Black Hills HoneyBadger Ammo

A 1,200 fps Phillips Screwdriver!

Black Hills Ammo Smith & Wesson

In .44 Special, HoneyBadger rounds are a pleasure to shoot in lightweight .44 Magnum S&W guns such as the 329 PD (bottom) and Mountain Gun (top).

Black Hills Ammo

HoneyBadger loads are available in (left to right) .380 ACP, 9mm, .38 Special and .45 ACP.

Along with the vast array of handgun models available for personal protection, there’s also been a flood of self-defense ammunition. One of the best available today is the HoneyBadger line from Black Hills.

Instead of trying to come up with a reliable JHP, Black Hills has taken a different direction, using a bullet that doesn’t expand at all. The HoneyBadger bullet is designed to provide deep penetration like an FMJ while at the same time creating large wound cavities afforded by JHPs. How? The answer is in the design — HoneyBadger projectiles look more like the tip of a Phillips screwdriver than a bullet.

They’re made of solid copper, allowing for a lighter weight than lead or alloy bullets. If you look at the bullet from the top it appears you are looking at an X-shape with deep scallops. Upon impact, bullet rotation forces ballistic gel or tissue to react the same as when it’s hit with an expanding JHP. For the past several months I’ve been shooting HoneyBadger ammunition in several calibers. Let’s take a look:

.45 ACP — This load is not only highly effective, it’s very low in felt recoil. My test vehicles consisted of nine different .45 ACP pistols including six full-size 1911s. The average velocity was right at 1,250 fps with the 135-gr. bullet and average 5-shot groups at 20 yards was right at 1". In a pair of compact pistols — a Star PD and Dan Wesson ECO — muzzle velocities were over 1,100 fps. The little Dan Wesson shot exceptionally well, equaling the full-size guns at 20 yards.

Black Hills Ammo Smith & Wesson

In a new S&W Model 19 Combat Magnum, .38 Special HoneyBadgers shot accurately with low felt recoil.

Black Hills ammo Target

There’s no question about .45 ACP HoneyBadger performance from this full-size Springfield Armory 1911.

9MM — The HoneyBadger Subsonic uses a 125-gr. bullet which puts it closer to standard weight for conventional 9mm ammunition. Just as with the .45 ACP, I used both full-size 1911’s as well as compact 9mm’s. In both the Ruger SR 1911 and the Ruger Commander, I got 5-shot groups of 1-1/8" at 20 yards. Muzzle velocity was right at 950 fps. Black Hills also offers a 100-gr. 9mm HoneyBadger at 1,300 fps.

.380 ACP — This one features a 60-gr. bullet which clocked just under 1,200 fps in a Walther PPK/S and one of the new S&W M&P Shield EZ pistols. Both of these relatively small guns shot in the 2" to 3" range for 5 shots at 20 yards.

.38 Special — This 135-gr. load was tested in a pair of S&W 4" Combat Magnums — one a brand-new version and one a 1956 original. As normally happens when newer Smith & Wessons are compared to the old original classics, the newer ones shoot tighter groups. Muzzle velocity was just under 1,100 fps with 5-shot, 20-yard groups measuring just under an inch.

.44 Special — With its 125-gr. bullet, this seems a natural for some of the lightweight, 5-shot .44 Specials. My test guns were a pair of 4" Smith & Wesson .44 Magnums (which can be brutal with full house magnums) — a Mountain Gun and the 329PD. Muzzle velocity was right at 1,225 fps with groups at 7 yards coming in at 1". In the lightweight 329PD, this load is a highly effective choice for self-defense, offering low felt recoil in an easy packin’ pistol.

In addition to these self-defense loads, Black Hills has added two HoneyBadgers — a .44 Magnum (160-gr. bullet at 1,800 fps) and a .45-70 (a 325-gr. bullet at 1,900 fps). Both should be devastating on thin-skinned critters.

GUNS Magazine April 2019

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