Two new hyper-destructive handgun bullets - one designed to do maximum damage to human tissue, a second that can penetrate body armor - are about to go on sale, despite the angry objections of police and gun control advocates.

The inventor, a research chemist making his first venture in ammunition, defends Rhino-Ammo, the flesh-ripping bullet, as "a strictly defensive round" for citizens protecting themselves against attackers and intruders."The beauty behind it is that it makes an incredible wound," says David Keen, chief executive of Signature Products Corp. in Huntsville, Ala. "That makes the target stop and worry about survival instead of robbing or murdering you."

What makes police stop and worry is the concern that criminals will get hold of the armor-piercing rounds, which make officers' bulletproof vests worthless.

"Once they're on the market, they're out. They can get into the wrong hands," says Beth McGee of the National Association of Police Organizations.

"What if an antitank round falls into the wrong hands?" Keen retorts. "I cannot promise anyone this round won't fall into the wrong hands. I can assure you we will sell only to the right people."

In response to the AP story, Rep. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Tuesday he would introduce legislation banning any bullet that can penetrate bulletproof vests.

The packaging for Rhino-Ammo claims the bullet breaks into thousands of razor-like fragments when it strikes human flesh:

"Each of these fragments becomes lethal shrapnel and is hurled into vital organs, lungs, circulatory system components, the heart and other tissues. The wound channel is catastrophic. Death is nearly instantaneous."

The Black Rhino version has a convex point designed to penetrate bullet-stopping material such as Kevlar. Once it reaches soft flesh, Keen says, it is as destructive as Rhino-Ammo. According to its package, "Nothing stops a charging Rhino!"

Signature Products originally made coatings for radar-evading Stealth aircraft. But when the Cold War ended and defense contracts dropped off, Keen needed new markets for his technology. Ammunition seemed the ticket, particularly bullets designed to be highly effective even in weapons wielded by inexpert shooters.

"When (Rhino-Ammo) hits somebody, they're going to die," Keen says. "It causes a horrific wound. That's not by accident. It's engineered by design. The round disintegrates as it hits. There's no way to stop the bleeding.