Back in September, I tested the new Liberty Ammunition Overwatch Ultra .45 ACP Self-Defense ammo. The Overwatch .45 loading is distinguished by a cavernous hollow-point cavity in a truncated cone bullet profile. It performed extremely well from my Remington R1 Compact Ultralight 1911 .45. Today, let’s dive into the 9mm Overwatch ammunition and explore why it’s become a top choice for self-defense.

The term “overwatch” refers to a military protective mission where one unit protects or watches over another more vulnerable unit closer to the action. And those of us who carry handguns to protect our families are also involved in constant overwatch missions when safeguarding our loved ones in public. The Overwatch line from Liberty Ammunition, originally designed for military special forces, seamlessly transitions into the civilian self-defense landscape.

About the 9mm Liberty Overwatch Self-Defense Ammo

The Overwatch series was born out of the desire for increased penetration in special operations, though the special forces operators who tested the original load appreciated its lighter carry weight and performance in tissue simulant.

The Overwatch 9mm underwent three crucial modifications, enhancing its performance for civilian self-defense over that of the original Civil Defense line of +P 9mm loads.

  1. The bullet shape was modified, and the weight was increased from 50 grains to 72 grains.
  2. It’s velocity was reduced from 2,040 feet per second to 1,720 feet per second to increase penetration. These changes resulted in an increase of kinetic energy to 473 foot-pounds of energy.
  3. A distinctive black coating on the cartridge cases ensures easy recognition of the Overwatch round, setting it apart from the Civil Defense line.

Like the Civil Defense line, the 9mm — as well as .45 ACP, .357 Magnum and 10mm — Overwatch bullets are formed from solid copper. The 9mm slug’s hollow-point cavity is larger than those of the Civil Defense or Ultra-Light lines. As well, the Overwatch line of ammunition features a groove scored into the bullet circumference that is critical to deeper penetration.

Testing the Overwatch 9mm: Clay Shot

After testing 15 rounds through my Springfield Armory SA-35 9mm pistol with a 4.7-inch barrel, I sent the 9mm rounds through a 25-pound block of moist modeling clay. The Overwatch ammo shot to the point of aim and the ammo cycled flawlessly. Despite the Overwatch 9mm hitting low and to the left due to difficulty getting into a position low enough based on how high the clay block was located, it still drove impressively into the 10-inch block without exiting.

Sectioning the block revealed a classic tear-drop-shaped cavity measuring 5.5 inches in diameter. Because the hit was low, the round expanded in close proximity to the base it was resting on. Though likely visually different from what a center hit, the cavity still indicated the Overwatch’s impressive performance.

The Overwatch projectile fragmented into thousands of micro fragments as is typical for the Civil Defense and Ultra-Light loads. However, the cylindrical bullet base below the score line had separated into a perfect solid copper secondary disk projectile and penetrated deep into the cavity. Unlike other handgun rounds developed to shoot multiple disk projectiles flying separately when they exit the barrel, the ballistic Overwatch disk stays attached in flight, delivering the same level of accuracy one would find using any solid pistol bullet.

Who Should Buy Liberty Overwatch 9mm

With the enhanced penetration of the flat copper disk, the Liberty Ammunitions Overwatch 9mm ammunition achieves its mission of potential massive organ displacement or stopping the threat. It’s just as controllable as the standard Civil Defense Ammo and exhibits the same low recoil due to the lightweight projectiles. Though not as much potential as the .357 Magnum, .45 ACP or 10mm Overwatch loads, the 9mm is capable of being a one-shot stop load. I will continue to carry my Springfield SA-35 with Liberty’s 9mm Overwatch.


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