MI Bullet Anti-Drone Net Rounds

By Oleg Volk

Drones have many benign uses, but they are also showing up in the hands of criminals. Corrections officers have encountered drone-borne “care packages” with drugs and weapons going over the prison walls to the recipients inside. Regular buckshot lacks pattern density, while birdshot lacks effective range, so MI Bullet came up with an adaptation of their Multiple Strike 12ga round for “anti-aircraft” use.

SkyNet drone defense 2.75-inch 12ga shells are comprised of five tethered 150gr zinc alloy segments that fit together like jigsaw puzzle pieces to make one slug. Unlike the anti-personnel shells, these have no central slug, only five peripheral pieces. The round may be fired from a smooth bore, but rifled bores are preferred for more consistent flight and quicker deployment of the submunitions.

Upon exiting the muzzle, all five slug pieces spread outward until they reach the end of the 5-ft rope. 128-lb test ballistic fibers then hold them in an asterisk formation for the flight forwards target. As tests against simulated drones showed, direct impacts by any of the five zinc segments would be sufficient to demolish a drone. However, the design of this round doesn’t rely just on direct impacts because they would be difficult to score on a moving drone. Instead, the entire 5-ft spread of the cords is meant to intersect with the aerial target, either entangling propeller blades or, in case of protected ducted fans, entangling the entire drone. Once the cord intersects with the drone, one or more of the slugs whips back around it, damaging either the propellers or the control unit.

While the initial velocity is 850fps, the net load slows down fairly quickly, limiting the extreme vertical range to about 100 yards. Fired up, this load represents little danger to people below when it comes down. Fired horizontally, it has considerable more range, and care should be taken to avoid bystanders. My testing was conducted at 50 yards, and the penetration of individual segments was sufficient to inflict substantial damage on either materiel or humans.

Recoil of the round was mild but sufficient to cycle the Winchester SX3 autoloading shotgun. A 40 mm law enforcement load is also available. Slightly slower at the muzzle, the segments are heavier, connected with wire and spread out to cover a 9-ft circle instead of 5 feet covered by the shotgun, a 3¼ increase in area. 3-inch and 3.5-inch shells are also available with a phosphorus tracer option, with stronger and longer string. A military-oriented variant can tackle drones up to 55 lbs. SkyNet and other specialty loads are available from BulletBrothers.com.

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V21N4 (May 2017)
and was posted online on March 17, 2017


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