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Sinterfire frangible for Self-Defense / Carry

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by labnoti, Oct 21, 2019.

  1. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    The compressed powdered metal frangible bullets are the defacto standard for training on steel at close ranges and in shoot houses to reduce some of the hazards of ricochet, damage to steel plates, and penetration of some materials (mostly thick plate steel and concrete). I've used them for that purpose, but not for carry. However, I am beginning to be curious about compressed-powdered frangible's ability to transfer energy and still penetrate.

    I think most people's impression of frangible ammo is the concept of bullets that won't overpenetrate, but just powderize upon impact. For anything other than training, people consider frangible to avoid overpenetration or with the hope that they won't penetrate barriers and cause collateral damage. This is not how the work at all in my experience. Sinterfire bullets penetrate quite well. They will shoot through many materials like dry-wall, wood, plywood, automobile body panels, and plate glass mostly intact and remain very much a hazard on the other side. In fact, I would say they penetrate about the same as hollowpoints. The big difference is how they behave on the materials that will stop both frangible and hollowpoints. Whereas hollowpoints will break into large chunks or bounce intact, frangibles will powderize on those barriers.

    So what about ballistics gel? I've seen several tests where Sinterfire frangibles designed for the purpose will penetrate a multi-layer clothing barrier and then penetrate the gel to 16". They also fragment and shed weight substantially, which results in energy transfer and wounding, but with still enough weight retention to achieve that penetration.

    This is fairly remarkable. I already knew that people who thought frangibles would be stopped by drywall were wrong. But hollowpoints remain the overwhelming choice for carry because frangibles are generally regarded as lacking penetration. Is that wrong also?

    Take a look at the results of this gel test for .38 Special -- a weak cartridge where many people recognize that you can have penetration or expansion, but usually not both. Note also the test used a S&W 640 J frame (short barrel)

    https://www.ammunitiontogo.com/prod...fire-special-duty-110-grain-frangible-hp-ammo

    Then take a look at these tests on drywall+gel, plywood+gel, denim+gel and more:

    http://sinterfire.com/media/videos/

    I also want to mention DRT: http://www.drtammo.com
    They also make bullets with a powdered metal core, but instead of sintering them, the insert them in a copper jacket with a hollowpoint. They offer some rifle bullets that could be interesting for hunting. I wasn't able to find as many videos of their product tested or demonstrated.

    With the type of results demonstrated above, why do these bullets continue to be used pretty much exclusively on steel?
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
  2. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    Personally, when I am out of options and needing to rely on my handgun and ammo to save my life or the lives of others, I’ll choose a bullet designed and tested for defensive applications rather than hope a bullet totally designed to fragment on impact with steel targets works when striking a crook.

    The DRT rounds sound a lot like the Glaser Safety Slugs, which were copper bullet jackets filled with small diameter lead shot (#9 or #12 depending on caliber I believe). They were wicked performers on watermelons, and were probably pretty dang vicious if blasting a crook in the guts. They were really pricy back in the day, I haven’t seen them on shelves in years..

    Stick with the bullets made for the task, save the powdered metal fragmenting rounds for thwacking those targets.

    Stay safe.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2019
  3. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    I like prefragmented bullets like quickshocks. Similar result but a totally different mechanism.
     
  4. PO2Hammer

    PO2Hammer Member

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    WTH am I seeing in that light clothing video?
    After the initial expansion collapses, it looks like a small flash/explosion a then a second expansion. Watch at 0:25 and 0:39
    Looks like that gel block has quite a tummy ache.
    Can't imagine it would be able to fight back after that.

    Anyway, I've loaded Sinterfire bullets in 9mm and 45 auto. If I was wealthy I would shoot nothing but Sinterfire bullets, at least for practice. I've had my tightest group at 50 yards with my new 9mm Kimber Target using the flat nose (non-defensive) Sinterfire bullet. In 45 auto you can brew up some nice accurate loads with low recoil. The low density bullets are long and take up empty space in the case.

    Plus I feel good that they're lead free, 'cause I'm a green red neck. ;)

    Like the OP said, they only turn to dust when they hit concrete or steel plates. Pretty sure the plain flat noses would behave like a FMJ in gel.

    Apparently they don't sell their defensive bullets online, but that ammo looks serious!
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2019
  5. PO2Hammer

    PO2Hammer Member

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  6. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    Well, that's exactly what Sinterfire's "Special Duty" product line claims to be. The have the "Reduced Hazard" and "NXG" products which are simply compressed and sintered powdered metal frangibles. The difference between the RH and NXG (or "Green Line") is the latter has lead-free primers. But I believe the Special Duty bullets differ in that they are designed to fragment in tissue, and also feature a base or core that stays intact and penetrates to meet standard gel test criteria (deep enough to hit Michael Platt's heart).

    The point I started this thread for was that this technology which is widely regarded as being just for thwacking steel targets, is in fact being applied specifically to defensive ammo and hunting ammo (DRT).

    But insomuch as they're not as "proven" as something like Federal HST, Hornady Critical Duty, Speer Gold Dot... I can't say that choices like those wouldn't be more prudent just because Sinterfire has marketed this as SD ammo.

    This is actually a normal or common phenomenon in gel. If the camera has a high enough frame rate, it will be captured in many gel block impacts. I believe it is a result of vaporized gel being compressed to the point of ignition, similar to a "fire piston." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_piston



    I agree, the regular "Reduced Hazard" and "NXG" may not fragment in gel or human tissue. They punch right through plywood, so they would probably do the same to bone. But the Special Duty line are demonstrated fragmenting in gel in those videos.

    I also have not seen the Special Duty bullets for sale as components but only loaded ammo, but I haven't inquired with them either.

    I like to buy Sinterfire bullets when they're available from RMR for a lot less.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2019
  7. Walt Sherrill

    Walt Sherrill Member

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    Everything I've read about using a handgun in a self-defense situation is that your only objective should be to STOP the attacker before he or she can stop you. Bleeding out is not a show stopper, it's a slow stopper!

    That means you must use a round that penetrates deeply enough to hit a critical part of the central nervous system: head/brain or spine. If you don't hit one of the critical areas, you are at grave risk. Even a shot to the heart may not STOP the attacker quickly enough to make you safe: the attacker may have another 30-60 seconds to continue an attack that can kill you, too!

    Then, too, I've seen and read of too many examples of experienced, determined, or drugged-up attackers continuing the fight despite multiple center mass hit by LEOs or defenders who were using good self-defense rounds.

    Secondary wound channels (in which tissue is disrupted) don't seem to be disabling unless the round is traveling at rifle-velocities -- i.e., at least 2,000 fps. Darned few carry weapons and loads can do that. More importantly ballistic gel, which simulates pork tissue, is seldom set up to replicate the bones, tendon, ligaments, organs and other connective tissue that holds the living organism together. Then too, living tissue is remarkably resilient and elastic. Ballistic gel is NOT.​

    Frangible ammo was apparently developed to make live-fire training safer for the trainees. It well-used in that role, but there is little results-based evidence from real world confrontations or convincing ballistic gel results to support its use as a self-defense round.
     
    Demi-human, mljdeckard and JR24 like this.
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