Ammunition technology has improved drastically over the last 30 years, more so than the 100 years preceding it. Such leaps and bounds are not always unqualified successes. For every two or three steps forward, there is a step back. Liberty Ammunition’s Civil Defense line has a small but mostly positive buzz. How would it fare when I took it to task? Below are the results from my first of two range trips with this lightweight, high velocity round.
First, the stats. The Civil Defense round is an all copper projectile which in 9mm +P flavor weighs in at a scant 50 grains. With an advertised muzzle velocity of 2,000 ft/sec this comes out to 444 ft/lbs of force. However, my chronograph gave velocity numbers that were a bit different. Out of my Glock 17, a 10 round string had an average muzzle velocity of 2150 ft/sec. This calculates out to 513 ft/lbs of force with the average velocity and 557 ft/lbs with the max velocity of 2239 ft/sec. Standard deviation was 87.5 and the extreme spread was 216. I was a bit surprised to see such high deviation and spread. I was left wondering how that would affect my group size. For reference, Speer Gold Dot measures around 20 for standard deviation. The advertised accuracy is better than 2″ groups at 50 yards for this ammo.
Using both the Glock 17 (match barrel and trigger, stock sights) as well as a classic Browning high-power, my groups were a bit inconsistent. Shooting at 15 yards offhand at a moderate pace, my best 5 round group was a nice little 1/2″ cluster with one (called) flyer stretching that out a bit. My worst was a >5″ abomination where every good trigger squeeze was met with surprising shot placement. It wasn’t my best day shooting, sure. To make sure I wasn’t totally shanking these shots, I pulled out the Remington R1 with a grab bag of various ball ammo types and slammed a nice little pucker cluster in the target.
While accuracy is of fundamental importance, suboptimal performance in that category can be ameliorated by excellent terminal performance when likely engagement distance is short enough to keep the groups within minute of bad guy. Next range trip I’ll be gathering accuracy data again as well as some poor man’s ballistic performance.