With the ammo shortage, consumers are turning to brands that they might not have purchased in the past. That is also the case for businesses like ours that are looking outside the normal distribution channels to fill customer demand.
One relatively new brand that has popped up recently is Venom branded ammo from MEDEF DEFENCE - a company based in Turkey. Currently, they only offer 9mm for sale, but also have 7.62 NATO, 5.56 NATO, 7.62x39 Russian and 9mm Makarov listed on their website.
Doing some online searching for reviews of Venom 9mm generated mixed results. Some older reviews appeared to indicate there were quality control issues with the ammo - lots of failures to fire and even some instances where the case wasn’t round and was jamming in the chamber of guns! While some of the more recent reviews seemed positive, they were suspiciously similar enough to cause concern.
We have a policy to never carry or sell ammo that we ourselves wouldn’t put in our own guns, so if the early reviews held true there was no way we were going to ship this ammo if it was junk - so we had to test it.
We bought 10 cases (10,000 rounds) in order to test before moving forward with any larger purchases for customer inventory: 5,000 rounds of 115gr and 5,000 rounds of 124gr - just to make sure we covered our bases. We pulled two boxes (100 rounds) from each 1,000 round case as a sample.
By testing 1,000 rounds out of the 10,000 we are able to achieve a 99% confidence level and +/- 3.8% margin of error for the findings. That should be a pretty good start. If there were issues, we would find them!
Since this is a reliability test, we wanted to shoot this ammo through a wide variety of 9mm firearms. We were able to gather thirteen in all across a variety of manufacturers.
Here is the list:
- Glock 48
- Sig Sauer P365
- Sig P226
- Walther PPS
- Springfield XD
- Springfield XD-E
- Ruger Security 9
- CZ P-09
- Polymer80 Glock 19 Gen3
- M&P 40 with 9mm Apex Match Drop in Barrel
- Heckler and Koch SP5
And since the ammo is from Turkey, we figured we might as well test it in a Turkish gun… a Turkish SAR 9mm.
Also for the record, we have no affiliation with MEDEF Defense, the manufacturer of Venom branded ammo, and no pony in this race. We purchased this ammo with our own funds in order to determine if it would be of an acceptable enough quality that we would have no problem sending it to our customers or shooting it ourselves.
Now with that preliminary stuff out of the way, on to the results!
Velocity and Consistency (Extreme Spread and Standard Deviation)
Chronograph results for 10 randomly chosen rounds:
- 10 rounds of 115gr averaged 1114 fps out of a 5" barrel, with 43 Extreme Spread and 12 Standard Deviation
- 10 rounds of 124gr averaged 1070 fps out of a 5" barrel, with 45 Extreme Spread and 12 Standard Deviation
As a comparison here is PMC 115gr FMJ also tested on the same day:
- 10 rounds of 115gr averaged 1132 fps out of a 5" barrel, with 30 Extreme Spread and 9 Standard Deviation
So velocity was surprisingly consistent. That was a good sign and an indicator of accuracy (“precision” if you wanted to be technical) potential.
Accuracy / Precision
Accuracy was tested by shooting 10 shot groups fired from a sandbag rest out of the SP5 SBR (8" barrel) at 25 yards.
So for these test results we were really just looking at group size even if the group was not exactly centered on the target:
Venom 115gr @ 25 yards Group Size: 3 1/4"
Venom 124gr @ 25 yards Group Size 3 1/8"
PMC 115gr @ 25 yards Group Size 2 3/4 excluding flyer, 4 3/8 with flyer.
So from a grouping perspective, the Venom performed nearly as well as PMC (throw out that flyer - which was human error). This makes sense when looking at the chronograph results: PMC was just a hair more consistent for the 10 rounds tested.
Also keep in mind that we are testing practice ammo and not match ammo. So both the chronograph results and the groups point to great practice ammo.
But now for the real test of this unknown brand…how well does it function across a variety of firearms…
Finally, the main question we wanted to answer was: is Venom 9mm reliable? Overall, is it decent ammo?
Here is our experience:
With all thirteen of the firearms mentioned earlier above this ammo was 100% reliable. No issues feeding firing or functioning, with ONE exception…
The only exception was 3 stovepipes out of the same gun after it was run hard all day. The M&P 40 with a drop in match grade conversion barrel - which allows you to shoot 9mm out of the 40cal. This was determined to NOT be the ammo. In this case it was the gun because after each of those stovepipes we removed the mag and put it in a stock M&P 9mm and it ran flawlessly for the rest of the mag. The real cause was likely not enough lube on the aftermarket barrel - which already has a tight lockup.
So the final verdict is TWO THUMBS UP! This ammo is good to go. We would not hesitate to purchase Venom on our own dime or shoot it in our own guns. If MEDEF Defense had issues with quality in the past, then this batch proves to us that they have figured those out and they are now shipping quality ammunition.