Has The Time Come For Plastic Ammunition?

If you asked military, law enforcement, and “regular Joe” shooters in the late 1970s if they’d trust their lives to a gun that made extensive use of plastics, they would have likely laughed you out of the room.

Here in 2015, plastic-frame guns dominate law enforcement and commercial sales, and are popular in military units both domestically and overseas.

If you asked most military, law enforcement, and “regular Joe” shooters in 2015 if they’d trust their lives to a bullet that made extensive use of plastics, they’d likely laugh you out of the room… but should they?

Polycase Ammunition is betting that their polymer/copper injection-molded bullets may one day be as ubiquitous as Glocks, and based upon what we’re seeing in early tests from their Inceptor ARX line of self defense bullets, they may be on to something.


Those who have shot the Inceptor ARX note that it is low-recoiling*… which typically translates into faster and more accurate follow-up shots for the average shooter.

The Inceptor ARX is unique not just for its use of a polymer/copper bullet composition and its lighter weight/lower recoil, but for the shape of the bullet itself.

Instead of a now-traditional hollowpoint design for defensive ammunition, the Inceptor ARX presents the silhouette of a round-nose bullet, but with three distinct angled scallops molded into the bullet’s face.

The lightweight polymer/copper bullet (compared to traditional lead or increasingly common all-copper bullets)  is delivered at a higher-than-normal velocity and the flutes in the bullet seem to radiate bodily fluids outward as it bleeds off energy for roughly the first six inches of penetration. In gelatin tests, it creates initial wound channels that can be imagined as a boat propeller slicing through the gel, and then the bullet begins to tumble for an additional 6″-12″ (depending on caliber) with considerable disruption before coming to rest base-forward.

Here are several videos of the Inceptor ARX being reviewed.

The bullet design seems to perform consistently in ballistics gel. Only time will tell how it performs in incidents involving targets made of flesh, fat, organs, and bone.

If the performance in living bodies is acceptable—and the design becomes commercially viable/successful—I suspect that you’re going to see a number of companies attempt to bring their own polymer and metal blended bullet formulations to market, as well as their own bullet shapes.

In 30 years, perhaps polymer bullets will be as ubiquitous as Glocks, M&Ps, and other polymer-frame guns are today… but it has to start somewhere, and Polycase’s Inceptor ARX might be that product that starts the shift in mindset on what ammunition can be.


* We have 250 rounds of 9mm Inceptor ARX for a "shootability" review.