Wednesday, March 04, 2009

How about a .45 instead?

.... and make it frangible too! A little something from the latest federal contracts put out.
2. Olin/Winchester (Cage 1MR34), East Alton, Ill., is being awarded a $30,000,000 Firm-Fixed, Indefinite-Delivery/Indefinite-Quantity contract for the acquisition of 9mm frangible ammunition. Work will be performed in East Alton, Ill. and is expected to be completed by February 2014. The Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Crane Division, Crane, Ind., is the contracting activity (N00164-09-D-J)
What is frangible? I'm glad you asked! The really good info is available from NAVSEA here, but from GlobalSecurity - here is the ES.
Frangible, or “soft,” rounds are designed to break apart when they hit walls or other hard surfaces to prevent ricochets during close-quarters combat. Frangible ammunition represents the first viable revolutionary change to firearms science in the past 100 years. Frangible ammunition is a relatively recent development in bullets, presenting a departure from the standard projectiles in use for both range shooting and personal protection. With the advent of modern hostage rescue tactics in the 1970s and 1980s, the military and police agencies began to look for ways to minimize overpenetration risks. One widely-accepted solution was the frangible round, also known as the AET (Advanced Energy Transfer) round.
Frangible rounds are available in a wide array of pistol calibers, but due to the inherently high velocities of rifle rounds, frangible ammunition is much less effective in rifles. It is only produced in 5.56mm NATO and 7.62mm NATO, and its performance in actual combat is dubious. There are two frangible rounds that have been approved for training purposes only. One is a 9mm, and the other a 5.56. Approval for operational use will depend on the special mission requirements (the military necessity) for the round.
Frangible bullets will break up into small, less harmful, pieces upon contact with anything harder than they are. This maximizes the round's transfer of energy to the object and minimizes the chances that pieces of the bullet will exit the object at dangerous velocities. Each of the small fragments quickly loses any energy and therefore pose very little danger to any secondary targets. This means that full-power frangible bullets can be shot at target all the way up to muzzle contact without any worries that the bullet or case will ricochet and potentially hurt either the shooter or others.
Everyone talks about training and "green" - this sounds a bit more ... interesting ...
Concerns with over penetration / ricochet hazards aboard aircraft, ships and (e. g.) nuclear power plants that might release hazardous materials have led to efforts to provide small caliber ammunition with reduced ricochet, limited penetration (RRLP) for use by SOF to reduce risk to friendly forces and innocent persons. There are three general levels of frangible: Training [may be used for training only]; reduced ricochet, limited penetration[RRLP, designed for purposes stated]; and general purpose frangible [though no military requirement has been established for a general purpose round for use by conventional forces]. Specific ammunition must undergo wound ballistics testing/ legal review once developed. It can be used for: Close Quarter Battle (CQB); Military operation in Urban Terrain (MOUT); Visit Board Search and Seizure; and Counter-Narcotics (CN) Operation.
You can get your own here - including you reloaders. Nice review here. Yummy.

Note how close he is to those metal plates? Don't try that at home with normal rounds.

Hat tip NAVSEA Spy.


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Anonymous said...

Yes, really.