.45 Auto Prograde 185 gr TAC-XP solid copper hollow point (Ammo & Gel Test Review)

Solid copper hollow points typically offer excellent reliability and are a solid alternative to traditional, lead core jacketed hollow points, especially in locales where lead is banned. This test features a Springfield Armory standard, 5″ 1911A1 firing Prograde’s loading of Barnes 185 gr TAC-XP through four layers of denim to simulate heavy clothing as well as bare ballistic gel.

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Transcript ….

[coming soon]

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Vitor Roma

    The test should be done with two blocks of gel in line. The water jugs after then first block is too 2010.

  • FT_Ward

    Why would you establish a maximum depth for pistol bullet penetration when if you had a chance you’d use a rifle? That is a rule of gun fighting isn’t it? You use a pistol because you don’t have a long gun.

    • Henry Reed

      It is to ensure that selected bullets do not overpenetrate and harm innocent bystanders on the other side of a wall.

      • ozzallos .


      • FT_Ward

        That’s the sales talking point but does that happen enough to warrant reducing the ability to go through light cover. If over penetration is such a concern why are more and more police forces issuing rifles to general patrol officers. Do they care that pistol bullets might go through a wall but not rifle bullets? If you home was being invaded would you put down a rifle and use a pistol just in case of over penetration?

        I think expanding pistol bullets are a sales gimmick designed to play on the fears of police administrators. Since most shots fired by the police miss their intended targets (and many hit innocents) you’d think expanding bullets that supposedly cause more incapacitation would be less desirable.

        • Henry Reed

          Dude… 5.56 almost always penetrates less than pistol calibers. And it’s laughable that you think expanding bullets are a “gimmick” when there are thousands of officers who can attest first hand to their effectiveness compared to ball ammo.

          I would do a lot more research before blasting your uneducated opinions on ballistics. There’s a reason the AR is now recommended over a pistol or shotgun for HD.

          • FT_Ward

            How could “thousands of officers who can attest first hand to their effectiveness compared to ball ammo”? Did they shoot a felon with a HP and a ball round to see which worked best?

            By “working best” do you mean fewer bullets exited the felon and hit an innocent person? Thousands of shots that absolutely would have stayed in the felon if they had been HPs? Or thousands of felons who were hit by FMJs and continued to be a threat who would have be incapacitated if hit in the same spot by a HP?

            I’d be interested in seeing the research for either if you can supply a link. Thx.

            BTW “and most (5.56mm) won’t cause much harm even after just a couple layers of drywall.” Do you actually think drywall is cover against rifle fire?

          • Henry Reed

            Lol, you’re relentless. I really do have better things to do than debate an armchair general who’s too cheap to buy modern ammunition. Please, load your CCW with ball ammo, walk through Crenshaw shouting racial slurs and let us know how it goes. I don’t care what you think about HP vs ball, it’s been disputed for decades. But I guess every PD in America got it wrong and you have all the answers. Lol.

          • FT_Ward

            No answers. I expected you wouldn’t be able to point to a study. Police data collections isn’t good enough to begin to make such a study possible.

            BTW the idea that because most government departments do something it must be right is obviously illogical.

        • Gary Kirk

          SCHV rifle rounds tend to dump their energy extremely fast, and most won’t cause much harm even after just a couple layers of drywall.. Much less if it hits a stud, or body first.. FMJ pistol rounds or buckshot/slugs tend to penetrate much more than SCHV rifle rounds do, and maintain energy. Most of the “issued rifles” you’re speaking of are ARs in 5.56, so… SCHV… Expanding pistol rounds do a lot as far as mitigation of over penetration, but still tend to have a large mass of the original projectile, still moving at close to it’s original velocity, so therefore carrying much of its energy.. Whereas SCHV rifle rounds tend to break apart and lose that mass/energy very quickly..

        • Marcus D.

          The biggger the hole, the greater the blood loss. Incapacitation, other than a CNS shot, is a result of loss of blood pressure due to blood loss. Your first shot can pass right through the heart, but until there is enough bleeding, the attack may continue, particularly in the case of an enraged attacker with his adrenaline way up there. An HP can add 50% to the diameter of the hole, and that is a lot. Finally, as others have mentioned, and although many hand gun shots are one shot one kill, most are not. In fact, 7 out of 8 people shot survive. A handgun is much better than nothing, but it is not a rifle.

          • FT_Ward

            The question is depth of penetration to get to a vital organ after passing through intervening materials. If you’re limiting the penetration of a pistol round to 18 inches you’re putting yourself at an unnecessary disadvantage.

            If your HP makes a 50% bigger hole that’s great but only if it gets to vital organs. Making a bullet less pointy reduces penetration.

            I wonder if the 18in was brought in by the FBI to “disqualify” some handguns- .45 ACP and 10mm that many of it’s agents didn’t like shooting and a “maximum” was a less embarrassing way to go to .40 or 9mm than saying “there’s too much recoil”?

          • AC97

            “If you’re limiting the penetration of a pistol round to 18 inches you’re putting yourself at an unnecessary disadvantage.”

            Lol, keep telling yourself that.

            Based on what study?

          • FT_Ward

            Exactly. What study indicates 19 inches is too much?

          • There’s no study per se that has ever determined that overpenetration is an issue, i.e., a qualitative scientifically conducted study or test.

            There are, however, a number of documented accounts of law enforcement officers shooting an offender and having the bullet penetrate completely through and go on to strike something with enough force to do damage. Most of this comes from accounts where the officers are using ball ammunition, and given the nature of ball ammunition and fluid dynamics, it’s entirely possible for the round (already known to penetrate 27″+ in gel) to retain enough energy to wound or kill on the other side.

            So, the first part of the argument/reasoning is that if we have documented cases of a clean through-and-through shoot in the wild with a handgun, and we have documented evidence of penetration and terminal energy post-penetration from lab tests, then the reasonable assumption is that a bullet that passes entirely through the subject can retain sufficient energy to harm a bystander.

            The second part of the argument/reasoning, is actually a bit of an…oversimplification? Misnomer? Basically, when you look at the wound profile of a sufficiently hydrodynamic/aerodynamic projectile that does not deform, it’s essentially a small, neat, clean hole akin to a puncture wound. Combining this with the penetration depth and pass-through, you have a projectile that did relatively little damage to the target and expended little energy IN the target.

            This leads to the argument/belief in energy dump: if more energy is expended within the body, it’ll equate to more damage. This belief itself is erroneous, but it does highlight scientific data and knowledge we’ve had since the hollow point bullet was first designed by the brits in India at the Dum Dum arsenal: a bullet that expands and has a broad, flat face will inflict more damage per inch of travel than will a smooth, round, aerodynamic ball. The difference between hitting something with a hammer and hitting something with an icepick. The bullet’s blunt face will simply crush and tear tissue haphazardly and cause a wider radius of damage than will a dynamic projectile that will tend to simply pierce and slide cleanly through. This is the primary reasoning behind their use being banned in the Hague accords: the greater trauma was seen as cruel and unnecessary for wartime when the goal was to wound the enemy and not do more damage than necessary.

            As to the arbitrary numbers chosen for the FBI’s statistical penetration range, those numbers actually make sense, even if not scientifically derived: 12-18″ of penetration is seen as the average distance a bullet must travel to reach vital organs if a shot is taken at the worst possible angle (person with gun on ground, subject standing over him, causing the bullet to enter somewhere in the lower stomach/Pelvic region). Their reasoning was that a bullet that couldn’t travel a minimum of 12″ in bare gel (an poor representation of the human body due to its homogeneous density vs. the human body’s heterogeneous density), then it would be capable of going far enough to reach vitals under the worst conditions for a shoot. 18″ was seen as the maximum as anything more runs the risk of the bullet passing cleanly through and continuing to travel on and potentially wound/kill whatever’s behind the target.

    • Salvador Ruiz

      How many times do you carry a long gun to the supermarket or to the movies? My pistol is with me always. Is yours?

      • FT_Ward

        “because you don’t have a long gun”

        Does that answer your question?

  • Gary Kirk

    I have said in reply to one of your posts before, and will say it once again.. “Barnes = dead target”.

    And the whole “sorry 1911 fans” thing was unnecessary.. You mentioned in the article that it was a Springfield.. You’re good..

  • John

    God yes. First a polymer Sig with a manual thumb safety, and now .45 ammo that hits like a 9mm hollowpoint.

    Like a properly inflated tire, It’s a good year for me.

  • 22winmag

    I’ll stick with the Liberty Civil Defense meat grenades.

    • I have yet to see a study that shows those bullets to perform well in actual use.

      • No one

        That’s because they don’t.

        Unless “getting murdered by your attacker because your gimmick round doesn’t penetrate nearly deep enough to cause consistent incapacitating injuries” is a sign of good performance.

  • Bob

    good to know. have you other tests on 45 ammo, like speer gold dot 230 JHP, or hornady critical duty 220 grain, etc.
    if so, could you post a link