Traditional hollow point ammunition often features a bullet made of solid lead jacketed in copper that holds the bullet together as it impacts a target.

Frangible ammo features a bullet that fragments, or in some cases shatters, after striking the first barrier of the target.

Frangible bullets are sometimes referred to as Advanced Energy Transfer (AET) rounds. The Glaser Safety Slug is by far the most recognizable name when talking about AET rounds.

Let’s get into the uses of frangible ammo and how Maxim Defense has taken frangible ammo to the next level.


What is Frangible Ammo Good For?


Police and military personnel who operate in confined spaces need to train as realistically as possible.  That involves training in narrow hallways, doorways, and small rooms. Shooting standard FMJ rounds in close quarters increases the chance of ricochet and associated injuries.

To mitigate that risk, frangible ammo has grown into a trusted option for these training scenarios. Frangible ammo allows military and law enforcement to conduct realistic training with a reduced risk of injury or fatalities.

Maxim Defense Frangible Ammo
Make entry, Find work. (Photo: Clandestine Media Group)

Home Defense

All ammunition has the potential for over-penetration. There is no magic bullet (no pun intended). That said, if there were to be a ‘magic bullet’ it would be frangible ammo.

Over-penetration is one of the primary concerns when talking about ammunition to use for home defense. Being concerned with the possibility of bullets going through a wall or door to then hurt or kill a loved one is understandable.

If a hollow point round strikes a stud inside a wall, it has the potential to either pass through it or ricochet, depending on trajectory, velocity, and caliber. Either of those results from a standard defensive round can cause injury to innocent bystanders.

If a frangible bullet strikes the stud inside a wall, it immediately fragments and turns into a powder.

Maxim Defense

High-Risk Areas of Operation

Frangible ammunition is also used in high-risk areas where a stray bullet impact creates a significant safety concern to the public.

Security personnel for oil platforms, hazardous material facilities, nuclear power plants, or chemical plants may opt to use frangible ammo to reduce the chance of a larger disaster resulting from having to discharge their weapon.

Maxim Defense Frangible Ammo
(Photo: Clandestine Media Group)

Maxim Defense Frangible Ammo of the Future

A military protocol has long dictated that the minimum safe distance for shooting steel targets with a 5.56mm carbine is 25 meters.

With Maxim Defense’s newest 5.56 frangible ammo, that distance has been reduced to effectively 0 feet.

Maxim Defense Frangible Ammo

These are not your grandfather’s bullets, your father’s frangible bullets, or even the training ammo produced 10 years ago. The following next-generation frangible ammo will be available on the Maxim Defense website very soon.

9mm 90gr Frangible

9mm frangible ammo

300 AAC Blackout 113gr Frangible

300 blackout frangible ammo

5.56 40gr Frangible

5.56 frangible ammo

The biggest downside of frangible bullets has always been the lack of enough penetration to stop a threat. Frangible ammo is without a doubt lethal. Almost every gun owner wants to know that the ammunition they are loading into their defensive gun with in fact put down the threat.

There was a time when hollow point defense ammunition was the standard, but times change and so does ammunition technology.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Air Marshals use frangible bullets?

The Glaser Safety Slug was designed in 1974 in response to the possibility of Air Marshals having to use a handgun on an airplane.

The concerns at that time were over-penetration of soft tissue, ricochets off hard surfaces, and possible penetration of the aircraft fuselage.

The current Glaser Safety Slug is designed as a pre-fragmented bullet using a traditional copper jacket. Instead of a solid lead core like conventional hollow point ammunition, it has a compressed core of lead shot. It’s capped with a polymer ball that ensures flawless feeding and rapid follow-up shots.

Do police use frangible bullets?

Frangible ammunition, which breaks apart on impact, is mainly used by law enforcement agencies for training purposes, but can also be used for police interventions if department policies allow the use of frangible ammo.

Many police departments use duty ammunition that has been vetted through the FBI testing protocol. However, to keep training costs down and the training safer, frangible ammunition has made its way into police departments across the United States.

Maxim Defense Frangible Ammo
(Photo: Clandestine Media Group)

Are frangible bullets good for self defense?

When choosing self-defense ammo, there are a few things you need to take into account.

  • bullet construction
  • velocity
  • energy transfer
  • reliability
  • accuracy

Self-defense ammunition needs to penetrate deep enough to hit vital organs, but not over-penetrate causing collateral damage, and it needs to transfer enough energy to stop the threat.

One important fact to remember is that frangible ammo isn’t designed to meet FBI testing protocols. There are those, however, who refuse to use ammo that doesn’t meet FBI Testing Protocols. That said, it’s good to know what those actual testing protocols are.

The FBI testing protocol includes testing ammunition through barriers that most of us will never need to shoot through to stop a threat. Barriers such as auto glass, sheet metal, and plywood.

You do need your carry defense ammunition that will penetrate heavy clothing such as denim and leather. Just because certain ammunition wasn’t tested against or would fail the FBI protocol, doesn’t mean it isn’t good self-defense ammo.

Is frangible ammo bad for your gun?

Because frangible ammo is made of a softer bullet, it can increase the chance of fouling in the barrel.

During high round count range sessions, it has the potential to ruin the barrel faster requiring more cleaning, leading to higher ownership costs and more hassle. We won’t get into a gun cleaning debate here, but take care of your equipment and it will take care of you.

With the new Maxim Defense copper/polymer blend frangible ammo, we now have the same terminal performance we love, with the stability and sturdiness we need.

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