Since we are on a Second Chance Body Armor kick, I thought I’d circle back to a gimmick round sponsored by Richard Davis – the Thunderzap. Available in .38 Special and .45 Auto, the Thunderzap was a lightweight, hyper-velocity hollowpoint made from 100% fluorocarbon resin.
Contrary to popular belief, the round was not designed by Davis. The patent solely names Bruce D. McArthur. He filed an initial patent application in July 1990, almost a year after it was first publicly unveiled. You’ll note the rounds’ use in Davis’ 1989 film “Second Chance vs. Magnum Force”, and full page magazine advertisements were running by late 1989.
McArthur filed his definitive patent application in February 1992, and received US Patent #5,214,237 in May 1993. Thunderzap Inc. was reportedly comprised of McArthur, Richard Davis, Karen Davis (Rich’s wife), and Bill Stenbeck.
Apparently, McArthur could never get the 9x19mm Thunderzap to feed correctly, and reportedly, the chamber pressure ran sky-high before the desired velocities could be reached. Some experimental Thunderzap rounds were also made in 12 Gauge, .45 Colt, .44 Magnum, and even .50 BMG.
As a bonus for reading this far, here is a more recent video of Jerry Miculek firing a .38 Special Thunderzap at a chicken carcass.