New .45 ACP From Underwood Ammo and Lehigh Defense

The .45 ACP will always have a place in the firearm world thanks to the 1911. Of course, it’s also a capable round, one underestimated by many of its naysayers. Now there’s a new .45 ACP option on the ammunition market from Underwood Ammo and it’s being added to the company’s popular Xtreme Defense line.

Underwood Ammo made some changes to this round’s components with the goal of making it an above-average defense round. The bullet’s nose was modified for the purpose of reducing penetration – depending on the barrier – to a range of 15″ to 18″. The projectile still delivers almost 100% weight retention. In order to test the new round thoroughly the company put it through the FBI protocol, the results of which are shown in the chart below.

Other features of this round include a permanent wound cavity Underwood Ammo lists as being 100% larger “than any other expanding bullet” on the market, reduced recoil, and cutting edges for superior barrier penetration.

Specs, from Underwood and Lehigh:

Cartridge:  45 ACP

  • Bullet weight (gr): 120
  • Box qty: 20
  • Velocity (fps): 1,350
  • OAL (in): 1.230
  • Penetration (in): 19.5
  • Wound cavity (in): 2.5


The Xtreme Defender +P version is also available, loaded with flash suppressed powder to preserve the shooter’s night vision and with nickel-plated casings for improved feeding. According to Underwood, muzzle velocity is 1420 feet per second and muzzle energy is 537 foot-pounds. MSRP for a 20-round box is listed as $35.99. Take a closer look on the company’s website at

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  • Bob

    Hmmmm, 100%? I’ll wait on that until it gets tested a bit in the real world.

    • Giolli Joker

      Not so impossible for a solid, machined bullet.

    • TheSmellofNapalm

      It already has, look up MAC’s video. They don’t fragment.

  • manBear

    Looks like fiddy cent’s teeth

    • That’s Fifty, and he doesn’t have gold teeth.

  • I’m excited to see gel tests, but the specs are great – .357 velocity with .45 diameter.

    • TheSmellofNapalm

      MAC did some tests of the 9mm.

      • Yup, MAC’s test is what inspired my interest in the Defender line. I’m curious whether the wider diameter has much effect on the performance vs the 9mm, or whether the most important aspect of this style of bullet is the velocity.

        • Marcus D.

          So did TNoutdoors, and he liked the .380 but hated the 9mm, having massive overpenetration with every shot–through two blocks of gel and several water jugs overpenetration. (Which would make it a perfect barrier penetration round.)

          • I believe he tested the Xtreme Penetrator, not the Defender. The Defender has less weight and wider flutes so it penetrates less.

  • Gel tests for this should be interesting. Though, I’m wondering if 120gr at 1350 fps will really be that much better than a +P 9mm with a premium hollow point.

  • zxcvzxcv

    Has anyone ever tested this ammo on actual meat? I’m pretty sure their claim of pistol ammunition that can leave a wound 5.5x the diameter of the bullet is bull poopy and is most likely yet another snake oil product that tries to pass the temporary cavity off as the permanent cavity.

    • TheSmellofNapalm

      Youtube the ballistic tests, the wound channels are substantial.

      • zxcvzxcv

        Considering what I’ve seen from other rounds being shot into actual meat (where the cracks visible in ballistics gel don’t happen in the meat) and what I’ve read in studies (in particular the ones I’ve read that have said pistol ammunition doesn’t have enough energy to damage anything it doesn’t directly hit). I’m having a lot of trouble believing that those bullets will perform anywhere near that in actual meat.

        • TheSmellofNapalm

          Well buy a box, go out and buy some stuff from your local butcher, shoot some meat, and let us know what you find.

  • Sianmink

    Nicely handles the issue of poor penetration that’s been the big problem with lightweight, expanding, high velocity pistol rounds, but the big question is all about the wound channel on real flesh.

  • LG

    Such rounds as these, but in the extreme penetrator style, do work as advertised in 458 SOCOM. In pigs the wound channel is at least as large as with a comparable Barnes TTSX but with through and through penetration. As Elmer Keith said ” It lets the blood out and the air in”. I believe that this is the future technology, vastly superior to conventional jacketed expanding slugs. I would really like to test in real life a .416″ Extreme penetrator, if they would produce one, in my 416 Rigby against the Woodleigh hyrostabilized penetrator.

  • gunsandrockets

    Pricey. But I like it.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Has there been a massive issue with plain old HP’s not killing people?

    • LG

      Yes. The reason for the 3 layers of denim in FBI tests id because clothing can defeat some HP projectiles. With the Lehigh Defense Extreme penetrators and extreme defenders the problem of clothing, hide, or hair interfering with the performance of the hollow point cavity is obviated. Also there is no problem with jacket separation. Also, since there is little or no deformation of the projectile, there is greater tendency for the projectile to tract along the line of penetration, rather than angling off on a different trajectory. In short it hits deep where you aim and hit, not a random internal path. Great terminal ballistics always.

      • M.

        “defeat ”

        No. Impede, yes. But no one was getting shot with a .45 and didn’t get hurt because they were wearing a Carhart over their Canadian Tuxedo.

        • LG

          Less than optimal deployment would have been a better phrase. If you do not believe that clothing, hair, hide, etc can effect the terminal ballistics of hollow points then you do not trust either science or practical results. Try to get ANY conventional hollow point to produce the same terminal effects with the barriers in standard FBI tests is a TALL order. The extreme defense and extreme penetrators offer a CONSISTENCY of performance not seen with conventional, jacketed, hollow point projectiles.

          • Zebra Dun

            FMJ and Ball will still go right through any layer without clogging up, and a penetration value just as high, it’s already .45 cal and even a through and through will leave a dime size hole that will leak like a sieve.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Three layers of denim?
        Are a lot of people getting shot at Texas weddings?

        • JD

          Go into the torso after going through an arm… there’s your 3 layers.

          • Zebra Dun

            Two layers of sleeve, one layer of shirt with bone and meat in between.

        • RocketScientist

          Three layers of denim is used to represent a variety of clothed situations. For example I live in Florida, but as I write this were someone to shoot my torso, the bullet would need to go though an ESD coat, a fleece jacket, a heavy flannel shirt, and an undershirt. That’s a lot of bulk. If it were winter in a cold climate it would be even worse. Do three layers of denim accurately represent my situation, or anyone’s clothing situation? Not likely… but its a consistently repeatable setup that more closely represents a wide array of clothing than would shooting into bare gel.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            I figure if you live in Florida I would only have to shoot through one layer of Speedo’s and 9 coats of suntan lotion.

          • billybob

            Well right now in Florida, first they would have to get in the house, but the clothing right now is tee-shirt and shorts so penetration is not an issue.

          • Core

            I use Bullfrog SPF III+ special threat..

      • Bob

        time to break out the M1A in good old 7.62 Nato.
        Denim won’t mean squat

    • BrandonAKsALot

      They just weren’t dying dead enough. They needed harder and deeper penetration to die deader to satisfy the needs of today’s modern pistolero.

      • M.M.D.C.

        Those bullets will get you seriously killed.

        • Giolli Joker

          “Somebody is gonna get killed real bad!”

    • Sulaco

      I think it’s more along the lines of combining all the concerns (some valid some not so much) of using a poisonous (neural toxin) heavy metal (lead), it’s effects all along the chain of use and specific designs for what you want a projectile to do. “Old fashioned” lead bullets are becoming left behind by advances in technology (and politics).

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Well I’m broke so anybody who breaks into my place is getting a plain old lead salad, dressing on the side.

        • politicsbyothermeans

          That’ll do. The proletariat’s lead serves the common man just as well as this bougey ammo ever could.

          #ammoequality #thestruggleisreal #45forthemasses #expansionmatters

        • Sulaco

          Tried to buy a buggy whip recently? 🙂

    • Dragonheart

      Ballistic tests show the problem with a standard HP is if it hits bone, a very high probability, the cavity plugs up and does not expand, so it acts like a FMJ. The answer this problem is the Federal Guard Dog bullet which looks and feeds like a FMJ, but the nose under the thin jacket is filled with polymer, which expands radically when it hits. Driving a light bullet at higher velocity is nothing new; it is a much more effective defensive round with less penetration and larger wound cavity.

    • Mister Thomas

      Innovation in the firearm industry is a _good thing._

      This projectile can also be used in lower power rounds to better them.

      Or – a not so well placed shot can be compensated for with this ammunition as sold.

  • Bill

    All these “extreme” new designs look like feed ramp problems just waiting to happen.

    • TheSmellofNapalm

      The rounds are reliable in virtually every platform except the Kahr.

      • Marcus D.

        The Extreme Penetrator (9mm) works just fine in my Kahr. Although I admit I have only shot 8 rounds, this round being expensive as it is. (And it is a lot hotter than the standard 124 grain rounds I usually shoot.)

    • ExMachina1

      Nah. They’re actually more “ball” in profile than most bullets.

  • TheSmellofNapalm

    Damnit Katie, Underwood didn’t make any changes to the projectile itself, that was 100% Lehigh. All they did was load it into their brass and powder. It’s like you don’t even proofcheck these “articles.”

    • Marcus D.

      Yes it is a Lehigh bullet, but the bullet profile has been substantially changed from that of the Extreme Penetrator “philips head” shaped bullet, and the weight has been substantially reduced from 200 grains to 120 grains.

      • TheSmellofNapalm

        ….Again, Lehigh designed the Xtreme Defense as well as the penetrator , NOT Underwood. Underwood purely loads them, they have NOTHING to do with projectile design. Look at Lehigh’s site.



  • politicsbyothermeans

    Do I remember Lehigh with a .45 that expanded to 1.3″ or something like that?
    “100% larger “than any other expanding bullet” on the market”
    So that would be a .45 with an expansion of 2.6″ at least. That’s a pretty bold claim.

    Also, it slices, it dices, it juliennes!

    • Core

      It says 2.5 inch wound channel on the denim test. My question would be is it 2.5″ of static or dynamic wound channel? Maybe a clay comparison would answer this question?

      • politicsbyothermeans

        Popcorn standing by for Box o’ Truth action.

  • jeffrey melton

    My 1911s like plain old ball ammo so, that’s what I feed them. Occasionally I’ll treat them to hp or +p but they get heartburn so I try to avoid the exotic stuff.

  • dltaylor51

    I can just hear the lawyer for the family of the dearly departed at the hearing for the civil lawsuit that will surely be filed even after the shooting was ruled justified by the prosecutors office.These bullets look really neat and I’m sure they will slice and dice and make a persons innards look like they been run through a blender BUT after a good attorney gets through with the jury there wont be a dry eye in the house when it comes to sympathy for the thug that you had to put down with these buzz saw bullets.I only use 230gn.NATO round nose FMJs in my 45 and not of my own making,I only use store bought for carry.They are approved by the Hague convention as being more humane and flesh friendly even though that metal jacket is made out of soft paper thin copper and the core is made out of even softer pure lead,not much there for lawyers to hang a wrongful death suit on but they will get the job done.Those Underwood’s are great looking bullets though.

    • Vitor Roma


  • Zebra Dun

    Phillips head screwdriver round.

  • maodeedee

    Use that same nose design but with a lead core so that it weighs at least 220 grains. Whenever you trade mass for velocity it’s a losing proposition regardless of how impressively the projectile “preforms” in a block of Jello.

  • Israel asskissing conservative

    My only question is if it feeds.

  • WFDT

    Hardball worked just fine for Alvin York.

    • Hilltop

      Muskets worked pretty well for Washington. Guess that’s all anybody should ever use…

  • A Fascist Corgi

    What I want to know is if the huge tears that are left in ballistic gel by these bullets will do the same thing in actual flesh. Somebody needs to test this on wild boars or something.

  • jcbauerca

    With all this new hi tech bullets why doesn’t someone do a test with cutting off the head of a FMJ getto style to see if that does any more damage than a JHP or anything else. I am thinking of Taxi Driver with Robert Di nero, when he made cross cuts in his bullets or was that a different movie?

  • David169

    I don’t know why the trend is for the lighter and faster bullets. I understand that this will give more impact energy but less momentum energy. I am reminded of the “Pig Board” which tested virtually every pistol cartridge on live pigs and documented the results. It was determined early on the larger diameter projectiles showed an advantage in initial impact incapacitation. The criteria also considered the weight of the hand gun and the recoil which had to be manageable and took into consideration the ability of the average qualified soldier. The “board’ settled on the .45 ACP and then got into a row with John Browning. Browning wanted the cartridge loaded with a 200 grain bullet at 1,000 fps. The “board” wanted the .45 ACP loaded with a 230 grain bullet at 825 fps. The lighter bullet at a higher speed had more foot pounds energy but the heavier bullet had more knockdown and momentum energy with less foot pounds energy and less recoil energy. Years ago when the police carried 38 special revolvers there was a “Police Special” loading that featured a 200 grain bullet at about 650 fps. Many departments made this cartridge mandatory for duty. I spoke to a local forensic firearms expert who business is to testify in court on shootings. In his investigations prior to testifying under oath he investigates the shooting thoroughly and his observations are confirming the “Pig Boards” conclusions that the slower and heavier bullets incapacitate quicker. Most hunters know to use heavier bullets on larger animals to get greater knockdown and penetration. Why not with a handgun.