DRT (Dynamic Research Technologies) Lead Free Handgun Ammunition – @BErbaugh
When I first heard of the lead free ammunition from DRT I was a sceptic to say the least. My thought; there is no way this ammo would have decent penetration power with so little mass. I took a look at the bullets and thought they look great with such a deep hollow point and they are incredibly shiny inside but that means nothing with function.
So how do I want to test this ammunition? All we can ask of it is what is advertised. The box says “highly accurate, penetrating & frangible.” It seems a tall order to me. Will the different mass change the point of aim on the firearm? Will it hamper penetration? How can it be penetrating and frangible at the same time?
Well these items are easy enough to test out. You will find video footage below to demonstrate my findings.
First, is the ammunition highly accurate? I fired both the hollow point ammo and the training ammo at defensive range using two different pistols, each with a laser, each in a different caliber. My finding was surprising.
- The ammo hit the point of aim exactly each time with no detectible difference between the hollow point and training ammo. The reduced mass and resulting accelerated velocity had no different point of impact than a heavier round. How do I know this when I wasn’t shooting well that day? Watch the laser, the bullet holes hit it each time. The laser is sighted on both guns for use with traditional ammo. I also find it appealing that the training ammo seems well matched to the defensive rounds in this brand. (I do still have an outstanding question about the effects of lesser mass and higher velocity over distance. I would expect a flatter trajectory and will test this at a later date.)
- Penetration is next to test. On this particular day we shot into soaked phone books as is our custom. However, the books were not soaked as long as usual so they are more dense this time around. With a situation like this we don’t really care about the number of inches the bullet penetrates as much as how it compares to a know high performance round. In this case we fired all three calibers and compared the penetration to Hornady FPD 45 ACP +p hollow points. The penetration appears to be nearly identical in all calibers to this well loved competitor. However, when we began to dig the rounds out we found our probe was measuring the distance to what remained of the jacket of the DRT rounds. In fact, we found what was left of the partially powdered core over an inch deeper in the paper. Due to the density of the medium in question I would posit that in a real life application the DRT would penetrate up to 2 inches further than the Hornady round in actual flesh. The added velocity seems to have functioned well in this aspect. Firing into such density did hamper the break up of the jacket but it was noticed less and less jacket was recovered as the caliber increased.
- So if the bullet is penetrating so well how frangible is it? For this we decided to fire into water and see what damage occurred. We got spectacular explosions of the jugs we fired on and upon inspection a surprise was discovered. In AND around the jug we located several flechette-like slivers of copper. It was quite obvious the bullet components went in several directions on impact. We’ve all seen the gel on display from DRT and this finding supports that claim for me.
In the end, I’ve found an ammunition that does all it claims. It satisfies my wants in a defensive round, provides me with a well matched training round and shaves a quarter pound off my belt full of 45 ACP I carry daily in my weapon and spare mags (plus more if you count my back up). In a time where the EPA has tightened the screws and lead is no longer manufactured in the USA, just knowing the DRT is out there and waiting make me sleep a little better at night.