Triton Ammunition Corporation

Quik Shok and Hi-Vel Semi Auto Pistol Ammunition.

An overview of a premium line of self defense cartridges.

by Mike Cumpston

editing by John Dunn

(Click any thumbnail image for an enlargement in a new window.)

In recent months the Triton Ammunition concern has reconstituted itself as a New York based entity headed by a savvy team of global business types. The director of Research and Development is one Tom Burcynski, an engineer well known in the shooting world for designing a number of high performance bullets. He certainly needed no introduction to this shooter, as I have been a committed user of the Burcynsk-designed Federal Hydra-Shok line of ammunition for quite some time. I have found the Hydra-Shok bullets in .44 magnum, .45 ACP and 9mm to be reliable expanders and have used them as preferred carry loads in those calibers.

Until earlier this week, I regarded myself as quite unknown to Mr. Burcynski but had to rethink this when I returned to the house to find a comprehensive care package of auto-pistol ammunition leaning against the front door.

There was a generous sampling of the Hi-Vel Line and the Quik-Shok round spanning the spectrum of 9mm & .45 ACP and including a couple of variations of the .40 S&W cartridges as well.

In short, the family of Hi-Vel Cartridges employs the current state of the art Jacketed Hollow Point Bullets in a variety of weights. These feature over-the-nose stressed guilding metal jackets of light construction and deep coned hollow points to encourage rapid and early expansion. The Quik-Shok cartridges by contrast, employ bullets of the same weight and similar outward appearance loaded to the same nominal performance levels but containing a core designed to disperse a triad of fragments shortly after target contact. Both types are designed to maximize tissue destruction while limiting penetration with a view toward early incapacitation of aggressive targets and minimal risk to the uninvolved. These are laudable goals and a couple of the very few items upon which the jell-junkies and morgue monsters seem able to come to some degree of accord.

It is well known that there are several schools of though in parallel development on the stopping effect theme. Quite a bit of empirical research has been done on the matter. Unfortunately, the interpretation of the data falls victim to a barrage of invective and generalized rudeness quite unbecoming of the mature adult and having the effect of destroying the credibility of the participants. We are now free to develop our own theories of stopping power and invite the objecting borderline personality types to go pound sand. My own prejudices in the matter are informed by observation of the effects of high velocity, rapidly expanding bullets on various animate targets and the desirability of bullet fragmentation on relatively lightly constituted animate targets. As I result, for a general carry load, I am prejudiced in favor of premium type ammunition of the type promoted by the Triton concern.

In general, the items to look for in a reliable premium ammunition can be summed up without recourse to theoretical constructs. You want reliable, functioning consistency in velocity and accuracy and reliable bullet performance within the established and advertised parameters. It is also desirable that such “magic bullet” configurations as appear are not so limited in their application as to fail real-world scenarios. Such an event might occur if the Instant Destroyer and Killer Frag-Safe Defecator bullet splattered out on somebody’s shirt button and failed to penetrate effectively.

The Triton Web Site,, has an exhaustive compilation of results obtained in ballistic gelatin and employing various barrier materials. My own observations devolve around various readily available materials that I have found predictive of bullet performance in the game fields and in dispatching various four-legged fauna. It creates in me a level of confidence which the reader may or may not share. In short, my test mediate consists of raw, blister-packed beef brisket 3-3.5” in thickness backed by gallon jugs of water and telephone books.

.45 ACP +P- 230 Grain Quick Shok and High-Vel Colt Gold Cup

I found that the pre-fragmented Quik-Shok round clocked 977 from my 5” Gold Cup and averaged just a few feet per second faster from my 9.5” Ruger Convertible. Results with the Hi-Vel JHP were virtually identical. This was a fortunate circumstance as I can shoot the revolver much better and was able to get a true picture of the accuracy of the rounds in question. The pre-fragmented round and the JHP struck the same point of impact and provided groups in the 1.5” five at twenty- five yard range. I used the Ruger to establish that the bullets exhibited the same fragmentation pattern at distances ranging from ten to fifty yards as the shootability of the long revolver allowed me to make center hits on the beef brisket on the first attempt at ten, twenty five and fifty yards. My five round chronograph string with the Gold Cup showed a maximum spread of 25 fps while extreme spread with the revolver was 35 feet per second. Quik-Shok bullets recovered at the various distances were identical in appearance. The jackets were fully curled back and detached early. The three core fragments weighed a consistent 60=61 grains and were .345” wide by sixty-one caliber long. A single large exit channel was seen in the brisket while there were three distinct exit holes on the far side of the gallon water jug. In most cases individual fragments penetrated an inch or a bit more into the telephone book paper.

The .45 Gold Cup recorded velocity 20-30 fps higher than Triton advertises.

I Fired several of the Pre-Frag Quik Stop rounds through a 2X6” board and on into a paper target situated about 3 feet behind. The bullets arrived on the paper target intact. This demonstrates that the somewhat magical pre-frag rounds will defeat reasonable barrier material.

.40 Smith Wesson -SIG 229

Triton used a 4.25” test barrel for this cartridge so my recorded velocities with the < 4” SIG are a bit lower. The sample pack included a batch of 135 and 155 grain Hi-Vel JHPs and a very interesting Quik-Shok in the 135-Grain Weight. My test associate, Louis Ellis, was rabid to try the pre fragmented 135s and, since it was his SIG 229, we fired these first. Group shooting was somewhat more casual at this session than with the .45. There was no suitable bench rest available and I simply sat on the ground, fired over the chronograph and recorded 25-yard target groups simultaneously. The 135 grain round went into and nicely distributed two inches and registered 1264 fps /480 Ft Pounds / 14 fps extreme spread. We backed this up with five rounds of the Hi-Vel JHP which did 1279/490/23. Call it the same.

The 155 Grain JHP Hi-Vel cooked out of there at 1137/445/16 ex spread.

Down range, the 135-Grain JHP duplicated the penetration of the Quik-Shok ripping through the beef brisket, blasting through the water jug and bouncing off the telephone books. The pre-fragment number made a gaping 1.5- 2” single channel wound in the 3.5” layer of beef . The JHP expanded and was recovered at the mid-sixty caliber range. The 155-grain bullet achieved a full seventy-five-caliber diameter and penetrated over an inch into the telephone books.

Forty caliber quick-shot fragments weighed in at 31 grains with a width of .30 inch and a length of .410” The high speed .40s bounced both the brisket and the water jug around with considerably more vigor than did the slower moving .45 ACP rounds.

Groups shot in the above described mode measured from 2.0” to 3.5” at 25 yards and are, by no means indicative of the ultimate capabilities of the round.

9X 19mm SIG 239

This is a VolksPistol of the first water, being narrower (1,2”) than the double stack 229 and having an even shorter barrel. Velocities are predictably somewhat lower than the results advertised by Triton as deriving from a 4.25” tube but are nevertheless nothing to sniff at.

The 115 JHP +P averaged 1232/388/40 while the 125 scored 1151/368/14 and the only pre-fragmented version weighing in at 135 grains did 1085/353/18 extreme spread. The JHPs were recovered at .545” and .565” heavy and light and penetrated into the telephone books behind the major media to the same approximate depth as the heavy .40 Caliber.

I had run out of water jugs by this time and never did recover a sample of the 135 grain 9mm Quik-Shok.

115 & 125 grain Hi-Vel 9mm HPs

Groups with the 239 ranged from just over 2.5” to 4” shooting in the casual manner described. The 239 showed a tendency to place four rounds in about 2” with a fifth almost inevitably opening the group significantly. This is a new pistol and such a circumstance often diminishes with break-in.

It is significant that the excellent 125-grain Federal Hydra-Shok standard pressure 9mm load would clock in the high 1000-fps range from my old Browning Hi-Power. The heavier 135-grain Quick Shok virtually duplicates this velocity in the much shorter barrel of the SIG while the other bullet weights put the Federal Load in the shade.

A single malfunction occurred in rapid fire with the 135 grain Quik-Shok round. A cartridge failed to feed and landed in the 12 o’clock position in the ejector port. Liking to “givin’ thuh fanger.” Don’t ask me why. Auto-pistols sometimes jam (or as the purist says, "malfunction".)

In Summary

Capturing Triton bullets in medium

It is noted that the maximum extreme spread recorded with all variations of the Triton High performance cartridges is forty feet per second. Many individual strings show much lower variation. This is especially true of certain of the .40 caliber variations. This alone speaks volumes about the dedication of the company to the ideal of premium performance ammunition. It is also significant that the bullets expand to an extreme degree as advertised and the advertised velocities are in accord with observed performance given the caveat of different barrel lengths.

I would not hesitate to select any of the Triton variations as carry loads and my co-experimenter, Louis Ellis, did eagerly cabbage up the remaining .40 Smith and Wesson loads for his own use.

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