Can a custom-machined carbide shotgun slug actually be armor-piercing?
This slug was designed and machined by Tactical G-Code, and tested out by our Wide Open Spaces video contributor Taofledermaus. He’s a wizard when it comes to testing out experimental ammo, and this slug is definitely unique. It contains a 50-caliber plastic “delivery module” that looks like the slug itself, which encases the 1/4″ custom carbide “penetrator” at its center.
The entire slug weighs in at 170 grains, very light for a shotgun slug. Most saboted 12-gauge slugs come in at several times that.
So, how does it perform? Let’s find out!
These tests were completed using a Benelli Nova 12 gauge smoothbore pump shotgun with a rifled choke. Not an ideal gun for shooting saboted slugs–a fully rifled bore would be a better choice.
The body armor is AR500 Level III; rated to withstand anything up to a .308 impact. This ain’t no .308.
As the viewer will see, these slugs, in this circumstance, were NOT armor-piercing. The failure is most likely due to the launching platform for the slugs. A smoothbore shotgun, with only several inches of rifling found on the screw-in choke, does not provide great stabilization. And as the video shows, these slugs were not fully stabilized when exiting the bore. They were wobbling through the air and impacting the AR500 body armor as they tumbled.
Even still, I’m not standing behind that steel plate!