Polymer-cased ammunition

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A 12-gauge shotgun shell in a transparent plastic hull, allowing the contents to be seen.

Polymer-cased ammunition (or PCA) is ammunition with polymer-based casings instead of the usual metal-based casing. PCA is considered an alternative to reduce cost and weight in ammunition for guns and handguns.


The first references to the possible use of polymers in the manufacture of casings come from the early 1950s. One of the earliest is the patent filled by Jack W. Roske in 1950[1] and the idea was to use a metal cup joined with a polymer shell "that will be converted to gas during the firing phase to assist in propelling the projectile and thereby permit reduction in the use of the propelling powder charge".


  • The majority of commonly found shotgun shell hulls are constructed of polymer with metal only found on the lower or rim portions of the shells.
  • The Steyr ACR was a notable user of polymer cased ammunition.
  • US Army ARDEC develops a 5.56mm Telescoped Ammunition[2] for its LSAT program.
  • The Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operation's TSWG program developed lightweight cartridges in multiple calibers for USSOCOM.[3]


  • PCP offers a 5.56mm NATO/.223 Rem. and 7.62mm NATO/.308 Win.[4]
  • PolyCase Ammunition offers a .380 Polymer Cased Round.[5]

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