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Old 06-13-2008, 04:38 PM   #1
Stonewall
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Default "Flechette Round" Info Needed

Okay guys and gals

I have recieved a few calls from legislators wanting to know about a particular round being sold and called the "Flechette Round" . They are saying that some officers in their district are outraged about this round since it is being marketed (at gun shows) as a round to "penetrate police body armor."

I am familiar with the original Flechette round from many years ago that could be exploded over the heads of infratrymen and do great damage. Don't believe that what we are talking about now.

So I have turned to the experts (the people in this forum). Let me know what you know about this. I see some writing on the wall in the future with this. It could be info related only or a precursor to a bill that could be aimed at "ammo fingerprinting." or more, I just don't know.

Thanks in advance for the help.
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Old 06-13-2008, 04:47 PM   #2
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Default Re: "Flechette Round" Info Needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stonewall
Okay guys and gals

I have recieved a few calls from legislators wanting to know about a particular round being sold and called the "Flechette Round" . They are saying that some officers in their district are outraged about this round since it is being marketed (at gun shows) as a round to "penetrate police body armor."

I am familiar with the original Flechette round from many years ago that could be exploded over the heads of infratrymen and do great damage. Don't believe that what we are talking about now.

So I have turned to the experts (the people in this forum). Let me know what you know about this. I see some writing on the wall in the future with this. It could be info related only or a precursor to a bill that could be aimed at "ammo fingerprinting." or more, I just don't know.

Thanks in advance for the help.
I found this with a quick search!
http://www.antipersonnel.net/sdllc/index.html
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Old 06-13-2008, 04:55 PM   #3
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Yes, that's what I was thinking as well. 12ga rounds.

http://ammunitiontogo.com/catalog1/prod ... ialty-ammo

Quote:
This is 12 gauge ammo loaded with Flechette darts. A Flechette is a small dart shaped projectile, which have fins and is made from steel. This unique application of loading these Flechette darts into 12 gauge shells was widely used in vietnam for taking out snipers hiding in thick cover and trees. Due to the penetration of these projectiles, tree limbs and brush would not disperse the darts. Even if some were dispersed, this would still have an all-covering pattern within a tree or brush. This ammo is extremely deadly in thick cover. Generally 25 to 30 of these darts are placed in each 12 GA. shell.


I've never seen them as being marketed as penetrating armor though. Although I believe 'needle-like' projectiles do present a special challenge to most ballistic fabrics since they can get between the threads and push them apart.
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Old 06-13-2008, 04:56 PM   #4
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http://weapons.travellercentral.com/...flechette.html

Basically the same thing. Selling for at least $2.00 per round from what I have seen today!
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Old 06-13-2008, 04:58 PM   #5
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Looks like they use milspec flechettes. My father told me stories about pinning the VC to trees using them, in Vietnam. When I was in the corps we fired them from 105mm howitzers in training. They are very effective anti personnel rounds.

The French word flechette means "little arrow" or dart projectile of steel that is sharp and pointed with a vaned tail for stable flight. They are not some new concoction, they have been around since WW I.
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Old 06-13-2008, 05:12 PM   #6
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Left out a some info. I was also told that this was a round for handguns that were being sold.

Thanks for the response so far.
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Old 06-13-2008, 05:17 PM   #7
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Found this comment on one of the sites.


This round is economical to produce, and is manufacturer in great numbers. Use is often restricted to police and military due to its ability to penetrate body armor.
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Old 06-13-2008, 05:23 PM   #8
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They have also ventured away from using "steel" and gone to "tungsten" for maximum effect.

But I've never seen anything on them being used in handguns and the reason would be that they would be too small to do anything once out of the barrel to deem themselves worthy. What I'm saying is the flechette would be tiny to get more than just a couple to fling out the end of the tube.

A shotgun shell could house 20 or so larger ones and therefore be deemed useful.

But one thing I will say, a shotgun firing a flechette round isn't near as lethal as a steel jacketed .308...
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Old 06-13-2008, 05:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stonewall
Found this comment on one of the sites.
This round is economical to produce, and is manufacturer in great numbers. Use is often restricted to police and military due to its ability to penetrate body armor.
True, but it is the 12ga round. After searching the web I have found nothing about pistol flechettes except in reference to works of science fiction. The article on flechettes @ Wikipedia states:

Quote:
Small arms ammunition

In the 1960s the U.S. Army began early developmental work on a flechette rifle cartridge. It fired steel darts that looked very much like steel nails with fins stamped into the back ("nails with tails"). The flechettes were 3 5 cm long, and 1 2 mm in diameter, with a 4 5 mm fin diameter. It was never fielded. Attempts have been made to develop a selective-fire flechette several times since, with mixed results. There were also experimental flechette rounds for the M203 grenade launcher and the 12-gauge shotgun, but the military eventually decided that standard ammunition worked best in both.

Flechette rounds were developed for small arms for a number of reasons. Being very small and light compared to traditional jacketed lead or steel bullets, flechette ammunition weighs less per round, and thus an infantryman can carry more. Second is the issue of recoil for the same amount of kinetic energy, a lighter bullet (with a higher muzzle velocity) produces less recoil, and thus less shot dispersion in automatic fire. The last reason was the emergence of lightweight, flexible body armor for the average infantryman. A very high velocity, small diameter projectile is able to easily penetrate body armor. Also its mass-to-piercing-area ratio was much better than that of regular bullets.

However, the flechette has a number of weaknesses that limit its effectiveness as small arms ammunition. They tended to penetrate heavy armor less deeply than heavier, higher momentum rifle bullets. Their extreme light weight caused them to be deflected extremely easily; a single leaf, or even a raindrop, could destabilize a flechette and cause it to tumble wildly. Because of the hard nature of the flechette, it does not deform on impact, and while it penetrates extremely well, it produces very little tissue damage. The last issue with small arms flechettes is accuracy. To fire the finned flechette out of a smoothbore requires the use of a sabot. Since flechettes do not achieve sufficient stability when spun by rifling alone, the main source of stabilization is the fins. When the sabot separates, it can disturb the effectively unstabilized flechette, and cause deviations in its flight. Experiments to reduce problems associated with sabot separation have been performed, such as placing the sabot on the forward portion of the flechette, rather than the rear, and by fitting a sabot stripper in the muzzle to remove it with less disturbance to flight.

An interesting variation of the flechette that addresses its difficulties is the SCIMTR, developed as part of the CAWS project. Also, in 1989 and 1990 the U.S. Army experimented with the Steyr ACR. However, the rifle did not achieve the necessary performance to be considered a viable avenue to pursue.

In popular culture

* Flechette weapons see heavy use in science fiction, particularly in cyberpunk settings like William Gibson's Sprawl trilogy. They are called by a variety of names, including fletchers, needlers, needle guns, or named as 'flechette' variations of realistic weaponry (e.g. flechette rifle) . They are most often employed as pistols. They are typically characterized as having short range, high impact firing capabilities.
* Flechette weapons are standard weaponry among the human survivors in Terry Brooks's Genesis of Shannara series, ranging from small pistols like the Tyson 33 Flechette to large vehicle-mounted weapons capable of destroying guard towers. These flechettes resemble extremely powerful shotguns more than actual flechettes.
* In volume 26 The Attack of the book series Animorphs, the Howler soldiers sent to eliminate the Animorphs using an assortment of weapons, including flechette guns.
* Many video games feature guns that fire flechettes, including but not limited to Turok: Evolution, Battlefield 2142, Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, Star Wars: Battlefront 2, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, UFO: Aftershock, Hexen, Hitman: Blood Money, Unreal Tournament, and Team Fortress 2.
* Additionally, an early novel by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child features a flechette small arm on a naval vessel.
* A common ammo for J.B. Dix a character in James Axler's Deathlands novels.
* Arnold Schwarzenegger's character in Eraser survives a flechette grenade by hiding behind a fridge door and is wounded when one of the flechettes pierces his palm. It should be noted that the flechettes were similar in make to drill bits, making it more difficult to remove them.
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Old 06-13-2008, 05:28 PM   #10
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While I wonder why anyone would market ammunition at a gun show as penetrating "police body armor," there are plenty of rounds out there that are likely to penetrate light armor (e.g., conventional rifle rounds).

If you're only talking about handguns, there are plenty of handguns chambered for conventional rifle rounds. I don't know if said handguns achieve the velocities needed to penetrate armor, but I should wouldn't care to be the test subject.
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