Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Palette's Product Reviews: PMC 9mm JHP

Early last December, LuckyGunner.com sent me the following email:
Good morning Erin,

Anthony from over at LuckyGunner.com here writing to see if you'd be interested in reviewing some ammo.

My initial reaction to this was, Yay! I have hit the big time! Someone sought me out for a review, rather than the other way 'round!

Actually, I take that back. My first reaction was Someone wants to give me ammunition? ZOMG YES. Then, and only then, did I squee.

But I digress. Continuing:
We keep hearing our customers love product reviews and feel more confident if they can read about another shooter’s experience with a product before they buy it.

We’re currently seeing a lot of growth in demand for PMC products. That said, since they’re not the one of the “big three” American companies, some customers still wonder about the quality and reliability. I expect your readers and viewers would be interested to learn how the product performs.

If you have any interest in doing a review please shoot me a message back and let me know what caliber would be best. To be clear, we don’t manufacture these products, so we don’t have a dog in the fight – we aren’t asking you to sugar-coat the review – we just want a fair shake and to help consumers get a third-party assessment of how this growing brand performs.

Well, of course I said yes to this kind and generous donation to my ammo fund. I was rather disappointed to discover that PMC does not manufacture any bullets in 7.62x54R, but they do make 9mm. Since I own both a pistol and a carbine in that caliber, I was thrilled to find that LuckyGunner had overnighted me 100 rounds of 9x19 PMC Bronze 115gr JHP.

(For the non-gunnies: JHP is Jacketed Hollow Point. FMJ is Full Metal Jacket. This will become relevant shortly.)

The Review
Good news! The bullets went bang. The end.

... you probably want more than that, don't you? Okay. Hmm. The problem here, see, is that until today I've never shot hollowpoints before, on account of being both poor and stingy. Thus I am at a bit of a disadvantage in terms of comparing different types of JHP.

So here's what I did:  Since the PMC Bronze was 115gr, I took an equal number of 115gr FMJ to shoot as a control group. I also took along some Magtech Guardian Gold 115gr +P just so I could have some comparison between two kinds of JHP, and see if +P produced greater felt recoil.

I had three magazines with me, so I loaded up each with a different kind. I shot the FMJ  (from Freedom Arms, natch) just to get a baseline. Then I shot the PMC, and frankly the only difference was that the PMC was just slightly louder. Any difference in recoil was not noticeable by me.  Shooting the Magtech +P was similar; slightly louder, but again no perceived difference, even with the increased powder charge.

After that, I got a bit funny. I loaded up more magazines of FMJ and PMC, shuffled them, and put them into my pistol without seeing what they were, just to test if I could tell the difference.

Result? I could, kind of, but that's because I was looking for differences. If you handed me a loaded gun with one of these cartridges I likely couldn't have told you which was which. I proved this pretty substantially by loading another magazine stagger-style, alternating between the two. The only difference was a slightly louder bang for the PMC.

So what's the upshot to all of this?  It's hard for me to gauge performance because, lacking ballistic gel, I can't tell you how deeply the rounds penetrated or to what extent they mushroomed. Without a stabilized firing rig I couldn't tell you if their bullets were any more or less accurate than the practice ammo, or the Magtech JHPs.

Here's what I can tell you:

  • The bullets loaded, chambered, shot, and ejected flawlessly. 

Yeah. Exciting, eh? This is scientific rigor at its finest. 

Again, I can't quite recommend these for every-day carry, simply because I don't know how well they would perform, but neither am I not recommending them.  What I can do is say that since their recoil is practically indistinguishable from practice ammo, if a shooter wanted 9mm self-defense rounds but for whatever reason felt that she could not take the recoil of a higher-grain cartridge, I would recommend these in an instant. 

They go bang when you tell them, and if you can shoot practice ammo, you can shoot these. 

Would I buy these for myself? No. Would I buy these for my mother if she shot 9mm? Yes.

Full Disclosure: I was already favorably disposed towards PMC as their .22 Sidewinders are one of only two types of bullets that my finicky bolt-action will reliably chamber. They're slightly more expensive than the el cheapo Federal stuff -- the last time I bought a brick, I think it was closer to $30 than $25 -- but they work and shoot well.

Obligatory FCC Disclaimer:  Go read the letter again.


  1. They sent me the .45ACP. I also squeeeed. 

  2. PMC is about all I shoot for practice anymore, following that is American Eagle. CCI is also good. PMC the most reliable inexpensive practice ammo that I've come across. I don't even bother with Winchester White Box anymore unless it's hugely on sale (direct quote from the last time I used WWB: "Why the FUCK ARE THESE PULLING TO THE RIGHT?!")

  3. I've gone through about 300 rounds of PMC 115 gn. FMJ out of a 1k round case.  About 2/3rds of that was shot through an M&P Pro 5" and the rest was split between an H&K P7M8, a Ruger LC9, a Boberg XR9-S, and a Sig P228.  All went bang in a most satisfactory manner, efficiently converting my money into noise and holes in paper.  I had one FTF on the Boberg, and I think that was due to a magazine follower issue, not the ammo.  I've been fairly happy with it for plinking ammo.  I've also had good luck reloading the brass.

  4. Excellent review, as always.  Gee, other than Dennis's fine Dragon Leatherworks holster (squeeee) the only thing anyone has ever been asked if I could review was a can of diced tomatoes.

    You've done well.

  5. I've gone through a couple thousand rounds of PMC Bronze .223 and a few hundred of their 45 ACP.  Very good stuff for the price.  I wish I would have bought a bunch more .223 when I was getting it for about $6 a box.  Sigh.  

  6. Mike, 45er, other Mike -- LOL, you guys should have been asked to write the review, not me. 

    But seriously, thanks for contributing. More voices of experience help make this a better review. 

  7. There is always the Melon test :)
    Very unscientific. Still hilarious.

  8. My local ranges won't let me shoot anything other than paper, and I don't know of an out of town place where I can shoot things. 

  9. PMC ammo is reliable and well priced. I would trust my life with it be it 9mm, 40, 45 acp, 38 spcl, 357 mag, 223 and 308. They are all accurate to accurate enough, go bang, cycle, and leave holes. Enough said.


The Fine Print

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