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Frangible Ammunition

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Re: Frangible Ammunition

(Might as well stoke the furnaces a little.)

Should we be seriously considering using only frangible ammunition in our home defense firearm?
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No, not at all. Wouldn't touch em.

The frangible stuff designed for self defense is low in penetration, and while over penetration might be a big issue, so would under penetration, especially if your life is on the line.

The only frangible I have shot in any quantity was "the other kind," which is designed for indoor ranges and for plinking. It doesn't ricochet, just breaks up into its component parts, namely various powders held together with bonding agents and pressure.
I don't think that either would be acceptable for self defense, unless you were an air marshal and don't want to cause catastrophic decompression. And they don't use frangibles, either. The problem with frangible self defense ammunition is that the nature of the rounds adds large variables to the equation of what is going to stop an attack. With the Glaser Safety Slugs, for instance, they are devastating so long as the attacker isn't wearing either heavy clothing or if the bullet hits a hard object like a metal button. That's the "fragments on about anything" round.

The compressed metal powder types are made to cut down on ricochets, and I'd put them in a general class with ball ammunition, though if the round fragments on a human body, it's likely to lose all ability to penetrate. What you'd have would be tiny particles with very slight mass and no ballistic integrity.

Everyone talks about hollow points being "more effective" than ball for producing "devastating" wound channels, but in most defensive handgun calibers, it just doesn't happen. Dr. Vincent J. M. Di Maio, one of the foremost scholars of wound ballistics, says he can't tell at autopsy what type of handgun bullet did the damage until and unless he sees the expended round. The most useful aspect of the hollow point is that it can often prevent overpenetration and thus expends 100% of its energy on target where it belongs.

To achieve a one-shot stop, bullet placement is of primary importance; no magic bullet will stop an attacker with any hit--not kill him, just make him instantly give up on an attack. But solid hits to the CNS (Central Nervous System) or heart will have the highest likelihood of stopping an attacker with the fewest rounds expended.

There are two factors that are important here: velocity causes damage to tissues, and the size of the hole isn't nearly as relevant so long as the bullet makes its way to vital structures within the body. Want to stop a man coming at you with a knife? Hit him in the ball joint of the hip, and he'll be on the ground unable to keep attacking unless you get within range of his weapon. Unfortunately that's a very precise shot, and when his lawyer sues you, he'll tell the jury that you were trying to neuter him, not stop him.

A bullet which can penetrate full frontal or at an angle to the spine is a good one. A bullet which will make a reasonably big hole in the heart muscle is a good one. A man who can place his shots in either of those two locations reliably is one I won't decide to mug.

And those air marshals? They carry sidearms in .357 Sig with hot hollow points. They are also very good shots.
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