What's new

DRT Ammo: Good or Bad?

Until this past February I have never heard of, or maybe just never noticed, the maroon boxes labeled "DRT" (Dynamic Research Technologies) on the shelves of my sporting goods supplier. I was there to simply buy some target ammo as I was already set on carry JHP's for my 9mm and .380ACP; Winchester White Box, Remington UMC, and CCI Blazer Brass are the only boxes I take notice of when shopping for target ammo. However, while looking at the prices of the target 9mm, I noticed a rather unusual price tag that read $9.99. Initially thinking it was target ammo I asked the clerk to take a look at the box. At this point I noticed that these weren't solid ball FMJ's, but it was a box of (20) 85gr jacketed hollow points, with a proclamation stating "highly accurate, penetrating, frangible". 85 grain? Frangible? Immediately I thought I was just going to hand the box back to the clerk and grab what I came for. But I read the rest of the box, pulled up a few quick reviews on my phone, and spoke with the clerk about it a little bit who said that he'd just purchased some himself.

While the concept of 85gr rounds for a 9mm was very weird to me, it seems the logic behind it is that the lighter weight projectile will travel considerably faster. There is definitely some merit to that thought; I'm a person who really likes the idea of the .17HMR and .357 SIG. The information that I found suggested that the average velocity at 10 ft was a little over 1300 fps, and the impact energy was 328 ft/lbs. Considering the price tag, I thought those numbers were pretty respectable but I wasn't sold on the idea of trusting them for a defensive purpose. What did peak my interest though was the word "frangible". The box states that the projectile is made of a compressed lead-free metal, with a (what looks like) copper jacket. From that same quick Google search I learned that these rounds were designed to prevent over-penetration. This bullet is reported to pulverize once it strikes a hard surface (steel, brick), and is supposedly designed to penetrate 2" into a soft target (such as a body) and "sandblast" the inside of that target. It is supposed to be robust enough that it will penetrate a car windshield, or other similar cover, then perform this "sandblasting" trick once it enters a body. These claims really interested me because I live in a walking town, where the houses are fairly close to one another, there are folks walking up and down the sidewalks all the time, and an over-penetrating round could cause some devastating damage. I felt that these could provide me some level of comfort should I ever need to use them in a home defense situation, because in that situation I'm unlikely to be thinking about where the shot will end up if it were to go through my target. So, I purchased two boxes of the 9mm for $10/ea, and I also purchased two boxes of the DRT frangible .380ACP for about $14/ea. The .380 I was a little more comfortable with; the rounds are also 85gr which is in the normal (for me) range for that caliber. I figured that I'd try them out, and if I was comfortable with the performance then I could have some home defense rounds for a good price, and peace of mind that one of my shots wouldn't end up in the neighbor's house.

Fast forward to yesterday, where I finally remember to bring those DRT rounds with me to the range. I set up two targets, and proceeded to load my weapons. For 9mm I have a Beretta PX4 Storm compact, and for .380 I have a Taurus TCP 738. First, the .380: My Taurus is a very small subcompact "pocket" pistol. It has a 6 round magazine, the barrel is 2.84", is 0.84" thick, and weighs an airy 10.2 oz. unloaded. I have a TGL laser sight installed, but since we were outside and it was sunny, I just used the very small fixed iron sights. At 5 yds, with that small gun, I was able to place the DRT's in fairly tight groups; all were about 3.5". Clearly I don't claim to be a marksman, but for that tiny gun, and shooting open sighted, I am fairly happy with that. I shot three magazines of the DRT, and switched to 85gr Remington UMC FMJ's for three magazines for comparison. I felt less recoil with the DRT's, and my accuracy was just about the same, and neither round produced a single FTE or FTF. So to summarize, if I get the same results shooting another two boxes of the DRT 85gr .380's, then I would feel as comfortable carrying those in my TCP 738 as I do my usual carry round for that pistol - Hornady American Gunner 90gr JHP's.

For the 9mm, I had a substantially different experience. My Beretta, while classified as compact, is a stout gun. It has a 15 round magazine, the barrel is 3.2", is 1.4" thick, and weighs a beefy 27.2 oz unloaded. It has adjustable 3-dot combat sights, and due to the heavier weight and Berretta's rotating barrel design it disperses recoil in even the hottest loads and is deadly accurate; because of the rotating barrel I can shoot tighter groups than in guns with barrels exceeding 4.5". I loaded two magazines with 10 rounds each, and unfortunately it took me 15 minutes to burn through those mags. I would chamber the first round, fire, the round would eject, but the ammo wouldn't feed. I was never able to shoot more than two consecutive shots without clearing a FTF. This gun is extremely reliable, and I've never had any issues with FTE or FTF with any ammo, but it did not like this DRT stuff. My groups were 2.5" at 5 yds, which I would consider OK. But the fact that I had to clear jams after almost every shot had me really frustrated. I mentioned that the gun is fairly heavy, and while the recoil spring isn't terribly stiff, the slide is very heavy. I just don't think the light 85gr rounds had enough "oomph" to cycle the firearm properly. That being said, those light rounds produced recoil akin to shooting a .22, and if the ammo would've fed that would've been a very desirable quality. After the DRT nonsense I fired off 60 rounds of Winchester 115gr FMJ's, had zero FTE/FTF issues, and had groups at about 2". After this outing I'm going to stick with the Hornady XTP 147gr JHP's in my Beretta 9mm.

At the end of the day, I can't substantiate the claims of "sandblasting" the target, or preventing over-penetration. What I can say is that the DRT 85gr .380 performed just fine, and was a very reasonable price for JHP's in that caliber. The DRT 85gr 9mm is something that, despite being relatively accurate, is not something that I can recommend to anyone who has a pistol with a stiff recoil spring, or has a heavy slide. I'm eyeing up a Walter PPS, and that is a smaller gun that might cycle fine with the lighter ammo, maybe I'll try it in that gun. But I love my PX4 Storm because it is stout, and unfortunately the DRT seems too weak to cycle it properly.

If anyone has any other stories about DRT ammo I'd love to hear them. I love the idea of "sandblasting" a cavity, and a lighter weight - higher velocity round, unfortunately it just doesn't work with my 9mm. But if anyone has done any testing and can confirm different (or even similar) results, please share!

DRT Boxes


DRT Rounds
$DRT_Boxes, Rounds.jpg

The firearms used
$DRT_Taurus, Beretta.jpg

DRT rounds compared to my normal carry rounds
Last edited:


Self Ignored by Vista
I've never used DRT in an auto or revolver, so I'm not much help. You do know what the "other" acronym for DRT is?

Dead Right There.
Never heard of them, but I only use Hornady ammunition, specially for carry and home defense. I'm going to look at his company, thanks for sharing.
I have a box in .40 and .45. I bought them for an edc but wound up finding Ranger SXT's in those calibers, so unfortunately both boxes just sit.
I'm wondering if armslist would be a good place to Put them?
Remington Golder Saber
Speer Gold Dot
Winchester Ranger SXT
The above are all loads in wide use across the USA in multiple local, state and federal agencies in 9mm, .40 cal and .45 cal configurations.

I base this on independent research and personal experience with dozens of agencies and hundreds of agents with whom I have worked over the last 18 years as a prosecutor specializing in narcotics and violent crime coupled with competitve shooting in USPSA, IDPA and the taking of several pistol oriented shooting classes. I know of no agency or individual agent or trainer with whom I have trained who uses DRT for any shooting task.
never heard of DRT, but im surprised the PX4 didn't like it. That itself would deter me from the ammo since my px4 is my most reliable gun, I never had any FTF or FTE out of it either.
I've seen it. And I've been wondering about it. Never tried it.

The .380 is what caught my eye.

So I guess now I need to just give it a whirl.

I do wonder how to validate their claims about disintegrating. And I wonder if that's useful.
never heard of DRT, but im surprised the PX4 didn't like it. That itself would deter me from the ammo since my px4 is my most reliable gun, I never had any FTF or FTE out of it either.

I've never had that issue with mine either. However, for its size it is a heavy gun, and it LOVES the hotter stuff. I just don't think and 85gr round has enough force to rack the slide all the way back. I don't think it has anything to do with the rounds getting hung up because of their shape, or anything; they just don't seem powerful enough to function the gun properly.

I don't have a smaller 9mm than the PX4, but when I have the chance I'll try firing these rounds through one that isn't as heavy.


I wanna be sedated!
Staff member
I just found this post from 2015 and then found a video showing the DRT vs HST. I use HST in my carry pistols but these DRT's are kind of cool. These hillbillies are kind of obnoxious and you may want to FF to the good parts.



Too Fugly For Free.
I like the modern frangible ammo and find it extremely soft shooting, a flatter trajectory and maybe, just maybe a slightly safer round. BUT it does penetrate anything softer than it is like dry wall or two by fours or sheet steel.
Top Bottom