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Two .380 ACP Defensive Ammo Loads

April 19, 2023
Mike Sampson

In my June 2, 2022, article My Black Hills .380 Ammo Adventure, I wrote about some range time with two Black Hills loadings.

Recently, I had an opportunity to evaluate Black Hills’ .380 HoneyBadger 60-grain load. I also paired that with Inceptor’s 56-grain round. I ran both through my Sig P232 at 21 feet on an indoor range.

I’d been eager to try the HoneyBadger round, and I was able to get a box of Inceptor’s Preferred Defense ARX rounds. Both loadings feature an unusual grooved bullet design in brass cases and neither use jacketed hollow points (JHP).

The HoneyBadger advertises 1,150 fps and 176 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle. The earlier defensive Black Hills round I evaluated was the 90-grain JHP New Pistol load at 950 fps and 180 foot pounds, and it performed well. Black Hill says the HoneyBadger copper-colored bullet doesn’t need hollow points and does not depend on them for performance.

The Inceptor advertises 1,260 fps with 197 foot pounds at the muzzle with “exceptional accuracy.” Inceptor’s website says The ARX® is a revolutionary bullet in every sense of the word. From the way it’s manufactured, to its shape, to the way it transfers energy to the target.  The description says:

The non-expanding ARX dark-colored bullet is injection-molded from a specially blended polymer-copper matrix that is designed to be tough enough for an all-purpose defense round. Upon entering soft tissue, the specially designed grooves in the nose harness the soft tissue and constrict, pressurize and eject it at 1.5 to 2 times the directional speed of the bullet.

This is the well-known Venturi Effect. As the bullet penetrates, it tumbles in a controlled, predictable fashion that delivers consistent terminal performance that equals or exceeds conventional hollow-point designs without over penetrating.

After two initial rounds of .380 CCI Blazer’s 95-grain total metal jacket through the Sig, I fired five rounds each of the HoneyBadger and Inceptor. Both loadings have a bit more recoil than standard full metal jackets, but definitely manageable even in my 18.9-ounce (empty weight with magazine) Sig.

All 10 rounds shot slightly left of center and were within less than 2.25 inches. Not bad for hot defensive rounds with a two-handed hold.

Black Hills is headquartered in Rapid City, SD, and Inceptor’s base is Savannah, GA. The .380 HoneyBadger can be hard to find, and one vendor lists a box of 20 at retail for $30, but shipping is almost that much. The Inceptor lists about $25 for a box of 25 but several vendors showed Out of Stock, so this may be tough to find as well. Shipping costs are a consideration as always.

I would be confident with either HoneyBadger or Inceptor loads in my Sig that offers one round in the pipe and seven in the magazine, for easy warm-weather concealed carry. I always have a second magazine handy.

As with any carry gear, know your ammo. The accuracy with both the HoneyBadger and Inceptor is great, with quick followup shots. The key issue might be finding this ammo to Stay safe, be prepared. ~ Mike

Mike Sampson
Mike now calls Northwestern Arkansas home, but has lived and worked in several states and internationally. He has been an independent contractor and consultant since 2006 specializing in risk management, emergency management and training. In addition to work as a law-enforcement planner and technical writer with the Boise, Idaho, Police Department, he has experience in journalism, crop and animal agriculture, dryland farming for 20 years in western Kansas, plant and animal diseases, pandemic influenza, agroterrorism, bioterrorism, food safety and healthcare marketing.

He has a journalism degree from the University of Missouri and has newspaper and agency writing and editing experience. At Washington State University in Pullman, he earned a master’s degree emphasizing adult education and communications.

While living in Lander, WY, Mike provided photographic coverage of the One-Shot Antelope Hunt for three years, and got to meet and accompany folks such as Chuck Yeager, Carroll Shelby, Buzz Aldrin, Dale Robertson and Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf on their hunts. He also worked as an outfitter’s guide.

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