All-Copper Bullets and Ammo

Any comments here - good or bad? When I was shopping years ago, I ran across Natchez Shooters Supply, and they carried a line of pistol ammo - C.O.P. - “Copper Only Projectiles” - that I found interesting. Has anyone tried this brand? I understand that copper bullets - in the larger pistol calibers like .40 and .45 have to be on the lighter side, due to copper’s density and weight versus jacketed lead. I’m guessing that no one has come up with a “clean” bullet-core to compete with lead, and finally dry the tears of some of these truly creepy, hard-core environmental nuts. By the way - the BEST thing that we peons can do for the environment is to plant NATIVE trees and woody shrubs, and nurture them until they’re free of damage from insect pests and animals, and on thwir way to healthy, full growth.

Whether or not you believe lead is bad for the environment it is pretty darn bad for people. So handling lead bullets and especially breathing air with lead particles after firing lead projectiles is a concern if you do enough of it. Especially if you do it in poorly ventilated places and don’t clean all the lead residue off your hands afterwards.

I’ve never heard of C.O.P. Brand but there are some pretty well respected copper bullets out there like Barnes TSX and Barnes VOR TX. They have a pretty good reputation and test results for both hunting and self defense in a variety of rifle and handgun calibers. But they do have to be on the lighter weight side for a given caliber.

Having said all that I mostly use lead bullets for practice and self defense mostly due to the usually significantly cheaper pricing and the fact that all my shooting is in the well ventilated outdoors. I usually use lead wipes after handling a lot of lead bullets or cleaning lead fouled firearms.


This video has been shared on this site before, but here it is again:

The New Lehigh Defense is Fully Operational! Now Machining 400K Solid Copper Bullets a Week! - YouTube

And here is a 200 grain 45ACP cartridge with a solid copper Lehigh bullet:

45 ACP +P 200gr. Xtreme Penetrator® Solid Monolithic Hunting & Self Defense Ammo (

To @Shamrock point, I carry 115 grain 9mm Barnes with copper hollow point bullets. Lucky Gunner testing shows they expand more than all but one of any of the 9mm hollow points:

Handgun Self-Defense Ammunition - Ballistic Testing Data (


Forgot to mention, I personally know 2 people that have had lead poisoning from shooting FMJ at indoor ranges. One of them was shooting 5.56mm developing electronic sensors for military small arms ranges. The other primarily shot 9mm handguns.


I like the Lucky Gunner tests. They give some good comparisons of how a wide variety of rounds compare. But their sample size is very limited and they don’t test through a wide range of barriers so I would want more info than what they provide before choosing a self defense round.

But if I’m remembering correctly the 115 grain 9mm Barnes rounds also made Dr. Gary Robert’s list of acceptable self defense ammo and his list was based on significant testing through a variety of barriers. I think that was the only 115gr bullet he recomended. So it should be a solid choice. I don’t remember how it performed in other calibers in his testing.

I purchased some Barnes ammo in 300blk since that seemed to be one of the more well regarded options for self defense ammo in that caliber at least when over penetration is not a primary concern.

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I have seen people in indoor ranges wearing masks, even before covid. A surgical mask or an N95 will protect you from lead particles. I personally dont wear one at the range, but maybe I should.

As far as all-copper bullets and steel shot - this is a welcome invention, I like my game and fowl as organic as possible. I am against bans on sale of lead ammo though, there are budget and ballistic reasons to keep it around.


Not many I’d consider for self defense.

Barnes brand perhaps, that might be it. And even then, probably only in certain rifle rounds (they have a good 5.56/.223 thing going IIRC) and maybe loaded hot in .357 mag?

For semi autos I’m pretty well convinced you cannot do better than Federal HST or (in some instances) Speer Gold Dot…pick one of those and be good to go.

For lead exposure, others at the range make sure there is plenty of lead anyway…and you can use a TMJ copper coated lead that covers the lead until it hits the backstop…there is also generally lead in the primer…look up Speer Lawman Cleanfire if you are trying to reduce lead exposure in an affordable way at the range