Like fine whiskey or cigars, the best ammunition comes from small batches. When production is scaled back, better attention can be paid to the factors that rob accuracy, like inconsistent seating depths or powder charges. Working in these smaller quantities also plays well for specialty products, as only a small set of purists will appreciate the purposes they serve. In this edition of “The Unknowns,” let’s get to know two boutique ammo companies that have mastered the art of speeding things up or slowing them down.
The Unknowns: Boutique Ammo
Liberty Ammunition is the undisputed king of speed, and they have over 15 patents to prove it. Originally a development house for government projects, the Florida-based company earned its notoriety with its Civil Defense line, which features products like a 2,040 foot-per-second 9mm +P load. When calculating kinetic energy, velocity has twice the effect of mass in the equation. Therefore, working with a lighter bullet hopped up to ludicrous speed will hit harder than traditional “fat and slow.” At the same time, the lighter bullets will be less likely to over-penetrate, and getting terminal performance out of something traveling nearly Mach 2 is a cinch. Crafted from monolithic construction, the featherweight pills hold together through intermediate barriers, and their exaggerated hollow point cavity blows apart once it is filled and compressed with tissue.
Naturally, lighter bullets lead to lighter magazines, and this feature is capitalized in its Ultra-Lights line. Coupled with Shell Shock Tech’s cases, these rounds weigh about a third of the weight of conventional ammunition, for a noticeable difference when we are talking about a fully-loaded magazine. When considering an 18-round mag, that can easily be half a pound eliminated from your belt. You’ll feel that difference at the end of an 18-hour day.
Go Big for Home Defense
Lastly is a product that I consider the biggest ammo news of 2023, and that is the Overwatch line. As if Civil Defense wasn’t lethal enough, Overwatch takes it a step further with slightly heavier projectiles for punching power beyond the other two options. Liberty refrained shyness in it marketing, claiming it built for “Maximum Organ Disruption” able to penetrate more than 12 inches of ballistic gelatin.
Across the three lines, Liberty covers the most common cartridges but also some of the forgotten defenders, like .357 Sig or .45 Colt. Carbine offerings include 5.56 and .399 Blackout. Whether for carry or home defense, Liberty offers a high-speed option. For more information, visit libertyammo.com.
Detroit Ammunition Company
Unlike other boutique items, you can’t set up shop on ETSY or eBay and begin selling ammo products. The world seems to hate the firearms industry, even though we’re indirectly responsible for their freedom to express that. Frustrated with denials from these entities and payment processing companies, Detroit Ammunition Company’s owners set out to create a “safe space” where small ammo makers could sell their wares without fear of corporate overreach dropping them mid-transaction. First up on the list was their house brand. With the desire for a “Hollywood Quiet” shooting experience, these folks specialize in subsonic fodder in categories where it is seriously lacking.
With 5.56 being one of the most popular rounds on the market, this was an obvious place to start. By using a specialized recipe, this cartridge tames a 55-grain projectile down to a paltry 1,025 fps. As it doesn’t break the sound barrier, adding a suppressor will eliminate nearly any noise generated from the firearm, with the target impact being the loudest event. Perhaps even more impressive is its 220-grain subsonic 7.62×39 load that will reliably cycle an AK with or without a suppressor. Ultra-quiet target rounds are also available in other range favorites like .308 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, .300 Blackout, and many more.
Shhhh … Stealthy Subsonic
When stealth lethality is key, offerings like its subsonic 7.62 x 39 JHP are capable of dispatching hogs and the like without disturbing livestock or neighbors. There is even an excellent 165-grain JHP 9mm load in case something goes bump in the night. While these might seem orthodox, the subsonic .50 BMG certainly stands out from the crowd. Despite not cracking the sound barrier, catching a 725-grain controlled-fracturing bullet is not going to end well.
Aside from quiet products, The Detroit Ammunition Company offers plenty of conventional loads that excel in match and hunting applications. In addition to that, it offers a plethora of options for the handloader, such as brass processing and even a complete reloading service for those who would rather spend their time pursuing other shooting interests. Above all, the prices are realistic, rivaling many of the larger online retailers and brick-and-mortar shops alike. Check them out at detroitammoco.com.