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Registration date : 2007-06-27

PostSubject: Exotic Ammunition   Tue 14 Jun 2016, 11:52

Over the years I amassed quite a collection of interesting types of ammunition. Some have been discussed in the Special Purpose Ammo article.
Among the oddities I had was the Shortstop round. This was designed as a "less lethal" option, intended to deliver a knockdown punch to the enemy, rather that a penetrating wound.
  Rather than an orthodox bullet, Shortstop contained a fabric bag, containing lead dust.

On firing, the bag spread into a pancake shape, and struck the torso, with, hopefully, fight-stopping effect.
Here is a photo of the bag after I test fired a round, with an unfired Shortstop next to it

The ammo was designed for use in hostage-rich environments, and was offered as something that the Air Marshals would find useful. They didn't, opting instead for Winchester Silvertip hollowpoints, before converting to their current .357 SIG JHPs.
I'm not aware of any actual use of Shortstop, and it has passed into the black hole of firearms ammo, along with ThunderZap, Rhino and the rest

While Shortstop typified the non-peforating round, another "exotic" ammo, the KTW exemplified the opposite. Named after its creators [Paul Kopsch (an Ohio coroner), Daniel Turcos (a police sergeant), and Donald Ward (Kopsch's special investigator), KTW was designed to defeat barrier materials. Convention police handgun ammo would not reliably penetrate such cover material as vehicle doors. KTW used a brass bullet, with a steel core, to defeat common barriers and go on to incapacitate the sheltering felon. Because brass was hard on the pistol barrels, the manufacturers used a Teflon coating to reduce friction and wear on the weapon. This green PTFE coating gave KTW its characteristic colour:

[KTW round]

Then a storm blew up. In 1982, NBC ran a television special on the bullets, wherein it was argued that the bullets were a threat to police. Various gun control organizations in the U.S. labeled Teflon-coated bullets with the epithet "cop killers" because of the supposedly increased penetration the bullets offered against ballistic vests, a staple of the American police uniform. Many erroneously focused on the Teflon coating as the source of the bullets' supposedly increased penetration, rather than the hardness of the metals used and the sharp conical projectile form factor.
This totally erroneous reporting makes you wonder about what else the media gets wrong.
Anyway, despite this complete red herring several US states specifically ban bullets coated with Teflon.
Many police survival experts commented that the furore only served to highlight the fact that police were wearing soft body armour, and the bad guys were likely to shoot for the head. It is possible that the media controvery actually caused the death of more police officers. There are no records of an officer being killed with KTW. In a 1990 interview Paul Kospch explained , "adding a Teflon coating to the round added 20% penetration power on metal and glass. Critics kept complaining about Teflon's ability to penetrate body armor... In fact, Teflon cut down on the round's ability to cut through the nylon or Kevlar of body armor."
KTW was not the only round to be ruined by media hype, as we will see later.

Another type of exotic  ammunition; marketed by Rich Davis was ThunderZap. In .38 spl it comprised a 32gr deep hollow-point Nylon bullet which developed 2600 feet per second from a 2” barrel. That’s enormous velocity [a military 9mm goes at about 1100fps] and implies massive trauma.

[ThunderZap round]

The ammo was designed by Bruce McArthur, then offered through Rich Davis’ extensive law enforcement contacts.
The idea was to produce a round with little recoil, minimal penetration, yet enormous “stopping power”
I was given a pack of ThunderZap, and was eager to evaluate. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t chamber in my S&W Mod-60 revolver. It transpired that the ammo was produced from once-fired cases, and the guys who were paid to reload the rounds neglected to resize the cases. This defeated the initial marketing campaign, and the ammo never caught on.

[ThunderZap wound compared to a .44magnum, in meat]

As far as I know, no humans were ever shot with ThunderZap, so the extreme-high velocity theory is still that, a theory.


I first encountered the Tubular round in about 1988 while training bodyguards in America

Marketed by the PMC company, this was a hollow brass tube, which achieved quite high velocity.

Lofty was on that BG training team, and told me he had evaluated the design several years earlier, while in the Ops Research section of 22SAS.
There had been an earlier design, created by Abe Flatau at Aberdeen Proving ground, for government use.

This was the round that Lofty called the "Wedding Ring"
It seems that the round was used by some Federal LE agencies, for defeating body armour. The civilian version, from PMC never really caught on.[/i]

Check Six,
Dennis Martin
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