Someone is always trying to come up with something better in the ammunition world, and Fiocchi is no stranger to that idea. This time, it's their 9x19mm 'EMB' offering. Sold in the USA by Bulkammo.com, the EMB round is something different than we are used to. A few boxes were acquired and shot up for testing, and here are the results.....
The EMB fires a 92 grain mono-block bullet at a (rated) 1300fps. This is several hundred FPS faster than typical 9mm ammunition. The bullet is built entirely from one material, and has no 'core' like a typical bullet. It's engineered to expand when it hits something wet enough to let hydraulic action take over... just about like every other self defense bullet on the market. Such expansion is always an iffy proposition at handgun velocities, and perhaps that is what Fiocchi was shooting to take care of by creating a lighter mono-block bullet punched out at screaming velocities.
Fired into a half gallon plastic jug of gel, with a follow-on five gallon bucket of water behind it to capture the bullet, we can see the circumstances allowed the EMB bullet to perform to it's fullest. The results are... spectacular. The bullet opened like a flower, without shedding a grain of weight. The hit on the jug was.... impressive.... and hydraulic shock blew the side out of the catch bucket as well.
Tested again with several layers of heavy clothing wrapped around the jug of gel, we can see the Fiocchi EMB falls to the same fate as most pistol bullets do when fired through heavy clothing.... the bullet nose jams full of cloth, and thus blocked is not able to hydraulically expand. In effect, it acts as a solid from then on. Most hollow point bullets fired at pistol velocities will behave like this, depending on individual circumstances. It really is luck of the draw on what they hit, and if the bullet nose becomes plugged.
Of interesting note, we can see in closeup the clothing fibers are actually twirled somewhat as the bullet struck it while spinning from the barrels rifling.
Tested next on a hard target, the EMB round was fired through a heavy steel sheet metal panel to simulate a car door. In this case the bullet nose mashed down and the slug really did go full solid, with impressive results. After punching a clean hole through the steel, it penetrated twelve alternate layers of drywall and ceiling tile before coming to rest against a solid pine board. That is excellent penetration, all things considered.
All testing for recovered slugs was done with a S&W M+P 9c, whose short barrel launched the bullets at a measured 1240fps with no large variations. The same round fired through a Ruger P-89 with a longer barrel clocked a scorching 1285 fps average speed. This is magnum velocity territory, although it's achieved by using a very light bullet.
Accuracy wise, the Fiocchi EMB is comparable to most any name brand offering on the market. Both the S&W and the Ruger would hold 3" groups at 25 yards, with no unusual fliers or keyholing observed.
The ultimate question here.... would I carry it in my weapon as a self defense round?
I see nothing that would make me say no, and several things that I approve of. Feed and function was flawless, acting more like a FMJ than an expanding slug. When given the right target, the bullet expansion really is spectacular, and when it doesn't.... the penetration picks up the burden. Given the reasonable pricing of the EMB round, at a time when defensive ammunition typically sells for over a buck a round, I can afford to shoot up a lot of this ammo in practice. That's something I can't afford to do with Hydroshocks or Golden Sabers.