Technology is constantly evolving, and at ever increasing rates of change. One of the biggest drivers for growth and innovation has always been the defense industry, and many of the greatest inventions we enjoy in the private sector derive from research and development from the military: radio and internet, to name a few. Nevertheless, a military’s primary focus and function is in the security of its people and as such, the main emphasis of innovation has always been placed on arms and ammunitions. Modernization and innovation in weaponry and ammunitions is critical as it helps in safeguarding a nation’s best interests.
Frangible bullets are among the most innovative types of ammunition used today. The main advantages of frangible ammunition over traditional lead based rounds is in their reduced environmental hazard and in the improved safety to the shooter. First and foremost, frangible ammunition is produced using different materials from standard ammunition, as they are 100% lead free. This is noteworthy because lead is known to be a toxic material that poses significant health risks to humans and the environment.
The materials and production methods used to produce frangible ammunition vary depending on the manufacturer. Some are made from thermoplastics that combine standard plastic base resins and metal powders, such as copper and tungsten, and are produced utilizing an injection molding process. Other types of frangible ammunition are made from metal composites, for example a copper and tin blend, and are produced utilizing a powder metallurgy process. Beyond being lead free, the other main advantage of frangible ammunition comes from the improved safety to the shooter. The definition of frangible is “easily broken,” but do not misinterpret this definition in the context of bullets. When fired, frangible ammunition has the exact same ballistic performance of standard lead rounds up to 100 meters. However, upon impact with a steel target, these bullets will completely powderize, thus eliminating any risk for ricochet.
Frangible bullets are particularly effective as training ammunition for military and law enforcement personnel. By eliminating shrapnel risk, these rounds are ideal for use upon steel targets or close combat training. Moreover, by removing all lead constituents in these frangible ammunition, there is no risk of lead contamination either to the environment or to the shooter. Indoor ranges in particular benefit from the transition to frangible ammunition as without the risk of lead contaminating the air supply, they can eliminate the enormous cost of sophisticated air filtration systems.
More On Frangible Bullets
There are many types of frangible bullets. As mentioned above, they differ in the types of materials used and the manufacturing processes utilized to produce them. Nevertheless, they are a viable alternative to lead rounds that offer significant advantages by improving the safety to the shooter and lessening the environmental impact.