Most people are accustomed to the fact that bullets are most often made from lead and covered with a steel jacket. In this case, ammunition for small arms can have a very different design and content. For example, there are incendiary, tracer, armor-piercing and expansive cartridges. And then there are cartridges with glass bullets. The only question is who came up with this idea and how effective such ammunition can be.
If something is not fixed in the practice of combat use in military affairs, then this means one of three things. This something turned out to be ineffective, untimely, too expensive or unprofitable. And also this something could be forced, it was applied sporadically due to a difficult situation. For the case of the production and use of ammunition for hand-held small arms with glass bullets, it is the third option that is best suited.
People have known for a long time that bullets can be made of glass. Similar ammunition for rifles and shotguns appeared here and there in different parts of the world. In the vast majority of cases, these are home-made cartridges equipped with a shortage or absence of lead and steel. Often - these were handicraft or reloaded ammunition. They were most widely used in the 19th century among gamekeepers and hunters living in remote places.
The brightest episode of the use of glass bullets in a combat situation was the Civil War in Russia. Such ammunition was made by the people of the White Lieutenant General Roman Fedorovich von Ungern-Sternberg, who fought with the Reds in Siberia and Mongolia. The formations of Ungern-Sternberg were experiencing cartridge hunger. As a result, Sternberg begged for himself the chemist Vsevolod Lisovsky, who came up with the idea of casting bullets from glass. Fortunately, obtaining the latter is not as difficult as lead in most situations. Handicraft glass is made from readily available materials: quartz, calcium carbonate and sodium soda.
Glass ammunition is quite effective, at least when firing at short distances. The only serious drawback of such bullets is the risk of the destruction of the striking element at the time of the shot under the influence of powder gases. At the same time, in the same troops of Sternberg, glass ammunition was mainly used for training, and not for combat purposes. In our time, enthusiasts have repeatedly made glass bullets for rifled and smooth-bore weapons. In a number of cases, such bullets even managed to penetrate a bulletproof vest of the 3rd protection class.
Continuing the topic, read about why have they abandoned machine guns with a water cooling system.