The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has requested an investigation into independent reports that frangible bullets penetrate ballistic-resistant body armor.

The National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC), an NIJ program, received several reports regarding the penetration of frangible bullets, which are primarily used in training exercises to reduce lead hazards on firing ranges.

Ironically, frangible bullets are designed to break into smaller pieces and quickly lose energy, which is intended to reduce the possibility of injury from ricocheting pieces.

Staff members from the Office of Law Enforcement Standards (OLES), working with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), will conduct tests using the bullets and armor. Results should be available in 30-45 days. The research is part of an objective to produce a Selection and Applications Guide for Frangible Ammunition, which is scheduled to be released a year from now.