Inceptor .223 Rem 35 grain ARX ammunition
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Retired U.S. Army Airborne Ranger Paul Lemke founded the company now known as Inceptor Ammunition in 2012. Lemke’s goal was to create innovative frangible ammunition with a twist to differentiate their products from the then-current industry offerings.

The majority of frangible ammunition companies today use a sintered copper-tin combination in their bullets, but Inceptors are different. Theirs are made with a proprietary copper-polymer compound. The use of polymer as a binding agent is certainly unique and may well give the bullets something more thanks to its toughness and viscoelasticity.

According to Lemke, “Combining [our production] capabilities and know-how with the inherent advantages of injection molding has resulted in ammunition that is true revolutionary in a 140-year-old industry that has seen relatively little innovation in materials, design and manufacturing processes.”

That ammunition is offered in a variety of calibers including their new .223 Remington 35 grain ARX and 10mm 90 grain ARX. Other options include the usual ammunition suspects from 9mm 65 grain ARX to .45 ACP 118 grain ARX. There’s also a +P option for 9mm fans. (And, of course, .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .380 ACP, and so on.)

Over the years I’ve used various calibers of Inceptor on paper, steel, and a variety of game and varmints. Last winter I dropped a mature Whitetail doe using their 10mm and used the same caliber on a badger. Feral hogs have also been fair game, right on up to a 225-pound boar with awesome cutters.

On paper, using the Ruger SR1911 10mm with a rest, I had a best five-shot group of 1.66” at 25 yards; with the Gen 5 GLOCK 17, Inceptor’s 65-grain 9mm rounds tore ragged single-hole five-shot groups shooting off-hand between 7 and 10 yards. Suffice to say, Inceptor’s line has become well worth the attention.

A badger taken by the author using Inceptor 10mm 90 grain ARX

So, why am I here now? Because frangible ammunition is perhaps the least-understood and most ignored slice of the ammunition market. Ballistics have come a ridiculously long way over the years; the frangibles of today are not the frangibles of the past.

Bullets that fragment on impact with objects harder than themselves? That’s my idea of awesome. Don’t believe it? I’ve fired frangibles at AR500 steel plates from 18” away (not saying you should try that, but if you do, please be sure you’re wearing eyes and ears). That’s not an exercise I would ever repeat with standard FMJs or HPs.

It’s not only for steel and does far more than group well on paper. Inceptor is made for hunting and, yes, self-defense. In fact, the double-stack .45 ACP sitting beside me right at this moment is loaded with Inceptor Ammunition. It’s grown on me and earned its place through a lot of shots fired down-range.

Good enough for your EDC gun?

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  1. You can find that specific deer hunt in the fall issue of Deer and Deer Hunting magazine. You’ll be able to find a large number of my handgun hunts in my book which is being published by Skyhorse Publishing this coming winter.

    I’ll also write up some of them in my hunting column here on TTAG.

  2. Would I carry frangible ammunition in my defensive weapon? In a word, no. My adversary may be behind concealment that a more conventional bullet could penetrate. Frangible ammunition is best used for that for which it was designed. The range.

    • Inside the home to prevent rounds from going through walls. Federal Air Marshals use a similar type of ammo. To prevent penetration of an airplanes fuselage or windows. I’ve shot it at indoor ranges, that had it available. Just to see how it performed in my EDCs. It worked okay, no FTF, FTL or FTE. Would I carry it or use it at home. In a word no. For exactly the reasons Gadsden Flag pointed out. Plus, I may want to shoot an attacker, through a wall.

      • “To prevent penetration of an airplanes fuselage or windows.”

        Nearly impossible to do. In order to hurt an airliner, you will need a hole roughly 3-4 inches in diameter, any smaller and the jet engine’s compressor bleed air (used to pressurize the cabin) can adequately compensate…

      • That’s some bad information. US Air Marshall’s use some 9mms and more commonly the .357 Sig with conventional HPs. They like the .357 Sig specifically for the penetration, as they may need to shoot through a bathroom door, a seat, or another passenger.

        • You mean, you deserve the misinformation…you allow.

          Mustn’t forget to place the “William Shatner” pause.

        • Darn it Haz, now I’m gonna have……
          “Rocket man…..burnin’ out his fuse……up here……………ALONE!”
          ……in my head……..all day………….TODAY!.

      • I would hope inside your home you know where your family or roommates are located. That and if an invader makes it in your house and upstairs before you are aware and ready to defend, then you need improvement. My youngest daughters room is directly behind the top of our stairs from my bedroom. Thus if someone broke into my home, I’d be standing at the top of the stairs with Remington tac14 12 gauge waiting for the fool to come into view of the vaulted ceilings in my family room. It’d be like fish in a barrel. Not to mention my three dogs can hear the door open from 100 yards away on a bad day.

    • Could see the argument for home defense when over penetration and neighbors you care about may be involved but would have to agree with it not being ideal all purpose carry. Did find something of those 5.56 you mentioned a while ago but no idea if it was the same version.

      • Compressed metal powder is a real problem for the trauma surgeon who has to pick out the little bits from the wound…

      • Obviously, in a home defense scenario one is not always afforded the luxury of choosing exactly where and when to fire but, I have taken the time to evaluate my home for likely points of entry and the relative safety of particular fields of fire. I know where things like chimneys, foundation walls, appliances, automobiles and so forth are that provide relatively safe backstops for over penetration and from what areas they are effectively in a cone of fire. I have also taken time to note where such objects are in my immediate neighbors houses.

        A perfect solution to potential over penetration? No, but few solutions are perfect. Knowing and considering that information, however, along with reasonable ammo selection for home defense weapons, helps to mitigate against potential unintentional holes in things one does not want to puncture.

  3. Is this a sponsored article? TTAG has become notably lax about identifying what’s a sponsored article and what is not.

    • Not really. If you see comments allowed, it’s an open article. If not, it’s a sponsored one. Been this way at TTAG for years.

      • I could go back and show you a number of exceptions, including ones I have commented on and been told “Duh. Yeah, it’s sponsored. So what?” But that would be a lot of work. Just keep your eyes open.

  4. Calling it frangible is a disservice. Their ARX (made for hunting or self defense) is a fluted design, made to push tissue out of the way, similar to the Lehigh designs. They are not intended to rely on fragmentation as a wounding mechanism. The problems with a round that is intended to break up is that the depth of the break up isn’t deterministic, and, once it happens, the small fragments don’t penetrate much further. The lack of penetration is a great benefit when you are shooting steel at close range, but it’s terrible for defense since handguns rely on the bullet penetrating deep enough to touch and destroy vital structures. So, in short, no I wouldn’t carry frangibles for self defense, but I do have ARX in .380 where a conventional JHP design tends to have issues expanding.

  5. No. If I have to shoot someone I want to shoot them with the most effective ammo I can find in a sufficiently consistent supply that I can carry it and practice with it. I prefer not to gamble with unknown technologies with my self defense. Call me a Luddite but, tried and true JHP ammo from Federal, Speer, Winchester and Hornady all appeal to me more.

    I am much less picky about plinking ammo but I don’t plink with my edc options, I practice with them.

    My posit is easily provable in simple range testing. First- frangible is for safe use at close range with steel targets. It is wonderful at just that. If you fire at a plate at very close rang it sinters. That is all good. If you fire it into gelatin it will go right through like ball ammo. Get a few water jugs you dont even need gelatin. But the stuff isnt service grade. Sure it is reliable but if you have a round chambered and you unload the cartridge it is common= perhaps not super common but certainly not rare- for the projectile to break on in the chamber leaving you a nasty problem. In a pistol the butt is tapped on the bench and it usually falls out. So- administrative handling isnt possible. I have fired many and observed thousands fired in training. Frangible is a wonderful training resource but anyone who has actually been involved in extensive training realizes this is NOT duty ammunition!

  7. In the same vein, would you trust varmint bullets to perform well when hunting deer or pigs?

    I’ve seen the results of varmint bullets on medium to intermediate sized game. Just as well I was there with my old-school RNSPs.

  8. Just to add my two cents. Beside the benefit of the projectile being lead-free, the lighter weight also affords less recoil. However, I have noticed that lower recoil in some pistols can cause cycling malfunctions.

    I’m a particular fan of the inceptor ammo when paired with the novx nas3 stainless-aluminum case, as this increases the velocity, and lightens the load even further… my p365-380 with optic and 10+1 loaded is 19ozs, making it a super easy carry.

  9. Frangible bullets cost more.
    Did not the author get blood shot meat using a frangible shuting deer, seems like you would chuck

  10. Hell no. Anyone who carries frangible ammo in their EDC is an idiot.

    I might consider using it in a home defense gun, if I lived in an apartment building or other multi-unit housing….but absolutely not in a carry gun.

  11. Frangible ammo is not truly ‘defensive’ ammo in the traditional sense.

    Frangible ammo is a class of ammo intended not to penetrate objects/things which have energy absorbing and deformation properties in relation to bleeding energy from the round AND the energy driving the round (causing momentum). If it does not do that it is not truly frangible even if it may be ‘made’ like a frangible.

    For the physics involved, basically; The point at which that frangible ‘disintegration’ happens or begins to happen in terms of penetration depends on, by the physics involved, basically, the ‘target’ material and its energy absorbing and deformation properties in relation to bleeding energy from the round AND the energy driving the round (causing momentum).

    So for example, a whole frangible bullet could have the necessary energy to penetrate a target upon initial impact but AFTER entering not enough energy to exit or penetrate another surface beyond the initial impact surface because it has disintegrated or is beginning to disintegrate. BUT…. doing that depends on the ‘target’ material and its energy absorbing and deformation properties in relation to bleeding energy from the round AND the energy driving the round (causing momentum).

    And no, you can not test ‘frangibility’ by using a paper target as to the energy involved its as if it does not exist.

  12. Shooting a badger and then posing it. Was it attacking you?? No real man would ever do that. TRULY sickening.

    • “Was it attacking you?? No real man would ever do that. TRULY sickening.”

      Good thing she’s not a man.

      (Don’t you just hate it when someone points out when you step on your own dick?)

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