Watch: Testing Frangible Ammo Point Blank
Kevin Crank 10.25.16
The second in a two-part series of Lead-Free Ammo tests. The first is here.
The second lead-free test we lined up was frangible ammunition. First, let me explain to those that don’t know what frangible means. By definition, it means brittle or fragile. When applied to modern ammunition, this term simply refers to its disintegrating reaction to hard targets.
We took 9mm Polycase Sport Utility Ammunition and Alchemist Ammunition Frangible copper 380 and a full metal jacket 380. We placed a box full of ballistic gel under the target for a worst case scenario.
The takeaway was pretty much what we expected. The frangible ammunition turned into a cloud of copper dust on impact, and the FMJ sent a copper shard about an inch into the gel. Now that doesn’t sound that bad compared to standard ballistic tests, but that can still nick an artery or gouge your eye out.
I have seen this ammunition fired full-auto from a belt fed, inches away from the steel. I trusted it completely. I demonstrated that trust by shooting a steel target while advancing. I got hit with a single grain of copper. It clinked harmlessly off my forehead with the force of a light breeze. I was perfectly safe.
Sadly the 9mm had cycling problems, and after shooting we saw backblast scorching on the case necks. This suggested that there wasn’t a proper gas seal. So we may do a chapter two on the 9mm loads from Polycase.
All of this test ammo was provided by Clark Armory.
Alchemist .380 Auto Frangible C3 Ammunition
- Caliber: .380 Auto
- Weight: 75 gr.
- Bullet: Compressed Copper Frangible
- Velocity: 900 fps
- Energy: 135 ft. lbs.
PolyCase Inceptor 9mm Sport Utility RNP Ammunition
- Caliber: 9mm Luger
- Weight: 65 gr.
- Bullet: Copper-Polymer RNP
- Velocity: 1525 fps
- Energy: 336 ft. lbs.