Teflon bullets


No Exit
December 26, 2007, 10:42 PM
Just curious: can some of you explain them to me? Do I need them & if so why?

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December 26, 2007, 11:07 PM
If I am not mistaken they are a no no on the ATFs naughty list. Apparently the teflon is supposed to lubricate the bullet for greater penetration on items such as light amour. It has been years since I've heard of them. My grandfathers brother used to work for Federal Armored Express in Baltimore he was one of the designers of the modern armored car body. Anyway the body is a heavy steel outer skin a layer of foam and an inner liner of a lighter metal. the outer layer takes the impact the foam slows it and the inner layer stops it. The one and only time I heard of a teflon bullet he had mentioned that short of military AP rounds that teflon coated bullets were the only civillian round that could pierce it. I was very young he was up in years I may remember it wrong.

December 26, 2007, 11:20 PM
An 80's myth perpetuated by some goofy congressmen going back to winchester's "black talon" cop killing load having their propitiatory lubalox coating on the outside of the bullets to reduce copper fouling in the bore.

Big Boomer
December 26, 2007, 11:22 PM
From what I have heard that was a myth about the bullet proof vest penetration thing, it had to do with less fouling in the barrel.

Media hype jumps to conclusions, suddenly there are "cop killers" out there and a ban rears its ugly head.

December 26, 2007, 11:25 PM
If I recall correctly, the Teflon coating had no or negative effect on vest penitration. I still have 15 of the original box of 20 9mm Black Talons down in my basement somewhere...

December 26, 2007, 11:41 PM
One of the Lethal Weapon movies popularized the idea the Teflon-coated ammo = armor penetrating bullets = cop killers.

Since legislators know that Hollywood is real life, they had to ban these terrible bullets so they could prove they had "taken a stand" against crime.

The actual reason behind the Teflon coating was simple and mechanical: it reduced friction and fouling in the barrel, always a good thing in the world of ballistics.

With the laws against "Teflon cop killer ammo" the guys making ammo had to come up with other solutions to the same mechanical problem.

The short answer?

No, you don't need them.

Furthermore, even if it's legal where you are, I'd hate to be in your shoes after a self-defense shooting where the local prosecutor discovers you used "cop-killer" style ammo, because -- oh noes -- that must mean you were waiting for a chance to kill someone.

Yeah, I know, there's no reason or logic in that, but politicians have never needed reason or logic, just sound bites.

There's plenty of self-defense ammo out there.

One suggestion is to ask the local cop shop what they use for self defense, and what to they recommend. If it ever became an issue, "well, I use this ammo because the police recommended it."

Sorry about the politics. Defending yourself may be all about solving "Problem #1" -- staying alive when your life is threatened -- but having accomplished that, the next thing on your to-do list becomes defending yourself from "Problem #2" -- staying out of jail when the prosecutor decides to use you as an example, or the relatives of the recently deceased decide to use you to hit the lottery.

Problem #2 is inherently political, and you're gonna hear more "loaded language" per square sentence than you've ever heard before, as the people who now want you to pay, one way or another, for the "privilege" of having saved your own life, begin to expound upon your sins.

Don't use exotic ammo for self defense. Use standard stuff.

December 27, 2007, 12:27 AM
I thought the reason that the KTW rounds had Teflon on them was that the material that the makers used caused damage to the barrel and rifling. By coating them with Teflon they reduced barrel wear.

BTW, KTW understood how potentially dangerous their rounds could be, in the wrong hands, and THEY restricted the sale to police departments or officers who had department approval.

Does anyone else make a Teflon coated round? Has anyone?

December 27, 2007, 12:48 AM
Other than the KTW rounds correctly identified and described by mikec, the only other teflon coated rounds - of which I am aware - were the Federal 'Ny-clad' ammo designed for indoor range use. They were lead bullets coated with a plastic coating to lower lead particulant contamination in indoor ranges.

But I was told in total confidence and seriousness those rounds had a teflon coating and could penetrate a bullet proof vest. My only response was 'Sheepdip'.

Just as a quick explanation, the three major factors in penetrating ballistic armor are - in this order - velocity, bullet shape and bullet material. Some of the frangible bullets made for indoor range use will penetrate armor, due to the velocity of the lightweight bullet. Go figure.

December 27, 2007, 01:06 AM
Archie, S&W and then Federal always stated that the Nyclad coating was Nylon, hence the name. Now S&W DID make some jacketed ammo that according to an editor at Guns and Ammo was capable of penetrating body armor. The guy wrote about the S&W ammo going through vests maybe four or five years after S&W stopped making ammo. (I do believe he said in the article that he felt comfortable writing about it because enough time had passed since S&W had made that ammo. ) I was going to put a caliber and weight and bullet style but I won't.

BTW, I still have some of the Federal 125gr lead HP semi-wadcutter Nyclad for my Agent. I need to find a new load for that thing....

December 27, 2007, 01:06 AM
A collection of links ...

guncite (http://www.guncite.com/gun_control_gcgvcopk.html)
In the mid 1960's, Dr. Paul Kopsch (an Ohio coroner), Daniel Turcos (a police sergeant) and Donald Ward (Dr. Kopsch's special investigator) began experimenting with special purpose handgun ammunition. Their objective was to develop a law enforcement round capable of improved penetration against hard targets like windshield glass and automobile doors. Conventional bullets, made primarily from lead, are often ineffective against hard targets especially when fired at handgun velocities. In the 1970's, Kopsch, Turcos and Ward produced their "KTW" handgun ammunition using steel cored bullets capable of great penetration. Following further experimentation, in 1981 they began producing bullets constructed primarily of brass. The hard brass bullets caused exceptional wear on handgun barrels, a problem combated by coating the bullets with Teflon. The Teflon coating did nothing to improve penetration, it simply reduced damage to the gun barrel.

Despite the facts that "KTW" ammunition had never been available to the general public and that no police officer has ever been killed by a handgun bullet penetrating their body armor, the media incorrectly reported that the Teflon coated bullets were designed to defeat the body armor that law enforcement officers were beginning to use. The myth of "Cop-killer" bullets was born.
rec.guns faq (http://www.recguns.com/Sources/VG2.html)

Dave Kopel (http://www.davekopel.com/NRO/Return-of-a-Legislative-Legend.htm)

December 27, 2007, 03:19 AM
Whoa, now this was a good thread. I'm a younger man, and in my world theres "always" been "cop killers" I've been around military ammo some and while its pretty easy to do the math and come up with a load to defeat most armour. I had always wondered why teflon was the magic word. Hadn't really thought of it preventing damage to the weapon. Guess thats because most bg's that are going to use their gun to kill, aren't really known for using high quality machines that are well maintained.

December 27, 2007, 03:44 AM
Only teflon bullets I ever used were cast lead bullets coated with teflon with the idea of reducing barrel wear and lead fouling.
They were actually pretty good at preventing the fouling, but I doubt a full wadcutter is going to penetrate any kind of body armor.
Hollywierd gets its ideas from dope smokers. Ever watch a Bruce Willis movie?
Anyway, they were too expensive. Went to a harder lead formula.

There is a lot of surplus ammo out there that will penetrate even the best of today's body armor. I've got some copper jacketed 8X57 with steel bullets that will poke clean holes through brake drums at 100 yards.
Funniest thing, drum won't even wobble but will have a new hole.
Cut one in a cross section. Copper jacket, thin layer of lead with a steel bullet-shaped core. Not exactly high-tech stuff either. Headstamp is 1943.

December 27, 2007, 09:32 AM
I believe the first KTW ammo actually used tungsten as part of the bullet material which isn't good on barrels so it was coated with teflon. I think that the bullets were changed to hardened steel with teflon. I'm not sure if this ammo is even made anymore.

December 27, 2007, 10:01 AM
Wasn't the KTW round tubular in design like a small cookie cutter giving it it's vest penetrating ability? I guess it used a sabot or gass check...

December 27, 2007, 10:25 AM
Nylon is NOT teflon.
Nyclad was an attempt to reduce lead in indoor ranges.
KTW developed a teflon bullet to allow use of harder material and not damage rifling.
It had limited success.

December 27, 2007, 10:42 AM
herohog, you're thinking of Arcane ammo. It was tubular supposedly for the purpose of penetrating body armor. The last (and most prolific in the KTW line) were actually made of silicon bronze. Harder than brass, but still softer than steel. The teflon coating was indeed to reduce barrel wear, and was applied (IIRC) 25-30 thousandths.

Vern Humphrey
December 27, 2007, 10:53 AM
Wasn't the KTW round tubular in design like a small cookie cutter giving it it's vest penetrating ability? I guess it used a sabot or gass check...

I was tasked with investigating KTW for possible military use. The KTW bullet was a solid (made of various materials over the production span.) Both the Justice Department and the Treasury Department tested it and found it did not penetrate soft body armor any better than any other bullet driven at the same velocity.

December 27, 2007, 10:55 AM
Following site has some good pics of different types of AP handgun ammo. The Arcane ammo pictured is some of the later developmental type which also utilized silicon bronze sharp pointed projectiles shaped like the old US Remington "Hi-way Master" rounds designed to better penetrate car bodies:


Jim Watson
December 27, 2007, 11:39 AM
As I recall, early KTW armor piercing was a tungsten core in a copper half jacket, Teflon coated. Tool steel cores penetrated nearly as well as tungsten but cost a lot less, so they loaded that for a while, keeping the copper half jacket and Teflon coating. Last production KTW was solid bronze with Teflon coating.

A couple of thousandths of Teflon coating is not going to protect a pistol barrel against a tungsten or steel bullet. Which is why the cores were well undersize and carried in a copper half jacket which took the rifling.
On the other hand, there are several brands of solid bronze safari rifle bullets and they don't need a coating to protect the bore.

The Teflon coating was thought to improve penetration IN SOME TARGET MATERIALS. KTW bullets were designed before Kevlar soft bullet proof vests came out and were not intended to penetrate body armor. They were made for cops to shoot at barricaded criminals and to penetrate walls, doors, and car bodies, not synthetic fibre.

December 27, 2007, 11:43 AM
There are a couple of different misconceptions being repeated in this thread, not the least of which is that "Teflon" aids in penetrating a "bullet-proof vest". Dr. Kopsch himself has said that the Teflon was only added because it helped a bullet to momentarily "grip" a surface when it is under pressure, such as when that bullet hits an oblique car panel. (as an aside, Teflon is added to the plastic that they use to make the plastic tips for canes and walkers; opposite to what you would think, when it is being compressed, it actually helps the plastic to STICK to the surface it is being pressed against.) He further says that the Teflon actually REDUCED penetration in a vest, and that it was only added to the round to make it a better piercer when it struck glass or metal. Here's a shot of both the original (tungsten alloy in a gilding-metal base-cup) version of the KTW, and the later (majority of production; machined bronze, coated with Teflon) version of the KTW, both in 38 Spl.


Herohog, the tubular bullet you're thinking of was the PMC Ultramag; these were originally machined out of bronze (a material that was also prohibited under the "cop-killer bullet ban", but were later made out of machined copper. PMC dropped the design after it didn't sell well enough to keep in production anyway. Here's a picture showing an original bronze Ultramag (9th and 10th cartridge from the left, top row)


The Arcane was a French design that was also intended to do a better job of piercing "armour", but was simply a machined brass or copper projectile, with a straight "cone" shape to it. A more effective design along these same lines was the French THV (Tres Haute Vitesse), which uses a machined brass bullet with a negative ogive, that concentrates its force on a very fine needle tip. An example of the copper Arcane can be seen in the above picture (5th and 6th from the left, top row), while examples of the THV can be seen in various calibres (19 th and 20th from the left, top row, and 1st through 4th from the left, bottom row).

December 27, 2007, 11:54 AM
Any 30-30 round will penetrate far better than the best "armor piercing" handgun round.

I expect the 30-30 will penetrate at least 20 Teflon skillets.

December 27, 2007, 12:15 PM
Wow my grandfathers brother must have had a few when he told me that story. I learned something new today.

December 27, 2007, 01:15 PM
with age goes memory, thanks for the corrections. Can I at least get a "C" for getting close? ;-)

Phil DeGraves
December 27, 2007, 01:37 PM
The Arcane bullet was a true "armor piercing" round. I shot one through a two inch piece of 4 ply lexan. The PMC Ultramag wasn't designed to be an armor piercing round. The tubular design was meant to cause a "non-closing wound" after initial impact. The Arcane round came pretty close to 2000 fps in .357. The PMC UM was only slightly faster than normal velocities though the .38 only weighed 66 grains; 1100 fps, not nearly enough to do much damage to a vest (I tried it).

December 29, 2007, 09:16 AM
Once I grew tired of the leading from cast bullets I contacted DuPont (the folks that make Teflon) looking for a product that I could coat bullets with. All I can say is at least they didn’t use any profanity while rejecting my business.

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