According to a recently discovered patent, army engineers have come up with short-range bullets that are able to self-destruct. The idea behind such a bullet is to prevent or reduce collateral damage. Stephen McFarlane, one of the ARDEC employees awarded the patent said, “In today’s urban environments others could become significantly hurt or killed, especially by a round the size of a .50 caliber, if it goes too far.”
The description of the patent reads, “The pyrotechnic material ignites the reactive material. If the projectile reaches a maximum desired range prior to impact with a target, the ignited reactive material transforms the projectile into an aerodynamically unstable object.” So basically if the bullet has reached its maximum range, it will simply fall to the ground.
Unfortunately it seems that the funding for the project has ceased, but ARDEC engineers are hoping that interest in the patent will see it revisited again in the future. According to McFarlane, “This was the first patent we applied for that has been approved. That in itself is an accomplishment.”