The day we set out to test Remington’s 9mm 124-gr. Ultimate Defense ammo, it was a crisp and cold Midwest 20 degree day with fresh snow. However, this didn’t hinder our excitement. It’s always fun shooting guns and putting gear to the test, after all.
Ultimate Defense ammunition uses Remington’s proven Golden Saber brass-jacketed hollowpoint (BJHP) bullet. The specific load we were testing was designed for full-sized handguns.
Remington was kind enough to send us some of the Ultimate Defense rounds for testing in ballistic gel, and we were happy to oblige. We came up with as scientific of a test as our situation allowed, containing three phases of testing.
The first would be firing into bare ballistic gel to see if the round provided good expansion as it’s supposed to. The second test would be to shoot through a wooden intermediate barrier, and the third test would be through a car door. All the tests take place one right after the other so that the gel would remain as close to the same temperature as possible.
Since the ammo says it’s intended for full-size handguns, we decided to use the new SA-35 from Springfield Armory which sports a 4.7” barrel, which definitely puts it in the full-size department. The gelatin block itself is the FBI standard mold size of 16”x6”x6”, and we made it ourselves.
For the first test, we set up a table at the range, placed the ballistic gel and took aim with the SA-35. The first round did very well, penetrating 13.5″ into the block, with the bullet expanding early on. It made for a beautiful spiral pattern as it tore into the gelatin for the 13.5″. The projectile expanded into a fantastic flower petal shape as it spun, ensuring it would provide devastating terminal results on a threat. So far, the 124-gr. BJHP Ultimate Defense load was performing with flying colors.
For our second test, we wanted to start testing it out against intermediate barriers. The second test consisted of shooting through a 2” by 6” board, the same thickness as an interior wall stud, and into the same gelatin block. The board was placed around 5″ away from the gelatin. Space between the barrier and the target is important, as that way we can track if the bullet would continue to fly straight after passing through.
A 9mm round such as this should have no problem penetrating the wood itself; if it didn’t it would be considered a complete failure. The difficult part is the question of if the bullet could do it with enough force to fly straight after it clears.
We set up our test and fired the round. The bullet cleared the wood with no problem and flew straight into the gel. The round itself didn’t expand this time because the wood particles clogged up the hollowpoint, creating more of a solid FMJ round. Hollowpoint rounds plugging up like that is to be expected and not out of the ordinary in any way. The round again penetrated 13.5″ into the block, even with the first round. It was clear the Golden Saber round performed very well yet again.
Now it was time for our third and final test. We placed the gelatin block on the inside of a Toyota Prius, on top of the center console between the driver and passenger seat. Our plan was to shoot through the car door, crossing some 30” on the other side and into the ballistic gelatin. This would be a great test since the car door is going to be a multi-layer barrier with metal, plastic and whatever else is inside Prius driver side doors. Then, the bullet would have to fly another 30″ in a straight enough path to hit the gelatin.
The first three shots of the round were completely stopped by the Prius door. This is not really that unusual, as there can be a lot of unseen, heavy barriers inside a car door. They have all sorts of things inside of them, and our guess is that there was an interior frame and extra parts, and our first three shots were high enough to hit whatever it was.
For the fourth round, we aimed a bit lower as to aim under whatever was inside the car we were hitting. That round traveled completely through the door, traversing the open space and hitting the gelatin. The hollowpoint was undoubtedly plugged, as the entire bullet traveled all the way through the length of the gel. So, the round had more than enough juice to penetrate a car door, cross 30″ — while still flying straight — and then passing through all 16″ of gel. We’d say that is pretty impressive barrier-busting performance!
Over the span of all three of our tests, Remington’s Ultimate Defense 124-gr. Golden Saber BJHP 9mm performed extremely well. The tests we developed were meant to replicate something similar to a threat using a wall or a car door for cover.
Again, while lab tests might have different testing protocols, we decided to test it out in the real world with some unique variables. We were very pleased with the performance of this ammunition and feel it is a great choice for self-defense usage.
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