Ammo Awesomeness


Let me preface this entry by saying that I understand without the innovative spirit and experimentation in the world of ammunition we’d still be using sticks to ram round lead balls on top of black powder. I get that. I’ve also seen on my many years of treading this earth “revolutionary” advances in ammunition that, well, weren’t. That being said…

The last time an unproven entity got this much hype it was elected to office. I seriously believe that gun owners are the victims of one of the best played trolls in web history. (I’ll only change my mind on that when someone is actually able to buy a box of these.) And it was so easy. Show a picture of “The Last Round You Will Ever Need™” featuring the evil looking projectile. You can just see the extra death this thing is capable of. Couple that with a video showing blocks of ballistic gelatin quivering in slow motion while being shot by fully automatic weapons, and have Batman narrate it. And if that doesn’t make gun owners start shouting shut up and take my money, blow up a chicken with one. And play it backwards in slow motion so it looks like some sci-fi self-healing mutant alien. Then blow it up again. The video, being almost a parody aside, is great marketing hype. The only thing missing is the girl in the bikini.

Let’s step back, catch our breath, and critically examine these newest murder pills. First, let’s have a quick discussion about “stopping power” and how it relates to ammunition.

Stopping power, like Bigfoot’s shoe size, is something everyone wants to measure, but can’t. Everyone wants to know what the absolute best round of ammunition is to get the fabled “one shot stop” on an opponent. Obviously, like the gentle and reclusive Yeti, this round doesn’t exist. Think about it, if it did, would there be the veritable cornucopia of defensive ammunition designs out there? No, there would be one round, and everyone would carry it.

Shooting someone affects them in two ways…psychologically and physiologically. The psychological impact of being shot varies from individual to individual. Some will immediately lay down and die from a peripheral hit by a .25 auto, while others will become a bit miffed that you had the temerity to shoot them in the chest with a .500 magnum. Yes,  your opponent has a say in how long this gunfight is going to last and what the outcome will be. You just don’t know how he’s going to react. Sadly, your opponent won’t be able to see you’re packing Radically Invasive Projectiles so he won’t be 75% dead from fear before you even pull the trigger. You just don’t have that psychological edge.

Physiologically, your bullets cause, ideally, immediate disruption to the central nervous system along with tissue damage and fluid loss. You really need that CNS disruption going for you. This means destroying or severely damaging the brain or top end of the spinal cord. If you don’t get the quick CNS incapacitation, well, you’re going to be in a gunfight for a little while. Dr. Ken Newgard wrote the following in 1992:

A 70 kg male has a cardiac output of around 5.5 liters per minute. His blood volume is about 4200 cc. Assuming that his cardiac output can double under stress, his aortic blood flow can reach 11 Liters per minute. If this male had his thoracic aorta totally severed, it would take him 4.6 seconds to lose 20% of his total blood volume. This is the minimum amount of time in which a person could lose 20% of his blood volume from one point of injury. A marginally trained person can fire at a rate of two shots per second. In 4.6 seconds there could easily be 9 shots of return fire before the assailant’s activity is neutralized. Note this analysis does not account for oxygen contained in the blood already perfusing the brain that will keep the brain functioning for an even longer period of time.

So, do we understand that shot placement is important? Do we understand there is no magic bullet? Do we understand that there are far too many variables involved in a gunfight for anyone to responsibly tell you they can guarantee an outcome? Good, now we can move from an emotional to a fact based discussion about the R.I.P. round.

Let’s look at G2 Research’s technical data. (Which, oddly enough you find on their home page, and not their “Technical” page.) In the absence of any field performance, this is all we have to go on.

So, we have a 96 grain projectile traveling at 1,265 fps actually producing 341 ft. lbs. of muzzle energy. To calculate the kinetic energy of a bullet, multiply the weight of the bullet in grains times the velocity in fps squared and divide this number by 450400. The number that you get is the energy of that bullet at that velocity in ft. lbs. (You can do the math yourself, or use the calculator here.) This isn’t close to the claim of 490 ft. lbs. Not trying to nit-pick here, but 149 ft. lbs. difference is a lot. Especially when their bullet is designed to fragment. Now, a bullet fragmenting is actually a good thing. The fragments cause additional wound channels, causing that much more tissue damage. But they’re going to have to be moving at a decent velocity to cause real disruption and damage if their weight isn’t up there.  So, let’s say the eight little death daggers that comprise the front of the projectile weigh 5 grains each. This would give each one 17.7 ft. lbs. of energy, and the 56 grain main projectile would have 198 ft. lbs. of energy behind it. That’s #1 shotshell shot performance for the daggers, and .32 ACP performance for the main projectile. Personally, neither a 12 gauge loaded with #1 or a .32 ACP are my first choices for defensive weapons. Nothing particularly drool worthy here.

And really, there isn’t a lot more we can discuss factually. Beyond this (erroneous) blurb giving us projectile weight and muzzle velocity, everything else is conjecture. We’re free to make our own determinations about the round’s performance from the plethora of videos of things being shot with them, but there are no real metrics being provided. There’s no scale along the blocks of gelatin, no data displayed of the distance from the muzzle to the barriers, heck, they didn’t even interview the chicken afterwards.

If you’re thinking “John, you’re just cynical”, you’re partially right. Like I said earlier, I’ve seen a few things in my time. Take these for instance:

Pingrabber bullets

Notice a similarity? When these came out in the ’80s, they were going to revolutionize bowling pin shooting. (That’s what we did for entertainment in the 80s was shoot bowling pins. And we shot them while wearing horrible clothes and blow dried hair.) Because they were different looking, these things flew off the shelves. They were expensive too at around $20 for a box of 20. That’s like $100,000 each in today’s dollars. And while the concept was sound (a few bowling pin shoots were actually won using them) they really didn’t offer any kind of real advantage over normal ammunition. The self defense crowd fell all over themselves to get these, again, because they looked aggressive. They weren’t good at all for self defense rounds. They weren’t intended to be. But that sawtooth tip just had to equate to more death power than a normal hollowpoint, right?

Now you know why I greet the R.I.P. round with such skepticism. So please, can we just relax a little bit? Let’s let this stuff actually make it to market and see how it performs in the real world. The science behind it is solid, but that doesn’t mean the execution will be there. Let’s see if  R.I.P. lives up to its hype, or if it falls flat like the A.C.A.


The Tactical Pirate

View posts by The Tactical Pirate
President and lead instructor. Follow me on Twitter, and check out our blog.


  1. DaleJanuary 28, 2014

    Excellent post and you are absolutely correct with your conclusions. Shot placement is much more important and a shot to the cranial vault is the only way to get an “instant” kill and trying to do that while you or the bad guys are bobbing and weaving is extremely hard! Great public service on this issue.

    1. The Tactical PirateJanuary 28, 2014

      Thanks Dale. I try.

  2. Mark PelenytschkaJune 23, 2015

    really enjoyed the article. thank you

    1. The Tactical PirateJune 24, 2015

      Thanks for reading Mark!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top