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"Holey" bullets claimed to go faster


December 9, 2011

CompBullets are claimed to go faster than regular bullets, due to vents that have been machined into their sides

CompBullets are claimed to go faster than regular bullets, due to vents that have been machined into their sides

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Competition shooters like their bullets to fly as fast (and thus straight) as possible, and they try to keep recoil to a minimum. Italian ammunition-maker CompBullet produces a series of bullets of the same name, which are claimed to both go faster than normal ammo, and produce less recoil. The secret? The bullets have go-faster holes in them.

Available in several calibers, the copper alloy bullets have a main cavity in the base, with multiple "vents" machined into their sides. These reportedly serve several purposes.

First of all, when the gun is fired, the vents supposedly allow the propellant gases to go through the sides of the bullet, providing lubrication between it and the inside of the gun's barrel.

As the bullet exits the gun, the gases symmetrically shoot sideways out of the vents. This - so we're told - creates a "muzzle brake" effect. A muzzle brake is a device fitted to the end of a gun's barrel, that redirects the gases as they leave the gun, to offset the recoil effect. The vents in the CompBullets apparently serve the same purpose.

At the same time, the gases shooting out of the vents are also said to create a rocket-like effect, increasing the bullet's velocity. All of you physicists are welcome to weigh in on this one, but it's hard to say if gases exiting the sides of a bullet would really cause it to travel any faster than gases that were limited to pushing on it from behind.

Additionally, CompBullets are claimed to produce less muzzle flash and less smoke. If nothing else, all those holes probably make them lighter than regular bullets, to boot.

Source: The Firearm Blog

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

Initially I thought this might e related to vacuum drag in artillery shells.

While those big shells use a slow burning powder charge to generate a large amount of gas, I\'ve thought they may also channel air from the front of the shell to the rear.



Found a few more holes in this theory. First, a lighter bullet is actually a bad thing when it comes to actually shooting something because it loses energy quicker. Second, there is no way the flow of gases would be symmetrical exiting those holes as a \"muzzle brake\". Any bit of extra or less gas coming out of one of those holes would dramatically throw the bullet off of its path. And this is supposed to be a competition shooter? Third hole in the theory: with match grade ammunition and lightweight, supposedly faster, bullet there would absolutely not be enough time for the bullet to be its own muzzle break. If what they said about the reduced friction is true then a 7.62x51mm version of this would travel 2500-2750 feet per second. Way too fast, especially considering the bullet is only in the spot to do that for roughly a quarter inch. Once in the air though, there is a chance that the holes could augment the boat-tailing effect. Or it could kill it completely by making vortexes in the holes, creating drag. Still nice to see innovation in the firearms world, hope they keep it up.

Ethan Brush

That statement of, "At the same time, the gases shooting out of the vents are also said to create a rocketlike effect, increasing the bullet's velocity." makes absolutely no sense.

The only time powder gases are pushing on the base of the bullet is when it's in the bore where we would find the holes blocked. Once the bullet exits the muzzle then a low pressure area is created at the tail of the bullet but there are no gases to create your rocketlike effect. You shouldn't need a physicist to tell you that.

In free-flight, there is the possibility that the low pressure area at the base will cause the small side holes to suck away the drag producing boundary layer air as well as serve as a base bleed to further reduce drag but I'd have to see proof of that.

Facebook User

Ethan Brush please keep the following in mind:

A heavier projectile has greater surface area and therefore is more likely to be affected by a crosswind (windage) which would put it off target. Remember this is NOT about killing something its about putting holes in paper therefore loss of energy due to being lighter is not a problem - paper is not that strong.

Flow of gases exiting a cartridge is symmetrical providing the holes are CNC machined to be exact and providing the firearm is NOT damaged, this is a simple principle of pipe design and flow - relearn your physics, your thermodynamics and fluid mechanics. The hole in the base of the projectile is centered with the main axis of the projectile therefore the flow of gases WILL be symetrical.

Since when was 2500-2750 feet per second way to fast for a projectile. 2700fps is a very common speed for centrefire ammunition. Most competition shooters aim to get as high a velocity as possible as it flattens the trajectory which in turn increases accuracy.

John Simpson please understand this: Whilst in the firearm the holes in the projectile will NOT always be against the inside walls of the barrel, you forget that firearms have a thing know as rifling which is cut into the barrel so that the lands of the rifling are the only thing that touch the projectile, therefore there is space for the gases to escape in the barrel which will allow a muzzlebreak affect as the angle of the holes woulde vent the gas back towards the casing in the chamber of the firearm thus reducing the felt recoil.

Overall you guys commenting on this article have NO IDEA of exactly what happens inside a firearm. Feel free to check what I\'ve written here and provide sources that contradict the well know facts of Ballistics and Firearms Design.

Matt Nirenberg

since you can only shoot someone legally in the state I live in that is 7 meters away that has a weapon, I will stick with the 0.41\" flying ashtrays in my gun, only 15 rounds on hand, nice looking bullet, since I only do gun for self protection, worthless for me, hmm perhaps rechamber for 9mm hollow points, 21 rounds with one in the pipe in one mag, hmm, thanks thinking about my carry weapon, and yes I carry non lethal stuff, mace, a green laser and a contact taser , hmm and a knife, just to walk the dog here in Oregon

Bill Bennett

\"uuh those...those are speed holes\"

Alexander Mawson

F = MV. Lower mass means higher velocity. These bullets are probably against the Geneva Convention.


Is it possible the holes act like dimples on a golf ball? I recall an episode of myth busters when they covered a car I clay and there was a measurable difference in drag reduction. I don\'t know the physics, but it may work. I also remember going some cylinder porting on a high performance engine. I was told th make the ports very smooth, but not to polish them. I always wondered if this was true that a polished intake port would cause diminished performance. These were wet ports, so there could been an issue with keeping the fuel suspended and atomized too.

Clint Ferreira

Dents on the surface of the bullet like the ones on a golf ball might reduce the drag

Abu Hmeid

I did an experiment on this at school... TogetherinParis is almost right... essentially air is less viscous than a bullet... holes mean trapped turbulent flow.. meaning bullet has less drag and goes faster... If it\'s working the same way that my crude experiment with viscous oils and plasticine.

Paul Hutchinson

@Matt: I'm very familiar with what goes in inside a rifle barrel. My comment (if you paid attention) concerned the notion the original author had that some gases were going to be propelling the bullet downrange.

That being said, the lands engrave the sides of the bullet sealing the gases while in the barrel http://www.scientificamerican.com/media/inline/000092D9-E9B5-1239-A9B583414B7F0000_1.jpg

To that end the bore of a .308 Winchester rifle has a diameter of .308 when measured in the grooves but a .300 inch diameter measured from the lands.

http://www.saami.org/PubResources/CC_Drawings/Rifle/308 Winchester.pdf

If as you say these bullets leaked gas ahead of the bullet then that would be a bad thing.

Also, I fail to find a mention of the holes being drilled on an angle.

So yeah, in the bore the side holes are blocked.

Facebook User

That was a interesting story.. little bit of physics.

Sai Raghavi

@alex mawson - lol my first thought.

if they energise the boundary layer like vortex generators, golf ball dimples etc, maybe that\'s good. Since we\'re talking mach 2.5 plus, I\'m not sure if that matters so much - golf balls and aircraft with VGs aren\'t going that fast. For all the pontificating here, if they work , they work!


Matt Nirenberg, your understanding of external ballistics is faulty. The ballistic coefficient of a projectile is what determines how much it will be affected by the wind. The higher the BC the less the bullet is affected by the wind. The BC of a bullet is due in large part to its sectional density, its weight in relation to its caliber. When a bullet flies through the air, it is not directly pushed by the wind as the wind does not touch the bullet, rather the wind pushes of the shock wave surrounding the bullet.

Drilling holes into the bullet reduces its sectional density and thus lessens its BC. But the bullets shown here are pistol bullets so the BC is really not an issue, range is too short.

TogetherInParis: The Geneva Convention has nothing to do with bullets. Perhaps you are thinking of delcaration at The Hague Peace Conference of 1899 and the subsequent Hague Convention IV of 1907 about the use of expanding bullets in warfare. Please verify your statements before posting.

LR shooter

All of you that posted SUPPOSEDLY knowing about ballistics are incorrect. It is a proven fact that these bullets go faster for two reasons. First, because they are Italian and second because they look cool. The air is so impressed that it gets out of the way and lets the bullet by thereby decreasing drag. Basic physics.

Whilst your attempts to sound intelligent are a sorely lacking, it is my amazing intellect that makes you all look like children! Please check your facts before posting.

Roderick Bertrand

Under normal circumstances. Two bullets of the same caliber fired from identical cartridges with identical propellent loads from the same gun the lighter one will have a higher muzzle velocity but will also be more affected by aerodynamic forces in route to the target. Given long enough ranges the heavier bullet will take less time to reach the target. Because an expanding object\'s volume grows at a higher rate than the area bullets of the same density but different sizes the heavier bullet will be less effected by aerodynamic forces.

This bullet may exploit an interesting but mostly useless phenomenon that a supersonic gas flow exiting through a tapering larger nozzle will speed up. The resulting thrust in this design will be less than the drag but may offset the higher drag to mass ratio and there is some evidence that it might also make the bullet resist the affects of a crosswind.

But even assuming that the bullet works as advertised the cost of machining prices them out of the market for most usages.


@matt nurenburg: My comment about the fps of the bullet had nothing to do with it being too fast for the bullet itself. It was aimed at how it would be going too fast for the bullet to be a muzzle break (oh yeah, and the holes aren\'t angled. It would be dumb to anyways, because facing backwards creates suction, drag, and forwards creates a backwards rocket effect as well as a ram air intake friction effect.). The point at which it would be in the position to do so is about a quarter inch long, and that\'s probably a little generous. .25(ft/12) /2750 f/s. Not enough. Also, no matter how precise you are with a CNC you cannot make the expansion of gases uniform, or force the bullet to perfectly rotate around the axis. The fact that each rifle has a forensics-approved signature carved into the bullet, no matter the quality of the rifle, proves this. We live in an imperfect world. And I\'m not done yet, one more point. The mass of the bullet has no direct effect on the effect of windage. A bigger bullet with more mass, yes. But if you have two bullets, same dimensions, different densities (therefore masses), the heavier one has more inertia. More inertia means harder to move, so less effected by windage. The holey bullet simply had its density lowered by having holes in it, with a side effect of having more surface area for the wind to push against. Please refrain from insulting my intelligence. Peace

Ethan Brush

as per Matt Nirenberg: in ballistics, the RIFLING is needed for a bullet in order to be stable. stability is the most important factor in precision shooting. it can be compromised by making the bullet shoot at a higher speed. in order achieve this higher speed, a bigger amount of firepower is needed thus making the bullet shell bigger. this size is not economical and will be a lot heavier in weight even the argument that the bullet is lighter. the compensated loss in bullet weight is replaced by a much heavier gun powder needed to propel and stabilize the bullet. theoretically, you can make the bullet spin by making the orientation of the holes at an angle. however, this would also need precision metal works in producing the bullet. again, not economical.


@Bill Bennett, I am really glad I live in South Africa, where I don\'t need a gun with 9mm hollow points, mace, a green laser and a contact taser and a knife, just to walk the dog. Down here I just take the dog.


\"Oh yeah... speed holes!\"


Adrian Bancilhon

I am amazed at the dogmatic comments of the theorists who say the swiss cheese bullets can\'t or won\'t work. Reminds me of the discussion about the airworthiness of heavier than air aircraft a long time ago.

It is possible that the combination of hot, high speed gasses exiting the holes of a rapidly revolving bullet undergoing a high rate of acceleration might be producing a new phenomenon.

Seems to me that the sensible thing to do would be to fire some of the bullets, observe whether or not they perform as promised, then begin the discussion.


I can only speak about what I know. Slow powder (black powder) = slow bullet. Fast powder (rifle powder) = faster bullet. If you use pure nitrocellulose it would blow up the gun because of the speed of ignition. The only way to get a faster bullet is to make it aerodynamic along with a sabot for the tight seal. Barrels already have recoil holes for the soft hands.


I went to their website. There are no reports, no tests, no photos or anything else. \"Claim\"? \"Supposedly\"? And if the company making these claims don\'t bother to do confirmed testing, why should the buyer have to do so? If they\'re going to make claims so far out, is it asking too much for at least some sort of proof? Or, perhaps, it\'s just a bid for attention, common in these days?


As a shooter of 50+ years I recognise this discussion as typical of shooters - online opportunities have only worsened the level of discussion, which as here tends to be wild and woolly and totally contradictory and moderately insulting. Rather then speculating endlessly about how these may or may not work (and yes 2500 fps is slow not fast) send me a couple of hundred in 308 or 223 or 6.5x55 or even 312 and I\'ll test them and tell you if they work or don\'t work.


Reminds me of the guys who still think that cold fusion can\'t work after the Energy Catalyzer has worked multiple times or that building 7 of the WTC was not professionally demolished and dropped like a pancake from an office fire. There is always the potential scam but why would a company make claims it can\'t backup just to sell a bunch of bullets. Why would they risk their reputation to sell an unknown quantity of ammunition to competition shooters? Doesn\'t make sence. It\'s not like the old days when snake oil salesmen could get away for months and years with fooling people. The competition shooters have probably already tested the darn things.

Harry Robinson

The only way to really test all these \'after\' theories is to do some practical testing of my own. Time to oil up my drill press and put some well placed dimples on a few bullets and hit the old shooting range.


All is VERY interesting. This is one that i feel only one person could genuinely contribute a well formed opinion: Dr. Gerald Bull, Space Research Corp, Project HARP, \"Baylon Gun\", CG45 etc... were he still alive, no thanks to the conspirators that had him assacinated in Belgium.

Mike DuBois

The bullet has less mass due to the holes, so it accelerates at a higher rate in the barrel. F=ma. Secondly, the rocket effect, muzzle braking, lubrication are all BS. Look carefully and you\'ll see grooves in the flank of the bullet...this minimizes barrel contact area, and being copper, also increases the pressures on the copper to deform at those ridges, reducing friction. The holes serve to reduce mass, particularly the hole down the center axis, which has little effect on the rotational inertia needed for bullet stability, but all holes have the secondary effect of pushing to center of mass forward...in doing so, there is less \"wobble\" due to a more stable cg/ac relationship. As far as walking the dog in Oregon goes, we have our share of the mentally ill, redneck doomsday arsenal-keepers, and hippies that came up from California, here. What an embarrassment in the world\'s eye to say you need to carry here, in one of the safest places on the planet (I travel worldwide). If you fear a mountain lion attack, move your paranoid butt to Portland.


If a speedboat and a rowboat cross a river flowing 10mph, and the operators do not try to compensate for the current, the rowboat will be further downstream at the end of the crossing then the speedboat. This illustrates that the objects are part of the medium. In this case the water. The same must be true for bullets in a crosswind. The faster bullet will not be in the moving medium as long as the slower one. The shape or weight of the bullet means nothing as long as the speeds are the same.


Talking about recoil, does anyone remember the Cutts Compensator on the Tommy gun?(Don\'t you just love it?) admittedly this served a different purpose. It had upward facing vents to push the barrel down, which had tended to rise during rapid auto fire. So rearward facing vents in the barrel could act as anti recoil.


I like Roderick\'s explanation the best :)

Joe Sobotka

Absolutely amazing. The amount of misunderstanding I find here. 1. We don\'t know the actual calibers offered. 2. We don\'t know the actual weight (in grains) offered in each caliber. 3. We actually don\'t know the details on the actual ogive (shape(s)) offered in each weight in each caliber. 4. We don\'t know if they actually are just for target shooting, although \"Solids\" (except on Big/Dangerous Game projectiles) are usually too penetrating for everything else from woodchucks to elk. (Although there are varying degrees of soft points to solids offered for different calibers that depend on a variety of factors; size of game, average muzzle velocity of the particular caliber, length of average range, et cetera. As a life member of the NRA, I\'ll make inquiries. Of one thing I\'m absolutely certain: They will be declared \"Cop Killer\" and/or \"Armor Piercing\" and banned by the Obama-Holder conspiracy.

Myron J. Poltroonian

Holes at 90 degrees to the longitudinal axis of the bullet can\'t act in any way to accelerate the bullet as propellant gasses exit them in the milliseconds they are clear of the muzzle prior to the base of the bullet exiting the muzzle.

The holes would have to be angled to the rear to produce any amount of extra thrust. As discovered with the old Gyro-Jet, the machining has to be extremely precise and even or accuracy goes down to the level of throwing rocks.

What plagued the Gyro-Jet was poor quality control where some of the base crimps partially overlapped the exhaust holes in the base plugs.

Another often under appreciated effect on bullet ballistics is the impact the propellant gasses have on the bullet during the time it exits the muzzle and is still close enough for the gas to hit. Un-even impact could result in unbalanced flow from the base hole to the side holes.

One of the major gun magazines (IIRC Guns & Ammo) several years ago tested boattail VS flat base bullets. They tested using the same weights and manufacturers of both types, where the two styles were available with the same profile except for the base.

The tests found essentially no difference in initial and terminal velocity or trajectory. What they did find was the boattail bullets retained more kinetic energy at the end of their flight.

I\'d expect similar testing of these holey bullets to show the sole reason for their higher speed to be their lower weight, which would be a hindrance to accuracy on a windy target range.

Gregg Eshelman

So..... what kind of whistleing sound does it make as it flies by? Would it annoy the hunting dogs? If you remove all of the metal and just leave the holes, does it then move MUCH faster...?


re; Gregg Eshelman

At the very least the additional gas path from the side through the core and out the back increases the \"boattail effect\".

I think a better design would be to have the front half of the bullet copper jacketed bismuth and have the hollow core extend the entire length with the trailing third of the tunnel tapering wider, also give the bullet a boattail and a graphite discarding sabot to provide the gas seal and lubrication for the trip down the barrel.


re: Gregg Eshelman, kinetic energy is proportional to the square of the velocity, neglecting angular momentum due to rotation about its axis of symmetry. Equal terminal velocity, equal kinetic energy. I believe the French tried this holey projectile in 1916 and, unrelatedly, won the war.

Marvin Keith

If the holes are precision drilled and point slightly backwards, so that propellant gases do not also provide a forward push within the barrel. Why not also make a dimpled bullet. Studies should be done on sniper rifles, as ballistics is most important here.

Dawar Saify

If a golf ball rotated as fast as a bullet does, there would be no or minimal effect of the dimples on the air as the air could not fill or void the spaces created by the surface variations fast enough. Even a .45 is rotating about 40,000 rpms. I think lighter is the only real deal on these bullets. Lighter bullets also give less recoil. Best way is to do a side by side test as someone mentioned.

Don White

You guys can talk till your blue in the face(s), but actual seeing some testing performed would probably add some credibility as to whether or not this bullet will perform as the above article suggests.

Not with standing all of the above rhetoric, this seems like a project for: \"MYTH BUSTERS\"!

Jim Dasher Edmonds, WA


Read the title.. and for a second I thought they were taking the bullets to the church.


I am no expert, however IMHO I think there is some merit in the idea. A good live fire test would prove or disprove the effect of the bullets. Based on my experience and a few aerodynamics classes the holes in the sides link to the center hole connecting the low pressure region in the base the bullet to the relatively higher pressure air flowing around the point. This would function in a similar way to base bleed rounds where a very slow burning propellant in the base reduces the low pressure in this region, decreasing drag.

As for the other claims I don\'t see much of a point, for example the holes for the brief period where the tail is still engaged to the inside of the barrel/rifling and the holes are exposed would vent propellant like a muzzle brake. As stated before any small variation in hole placement would cause a change in trajectory. The claim of reducing friction in barrel is likely false as well, for maximum muzzle velocity a bullet has to make a good seal to the barrel and the trade off between sealing, stress on the barrel and friction are too deep to go into in this forum. Instead I will point out there is one true way to reduce friction, and that is using a solid lubricant such as Teflon or moly to coat the rounds. These ended up being labeled as a \"cop killer\" rounds and banned in quite a few states if a remember correctly.

Ultimately any improvement will be hardly worth the extra expense of machining these bullets. If anyone is giving out free rounds to test them I wouldn\'t mind a few, even if they don\'t pan out, it would be fun to fire a few down range.

Mark Larson

Myron J. Poltroonian you made a very reasonable statement and then you went and screwed it all up with the last sentence that was as blue sky as most of the other comments. If they showed a wadcutter on this site and said it was a better target round I suspect there would be 10s of opinions about why it wouldn\'t work or was better then other rounds.


Muzzle brakes disperse gas pressure and slow the bullet. Leaking gas pressure to lubricate the bullet makes NO sense. Modern muzzle loafers use bullets with a gas seal to maximize velocity. The lubrication comes from seal itself.

This bullet might work but not for the reasons stated in the article. Shape and cross-sectional density are the keys to maximizing bullet performance for a given gas pressure.

Guy Macher

No, this will not work.

1) A bullet is supposed to have a tight seal with the barrel, gases which get around the bullet or are not forced to push the bullet to escape not only cause fowling but have no positive effect on accelerating the bullet. If gases are alleviated while in the barrel the pressure behind the bullet will go down and the bullet will be slower.

2) In a gun a lighter bullet can be more difficult than a heavier one. (Seems weird no?) But when a re-loader uses a heavier bullet in a caliber, he uses LESS powder. The bullet is acceleratred by the pressue built-up from the gas pushing on it from behind. (For every action, equal and opposite reaction) A heavier bullet pushes back harder, and higher pressures are reached as a result. To push this extremely light bullet at high pressures will require large amounts of slow-burning powder which not only itself increases recoil but bring a number of its own concerns.

3) The rocket idea is complete crap. Shouldn\'t have to explain this one.

4) Because nothing is ever perfect gases will not escape the holes at equal pressures which will interfere with the spin of the bullet.

5) While I am not expert in wind behavior, holes perpendicular to the path of the bullet will are a very bad idea. Aside from the possibility they can cause parasitic drag, you create a pressure problem. The bullet exits the barrel with gasses exiting this hole, as it escapes the gun and no gases are exiting you create a low-pressure system inside the hollow base of the bullet. There is no reasonable way to assume the venting of air through the holes into the low pressure area will be perfectly symetrical and this will cause the bullet to wobble with the pressure change. If the holes are canted poorly this could even affect the spin of the bullet breaking its stablized spin and causing it to tumble. Not to mention that the weight-forward design of the bullet itself is going to increase the propensity to tumble.

As I said I am not an expert, and while I can contemplate theoretical solutions to the issues I\'ve listed above, I will have to see several instances of independent proof before I buy any of their statements.

Jack Whistler

The position of the radial holes on the bullet are to the fore of the bullet, but still slightly aft of the a small sealing ring, allowing the pressure wave to "lift" the bullet and float it within the barrel like an air hockey puck on an air hockey table. Since the pressure wave is fore of the base, at the holes, the bullet can float and surf out of the barrel by riding on or near the crest of the pressure wave just like a surfer at Big Sur.

The bullet with holes is both pushed and pulled out of the barrel. With a solid bullet, the bullet can only be pushed out of the barrel. The axial hole also reduces the vacuum suction resistant forces holding the bullet back in the barrel like a dashpot or viscous shock absorber. The minimal sealing surface at the front of the bullet further reduces the dashpot viscosity of the bullet allowing for more fluid and dynamic forward momentum.

The dimpled golf ball aspect is due to a principle called the "Magnus Effect" at the boundary layers of turbulent, viscous and laminar flows around the bullet. The size of the holes and positioning are critical. Wind tunnel testing would fine tune the effect.

There is a slight change in drag at the back of the bullet, like an invisible parachute at the tail, tending to slow the back of the bullet infinitesimally more than the front, reducing tumbling of the bullet in flight. High speed analysis using strobes and frame rates of 3000 frames per second will capture any changes or improvements to the ballistic trajectory. Schlieren photography is useful for examining changes to the bow shock created since the bullet is travelling faster than sound.

This is much work to be done on this to fine tune it. Dimpling at tandem and alternating may be tried as well as dimple pattern, shape size and depth as well as varying dimple sizes front to back on the bullet.

Too much dimpling or not enough will either slow the bullet down or initiate tumbling and effect accuracy and repeatability. Obviously it would require as test fixture with a remote trigger to ensure consistency among test firings.

Gordon Jenkins


A raindrop is the most efficient shape to fall through the air and small bombs were and are shaped like raindrops when in fact they are designed to be in free fall in the air.

Bullets are pushed and spun through the air typically at mach 1 and above. They are supersonic (cracks aplenty) and should be designed as such.

There are many improvements in bullet design coming. It remains for independent testing to determine if the Holey design will be blessed as a success.


For some reason I missed this article when it came out. I was amused by the number of "experts" making comments. Beyond the fact that a lighter bullet will fly faster for a given powder charge and have less recoil every other comment was mere speculation. Whether the holes help or not would require actual testing and the placement of the holes in the bullet would add a whole lot of complexity. Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to quit arguing and start shooting.

For some reason this reminds me of my son in 7 th grade science class. When the teacher said that the most aerodynamic shape was a raindrop, my son raised his hand and said if that was true they would kill us. When he came home and told me about it, I said well I've never seen a bullet shaped like a raindrop. It all depends on the application.


Thanks attoman for sharing your wisdom. My comment was merely to state that just thinking about a problem does not always solve it nor does one answer fit all situations. I was proud of my young son for questioning a statement that didn't make sense to him. He comes from a family of scientists and engineers. By the way, he recently got his Masters with a perfect 4.0 grade point.


It seems to me the point of most bullets is the force upon impact.


Here, we hope to gain some speed by decreasing the mass. Assuming this happens 100% efficiently, the result will be a bullet with the same force but a higher speed at the muzzle. If things are the same through the air, the result will be a force that is the same on impact, so no net gain. But there's a problem. With a lower mass, it takes less force due to friction for the air to slow down the bullet. This fancy new bullet will likely have less force on impact due to slowing in the air, even if the force is the same at the muzzle.

There's a reason a lot of ammunition is made of heavy metals like lead. The heavier ammunition creates more force on impact.

Victor Engel

Matt Nirenberg is probably an investor. His arguments seem gibberish designed for other investors. He provides attitude rather than argument.

Gibberish: less weight relation to more fast. True for rockets, Not true for bullets. Example: A heavy lead bullet and a small aluminum bullet have the same shape, the speed that they start at is determined in large part by the gun, how tightly the bullet is swaged into the case, a heavy bullet leave the cartridge slower, allowing more gunpowder to burn while the bullet is near it. But for example, say the two bullets leave the barrel at the same speed. They get the same drag based on their shape and area, best described as drag = coefficient of drag x cross section area x dynamic air pressure (1/2 density x velocity squared). So the force is not dependent of weight, but the effect of a gram of drag on a 100 gram weight bullet versus a 400 gram bullet is greater.

It would be fine if the bullet had slow burn propellent to reduce base drag like some artillery shells, but that would not work here. And holes on the side is also bullroar.

Also, if you take air from the front to fill the back you get too much drag.

A real rain drop looks like a flattened sphere. A cartoon raindrop is a better shape, better still if the front is a paraboloid, like the front of a an airliner. Rather than the long tail though, the base of the cartoon raindrop is already in turbulent flow, might as well cut it off to decrease friction drag. because a bullet rotates in flight, there is a slightly increased path of the air, but not much.

There are ways to make bullets faster, but this is a path that runs counter to first chapter fluid dynamics.


A lighter bullet given same energy will start out faster and end up slower.

Rather than talk about bullet speed, they should talk about range, would be very easy to test.

David Kay

Pure speculation here, but I wonder if having a jet of superheated air down the side of the bullet (i.e. within the rifling and between the ridges and the bullet body) as its being fired from the barrel will create a lubricating effect, thereby allowing the bullet to be accelerated faster, achieving higher exit speed and becoming more accurate...

Mike Biagio

Dimpled golf balls and holey bullets. One works for sure, one - maybe. Weight of the bullet directly affects velocity, lighter bullets allow for more powder in the shell casing. If you don't get a good seal, you don't get good velocities. Ballistic coefficients aren't important to pistol bullets. Maybe.

Lots of speculation here, and little data.

Don't insult people by saying they are investors. It doesn't add to the debate.

Above all, with this design, machining quality is absolutely vital. The central hole must be CENTRAL, perfectly central. Otherwise, the bullet will start getting hinky. The others, well I can't really say how they'll affect things. Exactly how it'll fly is dependent on too many factors for me to guess at.

These new bullets will have these problems. Even a small difference between center of mass and aerodynamic center will eliminate accuracy at any real distance.

How much velocity will you gain? Well, that is something that needs to be tested with experiments, not debate.

But what will the practical result be? Given that even a twelve gauge shotgun doesn't always drop someone - yes, I know. And, I'll hit the lottery as often as my 12 will fail to drop a perp with a center-of-mass hit. But it is true.

Suppose you load your own, and you get a 100-300 fps increase over the same weight bullet from Sierra or Speer. And a hundred bullets cost $100 while 100 Speer bullets of the same weight cost $20.

Even the upper limit, speed-wise, is not enough to neglect proper aim, and your new bullets cost a bunch more, plus they don't look like you'll get any expansion from them.

Altogether, I don't see any significant gain in any way. Not at that price, whatever it may be. And, I can easily see one bullet costing more than a dollar.


Anything a bullet does after it leaves the muzzle, such as being self-propelling, will invariably cause it to wobble and veer unless it has a way of steering itself, such as a smart bomb does, or a projectile large enough to incorporate a guidance mechanism. A bullet as small as a handheld firearm bullet cannot be made precisely enough, even at large expense per bullet, for any forces it exerts to steer itself, without veering. Example: the Gyrojet Rocket. This was even poorer of a small arms bullet as it contained all of its propellant within the bullet, making it a tiny rocket missile. "Gyrojet ammunition is of a smaller caliber [0.49"] than is likely to be produced as a [self-guided] rocket with a current technology IMU, considering the size of highly miniaturized IMU components that were available in 2007 and are now so small that accelerometers and gyros are included in tablets and smartphones." A small arms bullet (0.49" is larger in diameter than is considered desirable for most small arms; 0.30" being the largest common military small arms bullet diameter) is simply too small for available technology to allow it to be built with a guidance mechanism inside, especially to be dense enough to reasonably well maintain its velocity at range. The .50 Browning long range rifle bullet might be at the edge of the lower limit of self-guiding bullets. Still, the loss of density, even using depleted uranium, due to the space required for the guidance mechanism, would be a large part of the available bullet volume.

Robbie Trent

God, WTC and NWO conspiritards, and someone claiming South Africa, the gang-rape and murder capital of several hemispheres is "perfectly safe."

And in response to a bullet that's crap wrapped in marketing.

BTW, their site is for sale and there's no indication they ever sold any bullets to anyone.

Michael Williamson

This may also be applied to other weapons, e.g the "holey" hand grenade of Antioch...


@Matt Nirenberg Matt Nirenberg you clearly appear to be a bit of an armchair tactician, or at least know very little about ballistics.

The guy before you didn't say the bullet would be travelling too fast, he said it would be travelling too fast to be an effective muzzle brake. He was right. The bullet would only provide a braking effect for the fraction of a millisecond while the holes are outside of the barrel but the base is still inside of it. Once it fully leaves the barrel, there is no longer any pressure driving the gases through the holes (or such a small amount it would be negligible). Even when the bullet base is still in the barrel, I wonder how much effect there would be since there is nothing for the gases to "push" against. On a muzzle brake, the gases push against the front edge of the hole, largely, which creates a force that "pulls" the gun forward, counteracting the recoil effect.

As for your suggestion that, because of rifling grooves, gases are getting past the bullet, you are dead wrong. Rifling serves to fully engrave the sides of the bullet, thus creating a seal. In a "normal" bullet, there is ZERO leakage. In this bullet, the rifling would engage the sides of the bullet where the holes are, and there would still be no leakage past the bullet (in theory, of course in practice there is an ever so small amount, but insignificant). The problem with their "lubrication" idea is that there has to be flow in order to provide significant lubrication. The gas would simply press up against the barrel and provide very little lubrication. There may be a benefit in velocity achieved because there is less surface area on the bearing surface that would contact the barrel/rifling. This would likely not be very significant, though would be there, so may increase by a few percent.

As for the "rocket effect" that is, again, nonsense. There has to be a force in order to create that effect. The gases "coming out" of the holes, once the bullet leaves the barrel, would come from where? There would be a vacuum at the base of the bullet created by the bullet moving through the air (similar to an airfoil), so you would, if anything, see air being sucked in through the side holes. On top of that, even if there was a pressure from the base, you would see significantly more propulsion force by NOT having holes, because the holes only serve to relieve the pressure out the sides. The force from the gases being expelled would be perpendicular to the direction of travel, and thus, not affect (in any way) the velocity of the bullet.

Finally, you suggest that a "perfectly" created bullet on a CNC machine would be unaffected by gases coming out the sides? Have you heard of tolerances? CNC machines have them, and they mean that there is no chance that all the holes will be perfectly aligned laterally or axially. They may only be off by a thousandth of an inch, but that is very much enough to affect the flight path of the bullet. Not only that, but you likely would end up seeing a compounding of the error across holes, so you may end up with one bullet that has opposing holes off by 1 thou each way, meaning 2 thou total, then another may have two holes closer together by 1 thou each, 2 thou total, then that leaves four holes slightly further apart. This would have a huge effect on trajectory. Not only that, but you would have zero consistency regarding what error exits the barrel at what radial angle, therefore one shot may be off and to the left, and the next down and right, next might be straight right, etc.

So, to take your suggestion and offer it back, you might want to reacquaint yourself with physics, and acquaint yourself with ballistics (both internal and external ballistics) if you are going to make comments that try to "best" others with "knowledge" you got from wikipedia.....

Kevin Price

NO....being lighter they would accelerate to an initial higher velocity.....however being lighter for the same frontal surface area they would have a lower BC...ballistic coefficient.....so while they initially might have less "bullet drop" due to speed....the decreased BC at around 250 yards would cause the bullet to slow dramatically....then even the slightly slower heavier bullet (ie before holes)....would have a greater velocity and flatter trajectory past the 250 yard mark.....since shooting competitions often go to over 1000 meters...this is better.. That is why the 338 Lapua magnum and 50 BMG having greater weight and BC....are used by snipers for ultra long range more than the 5.62 Nato...223 caliber..

Pea Gea

"Holey" bullets Batman!

Mike Giles
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