Ammunition

Throwback Thursday: Allegiance PowerStrike Frangible Ammo

Allegiance PowerStrike in ballistic gellatin

When looking for a new home defense ammunition, well, could anything be more critical? I mean, your life is on the line, but so are the lives of your loved ones. You’ll need an ammunition that that will be absolutely devastating on the intruder, able to defeat light barriers such as glass, wood, and heavy clothing, but not over penetrate so much that you have to worry about going through multiple layers of drywall and risk injuring or killing an innocent loved one. The solution is the best self-defense round you may never heard of—Allegiance Ammunition PowerStrike.

A black SAR 9mm with a box of PowerStrike Ammunition against a background of gray boards.
The PowerStrike and the SAR 9mm proved to be a good combination.
PowerStrike is second to none when it comes to self-defense ammo. PowerStrike is also ideal for range time or competition. On the range, you can afford to shoot PowerStrike. In fact, it will be in line with many practice ammunitions. For competition, nothing is safer than a frangible round on steel.

Not long ago, I had the opportunity to spend a day at the range with Allegiance Ammunition CEO Jeff Mullins. During testing, I witnessed Mullins unloading magazine after magazine full of ammo on a steel target no more than three feet from the muzzle without fear of a ricochet! How’s that for safety on the range? The secret to PowerStrike is its High Energy Transfer (H.E.T.) technology. PowerStrike is a lead-free powder metal High Energy Transfer (H.E.T.) round designed to create controlled penetrating fragmentation in soft targets. It is excellent for hunting small, large and dangerous game as it can penetrate thick bone and hide. For tactical applications, it can penetrate light barriers to reach the target while still fragmenting inside the target. High Energy Transfer means no exit from soft tissue. PowerStrike delivers total energy transfer inside the target, which means one-shot stops. PowerStrike will not ricochet, but disintegrates back to powder metal dust on surfaces that cause a lead FMJ HP bullet to ricochet.

The secret is in the construction. The bullet holds tight in solid materials such as wood or bone to retain its shape and penetration power, but disintegrates in softer fluid-filled mediums such as tissue. In fact, try PowerStrike on a game animal. The first thing you will notice is the devastating effect of the energy transfer. After recovering the animal, you’ll notice how the bullet breaks into lethal, minute particles creating a wider wound cavity that results in severe shock trauma to the soft target.

CEO Mullins shooting a .40 S&W at a steel target from three feet.
CEO Mullins shooting a .40 S&W at a steel target from three feet.

How it Works

A successful tactical, self-defense and hunting bullet must be able to do the following:

  • Penetrate light barriers to reach vital organs.
  • Expand or fragment when it strikes fluid filled tissue without exiting.

Typically, most soft targets contain 85%-90% fluid. Allegiance bullets use a compressed, powdered-metal core giving them the ability to penetrate thick hide, heavy clothing and bone.

Once inside the target, the powdered-metal core begins fragmenting at an alarmingly fast rate, producing controlled penetration. As the core expands into the soft tissue, 100% of the bullet’s energy is transferred into the target. This is called High-Energy Transfer (H.E.T). The expanding powdered particles pick up the surrounding damaged tissue and shove it forward, exponentially increasing the huge frontal shock wave of the bullet. As the expanding powdered metal particles release the last amount of kinetic energy, they create thousands of wound channels. This creates so much hydrostatic shock; it instantly shuts down the central nervous system.

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What are your thoughts with frangible ammunition? Share your thoughts or experiences in the comment section.

[dave]

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (41)

  1. I purchased this ammo from Cheaperthandirt when it was on sale. I had continuous feed problems with multiple mags for both my Springfield XDM .40 and my Shield .40. I would not recommend his ammo based on my experience.

  2. Come on, Dave. You can do better than to recommend this ammo so highly without telling us how you tested it. Did you test it thoroughly? How did you test it.

    You write:
    “PowerStrike is second to none when it comes to self-defense ammo.”

    This is an incredible and even presumptuous statement, unless you have the results of some pretty thorough testing, including comparison testing.

    Spending some time with the manufacturer just doesn’t seem like the most objective methodology. Unfortunately, without the data to back up your statements It does, as others have said, sound like a press release.

    1. I have several videos in gel blocks. The ammunition is rather incredible in the way it dumps all of its energy in the target due to the frangible nature of the round. I have tested it on medium-sized game such as coyotes and talked to a couple of writers who tested pistol calibers on wild boar with outstanding results. Allegiance has even developed a subsonic .223 round for defense (SilentStrike fully functions in semi and full auto the M4, AR, weapons platform at a silent 975 fps.) TechStrike was designed for use at sensitive sites such as nuclear installations, oil refineries, or schools were a ricochet would potentially be disastrous. Powerstrike can penetrate harder surfaces such as drywall and remain intact, but will devastate a watermelon. I have been part of a couple of different tests with different weapons and conditions nivolving Allegiance ammo. Allegiance is certainly worth a box or two of your own testing. Stay tuned over the coming weeks and I will post more videos of gel block testing. Then make up your mind and let me know what you think. ~Dave Dolbee

    2. €: Dave Dolbee

      You lost me? You claim being on the range while to test were being made. Does that Include the Ballistic Gel test too. Because the Pictures show the Ballistic Gel at the Range. Now you Claim Video Tapes of the Tests, Which is it? Actual Eyewitness Tests, or Viewing Tests performed on by Video Tapes. That not an Actual Accounting of the Test Stated.

    3. Sorry for the confusion. I have shot the ammo during range testing. That testing was against barrier targets (hard and soft), accuracy testing, function from a variety of firearms, and shooting into ballistic gel. I have some video that was taken at the range. Other video is supplied by the manufacturer. ~Dave Dolbee

    4. Thanks for the follow-up, Dave. I look forward to seeing your testing. It should be interesting. I’d also like to know the weight of the bullet, its velocity, and bullet shape.

    5. I’ll get the specs and take a some pics. I’ll add them to the article lineup for next week. ~Dave Dolbee

  3. Test it then get back to us. Years ago they loaded frangible bullets for shooting galleries. I believe that Remington called it “Kant-Splash”.

  4. I don’t think I’ll use a frangible bullet for game.
    If the bullet were to disintegrate, as claimed, you’d be eating the metal particles with your meat!
    These may be okay for an indoor range, or if shooting steel, but I’ll pass, thank you.

  5. If these defense ammo reviews are to more than a marketing hype the results of FBI type tests need to be included – including barrier penetration with depth and expansion in ballistic gelatin. Providing anything less is a great disservice to your readers who need adequate proven information to make valid comparisons of ammo they may have to use to defend their lives or the lives of their loved ones.

  6. Frangible ammo has been around for a while. The first was the Glaser Safety Slug, still outlawed in New Jersey and New York as “Overly Dangerous”. Along with every other High performance ammunition.
    For my weapon of choice (357 SIG in a 229 or 239) I find that the Speer Gold Dot or the Remington Golden Saber have given both the most reliability in operation and the best performance in the tests I have seen. Add to that that this is the combination that the US Air marshals use, and I think that it is a satisfactory round for both defense and combat in tight quarters.

  7. As a pistol instructor, I’m often teaching the basics to beginners who want to use a firearm for self defense. After safety and accuracy, I spend a lot of time talking about ammunition selection, because It can make the difference when you’re trying to save your life.

    Sadly, there’s no shortage of nonsense being spouted about how bullets behave after they leave the barrel of the gun. Very simply, I teach to believe science and ignore marketing BS.

    There is nothing in the above review that uses common science to explain how the bullet can perform the magic trick they claim it will – to retain it’s solid shape while penetrating wood, “thick hide, heavy clothing and bone’ then somehow rapidly fragment when it enters “fluid filled tissue”.

    In my opinion, this is simply ridiculous nonsense, and I wouldn’t count on it to save my life.

  8. The bullet is already aimed down and, if struck below the chain, the plate can only deflect in a downward angle.

    If the bullet could not, even if a conventional FMJ, ricochet back at the shooter, then this demonstration proves exactly nothing about the frangible round.

    Shoot some meat … because that round through the gelatin went a long, long way before breaking up and exiting. It doesn’t even appear to have been trapped in the gelatin. Or shoot, per the FBI tests, through three layers of denim. If it is as barrier agnostic as you say, it will ignore the denim.

    This is probably a decent round for a US Air Marshall to have loaded (in 9-10 mm / .40 calibers). However, if -some- over penetration is acceptable (out of the bad guy and into the wall, for instance), this is not the best ammunition to use.

    I think I’ll stick with my JHP for now.

    I’ll take another look at frangibles when they come up to full weight … and when the projectile travels about half the length of the block after being shot through denim from a distance of ~5 yards from a pistol.

    Dear reviewer: this isn’t a range report … it’s a regurgitated press release. If Allegiance isn’t willing to spot you a couple hundred rounds for testing purposes … and you aren’t willing to run some real-world tests, please don’t insult us with parroted press releases.

    Wrap a plywood box around a rigidly supported piece of AR500, shoot it at the perpendicular and show us the splatter pattern. In fact, why not wrap a cardboard box around it? It shouldn’t penetrate the cardboard if it magically dumped its energy when it broke up. Shoot at it from 3-5 yards.

    Then do the proper FBI gelatin tests with the gelatin at FBI temp and distance.

    When you’ve done that, get back to us. We’d be interested in seeing what YOU come up with as opposed to what the PR team at Allegiance want shown.

    1. A conventional bullet fired at a steel plate as shown in the video would ricochet somewhat downward – but a the distance shown could easily hit the shooter in the leg, a frangible bullet should break up on impact but unless it disintegrates into powder, the fragments would be dangerous to the shooter’s exposed hands and face.

      As for barrier tests — let’s see if the bullet will penetrate typical clothing — and NOT PENETRATE two layers of common drywall spaced 4″ apart. After all, the only selling point for this round is its claimed safety in home defense — while WE all are 100% sure that any round WE fire will ALWAYS hit the target, the reality of home defense is that the critical issue is whether or not a round that misses will go through an interior wall endangering others in the home. I don’t care if the round will stop IN a perp — my JHP will stop IN the perp, if you want to sell me this over priced snake oil bullet it has to do something better than just not pass through a person.

  9. If copying a press release makes Dave Dolbee “a staff writer for Cheaper Than Dirt!” I need to apply for a job there too. I’ve got a computer than can copy & paste with just two mouse clicks.

  10. Refreshing to see a company referring to its product as the SECOND BEST product of its type. It would have been nice if they mentioned which competitor makes the BEST product.

    Yes, for those who need a dictionary, SECOND BEST is exactly what the word “penultimate” means.

    1. Actually “next to ultimate” would be a more accurate description for penultimate – but you are partly correct since “ultimate” technically means last in a list or series

      But “ultimate” is most often used to mean best or simply that which displays most of a particular characteristic.

      As used in the article, “ultimate” would have meant “best” so penultimate would have to mean next to best, or more simply second best.

      The only question is whether the fool trying to use a big word he didn’t understand was the guy writing the press release that Dave copied or if it was Dave himself.

  11. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t frangible ammo still illegal as a self-defense round in some states? That being said, this was a well written article. Would consider Power Strike HET, if it was available in .45 ACP.Live in an apartment building, where over-penetration of thin walls is a serious consideration. Knew of a man a while back, shot an intruder with a .357. The round penetrate the bad guy, went through the wall into the closet of his neighbor, through all the clothes there and lodged in the head board of her bed, where she was sleeping. He was charged with ‘Reckless Disregard For Public Safety’. OH! Forgot to say, he was a Cop, on that Department. Lesson being, when you live in an apartment, you must be concerned about over-penetration.

    1. @Roy Holbert:

      That is a very good story that should make us all think. Along with apartments, there are also motels and hotels when traveling.

      You know those Controlled Fracturing Hollow Points over at UnderwoodAmmo look like they could be the best of both worlds. I ignored them until now because they seem to be less than normal weight (like 10mm 140 grain), but now I’m re-thinking it. I wish some of the experts here (like yourself) would go over to their website and tell me what you think.

  12. This article was clearly written by the manufacturer to spur sales. That being said, frangible ammo has it’s place. I’d love to see an independent test of this ammo.

  13. Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t the Shooter have Direct Physical Contact with the Ballistic Gell. Just exactly, what kind of Imformation does that provide. Ballistic Gel is to Simulate Entry Into the Body of the Victum. What possible Value does a Piont Blank Direct Contact with a Car 4 Possible Provide. Other than EXECUTION VALUE…

  14. I understand that there are certain circumstances which might call for frangible ammo, but I think they are few and far between. A good HP round will punch through drywall and wooden partitions and still have enough energy to do serious harm to an assailant, but will probably not exit his/her body.

    As for the guy shooting the steel from two feet away, all I can say is . . . . why? What’s the point of that? To show he can do it?

    Anyway, frangible ammo has its benefits, but since it’s just my wife and I at home in the same room and we live in the country, over=penetration isn’t really an issue. As for being in town and having to shoot, I’ll stick to my HTPs.

  15. Im not sure about this bullet. It will pass only through heavy clothes, what about vests. Not all bad guys wear a T-shirt. I like bullets that pen and have energy transfer and have a blowout on the back side of the wound, that will drain the will to fight. I have 20 yrs military exp. If i want powder i will load rock salt……… i am not in this to wound a bad guy i will kill them.

  16. This again? If frangible ammo worked, wouldn’t everyone be using it by now?

    It’s a bad idea, especially from a defensive standpoint. There is no such thing as “energy transfer” in pistol ballistics. Penetration reaches vitals and stops threats. Frangible ammo causes wounds. The science is there and has been there.

    Way to spread misinformation to increase sales, guys. Your derp is strong.

    1. @ chefjon.

      You probably could have a “Kinetic Energy Transfer” if you used a 9.6x23mm/Rowland. Instead of a 9x19mm/Parabellum, and “Spaul’d” the bullet…

    2. I totally agree with chefjon’s post. I have zero interest in frangible ammo.

      Here’s my personal tip. If you’re looking for cool alternative ammo, UnderwoodAmmo has Extreme Penetrator, Extreme Defender, and Controlled Fracturing HP’s. That’s 3 different bullets to expirement with, plus I’m sure there’s some YouTube videos out there.

    3. @ ss1.

      Slammin’, you’re joking Right. `$1.53 USD per round

      If you want a “Sure-Kill” Round, Check-Out the FNH 5.7×28 Three-Stage Surface Bearing Vanguard V57 round or the Four-Stage Surface Bearing Elite T-6 round…

    4. @Secundius:

      I never said Underwood was cheap, but trust me, I have financial strains in my life that make ammo seem inconsequential.

      As an example, I’ve got Underwood Extreme Penetrators loaded in my Ruger .380 LCP right now, just to make sure that little .380 can rock and roll. I bought just enough ammo to test with, but I don’t use Underwood Ammo for target practice.

    5. @ss1

      I looked at the Underwood Extreme Defender and I can definitely see the advantage in using them. Very good design.

      I might have found a replacement for the 230 grain HTP rounds I carry in my .45 EDC. Yeah, they cost more, but aside from shooting a mag through your EDC to ensure they cycle well in it, you’re not going to be shooting them for any other reason than a life and death situation.

      Thanks!

    6. @Mikial:

      I’m glad I could offer up something to help you, because your posts have helped me or been enjoyable to read so many times!!

      I’m thinking about switching from the Extreme Penetrator to the Extreme Defender, which seems to be a design improvement. There’s a few interesting YouTube videos to study too. So far the only one I watched was something Underwood emailed to me. This is just one of my many gun-related projects/goals that I’ve kinda fallen behind on 🙂

    7. ss1, I’ll check the vids out. Thanks.

      It’s a constant process of upgrading capabilities. Frankly, I’ve been in a few life and death situations, and my goal is to finish it as fast as possible. period. And I want my wife armed to the very best capabilities possible.

    8. If you like that ammo so much why don’t you buy it from the bullet producer directly rather then thru a separate company adding in their profits
      Lehigh makes the actual bullets for the rounds you are talking about and they sell full cartridges as well
      Save the money and buy direct
      Thanks for the lead heading to Lehigh to order some right now
      Dr D

  17. Aren’t you Tempting Fate, with the Vagrancy’s of “Murphy” by Shooting at a Steel Target from less than 3-feet away. At the Very Least, Fix the Steel Target to Deflect the Bullet in a Downward Trajectory, into the Ground…

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