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Winchester Hybrid-X: New Defensive Ammo

Winchester Hybrid-X

Winchester Ammunition announced a new defensive ammo called the Hybrid-X. The Winchester Hybrid-X ammo merges multiple bullet technologies to provide rapid incapacitation of a violent attacker.

But, is the new design an improved manstopper or just a gimmick? Although the ammo has a long way to go to prove itself, I think the line has some merit. Let’s take a look at what it is, where it may have drawn some inspiration and what it actually does in a testing medium.

The Basics

The new bullet design combines a polymer tip, a copper jacket and a segmenting lead core. As the bullet strikes the target the core is designed to break into smaller projectiles and, according to Winchester, “deliver massive energy transfer.”

Looking at the illustrations of the bullet, it would appear that the polymer tip makes up the majority of the rounded cone on the leading end. The segmenting core appears to have something akin to a wadcutter profile.

Initially, the new ammo will be offered only in 9mm. However, the company is likely to expand the line based on consumer feedback and request. The 9mm load uses a 124 grain bullet and is loaded to +P pressures. At the muzzle, the bullet’s measured velocity is 1,225 fps. Although the design is uncommon, the bullet’s weight and velocity are in line with other conventional loads.

Quik-Shok: Inspiration from the past?

Rounds like the Hybrid-X have been made in the past. For example, legendary defensive bullet designer Tom Burczynski designed a projectile called the Quik-Shok. This bullet technology was licensed by the defunct Triton ammunition company that sold the rounds in a wide variety of calibers.

According to an article written by Burczynski in the book Street Stoppers, the Quik-Shok bullet fragmented into three parts upon impact. Compared to typical fragmenting self-defense loads of the time, the Quik-Shok round delivered deeper penetration (about 10″.) Burczynski wrote he designed the load “primarily for law enforcement use in hostage situations or special situations where extremely rapid incapacitation is paramount.”

Winchester Hybrid-X new ammo

The Winchester Hybrid-X appears to be a different animal, though the concept is appears to be similar to that of the Quik-Shok. It is likely the company engineered this round to penetrate to the arbitrary 12″ minimum depth of the FBI testing protocols. If so, this load may offer a significant alternative to both citizens and law enforcement agencies deciding on what to carry.

Range Testing

Recently, Rob Pincus became the first person outside of Winchester Ammunition to test the Hybrid-X ammo. Pincus is the director of the Personal Defense Network and a firearms trainer.

According to Pincus, the Hybrid-X ammunition “ran flawlessly” in multiple compact and full-size self-defense handguns. Pincus also said that accuracy with the round was “solid.”

Winchester Hybrid-X penteration testing

Pincus shot a number of these new rounds into Clear Ballistics testing medium. Clear Ballistics makes a synthetic alternative to ballistics gelatin that is used for FBI testing. While it is not identical to the “official” testing medium, it does offer an early look at potential performance.

All shots into the Clear Ballistics blocks were made at 12′ and with two layers of cotton clothing over the facing side of the block.

From the photos Pincus provided me, it appears the 9mm load penetrated to about 7-8″ before it broke into its designed shards. These pieces continued to penetrate deeper into the block. It appears in the photo above that two of the pieces penetrated to about 12″ and a third went to about 13″.

Winchester Hybrid-X ammo review

“I’m still a fan of the modern bonded hollowpoint,” said Pincus. “Rounds like the Defender round or the “D” from Winchester’s Train & Defend line are my primary choice for self defense. However, the Hybrid-X is an impressive option for a non-traditional approach. The design offers the feeding characteristics of a ball round but with far greater wounding capacity.”

Pincus said that a video of his testing will be posted at the Personal Defense Network in the near future.

Final Thoughts

I’ve always liked the idea of this kind of bullet. None of the segmented bullet designs to date, however, have ever managed to convince me to move away from traditional hollowpoint designs.

The testing information and photos provided by Pincus are suggestive that Winchester Ammunition has a product that offers better performance than older fragmenting bullet designs. Additional testing through barriers and with traditional ballistics gelatin will likely be instructive on how far the company has moved the design forward.

I look forward to seeing testing of this ammunition, and expect Winchester will have demos run at the 2018 SHOT Show.

Note: This article has been updated to include first hand testing information from Rob Pincus. Thanks to Pincus for giving me permission to use his photos in this article.

By Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson is a gun writer, amateur historian and - most importantly - a dad. He's done a lot of silly things in his life, but quitting police work to follow his passion of writing about guns was one of the smartest things he ever did. He founded this site and continues to manage its operation.

12 replies on “Winchester Hybrid-X: New Defensive Ammo”

Honestly not expanding 7 to 8 inches may satisfy the penetration obsessed community… who just love penetration… lol. But the 8 inches means the bullets does;t expand until its passed the human heart and lungs… the two main targets when shooting at the torso. Though it will increase the likelihood of a spinal injury i suppose… that also works… but id rather the guy drop dead from death then drop down being paralyzed (I know that is gross over-simplification, but you know what I mean). I’d rather use a DRT fragmenting round the starts fragmenting 2-4 inches in; that is a better depth for massive blood loss and rapid incapacitation due to a vital organ strike. I’d prefer the old Quik-Shok to these for that reason. The FBI standard has everyone ignoring anatomy. And gel is more analogous to human muscle than human lungs and organs. So there’s a change the bullet will start fragmenting right its about exit the person’s back!

That’s actually not true lol. Ballistics gel is not an exact replica of human tissue. Hell you calibrate the gel by shooting a .177 BB going 500fps into it.. Which should penetrate to about 3-3.5 inches… Lol and I’ve been shot many times with bb guns and never has one entered the skin. It’ll leave a welt or even break the skin… But not pierce it.

Hello Richard,

First off. Thanks for the article. I’ve been very curious of this new round. But I heard it has been discontinued now. Combine that with the lack of information and reviews out there, I’m thinking it is true! Have you heard anything if this round is going to be produced? Or has it really been discontinued? Thanks.

Hi Casey,

Thanks for the message. After your note, I emailed my one of my contacts and he confirmed that the ammunition is not available and will not be offered in the future. He was unsure if any made it into production or why the project was canceled.

I wish I had more information for you.

_Richard

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