15 January 2017

Frangible bullets

Carrying on from my investigation into the Lindt Cafe siege and similar scenarios, I am investigating frangible bullets.

Frangible bullets are unlike normal bullets. Normal bullets are made of lead. Jacketed bullets (full metal jacket or FMJ, or partially jacketed) are lead with a copper skin (or "jacket") around them. Frangible bullets, however, are made of compressed copper powder. The idea is that when the bullet hits a body or wall, the copper powder crumbles, rather than riccocheting either whole or in fragments.

This is not necessarily a magic bullet - there is always going to be risk involved: the bullet may not crumble fully and fragments may perhaps still riccochet. Also, frangibles can suffer between being drawn from the magazine and striking a target, including especially the moment they are fired from a revolver chamber and enter the barrel: this can be embarrassing on a firing range... and much worse at the end of a siege. Frangibles do seem to have a bit of a reputation for causing difficulties.

Nevertheless, I think it likely that if the NSW Police had been using frangibles, poor Katrina Dawson would still be alive today. Indeed, they should be standard issue. If they give the standard issue Glocks indigestion, then it is the Glocks that should be replaced.

Here is an ad by a manufacturer of frangible bullets that illustrates them beautifully:


You wouldn't do this with a normal bullet. Do NOT try this at home:


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