Ammo test results in two versions of the Glock 21
This is the first in a series of informal blog posts about the .45 ACP/Super/.450 SMC testing sequence we conducted over the Memorial Day weekend.
Here’s a pic of getting set the first day of shooting:
It’ll be a while before we have all the data crunched and the website updated, but I thought I would share some preliminary thoughts and information through a series of informal posts. In this post, we’ll see how two different versions of a Gen 4 Glock 21 performed with the ammo. The first version was with the Glock in the standard .45 ACP configuration, the second was with my .460 Rowland conversion kit in place.
The standard configuration has a 4.61″ octagonal polygonal rifling, while the conversion barrel is 5.2″ overall with conventional rifling, threaded, and with a compensator. The .460 conversion also has a heavier recoil spring.
Quick note about the data below: All the ammo used, with the exception of the four * items, were part of our overall test sequence and had three shots made over the Oehler chronograph (which is a double-unit, and automatically records and then averages the two readings), representing a total of 6 data points. I’m just giving the overall averages here; the full data will be available on the website later. The four * ammunition types only include two shots/four data points through the standard Glock 21 configuration — we only had one box of each of this ammo, and were wanting to get data from a range of guns.
Ammo Glock 21 Standard Glock 21 .460 Rowland
.45 ACP Low Recoil Std P 185gr FMJ-FN 801 fps / 263 ft-lbs 792 fps / 257 ft-lbs
.45 ACP Std P 230gr FMJ-RN 829 fps / 350 ft-lbs 826 fps / 348 ft-lbs
.45 ACP +P 185gr JHP 1132 fps / 526 ft-lbs 1168 fps / 560 ft-lbs
.45 ACP +P 230gr JHP 951 fps / 461 ft-lbs 974 fps / 484 ft-lbs
.45 Super 185gr JHP 1279 fps / 671 ft-lbs 1299 fps / 693 ft-lbs
.45 Super 200gr JHP 1178 fps / 616 ft-lbs 1203 fps / 642 ft-lbs
.45 Super 230gr FMJ 1069 fps / 583 ft-lbs 1085 fps / 601 ft-lbs
.45 Super 230gr JHP 1094 fps / 611 ft-lbs 1116 fps / 635 ft-lbs
.45 Super 255gr Hard Cast 1063 fps / 639 ft-lbs 1061 fps / 637 ft-lbs
.45 ACP +P 160gr Barnes TAC-XP 1103 fps / 432 ft-lbs 1103 fps / 432 ft-lbs
.450 SMC 185gr JHP 1328 fps / 724 ft-lbs 1351 fps / 749 ft-lbs
.450 SMC 185gr Bonded Defense JHP 1301 fps / 695 ft-lbs 1314 fps / 709 ft-lbs
.450 SMC 230gr Bonded Defense JHP 1097 fps / 614 ft-lbs 1132 fps / 654 ft-lbs
Critical Defense .45 ACP Std P 185gr FTX 984 fps / 397 ft-lbs 979 fps / 393 ft-lbs
Critical Duty .45 ACP +P 220gr Flexlock 945 fps / 436 ft-lbs 943 fps / 434 ft-lbs
.45 Super 170gr CF 1239 fps / 579 ft-lbs 1253 fps / 592 ft-lbs
.45 Super 185gr XTP JHP 1329 fps / 725 ft-lbs 1348 fps / 746 ft-lbs
.45 Super 230gr GD JHP 1075 fps / 590 ft-lbs 1081 fps / 596 ft-lbs
*Federal HST .45 ACP Std P 230gr JHP 813 fps / 337 ft-lbs
*G2 Research RIP .45 ACP Std P 162gr JHP 942 fps / 319 ft-lbs
*LeHigh Defense .45 Super 170gr JHP 1146 fps / 495 ft-lbs
*Liberty Civil Defense .45 ACP +P 78gr JHP 1768 fps / 580 ft-lbs
The general trends are pretty clear with the power rising as you go from standard pressure to +P to Super/.450 SMC, and topping out at about 750 foot-pounds of energy in a couple of loads. And it is interesting to note that the 185gr loads seem to be the “sweet spot” in terms of power across the board.
Of course, pure power is just one component for what makes a good ammunition choice. Bullet design & penetration is extremely important when considering a self-defense load. Shootability in your gun is also critical — because if you can’t recover quickly from shot to shot, then you may limit your ability in a stressful situation. Likewise, if the ammo doesn’t function reliably, or damages your gun, that is also a huge factor.
Most of the ammo we tested functioned very well in the Glock in either configuration. This isn’t surprising to anyone who has much familiarity with Glocks which typically will handle just about any ammo under all conditions. We did experience FTFs (failure-to-fire) with a number of the different Double-Tap rounds. Those seemed to have been due to light strikes on the primer, which could have been due to improper primer seating, ‘hard’ primers, or some other factor.
The larger platform of the Glock 21 handled the recoil very well, even from the hottest loads. I was impressed that even with the .460 Rowland conversion in place, with the additional weight of the compensator and the heavy recoil spring, the Glock didn’t have any problems cycling even the lightest loads reliably.
One other note: as discussed in my blog post about the .460 Rowland conversion, full-power .460 Rowland loads tend to cause damage to the magazines. As far as we could tell, the same isn’t true of the full-power .45 Super/.450 SMC loads. Just one magazine (a new one) was used for all these tests, and there was no detectable damage. Nor was there any other damage detected to the gun otherwise, though it is possible a steady diet of loads of that power could cause some over the long term.
Look for more results, images, and thoughts in the days to come.
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