About three months ago I received an e-mail from Mike McNett, the owner of DoubleTap.
I spent some time on the DoubleTap website and was intrigued with its use of Nosler bullets in some handgun loads. I gave McNett a list of cartridges I would like to test, and soon the UPS man dropped a package on my doorstep.
Founded in 2002, DoubleTap originally cataloged only four 10 mm loads. It is now the largest volume manufacturer of 10 mm ammo. McNett told me, "Every round is touched by a human and inspected before it goes in a box." He also assured me all DoubleTap ammo is loaded to SAAMI specs and that a lot of terminal-performance testing is conducted in ordnance gelatin.
DoubleTap currently offers ammunition in most calibers from .380 ACP to .50 BMG. I was surprised to see cartridges like the 9x25 Dillon, .45 GAP, .30 Carbine, .300 Sav. and .416 Taylor in the mix. McNett said he tries to listen to what customers want, and then give it to them. DoubleTap frequently adds new loads to its production line.
Just the other day, I was talking with Shooting Illustrated Executive Editor Adam Heggenstaller about subjects for upcoming "Ammo" columns. He asked if I had any experience with DoubleTap ammo. Coincidentally, I told him I'd just completed testing a variety of the company's loadings, and that they performed well enough for inclusion in this column. As usual, I was one step ahead of him—you have to learn to do that with editors.
I received and tested seven loads in .380 ACP, 9 mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP. The bullets used covered the gamut of premium projectiles from Barnes, Speer and Nosler. Interestingly, the Barnes and Nosler bullets were listed as such on the box, but the Speer GoldDot bullets, at Speer's request, are listed as a "Bonded Defense JHP."
If you ask for it, DoubleTap will supply you with its gelatin testing results. It's not that I don't trust what manufacturers tell me, I just like doing stuff myself instead of taking someone's word and attaching my name to it. So, I did my least favorite thing and mixed up a batch of 10-percent ordnance gelatin. While it was gelling, I conducted some accuracy and velocity testing.
It deserves mentioning that the average accuracy for all 21 groups fired was 2.54 inches with an average-velocity standard deviation of only 13.28 fps. Actual velocities were, on average, within 3.5 percent of what was listed on the packaging. The .45 ACP loads were within a few fps.
In ordnance gelatin, the GoldDot bullets performed like you'd expect and very close to the data provided by DoubleTap. The 147-grain 9 mm GoldDot +P penetrated 15 inches and the little 80-grain Barnes TAC-XP bullet from the .380 ACP traveled into 9.5 inches. The 140-grain TAC-XP .40 S&W load penetrated 13.75 inches and expanded to almost .75 inch. What most impressed me were the wound cavities created by the Nosler JHP bullets. From the .40 S&W and .45 ACP, they penetrated 10.5 inches and the wound cavities were simply wicked. In typical Nosler fashion, these bullets work. I'm glad to see them loaded in factory handgun ammunition.
In all, I fired 560 rounds in six handguns. There were almost no stoppages. DoubleTap offers a 255-grain hard-cast SWC lead bullet for the .45 ACP. It would be perfect for shooting through three trolls at once. Problem was, they wouldn't chamber in my custom LST Gaboon without a push. I tried them in a Novak 1911 and had the same issue (this might be because a father built one of these pistols and his son the other). The load functioned perfectly in a Kimber Warrior. I let McNett know, and he told me they would reduce this load's overall length. Hey, DoubleTap does respond to customer feedback.
Aside from the hiccup with the hard-cast load, there were no issues. Want some more good news? On average, DoubleTap ammo sells for about 10- to 25-percent less per round than comparable loads from better-known brands. My only complaint is, all its handgun ammo is shipped in the same-sized box. When I opened the box of .380 ACP, cartridges poured out on the floor. I guess I could also complain that DoubleTap's packaging is lackluster, but it saved some money there. You'll find no lightning bolts or black-clad ninjas on the wrapper. But that's OK with me. Like my Mom told me after my divorce 20 years ago, "It's what's on the inside that matters."