When it comes to personal defense ammunition, the first criterion to meet is reliability. This criterion is closely followed by accuracy, clean burning and a good primer seal. That is the bottom line. No ballistic advantage is worth pursuing if the ammunition is not completely reliable.
Before deploying a personal defense round, I make certain the loading will feed reliably. This isn’t accomplished with a single magazine of ammunition; I make certain the sight picture, sight alignment and point of impact coincide. You need to proof feed reliability and cycle reliability.
- Feed reliability means that the bullet nose travels over the feed ramp and into the chamber.
- Cycle reliability means that the loading’s pressure curve is well suited to the handgun, with a good weight and velocity balance.
As a long-time hand-loader, I can state—with some education behind my words—that it is difficult to convince non-standard, ultra-light bullets to function correctly. For that reason, Liberty Ammunition’s products and performance are impressive. The bullets are lightweight and high velocity, and the momentum balance is there. Liberty has done its homework on powder, bullet pull and proper loading.
The premise behind the Liberty loadings is the bullets are lightweight and highly frangible. They strike the target, fragment and transfer energy quickly. The difference between Liberty ammunition and others, they claim, is the ammunition has adequate penetration, which makes Liberty loads a good choice for home defense. Most of us do not need the deep penetration demanded by law enforcement loadings.
A loading with 16 to 18 inches of penetration is not necessarily desirable for home defense. The Liberty loading typically penetrates about 12 inches of gelatin. In my testing, using gallon water jugs, penetration is about 10 inches. The bullet fragments and water jugs explode impressively. I have fired the .45 ACP loading extensively in both the SIG P220 and SIG Scorpion .45 ACP. The loading proved reliable, never failing to feed, chamber, fire or eject.
Accuracy proved excellent, which was a surprise. Loads of this weight class seldom show good accuracy. However, the bullet is long and has good bearing surface to contact the rifling. The 78-grain projectile rates at 1900 fps, and clocked pretty close in these mid-length .45s. A 5-inch Government Model would probably clock more than 1,900 fps.
Liberty .45 ACP 78-Grain Range Results
|SIG P220||1854 fps||1.0 inches||2.0 inches|
|SIG Scorpion||1890 fps||1.5 inches||N/A|
|Springfield Range Officer||N/A||2.75 inches|
In firing 100 rounds of ammunition in three .45 ACP pistols, there were no malfunctions of any type. For personal defense, home defense and pest and predator destruction, the Liberty Civil Defense load gets a clean bill of health.