Defensive Ammo Testing with the Dan Wesson Valkyrie Commander 9mm

The Dan Wesson Valkyrie Commander test is officially underway, and after it successfully passed the 10-8 Performance Test, I decided to take it to the range and test it with some more defensive ammo. Like I said in the video, I get that 15-20 rounds isn’t an exhaustive test, but I wanted to make sure I could simply go to the store, grab some defensive ammo, and expect it to run in the gun. As it turns out, that expectation was 100% correct.

The criteria for the test were simple: take three common brands of defensive ammo, shoot a standing unsupported 5 shot group then run a full magazine through the gun to make sure it will load from slide lock and feed a full mag. The Dan Wesson Valkyrie Commander performed all those with all three different types of ammo with no issues.

Hornady Critical Defense

  • Shot extremely high with the Dan Wesson. When holding for the center of the lower A-zone, shots were impacting in the neck region and the head. Theory: it’s possible that the sights on the gun are the same as the ones on the .45 ACP model, which means they’d be regulated for a completely different bullet weight and velocity.
  • Regular and muzzle blast were minimal, as expected with the Critical Defense. I have a ton of time with this round, and it’s always been a pleasant one to shoot.

Winchester Defend 147 grain JHP

  • Part of Winchester’s Train and Defend line, the “Defend” JHP appears to be exactly the same as the Bonded PDX1 JHP that Winchester sells. According to Winchester’s website, the Defend 147 grain JHP is a bonded hollowpoint, and lacking any more specific information it stands to reason that Winchester would simply load their bonded PDX/Ranger bullet in this round.
  • Muzzle flash and felt recoil were minimal, as expected from Winchester’s marketing materials. The Defend round shot closer to the sights than the Critical Defense, although still a little bit high.

Federal HST 124 grain JHP

  • The Federal HST is a preferred round among many of my friends, and although I prefer Winchester, it’s still an excellent choice (despite how annoying I find the packaging).
  • HST had the most aggressive recoil impulse of the three rounds, but interestingly also shot closest to the sights. I’m baffled by the POI for these three different rounds, however it has created a mental note that when I’m shooting targets beyond about 10 yards, I need to hold for six o’clock.

All three rounds shot standing groups roughly the same size, all three loads fed perfectly fine, and all produced roughly similar levels of muzzle flash and recoil. If you’re especially recoil sensitive, I’d recommend the Winchester. If you’re budget sensitive, the Hornady. If you want to flex your JHP lifestyle, the HST. I’ve carried all three in different guns over the years, I was carrying the Hornady until yesterday, and right now I’m carrying the Winchester Defend/PDX.

The Dan Wesson Valkyrie Commander continues to tick along nicely, it’s over 500 rounds with no issues. I have noticed that the Metalform 10 round magazines that function fine in the Rock Island don’t lock the slide to the rear in the Dan Wesson; however when using Wilson Combat ETM the slide locks to the rear and mags drop free just fine. Since the issue doesn’t affect the control magazines, it won’t be counted against the gun.

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  1. No Speer Gold Dot, Remington Golden Saber or Barnes TAC? I know, you could be testing 9mm loads for a long time, Hornady alone has a half dozen or more to choose from. I will agree, the 20 pack boxes of Fed are certainly a challenge at times.

    1. If you keep your eyes open and are lucky then has the Federal HST 124gr in a 50 round box for a sweet price. I’ve been able to stock up around 400 rounds for my concealed carry for this year and years to come.

      1. SG is one of my go to sources, as is Target Sports USA; no complaints about either of these companies.

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