For over 30 years, the SHOT Show has been the premier event for firearms enthusiasts. The Industry’s manufacturers typically introduce their new products at SHOT and like many attendees, my shopping list tends to get a bit longer after walking the aisles.

The 2009 SHOT Show was held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida and drew nearly 50,000 people. Over 1,800 exhibitors were on hand to promote their product lines. Even over the course of four days, it is impossible to take it all in.

Ammunition for law enforcement and defensive applications continues to improve. Without question, today’s offerings from a wide range of manufacturers are far superior to what was available a few short years ago. Just when you thought things couldn’t get any better, new products appear on the scene with even better capabilities. What follows is a rundown of some ammunition developments I thought might be especially interesting. Some of it may strike a chord with you as well.

expansionthumb.gifBLACK HILLS
The big news at Black Hills is the introduction of three new pistol offerings featuring Barnes TAC-XP bullets. These pure copper slugs are designed to dynamically expand even after passing through obstacles common to defensive shootings. I had the opportunity to examine a .40 caliber slug which was recovered after testing, and expansion was quite impressive. (Click thumbnails to see larger images)

The new Black Hills/Barnes loads include a 115 grain +P at 1250 fps, a 155 grain .40 S&W at 1100 fps and a 185 grain +P .45ACP at 1100 fps. In 10% ordnance gelatin, these bullets penetrate to ideal levels and retain 100% of their original weight. The new Black Hills TAC-XP line will be a bit more expensive than their conventional ammunition, but you get exactly what you pay for. Performance is indeed superior to conventional hollowpoints.

Along similar lines, Black Hills has also introduced a .223 TSX load with a solid copper Barnes bullet. This expanding 55 grain bullet is designed for increased penetration and also delivers nearly 100% weight retention. It, too, should offer better performance against barriers and would be an excellent choice for law enforcement applications.

blackhillsgreen-white.gifBlack Hills has jumped on the “green” bandwagon with the introduction of another Barnes bullet load. The .223 MPG (Multi Purpose Green) features a 55 grain lead-free projectile and can be used for defensive applications when limited penetration is required. It would also be a good choice for training where its highly frangible qualities make it steel target friendly and reduce the likelihood of ricochets.

The German firm of Brenneke has long been synonymous with high performance shotgun slugs. But Brenneke also has a very long track record in the development of innovative rifle bullets. Their new Quik-Shok bullet is entirely lead-free and is designed to strike a balance between penetration and controlled fragmentation. The end result is a very powerful terminal effect that cannot be achieved with conventional rifle bullets.

quickshotthumb.gifOrdinary rifle bullets expand slowly and progressively upon striking tissue while creating a single wound channel. On the other hand, the new Quik-Shok bullet expands very quickly on contact and separates into four independent missiles that penetrate deep into the body. Terminal expansion is far greater than the original caliber and the four independent wound channels result in greater hemorrhaging and shock than with a single projectile.

brennekke.gifInitial offerings will include a 155 grain bullet for .308 Winchester and .30-06. The .308 Quik-Shok posted a muzzle velocity of 2789 fps and put out 2675 foot/pounds of energy at the muzzle. In .30-06, numbers are even more impressive with muzzle velocity at 2953 fps and 3001 foot/pounds of energy.

Brenneke was a pioneer in the development of high performance bullets and the TIG bullet of 1910 was among the first of the boat-tail designs. The new Quik-Shok Copper bullet may very well catapult Brenneke into position of industry leader in 21st Century rifle ammunition development.

CorBon introduced several additions to their handgun and rifle ammunition lines. New this year is an 80 grain 9mm DPX hollowpoint specifically designed for the Rohrbaugh pistol. While most pistoleros don’t consider the 9mm to be a heavy kicker, that all changes when the Parabellum is chambered in a small, lightweight pistol like the Rohrbaugh. This CorBon load is advertised at 1300 fps and the all-copper DPX bullet should expand very well while penetrating to ideal levels.

powrball.gifAnother recent entry is the .55 grain Pow’RBall load for the .32ACP. Modern .32ACP pocket pistols are no larger than yesterday’s .25ACPs. While not the “Hammer of Thor”, downsized .32s have grown popular as hideouts and last ditch backups. The Pow’RBall load can also give a significant boost in stopping potential to older .32s that will not feed hollowpoints. Muzzle velocity of this load is advertised at 100 fps.

Several new rifle offerings have also been introduced. They include 36 grain and 50 grain Varmint Grenade JHPs which may prove useful where dynamic fragmentation and limited penetration is required. New subsonic loads include a 90 grain .223 and 115 grain 6.8mm Remington SPC. Both loads leave the muzzle at 1000fps and would be a good choice for suppressed weapons. Frangible MPG loads are now available in .223, .308 and 7.62 x 39 mm.

Federal’s American Eagle line now includes two loads designed for the M1 Garand and Springfield Armory M1A. These new offerings feature staked primers to minimize risk of a slam fire and optimized powders with an ideal burn rate to eliminate damage to the operating rod. The .30-06 load comes with a 150 grain FMJ while the 7.62 x 51 mm uses a 168 grain OTM bullet.

federalthumb1.gifBack on the scene after an absence of a few years is Federal’s 125 grain Nyclad hollowpoint. This load features a thin blue nylon jacket over a soft lead core and operates at standard pressure. In the not so distant past, this Nyclad round was referred to as the “Chief’s Special Load”, as it was ideally suited for lightweight snubs. Expansion qualities are very good and the nylon jacket virtually eliminates barrel leading and airborne lead contamination. If you’re tired of beating up your hand shooting .38 Special +Ps or .357 Magnums in that scandium or titanium snub, try out some Federal Nyclads.

federalthumb2.gifThe Taurus Judge .45 Colt/.410 shotgun revolver enjoys a cult following of sorts and is, in fact, a very formidable defensive weapon. A buddy of mine, who works in a gunshop, advises that several of his clients who fancy the Judge are farmers who use it as a “tractor” gun. New this year is a pair of Federal 3” .410 loads specifically tailored for the Judge. They include a four pellet 000 buck load and a 1/2 ounce #4 birdshot load. Advertised muzzle velocity is given at 1200 fps for both loads.

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