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A fellow member here (who shall remain nameless, but his nickname means "fish eggs" and rhymes with "Hoe") mentioned one day that he'd been rummaging around and found a half-dozen rounds of some old Cor-Bon 9mm ammo. I asked him if he'd ever tested any of it, having heard that Cor-Bon was usually pretty good stuff. He said no, but offered to send me some. A year later, I finally got around to testing it. (Hey, I been busy, okay?) Here's what I got.

The Cor-Bon website listed their 9mm+P loads as being 90, 115, and 125 grains. Based on the velocity I got I think this is the 90 grain load, I got an average of 1315 fps from the 3" barrel of my Kel-Tec P9, and the recoil was pretty light. Cor-Bon claims 1350 for the 115 grain load, but I'd bet it was tested in a 4" barrel.

Cor-Bon 2014 Digital Catalog

Water jugs were the target of the day since I still have 150 of them full of water in my kitchen. Some of them have leaked, and now there are waterbugs running all over the place. My cats think it's wonderful, because they like playing Beetle Hockey on the smooth tile floor, and every morning I come home to dismembered hockey pucks scattered all over the house. Never a dull moment with my cats!

I had five rounds to test, and shot four, both over the chronograph and into water-filled jugs. Velocity readings were consistent, better than I expected for older ammo, even from Cor-Bon. Jugs were pretty well shredded, and none of the four bullets tried made it out of the second jug, often losing small bits of the petals before stopping. Admittedly, water jugs are a hard test for all but the stoutest bullets, I don't carry a 9mm if I have other options but this stuff would be a good choice if I did. My Kel-Tec is NOT 100% reliable, until it is I'll carry something else.

Here are the results with the two bullets I recovered. Not bad for a lowly 9mm from a 3" tube!



 
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When I was still active Law Enforcement, our department issued Cor-Bon ammunition. I did glass penetration tests with our 9mm and 40 S&W ammo and it performed well through tempered glass and windshield glass even at various angles. The tempered glass was really tough on the bullets but they still hit the targets close to the point of aim. A friend of mine in another agency had an incident where a driver attempted to run him down. He fired three rounds from his issue 40 cal Glock and issue Winchester 180gr ammunition. All three rounds failed to penetrate the glass. He was lucky enough to be able to dive out of the way before being struck. In my opinion, 180 grain loads are the poorest performers in the 40 caliber. Our department issued the 165 grain Cor-Bon's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Not to get sidetracked by War Stories, but auto glass is hard on pistol bullets. One of the agencies I worked for was a small town PD, with one grocery store. It was robbed one afternoon by two armed thugs in a 70's Camaro, and one of the officers was in a position to get some shots off. Given the seriously-slanted front windshield and exposed-lead 38 bullets, the results were predictable. He hit the windshield with at least four rounds, right in front of the driver, and none penetrated, he said you could hear them whistling off into the sky. I don't think anything but 45 ball would have done much better from a handgun.

Several of my defensive firearms are stuffed with Hornady's Critical Defense ammo, mostly because it's affordable, it expands just like the ad copy says, and it seems pretty accurate in most guns. But it's lightly constructed and shoots lighter than standard weights in most calibers, and it absolutely SUCKS at barrier penetration. They soon brought out their Critical Duty ammo, specifically designed for auto glass and other common barriers, and while it doesn't expand much (if at all) it does well on people in vehicles.

There are still no magic bullets!

If I were going to carry a 9mm in this day and age (besides a pocket gun) I'd probably stuff it with the old standby, Federal's 9BP, a 124-grain JHP with a VERY good track record, and it won't break the bank. It was a standard for police agencies around the country in the 80's and 90's, and may still be in some places.

Despite the decent performance of this Cor-Bon ammo, I wouldn't choose a 90-grain bullet in anything bigger than a .380 ACP. Penetration is severely lacking. That's not a huge concern when you're dealing with a 110-pound crackhead, but when you're facing a 350-pound assailant whose friends laughingly call "Tiny", it becomes a far larger priority! :ahhhhh:
 
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