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A Piece I Wrote On Another Forum On Frangible Ammunition For SD...

Discussion in 'Caliber Corner' started by ULVER, Jun 20, 2010.

  1. ULVER

    ULVER Dixie Rebel

    Jan 8, 2001
    ATL., GA. USA
    Glaser started it all, but today we also have Magsafe and Extreme Shock. They all are considered "exotic" frangible rounds, and claim to deliver incredible "stopping-power" , while reducing dangerous over-penetration.

    Truth is, they are not very accurate, are too expensive to practice with, and in all but the most limited circumstances, don't in actuality, deliver the penetration to reach what matters.

    I helped test and develop Magsafe, with the late Joe Zambone. In the end, I had to see them as maybe useful to apartment dwellers, or Air Marshals but not for street carry. Note: Even Air Marshals use traditional ammunition; Speer Gold Dots.

    Glaser has a very "impressive" video on their website, with the Safety Slug making naked ballistic gel flip & flop every which way. This video means nothing in the real world. I truly like most everything else Cor Bon does, but not this frangible "Safety Slug."

    A bullet that expands, while still penetrating deeply enough to reach vital organs, is what makes the day. Although there are many good designs now days in all service calibers (.38/9mm/.40/.45), Gold Dot remains a great choice. I also think highly of Winchester's Ranger T series, and carry it, from time to time. Federal has many good loads, as does Remington. It's hard to find one that doesn't work these days. Gold Dots remain at the top of the list, however.

    Anyway, in conclusion; frangible rounds rounds have more problems, than solutions, and are not worthy of their makers wild, self-serving claims...

    Here is a link to a female perp, that was shot with a .44 caliber Glaser Safety Slug. The bullet broke her jaw in several places, and knocked-out almost all her teeth on the right side of the face. However, most of the tiny birdshot pellets barely penetrated the tongue. She continued shooting back. Ultimately, it was a conventional bullet, that ended the fight.
    (Slightly graphic!)

    Once you choose you gun & caliber, the thing that is next most important is a good, modern hollow-point. And practice...

    Avoid wild claims, and novelty ammunition...
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2010
  2. Merkavaboy

    Merkavaboy Code-7A KUZ769

    People can call pre-fragmented (as I call them since we now have all different types of sintered powdered metal bullets that are for training purposes that the shooting industry calls "frangible") "junk" all they want, but it comes down to how they do (or do not) work in real shootings.
    The problem is that there is very little documentation available on actual shootings with the Magsafe, Extreme Shock, LeMas blended metal technology and a few other types of pre-frag ammo. Over the years there have been a handful of documented shootings with the Glaser Safety Slug, and most of them seem to be with the older "flat top" style projectiles. Sometimes they worked, sometimes they didn't. Just with the Glaser, there has been at least 3 generations of bullet designs, so who really knows how they've worked from one Gen to the next.

    Since you worked with Joe Z., have you heard of any actual shootings with the Magsafe of any caliber or bullet weight/design?

    As for the photo of the woman who took a Glaser to the face, remember that there have been numerous other people that have taken conventional bullets to the face (sometimes more than one) and not gone down. So in reality, one picture doesn't tell the whole story about one specific bullet type (be it Glaser, Magsafe or whatever).

    Years ago my buddy and I did an unscientific ballistic test with ES 9mmP 85gr Air Freedom Round and the 124gr Fang Face. We used a block of ballistic wax that was provided to Me by Jeff Mullins of ES (along with the ammo). The AFR made it about 5" and the FF made it about 6". The enterance hole on the face of the block was about 2" dia. and the interior cavity for each round was close to 4". Nothing remained of either bullet except for a fairly evenly distributed grayish-black "soot" (the blended metal) and small fragments of copper jacket for the FF and copper jacket and the orange plastic ball/nose plug of the AFR.

    This test really didn't prove one way or the other as to how these bullets would work on humans, but if they totally disentergrate in human flesh like they did in the wax block, the person shot with these rounds is going to have a real bad day in the OR (if he survives), as there's going to be very little in the was of bullet/bullet fragments for the surgeon to dig out. All the surgeon is going to find is a gaping wound littered with fine particles of the blended metal material from the bullet's core.

    Any moment now the deep penetration proponents will come along and sound off (along with all the clown-boys and their ninja pictures and ignorant comments). But anyone with a modicum of intelligence will realize this truth: we won't know one way or the other how well the pre-fragmented ammo will work until we see a collection of actual shootings with said ammo. Only THEN can we make an informed, intelligent opinion as to wether such ammo is effective for SD.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2010

  3. Berto

    Berto woo woo

    Sep 15, 2003
    I agree with Ulver.
  4. The Glaser seemed like a great idea to me when it first came out. I suppose it does have some uses, but today's current crop of conventional hollow points are so much improved over the bullets of my youth that its hard to see one.

    At one time a practice round was supposed to be sold to duplicate the Glaser. Not sure that ever actually hit the market, but without it, I will have to pass.

    Now if we had an economical Glaser style bullet constructed with depleted uranium, like in the world of science fiction, that might indeed prove to be effective. Or, perhaps the price of gold will drop below that of lead, a Golden Glaser might work well.

    Until then I will continue to use my conventional JHPs.
  5. JW1178


    Jul 17, 2009
    I don't trust a bullet that does everything that the real world shows to fail. Deep penetrating bullets that hold togeather and expand well do the best job, bullets that break apart and fail to penetrate fail to stop, so why choose a round designed to fail at a time when success is a life and death matter?
  6. Mwinter

    Mwinter I'm MilkMan Dan

    Oct 26, 2001
    My 'frosted side' has seriously contemplated on more than one occasion providing quantities of 'round x' to bands of merry men who go in harm's way OCONUS but are not bound by military ammo protocols....for 'real-world testing'.

    My 'wheat side' has always let this idea slide, since pistol ammo that sucks on vehicles and other barriers (ie a majority of pre-fragmented, frangible, blended metal, etc.) would likely be a real problem for the guys in question.

    There are numerous non-traditional designs (tubular/ANSB) that I feel would be a real step forward, but bonded or otherwise weight-retaining JHPs seem to continue to lead the way.

    Was it you who requested a .44sp PMC Ultramag? If so PM me and I'll get you a couple in the mail.

    PATRICE . . . . .

    Jun 3, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2010
  8. Merkavaboy

    Merkavaboy Code-7A KUZ769

    Please don't tell me that you're still shooting that stuff up! It's not like they're a dime a dozen...anymore.

    PM sent. :thumbsup:
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2010
  9. mitchshrader

    mitchshrader Deceased

    Jun 14, 2005
    If frangible ammo didn't come wrapped in hype, and was sold as 'another tool in the tool chest', it probably wouldn't sell as much, and profit margins would be much less. As far as backing up wild claims, they (uniformly as far as I can tell) don't.

    Breacher rounds, ok, but for stopping power I can see solid copper light bullets, with a deep hollowpoint and pre-cut to produce 'petals' as in the Black Talon ammo, at extreme velocities at short (generally) SD ranges.. It *might* hold together, cut a sizeable wound channel, and exit leaving a large hole. *Might*.. and I'd settle for testing on pigs or goats etc, as well as gel and water jugs & soaked phone books, before forming an opinion. What I can't see is pre-frag coming off in first place against IIIa body armor, or at an extreme angle against a windshield, or two sets of body panels on anybodys car.

    The hype factor is mostly designed to maximize profit, and an all copper bullet has some few hunting folks who swear by 'em, and no reason you couldn't engineer to SD pistol specs. Very high ME, certainly not DESIGNED to fragment, and the shape of the wound channel is extended deeper while still maintaining a 'stop' profile. Rapid expansion but integral base that prevents over expansion/fragmentation.. from everything I've been able to find out, it's another GOOD tool in the toolbox. But metal powder doesn't maintain sectional density, or ballistic coherence. It's entirely too random, by it's very nature, to be consistently reliable. I won't, and don't, own any. I don't own any solid copper bullets either, but I could be persuaded.. ;)