Winchester PDX1

Winchester PDX1 ammo at the range

An in-depth look at Winchester PDX1 ammo. What is it good for and how does it stack up to your other options?

Winchester PDX1 ammo is meant for personal defense. It’s sophisticated projectile is designed to expand upon contact with a soft target, giving you the best chance possible to neutralize a threat.

Is PDX1 Worth the Investment?

When purchasing ammunition for a casual afternoon at the range, you can be a little carefree in your selection. The most affordable rounds, as long as they don’t harm your firearm and give you respectable accuracy, are often the choice for many shooters. While accuracy and cycling still matters, terminal performance is rarely a concern; if it hits the target, mission accomplished.

When purchasing ammunition for personal defense, however, you need to be meticulous, thorough, and exacting. You must consider accuracy, cycling, recoil, and, perhaps most important, terminal performance.

Many manufacturers have whole cartridges or bullets designed specifically for personal protection. Winchester, one of the most legendary names is the firearms industry, meets this need with PDX1 ammunition.

These bonded, jacketed hollow point rounds are intended for consistent performance marked by outstanding terminal ballistics. If you conceal-carry or keep a defense weapon in your home, you should learn about Winchester’s PDX1.

So, What is Winchester PDX1 Ammo?

Winchester open box of PDX1 45 ACP ammo

It’s important to understand that the PDX1 is not a line of full cartridges, but rather a line of specific bullets, which Winchester uses in a few different ammunition lines, most notably the Defender brand of ammunition, as well as the Supreme Elite.

PDX1 bullets use a proprietary bonding process that welds the contoured copper-alloy jacket to the interior lead core. The bullet also features a specially-engineered hollow point for maximum effectiveness at the target, as well as jacket notching, which creates six uniform expansion sections.

According to some of Winchester’s marketing materials, the FBI uses many of the same designs in their service ammunition.

What Cartridges are Available with PDX1 Bullets?

Winchester offers a variety of ammunition options packed with PDX1 bullets, including:

  • .380 Auto
  • 9mm Luger (including +P)
  • .40 S&W
  • .45 Auto
  • .38 Special +P
  • .357 Magnum
  • .22 Magnum

There are also PDX1 products for home-defense shotguns. Winchester’s PDX1 personal-defense shotgun ammo is available in 12-gauge and .410 shells, creating the same excellent performance for your home-defense shotgun. These shells are loaded with rifled slugs and either buckshot or BB pellets, delivering a powerful impact to any intruder.

Why Bonded Jacketed Hollow Point Ammunition?

One of the key features for the PDX1 lineup is bonding. A “bonded bullet” is simply a jacketed projectile (including full metal jacket, jacketed hollow point, and others) with the core of the bullet bonded to the exterior jacket.

We won’t bog down this article with the chemistry and science of bonding ammunition, but it’s usually completed with electricity or an electro-chemical process. For gun owners, how it’s done isn’t all that important; what matters is the results.

Bonding the core to the jacket keeps the two from easily separating when the bullet strikes a target. If a bullet fragments, it loses weight, momentum, and the potential to stop a threat. Bullets that hold together, however, will penetrate deeper and provide generally better terminal ballistics. (There are self-defense rounds meant to fragment, but most agree that keeping a bullet intact is best.)

Bonded bullets have clear advantages in hunting, as the bullet can penetrate deeper into large game animals and reach vital organs with more power. It also has advantages for self defense, especially if an attacker or intruder is wearing multiple layers.

Do Bonded Rounds Like PDX1 Bullets Have a Disadvantage?

Firing Winchester PDX1 ammo at a shooting range with a chronograph to measure muzzle velocity

From a performance standpoint, there is very little advantage to using bonded ammunition. However, gun owners will notice that cartridges loaded with bonded bullets tend to have a higher price tag than other products. This is simply because bonding requires an additional step (or multiple steps), and manufacturing these items takes longer.

This inevitably means that you will pay a higher price for these rounds. While you can certainly find higher-priced options, in general a bonded JHP bullet, for example, will cost more than a regular (not bonded) JHP bullet.

To give you an idea, at the time of writing this article, we had twelve .375 SIG products available. The 125-grain Winchester PDX1 Defender cartridges in a 20-round box were the second-highest in price per round. Likewise, the 40-grain .22 Magnum PDX1 Defender rounds were the third-highest priced in their group.

Gel Testing Results for PDX1 Cartrridge

Winchester PDX1 9mm ammo fired into ballistic gelatin

Ammunition testing is an important part of our work. We strive to provide gun owners with accurate, reliable information that helps them make the right choice for your ammunition selection. With that in mind, we have tested hundreds of rounds of virtually limitless varieties, including many Winchester cartridges loaded with PDX1 bullets.

So how to these rounds stack up? In our testing, we found that PDX1 products delivers consistent, reliable performance in many areas, and were in the top ten in many categories, especially wound diameter.

.380 ACP

95-grain JHP

9mm Luger

Winchester PDX1 9mm ammo laid out on a table

Defender 124-grain

  • Penetration: 23.38 inches
  • Diameter: .47 inches
  • Velocity: 1,044 fps

Defender 147-grain

  • Penetration: 20.7 inches
  • Diameter: .52 inches
  • Velocity: 889 fps

.40 S&W

Winchester 40 S&W PDX1 bullet after firing into ballistic gelatin

Defender 165-grain

  • Penetration: 16.44 inches
  • Diameter: .71 inches (#6 out of 28)
  • Velocity: 1,069 fps

Defender 180-grain

  • Penetration: 17.02 inches
  • Diameter: .67 inches
  • Velocity: 979 fps

.45 ACP

Defender 230-grain

  • Penetration: 17.22 inches
  • Diameter: .70 inches
  • Velocity: 896 fps

.357 Magnum

Defender 125-grain

  • Penetration: 14.72 inches
  • Diameter: .64 inches (#3 out of 25)
  • Velocity: 1,102 fps

45 Long Colt

Defender 225 grain

  • Velocity: 850 fps

.38 Special

Defender 130-grain

  • Penetration: 17.86 inches (#5 out of 17)
  • Diameter: .51 inches (#3 out of 17)
  • Velocity: 843 fps

22 Magnum

Defender 40-grain

  • Penetration: 14.4 inches
  • Diameter: .22 inches
  • Velocity: 1,034 fps

12 Gauge

Defender 2 3/4″ 00 Buck

  • Velocity: 1150 fps

410 Gauge

Defender 2 1/2″, 3 Disc and Pellet BB Shot

  • Velocity: 750 fps

As you can see, the PDX1 lineup is a consistent performer, often placing high in the rankings.

Alternatives to Winchester PDX1

Not sold on PDX1? That’s not a problem. You have other options when it comes to self-defense loads and trusted hollow point ammunition.

Ranger and Ranger T

If you trust Winchester, their Ranger line of ammo is well-known and trusted by many law enforcement agencies. It’s harder to find than PDX1 but it enjoys a stellar reputation as a threat-stopper.

Federal HST

Any self-defense ammo list that’s worth anything has Federal HST ammo on it. The caliber offering of HSTs isn’t as robust as PDX1 but Federal’s top-of-line self-defense loads are among the most trusted by law enforcement in the country. If you’re a 9mm shooter, Federal’s 124 grain HST is probably the best in class.

Find Your Ammunition Here

From home defense to hunting to casual plinking, we have the ammunition you need. Visit and browse our full selection of top-quality products, including many options from Winchester and the PDX1 lineup.

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