Advanced Ballistic Concepts’ MI-4 Ammunition

Advanced Ballistic Concepts has announced an improved version of their MI-3 tethered prefragmented bullet. The MI-3 features 3 radially fragmented bullet sections, tethered together to form a sort of three-ended “bolas”. The MI-4 adds a central, untethered slug. From the press release:

Jan 2015, Advanced Ballistic Concepts is releasing the newly improved MI-4 series products. The new design incorporates a new 4th center projectile (Center-Slug™) that travels to the shooters final aim-point to further enhance the benefit of the Multiple Impact Bullets design. The new MI-4 products when accurately fired at center-mass results in 4 wound channels delivering tremendous stopping power.

*We have dramatically improved what is already being called the worlds best personal defense Ammo . By adding the new Center-Slug™ to the original Multiple Impact Bullets; we have combined the High-Hit Probability of the original interconnected web-like (aka: WEBSHOT) coverage of the 3x outer fragments with aim-point accuracy of the deeper penetrating new Center-Slug™.

* “ You have to shoot one to truly understand how big of a leap forward this new Ammo is!”

*TODD KUCHMAN (Co-founder)


Since its debut 12 months ago at SHOTSHOW 2014 sales of the Original Mi-3™ (3x part bullet) design have exceeded expectations. Consumers that appreciate the advantage ofIncreased Hit Probability will now hit their center point as well. The new Center-Slug™ is housed in the front of the bullet like a nose cone and flies independent of the tether system down the center of fire to the final aim-point of the shooter to add one more level of stopping power.

View this (2min) video

SCIENCE of the SHOT: By using the spin from rifling to instantly/rapidly spread 3 identical fragments out from the original center of rotation, the pattern increases in size up to 3x faster than Buck-shot. This expanded pattern is ideal for C.Q.B. / Personal defense. The fact that the fragments remain tethered together result in a pre-determined ~14” (Handgun) or ~24” (Shotgun) maximum diameter spread to focus the stopping power to original line of fire. This mitigates the risk of collateral damage do to errant projectiles (I.E. Infinite expanding buckshot). Simply stated, this ammo improves the shooters chances of striking their intended target sooner with less risk to bystanders.

I have my doubts about this sort of ammunition. Due to the large volume occupied by the bolas assembly, the powder charge is reduced versus conventional ammunition, which will negatively impact the energy of the round. Each individual bola segment does not seem to have much sectional density, and I doubt the round could achieve anything like FBI penetration levels under controlled conditions. There may be significant risk of the payload not unfurling, or failing to stabilize properly. I suspect the ammunition will be relegated to “curio” status quickly, especially if the price of MI-3 ammunition (about $4 a round) is anything to go by.

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • Giolli Joker

    “what is already being called the worlds best personal defense Ammo”

    Really, by the manufacturers or by somebody else?

    I’m waiting for shootingthebull410 to test it, but I’m warming up the BS card.

    (BTW, the amazing science behind the payload implies that you have to shoot the 12 GA from a riled barrel shotgun to fully exploit it potential)

  • M.M.D.C.

    Does it also whistle Dixie as it flies?

  • gunslinger

    ya know, dip it in pigs blood and fat….

    oh wait

  • Kovacs Jeno


  • lucusloc

    Yeah, I am not sure what the point of this is. I thought the point of having all the round tethered was to make sure you had the same pattern at any range. Seems like giving the round a 4th untethered projectile ruins that, as it will probably have a significantly different impact point at range. And all of this is before we get into the dubious performance of the round itself.

    Want me to give this round any credit at all? I want to see penetration tests results and pattern test results at various ranges. Since I doubt this round will be able to deliver on either I will not hold my breath waiting for the manufacture to release those.

  • Zebra Dun

    Makes it easier to be deflected by a branch or just anything that sticks out between the rifle and the target.
    Not to mention the screams of the folks who will consider this a heinous bullet on par with the Talon and infamous Dum Dum.

    • Roger V. Tranfaglia

      yea…Mike’s moms

  • Dracon1201

    Oh, hey, everybody! Look! It’s another attempted R.I.P. marketing and hypetrain clusterfrack!

    Show me some real results with properly made 10% calculated ballistics gelatin. Give us the full scoop. Or not. They won’t, why? Because it doesn’t work and they know that. Nice try.

  • dan citizen

    Is it April?

  • DIR911911 .

    pass . . . . next!

  • mzungu

    Wires and cables have the worst kind of aerodynamic drag… I don’t think
    I even want to guess what the effective range of this thing goes, or the accuracy.

  • Grindstone50k

    I look forward to the Shootingthebull video. Looks gimmicky, like the RIP.

  • FWIW: I think bola-type ammunition is banned in certain jurisdictions.

    • Sam Schifo

      It’s illegal here in Illinois altogether, along with dragon’s breath, and flechettes.

  • Don Ward

    Yarrr!!! It be the perfect round fer pirates!!!

  • Dracon1201

    We can’t trust the company to do that. Look at the ad, I mean, really read it. If they’re going to claim it is being called “The world’s best personal defense ammo”, what are the chances they will fudge the tests and work like hell to keep the hypetrain from being derailed? G2 R.I.P ammo used watered down gel to improve their tests, why wouldn’t they do that here? Even if they do the tests right, how do you defend the requirement to use a rifled barrel to get the round to function properly?

    • Bill

      If ammo companies were honest, they wouldn’t sell any ammo: ads would read like: “All ammunition is essentially useless unless you, the shooter, can reliably put a round into the CNS or heart, under stress, while being attacked, and even then most small arms ammo has a very high potential for being ineffective , requiring multiple rounds, or more importantly, multiple solid hits, and can fail to function as designed. So whether you buy ours or someone else’s, you are still essentially at a disadvantage unless you have to knowledge, skill and will to win a gunfight.” I doubt that would make a good ad campaign.

      • Dracon1201

        Entirely true if you are evaluating it from the perspective of all ballistics.

        On the other hand, acknowledging those shortcomings, you can then evaluate the ammunition in a comparative sense, as shootingthebull410 does. If you look at that, you can see the massive difference between the ammunition. So while what you say is true. Some rounds are more useless than others (Like RIP and most likely this), and that’s important enough to matter.

  • Bill

    Already been done. During the days of sail cannon rounds were made that connected two balls with a length of chain to tear down the rigging of enemy vessels. I didn’t realize that we still faced a lot of sailboat-borne adversaries in the personal defense arena.

    • lucusloc

      And micro ship-born threats at that, considering that this will do nothing against even 1/2 inch rope. . .

  • Hensley Beuron Garlington

    I remember Weapons Education on YouTube doing a couple of episodes on the previous Multiple Impact Bullets. I also found a “ballistic gel” test for the shotgun round as well.
    Seems like this should be fitted into a three inch shell if it isn’t already.

  • iksnilol

    I am sceptical. If I want an unusal round that will do massive damage I will just use the Hexolitt32 (Google it, you will be impressed). Mainly because I know it works (though it is expensive).

  • DIR911911 .

    the only “exotic” ammo for defense I have ever used is the Mag Safe line of ammo , but even that is just the first few rounds in the magazine. after that it’s jhp all the way.