It has been about three years since the RIP round made by G2 Research hit the shelves. There was an interesting mix of opinions all over the internet surrounding this ammunition. RIP has been said to stand for both Rest in Peace and Radically Invasive Projectile. Both names could be an accurate description for this round. The idea behind the design of the 9mm RIP ammo was to make a single round more lethal with more stopping power.
The 9mm RIP Ammo Hype
There were plenty of anti-gun enthusiasts that threw a hissy fit when this round hit the shelves. They claimed that the round was designed to explode, and that it would destroy anything with which it came in contact. The argument was that this type of ammunition would turn flesh wounds into lethal blows. They claimed that this round would bring nothing but death and destruction every time somebody pulled the trigger. These people did not exactly have their facts correct.
Another side of the hype was from gun enthusiasts who were excited about the revolutionary design. If you ask me, I want as much stopping power as I can safely and comfortably wield. If I feel threatened enough to pull the trigger, I want the threat to be eliminated. The design also looks futuristic and unique. Anything new and unique in the gun world will draw a good sized fan club. However, you have to ask if the 9mm RIP ammo deserves the excitement it received.
There was also the marketing campaign created by G2 Research. G2 yelled from the rooftops that RIP was the “last round you will ever need.” There were plenty of images floating around the web of this weird looking round. The fact of the matter is that this bullet looks mean. At first glance you feel like it would be more effective than a standard hollow point round. The pictures did most of the selling during their marketing campaign.
Within just a few days after release of the round, the Youtube video advertisement had over 1.5 million hits. Handgun lovers were flocking to stores to try to find the ammo. The first disappointment came when they saw the price tag or saw that the shelves were empty. The next disappointment came when they tried out the ammo. Many people wrote off G2 Research as crooks after the boisterous claims about the round and followed by the disappointing results.
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The 9mm RIP round is a CNC-machined, 96 grain copper bullet. The RIP round is currently available in 9mm and .380. However, G2 says they will have an RIP round for the .357, .40, .45, and even a shotgun slug. The bullet is a hollow point with the tip split into eight sections, each being about six grain. The round is designed to split into eight different rods upon impact with each traveling outward from the center. This leaves a core of 50-60 grain to penetrate straight through. G2 calls the tip their Trocar design, and it creates eight additional wound channels from one round.
While the 9mm RIP ammo looks nifty with an intimidating design, it is not all that unique or effective. Companies have been toying around with fragmenting rounds for decades. For example, air marshals are constantly looking for a round that will stop a target without puncturing the thin walls of an aircraft. If a bullet would completely fragment and stay within the body of their target, that would be the perfect product for their job.
Those that feared the deadly power of this round described the 9mm RIP ammo as a bullet throwing shrapnel in all directions. This is far from accurate. If the round threw shrapnel like an explosive does, there would be significant chunks of metal flying in all directions. The tiny 6 grain rods that break off of this round only penetrate about three to four inches. They create some additional damage, but do not make the RIP any more lethal than a normal hollow point. The majority of the damage is done by the core which penetrates to around 14 inches.
There are other issues to consider. When we say that the rods from the Tricor tip penetrated three to four inches, it was seen in ballistic gel. This means they did not come into contact with any bone. We expect that these rods would not make it through the bone that would be present in an upper chest shot. Chances are that the only part of the round that would hit vital organs would be the core.
However, this presents another issue. The core is only 50-60 grain and is long and thin. The wound channel created by this core is very narrow and would not do a great deal of damage. In most cases shooting an assailant with this round would have a similar effect to shooting the assailant with a smaller caliber handgun.
Those that criticize the round as too lethal said that the Tricor tip acted like a ‘hole saw’ as it impacted the human body. This is simply not the case. The RIP round may be ideal for apartments or condos where you would prefer not to disturb the little old lady in 2B as you take out an attacker. However, it is not the ultimate hand of death that people expected.
The one factor that is very difficult to compare is the shock wave created when a bullet hits the body. Many people have said that the fragmentation of the 9mm RIP ammo is designed mainly to create this shockwave at the point of impact. There is no way to quantify this effect with ballistic gel or targets. In my research of ammo for my deer rifle, I have read that the shockwave created by certain high velocity rounds will disrupt the nervous system of a deer and cause it to drop in its tracks. I am sure it is the same principle with the RIP ammo.
I did find a review that described a set of tests performed comparing the RIP rounds with standard 9mm hollow point rounds. There was one test that I feel shows the effect of the shock wave produced by the RIP round. A watermelon about ten inches in diameter was placed on a post and shot with a standard hollow point. The melon exploded into large chunks that were thrown about 15 feet in every direction. Then the experiment was repeated with the RIP round. The watermelon literally disintegrated and debris was found 40 feet from the post.
So that makes for a tough decision. Many people have said that the 9mm RIP ammo is no more effective than a .22 LR. The argument really comes down priorities. Is the shock wave created by the round more important, or is the size and depth of the wound channel more important? One could justifiably argue both sides.
The other factor you must consider is the cost of these rounds. As with any rounds that are CNC machined, these are quite expensive. You can expect to pay around $45 for a box of 20 of these rounds. In comparison, you can easily pick up a box of 20 standard 9mm hollow point rounds for less than $20. That is a large enough cost difference that RIP rounds better be significantly more effective for me to make the switch from other rounds. Ammo restrictions like proposition 63 are also something you should consider.
In my opinion, G2 Research should send a royalty check to all those cry-babies that criticized the 9mm RIP ammo as being too lethal. They actually helped fuel sales of the rounds by hyping the ammo as being more powerful than it actually is. There have been plenty of consumers that have purchased the round with high expectations and then posted negative reviews about the performance of the round.
I am going to say that the vast majority of the comments I have heard or read about the 9mm RIP ammo is negative. However, the ones that tout the effectiveness of the ammo are convincing and passionate. This decision is not just about which round is potentially more effective. The RIP round is newer technology. I have years of experience with standard hollow points and trust that they will do the job. The price difference is large enough that I cannot convince myself to make the change.
My final decision is that sticking with conventional hollow point rounds is a safer bet than the 9mm RIP ammo. While it looks mean and it employs an interesting concept, the results do not lie. It has been proven that standard hollow point rounds will penetrate and put down an attacker. If I have to trust my life or the lives of my family to one round, this is not the round. In this case the original design is better, and I will keep using my classic hollow points.