I received an email from Brandon B. of Ammunition To Go about a bunch of ballistic gel tests they recently completed. Nearly 100 different handgun loads were tested. See Self Defense Ammunition Ballistic Test for the overview. There are links there to the individual tests but here are the shortcuts to each of the calibers tested:
- 380 Auto Ballistic Test Results
- 9mm Ballistic Test Results
- .40S&W Ballistic Test Results
- 45ACP Ballistic Test Results
There were some interesting results in there. I have a probably 400 hundred rounds of some cheap .40 S&W JHP I bought years ago that I thought might use as carry ammo.
And I did use it as carry for a while. But it sort of bothered me that I didn’t have any data to support it being “high quality”. After a year or so I paid about twice as much per round for other ammo that I knew was used by many law enforcement agencies. I have continued that practice ever since. I don’t always buy the same ammo as the previous time, but I always buy something which has been tested and found to work well with the FBI standardized tests. Yes, the FBI tests have some flaws, but if a cartridge performs well in the FBI tests it isn’t likely to be a failure if I ever need “stopping power” in real life.
So, I looked up the cheap ammo in the test results. It did not do well. I might as well use it for practice, reload the brass, and use the shelf space for something else.