Saturday, November 19, 2011

Remington frangible 9mm, from BulkAmmo. com

Being such a vastly well known and famous (infamous?) character, 'Ol Carteach has major companies begging him to write about their products all the time.

Okay.... even *I* can't say that with a straight face. Nobody is breaking down the Fat Man's gate just to drop big boxes of goodness on the front porch. What we have here is more likely a shipping error, with some important writers 'test ammo' being shipped to me by mistake. A sample of Remington Disintegrator CTF frangible ammunition appeared on my porch, shipped by the good folks at

Whatever.... I'm going to run with it (GG).

This Remington offering answers a special need; Target ammunition with a substantially reduced possibility of ricochet from steel targets and backstops. With the heavy upsurge in 'action' shooting over the last decade, steel targets are more common than ever before. Often times, the course of fire has the competitor shooting up close and personal, at distances only a little more than arms length away.

Ad in the needs of indoor ranges in urban areas, and the dramatic (and long overdue) swing towards realistic training for law enforcement, and the need for a safer training ammunition became very real indeed.

As a shooter on the line, Carteach has had blood drawn more than a few times. Occasionally it was an angry 1911 taking a bite out of the hand that feeds it, but most often it was by bullet fragments bouncing off steel targets. It's a fact of life on the range, and a giv
en considering the physics of what we do. That said.... there is no reason not to reduce the risk whenever possible.

After testing this batch of frangible ammunition, I can say with some confidence it would have dramatically reduced my person blood letting had it been in use at the time.

The idea behind 'Frangible' bullets is rather simple. They are designed to maintain structural integrity during normal firearm operation and firing, but to give up that integrity upon striking a hard target. Not just any hard target.... as testing on the secret Carteach firing range showed. The target needs to be steel or something of like toughness, in order to disrupt the bullet and make it do its little trick.

The magic is in the construction of the bullet. It's not cast lead, perhaps with a copper jacket. It's completely different than that, being 'pressed' together out of powdered copper and tin. Yes... the bullet is made of powdered metal. It's formed together under heavy pressure to take the shape of a bullet. That's where it all happens, because when that pressed together frangible bullet strikes a target harder than itself, it suddenly drops back into it's original components... IE; powdered metal.

Searching for a way to test the frangible qualities of the bullet, while making it dramatically clear enough to share with readers, Carteach hit upon a simple method. The frangible 9x19mm bullets would be fired at a hardened steel target which had been placed inside a box, allowing the cardboard of the box to record any fragments exiting the impact area.

The 'hardened steel target'? Why... that would be a king pin from a Volvo tractor. Naturally 'Ol Carteach had one laying around at hand. Before anyone asks why that is, a better question might be 'Why would someone NOT have a twelve inch long, two inch round hardened tool steel bar on hand, just in case?'.

The target put together and steady, a Glock 19 was chosen as the test weapon. Accurate enough to center punch the round steel bar at 25 feet, it's a common pistol in use by the milli
ons worldwide.

The first rounds tested were typical defensive style hollow point ammunition. No trouble was had getting good strikes on the bar, and the results were dramatic. Every single round, upon hitting the steel, emitted a shower of both large and small fragments. The back and sides of the box was rent with shards of bullet, many being found sliced into the log backstop of the range. There is no doubt at all..... standard 9mm ammunition can put out some very dangerous bullet fragments upon hitting a hard target.

Moving to the Remington frangible 9mm ammunition, stepping along at +P velocities from the short Glock barrel, the results were completely different. Each hit on the bar (and accuracy was good enough that every hit was center mass on the 2" bar) resulted in.... well.... something that had to be seen.

The frangible bullets destabilized so completely that no large fragments at all exited through the box. Not once... not ever. That's not to say the box's came away unscathed... no, not at all. The perimeter of each box was peppered, if not shredded, by a shower of tiny, tiny fragments.

Most impressive though, each shot left behind enough shattered frangible bullet laying in the box to account for nearly half the bullet weight. Yes.... the fragments broke down into powder well enough, there wasn't energy remaining to make it though the cardboard box.

This testing was enough to answer the question.... "Does the ammunition actually work as described?" There was another question though, at least in this writers tiny little puzzled mind. Would the frangible bullets destabilize upon striking anything less substantial than a steel target?

To put paid to this question, a 'thing' was constructed. Four 1" thick boards were stacked and bound together. The wood was ancient barn wood, hardened with time and weather in ways no freshly cut wood could ever be. The idea of binding them with twine was to make disassembly easy, in a hunt for the fragmented frangible bullet.

At the distance of 20 feet, two shots were fired into the stacked wooden test block. The first a 9x19 hollow point round, and the next a Remington frangible. If the frangible came apart on impact, the energy dump was expected to cause substantial damage to the layers of wood, if not simply taking apart the whole rig.

Silly Carteach.... no worries towards that point. The two rounds behaved exactly alike, punching clean holes through the wood as if each was a FMJ bullet. The frangible drifted through four inches of solid wood, and then installed a nice, neat, .356" hole in a log of the backstop.

Lesson learned.... this is target and training ammunition, and will behave exactly like a full metal jacketed bullet... right up until it doesn't anymore, and reverts back to powder upon hitting a steel target.

Accuracy was on par with most factory 9mm ammunition, with perfect function through several different pistols.

Carteach's thoughts? It works. If a frangible bullet is what you need for training and range use, the Remington Disintegration offering from will serve.


Earl said...

Will have to look for the 45 APC and run my own tests, I am down to only three working calibers. Recommended your tests to a shooter, now with a shotgun.

Old NFO said...

Thank you sir, I'll look at them for the next 3 gun shoot...