Allegiance Ammunition: is turning some conventional ammo wisdom on its head
This article is an update of sorts to two others, on frangible ammunition as well as subsonic. At a recent writers’ conference, a company making frangible, Allegiance Ammunition, presented information about their product and also allowed us to test the ammo at Florida Gander Mountain’s indoor range.
Allegiance Ammuntion CEO Jeff Mullins is on a quest to change the way the world sees frangible. It’s not just for shoot house training anymore, he says. Some aspects of his argument are valid, but not new. Firing on steel targets just inches from the muzzle is only safe with frangible. It’s also useful for personal and private security work In indoor or concrete/steel environments where overpenetration and ricochet is of concern–although penetration and damage of many building materials, like concrete block and drywall, still happens.
This load is made of, at minimum, a combination of copper and tungsten powder. Viewing the rounds themselves as well as the company’s numerous gel block test videos, it’s evident from the color the tungsten content is substantial. Other frangible rounds I’ve worked with appear, by visual observation, have mostly copper content.
The first surprise was Mullins’ claim that Allegiance has the only 5.56 frangible subsonic ammo in the world that produces sufficient gas pressure to cycle the bolt reliably. As my earlier post on subsonic ammunition describes, subsonic worked well in my AR, but brass didn’t eject–something that’s considered normal for this load, until now.
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Based on this experience, I was doubtful that the Allegiance load would really be reliable. I also doubted the safety of a frangible load when fired on steel from a rifle, as it generates much greater velocity than a handgun.
Those doubts were laid to rest when Mullins provided a demo, using his own AR15. He fired upon a steel plate, closing with steady fire from five yards to within inches of a steel plate. This was done with both his regular and subsonic loads. There was a suppressor affixed to the rifle, which surely made some minor velocity changes, but this demonstration forced me to rearrange some assumptions about what’s possible with frangible.
Even more surprising was Mullins’ recommendation of frangible as a hunting load, especially for lower and pistol calibers against medium and large game like feral hogs and elk. He claims to have put down many a hog of substantial size with calibers as small as .380 with a single shot, and not at point blank range. The Alligiance Ammuntion website shows photographs of the kills.
How can a frangible round break thick skin and inflict sufficient damage to drop a large animal? Mullins says it’s due to two factors. First, frangible requires less accuracy to be effective. “We’re not promoting sloppy shooting,” he clarified, explaining that the fragmentation of frang rounds creates a wider circumference of damage where it hits, as compared to traditional bullets. The other reason is what he calls a “permanent wound channel,” which is a convincing argument if one spends time watching gel block test videos and comparing Allegiance wound channels to others.
I’ll admit, these theories are a challenge to accept by a mind accustomed to thinking about traditional bullet performance. Unless some form of off-camera trickery, like extremely close range shooting, was used on these examples, especially the couple in which the gel block fully leaves and/or falls off its platform, this ammunition may well advance the experience of hunting in ways that no one’s ever predicted.
Three product lines are currently offered by Allegiance. Their Power Strike ammo is available in .223, 9mm, and .40, and is made for defensive use. Silent Strike is their subsonic variety. Tech Strike rounds have lower velocity and less penetration, for use in closer engagements in industrial areas or other places where ricochet is of concern.
Allegiance Ammunition prices are in the upper end of the range of specialized or match-grade loads. Their Silent Strike subsonic 110 grain .223 load is $45.60 per 20. Power Strike .223, with a 70 grain bullet, is $28. In 9mm, Power Strike in 9mm, with a 95 grain bullet, is a pricey $23.75 for 20.
Gun owners and their buying habits harbor an interesting combination of traditionalism and willingness to embrace new technology. It will be interesting to see where Allegiance Ammunition, with their apparently high-performing frangible loads, goes next. If you use these rounds, particularly for hunting, I’ll be interested to hear your experiences in the comments section.