Home Defense Ammo

If you’re going to use a rifle for home defense, you’ll always have the problem of over-penetration, and in a suburban neighborhood, that can be a problem.  The last thing you want is for your shot to go through the bad guy, and leave the premises, or to ricochet off something, and head off in an unsafe direction.  This summer, we did a lot of close range steel shooting with frangible ammunition from International Cartridge Corporation. It occurred to me that if I wanted to use a carbine like an AR-15 for home defense, I would need appropriate ammo.  So I ordered up some of ICC’s .223:


I didn’t shoot any of the .223 Frangible, but if it’s a good as their .45 ACP, it should be pretty good. As you can see, the shape and color are much different than FMJ, but it’ll turn to dust if it hits any surface harder than itself.  You can always use a shotgun for home defense, but I like the AR platform, and its operation is more drilled into my head.

15 thoughts on “Home Defense Ammo”

  1. Is this ammunition just as good or better than a Glaser safety slug for home defense purposes?

  2. Better, because it will turn to dust on any harder surface, like pavement, brick, metal, marble, or rock, but on a softer surfaced, like a bad guy, it behaves like FMJ. I think it’ll break up into fragments if it hits bone, but the fragments will ruin your day.

  3. I came here to say what Matthew said. The .223 round tumbles quickly after hitting something, hence they penetrate far less than a 9mm round…

  4. Ditto on the overpenetration for shotgun rounds. Sheetrock does nothing to stop them. Even skeet and trap loads penetrate multiple layers of gypboard and even hardy plank siding.

  5. Shooting through walls is fine. Frangible ammo will do that too. What I don’t want it shooting through is the brick exterior.

  6. I bought 100 rounds of this exact ammo and fired half of it at the range to test it.

    It groups just as good as Federal .223 FMJ at 50 yards. So it does shoot well and goes where you aim. No cycling issues or any strange residue in the action or bore that I could notice. Nor any damage.

    If I find it again, I’ll buy some more. This is good ammo. I was impressed with it.

  7. Our condo shares walls with our neighbors and our floor is their ceiling, albeit made of floated concrete – and we have a lot of glass too. One hallway is a straight shot through-and-through to the building across the lake… I’ll have to get some of this stuff for the house gun.

  8. Of course, regardless of your ammo, you should always be aware of what might be beyond the wall behind the bad guy.

    From the Box O’ Truth:
    “Started out with some ammo that Arowneragain sent me, some Glazer Blue Tip 9mm. I shot it out of my Beretta and it went through 6 boards of drywall and dented the 7th.” [emphasis mine]

    As an example, I live in one of those half-underground apartments. This means that in two directions I’m not particularly worried (beyond the normal concern for a ricochet). Anything below shoulder height will go into the ground. The bonus is that the most likely BG entries – windows and the glass patio door – are along one of those walls. The third direction – where the actual door to the apartment is located – is a bit more worrisome. From my living room, I only have one layer of drywall and one layer of brick to stop any misses/overpenetrations. I would hesitate to fire in that direction unless I was very sure of my shot.

    The fourth direction is the wall separating my apartment from my neighbor’s. Two layers of drywall, and that’s it. I would take physical (though not incapacitating) damage before firing in that direction – with any ammo, frangible or not.

    Always remember Rule 4.

  9. I wouldn’t suggest anyone disregard rule 4, this type of frangible just reduces the likelihood of penetration issues. I wouldn’t expect it sheetrock to stop pretty much anything. Anything that wouldn’t penetrate sheet rock wouldn’t stop anybody.

    But I’m pretty sure that ICC frangible will break apart if it hits concrete or brick.

  10. Not saying you were, it’s just something that needs to be pointed out at least once anytime frangible ammunition is discussed.

  11. I should note that both my house’s exterior and my neighbor across the street have brick faced houses :) I should probably test this stuff on brick at the plinking range of the club at some point.

  12. I myself prefer some leftovers. 12 GA, Number 4 shot, LEAD.
    They work extremely well in the old Mossberg 500.

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