Liberty Ammunition—Civil Defense Line Review

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By Bruce Flemings
http://libertyammunition.com/

Liberty Ammunition recently reintroduced its Civil Defense line of ammunition in new packaging.

Liberty Ammunition recently reintroduced its Civil Defense line of ammunition in new packaging.

Liberty Ammunition recently reintroduced its Civil Defense line of ammunition in new packaging. Coinciding with the new packaging, the line was extended to include 380 Auto. Another notable change is that the 45 ACP load is now labeled as a +P load. These two loadings join the previously released 9mm +P and 40 S&W to complete the Civil Defense line-up.

Liberty proclaims the Civil Defense line to be the “World’s Fastest Handgun Rounds”. Published velocities range from 1500 feet per second for the 380 Auto up to a blistering 2000 feet per second for the 9mm +P and 40 S&W. Last year, I tested the 9mm and 40 S&W just after they were introduced (as Halo Point) and verified velocities exceeding 2100 feet per second from both loads when fired from 4.5” service length barrels. I was very curious to see how the Civil Defense bullets would perform at the lower velocities published for the 380 and 45.

I pulled and cross-sectioned a 45 bullet so you can see how much of the bullet interior is hollow.

I pulled and cross-sectioned a 45 bullet so you can see how much of the bullet interior is hollow.

I’m sure you are wondering what kind of magic Liberty uses to generate such extraordinary velocities from their ammunition. Put simply, Liberty has reduced their projectile weights to less than half of a traditional lead core and copper jacketed hollow point bullet. They machine their bullets from solid copper and nickel plate them to give them their distinctive silver bullet look. I pulled and cross-sectioned a 45 bullet so you can see how much of the bullet interior is hollow.

What I found most interesting about the Civil Defense ammunition is the recoil the shooter feels when firing. While it isn’t possible to cheat the laws of physics, it is possible to use them in your favor. Liberty has done exactly that by reducing the bullet weight and driving up the speed. Allow me some latitude and I’ll present an example. I’m warning you now that the math won’t be perfect, but it will explain the concept and demonstrate why Civil Defense is different than traditional ammunition.

The lighter and faster Civil Defense generates 30% less recoil than the heavier and slower Critical Duty.

The lighter and faster Civil Defense generates 30% less recoil than the heavier and slower Critical Duty.

Comparing the rough recoil estimates, the lighter and faster Civil Defense generates 30% less recoil than the heavier and slower Critical Duty. Comparing muzzle energy, the Civil Defense delivers 30% more muzzle energy than Critical Duty. All calculations are based on manufacturer muzzle velocity estimates. Having tested both loads in a 4.5” barrel, I can attest that the velocity claims are accurate.

With a better understanding of how Liberty Civil Defense is different from traditional hollow point bullets, it was time to hit the range for some in-depth terminal testing.

Terminal Test Protocol:
Step 1) Measure and record temperature and relative humidity. 68F and 31% RH
Step 2) Run a five-shot velocity average over a ProChrono Digital Chronograph at a distance of 10 feet.
Step 3) Run test shot through two layers of cotton tee shirt material and into a block of Clear Ballistics Gel that is calibrated to 10% Ordnance Gel density. Shot distance is 10 feet.
Step 4) Run test shot through four layers of 14 oz./yard heavy-weight denim into a block of Clear Ballistics Gel that is calibrated to 10% Ordnance Gel density. Shot distance is 10 feet.
Step 4) Run a 600 fps calibration test bb shot into the Clear Ballistics gel block and record penetration depth. 380 Auto test block 597 fps 3.486” penetration. 45 Auto test block 603 fps 3.48” penetration.

Velocity Test Results:

Photo 4           Photo 5

 

 

 Video Documentation of the Entire Test from Range to Bullet Recovery:

 

The Civil Defense 380 Auto was very pleasant to shoot and functioned perfectly in both test pistols, but the lower velocity and introduction of clothing barriers kept this load from performing as designed.

The Civil Defense 380 Auto was very pleasant to shoot and functioned perfectly in both test pistols, but the lower velocity and introduction of clothing barriers kept this load from performing as designed.

Test Highlights:

The Civil Defense 380 Auto was very pleasant to shoot and functioned perfectly in both test pistols. The 1500 feet per second published velocity proved to be overly optimistic in our test pistols. The lower velocity and introduction of clothing barriers kept this load from performing as designed. We experienced incomplete fragmentation in the light clothing test, and complete fragmentation failure in the heavy clothing test.

380 Key Performance Metrics:
Light clothing test main fragment weight 42.7 grains with 10.5” penetration.
Heavy clothing test main fragment weight 49.5 grains with 11.375” penetration.

On the other hand, the 45 ACP +P load performed really well. The load easily exceeded published velocity specification.

On the other hand, the 45 ACP +P load performed really well. The load easily exceeded published velocity specification.

On the other hand, the 45 ACP +P load performed really well. The load easily exceeded published velocity specification by a healthy margin from our 4.5” test barrel. Both test pistols demonstrated flawless feeding and extraction with the Civil Defense ammunition. Both test shots performed as designed and created enormous temporary stretch cavities while demonstrating complete fragmentation.

45 Key Performance Metrics:
Light clothing test main fragment weight 43.7 grains with 10.875” penetration.
Heavy clothing test main fragment weight 44 grains with 10.625” penetration.

My Thoughts on This Test:

Civil Defense offers a significant weight reduction versus traditional ammunition.

Civil Defense offers a significant weight reduction versus traditional ammunition.

Civil Defense offers two undeniable advantages over traditional jacketed hollow-point ammunition. The first advantage was previously discussed in my crude recoil comparison versus traditional ammunition. Less recoil could lead to faster recovery time between shots. The second advantage is a significant weight reduction versus traditional ammunition. The picture below shows a weight difference of 4.5 ounces between a Glock 21 magazine loaded to 13-round capacity with Civil Defense 78 grain and the same magazine loaded with the same number of 230 grain Gold Dot hollow point cartridges. For those who carry a spare magazine or two, this weight reduction could be significant.

I think I understand the concept behind Liberty’s Civil Defense Ammunition. The high speed, and high energy, bullets create an exceptionally large temporary stretch cavity when they hit the gel block. Due to the fragmenting nature of the Civil Defense bullet, the fragments radiate off the temporary stretch cavity and leave behind permanent damage. Unlike traditional hollow-point bullets, Civil Defense adds some level of permanence to the temporary stretch damage. Civil Defense also has a deeper penetrating base component that behaves much like a traditional jacketed hollow-point bullet.

Is Civil Defense a better choice for personal defense? The truth is that I do not know. My expertise starts and ends with structured testing and reporting the information discovered during testing. I have no expertise in comparing the potential terminal effectiveness of one ammunition type versus another. As mentioned in the test video, real world performance feedback is required before making that judgment.

Disclaimer….This test should not be considered an endorsement or recommendation for the product(s) tested. All tests represent actual performance in ballistics testing media. Terminal performance in all other media will show different results. It is up to each individual to make his own personal decision on which specific ammunition to use for their needs. It’s also critically important to test any ammunition in YOUR SPECIFIC FIREARM before relying on it for any purpose.

Ammunition labeled as +P or +P+ should only be used in firearms that have been certified by the manufacturer as safe for the additional pressures generated by these ammunition types.

{ 35 comments }

{ 35 comments… add one }

  • 4x4moses March 6, 2014, 1:37 pm

    Back in my cop days, my department bought the cheapest ammo on the market, but allowed officers to carry whatever we were willing to buy. I (like many others) found myself lured into buying the latest and greatest ammo – usually basing my decision on muzzle velocity. As my understanding of ballistics and shooting dynamics have matured, I have come to adopt a preference for “slow-and-heavy” ammo. IMHO, shot-placement is the primary factor in surviving a shooting incident. Having said that, I want an effective compromise of muzzle velocity and bullet weight. For bet-your-life-on-it dependability, my preference is Hornady XTP, 9mm 125gr.

  • John L. March 6, 2014, 8:41 pm

    Excellent review! Thanks, Bruce! I especially appreciate the comments regarding the advantages of reduced carry weight. That is something that is often overlooked, and is of significance to those of us who carry every day, all day, especially when carrying high capacity .45s.

  • Karl Erich Martell March 6, 2014, 9:15 pm

    Great review, with much more detail than I expected to find. Well thought-out; thanks! I’d like to see more like this.

  • CXM March 7, 2014, 4:39 am

    Very useful tests… the methodical approach really allows potential buyers of ammunition to make realistic comparisons of various products on the market.

    Test, from unbiased writers are always welcome… thanks for offering these reports. Hope to see more of them.

  • Leighton March 8, 2014, 8:13 pm

    Very nice review, and similar results I got from shooting their 9MM+P loads. My medium was milk jugs full of water and covered in denim. Four jugs were lined up, and one round fired. The first two jugs almost completely dissapeared, but the last two jugs had no wounds, so I’m not sure if the load would be a good street load or not. I’m still unsure as to what terminal distance in target, and damage would be. For now I’ll still be sticking to my Winchester Ranger +P in 9MM and .45ACP(AKA Still the Black Talons).

  • Mike W March 8, 2014, 9:26 pm

    A thorough and careful review and well-documented. As someone said above, unbiased reviews are always welcome, but they are sometimes hard to find. Thanks for publishing this one and keep up the good work!

  • malletman March 10, 2014, 6:36 am

    Very enlighting test. I have switched to d.r.t. ammo in all my pistols. Would like to see testing done same way for it if you can. My test with 9mm d.r.t. consisted of gallon jugs of water. Have not seen any ground hogs yet so no live testing yet. But was impressed with a jug being stretched to twice normal size by hydrostatic shock

  • Marty March 10, 2014, 7:35 am

    I have read about this ammo and think it’s great. I’m wondering when one of the American ammunition manufacturers are going to notice the shortage and demand from the general public .In response to this demand, I feel they should stop sales to all federal agencies, stop exportation of thier ammo, and provide solely for the ever growing demand of the general public. This would be known as an act of true patriotism and would be respected and kept at full production, just arming the citizens of the United States of America. If the past has taught us anything, it should have taught us that our country is strongest, when every good honest US citizen, is armed and has plenty of ammunition. Most American ammunition companies are operating at 3 times their normal capacity, but can’t supply the American pubic with 22lr. I’ve heard hundreds of reasons for this, but I don’t believe that the general public is buying it faster, that these companies can supply it, without help from some outside influence. I urge all ammunition companies to find out where their ammo is going and restrict it to the American public only, until ammunition supplies are back to normal. If there’s truly no conspiracy, then why were several people, involved in the firearms industry, warned about the shortage of 22 rimfire ammunition, 3 months, before it ever started being purchased, outside of the normal amounts. Some may say it’s because the rumor caused hysteria, but, in fact, nobody believed the rumor, until ammunition had completely disappeared from distributors first, and them the store shelves. Knowing that this ammo isn’t in the hands of the good citizens of the USA, it makes me wonder who’s hands it’s in and what do they plan to do with all that ammo. I’m not insane, nor a conspiracy buff, but I have yet to hear an honest, reasonable, explanation, for this sudden immense lack of ammunition. I hope companies, like liberty ammunition, will sell their ammo, in evenly divided amounts, so everyone can own a few boxes, and turns down any offers for ammunition orders, from one individual buyer, that wants to purchase more ammunition, than they could possibly fill in 20 years time. Don’t forget, we are the “real” customers and we will keep buying your ammunition, for the next 200 generations, as long as we are protected by a constitution, that’s not out dated, but is just now showing the reasons it exists, in the manner, in which it was written. It only guarantees the freedom of the USA, as it was originally written. Adolf Hitter made a new constitution for Germany, but we see how that turned out. God Bless America and thank God every day, that you have the right to be armed, if ever faced by a terrorist, or just a rapist or serial sociopath. It’s better to explain to police, why it was necessary to use lethal force, than having police dig through your body and those of your family, after an armed intruder attacks your unarmed home.

    • Stenner March 12, 2014, 9:19 pm

      You obviously don’t understand our have any concept of what a business is. Patriotism is one thing. Business is another.

  • DaveW March 10, 2014, 9:30 am

    As a retired LEO, and combat veteran, I stand by my 45s. The round was designed to put ‘em down the first time. I still favor my single stacks and good training to double stacks that are, for me and many others, “clumsy”. Naturally, that means they better go down the first time. I find that the 9mm is generally too hot if using standard issue munitions. The USAF, which used S&W Mod 15s (.38 cal) until the switch to the 9mm, is seriously looking at a return to the weapon used before the Mod 15… the 1911. That coupled with the special forces preference says a lot for an old design. High tech isn’t always the best tech.

    This ammo kinda reminds me of the Scorpion ammo from back in the mid 1970s. when a .45 mushroomed to .50 or more on initial impact and turned the target into a block of gelatin that collapsed to the ground with a little shock force trauma.

    • Vanns40 March 10, 2014, 12:11 pm

      Also a retired LEO here. Having seen gun fights that lasted two shots and one that last what seemed like forever, with all parties reloading, I’ll take a 9mm or 40cal. with high cap. mag. AND good bonded bullets like Speer Gold Dot anytime. The military seems to be stuck on FMJ and there in lies a major problem when talking about the difference between 9 & 45. However, put a good bonded bullet in 9 up against a 45 and the differences start to disappear rapidly.

      • Evan March 10, 2014, 1:29 pm

        Military uses FMJ because of the Geneva conventions which ban anything else. 9mm isn’t a serious defensive round, and .40 barely is. Basically, if a pistol isn’t 10mm, it’s fundamentally flawed.

        • Muhjesbude March 10, 2014, 5:37 pm

          Also a ‘semi-retired’ LEO, Fed agent, combat spec ops vet, tactical firearms instructor, and martial arts instructor, among a few other things i’ve been called, lol! In the early days after my first shootout in a dark alley carrying the obligatory model 10 service revolver, I went to a 1911. After my first gunfight with that, and although i was a competitive shooter, as well, the hot rapid shooting was interrupted too much by reloading insufficient capacity mags, which really breaks your ‘deadly’ concentration in the real world… which were not enough even carrying 4 extra .45 mages, i reverted to my old war days of ‘superior firepower’ –in terms of MORE is better than size, I then carried a Browning Hi-Power with six extra mags. That used in a running–or should i say a driving gun battle down a city street after an armed robbery, That worked out much, much better.

          I know some of you ‘bigshots’ just said, wow, this guy must not be a very accurate shooter under stress? Well, lets put it this way. I’m still here after numerous others thought they were ‘better’ shots.

          Outside of religion, the incessant .45 v. 9mm debate is the biggest undying myth ever perpetrated.

          The military used .45 1911′s because somewhere along the line they were talked into it without really having any field tested proof because the Thompson and grease gun were already chambered for the rounds, and these weapons were adapted in immediate combat necessity first because of the absence of anything else that could qualify as a submachine gun/close assault weapon. The .45 was never ‘designed’ for military use. The early commercial and some military 9mm cartridges were a bit anemic. And not many if any American or allied comparative alternatives weapons like the Schmeiser 9mm or Finnish Suomi 9mm. (Btw, both excellent CQB weapons even today today, with the right loads, especially the drum fed M-44 Suomi with folding stock.)

          The early 9mm cartrideges Sort of like just a .38 power level in an automatic platform, also left something to be desired, so in visceral American Consumption oriented mentality of ‘bigger is always better’, the .45, for professional application, limped on. Later on, when ‘truth be told’ after considerable battle field reports and analysis, (not the myths of WWI vets blasting charging Zulu Zombie warriors and only capable of being stopped by a 1911 chambered in .45!,lol!) They were gradually phased out in favor of the .30 Caliber M1 carbine. Then the AR carbine platform obsoleted them all for universal pragmatic combat applications.

          As far as the spec operators today ‘preferring’ the pistols chambered for the .45 I think it’s more because of the fact that it does work a little better for suppressed missions. Most .45 ACP rounds are slow enough–below 1100 fps to be readily silenced, but most 9mm rounds are supersonic so they are louder out of a silencer. You get about the same penetration and power equation level, (oh, you armchair debate experts don’t even know what that is? So I’m betting you can’t do the calculation.) as a 9mm without the extra noise. You need to be around 1400 score after the math to meet the optimum terminal power level for a pistol. All .357 magnums meet that and most high velocity .45′s but few standard 9mm ball ammo off the Wal-mart shelf for 14 bucks. But when you get the MV up to about 1300 fps, with a good expanding bullet, and as someone just said here,

          The un-anally retentive reality conclusion is that with the right ammo, there’s nothing a .45 1911 can do, that a 9mm high cap pistol can’t do, only possibly with less weight, cost, and etc.

          I’m glad this excellent article pointed out that science and physics always trumps mythology. This new ammo is great, should be used by those carrying 9mm pistols for personal defense.

          • Boris Shevchenko March 29, 2014, 2:20 pm

            The military was talked into the 45? I guess the Moro Rebellion and Thompson-LaGarde Tests of 1904 never happened. I would be less inclined to believe a story of a driving gun battle where 6 magazines were expended with no regard for the public at large and not hearing about it in the national news. With such a blatant disregard for others, you would have had your firearms removed and received a written invitation to see the unit shrink, where I worked. Spec Ops having 45′s for suppression? Q4217 was the number on the box I used in my suppressed 9mm’s. Ever touch or even see a picture of a HK MP5-SD? The ones I toyed around with would suppress a 9mm 124grain+p. On one of the “few” occasions I stripped one down, I could see why the projectiles were subsonic before they exited the muzzle. I’m sure you did also….. yeah.
            Replacing 45′s with carbines a marksmanship issue, not a stopping power issue. Hitting a bad guy with a small bullet is better than missing him with a big one. I’m not sure if you have done any entries with a M-4 loaded with M855. If you have, did you recall having to use 3 or 4 torso hits to bring down the bad guy?
            Placement is paramount. Bullet design, size, and velocity is secondary. A bigger hole or multiple holes make the bucket empty faster. If a smaller bullet that can make the hole bigger by its design, nice. Even an armchair expert can agree, bigger is better…. unless you need to make a lot of noise to scare the bad guy and send civilians scrambling for cover.

        • Muhjesbude March 10, 2014, 5:56 pm

          Hey Evan, got a couple questions for you. If 9mm is not a serious defensive round, how could it still be the number one military and para-military police sub-machine gun cartridge in the world? What do they know that you don’t, or conversely,lol?

          Also, since a .40 is also a 10mm shortened up a bit, and since my .40 Glock uses off the shelf specialty loads that equal or surpass the 10 mm’s performance, do you still think it’s flawed just because it’s not a 10mm?

          And, since these Liberty 9mm rounds appear to resemble or exceed the venerable .357 in terminal ballistics comparisons, you know, the same .357 round which accounts for more one shot stops than any pistol round ever made…including the 10mm, which was dropped by the FBI in favor of the .40 because it supposedly was harder to handle the recoil of a 10mm for some agents–which might be perceived as more jerk and muzzle flip, even, than a .45…

          Does that mean that these Liberty rounds are not serious defensive rounds?

          Or, perhaps, is it a question of you actually having any ‘serious’ knowledge about ballistics and wound analysis?

          • Wyatt March 10, 2014, 8:59 pm

            Muhjesbude, The next time instead of shooting so many rounds at the dirt bags why don’t you try talking them to death. You have the gift of gab that anyone would surrender to.

        • Wild Bil March 11, 2014, 9:54 pm

          Would you be willing to charge into me from 20 feet with a non serious 9mm firing at you?

          Didn’t think so. Your comments are BS ! Shot placement is key, so I’d much rather have a 9mm with excellent followup capability than a 40 or 45 any day.

          I know of a guy who was attacked by someone with a 45. He shot the guy 5 times, and he lived. The guy he was shooting at and attacking happened to have a measly 22 magnum, and took him out with a single shot to the head, dead on impact.

          The differences between 9mm, 40, and 45 are virtually nothing. It doesn’t matter what you have, it is how you use it. Of course there will always be people with little dicks trying to swing them around by carrying the biggest and baddest round, but at the end of the day it comes down to how many you can put onto the target, not how macho your gun looks……

      • william alan March 10, 2014, 2:47 pm

        idiot–fmj due to geneva convention

  • Douglas Pope March 10, 2014, 10:14 am

    Did the ammo function in all guns tested ? I had an LC9 that would stove pipe if I used anything lighter than 115 gr loads , regardless the velocity.

  • Douglas Pope March 10, 2014, 10:16 am

    Did the ammo function in all guns tested ? I had an LC9 that would stove pipe if I used anything lighter than 115 gr loads , regardless the velocity.

    • Bruce F. March 10, 2014, 7:55 pm

      Yes Douglas it functioned flawlessly in all 4 test pistols. It was mentioned in the Test Highlights section for the 45 tests, and is mentioned in the photo caption of the recovered 380 bullets.

  • Irish-7 March 10, 2014, 11:30 am

    Good review! I wonder how much the Liberty ammo will cost, as compared with Winchester PDX and Hornady Critical Defense! I recently viewed another new bullet type that billed itself as “The last round you’ll ever need”. I forget the name of it, RIP perhaps? Anyway, it was all copper, high velocity and fragmented like nothing currently on the market!

  • Vanns40 March 10, 2014, 12:04 pm

    While I appreciate the report and testing done at some point we, as professionals, just have to get away from using ballistic gel and start using a far more realistic media. The only one that most closely represents real life is a pig carcass wrapped in clothing. Further, in any real life scenario you must also conduct penetration & expansion tests in a vehicle with shots fired through the windshield.

    Ballistic gel tests have been shown to not be real life representative and should be discarded in any serious discussion and testing.

  • Peter DeRozza March 10, 2014, 3:05 pm

    Where can I get this Liberty Ammo in 45acp? What does it cost?

    • Bruce F. March 10, 2014, 8:05 pm

      You can order Liberty Ammunition directly from the manufacturer through their web store. A link to their website is at the top of the article. I’ve also seen Civil Defense on the shelves at larger Sports and Outdoors retailers recently. Prices vary widely depending on where you buy, and that’s why it wasn’t called out in the article. Liberty currently lists the following prices in their web store for boxes of 20 cartridges.
      380 $26.49
      9mm $26.99
      40 $29.99
      45 $30.99 box

  • Bones March 10, 2014, 6:43 pm

    Gotta go .40 or bigger ….unless you use .357 mag(125gr.hp running 1300 fps) And .308 or bigger for rifles for one simple reason…….to penetrate barriers. At 15 ft. or less in the house…use your skills …..don’t miss.

    • Bones March 10, 2014, 6:45 pm

      Light bullets won’t penetrate crap…I don’t trust them…you can though.

  • Rip March 10, 2014, 8:38 pm

    My first concern is, will it shoot where i’m aiming. I have shot this stuff out of a keltec p11 9mm and it shot on the money. I’ll let the assalant worry about how much damage it will do, and i believe it will do plenty.I stack my magazines and alternate with the liberty coming out first and second then gold dot then liberty then gold dot and so on untill the last four fmj.I shot an almost frozen deer carcass that was road killed and it went in 10 1/2 inchs. i was about 5 feet away. In a short barreled gun this ammo was A ok and cycled evry time i pulled the trigger. Im no professional but i don’t think get shot with this stuff center mass is survivable. Hopefully i ‘ll never find out

  • azrielle March 11, 2014, 6:48 am

    RE: .380, 50 gr all copper HP, etc.

    How about, instead, Buffalo-Barnes 380 “+P” 80 gr solid copper TAC-XP HP bullets,
    Low Flash powder: 1275 fps/289 ft lbs
    approx $26/20 rounds from various distributors on the Net
    or
    Underwood 380 ACP +P 80 Grain Barnes TAC-XP Hollow Point (currently out of stock)
    1240 fps/274 ft lbs
    $60.75/50 rounds

  • jm1911 March 13, 2014, 2:55 pm

    Seems that these are very similar to my old GECO BAT aka Action Safety Ammo loads (carried them alot in 9mm in my HK P7. Very effective and I believe the same principal. Yes?

  • Sian March 24, 2014, 9:39 am

    My backup magazine has 15 rounds of LCD 9mm in it. Why? Because it weighs barely more than an empty mag and will still put holes in a bad guy. Kind of outweighs (see what I did there?) any possible downside for me there.

  • Obersaber March 31, 2014, 10:13 pm

    Great review Bruce! Thanks for sharing all your expertise. I can’t wait to try out Liberty ammo in a Boberg XR45-S.

  • Reagan April 6, 2014, 1:21 am

    First, great review. Ballistics gel isn’t perfect but in the absence of a dressed up pig carcass it seems to be the accepted standard. Also, Bruce would need an X-ray machine to illustrate the fragmentation and wound channels so easily seen with the gel.

    In 23 years as a street cop, I investigated about two dozen firearms related deaths. With one or two exceptions, all were killed with .22′s, .25′s, or shotguns. Basically, some of the cheapest, crappiest, firearms on the planet. The bullets from the 22′s and 25′s were mostly the hardball FMJ variety.

    My point is that the best ammunition in the world isn’t as important as the bullet that hits the mark. I fired exactly three shots in all that time and I missed every one. But having said that, if I have my choice of ammunition I don’t mind paying more for just that little edge. Ammunition reviews such as this one are important if for no other reason than point out what is hype and what is fact.

    Keep up the good work. Your review is exactly what I look for.

  • mr9fingers June 5, 2014, 7:13 pm

    I got a box of liberty civil defense 380 ammo the other day and the first round in my ruger lcp didn’t go so well the gun that I have had for 4 years blew up . Splitting the barrel in two and the slide split and the lower receiver into many small parts .It may be great ammo but after something like that ill stick with my old ammo.

  • MrMac October 30, 2014, 6:35 am

    Great Review – well conducted. I am by no means testing to FBI standards but have since purchased some of the Civil Defense and trialed it on my own range. My test platform was a Steyr M40-A1. There is a noticeable reduction in recoil. I’ve got the 12 round magazines – the reduced projectile weight means the gun feels like you’re carrying a mag that’s close to empty. When fired the report is quite high pitched and pronounced, more like a high-power rifle (based on the substantial muzzle velocity).

    No Ballistic Gel was used, but milk jugs, dead trees and a few other nearby debris components. The Civil Defense seems to get penetration on-par with the heavier counterparts.

    In response to the above argument which perpetuates the 9mm vs 40S&W vs 10MM vs 45ACP – that argument needs to fade away. The FBI lab testing is invalidating this entire dispute. FBI agents are returning to the 9mm Parabellum, typically in form of a Sig P229 Elite. Why the lighter/faster round versus the bigger/heavier load? In the past, yes over penetration was a real problem. This has been adjusted for by introduction of modern bullet design and improvements in manufacturing technology. The FBI testing (sorry, I don’t have link handy; but they have all research published) shows that the 9mm pills of today provide good penetration/expansion/energy commensurate to the larger counterparts. The damage done by a 9mm is on par with the heavier bullets simply because the bullet has evolved into a more effective delivery mechanism. The bonus of the 9mm is the smaller cartridge size; a similar frame gun can carry additional rounds compared to the larger counterpart. More felon-repellant with equal effectiveness. What a concept.

    Back to our modern bullet design. Federal HST, Hornady XTP, Speer Gold Dot and many others are proven. Their designs have evolved just as I mentioned in my prior paragraph. Liberty Civil Defense rounds are an interesting concept. I love the way they shoot but just as the article states – we need a bit more real-world data to prove round effectiveness. On paper they are incredible, initial testing the 9, 40 and 45 look solid. The ‘answer’? Maybe.

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