Winchester Rolls Out USA Ready Defense Ammunition


Winchester Rolls Out USA Ready Defense Ammunition

It’s that time of year again, when the gun industry companies unveil their new wares. But with the annual Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trades (SHOT) Show cancelled thanks to concerns about COVID-19, many companies are taking to the internet. Winchester is doing the slow-drip method of its big reveal, with the theme Primed for ’21. On January 13, the company rolled out one big new product:  USA Ready Defense pistol ammo.

The new defense-purpose round is manufactured in three calibers. In 9mm Luger, the weight is 124 grain with a muzzle velocity of 1,200 feet per second. In this caliber only, the round is +P rated. In 40 S&W, the bullet weighs 170 grain. Velocity data is not yet published for this caliber. In 45 ACP, USA Ready Defense has a 200-grain bullet with a 1,000 feet per second rating.

Barrel lengths used for muzzle velocity ratings are not published. However, Winchester reps point out that USA Ready Defense is optimized for use in short-barreled guns. In a demo video shown during the product launch and now available for public viewing, the factory rep fires 9mm USA Ready Defense from a Glock 26 – a popular subcompact. The gel block used in the demo does not have barrier material on the outside per FBI testing specs. Regardless, the test goes well and shows the promised performance traits in terms of penetration, shedding the polymer filler, and expansion.

The hollow point bullet bears Winchester’s trademarked Hex-Vent. The company touts it as “law enforcement technology now available to consumers.” A red polymer insert protects the bullet tip from obstruction until around four inches of penetration, when the insert is shed, inviting fluid into the bullet to begin rapid expansion. In each caliber, a minimum of 12 inches penetration with 95 percent weight retention is built in, at least under test conditions.

Video still shows a recovered 9mm USA Ready Defense projectile.

In the past, Winchester has described the “need” for bonded bullets for defensive rounds. In bonded bullets, the lead is attached to the jacket at a molecular level, similar to welding two materials together. Hex Vent technology is a departure from the bonded bullet, reportedly eliminating the need for bonding.

On the outside is a nickel-plated brass case. Winchester chose match grade primers for the USA Ready line to ensure reliable firing. The rounds come packaged in a red, 20-round box with viewing window.

Perhaps in the current atmosphere of ammunition shortage and price inflation, it’s not surprising that the presser made no promises about price or availability. Whenever it’s ready, USA Ready Defense looks to be a functional new round for self-defense guns.

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Eve Flanigan is a defensive shooting and armed security practitioner/instructor who lives in the American Southwest. She is the author of "Ready to Defend: Tips for Living the Armed Lifestyle," and is a contributor to numerous gun-related blogs and print publications.

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