Range Report: DoubleTap Ammunition

Honor Defense Honor Guard pistol and DoubleTap ammunition box

When it comes to personal defense ammunition, we all want the most for our dollar and a load that maximizes the caliber. This is especially true with the popular 9mm Luger cartridge. A number of manufacturers offer target grade, hunting, and personal defense loads. DoubleTap ammunition offers personal defense loads, and it does it as well as anyone and better than most. I first began using DoubleTap ammunition a decade ago when I was looking for superior loads in 10mm caliber. I was not disappointed. The accuracy, velocity, and bullet performance were outstanding.

Left to right - 77-grain, 115-grain lead-free, and 115-grain JHP loads.
Left to right – 77-grain, 115-grain lead-free, and 115-grain JHP loads.

There is a good selection of bullet weights and a load that will be tailor made to your expectations. Today, DoubleTap offers hunting grade, long range, and personal defense loads. I am most concerned with personal defense. The 9mm Luger cartridge is easily the most popular defensive choice today. I obtained a number of 9mm loads to gauge their performance and to proof the handguns for these loads. While my tastes run to a versatile go-anywhere do-anything loading, specialization is sometimes good, and I was interested in the performance of a wide range of bullet weights. Recently, I was able to test three DoubleTap 9mm loads. These included the DT 77-grain all copper bullet, 115-grain all copper or lead free bullet, and 115-grain Bonded Core. The 115-grain loads were +P rated.

A few words on velocity. DoubleTap offers a guideline for velocity that is listed on each box. The individual handgun’s barrel length, bore roughness, and relative humidity are all factors in velocity. As an example, the Glock pistol with its polygonal rifling exhibits higher average velocity than most pistols of a similar barrel length. The Ruger SR1911 9mm I am currently testing is on the low end of average velocity but very accurate. The bottom line, whether fired in a fast or slow barrel, DoubleTap exhibits high velocity compared to competing loads.

Quality control and cartridge integrity were excellent. The loads survived immersion in water, oil, and solvent, respectively, and will survive being chambered and unloaded several times without bullet setback. Among the observations I have made is that DoubleTap uses proper load procedure. While the loads are fast, the overall cartridge length, powder choice, the assurance of a full powder burn, and accuracy are part of the equation. Muzzle flash was limited, a sure sign of good load procedure.

Honor Defense Honor Guard pistol and DoubleTap ammunition box
Honor Defense recommends DoubleTap ammunition in their handguns.

Load Specific

There is a trend toward tailoring the defense load for certain situations. An urban load might have less penetration and be considered safer in a crowded environment. The first criteria is not to miss. however, a bullet with limited penetration may also be desirable. The DT 77-grain copper hollow point is one such load. The DT load clocked over 1450 fps in a Browning Hi Power. Accuracy was excellent. With a limited supply of ammunition, the loads were tested for accuracy at 15 yards. The CZ put five rounds into less than 1.5 inches. The bullet penetrated 12 inches of water and expanded to .68 inch. This is a loading with light recoil, good control, and ideal for anyone using a light 9mm handgun and wishing to limit recoil.

Next, I tested the all-copper 115-grain JHP. This bullet is long for the caliber and doesn’t allow as much powder space as a conventional JHP bullet. Copper isn’t as dense as lead. So, with +P pressure, the lead-free bullet isn’t as fast as a cup-and-core-type JHP. Just the same, this loading is fast at 1200 fps from the Honor Guard 9mm compact pistol. A two-inch group at 15 yards was fired. Penetration in water is 16 inches. Expansion is a plump .70 inch.

DoubleTap 77-grain and 115-grain upset bullets
The 77-grain bullet, left, would be ideal for urban defense. The 115-grain all copper load is a good choice while the +P 115-grain load, right, maximizes the caliber. Note the long shank and all-copper center.

The final load tested was the bonded core 115-grain +P. To broaden the test further, I fired this load in the CZ P-01—a compact 9mm with a relatively short barrel. I was surprised to see the DT 115-grain Bonded Core load run at a solid 1320 fps. Accuracy is excellent, best of the test, with a 15-yard group of 1.1 inch from the bench rest. This load displaced the water jugs with fury and expanded to .83 inch after traveling in 16 inches of water. The 9mm sometimes expands well at the expense of penetration or penetrates at the expense of expansion. This one achieves both goals. This is a well-designed load with an excellent, and perhaps unequaled, balance of expansion and penetration.

After testing the DoubleTap 9mm loads in three pistols, and conducting expansion and penetration testing, I find excellent all-around choices. The balance of expansion and penetration in the 115-grain loads is ideal for personal defense. Accuracy is target grade. DoubleTap ammunition is well worth your trust.

Have you put your trust in DoubleTap? Will you? What is your favorite self-defense round? Share your answers in the comment section.

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About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (7)

  1. The wsm ammo I used was accurate.
    However , of the 200 rounds I bought,
    40 of them were seated too long to fit in both rifles I have chambered in the cartridge. They replaced them with no objection. I reload now, but will likely still order more from them.

  2. If anyone is seriously considering Double Tap ammo for defense I would strongly caution you against doing so. I needed 38 Special ammunition to break in a Taurus 627 Tracker and grabbed the only box on the shelf at the LGS. I fired 3 rounds and the third round was a squib. The bullet was lodged about an inch down the barrel. My guess is it didn’t have any powder. I’ve fired tens of thousands of rounds as a former grunt and as a civilian and this was my first squib. Fortunately I was at the range and trying to sight in the gun and recognized the difference right away and didn’t follow that round up with another. Would have been a bad day otherwise. Could be a one in a million but that’s one too many for me. Just my experience. YMMV

  3. My preferred carry load and current duty load is the Federal HST 124 +P. I also advocate the 147 +P HST as well as the Speer Gold Dot 124 +P. These have all proven themselves on the street. These newer 115 all copper bullets perform well also, but only in certain loads. DoubleTap, CorBon DPX and Black Hills all push them fast enough, but Barnes own loading is too slow. There are a number of other 115/124 conventional jacketed HP that work decently for self defense, but perform poorly through heavy clothing/jackets and barriers such as auto glasS, walls etc. In my own situation I want to be able to reach out and take a threat regardless what they may be hiding behind whenever possible, so I choose a precious few loads as being acceptable for me.

    1. Joe D is basically quite correct. These tests would be far more meaningful if the y were all compared to their performance in 10% ballistic gelatin and a careful measure of the Maxima of the TSC and the Depth on that Maxima and the total volume of the TSC. This would have normalized the results statistically even though gelatin is not the same as living tissue.I have done many of these test for “after gun manufactures’. It appears that a bullet needs to be traveling at minimum of 1175 fps and ideally 1350 fps to reliably expand such that hydrostatic shock becomes a significant contributor to stopping power. In this light I have not yet seen any bullet beat the .357 Magnum 158 Grain JHP and alll major manufactures ammo works about the same. The 40SW approaches the performance of the .357 . Simple physics means the heavier the slug and the greater its velocity the greater the recoil and recovery time. Bullet placement is very important of course, but in real shoot out it may be the factor we can least control.

  4. My concern (especially with the 77 grain option) is penetration out of short barrels. Are there numbers from anyone that tests such things that records performance?

    How does it measure up to the SB loads for Speer Gold Dot and Federal HST?

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