Algerian refinery raid & frangible ammunition

I noticed the report that the hostage situation at the refinery in Algeria came to an end today with some special forces storming the area. This would supposedly be one of those very rare instances where one of the handy qualities of frangible ammunition would be utilized so as not to over-penetrate, strike sparks, or blow anything up unintentionally. I have seen some frangible ammo manufacturers touting, among other more obvious things, the ability of their lead-free ammo to be used in military raids on refineries and I had always thought that pretty far-fetched… until today.

I look forward to hearing any details about any specialty ammo used as there is nothing as of yet in the press as far as specifics.

Not far-fetched at all. One of the earliest drivers for frangible ammunition was for use in nuclear power plant security.

The British developed a range of frangible 9mmP for use by SOF type forces on North Sea oil rigs. I don’t know if any of these were ever produced beyond test quantities, much less whether they were issued to units.

Does anyone know anything about the production of this ammunition?



I recall seeing small silver cardboard boxes of UK 5.56mm and 9mm frangible, dull grey ‘Delta’ type frangible, at gunshows about 10-15yrs back. If memory serves it was ROTA? When I get back home I’ll see if I can dig up the boxes.

As fo OP…I haven’t heard any AARs yet from the raid…but from what I understand, the infil/exfil and general size of the facility meant good possibility of longer shots (as opposed to CQC reactor/ship/submarine/rig scenarios) and anti-vehicle engagements. Lots of 5.56mm frangible I’ve used was either much less accurate at distance (beyond 100yds) and/or did not have good retained velocity at longer ranges; most are less than optimum against vehicles. The recent heavier ‘white-tip’ stuff from Black Hills is an improvement in those respects over early 42-55gr loads IMHO.

Some years back the Navy Nuclear Training Facility, Kesslering Site in West Milton in Saratoga County, NY opened the facility to a group of county, state and local officials after an acid spill into a local trout stream. (no radio active spill) To show off their new safety and preventive procedures and that all had been made good again. At that time Marines provided the security and in talking with one of the guards accompanying us I asked what they were carrying for weapons and he volunteered that the AR’s were loaded with a frangible ammo and that the outer perimeter patrol and gate guards were armed with standard ball. When I was a teenager we hunted the site property but were only allowed to use shotguns for small game only. No rifles or single projectile cartridges. Since 9/11 no trespass at all.
Now the site has contract security. All the Navy’s nuke rates are trained here on reactor prototypes. Skimmers and bubbleheads.