Autopsy of a Round: G2 R.I.P.

G2 RIP 9mm

Title image via Buffman R.A.N.G.E.

If there is one round that I see come up for discussion over and over again it’s the G2 R.I.P. round. Offered in a variety of calibers, from .380 ACP all the way up to 10mm and .45 ACP this looks like a devastating round with lots of potential. I’ve seen many people pick up this ammo, ask questions about it, or state that it’s their defensive round of choice. I write this more or less as something I can point to whenever the topic of the G2 R.I.P. round comes up. After making essentially the same reply over and over again, I figured this would be a good topic to tackle.

The short version is this.

When compared to other proven bullet designs I do not personally think that the G2 R.I.P. design is a suitable defensive solution in any caliber. While the initial wound track is devastating not only is it on average smaller in testing than reported by the manufacturer but it is far too shallow to be effective in reliably penetrating beyond the ribcage. What you end up doing is shooting someone with a very light, 43 grain, projectile followed by several .22 caliber bullets with shallow penetration. If that sounds like something you’d trust in your carry firearm, by all means, go ahead and use them. For me, however, I will be selecting something more proven and less expensive as my personal defensive handgun cartridge.

Now for those of you who would like a more in-depth analysis of why I have come to these conclusions I’ll elucidate fully as to why I think that the G2 R.I.P. ammo is a poor option.

The Marketing

First let me start off by saying that I’m not one for nixing innovation simply because it’s new. I’ve written in the past about new designs that have potential, however for innovation to be a true step forward it needs to bring something better to the table.

While I don’t personally buy into the oft-repeated, but false, argument that having some sort of “scary” or “offensive” customization on your defensive firearm will land you in trouble with the law. The way that G2 marketed their product is, questionable at best. Much hay could be made about the name of the round but frankly I don’t care. They could name it “Murder Hammer” for all I care. I want a cartridge that will work. Yet, there were a number of assertions made by the company that were, well, false. Below is their marketing video for the round, released in 2014.

Stabilizing the Projectile With Turbulence?

Ok, I’ll admit it, I’m not a physicist, nor someone with vast knowledge about ballistic aerodynamics. However the phrase “unique turbulence that stabilizes the projectile” sounds very much like a non sequitur. Let’s forget about ballistic coefficient for a bit since, after all, we are talking about a handgun round here, not a match grade bullet that we are trying to make a 1000 yard shot with. Does that really sound like something that makes sense? When has turbulence ever imparted stability? To me this sounds like marketing buzzwords, not anything real.

The Bullet Acts Like a Hole Saw

Nope, just no. I’ll let ShootingTheBull410 take this one.

It looks like a hole saw, yes, but act like one? Consider this — a normal 9mm handgun barrel’s rifling delivers one rotation in about 10″ of travel. G2 says that their ammo travels at 1,265 feet per second. That means that when it hits a barrier, it’s not going to sit there spinning and sawing through that barrier — it’s going to have traveled about a foot past the barrier before it’s even completed one rotation! That ain’t a hole saw.

So it’s not going to act like a hole saw. It will impact and, though velocity and kinetic energy, penetrate, just like any other round.

Acoustic Wave

Huh? Acoustic wave? I think they mean Hydrostatic Shock. Without going too deep into the subject matter, there is much disagreement about how effective hydrostatic shock is in regards to handgun calibers. What is far more reliable is permanent wound cavities and destruction of vital organs. Handgun calibers don’t have enough force to impart a reliable hydrostatic shock effect, even rifle calibers are not able to deliver a deadly hydrostatic shock with any certainty. Jim Carmichel writing for OutdoorLife.com adds this anecdote.

Whereas virtually all of our opinions about knockdown power are based on isolated examples, the data gathered during the culling operation was taken from a number of animals. Even more important, the animals were then examined and dissected in a scientific manner by professionals.

Predictably, some of the buffalo dropped where they were shot and some didn’t, even though all received near-identical hits in the vital heart-lung area. When the brains of all the buffalo were removed, the researchers discovered that those that had been knocked down instantly had suffered massive rupturing of blood vessels in the brain. The brains of animals that hadn’t fallen instantly showed no such damage. So what is the connection?

Their conclusion was that the bullets that killed instantly had struck just at the moment of the animal’s heartbeat! The arteries to the brain, already carrying a full surge of blood pressure, received a mega-dose of additional pressure from the bullet’s impact, thus creating a blood pressure overload and rupturing the vessels.

Acoustics are for suppressors and music halls not bullets.

The Full Auto Problem

One of the things I want to note about this video is the use of full auto firearms to demonstrate the effectiveness of the round. We can see gel blocks almost decimated by round after round, from a full auto firearm. I don’t know about you but I’m not going to be reaching for a full auto firearm as my self or home defense firearm, even if I had a class three FFL. They are just not practical for the kind of defensive fire that your average citizen or law enforcement officer is going to need. Even the military uses full auto fire situationally. Yet here we see them used as what I would argue is a trick. One to make you think that these rounds are capable of more than they actually are. Yes, pumping dozens of rounds of G2 R.I.P. ammo into someone is probably going to do a ton of damage and stop them. So will a normal hollow point round. However, when we actually look at the testing and compare it to more traditional bullet designs we see that, while visually impressive, what we actually need, mass and penetration, is lacking.

The Testing

For full disclosure, I personally have not tested these rounds. However, I see little reason to believe that my own testing would produce results any different from what we are going to examine. I have seen multiple tests from sources I trust and they all have given similar results.

For reference let’s take a look at what G2 says about the round’s specifications

  • Weight – 92 Grains
  • Material – Solid copper
  • Velocity – 1250 FPS average (+10%)
  • Energy – Not provided on website (estimated at 330 ft./lbs at the muzzle based on velocity)
  • Penetration – 14 “- 16”
  • Trocar Spread – 6″

Tnoutdoors9 Tests the G2 R.I.P. In 9mm

Review, including two test block shots, of the 9mm G2 Research R.I.P. “Radically Invasive Projectile” ammo. Chronographed velocities are from a Glock 19, 4″ barrel. I’m using a calibrated 16″ test block from Clear Ballistics.

The review includes chronograph velocities, day and night shots, test shot; post-shot review of cavitation, penetration, diameter, and retained weight. 

Results

  • Weight – 92.7 Grains
  • Retained Weight (Base) – 43.3 to 43.2 grains
  • Retained Weight (Trocars) – 6.4 grains
  • Average Velocity – 1329 fps (+5% over advertised)
  • Muzzle Energy – 365 ft./lbs
  • Maximum Penetration – 14″
  • Minimum Penetration – 13.25″
  • Average Penetration – 13.63″
  • Trocar Penetration Depth – 3.25″ – 5″
  • Trocar Penetration Width – 3.5 – 5″ (two trocars exited the block in the bare gelatin test) 
  • Reliability Issues – None noted

Notes

Shooting outdoors both during the day and the night it was interesting to note that these rounds had very little recoil or muzzle flash. Given the light bullets the low recoil impulse is not surprising and great for a defensive round. The low flash is a good thing for a defensive handgun load as well, especially when low light defensive situations are a high probability. However, given that the total permanent wound cavity was less than what you’d normally see with other, more traditional hollow point rounds, this leaves one worried as to how effective they would be.

The velocity does come in over what they advertised, though the depth of penetration and the spread are less than what G2 claims. A reduction of 1″ to 2″ in both penetration and spread, at higher velocities than they claim is something to take note of.

While the trocars do spread out a fair bit, they would likely have far too little energy to do any real damage, especially if they hit bone. As he notes in the video, center of mass hits have an 80% chance of hitting bone before they reach a vital organ. My question to you is, do you trust a 43 grain projectile that exceeds FBI standards by 1″ to 2″ to pass through bone and sill hit a vital organ? Let alone a 6.4 grain projectile that only penetrates, at most, 5″.

ShootingTheBull410 Tests G2 R.I.P. 9mm

Part 1: Ballistic Gel Test

ShootingTheBull410 actually conducted a series of tests on this round and his results were interesting to say the least.

The test pistol was a Glock 19 with 4.02″ barrel. This pistol delivered velocity even higher than that claimed by the company; the company advertises a muzzle velocity of 1256 feet per second, and in this test the ammo delivered an average of 1313 feet per second.

This particular test is a bare gelatin test using professional ballistic gelatin mixed, prepared, stored, and calibrated properly, mixed at a 10% ratio (1 part gel to 9 parts water). The gelatin is VYSE professional ballistic gel, sold by Gelatin Innovations Inc.

Results

  • Weight – Not provided, assuming 92 grains
  • Retained Weight (Base) – Not provided
  • Retained Weight (Trocars) – 5.3 grains
  • Average Velocity – 1302 fps
  • Muzzle Energy – 346 ft./lbs (calculated from velocity)
  • Maximum Penetration – 12.75″
  • Minimum Penetration – Single round tested
  • Average Penetration – Single round tested
  • Trocar Penetration Depth – 4″ – 5″
  • Trocar Penetration Width – Not provided
  • Reliability Issues – None in the video, but feeding issues noted here

Notes

Again we see less spread and penetration from the trocars and the base then claimed while at a higher velocity than advertised by G2. I reiterate my previous statement from the section on Tnoutdoors9’s video, do I really trust something that can be beaten by .22 LR in terms of penetration? Furthermore we also see that the base provides a diameter of .355″ while a typical 9mm hollow point bullet will expand to .52″ or more.

Part 2: Denim & Plywood Vs. Federal HST

 

Results – 4 Layers of Denim

  • Weight – Not provided, assuming 92 grains
  • Retained Weight (Base) – 48-49 grains
  • Retained Weight (Trocars) – 5.9 – 6.1 grains
  • Average Velocity – 1326 fps
  • Muzzle Energy – 359 ft./lbs
  • Maximum Penetration – 14.5″
  • Minimum Penetration – Single round tested
  • Average Penetration – Single round tested
  • Trocar Penetration Depth – 4″
  • Trocar Penetration Width – 3.5″
  • Reliability Issues – One failure to feed, previously noted from first video.

Results – Plywood

  • Weight – Not provided, assuming 92 grains
  • Retained Weight (Base) – 48-49 grains
  • Retained Weight (Trocars) – 5.9 – 6.1 grains
  • Average Velocity – 1312 fps
  • Muzzle Energy – 352 ft./lbs
  • Maximum Penetration – 9″
  • Minimum Penetration – Single round tested
  • Average Penetration – Single round tested
  • Trocar Penetration Depth – 3.75″ – 6″ 
  • Trocar Penetration Width – Approximately 2″ – 3″
  • Reliability Issues – One failure to feed, previously noted from first video.

Results – 12 Layers of Denim

  • Weight – Not provided, assuming 92 grains
  • Retained Weight (Base) – 48-49 grains
  • Retained Weight (Trocars) – 5.9 – 6.1 grains
  • Average Velocity – 1311 fps
  • Muzzle Energy – 351 ft./lbs
  • Maximum Penetration – 14.25″
  • Minimum Penetration – Single round tested
  • Average Penetration – Single round tested
  • Trocar Penetration Depth – 6″
  • Trocar Penetration Width – 2.75″
  • Reliability Issues – One failure to feed, previously noted from first video.

Notes

As we’ve already discussed the claims about the G2 R.I.P ammo acting like a hole saw is completely bogus. Here the base is measured at .375″, but again this is still less than a standard hollow point. The comparison, Federal HST expanded to .460″. Since the base is the only part of the bullet that we can even start to count on to reach vital organs diameter is important. To give you an idea of how much of a difference this is I’ll let ShootingTheBull410 explain from his post on The Truth About Guns,

Using the Schwartz Quantitative Ammunition Selection mathematical formulas, we can calculate that the R.I.P.’s base would destroy 19.66 grams of tissue. The HST, on the other hand, expanded to an average diameter of .522”.  That gives it a total surface area nearly twice as large as the G2 R.I.P. bullet, 137 square mm. And, combined with the HST’s deeper penetration, that gives us a total level of tissue destruction of 44.34 grams.

How much meat destruction is that? It’s about as much as a hot dog; imagine someone carving a hot dog’s worth of flesh out of your body, and that’s about what a 9mm HST will do.

Not terribly impressive when you start to think about it, but let’s move onto the plywood.

Through the plywood the penetration was abysmal, however, when compared to the Federal HST you are left with a conundrum. Do you want a round that might do very little once passing through a barrier or do you want a round that might act like a full metal jacket after passing through plywood? Neither are ideal. However even if you are a LEO, the chances of you having to shoot through plywood are low. Drywall or a standard interior door might be more representative of a barrier that might have to be shot though. Looking at how the bullet performed through the plywood I see the potential for a much more devastating round. However we will revisit this idea later as G2 has some other designs besides the R.I.P..

The final denim test was, of course to test G2’s claims about this round being able to perform even when faced with an absurd amount of clothing. While I will conceded that it did do it’s job when the other round failed and just kept going, that does not mean that it is any better than what is already out there. In this test all of the trocars failed to go nearly as far out as they did with the standard four layer test. Thus the large but shallow wound is all but gone and you are again, throwing a very light projectile at a depth of 14″.

Without going too deep here as to why these standards exist, they do so for a reason. These requirements factor in mitigating elements like bone and muscle tissue before reaching vital organs. The depth requirements are there to account for these things and they have been borne out in real world situations. Law enforcement and civilians have found that when using rounds that meet these FBI standards they stand a far greater chance of actually stopping an attack by hitting something vital. It’s only by hitting something vital can we achieve an actual end to the threat quickly and reliably.

Part 3: Ribs and Chickens

Results – Human Analogue

  • Weight – Not provided, assuming 92 grains
  • Retained Weight (Base) – 49.4 grains
  • Retained Weight (Trocars) – Not provided, assuming same as previous testing
  • Average Velocity – Not provided
  • Muzzle Energy – Not provided
  • Maximum Penetration – 12″
  • Minimum Penetration – Single round tested
  • Average Penetration – Single round tested
  • Trocar Penetration Depth – Not provided
  • Trocar Penetration Width – Not provided
  • Reliability Issues – None noted

Notes

When your 9mm round is being compared to a .380 ACP shouldn’t you stop and think about what you are loading in your pistol? Even if it were a standard .380 ACP hollow point, the .380 would be able to do more damage than the base of this round simply because it expands, and the R.I.P. rounds do not. In fear of once again, repeating myself, as stated in the video, that the four inches of penetration that the trocars get, does not equal four inches of penetration in a human or animal body. We are dealing with bone, skin, and more. When human skin is able to resist about four inches of equivalent penetration in ballistic gel the reasons why the FBI penetration standards exist become more clear. Then when you start to think about how an attacker’s body might be positioned the penetration requirements become even more clear.

Looking at the chicken tests we can see that the G2 R.I.P. is not doing anything more than what a standard, and far less expensive hollow point would do. Bear in mind that the Gold Dot’s used actually have a proven track record with civilians and law enforcement.

When we move to the human simulant test we see something interesting, the trocars almost entirely failed to get beyond the ribs at two inches deep into the gel. None of them went through the bones, and what did get past the bones went around them. Leaving the 48 odd grain base being the only real thing to get deep enough to potentially damage vital organs. Now again, what would you rather have, a 48 grain, non-expanding round, or a 124 grain round that would be able to do more damage and penetrate deeper? Compare the two rounds and the damage they are doing and ask yourself, which one do you want to use?

What About Other Calibers of G2 R.I.P.?

Given the substandard performance that we have seen from the G2 R.I.P. ammo in 9mm I have little reason to believe that it would fare any better in the smaller .380 caliber. Maybe the larger calibers will produce better results. Yet, when we scale up to a larger caliber the question remains, what does this design offer above and beyond other, more proven, designs? The trocars will probably fare little better in the larger calibers. I’ll admit, this is speculation, but since the 9mm is such a poor performer how are we to expect any better from the larger calibers? What about the smaller .380 ACP version? I suspect it would fare even worse than the 9mm.

The Question of the Psychological Stop

One argument that could be made for this round is the matter of the psychological stop. A large, bloody, and probably painful, but shallow would could give an attacker more of a reason to stop. However psychological stops are a terrible thing to trust your life to. Much like the myth of the “one shot stop” we can’t guarantee a psychological stop any more than we can a one shot stop with a handgun. These things are unreliable. What is reliable is the ability to do permanent damage with a bullet, and the G2 R.I.P. ammo does not show any advantages over other options out there.

Haven’t I Seen These Before?

Honestly the design and effect of these bullets are not too dissimilar to something I have seen before. Glaser Safety Slugs. These rounds had a load of birdshot in them, either #6 or #12. They too produced shallow yet impressive wound channels that had little chance of hitting a vital organ. While the Federal Air Marshals did use them during the 70’s and 80’s for fear of over penetration and rupturing the cabin hull. They eventually moved away from them and back to more conventional hollow points. I think you can start to see why.

The Better Option

If you insist on throwing money at G2 for their ammo I’ll direct you to another line of their products, one that might actually do more damage than a standard hollow point. The Civic Duty line of cartridges, ditches the trocar design and instead acts more like a conventional hollow point. While I still have reservations about these rounds, such as their claimed ten inches of penetration. Especially when G2’s numbers for the performance of the R.I.P. rounds have been inaccurate across the board. For someone enamored by G2’s marketing, the Civic Duty line looks to be a much more reliable round and one I would recommend over the R.I.P. design.

Rest In Peace G2 R.I.P.

Honestly I can’t in any good conscience recommend this round to anyone looking to actually defend themselves. I’ve spent years hunting around for the best information I can find, questioning and researching why the standards of penetration exist. Comparing the merits of various calibers and bullet designs. While I’ll probably never settle on just one solution, because, honestly who can ever own just one gun? The G2 R.I.P. round is definitely off my list. What worries me is that this round continues to have its proponents and those who insist that it’s an acceptable round for self-defense. Some defend this round with the kind of vitriol that I’d expect from a leftist insisting that guns are evil. Yet, both miss the plain truth in front of them. Guns are not evil and the G2 R.I.P. round is a poor choice for a self-defense loading.

I fear the day that one of these people might actually have to use a G2 R.I.P. round in self-defense and find it lacking in a situation where it’s needed most. Please, if you are considering these rounds, if for nothing else look at it this way. There are many other proven, and reliable rounds on the market today that are far less expensive and have generated far less controversy over their performance. You will not only be better armed but also have more money to spend on more rounds for training.

At the end of the day I leave your choice of ammo up to you. If you, after all of this still believe that the G2 R.I.P round is acceptable, then buy as many as you can, test them to make sure that they will feed reliably in your firearm, and hope, just like the rest of us, that you never have to use them.