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PCP Ammuntion Polymer-Cased (Plastic-Cased) Ammo Goes Prime Time at SHOT Show 2012 Media Day: Ultra-Lightweight Rifle/Machine Gun Ammo is Combat Ready! (Video!)

PCP Ammuntion Polymer-Cased (Plastic-Cased) Ammo Goes Prime Time at SHOT Show 2012 Media Day: Ultra-Lightweight Rifle/Machine Gun Ammo is Combat Ready! (Video!)

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By David Crane
defrev (at) gmail (dot) com

All photos and video clips contained in this article were shot by (DR), and are copyrighted. owns the copyright on these materials. The photos and video clips were shot with a Canon PowerShot S90 10-megapixel digital camera (still camera with video capability).

January 26, 2012

PCP Ammunition bills its polymer-cased (i.e., plastic-cased) rifle/machine gun ammo tech as “the future of ammunition”, and that might not be just your usual marketing hype. It may actually be the truth. PCP ammo’s main claim to fame is it’s signficant weight savings versus current brass-cased ammo. The PCP polymer rifle case weighs half as much as a comparable brass case in for any given rifle caliber, and cuts 30% off the overall cartridge weight. That means you can carry 30% more ammo for the same combat load, or the same number of rounds at 30% less weight, allowing you to carry additional supplies. Personally, I’d opt for more ammo.

DefenseReview (DR) first published info on PCP polymer cased ammo last September (2011). We’d seen it at SHOT Show 2011, but at the time looked like just another example of a polymer-cased rifle/machine gun ammo pipe dream in the making. Defense Review has changed its mind on this, however. PCP plastic-cased ammo now looks viable and potentially ready for prime time, i.e., military combat applications.

DR was allowed to fire some PCP Ammo rounds down range at SHOT Show 2012 Media Day, and, while we only fired a few, the ammo seemed pretty accurate. PCP’s Tony Padgett informed us that the ammo is good to go not only for rifles, but also for machine guns including the FN M249 SAW (Squad Automatic Weapon) / FN Mk46 MOD 1 5.56x45mm NATO (5.56mm NATO) light machine gun (LMG), FN Mk48 MOD 1 and FN M240 MMG/GPMG (Medium Machine Gun/General Purpose Machine Gun) 7.62x51mm (7.62mm NATO) machine gun. The PCP development team is currently in the process of “working through some of the the final issues [i.e., tweaking/refining and strengthening] of the Minigun” with respect to their 7.62mm ammo, so it can handle the aggressive loading/chambering (and extraction?) aspect of the Dillon Aero M134 series (M134D, M134D-T, and Hybrid M134D-H) and Garwood Industries M134G Gatling Guns/Miniguns, which are actively-powered guns utilizing a feeder/de-linker.

Tony Padgett of PCP Ammunition told us when we interviewed him at the firing range on Media Day that while the PCP ammo’s polymer case can theoretically melt at extreme temperature, in the practical application the gun will go into cook-off, cooking off the round(s) (i.e., involuntarily firing the round(s) due to ambient heat ignition) before the case can melt in the chamber, so melting isn’t actually a practical “issue” for the case polymer.

At present, the company has 5.56mm NATO/.223 Rem., 7.62mm NATO/.308 Win., 6.8 SPC (6.8x43mm SPC), .300 Win. Mag (.300 Winchester Magnum), .338 Lapua Magnum, and .50 BMG/12.7x99mm NATO ready to go, but it’s DR’s understanding at present that the PCP Ammo development team is also looking at potentially producing polymer-cased 300 AAC Blackout ammo (of which DR is a fan), as well.

The proof will be in the military combat shooting, though, as the PCP polymer cased ammo must prove itself in adverse conditions and high round count while being run on semi-auto (rapid fire) and full-auto in military assault rifles and on heavy full-auto in military machine guns for months and years on end by front-line infantry warfighters. DR hopes the ammo works as advertised for this purpose, as it will save our warfighters a lot of ammo weight if it does.

Here’s the video clip of DR’s interview with Mr. Padgett:

Company Contact Info:

PCP Ammunition Company
2001 W Oak Ridge Rd, Suite B
Orlando, FL 32809
Phone: 321-441-9024
E-mail: [email protected]
Email Contact Page:

© Copyright 2012 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without receiving permission and providing proper credit and appropriate links.

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PCP Ammuntion Polymer-Cased (Plastic-Cased) Ammo Goes Prime Time at SHOT Show 2012 Media Day: Ultra-Lightweight Rifle/Machine Gun Ammo is Combat Ready! (Video!) by
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About David Crane

David Crane started publishing online in 2001. Since that time, governments, military organizations, Special Operators (i.e. professional trigger pullers), agencies, and civilian tactical shooters the world over have come to depend on Defense Review as the authoritative source of news and information on "the latest and greatest" in the field of military defense and tactical technology and hardware, including tactical firearms, ammunition, equipment, gear, and training.


  1. Greenmountaingunner

    Is it reloadable?

  2. Does it retain heat?  A large portion of the heat generated in firing is removed from the chamber when a brass case is ejected.  Do plastic cases have the same issues as case-less ammo (i.e. increase and faster chamber temp)?

  3. Are they compatable with fluted chambers, such as the G3/HK91?

  4. We could save weight now by using Aluminum Cases instead of brass like CCI Blazer Ammo. Since reloading isn’t an issue, I’m surprised the U.S. Military hasn’t jumped on this solution a long time ago! 

  5. I’m happy to the interest in our new polymer cased ammunition.  We spent about two year developing these cases from the ground up.  There is no relationship between PCP Ammunition and any of the previous companies that attempted to produce polymer cased ammunition.  With that said, we have done extensive testing of our ammunition in machine guns and semi and auto assualt rifles.  We have repeatedly seen a decrease in chamber temperatures over that of brass cartridges though the conduction of heat back from the barrel still heats the chamber.  The polymer acts as an insulator during firing, thus not losing energy as heat into the case and chamber.  Because of this we have seen a more efficient burning of the powder with more energy used to heat the gases and propel the bullet.  This has been indicated by increased velocity over brass when loaded to the same pressures. 
    As for the fluted chamber question, we have not tested in a fluted chamber so I would not recommend it.  The polymer may deform to match the chamber thus making extraction difficult if not impossible. 
    As far as reloading goes, we cannot recommend reloading for liability reasons.  I can also say that our cases have a reduced volume which would cause standard loads to be unsafe in our cases.  The reduction in volume is small still allowing for us to match the velocity of brass ammunition while staying within SAAMI specs for pressure. 
    I’ll try to check in often to answer any additional questions as we are excited to get feedback from users once they are able to shoot it in their own weapons.  We plan to continue to refine and improve our cartridges so feedback from knowledgeable users is key.
    -Tony Padgett
    PCP Ammunition

  6. Psssh… Try firing some of this:

    LSAT… or Light Weight Small Arms Technologies

  7. Do you plan to add a small amount of graphene to increase strength by 2.5 times. Also, graphene becomes stronger when it gets hotter thereby reducing cookoff and this graphene plastic is hard to overheat enough to cookoff especially in a nitriding (aka Melonite) coated barrel refer to

    Researchers from the University of Minnesota in collaboration with Adama
    Materials managed to create a highly durable graphene-plastic compound.
    They say that by adding a tiny amount of graphene, the plastic
    toughness was increased by about 2.5 times.

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