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Old April 07, 2017, 14:14   #1
flejl
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Frangible Ammo - Anyone use it for Self Defense ?

I am considering a change from Hollow point to frangible ammunition for my carry gun.

I currently carry an FM Hi Power in 9MM using 115 JHP ammo. I am also considering change to one of my 45 ACP toys, and therefore, have been looking at ammo options as well.

I have done allot of reading and watching ballistic tests, but would appreciate any input or suggestions.
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Old April 07, 2017, 17:23   #2
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Used to use frangible in my 357sig XD. Worked like ammo is supposed to until it didn't. Had the exposed part of a bullet sheer off while on the loading cycle and jam the gun. Left at huge mess of copper powder in the gun, on my hand, and on the tray in the stall. Haven't used any since.
Although any brand/type ammo could have an issue, I wouldn't trust the frangible if my life could depend on it.
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Old April 07, 2017, 17:24   #3
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There are 2 types of frangibles. Bullets that have a jacket and are filled with shot (Glaser, Magsafe, etc) and bullets that are compressed tin/copper that break up on steel targets or backstops of indoor ranges to eliminate ricochets.

The Glaser types lack penetration, OK for lightly clothed varmits, but not reliable on heavy clothing.
The compressed tin/copper loads act like a FMJ for defense purposes.

Neither of these loads are suitable for defensive purposes in my opinion, especially in 9MM.

Did I mention the things are danged expensive?

If you are concerned about over-penetration, use lightweight hollow point loads.
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Old April 07, 2017, 18:38   #4
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By no means am I an expert, but everything I've ever read (and believed) said that you want your defensive handgun rounds to create two holes. One going in, and one going out. The bigger the better.

Penetration is the name of the game. Frangible ammo really isn't meant for that.
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Old April 07, 2017, 20:30   #5
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By no means am I an expert, but everything I've ever read (and believed) said that you want your defensive handgun rounds to create two holes. One going in, and one going out. The bigger the better.

Penetration is the name of the game. Frangible ammo really isn't meant for that.
I would disagree agree that penetration is what you want. The real goal is energy transfer from the bullet to the person/target. I've shot lots of animals threw and threw (in one side, out the other) with heart and or lung shots and had to go find the animal after it ran off. One ran for more than 2 miles before we lost it. The fastest kill shot I've taken was with my 300 WSM, my 180 spear grand slam bullet. I watch the deer through the scope, drop a slit second after I pulled the trigger and it never moved. The bullet never came out the far side. The shot was at about 100 yards, plenty of power to make it out the other side.

If complete pass threw of a bullet were the goal in killing/stopping people/animals then FMJ would be king of the killing game. Just ask anyone who has served in Iraq or Afghanistan how FMJ bullets work. The reason self defense and hunting bullets are designed to expand is to help transfer energy from the bullet to the target.

Now for frangible bullets. Most frangible bullets have very low mass, which helps limit penetration. The down side to the lack of mass is there is also less kinetic energy to transfer thereby making them less effective. While there have been groups that have used frangible ammo (mostly in Afghanistan) with success, reports showed that it was easily defeated and wouldn't reliably produce kills, which is why the military changed courses. The reports did say that when it did produce kills, they were quick lots of internal injuries.

Me, personally, I would opt for the Hornady critical duty 135 gr. 9mm ammo. This has the flextip and has done very well in the FBI testing. My next choice would be the Spear Gold dot bullet, then Federal Tactical bonded hollow points. For your 45acp the ammo choices would be similar just with 200 gr bullet weight.
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Old April 07, 2017, 22:24   #6
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Federal 124 gr hst +p. Nuff said. You want to practice some with it it's sold at 30 cents a round if you buy 1k.
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Old April 07, 2017, 22:54   #7
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Actually what you want is a projectle that gives a combination of expansion and penetration.

Energy transfer is over rated...what stops people is blood loss, broken bones, CNS damage/ interruption and organ damage. Ideally, the projectile will penetrate deep enough and have maximum expansion that enough damage is done that the person collapses.

There are cases where people (and animals) absorb a multitude of hits and keep going and cases where one round damages the central nervous system (CNS) and they drop like a sack of potatoes. If you want instantaneous results then hits to the CNS is where you want to be.

So select a projectile that has a track record of those two (expansion and penetration) that works in your weapon and practice, practice and practice. Most major brand ammo will perform well, as they have all improved projectile performance greatly over the years.
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Old April 11, 2017, 07:54   #8
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Everyone,

Thank you for the information, this was very useful.
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Old April 11, 2017, 09:17   #9
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Frangible is for practice only.
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Old April 11, 2017, 09:37   #10
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Frangible is generally made to reduce bounce and fragment ricochets when shooting steel targets. As such it isn't meant for defense. This is the golden age of designer defense ammo. Find something that meets FBI criteria or better that functions in your weapons.
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Old April 11, 2017, 18:27   #11
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Actually what you want is a projectle that gives a combination of expansion and penetration.

Energy transfer is over rated...what stops people is blood loss, broken bones, CNS damage/ interruption and organ damage. Ideally, the projectile will penetrate deep enough and have maximum expansion that enough damage is done that the person collapses.

There are cases where people (and animals) absorb a multitude of hits and keep going and cases where one round damages the central nervous system (CNS) and they drop like a sack of potatoes. If you want instantaneous results then hits to the CNS is where you want to be.

So select a projectile that has a track record of those two (expansion and penetration) that works in your weapon and practice, practice and practice. Most major brand ammo will perform well, as they have all improved projectile performance greatly over the years.
I spent the better part of a month watching a prisoner in the hospital recovering from taking not one but four .45 acp 230 grain Hydrashock bullets to his head when I first joined the Highway Patrol. None of the rounds did much of anything, the most serious injury was one round broke his jaw. Very little energy was transferred to the guy, one bullet his the frontal bone and followed the skull around the bones and exited out the back of his head. One of the bullets was recovered with very little damage, the nose of the bullet was smashed to one side and it had groves from the rifling. As a result of this shooting, the highway patrol began looking for a different 45 acp ammo.

Another officer was killed by a 22 LR handgun. The round entered between the collar bone an d shoulder blade. It hit the officer's left lung then his heart. The bullet was recovered above the diaphragm. All the energy from the bullet was transferred to the officer.

People die in car crashes because of energy transfer not because of penetration or expansion.
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Old April 11, 2017, 20:09   #12
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I spent the better part of a month watching a prisoner in the hospital recovering from taking not one but four .45 acp 230 grain Hydrashock bullets to his head when I first joined the Highway Patrol. None of the rounds did much of anything, the most serious injury was one round broke his jaw. Very little energy was transferred to the guy, one bullet his the frontal bone and followed the skull around the bones and exited out the back of his head. One of the bullets was recovered with very little damage, the nose of the bullet was smashed to one side and it had groves from the rifling. As a result of this shooting, the highway patrol began looking for a different 45 acp ammo.

Another officer was killed by a 22 LR handgun. The round entered between the collar bone an d shoulder blade. It hit the officer's left lung then his heart. The bullet was recovered above the diaphragm. All the energy from the bullet was transferred to the officer.

People die in car crashes because of energy transfer not because of penetration or expansion.
Your first example is a great example of my argument...no penetration, no expansion...no CNS damage, no stop. I had a friend shot in the mouth by a 45ACP ended up in the hospital with his jaw wired shut, missing a few teeth.
Brought him a gun magazine entitled, "45ACP, King of the Man Stoppers" He laughed till he cried.

Your .22 example is another for my argument. It achieved penetration and caused major organ damage (lung and heart). More then likely, death due to internal bleeding and heart damage. (RIP Officer) Total energy of a 22LR at muzzle is only 150-160 ft lbs top? It was not the energy transfer. I had a guy lose a gunfight with a 22LR to the thigh...struck the femoral artery...bled out before making it 50 yards..(through and through shot). No energy transfer as such...

People die in car crashes usually due to the immediate cessation of movement causes them to strike a object, causes the aorta to rip (side crashes) or because the car is crushed on them.

I watched a guy take a .38 to the left armpit...dropped like a sack of bricks, later learned the projectile transverses the top of the heart and stopped in the spinal cord. Wasn't the energy transferred...(200-250 ft lbs) it was the CNS damage that dropped him and loss of blood from heart damage.

If it was energy transfer to target that causes death, how can you explain a vest absorbing all the energy of a round and the person never leaves their feet? Ever seen the inventor (Davis?) of 2nd chance shooting himself with a .44 in the chest?
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Old April 11, 2017, 20:17   #13
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Sure, but lots of people who got shot with handguns lived even though all the energy was transferred to them. Any shooting where the bullet stayed in the target was a 100% transfer of energy.

It's energy transfer and wound channel / cavitation. Or CNS shutdown.
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Old April 14, 2017, 04:59   #14
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Am using 147 grain Federal hollow points or SIG 147 grain hollow points as expand well and are subsonic. Always been a suckered for displacement and weight. Done a lot of testing with the low ricochet frangible's and rounds like the Glasers. A big heavy man or someone wearing heavy clothing and a frangible can use up most of its energy before getting to vital organs. Whatever you use, try the standard four layer denim test and two layer leather test to see how perform after punching through heavy clothing. I used to switch to light bullets in summer and heavies in winter, now I run Hornady Critical Defense in all defensive handguns regardless of caliber or cartridge.
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Old April 15, 2017, 19:34   #15
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Here are some real facts, pick what you like.

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Old April 18, 2017, 09:43   #16
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Here is one of many articles on handgun efficiency:

http://www.policemag.com/channel/wea...realities.aspx
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Old April 18, 2017, 14:00   #17
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Here is one of many articles on handgun efficiency:

http://www.policemag.com/channel/wea...realities.aspx
I had not seen that article, E, although it makes perfect sense...

Thanks...

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Old April 19, 2017, 06:02   #18
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Actually used picture from that article in a thread a while back discussing backface signature of body armor. Why my other post to this thread suggested choosing some ammo and testing. I test all types of ammo and use very few. Across the board, the most effective I have found from 380 to 45 and even 9mm is Hornady Critical Defense and Critical Duty. For a threat in the open the Critical Defense performs a little better. If the threat takes cover behind a barrier such as car door, drywall, interior door, etc the Critical Duty is built a little heavier and loaded a tad hotter to punch through such and do it's job in perp. I am comfortable with either. The plastic tip in the hollow point ensures reliable feeding and reliable expansion by keeping bullet from becoming plugged and initiating expansion. Only reason don't use it regularly in 9mm is have a suppressor on my carry 9mm more often than not and prefer a subsonic bullet. My 9mm's without threaded barrels have Critical Defense/Duty. The Critical Defense is subsonic in 45 acp.

I test all of my ammo before using. Buy modelers clay which reacts more like flesh than gellitan in some cases and use gellitan too. All rounds considered for carry are fired into both with the 2 layer leather, four layer denim and cotton T-Shirt tests. In process of doing this reliability is tested. Have found in a variety of circumstances most "trick" ammo is just a trick m or gimmick. RIP ammo is probably the worst have tested, Glaser Safety Slugs perform great under optimum circumstances. Give me a relatively thin perp in a cotton shirt and the Glaser's will drop him like the proverbial sack of taters. Present a 6' 4" 270 pound man wearing an Army field coat or leather coat layered over wool sweater and he will have a wicked flesh wound but low odds of setting up hydrostatic shock that will rupture multiple internal organs forcing a stop in getting your pistol fed to you.

In 45 other than Hornady Critical Defense/Duty if can't afford to burn a magazine load a month to know it hits where want and to remind yourself of its recoil impulse suggest almost any quality companies 185 to 200 grain conventional hollow point. Buy a 50 round box and once a month at range after shooting range ammo run a magazine load of your carry ammo. Seen people that used the lower recoil range reloads for training put second round of their defensive ammo far enough off intended point that were stunned by recoil difference. Due to cost of those 20 round boxes of performance ammo many don't test or train with it.

My brother was showing me his new pocket carry Ruger 380 with laser and RIP ammo back at Christmas. Asked if had fired any of his RIP in said pistol and replied was too expensive to shoot unless needs to defend himself but had seen the manufacturer ads showing what it will do... Have three partial boxes in 380 got from folks who purchased and it either jammed loading or first round. Sold to me with one or two rounds missing for just a few bucks. Found it feeds poorly in some pistols, fine in others and if hits a rib bone put in test media it comes to grinding halt. Once the petals peel off the 40 grain copper penetrator has very little @$$ left to work. Fired RIP in 9mm, 357, 44 and 45. All fails if exposed to two leather test and penetrator strikes a wallet in jacket, rib bone or wad of car keys. One trick ponies generally only have one trick.

Frangible's am afraid suffer from too many issues if presented with a non perfect situation. There are good, high technology rounds out there but it's up to user to test in their gun and situation. A person in winter of North Dakota needs a different bullet from the guy who lives in Miami. A geeked up skinny kid on methamphetamine is a much different target than 250 pound diesel mechanic. Do not trust the ammo makers as their job is to make their product test in its best conditions. They won't show you the tests their product failed. Have found a good conventional hollow point in 45 will do the job even if plugs and doesn't expand. 45 acp is a very forgiving defensive round as even ball ammo is diameter of many smaller rounds after they expand.
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Old April 19, 2017, 14:14   #19
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The odds of creating "hydrostatic" shock with pistol ammo is slim to none. Just not enough velocity. Hydrostatic shock is more applicable to a high velocity round....like that from a rifle. Otherwise its a CNS shutdown or a bleedout that counts.
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Old April 19, 2017, 23:23   #20
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People die in car crashes usually due to the immediate cessation of movement causes them to strike a object, causes the aorta to rip (side crashes) or because the car is crushed on them.

I watched a guy take a .38 to the left armpit...dropped like a sack of bricks, later learned the projectile transverses the top of the heart and stopped in the spinal cord. Wasn't the energy transferred...(200-250 ft lbs) it was the CNS damage that dropped him and loss of blood from heart damage.

If it was energy transfer to target that causes death, how can you explain a vest absorbing all the energy of a round and the person never leaves their feet? Ever seen the inventor (Davis?) of 2nd chance shooting himself with a .44 in the chest?
when your in a car crash & your organs hit your rib cage, does that not transfer energy? An object in motion will stay in motion until it is acted upon. There are actually three impacts in an accident; when the vehicle hits another object, when the person inside hits the interior of the vehicle, when the internal organs hit the internal wall of the body cavity. I've help pull many dead people out of vehicles that were dead that were still wearing their seatbelts.

I have seen several videos of people shooging themselves while wearing a bullet proof vest. I believe the videos I've seen at least they were shoot with a 38/357 seeing they used/borrowed a gun from the local PD. He also doesn't shoot himself in the thoracic cavity which could cause death even with a vest on. Vests disperse energy over a larger area, which decreases the effect of the energy.

I did read both articles, and there was some good information in both as well as miss information. One thing I noticed was the lack of a calibration mark for the balistics gel blocks. In order to validate the results every block must be calibrated. This is done by shooting the block with a BB gun, the velocity has to be within a specific range and also how mu h the BB penetrated must be within a specific range and also the temperature of the gel block needs to be noted. This insures that your comparing apples to apples as the consistency of the gel blocks can vary.
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Old April 20, 2017, 08:06   #21
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Grumpy, good post. Reason I like my clay and use indoors where temperature is pretty much same year round. Gellitan is different almost every time but I use both. I use the term hydrostatic force a little loosely interchanged with temporary wound cavity which some type of hydraulic or hydrostatic force sets up. Many handgun rounds set up a significant amount of force in the temporary wound channel. Cleaning up my terminology a little better for the grammar folk but a gaping hole is a gaping hole no mattention what term is usedan to describe it. I know my 357 Maximum and some other handgun rounds make some odd holes. Especially if take a 90 grain hollow point and push it through the Maximum. Same with 180 grain hollow points in 44 magnum. Still playing with these super light bullets, especially the frangibles. Discover a way to get around the barrier and hard bone issues they show promise as get to square velocity but not mass in the energy equation. Should try running a 1/2" aluminum rod out of a shotgun using a 50 caliber sabot. First 20 feet get impressive velocity but it goes all loopy and tumbles off path pretty soon.

Like second test picture as used same block to get reasonable comparator based on that one block.





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Old April 20, 2017, 21:19   #22
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Huey posted some good stuff, quite similar to what is in the linked article

http://www.ar15.com/ammo/project/Sel..._FAQ/index.htm




Peter Pi makes damn good ammo

https://www.corbon.com


the DPX appears to be rather nasty


shot placement is crucial, then the ammo that will do the job can do its job
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Old April 21, 2017, 14:50   #23
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grumpy1,

You are "on the money" about having consistency in testing to compare apples to apples in ballistic testing. Too often, some steps are skipped and it "skews" the results. I have a tendency to always use more then one test result before picking my choice of ammunition to try and alleviate the one shot wonders (test).

Our positions in the matter of what makes an effective handgun round in self defense situations are probably not that far off from each other if we were discussing it face to face. Unfortunately, a lot is lost in a discussion over a internet forum.
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Old April 22, 2017, 07:24   #24
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One of my extended cousins who was ~15 years older than me was career law enforcement. I was still a teen and he was pushing 30 with over a decade of service. This was late 1970's, maybe 1980 because still in high school. He always carried a Browning Hi-Power and I either carried a 1911 or a Colt Snake gun in 357. (Night manager at dad's restaurant and handled all the deposits and change orders for it and the hotel, at 16 was carrying regularly even in the bank as small community all the crooks knew the kid was muleing lots of cash to bank and back. S.O. didn't pay attention our food was good and farm kids carried guns) Used to give my 3rd cousin lots of flack about his "girly gun" and he touted it's capacity opposed to my low round count.

One particular day he came in for dinner and was beat to heck with black eye, bruises and bandages plus a Colt 1911 on his duty belt. Asked what was up, two days before had a domestic call go bad. Shot perp in head twice with his Hi-Power before guy closed the gap and became a wrestling match/cage fight. Said if not for his three cell Maglite may have lost the fight. Got perp handcuffed and drove to hospital. (County didn't have an ambulance yet) perp had two entry holes in forehead and one exit hole in rear of scalp with minor bleeding. Both rounds hit skull and slide around skull before one found a path out. He said was totally baffled as looked like a through and through skull shot. Perp spent more time recovering from Maglite damage than bullet wounds.

In the late 70's bullet technology was ball ammo or a semi jacket with divot in front called a hollow point. CCI Lawman Pentapoint and Glaser Safety Slug were first rounds I saw that departed from anything more than a hole partially formed in tip of bullets. Now we have so many options and sellers hype it's any man's guess which is really best. Thus why I test. Today plan on burning box of buck plus per round Hornady Critical Defense Low Recoil 100 grain 9mm ammo. Will fire through two layer leather, four layer denim, level 2a Kevlar and cotton T-Shirt into clay as don't feel like mixing gellitan and clay is easier to put a rib bone in, plus can reform and reuse.

If work like the Hornady 38 special 90 grain Low Recoil wife will get a new 9mm pistol today with the pink tipped bullets. She knows to only use the pink tips in her two Colt Diamondbacks and Smith M60's. She is very attached to an old blue steel Charter Arms 38 Bulldog was carrying day I met her. Only time she ever fired it before taking up with me and insisting on quarterly qualification was to put two rounds through her door a cop who followed her home was trying to break down. He went to prison as local women stepped up sayin he had done to them what was trying with wife long before we met. Why she is always armed especially if cop pulls her over. Due to bone disease recoil is a big issue so larger frame 380's and 38's with Hornady Low Recoil Critical Defense is her limit. Have found Hornady Critical Defense and Critical Duty to be best overall testing ammo in any caliber across the board. There are a few better at a single task but not a better all task, all caliber round thus far.

In 9mm my two most carried rounds that both test well are Federal 147 grain HST and SIG 147 grain Elite V-Crown. These are mission specific as carry a suppressed 9mm every day and want to stay subsonic and get good performance. The SIG is almost 100 fps slower and near low elevations of coast won't have rounds go transonic and crack on me. The Federal at near sea level will occasionally have a few cracks. The best expanding across board ammo for 20 years now has been PMC Starfire but what makes it expand beautifully in test material is its weak point if have to punch a barrier to reach a perp. All the Federal HST tests well and is very reasonably priced in 50 round boxes compared to most high tech 20 round boxes approaching or surpassing $30 per box. The odder it is or more it departs from conventional modern designs the more likely it is to be a marketing wonder, one trick pony.

Every week I shoot minimum of 50 rounds through the guns carrying the most on my person using cast lead major power range ammo and finish with at least five rounds to a full magazine of my carry ammo to ensure am familiar with its recoil and hits where sights point. Gets expensive burning one to two boxes of the 20 round per box high performance ammo per month. But not going to be one of those guys who's first round of their defensive ammo is when they need it to discover it doesn't drop a geeked up meth head, hits four inches from where their range ammo does, or second round jams. Plus the tarnished and dirty top rounds in each mag get burned so have shiny bullets.

Now have three first person accounts of frangible's collapsing and crushging on lip of feed ramp gumming pistol up till was taken apart and all the pieces dug out. That's enough for me to have strong reservations. Have made a lot of frangible's in past using bullet jackets, lead shot and epoxy resin but never got weight consistent enough or performance of rounds like the Glaser. Again, like PMC Starfire the Glaser have little left after going through a barrier. I carry three spare mags on my belt. The rounds in pistol and two magazine pouch are tested factory ammo, usually Hornady or Federal. The magazine in lone pouch is home brew for special occasions. If an agressor takes cover behind something thick or is obviously wearing armor will punch out the factory and grab the home brews that were developed with years of testing and possibly lead to a minor charge even if a good shoot outside of home town. They don't really expand, the lead is a lubrication media for the center core.

When I settled on Hornady Critical Defense in my 45's bought 15 of the 20 round boxes with same lot number. Always buy as many boxes as store has of a 20 round box selection matching lot numbers and leave odd lot numbers on shelf. Critical Duty comes in 50 round boxes and two or three will stuff a lot of mags and allow a few per week for some time. Test, practice, test, practice, practice, practice. A solid hit with ball ammo beats a poor shot with magic bullets. If in doubt, a good lead SWC still does a good job.
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