Rugers Polymer Blend ARX Ammo Put to the Test

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I’ve personally been skeptical of Ruger’s new ARX bullet from its inception (when it was released under its OEM, Polycase), but have been working to keep an open mind, after the ammunition was shown to be generally effective by one of my favorite ammunition testers, ShootingTheBull410, at least in its .380 ACP variant.

Now, TNOutdoors9 (my other favorite ammunition tester) was able to put the 9mm version through his own testing. Using the FBI protocols, the 9mm version was not as successful as its shorter-cased brethren.

To ensure the testing was fair, this time TN added some other ammunition to test directly next to the ARX including some of the well-respected Speed Gold Dot

While results were good through the bare ballistics gel, the ammunition had some issues through the various mediums. As TN predicted (and I had guessed), the light hybrid construction of the round was not as effective as the traditional hollow-point ammunition.

When shot through either dense or rigid mediums, the ARX’s polymer construction deforms and in the case of sheet meta, fragments. This could be an issue if the bullet hits bone.

Still, its an interesting round, especially using the round nose to ensure reliable feeding compared to existing hollow-point.

What do you think of the new ARX ammunition? Is it the next step forward (and perhaps a small step backwards)? Or, is it more talk than results?


Nathan S.

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry in weapon design, operations, and sales. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

Nathan can be reached at


  • TheSmellofNapalm

    I’d have a lot more faith in the Lehigh Xtreme Defenders if we’re talking unconventional rounds. XDs are different than the Xtreme Penetrators talked about at length on this blog, as the Defenders are designed to dump their energy sooner and penetrate less.

    • Sulaco

      Same here, at least for the .380 extreme penetrators version. The 9mm is a barn burner for over penetration in almost anything it hits.

      • Marcus D.

        From personal experience, the EP 115 grain 9mms are loaded very hot, producing noticeable recoil and muzzle flip, much more in fact than my usual 124 gr loads, when fired out of a 3.5″ barrel. Of note, they are NOT listed as a +P load.

  • Big Daddy

    I’ll stick with the ATK Gold Dot and HST.

  • Joe

    Great review!!! Very well put together and logical.

  • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

    Due to the method of construction, I’d like to see the bullets offered as cheap alternative components to reloaders.

    I don’t care about defensive use for 99% of the stuff that I shoot, and the lighter weight means less recoil, which makes shooting more fun.

  • Slobberjaw

    Great video!

  • Treyh007

    This guy does a great job! The GD, HSE, and Hydra Shok are just too good for me to go trying to change. I like innovation but the ARX just isn’t a HSE or Hydra-Shok! Try again Ruger, I ain’t mad at ya.

  • RICH

    Sounds like a good round for range ammo if the price could be right. Actually 230gr JHP rounds with garlic in the hollow cavity are great self-defense rounds…. they even work on vampires !

  • Xeno Da Morph

    What my uncle said when he saw this….

  • It’s a great bullet design, but the weakness is the material, which is obviously too weak/ prone to fracturing. A change is the blend, or a new material entirely, is advisable.

  • Blake

    Good to see that tnoutdoors9 is still testing & posting. His health was seriously degraded for quite a while & it was not easy for him to put his life back together as he recovered.

    Thanks for the great vid as usual.

  • Julius No

    I’m going to buy some of these just to pull and put in my .35 remington.

  • ozzallos .

    I’ve got some 117gr ARX in 45acp in my gun right now.

    You can be “skeptical” all you want, but seriously, it’s not hard to find video of its performance on youtube to make an informed decision.

    • gunsandrockets

      How is the recoil? Significantly less?

      • ozzallos .

        In my XDm 3.8 it’s got some snap, but noticeably less overall. Somewhere slightly under 9mm values IMO. Polymer frame, short barrel. We also tried it in my friend’s 1911 gov’t. Recoil was *significantly* less, down in the .38 range.

  • Anonymoose

    My LGS tried to sell me on these because they were had no other 9mm defensive ammo at all. I wasn’t buying it. I prefer a heavier (147gr) boolit, anyway.

  • MrApple

    I guess I’ll just stick with my Federal HST 124gr.

  • Wynter

    I’d like to see it tested in .50 Beowulf (and 9mm and .40S&W and .45acp). I was extremely skeptical myself when this stuff came out but from what l’ve read on the very few articles and individual reports it may just have some mojo. At the very least it looks like it may be a good hunting round in the .50Beo.