Ballistics by the inch

New data posted: .380, 9mm Mak and 9mm Ultra.

Well, we’ve done another substantial upgrade to the BBTI site – adding in two new cartridges and greatly expanding another. In addition we’ve done some clean-up and tweaking – big kudos to my good lady wife for all her hard work!

The two new cartridges are 9mm Makarov (9×18) and 9mm Ultra (also call 9mm Police). Both of these were ‘European’ rounds, and are only available to a limited degree here in the US. This is why we only were able to test a limited variety of ammo (two for the Mak, one for the Ultra) and only used one ‘real world’ gun. I had been somewhat uninterested in both cartridges previously, but based on our tests I certainly would consider them to be viable self-defense rounds. It would be interesting to see the selection of both guns and ammo expanded.

But the bulk of our testing, and data, this time around was in revisiting the .380 ACP cartridge. We tested 8 different brands of ammo, including two we had tested previously. And we also did ‘real world’ tests of an additional 8 handguns. This was such a large increase over the previous data sets that we added a whole additional page and separate link in the “results”, and you can find it here. I had always considered .380 a marginal cartridge for self defense, though it is very popular due to the large number of very small pistols which shoot the cartridge. And it still wouldn’t be my first choice for a self-defense gun. But were I going to carry it, I’d feel very comfortable loading it with either of the Buffalo Bore ammos which we tested – they were quite impressive.

Lastly, we had a chance to do a bit of additional testing of the .327 Magnum round, this time shooting it through a Bond Arms derringer. This round still continues to impress me, and I am giving serious thought to getting one of these barrels for my own derringer.

So, check out the new data, and spread the word!

Jim Downey

September 10, 2010 - Posted by | .327 Federal Magnum, .380 ACP, 9mm Mak, 9mm Ultra, Data


  1. Actually, the 9mm Ultra was a Western European development. The Walther PP Super was designed around it, and it was available in the SIG-Sauer P230.

    Comment by Daniel E. Watters | September 20, 2010 | Reply

  2. Daniel – thanks for the info! It’s not one I was familiar with, and quick search for info didn’t provide much. We’ll make the corrections.


    Jim D.

    Comment by James Downey | September 20, 2010 | Reply

  3. […] getting the necessary ammunition finally ran into the onset of winter), we were able to conduct a significant set of tests which greatly expanded our .380 data as well as adding in 9mm Makarov and 9mm Ultra cartridges. […]

    Pingback by Happy Anniversary Baby!* « Ballistics by the inch | November 26, 2010 | Reply

  4. I would love to see another run of the makarov. Thousands upon thousands of these guns are in the USA, sold here as surplus in the early 90s as well as other guns chambered for it (CZ has one, and surplus feg and other guns are chambered for it). It is not an odd gun nor is it hard to find ammo for it, maybe at walmart but most gun stores have the ammo and the web sells it in bulk for peanuts, 6-7 dollars a box in bulk is not uncommon for target ammo.

    Buffalo bore sells a potent ammo for it, as does hornady, and cor-bon once did but maybe not anymore, I am unsure.

    It is a popular gun and caliber here in the states, due to low cost, high quality guns and low cost plinking ammo. A few carry it for defense as well, I did for many years but you can get more power in smaller, modern guns now. Its hard to beat a durable, reliable, accurate gun for $200 and 1000 rounds of ammo for $100, which is what we saw back when these things were being shipped in by the thousands, ah the good old days =)

    Comment by Jon B. | December 6, 2010 | Reply

  5. It ate my links, guess that is not allowed, but I confirmed that hornady, buffalo bore, corbon, fiocchi, federal all have something in makarov. A lot of the ammo is not hollow point, however, if that matters, and some of these products are produced infrequently so supply can be limited. And 1000 rounds at $1 per shot is a bit much for some of these brands.

    Comment by Jon B. | December 6, 2010 | Reply

    • No, Jon – just a delay until I approved it: we were getting a lot of spam earlier, so I had locked down the comments.

      Thanks for the suggestions and links – if and when we do revisit the 9mm Mak, it’ll come in handy!

      Cheers –

      Comment by James Downey | December 6, 2010 | Reply

  6. I have an East German Mac.
    I’ve put thousands of rounds through it and it has been 100% reliable. If you doubt its effectiveness, fill a one gallon milk jug with water and hit it with a Hornady 95 gr XTP load. The results will impress you!
    The Russian model, while not pretty, are the most accurate. I love this gun. It’s a keeper.

    Comment by bruce siperly | March 23, 2011 | Reply

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