Winchester Ammunition is bringing a new line of self defense ammo to the market in 2009: the Bonded PDX1 Personal Protection Ammunition.
The PDX1 Personal Protection Ammunition is “engineered to maximize terminal ballistics, as defined by the demanding FBI test protocol, which simulates real-world threats.” While I believe the protocol is a useful tool to make a side-by-side comparisons of different cartridges and bullet designs, I do not believe that it simulates “real world threats” for the vast majority of people who own firearms for self defense.
I am sure that the new Winchester Supreme Elite Bonded PDX1 is another line of high-quality, excellent cartridges. However, keep in mind that no matter how good a cartridge may be, it is not the “right” load for all occasions. And, most importantly, only hits count. Your skills with putting multiple rounds into the vital areas of an attacker –with any ammunition– is more important that having the “best” ammo out there.
PDX1 Defender – Handgun Loads
At the time of this writing, Winchester Ammunition offers 10 different centerfire handgun loads in the PDX1 line. They are:
|.380 ACP||95 gr||1,000 fps||211 ft-lbs|
|.38 Special +P||130 gr||949 fps||260 ft-lbs|
|.357 Magnum||125 gr||1,324 fps||487 ft-lbs|
|9mm||147 gr||999 fps||326 ft-lbs|
|9mm +P||124 gr||1199 fps||396 ft-lbs|
|.357 SIG||125 gr||1,350 fps||506 ft-lbs|
|.40 S&W||165 gr||1,140 fps||476 ft-lbs|
|.40 S&W||180 gr||1,025 fps||420 ft-lbs|
|.45 ACP||230 gr||920 fps||432 ft-lbs|
|.45 Colt||225 gr||850 fps||361 ft-lbs|
TNOutdoors9 did a review of the 147 grain 9mm here:
PDX1 Defender – Rimfire
Winchester only offers one rimfire load in the PDX1 brand. It is a 22 WMR load using a 40 grain JHP bullet. The load is rated at 1,295 fps (from an unknown length barrel) and is sold in 50 round boxes.
The .22 WMR load is a welcome addition to the PDX1 line. While “.22” and “rimfire” are not words I would prefer to hear associated with my self defense options, I do recognize that very light recoiling firearms are needed by some people due to physical limitations. Having a .22 WMR revolver or even a 30-round Kel-Tec PMR30 may be the best choice for some people. Using the best possible ammunition could be a literal lifesaver.
Whichever becomes the final Winchester PDX1 ammo isn’t as important as the fact that the ammunition is a credible choice for self-defense if you are limited to this caliber. No body likes being shot, and the more .22 holes you can poke in an attacker, the quicker their desire and ability to harm you will cease.
This is a high-speed video of the new Winchester Ammunition .22 WMR load in the PDX1 line. This video shows a significant amount of tissue upset in the gelatin from the PDX1 .22 WMR cartridge. Also, it appears the bullet penetrates to about 12″, the “magical” depth arbitrarily chosen some years ago.
If I was carrying a .22 Mag for self-defense, I would definitely consider using this ammo. All of the PDX1 rounds Winchester introduced this year have been very impressive in demonstrations, on paper and in video.
Guns & Ammo put this video together on the load:
Just keep in mind that fruit are not violent attackers. What performs well in a watermelon may not do the same in a person.
PDX1 Defender – Centerfire Rifle Loads
While many people assume that self-defense ammunition is something only for handgun calibers, this is not strictly true. Winchester offers four different rifle loads in this ammo line. They are:
- .223 Rem – 60 gr JHP @ 2750 fps
- .223 Rem – 77 gr JHP @ 2500 fps
- .308 Win – 120 gr JHP @ 2850 fps
- 7.62×39 – 120 gr JHP @ 2365 fps
PDX1 .308 Win
Winchester introduced the .308 load to the PDX1 line at the 2012 SHOT Show. The demonstrations performed for the media were impressive.
The .308 is typically known as an excellent cartridge for hunting and for a main battle rifle (MBR) such as the FN FAL or M14. However, penetration concerns have kept more than a few people from seriously considering it as a home defense caliber. The new Winchester ammo might just change that.
The new .308 PDX1 load uses a 120 grain SCT (Split Core Technology) bullet. Similar in concept to the Segmenting Slug, the SCT bullet is designed to fly as a single, efficient bullet and then deliver massive energy and trauma to the target upon impact. Unlike the Segmenting Slug, the SCT is not designed to break into three sections.
The .308 SCT has a forward section where the lead core is not bonded to the jacket. This is done to enhance rapid and massive expansion. The lower portion of the core is welded to the jacket to hold the bullet together and achieve “optimum penetration.”
Shooting these Winchester PDX1 .308 rounds into gel at Media Day was a real eye-opener. Expansion in gelatin, after passing though denim, was consistently very wide with penetration hitting around 12″ every time. I’m not familiar with any other .308 ammo that does this.
Combined with a compact rifle such as the Kel-Tec RFB, this ammunition makes the .308 a very interesting choice for self-defense in urban areas.
The new .223 load uses a 77 grain SCT bullet to achieve similar results as the .308 version. Velocity and energy are both lower than the .308, but it does have the advantage of running in a wide variety of compact carbines.
At the 2013 SHOT Show, Winchester Ammunition introduced a 7.62×39 load for the PDX1 Defender line. The round features a 120 grain bullet rated at 2365 fps. That works out to be about 1,490 ft-lbs of energy.
The bullet used in the load is made with the same split-core technology (SCT) that is used in the .308 load. The SCT has two separate lead cores: the front core is not bonded and provides for rapid expansion. The rear core is bonded to the jacket to ensure deep penetration. Winchester is attempting to provide for rapid incapacitation by using this dual prong approach to bullet construction.
I’ve got some of the Hornady SST ammo for my AK needs right now, but I am very interested in seeing how the Winchester stuff performs.
Winchester Ammunition states the ammo is specifically designed for semi-automatic rifles. There are bolt action guns chambered for this round, but the vast majority of the weapons on the planet that can run this cartridge are AK-variants. So, reliable feeding in a semi- or full-automatic gun is critical.
This is brass-cased ammo with Boxer primers, and it should be reloadable. However, the pages for the ammo has start to pop up on some sales sites, and prices seem to run about $28 – $40 per box. For 20 rounds, that is not cheap. Especially for the caliber normally associated with inexpensive imported ammunition. For the Hornady SST, I think I paid about $35 for a box of 50 rounds. Not cheap, but much more affordable.
Everyday Gunner did an evaluation of the ammo here:
PDX1 Defender – Shotgun Loads
Winchester developed a variety of loads for the shotgun. The loads include 12 gauge, 20 gauge and 410 bore offerings. None of them are what I would call conventional.
The 20 gauge load uses a 3/4 ounce segmenting slug that is designed to break apart and cause multiple wound channels. This reduces penetration and the possibility of over-penetration. There is a wide range of opinion on this.
There are two different 12 gauge loads. One uses a segmenting slug like the 20 gauge. The other load uses a combination of a one ounce slug and three buckshot pellets.
The 12- and 20-gauge loads were introduced at the 2012 SHOT Show. Trainer Rob Pincus was on-hand to shoot the new loads into ballistic gelatin for the media pros who were present.
Pincus stated he believes in the effectiveness of the PDX1 line so much, that he was there on his own time and not on Winchester’s dime. Pincus going out of his way to support the ammunition line is a significant credibility boost for these loads.
All of the loads are designed for maximum initial shock with the ability to penetrate to “near-ideal” depths for personal defense.
The Winchester PDX1 12 gauge Segmenting Slug was one of the most impressive performers. The full-ounce slug is pre-scored which allows it to fly as a single mass, but break into three equal projectiles upon impact. This creates three massive wound channels that achieve penetration of about 12-15″.
In this very short video taken at the 2012 Media Day, Pincus knocks a very heavy block of ballistics gelatin off its stand with a single round of Winchester PDX1 in 12 gauge. The gel block had a blue jeans material cover.
The 2 3/4″ PDX1-12 has three 00 buck pellets atop a one ounce slug. Winchester says the shotgun round provides short and long range stopping capabilities.
Winchester’s PDX1 slug achieves:
- adequate penetration against human attackers
- reduced likelihood of over-penetration in confined areas such as the home
- massive wounding for faster incapacitation of a violent attacker
For the number crunchers, the stated velocity of the slug is 1600 fps, making for almost 2500 ft-lbs of energy at the muzzle. Any way you slice it, the new slug sounds like a winner.
Winchester .410 Load
The 2.5″ .410 shell has three plated “Defense Disc” projectiles and 12 plated BBs while the 3″ shell has four of the discs and 16 of the BBs. The shot shells are reduced recoil loads. Like the .45 Colt above, these .410 shells were specifically designed for the Taurus Judge, which has a rifled barrel. Winchester states the load compensates for aim error.
|PDX1 Defender||PDX1 Defender|
|Shot Type||12 BB & 3 plated discs||16 BB & 4 plated discs|
|Total Shot Weight||not provided||not provided|
|Muzzle Velocity||not provided||750 fps|
This video animation shows the approximate spread from the 2.5″ .410 shot shell when fired from a Judge revolver. You can tell from it that at close ranges, the load appears to be devastating. As distance from the muzzle increases, the BBs spread quickly, while the plated disks are much slower to spread out.
From the animation, it appears the plated disks form a group of less than 2″ at a target distance of about seven feet. On the other hand, the BB’s are much wider, but still stay within a 10″ circle. At about 15 feet, the disks are still forming a tight group that looks to be within 2″. However, the BB’s are very spread out and seem to form a band. The inner edge of the band is about 10″ from the center of the aim, while the outer portion of the band is about 25″.
If you think you might like to carry this ammo in your Taurus Judge, please watch the video. You need to understand where those projectiles are going to go if you have to shoot an attacker who is more than arm’s length away from you.
Winchester is very reluctant to share information on the velocity and energy of these loads. I expect penetration is fairly shallow.
The Taurus Judge line of revolvers have been a smash hit for the company, and ammunition companies have been working on specialized ammo loads to meet consumer demand for these revolvers. Federal introduced .410 ammo for the Judge at the 2009 SHOT Show. Hornady Manufacturing took a little longer, but has a Judge load called the .410 Triple Defense that uses a FTX slug plus two .35 caliber balls.
Updated: March 31, 2022