Moving Beyond Brass and Mushrooms: Full-Stop is the 21st Century’s 9MM

By Art Merrill

Welcome to the future

This is not just another story about the latest and greatest pistol ammo—this one begins with a shootout on April 11, 1986, that changed the worlds of law enforcement (LE) and pistol combat. On that day in Miami, Florida, a walking dead man murdered two FBI agents after being shot with a 9mm Luger bullet before finally succumbing to his “non-survivable wound.” The incident prompted the FBI to abandon the 9mm cartridge.

A very long story shortened to one sentence, the FBI’s search for a suitable replacement for the 9mm Luger culminated in the introduction of the .40 S&W cartridge, subsequently adopted almost universally by LE agencies all over the U.S. and by many citizens who choose to carry a handgun for self-defense.

So why, after all that effort and the passage of three decades, is the FBI putting the 9mm back into agents’ holsters? Because advancements in bullet and cartridge technology have made the 9mm viable once again. Two striking advancements that you may not know of have fundamentally changed bullet and case performance, and together they are the first to move ammunition out of the 20th Century and into the 21st.

A +P Hole Saw?

L-Tech, an ammunition manufacturer and ballistic test facility in Eubank, KY, has been quietly providing its services to the U.S. military and to LE, as well as manufacturing Sig Sauer’s ammo products since 2013. After following FBI penetration test protocols, L-Tech has now released its unusual-looking, but high-performance, 9mm Full-Stop ammunition to the public.

Full-Stop is not simply an expanding bullet launched at +P velocity—it is an entirely new 9mm Luger cartridge created from mating a remarkable, two-piece case with a bullet that behaves pretty much like a flying hole saw or blades from a food blender. And here’s the kicker: the maker says the cartridge produces, with apparent disregard of physics, +P velocity without producing +P pressures.

Mostly Hollow

The Full-Stop 124-grain bullet doesn’t expand in the traditional sense of forming a “mushroom” pushed by a solid base. Instead, after about 1.5 inches of...

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V21N8 (October 2017)
and was posted online on August 18, 2017


Comments have not been generated for this article.