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Ultra-high velocity Defense Ammo?

Comments by Allan Tarvid

RBCD Releases .38 Special in TPD Handgun Ammo Line

RBCD Performance Plus ammunition announces the release of the 38 Special to the TPD handgun ammunition product line. This product is designed for confined quarter defense situations, and as with all calibers offered, provides controlled penetration, higher energy and velocity (1850 fps / 418 flbs) with less felt recoil and superior accuracy while at standard SAAMI pressure.

I saw this blurb above  in Jim Shepherd’s Outdoor Wire this morning and it caught my eye for two reasons: I never heard of the company and I wondered if the ballistic spec’s were a misprint. I found RBCD’s website: to check and it was not.

ImageIf you subscribe to the premise that small and fast bullets get the job done better than (or at least as well as) larger, slower and more conventional projectiles then this company’s products are bound to look attractive. RBCD loads use small and apparently high-tech bullets at extreme velocities and the company says they are designed for controlled and limited penetration, maximum energy transfer, reduced recoil, reduced ricochet and superior accuracy.  (Editor's note: based on the company's claim to limited penetration this sounds a lot like Glaser Safety Slug perfromance, which unfortunately only works well in a straight-on shot to center torso, otherwise the limited penetration is a detriment to stopping power.  But based on the company-supplied photo, it looks like a great load for attacking blocks of clay.)

Here is a sampling of popular handgun defense loads from the website stated as “bullet weight, caliber: velocity/energy”.

45 grain 380 ACP: 1835 fps / 337 foot pounds

60 grain 9mm: 2010 fps / 539 foot pounds

77 grain 40 S&W: 2100 fps / 754 foot pounds

90 grain .45 ACP: 2036 fps / 828 foot pounds

(For comparison, the .357 magnum 125 grain hollow point traveling at 1500 fps and delivering 625 foot pounds of energy has long been considered the gold standard for one-shot stops.)

RBCD also offers police loads they say are designed to penetrate automobile doors and glass and still deliver total energy transfer within the intended target. The company says the ammunition functions in all modern law enforcement weapons (semi or fully automatic) and provides a list of tested guns.

They also have some air-blistering rifle rounds designed for tactical and hunting use including a 37 grain .223 round that travels at 3880 fps and has 1337 foot pounds of energy. The website has speed/energy data charted for all rounds offered and another chart showing penetration and expansion for each round (I presume in ballistic gelatin).

All in all, I found perusing the RBCD site very interesting. If you dig deeply, though, you run into testimonials that appear suspect and/or were submitted by clueless individuals. But, you find that everywhere. No pricing was mentioned on the website and doing a little research on the Internet turned up boxes of 20 rounds of the common handgun stuff selling for between $20 and $65 (for the same ammo – shopper beware).

The RBCD ammo looks very impressive overall but I’m not sure I’m ready to switch from Hornady TAP ammo for carry.

Uploaded: 6/15/2010