Lehigh Controlled Fracturing Bullet Review

This is a guest post by Andrew Betts

The Fracas Over Fracturing

Lately, the Internet has been positively afire with fierce debate about the Lehigh Defense Controlled Fracturing Lehigh fracturing bulletsBullets. The camps are divided much like the ancient tribes of 9mm and .45 ACP. While this feud is relatively new, battle lines are drawn, the trenches have been cut deeply and the respective sides are firmly dug in. There are those that claim that the bullet fails to meet any objective requirement for pistol ammunition and there are those who argue that the requirements for pistol ammunition are really just based on what is needed to achieve adequate performance for a traditional copper jacketed lead bullet and that it is ridiculous to apply those standards to this new technology. We will not attempt to settle the debate but rather we will attempt an unbiased look at the actual performance of the bullet.

Lehigh Controlled Fracturing Bullet ReviewAt first glance, this performance is extremely impressive. The shot created a temporary cavity of the sort that is normally not seen from handgun cartridges.

There is no doubt that the Lehigh fracturing bulletsbullet performed precisely according to its intended design. All three petals separated at approximately the same depth and diverged from the original path by about 30° while the base continued on straight and deep, coming to a rest just barely short of 20”. No one can claim that this ammunition falls short of design goals. Instead, the criticism revolves around whether the performance is actually useful.

It is certainly true that this ammunition utterly fails the objective measurements that law enforcement and self-defense experts advise for ammunition selection. The FBI recommends a minimum of 12” of penetration and a maximum of 18”. The base section exceeds that maximum by a significant margin and the petals fail to meet the minimum limit of that range. Lehigh fracturing bullets

Near 100% weight retention and the largest expansion that is possible while meeting penetration standards is also desirable and this bullet failed those metrics as well. There is simply no denying that this bullet does not meet established standards and it does not help that it costs two to three times as much as a traditional jacketed hollow point.

Are those standards really “fair”, though? 100% weight retention is desirable because fragmentation in a pistol bullet typically leads to inadequate penetration. That is obviously not the case here, though. At least not for the base of the projectile. Expansion is desirable to cut a larger wound channel but this stirred up a lot of guts in the first 10” or so without expansion. A rifle cartridge that performed in a similar way with lots of disruption for 8-10” and a core that continued on for 20” would be embraced as a solid choice for defense.

True, it might not be the greatest choice in an urban area because the penetration could endanger uninvolved parties, but that penetration is certainly adequate to reach vital organs in the most portly of attackers and at the most oblique impact angle.

As it often does, perhaps the truth lies somewhere between the two extremes. This ammunition might not live up to the marketing hype. It may not be the best choice for personal defense, but it would certainly poke holes in a bad guy and promote hydraulic failure better than a sharp stick. 20” is not impressively deep, but it is remarkable when the amount of disruption in the first few inches is considered. That disruption in the first few inches may not meet the IMG_949812” minimum, but it would usually be more than enough to reach vital organs in most circumstances.

Maybe the real answer is that this projectile is not ideally suited for any one task but is a sort of Swiss Army bullet. It does no one thing particularly well, but it does a lot of things fairly well. It is a better penetrator for large animal defense than a 10mm 155 gr XTP and it is a better personal defense load than a 220 gr hard cast.

If you know what your most likely threat is going to be, you would be better served to choose ammunition that is designed for that specific task. If you are less certain of what potential threats might arise, maybe the Lehigh is for you.


Andrew Betts served with the Arizona National Guard for over 12 years, including a tour to Afghanistan. Visit his YouTube Channel for more great shooting information.

Photo credit – Andrew Betts

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