Testing the 5.45x18mm cartridge in ballistic gelatin

Greetings all. Can someone advise me on the availability of the 5.45x18mm cartridge and a pistol that can fire it, to US civilians?

I run www.brassfetcher.com , a website with the results of about 200 individual bullets tested in ballistic gelatin (to date) and am always interested in testing the occassional rarity, such as this cartridge appears to be.

Thank you for any help.


For awhile, Wolf had the 5.45 pistol cartridges for sale in this country. I got a box from them to get the label, but have only the single box specimen left for my own collection. I do not know why they ever imported it - they seemed reluctant to sell one box only for a collector, and yet that is the only market. The PSM pistol does not meet the import requirements under the Gun Control Act of 1968 and the BATFE regulations that augment that act. I know of only one in the country in private hands, but don’t know who has it. It was sold by Butterfield and Butterfield auction house, and I am surprised that it wasn’t seized by BATFE since I doubt it was legally imported.

I think you will need to go to Europe or Australia (they sold some of the pistols and ammunition in Australia) to test this.

As I recall, this round was tested by the Letterman Army Institute of Research (LAIR), U. S. Army Wound Ballistics Laboratory, Presidio of San Francisco, California many years ago, and found to have decent penetration for a lightweight bullet, but minimal (poor) wound ballistics properties. Unfortunately, while I have a good file of material from LAIR, where I was privileged to observe some testing and participate in a test, I cannot find any data on this particular round’s performance in my files, so my comment in that regard must be taken as anecdotal, without corroboration at this time.

Going my memory here…IIRC Soldier of Fortune magazine tested the 5.45x18 and had an article on it sometime back. Wounding characteristics were poor, but it would punch through body armor. They seemed to think it was designed for assassination. I might have this article, I will see if I can find it.