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Frangible Ammo May Pose Threat to Body Armor

November 13, 2002  | 

A limited series of tests evaluating the performance of frangible ammunition against body armor suggests the bullets pose a potential safety threat to personal body armor wearers.

The tests were conducted at the request of the National Institute of Justice by the staff of the Office of Law Enforcement Standards (OLES).

Two types of frangible bullets were tested: a jacketed hot pressed powdered metal and a non-jacketed sintered/hot pressed powdered metal bullet. Both bullets were 9 mm RNFP designs, weighing 100 grains.

The armors used for testing were of hybrid construction, employing combinations of aramid and polyethylene ballistic fiber materials and layers. NIJ compliant Type II and IIIA protection armors were tested using both types of frangible bullets.

These preliminary tests indecate that frangible bullets may present more of a threat to personal body armor than traditional lead-based bullets. Additional research is being done by OLES to evaluate the concern.

To participate in a brief survey to determine how extensively frangible ammunition is used in law enforcement agencies, send an e-mail to [email protected], or call 800-248-2742.

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