It was only a matter of time before someone reintroduced the ultimate man stopper projectile, this time it comes in the form of the Radically Invasive Projectile or R.I.P. The product is from the creative minds at G2 Research and it does appear to be somewhat unique in its design and performance. The marketing blitz behind this new ammo has been epic and as such I’ve been inundated with requests for my opinion on the new cartridge.
The R.I.P. round is machined from solid copper and features eight “trocars”, or individual fingers that are designed to peel away from the core upon impact with tissue. The use of the word “trocar” to describe these barbs is interesting because in a traditional sense they are surgical instruments used to insert a cannula into a body cavity as a drainage outlet. Is G2 Research trying to lend a air of medical legitimacy to the projectile, or perhaps they thought it sounded intimidating? <shrug> Either way, it adds to the overall marketing strategy of presenting the R.I.P. bullet as being hyper-lethal and designed to inflict maximum damage.
The entire 9mm projectile weighs 96 grains and is claimed to leave the muzzle at 1265fps generating 370 ft/lbs or joules of muzzle energy (they don’t say which and this figure has changed from 490 in the last 24 hours on their website). Upon impact with tissue the eight “trocars” rapidly separate from the core and head-off into eight different directions with the core creating a 9th wound channel. It appears that the “trocars” penetrate no more than 6″-8″ judging by the video posted by the manufacturer on YouTube. I don’t have a sample bullet to inspect, but my guess is that the core retains a weight around 50 grains or less (about the same as a .22LR) and is claimed to penetrate 16″ of ballistic gelatin, or roughly twice as deep as the “trocars”.
G2 Research claims that the R.I.P. projectile will penetrate sheetrock, plywood, auto glass, cinderblocks, sheet metal and multiple layers of denim without deformation. Once a barrier is penetrated and soft tissue is hit, they claim the R.I.P. projectile then begins its rapid expansion yet still maintains the ability to penetrate deep enough to inflict a lethal wound (12″+ by FBI standards).
If all of the claims are true, the R.I.P. could prove to be a reasonably lethal cartridge and certainly accomplishes more than previous attempts such as the hyper-velocity loads by Liberty Ammunition that fall short of the FBI penetration requirements for effective incapacitation. That’s a big “IF” though. Since I’ve yet to see a comprehensive 3rd party test of the ammo, all we have to go on are the claims of the manufacturer which can be a bit exaggerated. I’m not saying that G2 Research is being dishonest, I’m saying I’m being the eternal pessimist and will reserve judgement until I have the chance to test the ammo myself.
Aside from the performance of the ammo, there’s the issue of the marketing behind it. I would not carry this ammo for self defense because of the liability the manufacturer has created by their overly aggressive marketing campaign. While the use of the ammo in a legal self defense shooting probably wouldn’t expose the shooter to criminal charges based upon the marketing of the ammo, a civil court would likely have a field day if the family of the deceased decided to sue.
Step back to 1991 and the introduction of Black Talon ammo produced by Winchester Olin Corp. Black Talon had perforations designed to expose sharp edges upon expansion in soft tissue. The bullet was certainly more conventional than the new R.I.P. bullet in that it wasn’t designed to fragment, only to expand much like any other conventional hollow point bullet. The single unique feature, aside from the black oxide “Lubalox” coating, were the pedals of the expanded hollow point bullet were sharper than other products on the market. Some claimed the tips were razor like.
The Black Talon was quickly decried by anti-gun forces and the Main Stream Media ran with horror stories of doctors expressing concern their fingers would be sliced by the sharp shards while trying to surgically remove bullets from victims, however there were no documented reports of this actually happening. In 1993 the ammunition was used by Colin Ferguson to commit mass murder on a Long Island Rail Road in Garden City, New York. This prompted the family of one of Fergusons’ victims to sue Winchester claiming they were liable for the shooting spree based on the design, manufacture, marketing and sale of Black Talon ammo. The court case was dismissed when the judge held that the bullets were not defective in their design. Had the plaintiff sued because they felt the ammo was purposely designed to cause excessive damage, things may have gone differently for Winchester Olin Corp.
Winchester realized their marketing of the product exposed them to future civil suits and voluntarily pulled Black Talon from the market. Soon after pulling Black Talon from the shelves, Winchester introduced the SXT line of hollow points, sans the marketing hype used to promote the Black Talon brand, and it has remained on the market since. The SXT bullet uses the same design as the Black Talon with the only real difference being it doesn’t sport the black oxide finish.
Am I interested in the R.I.P.? Yes, but only because I want to test it in ballistics gel. Would I carry the R.I.P. for self defense? Absolutely not, the manufacturers have marketed it in such a way that I believe it presents a potential legal liability in civil court should I be involved in a self defense shooting. I’ll stick with my 147gr 9mm Gold Dots for now.