Lehigh Ammunition: Can a Gimmick Company Make Dependable Ammunition?

The core and petals recovered from a Controlled Chaos gel test.

Lehigh has a well-deserved reputation for making gimmick ammunition. Their Controlled Fracturing Hollow Point pistol ammunition does perform as advertised insofar as it fractures, but fragmentation in a pistol round is not a desirable feature. Fragmentation can be useful in rifle rounds because the impact velocity is fast enough that it pushes tissue apart so quickly that the size of the temporary wound cavity exceeds the elastic limit of tissue and it begins to tear. Fragments improve this tearing, causing more permanent extensive damage than rifle rounds at similar velocity that do not fragment. Pistol bullets lack the speed necessary for temporary stretch cavity to contribute to wounding so fragments that are produced by pistol bullets just result in relatively small wounds that don’t cause as much bleeding as a larger, wider main track.

IMG_0943 2

Underwood loaded 9mm Lehigh Controlled Fracturing Hollow Point.

IMG_0940 2Lehigh’s Extreme Defender line relies on some sort of fictional fluid dynamic magic that seems to be related to enchanted faerie flutes. While much ado has been made of it, there really is no indication that it performs any better than full metal jacket bullets of similar weight. The claims about the wounding potential are based on the appearance in gel, which does seem to be impressive. But ballistic gelatin is not intended to simulate the appearance of a wound, it is only intended to produce measurements that correlate strongly with human tissue. The dramatic appearance is simply a result of a relatively fast pistol bullet. The faster bullet creates a larger stretch cavity and the gel tears more readily than real tissue, but these bullets are nowhere near fast enough to cause real injury via the temporary stretch cavity. To be perfectly frank, a fair argument could be made that FMJ actually tends to cause slightly more severe wounds because it cuts a wider path as it travels sideways for a short distance.

 

Despite its dramatic name, Lehigh’s Controlled Chaos rifle ammunition seems to be less of a gimmick, though. At least in the .300 AAC flavor.

115 gr may seem on the light side for a .30 caliber bullet if you’re accustomed to .308 Win and other “real” rifle cartridges, but 110-115 gr projectiles are just about perfect for .300 BLK because they allow suitable velocities. In this test, the projectile performed exactly as the manufacturer claims, producing rather impressive data points, as seen below.

Impact velocity: 2,146 fps
Penetration: 19″
Neck: 1.75″
Retained weight: 43.1 gr
Average petal weight: 12.9 gr

Let’s unpack those numbers. If this were a heavy open tip match. in .223 Rem made by a more established company like the Sierra 77 gr Match King, the 1.75″ neck, impressive temporary cavity, and decent penetration with 43 gr of retained weight would be considered to be fantastic performance. The fragments produced penetrated surprisingly deep in their own right and came well away from the primary wound track.

By all objective, empirical standards, this is excellent performance. To be sure, the load was not tested against barriers, but heavy OTM does not tend to do well against barriers, either, yet it is still commonly recommended for home defense, assuming the home owner doesn’t care much about barrier performance. In some quantifiable ways this load actually performs better than a heavy OTM in .223 Rem. Namely, the size of the fragments and core are substantially larger. To be sure, the numerous tiny fragments produced by large match bullets can initiate innumerable tears, but the larger fragments seen here were able to penetrate more deeply and deviate farther from the primary track than is typically seen in wounds caused by fragmenting rifle ammunition. The core is larger and heavier than that seen from heavy OTM, too.

So why does it still leave a bad taste in our mouth? One reason is cost. Price shouldn’t be the foremost factor when considering ammunition for defense, but if you can get the same performance at lower cost, that lets you shoot more of that ammo to verify reliable function and zero. Depending on which factors you favor, Barnes 110 gr TAC-TX and Hornady 110 gr VMAX both perform at least as well, if not better than this Controlled Chaos load, but cost substantially less. Then there is the problem of integrity. Can you trust a company that sells snake oil, even if the product in question seems to perform well? It seems unlikely they would intentionally foul anything up, but if you have the opportunity to buy from a company that holds government contracts, that may instill more confidence.

Ultimately, I wouldn’t steer anyone away from this particular load. It meets standards and would be useful for defense. Is it the best? Not exactly, but it is certainly better than FMJ. I would advise anyone who is trying to find the “best” load for defense that training matters a great deal more than gear. While it is important to choose effective ammunition, the factors that are most likely to decide whether you survive a really awful day are your will to fight and your training.

 

Addendum:

This article has provoked a rather emotional response from Lehigh fans. It’s understandable, given the advertising that Lehigh has invested in and the common misinterpretation of gel results. But the claims about fluid dynamic effects are entirely unsupported at the velocities seen from these pistol bullets. In the case of pistol ammunition, the only way to increase the size of a wound is to increase the diameter of the bullet. If you’re interested in getting your bullet nerd on, please read this article: http://gundata.org/images/fbi-handgun-ballistics.pdf I’m certainly no expert and I don’t claim to be. I can only relay to you the findings of actual experts and apply them to these specific cases. If you, dear reader (or Leghigh) believe yourself to be more knowledgeable than the FBI in this matter, I’ll admit that you are far more qualified to have an opinion on the subject than I am.



Andrew

Andrew is a combat veteran of OEF and has performed hundreds of ballistic tests for his YouTube channel. He is an avid firearm collector and competitor and lives with his family in Arizona.


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  • Vitor Roma

    The Lehigh Xtreme line has been tested over and over again showing very consistent results.

    .380 Penetrator: LczfeWK9lHw

    9mm Defender: ClJcJ8LQFbQ

    The best video IMO is this one, 9mm Defender compared to many good hollow points against many kind of barriers: 0piGeTVMZWs

    .45 Defender against many kind of barriers: UV_1zXdDf4Y

    Another 9mm defender: 4IPNXhzecnM

    In all videos we can see very that the bullets of the defense line stay under 20″ of penetration, show me a FMJ that does that. People saying that they should behave like FMJ pretend they are being skeptical when all evidence shows the opposite.

    • Chop Block

      The reduced penetration is a result of the low sectional density, nothing more. Find a 90 gr FMJ and you’ll see similar penetration. Possibly less, because the FMJ will usually yaw. It’s a little unsettling how many people swallow the marketing.

      • Sunshine_Shooter

        So they limit overpenetration without deforming the bullet. How is that a bad thing?

        • Chop Block

          It’s not terrible in the case of .380 because there doesn’t seem to be any .380 JHP that can expand and meet the minimum penetration standard. It’s less than optimal for other calibers because a smaller wound is created than with quality JHP. These Lehigh magical bullets still poke holes in things, but they don’t perform better than JHP in any substantive way (except in .380)

          • valorius

            The can’t be clogged. They penetrate significantly deeper in gel than JHP while creating similar wounds, and they are far superior vs body armor than any JHP.

            I do agree that in .380 the Extreme penetrators are in a class of their own. It’s what i carry (loaded by underwood)

          • RSG

            Me too. This article is beyond the pale.

          • RSG

            By virtue of these extreme penetrators in .380, Lehigh has singlehandedly transformed the caliber into a viable self defense round, whereas previously, the choices were straight line, small holes with fmj, or shallow performance with jhp. To label this as a gimmick is professional malpractice and borders on malicious slander. I hope you have a good attorney.

          • valorius

            In fairness the Buffalo Bore and Underwood loaded 100gr+P hard cast flat nose rounds were pretty viable defensive rounds too, but i agree the Xtreme penetrator is even better.

      • valorius

        The defenders cause a massive wound tract compared to FMJ. In order to ‘swallow the marketing’ one only needs to watch the gel tests videos, of which there are several. All show the exact same results- wounds many,many times larger in diameter than FMJs and consistently deep straight penetration.

        • Jared Vynn

          That’s probably the fluid dynamics of creating controlled high pressure and low pressure zones like an air foil would.

        • raz-0

          Nobody is debating a difference in gel performance. They are debating if that performance matters in live flesh, which is a much trickier subject to debate.

          You’d think with all the nuisance hog elimination, you finding someone to shoot a recently dead hog with one and document the results wouldn’t be so hard, but I haven’t found it.

          Personally, I find that it’s performance differs greatly in multiple ways from both FMJ and JHP ammo, and drawing conclusions without actual terminal ballistics examples is probably unwise.

          I’m just surprised nobody has taken it handgun hunting yet.

      • Vitor Roma

        Test video showing that shows .380 FMJ bullets doing at least 23″ in a much lower velocity that the Lehigh Defender in 9mm: YbSLqdiX_bA

        Tell me, if the those bullets penetrate more than the Lehigh Defense while being consdireably slower (sub 800fps, compared to the >1200fps of Lehigh), how can you claim the 9mm Defender behaves like a .380? There is more than 50% increase in velocity, what means an even higher increase in energy. If the Lehigh is dump much more energy in less depth, it is clear that isn’t behave like a FMJ.

  • A.WChuck

    Independent testings certainly seems to show that the Extreme Defense/Penetrator rounds work as advertised. That certainly holds more water than someone spouting off about “enchanted faerie flutes.”
    Please link to your tests so that we can have a better understanding as to why you feel these rounds are all hype.

    • Chop Block

      There are plenty of tests. The problem isn’t a dearth of testing. It’s misinterpretation of test results. The fictional fluid dynamics that Lehigh invented to sell bullets just isn’t supported in any of the literature from the experts. What the YouTube guys and the Lehigh marketers are looking at is simply the predictable result of a relatively low mass, relatively high velocity solid of any shape. It’s just not moving fast enough for TSC to be a factor and that’s supported by the FBI paper “Handgun Wounding Factors and Effectiveness”.

      • Jared Vynn

        Fluid dynamics are well known otherwise we wouldn’t have aircraft. The bullets appear designed to induce several high pressure and low pressure zones within a fluid be it air or something like flesh. How effective it is I couldn’t say, but it isn’t some vodoo concept.

        • valorius

          Supposedly the pressure wave velocity being thrown off the flutes is 2x the velocity of the projectile. So a 1600fps 9mm+P+ round is throwing that fluid out there at 3200 fps. That’s rifle velocity.

          • Jared Vynn

            I would believe it, it’s like putting ducting on a fan, same fan speed but a more focused air flow (fluid) yields a higher velocity.

          • AC97

            And let me guess, you think the RIP ammo goes through barriers with the “Buzzsaw effect?”

            Something tells me there hasn’t been any scientific testing on what you’re saying is happening and this has only been seen in gel tests.

          • valorius

            They’re very new rounds. There wont be the sort of empirical evidence you’re asking for, and that i’d also like to see, for quite some time.

            Nothing wrong with healthy skepticism.

          • AC97

            And “healthy skepticism” is the philosophy I’m going with.

            Let’s agree to disagree, shall we?

          • valorius

            I just agreed with you though. 😉

            To me the one caliber where the Lehigh extreme penetrator bullet loaded by Underwood is superior is .380 ACP, particularly in +P. In any other larger caliber for defense against human beings i’d still stick with JHP.

            For trail defense i think the extreme penetrator has a ton of merit in pretty much any caliber.

          • Chop Block

            That’s where I can agree. A wide flat nose might be better for trail defense, but I’m not inclined to take a stance.

          • AC97

            If I were doing trail defense, I suppose .44 Magnum Underwood Xtreme Penetrator would be good for avoiding deflection, as copper doesn’t have a tendency to deform like lead does.

            After all, Underwood’s loading of the Penetrator 10mm loading got through IIIA armor, as did that Fort Scott 9mm.

          • valorius

            1382 is really slow for a 80gr 9mm. I’d expect a velocity closer to 1700.

        • Gary Kirk

          Fluid dynamics and aircraft don’t mix.. That’d be aero dynamics.. Better comparison would be drag boats or offshore race boats..

          • Unless the R-controlled House and Senate have managed to repeal some fairly important laws of physics, I’m pretty sure air is still a fluid.

          • Gary Kirk

            Air, as in the atmosphere, is a mixture of gasses.. Neither liquid or solid.. But a step above..

          • Gary Kirk

            Never mind, I’m half drunk right now.. not thinking straight.. realize my mistake now, I apologize

          • mazkact

            🙂 posting while drunk is about as bad an idea as surfing Gunbroker or opening the AIM Friday evening email while imbibing 😉

          • Gary Kirk

            I was wrong, apologize.. And thanks for the humility..

            Might have to use that down vote thing on myself.. May be the only time it ever gets used..

          • Cory C

            I mean this in the nicest way possible, but fluid dynamics encompasses aerodynamics. What you just said is analogous to, “That’s not a gun, it’s a pistol.”

          • Gary Kirk

            I know, I corrected myself a little afterwards..

          • Cory C

            Indeed. Sorry for the confusion and thanks for owning it like a man.

          • Gary Kirk

            I’ll take it when I deserve it..

        • Gary Kirk

          I apologize, half drunk.. Wasn’t thinking correctly.. You are right, been awhile since my last physics class.. Was thinking about liquid for some odd reason..

      • valorius

        If the TSC of lehigh rounds is meaningless, then the TSC of JHP bullets is also meaningless, and that is nowhere near as effective as anyone claims either, which really gives an advantage to the lehigh design, as it has significantly deeper penetration and can’t be clogged. A clogged JHP is just an FMJ which creates an ice pick like wound tract. An unclogged JHP that doenst cause extra dmg from the TSC is just an under-penetrating FMJ.

        At least the lehigh rounds do both.

        • Chop Block

          Yes, the TSC from JHP is also meaningless.

          Just think for a moment about the incredible nature of the claim that a jet could come from the side of the projectile at double the velocity of the projectile. Where does that energy come from? The gel is only slightly less dense than the bullet, remember. So what happens to the forward velocity of the bullet when it accelerates just an equal volume of gel laterally? How deep would a 9mm ED get before accelerating 90 gr worth of tissue or gel to the side? But if the critical thinking is too hard, all you have to do is look at the high speed video from the many YouTube tests, including my own. You can SEE that the gel doesn’t separate from the bullet at twice the impact speed.

          • Bob

            venture effect

          • Chop Block

            I think autocorrect struck again
            I presume you meant Venturi. I don’t believe that can account for the claim.

    • Are there videos/photos/reports/etc. of the effect these things have on actual meat and bone? I’m always leery of anything that tries to equate gelatin performance 1/1 to real world performance given how many Wundergeschoss designs have come and gone when they turned out to have less than stellar results in real world bad guys or game animals.

      Somebody needs to set up a Youtube channel that’s nothing but firing various rounds into hams or something and cutting them in half with a meat saw to compare the results.

      • Gary Kirk

        Cough cough.. 40.. Cough

  • Sunshine_Shooter

    Dear Andrew,

    Please remain intellectually honest. In paragraphs 4 and 5, you go into detail explaining why the Controlled Chaos round works. You point to multiple mechanisms of effectiveness and even point out how it is superior than what is commonly recommended! Really, the only downside you mention is cost (though you don’t even put out any numbers, you just assume we’ll trust you). Yet in the last paragraph you state about Controlled Chaos, “Is it the best? Not exactly…” Why? Your only reasons stated are the cost (which is ALWAYS an issue with defensive ammo) and… “Integrity”.

    You start off doing so well with reality-based criticisms of pistol ammunition, which you then immediately state no longer apply to rifle ammo, and then back up those statements! But your criticisms ultimately come down to.. feelings? I really thought TFB had better standards than this.

    Concernedly yours,
    Sunshine_Shooter

    • Chop Block

      It sounds as though you skipped a bit in the reasons that I believe Controlled Chaos to be less than ideal. It is certainly adequate and objectively performs pretty well. The TAC-TX is a bit better. Rifle wounding mechanisms are substantially different than pistol mechanisms. A lot different.

      • Toxie

        It sounds as though it would have been a better article had you stayed on topic (the rifle bullet being discussed) and not traipsing all about discussing other, *unrelated*, off topic and dissimilar products (albeit from the same company) in a highly disparaging manner.

        • That’s a fair criticism. I wanted to contrast the two types of products though. Many users write off Lehigh entirely because of the gimmick crap and I was ready to do the same with the rifle bullet, but that might have been unfair.

      • Gary Kirk

        Barnes= dead target..

  • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

    This is actually the first time I have heard someone speak negatively of Lehigh (other than cost). Now Im not saying that as a Lehigh fanboy by any means. I have never purchased or shot their ammo and have no interest because I use adequate loads that cost much much less. Its just that every review I have seen/read has always spoken positive of their products.

    • Chop Block

      Yeah, they have a very active marketing department.

      • QuadGMoto

        Seriously?!?

        Marketing can get people talking about a product. It can can a lot of people to test their product. But it cannot overcome the physics at work in those tests.

        In the case of Lehigh, marketing certainly isn’t overcoming the “I’m comin’ home, ‘Lizbeth” effect of their prices, and people saying negative things about those prices.

        • “But it cannot overcome the physics at work in those tests.”

          Exactly.

          Unfortunately, marketing can have an effect on perception of the tests. The vast majority of folks watching these YouTube tests are under the mistaken impression that the appearance of the track in gel is in any way related to the wounding potential for a pistol bullet.

      • valorius

        So does Glock.

        • Jared Vynn

          “Glock perfection” comes to mind, but so does negligent discharge and glocknades to many though. Marketing only goes so far.

          • valorius

            For the life of me i’ll never understand why the absolutely refuse to sell a model with a thumb safety to civilians. They sold the 17S to spain, so it’s not like they can’t do it.

          • Jack Burton

            After decades of more or less the exact same configuration being so widespread, honestly I wouldn’t be interested even if they changed their minds about that tomorrow(ha). If I need a striker pistol with a thumb safety it’ll either be an M&P or the Army variant of the P320 when they become available(thumb safety + optics ready – tan paint job).

          • valorius

            Glock did make a model with a manual safety for the Spanish. But ever since they’ve been totally uninterested in scooping up that market share.

      • Giolli Joker

        G2 Research had one too, yet their product was laughed at each time it was tested.

        • l2073255

          The difference is that G2 apparently didn’t have as many shills attacking the comment sections of their detractors to add an air of legitemacy.

          • Giolli Joker

            Had Lehigh performed like G2, nobody would be defending them.

        • Chop Block

          It’s almost like Lehigh learned something from G2.

        • int19h

          In case of G2, the product did perform as advertised – shallow penetration with massive fragmentation. The reason why it was laughed at is because they emphasized fragmentation in their ads, but completely ignored the clearly insufficient penetration. So it was about product being flawed *by design*.

          In this case, people are claiming that Lehigh bullets don’t actually produce the effects they claim to produce, in flesh. That’s a completely different thing.

    • int19h

      For what it’s worth, a guy once claimed in comments on TTAG that he tested Lehigh XP bullets on actual meat, and found that they don’t work anywhere near as good as they do in gel. He said they basically worked like FMJ.

      However, when asked for videos or at least photos, he didn’t produce anything.

      I emailed Lehigh and pointed them to that thread, and asked them to comment and rebuke, preferably with evidence, if the guy is incorrect. They never did so.

      So as it is, I’m on the fence on this subject. The ideal state of affairs is if someone does a proper test on these with meat, and publishes it. Then we’ll know for sure.

      That said, I still carry Lehigh in my .32 ACP pocket pistol, because even if they are equivalent to FMJ at worst, FMJ is what I would carry otherwise anyway (since JHP doesn’t provide enough penetration in that caliber). If they actually work as advertised, then that’s a bonus.

  • thedarkknightreturns

    I’ve done my own testing with a variety of bullet resistant materials and Lehigh and Fort Scott offerings in 9mm are the only over the counter “fancy FMJs” that will punch through soft body armor and composite armor panels often used in vehicle doors (for most tests the gun used was a HK p30L) Using an MP5, I was even able to get penetration through bullet resistant glass.

    • valorius

      In my own tests .380+P underwood xtreme penetrators penetrate .5″ polycarbonate bullet proof glass that will stop .45acp FMJ and most 9mm JHPs on the market. I wouldn’t be surprised if it defeated level IIA body armor too, though i’ve never tested it.

    • Chop Block

      I’ve found the Fort Scott to be slightly better and both can only defeat armor in certain calibers. I’m currently working on an article sorting out some of this.

      • thedarkknightreturns

        I would like to see what you come up with. My thinking is that many factors come into play. My testing is all done within about 15 yards, the HK p30L I use for most tests has a 4.5″ barrel, the HK MP5 I use for a few tests has an 8″ barrel. The longer barrels are probably contributing to how reliably I’ve been able to get these rounds to penetrate. In the near future I plan on testing with a short 9mm handgun, maybe something with a “3 barrel to see if that changes the results I’ve been having. Fun stuff.

        • Chop Block

          Yeah, velocity is the primary factor in perforating soft armor (and producing impressive looking tracks in gelatin).

      • valorius

        Fort Scott is the spitzer shaped stuff that tumbles right?

        • Chop Block

          Yes, sir. An ogive like typical FMJ but a pointy nose.

          • valorius

            The 9mm rounds seem intriguing but i’ve been waiting to see more tests on them.

    • iksnilol

      but basically all ammo goes through car doors.

      • valorius

        Some parts of car doors. Hit the window motor, an assembly bolt or some parts of the internal framework and very few rounds will penetrate.

      • Hanover Fist

        “…and composite armor panels often used in vehicle doors.”

        He’s not talking about a standard car door.

        • iksnilol

          Yeah, that’s got me worried. Who’s he gunning for that’s got armored doors?

  • gordon

    Some folks posit that the fluid vectoring bullets won’t work as well in flesh as gel because flesh has a greater elastic limit. This, I suspect this may be a flawed argument. Said greater elastic limit would also mitigate the damage of an expanded round as well since the flesh would stretch out of its way as it passed through also. If that argument is valid, then Lehigh maximum expansion rounds are still excellent rounds especially for subsonic shooters. Myself, I use the .32 eXreme Cavitator out of a 4.2″ bbl .327 and get over 2100fps. I imagine that at that velocity, flesh very likely reaches its elastic limits. I expect that this year we will see quite a bit of testing of the fluted rounds on game and thus get some data that we can all have more confidence in one way or another.

    • Chop Block

      2,000 fps is said to be the threshold at which TSC becomes a factor, but in speaking with some experts (I’m certainly not one) they have indicated that it only really starts to matter if you’re also getting expansion and/or fragmentation at that speed.

      • valorius

        Some of these Lehigh pistol rounds when loaded by Underwood are claimed to be exceeding a jet velocity of 3000fps. That is a mechanic that regular pistol ammo simply doesn’t have. In some of the tests an X shaped entry wound and wound channel is observed.

        • Yes, in regard to projectiles that exceed 2,000 fps, the TSC should theoretically contribute to wounding. According to some experts, the influence of TSC is fairly limited without expansion or fragmentation, but at least in theory, they can do better than JHP.

        • Chop Block

          Yes, theoretically, bullets that impact at more than 2,000 fps may cause a large enough TSC to contribute to wounding. Some experts advise that even at that speed, expansion or fragmentation is necessary to improve wounding. I’m not qualified to contradict either set of experts so I’d have to give the benefit of the doubt to those loads. They wouldn’t be my first choice, though.

  • Matt Collins

    To say that “there is no indication that the Xtreme Defender line performs better than FMJ”
    can only be interpreted as the writer not having done any real research on the projectiles, and the literally dozens of ballistics gelatin videos of fmj and Xtreme bullets shown online. I think he has fallen prey to Lehigh being a brand which few of the chest-thumping self-important talking heads from the various gun forums actually understands, and thus slings mud at it as if they are privy to some exclusive knowledge or inside-info in an effort to negate the relevance of the ammo which they don’t understand. “Enchanted Faerie flutes” indeed – it’s called cavitation, which was figured out by the likes of THV bullets from France in the 80’s, and the radially dynamic Devel bullet in the 90’s. The whole article seems to smack of: “Does this upstart with their over-priced unproven gimmick bullets really think they are kidding anybody”…… Well, they must be, they have grown exponentially over the past 10 years and show no signs of slowing. Really, Lehigh is an overwhelmingly respected & proven manufacturer whose projectiles can be found loaded on a wide range of cartridges which they load, which Underwood loads, and which Black Hills loads. Black Hills does not invest in anything that is not top-of-the-mark. I should know, I wrote THE book on solid copper hollow points “SCHP” by Matthew Collins, and I have delivered seminar presentations on lead free ammo which cover all of this extensively. This article is off the mark with remarks like “why does this leave a bad taste in our mouth”…. It actually doesn’t…

    • valorius

      I agree with you 100%, but paragraphs would make your post a lot easier to read.

    • Chop Block

      Being able to write doesn’t make us experts. I know that I’m not. All I can do is relay the findings of actual experts and apply them to specific cases.

      • Matt Collins

        But when you sling terms like “Enchanted Fairie Flutes” at it in a disparaging and mocking way, you’re basically saying “F&%k this ammo, don’t buy it”, with little to no real understanding of it.

        • RSG

          I wonder why the original comment is “under moderation”? Seems the article itself should’ve been “moderated” by TFB and their attorneys before being published.

          • Matt Collins

            Maybe because I edited it a few times? Not sure. I think people writing these things need to know how / when to discern between hype junk like G2 R.I.P. and the good stuff like Lehigh.

          • KestrelBike

            Almost guaranteed that the moderation is a Disqus auto-thing irrespective of the content, and has nothing to do with TFB.

          • I can’t speak for anyone else, but the only reason I’d remove a comment is if it was strongly abusive.

          • DIR911911 .

            because the truth hurts

        • jng1226

          I agree he definitely was on the offensive to Lehigh, but particularly the Xtreme Defense rounds. He goes so far as to say the .300 BLK Controlled Chaos round performed well. So do you dispute what he says regarding the inability of pistol velocity to produce the implied wounding ability of the Xtreme Defense rounds? I’m just a casual observer of this topic but the arguments he makes seems to be the general consensus of many credentialed experts and expensive reports done by government agencies. Too bad Dr. Fackler passed away, I would be interested in what he would say about this technology.

          To me the argument that taking the image of a wound channel in Clear Ballistics Gelatin and making that a direct analog to terminal performance in living tissues, does sound incorrect from the research and opinions of I’ve read. What do you have to support the other side that these perform as advertised?

          • Gary Kirk

            They have ballistics gel..

        • nighthawk9983

          So what I get from this article is ballistics gel isn’t an accurate medium, except when I say it’s accurate because rifle velocities. Okay then, stop using ballistics gel, get a pig carcass out there and shoot it instead? I don’t know why the guy in the video says a JHP is better than FMJ as a universal for pistol rounds. Any hollowpoint .380 is going to be hot garbage for self-defense, especially if there are heavy fabrics to penetrate. The ballistics gels test for the lehigh xtreme penetrator showed far more penetration than FMJ. That’s not a fluke and not because it was loaded hotter.

  • valorius

    Gimmick company?

    • RSG

      The real question is whether he has a good lawyer. Seems more like professional malpractice with a heavy dose of malicious slander thrown in for good measure. How TFB allowed this to be published on their site is beyond me and has just partnered themselves with any culpability.

      • AC97

        What, so questioning a company’s advertising isn’t okay when there has been no empirical evidence that their bullets actually do more damage in actual tissue, and pretty much the only thing people have been testing this has been in gel?

        You need to get over it, there is no scientific evidence these outperform hollow-points, or even FMJs in actual tissue (gel tests do not count), and if you do know of any, feel free to point me in the right direction, because non exist to my knowledge.

        • RSG

          As I said above in another comment- it’s this malicious slander that hopefully earns him what he deserves…”Then there is the problem of integrity. Can you trust a company that sells snake oil, even if the product in question seems to perform well”. Judging by the addendum, he’s already heard from Lehigh. Or their attorneys.

          • Chop Block

            Lol. Slander refers to damaging speech that isn’t true.

          • RSG

            Good luck proving they are “snake oil” salesmen without “integrity”. I believe the malicious aspect is already a given. Perhaps you’d like to inform the readership exactly what Lehigh said to you by email, and to the company executives by phone? Is TFB going to stand by your libelous article?

          • AC97

            Whatever helps you sleep at night, keep harboring the delusion that anyone’s actually getting sued.

            “Professional malpractice”, really? I’d like to have some of what you’re smoking.

            You utterly failed to refute anything, by the way.

          • Amanofdragons

            I’m curious as to what they said.

          • Chop Block

            Nothing. Nothing at all. RSG just has hurt feewings.

          • Chop Block

            Nothing. They haven’t said anything. And they won’t. And if they wanted to spend money on it, they’d have to prove, in court how awesome their magic is.

        • Marcus D.

          Tell me which companies have published tests in actual tissue.

          The fact is no one does. Gel is the only thing that is readily available, calibrated, and provides a repeatable metric for comparisons between different rounds.

  • valorius

    Can a gimmick writer actually craft a useful article?

    • DIR911911 .

      apparently NOT.

    • iksnilol

      9-1-1? I just witnessed a murder.

    • Amanofdragons

      What do you expect? It’s clickbait. The amount of articles like these are numerous on here. According to this site, lever actions are outdated, as are revolvers.

      • Chop Block

        We don’t all share the same opinions. I may just write an article about the place manual actions still hold.

      • Sam Damiano

        Funny since I would feel fine clearing my house with a Winchester .357 Mag lever action. Do I think a GP141 gives up anything for home defense? Quick reloads, maybe. Can’t hold off a movie sized group of home invaders.

      • kreatin

        They are…

        It’s not to say they still aren’t effecctive. But they are outdsted technology. And this is coming from a guy who owns more than a couple lever actions and wheel guns.

  • valorius

    I use Underwood loaded Lehigh Defense xtreme penetrators in .380+P.

    ALL gel tests i’ve seen show extremely deep straight penetration as well as significantly more wound trauma than FMJ produces. To me, it is by far the best option in .380 caliber for self defense against both man and beast.

    • Jared Vynn

      What handguns have you used?

      • valorius

        In .380 I use a Ruger LCP.

        • Jared Vynn

          I use an LC9s currently and was actually considering an LCP ii as a backup/pocket carry. My family have used the Sig 938 and 238, but they were too picky with ammo for my liking.

          • valorius

            The LCP is extremely reliable with all rounds i’ve tested in it. Besides range FMJ i’ve tested the following pretty extensively, at least 100rds of each type:

            Federal Hydrashok JHP,
            Remington Golden Saber,
            Speer Gold Dot,
            Buffalo Bore Barnes SCHP,
            Buffalo Bore 100gr hard cast flat nose
            Underwood Extreme penetrator

            When available i prefer +P loadings in .380

            I don’t recall my LCP ever malfunctioning, I highly recommend you either get the Custom with real iron sights (the original model has very crappy sights) or install a CrimsonTrace laserguard. I don’t like the new LCP2 with the glock trigger on it.

      • RSG

        I use these rounds in both a Glock 42 and a very expensive Beretta 85FS with superb function/performance. Fwiw.

    • Chop Block

      Again, the disruption seen in gel is not representative of what would be expected for a wound in tissue. That said, the .380 version is the only one that seems to have a bit of merit.

      • valorius

        Based on what? To say that it won’t make that impact in flesh is to say that JHP won’t either.

        • Chop Block

          Yes, that’s what I’m saying. The disruption seen in gel is not representative of wounding. Properly prepared and calibrated 10% ordnance gelatin produces penetration, fragmentation/expansion, and retained weight measurements that correlate strongly with wounds observed in actual shooting victims. It does not simulate the appearance of a wound.

          • valorius

            If that’s true than JHP is also much ado about nothing, with far less penetration than flat nose, no more to slightly more wounding potential than flat nose, and at about 50% more cost of flat nose.

            Of course there are some organs in the body that are highly susceptible to the type of wound created by JHP and this lehigh ammo, such as the highly rigid liver and the skull encased brain.

          • Chop Block

            JHP does offer only slightly increased wounding over flat point bullets. That’s absolutely true.

          • valorius

            In gel tests i’ve seen the Underwood loaded Lehigh extreme penetrator actually cutting an X shaped entry wound into the gel block from the pressure wave coming off the flutes. That’s something i’ve never seen JHP do.
            If the pressure jet velocity is really 2x the bullet velocity it’s a good bet there is actual cutting going on. If you put your hand under a 3000 fps water cutter you’re going to pull back very cleanly cut stump.

          • valorius

            The theory that you’re espousing (and i agree it is widely held) solidifies my choice.

            Underwood Extreme Penetrator in .380 gives many times the penetration of JHP, makes a physical hole that’s very nearly equal in diameter (and much larger than that of a FMJ), cannot clog or fail to function as designed, and which has far, far superior tactical barrier penetration than probably any other round in caliber due to it’s velocity and solid construction.

            Besides the price there is literally no downside to it.

            I would not select the Lehigh version as the velocity is very low, even by .380 standards.

      • int19h

        Also .32 ACP.

        • Chop Block

          I presume so. I don’t think I’ve seen any .32 tests. How deeply does .32 FMJ usually penetrate?

          • int19h

            11-14 inches usually, depending on weight. Lehigh consistently penetrates to 14″ in gel tests.

          • Chop Block

            Thank you. I don’t own a .32, but it sounds like you’d be fine with FMJ in the heavier flavors. With as small as the current micro 9mm pistols are, there isn’t nearly as much need to carry a .32 or .380. Of course, that’s easy for me to say. Folks who already own a .32 or .380 may be reluctant to “just” buy another gun.

          • int19h

            It’s mainly about the weight and size. I pocket carry, and Kel-Tec P32 has the distinction of being the single smallest and lightest handgun on the market by far (not counting exotic stuff like NAA Minis). It’s 6.5 oz unloaded, and 0.75″ thick. In the pocket, it looks pretty much like a wallet or a cellphone, especially with a holster that’s designed to hide its shape. And it’s so light that I can plunk it down into any pair of pants or shorts that I own.

            The lightest micro 9mm that I know of is Diamondback DB9 at 11 oz, but it’s notoriously unreliable. The next lightest is also Kel-Tec, PF9 at 12.5 oz. Everything else is much heavier than that. So in practice, if I were to go with 9mm, I’d have a gun weighing twice as much, and that’s before we count ammo.

            Now, don’t get me wrong – I *can* pocket carry heavier and larger guns. Even did that with Rhino for a while. But I find the extra weight and bulk sufficiently distracting when worn, and larger size requires deeper pockets, and limits choice of clothing.

            Ultimately it’s a trade-off. I realize that many people wouldn’t consider .32 ACP adequate, but I’m happy with the balance that I have.

          • Chop Block

            I think that most people who would criticize you for carrying a mouse gun probably don’t carry every day. I personally carry a G23, but I recognize that many folks are not comfortable with that choice. I think the Shield is the smallest that I would be comfortable carrying because it’s the smallest size that I can shoot reasonably well. I also think that most of the time, when people think they need a smaller gun, they really just need a better belt and holster. And, yes, I do recognize that pocket carry allows you to carry in situations where you absolutely cannot afford to be “made”.

          • int19h

            I often carry in places where, while it may be legal, it’s not socially acceptable and may produce undesired reactions (I live in Seattle metro area). I don’t want to get distracted by that kind of stuff.

            Pocket carry with a small gun lets me go without worrying whether some part of the gun is peeking out or printing, whether my shirt is tucked or not etc.

            Also, when I have to go somewhere guns are not allowed by law or policy (e.g. any bar), it’s much easier and faster to take the gun out of the pocket, complete in a holster, and put it away in the car securely.

            My take on it is that the vast majority of defensive gun uses (if I remember correctly, something like 97% according to some stats; can’t find that link tho) do not involve discharging a gun at all – its mere presence is a sufficient deterrent. For those cases, the caliber is not likely to matter. For the few cases where it does matter, .32 ACP is better than fists or pepper spray. And I fully intend to shoot and run, relying on it more to confuse and slow down the attacker than to stop them right there and then. Given the crime rate in the areas I normally visit, the chances of getting into such an altercation are so low that I consider it a reasonable trade-off.

            For hikes, though, I pocket-carry S&W 340PD with .357. I’ve yet to run into a dangerous animal, but it happens; and if it does, they wouldn’t be deterred by a mere sight of a gun.

          • Sulaco

            Bellevue WA city council member attacked by bear recently? Albeit that was on the eastern side of the state if I misremember correctly. Couple years ago we had a couger pacing the empty lot next door, sumner area so I feel ya bro.

          • Chop Block

            That’s perfectly understandable.

          • nighthawk9983

            Why talk about gel penetration as if it has any relevance when you’ve already stated it’s not representative of tissue wounds. It’s like comparing shooting watermelons to heads with bone and brains at this point. If you’re going to say something is irrelevant as a benchmark, be consistent.

        • Sulaco

          The .32 version jams up my pistols unlike the .380 or 9mm can’t figure out why. The little .32 eats everything else I feed it.

    • iksnilol

      I also imagine that those bullets can be made more cheaply than HPs in larger quanitites. Like the polycase ammo.

  • it’s just Boris

    So “gimmicky” now means “performs exactly as advertised” at TFB.

    If the extreme penetrator rounds are so horrible, for instance, why did Polycase basically copy the design? (And I am amazed Lehigh hasn’t sued over it.)

    I, and I suspect several others based on comments above, just lost quite a bit of respect for TFB, or at least this particular writer.

    • Jared Vynn

      Personally it’s just the writer for me. Sometimes it’s nice to see bad articles as it can offer alternative view points, the view points being flawed only reinforce what we know to be true.

    • Daniel

      It is the writer, but the editor chose to publish this click bait.

    • RSG

      There’s no doubt that this article was written with malicious intent. TGB shares in any legal culpability, imo. This article is a complete disaster.

      • You can’t sue people for telling the truth.

      • Amanofdragons

        I wouldn’t be surprised if a slander suit came about because of this.

        • RSG

          The common vernacular (and I’m guilty of it myself), is to refer to it as “slander”, when in fact, in this case it is libel because it took place in written form. I happen to know that Lehigh Defense has already initiated contact with all parties involved at TFB, along with their counsel. Andrew is “confident” no one is “actually” going to be sued. Instead of laughing it up with his “lols”, he should be practicing some acts of contrition. But something tells me that won’t be enough and the line he so blatantly and maliciously crossed can’t be remedied so easily.

          • Chop Block

            Now you’re just making things up. I get that you’re emotional about your favorite magical bullet, but that’s no reason to compromise your integrity (assuming that’s not habitual for you).

          • Chop Block

            Still no contact from Leigh, BTW.

    • Toxie

      One has to remember that Andrew appears to be the guy from “The Wound Channel” on the ‘tube, who appears to despise all things 300 blackout.
      I however agree, while expensive it’s not really “gimmicky” if it works.

      • LOL, I am not William. He might take offense to that. 😉

      • Chop Block

        I’m definitely not William. He might take offense to that. 😉

    • Xtorin O’hern

      its funny he claims the extreme defender design is a gimmick when the guy from TGC news has a video on hunting with their extreme penetrator. Which uses the same concept and the hog he shot on video had a wound channel going through it that i could stick my arm through. i mean i am a small dude but it was certainly larger then anything an FMJ could do.

      • The Gun Collective

        Just came across this comment. Thanks for watching that video man. I knew that round would do pretty well but seeing the wound as big as it was, as deep into the animal as it was… outstanding performance.

    • LehiGH basically copied a slightly earlier design with minor alterations. “(Devel Radially Dynamic”) They would lose any claim to prior art if they were to attempt to patent or enforce a patent on the design.

  • RSG

    Whoa- the comments are being heavily censored. Went from 22 comments quickly down to 14, with comments critical of this garbage article mysteriously vanishing into the ether.

    • valorius

      Probably because of personal insults i guess?

      • RSG

        Could they be any worse than the article itself?

  • valorius

    One thing is clear from these comments- a lot of shooters have switched to Lehigh Defense bullets. Myself included.

  • Daniel

    Which is why they get contacted and visited by special forces the world over on a regular basis. What kind of click bait BS is this article? Real hot take Andrew.

    • Chop Block

      How many DoD contracts does Lehigh have again?

      • nighthawk9983

        That is a fallacy and you know it. Who cares what the government spends tax dollars on, it’s rarely the best of anything and almost always which ever crony is greasing the wheels.

        • Chop Block

          The comment is in relation to Daniel’s claim that the magic is strong because government ninjas visited the manufacture. If true, his claim is pointless if they left without a contract. Now, you’re right that a government contract doesn’t automatically mean something is good, but there are baseline quality requirements.

  • Daniel

    Here’s an article you should write Andrew: Can a Gimmick Gun Blog Author Understand Fluid Dynamics?

    • Chop Block

      The answer is “no”. I don’t need to. O just have to be able to read the opinions of experts. There are far too many folks in the gun world who are stuck on the left side of a Dunning Kruger graph and that makes a lot of money for companies line Lehigh. PT Barnum said it best.

    • RocketScientist

      He can, at least as much as the marketing department at Lehigh… that is to say, not at all.

  • UnicornTears

    This article is an unprovoked moose attack against Lehigh. Their stuff works as advertised. Granted, the application of certain products might not have a direct function for many shooters. The writer here should probably revisit a few of the products, and use a proper test medium instead of congealed unicorn tears.

  • Cal S.

    What’s the gimmick? The author ignores that JHPs rely on fluid mechanics just as much as Lehigh’s Extreme Defenders do. It’s not magic fairy dust, it’s physics.

    These rounds combine the penetration of an FMJ with the effects of a JHP, and by his own admission meet FBI and advertised specs.

    • nighthawk9983

      and perform as such in ballistics gel, which is conveniently not sufficient to demonstrate performance, unless it’s a rifle caliber. This article is straight up lulzville.

  • Joe D.

    What would you recommend for subsonic hog hunting ammunition for 300 Blackout? I have Lehigh on my list of bullets to try.

    • That has looked pretty good. The REAPR subsonic from AR15.com (Maker bullet) did well in my testing. I haven’t found any subsonic .300 AAC that expands through heavy clothing, but that doesn’t matter for hog hunting.

  • Arandor Thinnorion

    Sad attempt at journalism. This is an op-ed at best and not a very good one. Please provide evidence including gel tests that the Lehigh does not perform adequately–especially in the smaller calibers where it has been shown in multiple independent tests to far exceed standard FMJ.

  • bjeremy

    Click baity crap. Seriously guys…bring it up a level if you want to keep your readership.

  • Dracon1201

    Wow, no, your opinion is very dissociated with how effectively most of these perform in tests compared to other ammo. Noone is pushing the effectiveness of the ballistic round. If you said G2, I would agree, but Lehigh is anything but gimmicky. Don’t jump the shark.

  • Jason Wimbiscus

    Has anyone tried the various lehigh offerings on game? My interest in them is as hunting bullets that meet California’s draconian no-lead mandate.

    It would also be interesting to see what they do to living tissue under real world conditions. I’ll reserve judgement until I see something to the effect of the wound they’ve inflicted on a deer, hog, goat, etc.

    • This is not my forte. Hunting requirements vary significantly from defense requirements. But some of Lehigh’s offerings seem like they would be suitable for hunting. Of course, the various solid copper bullets from Barnes, Hornady, and others should also do well.

    • Marcus D.

      Only rifle calibers have been reported. Unsurprisingly.

  • Joe Gamer

    A lot of people are responding to the headline and not the article. What I took away from this was that a style of round he had dismissed as gimmicky when looking at pistol tests was surprisingly NOT gimmicky in a rifle round. YMMV

  • Goosey

    “In the case of pistol ammunition, the only way to increase the size of a wound is to increase the diameter of the bullet.”

    Too broad a statement. Maybe it would be more accurate to state that increasing the projectile’s frontal area is the only way to enlarge the permanent cavity that low-velocity pistol rounds create in ballistic gelatin.

    • Chop Block

      That’s correct. Using a larger bullet would also improve wounding. The unstated premise was “without changing the caliber”. You can also argue that insanely fast projectiles don’t have to rely on expansion. Theoretically.

      • Giolli Joker

        Actually FBI reports tell us that wounds of 9mm, .40 or .45 cannot be told apart.
        The article on this was linked on TFB a couple of years ago.

        • Chop Block

          They’ve said no such thing. But it is true that there is only a small difference in the wounds created by quality JHP in those calibers.

          • Gary Kirk

            And that FASTER moving 9mm pretty much equates to the same if not better than either of the other two.. And I’m a 45 guy..

          • Giolli Joker

            “B. Permanent Cavity:

            The extent to which a projectile expands determines the diameter of the permanent cavity which, simply put, is that tissue which is in direct contact with the projectile and is therefore destroyed. Coupled with the distance of the path of the projectile (penetration), the total permanent cavity is realized. Due to the elastic nature of most human tissue and the low velocity of handgun projectiles relative to rifle projectiles, it has long been established by medical professionals, experienced in evaluating gunshot wounds, that the damage along a wound path visible at autopsy or during surgery cannot be distinguished between the common handgun calibers used in law enforcement. That is to say an operating room surgeon or Medical Examiner cannot distinguish the difference between wounds caused by .35 to .45 caliber projectiles.”

            From the article titled “FBI Training Division Justifies 9mm Caliber Selection” on this very blog on 09/26/2014.

          • Marcus D.

            However, I believe some distinctions can be made based on the diameter of the entry wound.

          • Chop Block

            Thank you. It’s been a while since I read that. I interpreted it to mean that there is very little difference, not that there is no difference.

  • JSmath

    “… there really is no indication that it performs any better than full metal jacket bullets of similar weight.”

    Andrew, you’re certifiably retarded. Never minding the ballistics gel tests for whatever petty reasons, there are actually plenty of pieces of evidence on the internet of people hunting with some of Lehigh’s bullets to great success.

    I don’t own nor plan on owning ammo with Lehigh bullets, either, I’m just not prone to denying the obvious. Might as well claim FMJ works just as good as any bullet design, 100% of the time.

    • Chop Block

      Yeah, good point because no one has ever killed an animal with a FMJ.

      • Gary Kirk

        Or a human.. In any combat situation, ever..

        • Marcus D.

          Fully jacketed rifle bullets used in military firearms through the Korean War are, according to my deceased father, a trauma surgeon, more likely to push organs out of the way, and to cause small permanent wound channels, especially compared to soft lead pistol rounds which, he believed based on his experience, had less of a shock wave and were more likely to tear through tissue. FMJ rifle rounds are fatal when they directly strike a critical organ (heart, liver, spleen, major blood vessel, brain) than when they hit other parts of the body.

          Indeed, this was the desired effect of the Hague Convention, a reaction to the severe damage caused by lead rifle bullets. And the development of yawing bullets in modern rifles was to increase damage and therefore the probability of a fatal hit, yet witho9ut violating the terms of the Convention.

        • Chop Block

          Lol. #nailedit

      • Marcus D.

        How many people do you know out hunting with .380 or 9mm rounds?

      • JSmath

        So your dumbass misunderstanding is comparing:
        >Exactly as good (should I have uppercased or bolded “exactly”?)
        vs
        >Never, ever has FMJ been used before
        Did you pass high school English?

        “They all fall for 45 ball”, AMIRITE?

  • Joseph Goins

    I think the “gimmick” factor comes from trying to game the ballistics gel.

    • Marcus D.

      Maybe when we go back to firing squad, we can test using humans instead of analogues. In the meantime, any volunteers?

    • nighthawk9983

      And that applies to using rifle rounds as well. You can’t discredit it then turn around and credit it whenever you bloody please. There is no shortage of pig carcasses in this world, that isn’t merely an analog, that is an actual corpse of hide, muscle and bone to shoot.

      • Joseph Goins

        Don’t get me wrong: ballistic gel is useful. However, designing a round to work good in that medium does exactly translate to making a round that works good inside a human.

  • l2073255

    Wow. The number of people in this comment section white knighting for a company that doesn’t know they exist and doesn’t care is staggering. ‘Useful idiots’ as they say.

    Unless they work for Lehigh’s Ministry of Truth. I’ve certainly never seen any of them around here before Lehigh needed astroturf to protect their image.

  • Henry Reed

    I donated those Blackout rounds for the test!

    • Chop Block

      Thank you. Appreciate your support. I’ll do the .223 version soon.

  • Gary Kirk

    Good God almighty.. Lotta short fused tampons in here.. Just cause the man has an opinion, don’t burn him at the stake when it involves your preferred extra expensive ammo.. If it works for you then use it.. Not like this article is going to immediately remove it from availability..

    Use whatever you want, don’t like this guy’s opinion, stop reading his articles..

    Life isn’t that complicated..

    Have a problem with pistol ammo.. Use a rifle.. Problem solved

    • AC97

      I especially question how RSG in particular seems to think he should be sued for this when to my knowledge there’s been no scientific testing on how this ammo performs in actual tissue (gel testing ≠ actual tissue).

      • RSG

        He should and hopefully will be sued for this: “Then there is the problem of integrity. Can you trust a company that sells snake oil, even if the product in question seems to perform well”. On top of calling the company a gimmick. No doubt from the addendum he’s already heard from Lehigh. Or their attorneys.

        • Chop Block

          Nope. I haven’t. And I won’t. You can’t sue people for telling the truth.

    • int19h

      Opinions are fine when they’re presented as opinions, not as “everybody knows that …”.

    • nighthawk9983

      Opinions being presented as facts are never welcome.

  • Gary Kirk

    Every product ever will always have “all the tests have shown” labeled to it.. BOTH ways.. It’s only which side wins the sales pitch or not.. There will always be lovers, as well as haters of anything..

  • RSG

    It was about maliciously slandering an ammo manufacturing company the author does not like.

    • Sgt. Stedenko

      You sound like you spent a whole semester in law school, Barrister Butthurt.

      • DIR911911 .

        do big words hurt your brain??

  • Marcus D.

    I purchased two boxes of 9mm Xtreme Penetrator. I can say this about it: it is loaded very hot, much hotter thna any of the 124 gr JHPs I’ve fired in the past.Because of its shape, it chambers as reliably as any FMJ. From tests performed by others, it does penetrate–massively so. I cannot doubt that it i8s virtually barrier blind. As such, it is not my first choice for a defensive round–but it is in my reload, because if I am still shooting after 8 rounds, I will likely be shooting through a barrier of some kind. And we all know that many JHPs clog when fired through plasterboard and do not expand, so I know that I am no worse off than shooting FMJ, and given the gel tests, there is a decent probability that I will be better off. The price I paid was pretty close to the price local stores were asking for HSTs.

  • ORCON

    I’ve been eyeballing their controlled chaos .308 bullets for a coyote load for my 308 Win. I’ve just not pulled the trigger though.

  • mazkact

    We need to get Ian and Karl to do an Old West Snake oil mythbuster show about this.

  • Joshua Kile

    Black hills is loading defender bullets now. Can’t imagine anyone calling black hills gimmicky…

  • Some Rabbit

    I think I’ll just stick with 9mm 124gr. Speer Gold Dot +P. Proven performance in actual shootings. So far no LE agency has adopted any of these polymer or monolithic bullets. Until they do, there won’t be enough empirical data to warrant changing.

    • raz-0

      I just want to see some go handgun hunting where they can. I don’t think you’ll see anyone adopt the polycase stuff. It can’t even perform reliably in gel. The Lehigh stuff is at least pretty consistent. The question is does it work in any decent way on actual flesh, which remians to be seen. I do have a vested interest though living in a state where hollowpoints are something you possess and use at your peril.

    • nighthawk9983

      Monolithic solids are the bullets of choice when you need to instantly drop large, angry, potentially predatory animals in the wilderness. If you wanted to go with proven performance in actual shootings you’d carry a .40 S&W or a .357 because those have far more proven kills than 9mm, .45 or anything else. But hey, let’s cherry pick data to suit our narratives, right?

  • dhdoyle

    Damn that pesky FBI gelatin protocol! I just wish all this ‘revolutionary’ and expensive pistol ammo didn’t take up shelf space that I’d like to be filled with Federal HST and Speer Gold Dot. Oh, and Federal Fusion MSR for the folks interested in barrier-blind carbine ammo. You know… the proven stuff.

  • squareWave

    The wounding mechanism of bullets at handgun velocities is the permanent crush cavity. The best way to maximize this at the modest velocity of a handgun bullet is to make the bullet expand reliably so that it simply cuts a wider path. This has been well established by subject matter experts like Fackler and Roberts. Every so often there’s a new high velocity hydro-atomic super bullet that promises to harness the temporary stretch cavity but it simply does not stand up to analysis.

    The corkscrew cavity the Xtreme Defender creates in gelatin is temporary stretch cavity. Its permanent crush cavity is still just the width of the unexpanded bullet. Certainly still capable of delivering a lethal wound, but inferior to the best JHP designs.