Propellants Explosives Pyrotechnics, Vol.40, No.6, 931-937, 2015
Comparative Study of 9 x 19 mm Ammunition Combustion Products and Residues
During the last decades, authorities' awareness on environmental and human health impact at national and international level has increased in the field of small arms ammunition containing lead and antimony. Thus, the evolution of environmental policies regarding production and use of heavy metals and their compounds, especially in EU countries, implied extensive studies on the environmental implications of 9 x 19 mm caliber ammunition use, especially in indoor shooting ranges. In this context, the paper describes the experimental studies performed on Pb-containing conventional FMJ (full metal jacketed) ammunition and comparative measurements on new ammunition designed for training. The combustion products and residues from conventional Pb-containing ammunition and Cu-based "greener" ammunition were compared in terms of gaseous products, metal concentration in aerosols and metal concentrations in solid residues. Gas emissions and solid residues were measured for four different types of ammunitions. The results showed that the copper content of the residue is significantly higher in case of Cu-containing composite bullets. For the ammunition equipped with Pb bullet, an important percentage of the Pb residue is generated by erosion of the exposed part of the bullet core. On the other hand, the ammunition containing Cu-composite bullet generates large quantities of Cu residues, which have similar environmental impact and less impact on human health. Gas analysis indicated the presence of CO and NOx and, surprisingly, high concentrations of HCN, CH4, and NH3. Lower gas concentrations are obtained for the composite bullets due to an incomplete combustion of gun propellant.