Duplex and Triplex pistol cartridges


This question came up in a reloading forum, but the discussion went towards factory produced “Duplex” and “Triplex” pistol cartridges.

What is out there for commercially produced Duplex and Triplex pistol cartridges? Why have they not really caught on?



These rounds have been tried by many manufacturers, including even Remington. They did not catch on because, in my opinion, the idea has little or no merit. Often the bullets stick together (Remington rounds had this problem in independent testing) and just go in as one projectile of a poor shape. They only lasted in the line, in .38 and .357, for a few years. Sales in our store were almost noneistent for the Remington, although we sold the MMI well for awhile, until people found out that what we told them about the usefulness of such loads was true. MMI didn’t last all that long either. Generally, they do nothing but reduce the wound ballistics effectiveness of the cartridge. They do not increase the probability of a hit, since they pattern close together, unless they just go completely wild. I have shot the Remingtons, The Multiple Munitions brand, and some that come in a blue plastic sabot oloaded both in the USA and the Philippines, and found them all wanting in accuracy. All in all, in my opinion, a silly idea.
“A handgun is a handgun and a shotgun is a shotgun.” These were just like most of the wonder bullets that appear on the market - they come and go with a lot of hype until scholarly testing shows that they do not perform even up to the standards of a normal HP bullet. A few brands have stood the test of time as to sales, but there are certainly varying opinions on the effectiveness of even those exceptions. Most die a quick and well-deserved death on the market.


Been doing some research on this lately, and I can add to the original question’s answer with these being multi-projectile pistol cartridges:

“38 Quads” - .38 spl = 4 cone shaped lead discs

“MMI / Multiple munitions Inc” - .38spl, .357mag, .45acp = 1 HP bullet with 2 wadcutter discs beneath

Remington “Multiball” - .38spl, .357mag = 2 or 3 .36cal balls

Armscor “Strike 3” - .38spl, .38spl +P, .40S&W, 9mm, ,357mag, .45acp = 3 #1 buck balls in a blue plastic capsule

“Onslaught” = .38spl, .357mag = 4 wax coated discs

“Salvo Squeezebore” / SSB - 9mm, .45acp = 3 cone shaped copper discs in resin matrix

Cobra Gun co. “High Safety” - 9mm = 7 sharp steel darts in resin matrix = AP load

There are a bunch of other “coreshot” / “beehive” type loads, but that is another category altogether, probably referred to as “pre-fragmented” rather than multiball, duplex or triplex.


I have experimented with multiple ball loads in.357 and .38 Special but could find no advantage with them.

(1) there is not enough lead on the edge of the ball to grip the rifling

(2) at normal handgun ranges the balls barely start to separate.

(3) at longer ranges the BC of a ball is far poorer than the average bullet so velocity drops off much quicker. Also, accuracy is poor because of (1)


Were there any European multiball, duplex, or multidisc projectile cartridges made in the 70’s, 80’s or 90’s?


George Luger patented and DWM produced a duplex load in 9x19 before WWI. Two Luger pistols and a case of this ammunition was sent to Springfiled arsenal for testing a couple of years before the war. One of the pistols, and one of the cartridges still exists (or did 20 years ago) in a US gun collection,

A French company made loads with plastic bullet jackets and multiple balls like the Strike Three loads. Since WWII both France and Germany have tested bullets that were divide into 4 and 7 pieces respectively that appear to break apart at the muzzle. Shirkiner (spelling wrong) developed a 7 projectile cartridge to use with a 7 barrel pistol that was tested by both Colt and by DAG (I have rounds from both in the collection) and it was also done in 45 ACP-have photos of .45 bullet).

I think the US Army got it right in 1912 when they decided that the concept didn’t have much merit.

Still, weigh all your 9x19mm with commercial DWM headstamps with serifs (these are WWI and earlier) or with no headstamps and with truncated bullets. If you find one that is a bit heavy call me! Seriously, there are undoubtedly DWM duplex loads floating around somewhere (apparently White & Munhall had one) but you would never spot it unless you weighed the round.




That patent was for a multi-part projectile, not multiple projectiles. You’d have to read the patent description to see exactly what was intended by it.




With all due respect to Georg Luger, his concept was obviously flawed, as time has proven. Intellectual brilliance is no guarantee agianst being wrong.



I see what Ray is saying, although sort of “Tomatoe” / “Tomato”. Like the Triplex loading from Multiple Munitions Inc’s .357 would be a nested tri-projectile, while a Remington Multi-ball or Armscor Strike-3 would be unique and separate ball projectiles. This old 1909 version is sort of like the nested version like a salvo squeezebore, in so far as it nesting together. A 1909 gadget-bullet! Very cool!

“Go-Go Gadget Patrone”! - There’s a generational reference for you, who’s with me on the 1980’s cartoons? -Falcon?


Ray, The intent was for multiple strikes just like the 7.62 NATO duplex which was also somewhat nested. Georg Luger was wrong, but no more wrong than all those who tried to sell the idea of a multiple projectile pistol cartridge since then. As I recall, the Springfield test report indicated the same problems John pointed out early in this thread. He was wrong, but almost a century before lots of other people tried the same thing and were equally wrong.

It is interesting that multi-projectile cartridges have been tested for so long and in spite of combat experience in both .50 and 7.62 NATO, have never been found to be worth producing. For 100 years they have been a hobby shop item. The surprising thing is that anybody tries them anymore.


I am not sure that Georg Luger was necessarily so brilliant. His pistol design was based heavily on the Hugo Borchardt Patents and design - he simply rearranged it to make it more compact. Even then, the Luger pistol was pretty much obsolete almost as soon as the first prototypes were made. The tilting-barrel Brownings, first out in 1899, made the Luger irrelevant as a firearms design immediately, for ease of manufacture and reliability of mechanism. Luger was no John Browning, that’s for sure. I am not aware of anything he designed that was a success other than the Parabellum Pistol, but I could be wrong. Just my humble opinion. I actually like Lugers - I used to collect them and wish I still had a couple of dozen of the more significant variations, instead of my single one. However, I would never carry one for any “real world” purpose.


With the results of SCHV, SALVO, and SPIW in their hands you would think the military would have seen the light, but along came FRP in the 70s, CAWS in the 80s, ACR in the 90s, and I-don’t-know-what-else in the 00s.

But, all those programs keep the economy chugging along and they sure make cartridge collecting interesting.



To add to the list of duplex / triplex cartridges I had listed earlier, there is also the Powerplus Industries “Duplex”, “Triplex” and “Quadraplex” cartridges, which were actually contracted through PPS, which if I am correct, would have been physically loaded by Hi-Vel on PPS’ behalf for the contract to Powerplus… phew… The info on those loads I have is:

quote Power Plus “Duplex” Defense Ammunition:

.380ACP 65g FMC & 65g JWC (950fps)
9mm 95g FMC & 65g JWC (1050fps)
.44Sp 150g JWSC & 75g JWC (950fps)
.45ACP 185g FMC & 75g JWC (950fps)

(PPS) Power Plus “Triplex”:

.38Sp 65g FMC & 50g LWC & 65g JWC (1000fps)
.44Mag 150g JSWC & 75g LWC & 75g JWC (1450fps)

(PPS) Power Plus “Quadraplex” :

.357Mag 65g FMC & 50g LWC & 50gLWC & 65g JWC (1050fps)

($10 - $12 per box of six)[/quote]

So this stuff was loaded in a similar contractual manner to the Powerplus “Beehive” stuff if I am reading all the historical bits of data I have right as the Beehive was loaded by PPS for Powerplus, or is PPS actually Powerplus itself? It’s confusing because there were two “Powerplus” industries, one in Colorado, and one in Florida or somewhere?


I have some of the MMI .357 +P rounds with Three projectiles, total projectile weight 250 grains. I expected recoil to be severe but it wasn’t. Penatration into phone books was poor, and no expansion on the first projectile which is a hollow point.

The 9mm salvo squeeze bore meet with the same fate when tested at H.P. white labs…



A couple of years ago, Double Tap made a duplex load in 40S&W with a normal bullet and a round ball behind it. I use to have some but I think they are all long gone now. I had a box of them at the time and pulled one but I can’t find the box and think they are long gone.