Frangible Ammo Made By Sinter Fire

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I like to shoot steel. There is something satisfying about the “ping!” when a round strikes it. What I do not like is the occasional splash. It happens when shooting handgun; sometimes the target is not angled enough, or there is a small divot in the plate, etc. We generally shoot from about 10 meters away (or more) and it is not like it happens often. But it always requires a check to reset the plate angle and inspect for damage. If only there was a way to avoid it altogether…

Enter Sinter Fire. Sinter Fire rounds will turn into a powder when impacting anything harder than themselves. The following video demonstrates them in action:

They are a bit pricey though–a box of fifty in 9mm will set you back about $30. You can also get the rounds as reloading bullets. They make most common calibers (and have for awhile, so nothing super new at SHOT, but still pretty cool).

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The rep showed me some ballistic gel, demonstrating that round are still effective for defense applications. He also relayed a somewhat humorous story about a demo shoot they did in an indoor range. After shooting some pistol and light rifle, they pulled out a 50 BMG rifle (that was loaded with Sinter Fire). Apparently there was some panic and ducking (by those that thought they knew what was coming). Even with the short distances, and large round, there was no splash back (though it did blow out some lights).

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One of the other uses is in areas that ban lead (or require frangible ammunition). And as more places move to such requirements, Sinter Fire is a good choice.

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Tom is a former Navy Corpsman that spent some time bumbling around the deserts of Iraq with a Marine Recon unit, kicking in tent flaps and harassing sheep. Prior to that he was a paramedic somewhere in DFW, also doing some Executive Protection work between shifts. Now that those exciting days are behind him, he has embraced his inner “Warrior Hippie” and assaults 14er in his sandals and beard, or engages in rucking adventure challenges while consuming craft beer. To fund these adventures, he writes medical software and builds websites and mobile apps. His latest venture is as one of the founders of IronSights.com; a search engine for all things gun related. He hopes that his posts will help you find solid gear that will survive whatever you can throw at it–he is known (in certain circles) for his curse…ahem, ability…to find the breaking point of anything.


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  • Phillip Cooper

    Very interesting. I assume it’s not frangible to the extent it would be affected by typical residential construction- 2X4 walls and drywall. If so, a 12 gauge loaded with this would be just the ticket for home defense in my particular case- suburb cul-de-sac.

    • CommonSense23

      You are better off with a rifle than a shotgun when it comes to frangible ammo for home defense. Frang ammo needs speed for energy when it comes to terminal ballistics.

    • Doc Rader

      I actually asked that, and the rep said that it would go through drywall just like most other rounds. It is only when it hits something harder than itself that it powders.

    • Colin

      shotgun frangible ammo is used a lot it is called breaching ammo. Compressed metal powder in a binder close range non ricochet ammo blows out door Locke /hinges .like all frangible ammo absolutely devastating on flesh. Used in very short barrel shotguns not a magnum /high speed ammo.

      • CommonSense23

        Most breaching rounds are absolutely useless past a couple feet for self defense.

  • CommonSense23

    One of the things that has always confused me is how little frangible ammo has been pushed in the home defense field due to the lack of over penetration, coupled with their insane terminal ballistics in flesh.. I have seen the terminal ballistics of frangible rounds first hand many times from both Live tissue training and overseas use and and I have yet to see anything that even comes close to the MK255 round.

    • Nicks87

      Frangible ammo is meant for training purposes only. Anybody that uses/recommends frangible ammo for defensive situations is making a mistake. Mk 255 is different from off the shelf frangible ammo it has a special core that gives it more lethality than sintered projectiles.

    • sianmink

      Frangible pistol ammo of the sort designed for steel will icepick straight through a soft target, though hollow points like the ones above will give it *Some* utility. but in general they’re too light and not pushed fast enough for their light weight to be effective for self defense.

      Now, frangible .223 is a fright when shot into gel. I’m sure part of that is how it’s going 3400fps.

      Mk255 is a totally different concept.

      I work for a frangible ammunition company, so I mind of know the stuff.

      • CommonSense23

        All of my use of 255 has been from the MK18 which has a 10.3 inch barrel, so not even coming close to the 3000fps mark. And I should have referenced that I was talking about for rifle home defense work.
        As for the pistol, the only one that I have seen pull it off is those Liberty 9mm rounds that go 2000fps supposedly.

        • sianmink

          I wouldn’t call either Mk255 or Liberty frangible. ‘franging’ maybe, they’re both designed to come apart in a specific way to cause wounding. The term has really had a problem lately, because it is applied both to rounds that are designed to powder on impact with targets, and those that are designed for reduced penetration, AND those that are designed for specific controlled deconstruction. It’s a messy term. More useful would be designators like ‘reduced hazard’.
          And the Liberty 9mm does go 2000 fps, but I hope you like muzzle blast. that said the stuff is still pretty neat.

          • CommonSense23

            Well considering that NSWC Crane called the 255 frangible ammo to begin with, that’s kinda what I stick with.

          • sianmink

            Kind of my point about the inherent messiness of the term. 😉

    • JSmath

      Just like using birdshot for self/home defense.

      It will not have particularly high amounts of lethality, but it will cause a sizeable bloody wound. In some cases, that is more than enough. In others, it’s not enough.

      That’s why it isn’t pushed too often as a self defense round. It’d be practically asking for a lawsuit.

      • CommonSense23

        The Frang rounds I was referring to was MK255, are extremely lethal. As in I have set to see anyone survive being shot with one, or even individuals who took one center mass needing a security round.

    • Vitsaus

      The main reasons are the plain fact that quality hollow points are just fine, more than enough even for 99% of cases. Then you have to think no frangible ammo company has been competitive with their pricing. Sure its expensive, but if everyone costs more than what 99% of consumers are willing to pay, then they have really brought nothing to the table. I’ve got some Glazer (I think I’m spelling it right) that I haven’t even looked at in 10 years because for what I pay to get two or three mags worth of those, I can get 4-5 boxes of Critical Defense.

  • Darren Hruska

    Very cool! It reminds me much of DRT’s ammo. This has a different construction for the most part, but the idea is pretty similar.

  • Don Ward

    Most important of all, the word “frangible” sounds cool. Frangible. FRAN-gible. FRAN-gi-BLE. frangible. Fraaaaan…gi…bleeeeeee….

    • Grindstone50k

      FRA-GEE-LAY. It must be Italian!

      • M. Para Noir

        which means “franging”