos .

      Normally only see it in laser rounds pushing high velocity envelopes.

  • Sledgecrowbar

    TL;DR: G2 Research introduces their first product that is not hilariously overpriced, absolute bullshit snake oil, and it looks rather good, if not good enough to topple current favorites in the respected, tested-effective defensive ammo lineup.

  • iksnilol

    if they added some penetrator to the tip it could probably penetrate further.

    That 10% variation is a bit scary regarding velocity. SOunds horrible for accuracy.

    • Doc Rader

      It could very well be because we are at altitude. But no idea. It was consistent where it was on the chrono–it was just higher than spec.

    • Billca

      The 10% increase in velocity doesn’t bother me much at all. Numerous variables can explain that. The good news is the standard deviation between shots is low which says their ammo is consistently loaded. An extreme spread of 7 fps says their loading process is highly controlled too. That is more important for shot-to-shot accuracy than the average velocity.

      I’ll still stick with HST in my bottom feeders and Gold Dots in my round guns though.

  • Chuck Haggard

    Their ad copy is typical of the bullshit and snake oil from this company.

    They lost me at “energy transfer”.

  • maodeedee

    Basically turning a slug into birdshot is a losing proposition in terms of terminal ballistics. Same thing in the trade off of mass for velocity. Years ago 90 grain bullet loads for the 9mm were introduced but they never really caught on because the 124 grain bullet weight proved to be best in actual street shootings and 147 grain ammo was found to be effective as well.
    Let’s just stick with Plus+P 124 grain Gold Dots and forget about the gimmicks.

    The only real innovation that’s occurred as far as bullet technology that has come about relatively Recently is the Hornady Critical Duty ammo, but it hasn’t yet established any kind of track record on the street which is what really counts. Jello testing is only an approximation but some people believe in it unconditionally like it was a religion.

    But I think Hornady is on the right track starting out with a 135 grain bullet that allows for retention of adequate mass even when fired through barriers. and the critical DUTY as opposed to critical DEFENSE ammo is plus+P.