Why has no army fielded anti-soft target bullets?


plawolf

Brigadier
One of the issues NATO ground forces encountered with their recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq was one of poor stopping power/over penetration of the standard NATO 5.56mm round against unarmored insurgents.

There have been persistent reports of hits that should have been kill shots failing to bring down the target as the round passes right through the person before doing critical damage.

The US seem so concerned that they are seriously thinking about choosing a new cal. for their future weapons, and in the meantime, they are getting around this problem somewhat but issuing better optics to all their combat troops.

These experiences seem to shared by the Russians when using their new small cal. rounds in chechneya. Although it might be interesting to find out how their rounds performed in the Georgian campaign against armored infantry.

China's new standard 5.6mm seems to have better penetrating capability then both the Russian and NATO rounds. Better against armored targets, but the problems of poor stopping power/over penetration experienced by the other two rounds is almost certain to also experienced by the Chinese 5.6mm round if it is ever used in anger.

So, this would seem to be an issue that concerns pretty much all of the world's major military powers, which makes it all the more puzzling why no-one seemed to have come up with a suitable solution short of proposing moving to 7mm.

Surely it cannot be at all hard to design small cal. hollowpoint equivalent rounds and issuing them to troops fighting insurgents?

Sure, hollowpoints may suffer a reduction in range, but considering a lot of the fighting against insurgents tend to be urban or close quarters combat (like in a village or some ruined compound), 400m+ range does not seem to be an absolute necessity, and the practice of most militaries to have M14/Dragov etc equipped SDM in infantry squads would more then make up for the shortfall. And since its just ammo, there's nothing stopping the troops from carrying two kinds of rounds and swopping when appropriate.

If it is still considered too much of a trade off, its still a pretty simple and cheap process to design slightly more sophisticated round designed to flatten/tumble/fragment/whatever after entering an unarmored body to vastly increase the killing power of existing small cal. weapons.

What am I missing here? Why has no army commissioned such rounds for their troops?:confused:
 

LostWraith

New Member
It is a very simple reason.
The Geneva Convention forbids the use of hollow point bullets. Only FMJs are technically allowed to be used by all armies abiding the Geneva Convention.
 

plawolf

Brigadier
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3
Thanks, did not know that.

Although it seems silly that you can use a Barrett .50 cal or a flame thrower and not a hollowpoint.

Even so, it shouldn't be that hard to design a round optimized against unarmored bodies that technically passes the Geneva requirements but produce a similar effect to a hollowpoint?
 

Ambivalent

Junior Member
The caliber of assault rifle ammunition was reduced from the typical .30 cal round of WWII to permit a single infantryman to carry more ammo, and to reduce somewhat the size and weight of the rifle. An old M-14 used .30 cal ammunition but was also very heavy. Ditto the German G-3, plus that thing has a kick like a shot gun.
They might have to try a reduced charge round to slow it down a bit trading max effective range in the process.
 

Scratch

Captain
Well, the .308 is coming back on a small scale with the HK 417 and the SCAR, wich is especially interesting in that each version, L and H, can be "recalibered" to 6.8SPC and 7.62x39 respectively. There definitely seems to be a place for that.
But to reequip a whole army with a new caliber rifle would be a rather big investment and logistical challange.

I think the US army, and maybe others, uses a special bullet in sniper rifles wich has a cavity in the nose. That makes is tail heavy and enhances it's ballistic coefficient, increasing accuracy at range. As a side effect, this tail heavy bullet will tumble even more easily. I don't know, however, how widespread that is.
 

HKSDU

Junior Member
One of the issues NATO ground forces encountered with their recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq was one of poor stopping power/over penetration of the standard NATO 5.56mm round against unarmored insurgents.

There have been persistent reports of hits that should have been kill shots failing to bring down the target as the round passes right through the person before doing critical damage.

The US seem so concerned that they are seriously thinking about choosing a new cal. for their future weapons, and in the meantime, they are getting around this problem somewhat but issuing better optics to all their combat troops.

These experiences seem to shared by the Russians when using their new small cal. rounds in chechneya. Although it might be interesting to find out how their rounds performed in the Georgian campaign against armored infantry.

China's new standard 5.6mm seems to have better penetrating capability then both the Russian and NATO rounds. Better against armored targets, but the problems of poor stopping power/over penetration experienced by the other two rounds is almost certain to also experienced by the Chinese 5.6mm round if it is ever used in anger.

So, this would seem to be an issue that concerns pretty much all of the world's major military powers, which makes it all the more puzzling why no-one seemed to have come up with a suitable solution short of proposing moving to 7mm.

Surely it cannot be at all hard to design small cal. hollowpoint equivalent rounds and issuing them to troops fighting insurgents?

Sure, hollowpoints may suffer a reduction in range, but considering a lot of the fighting against insurgents tend to be urban or close quarters combat (like in a village or some ruined compound), 400m+ range does not seem to be an absolute necessity, and the practice of most militaries to have M14/Dragov etc equipped SDM in infantry squads would more then make up for the shortfall. And since its just ammo, there's nothing stopping the troops from carrying two kinds of rounds and swopping when appropriate.

If it is still considered too much of a trade off, its still a pretty simple and cheap process to design slightly more sophisticated round designed to flatten/tumble/fragment/whatever after entering an unarmored body to vastly increase the killing power of existing small cal. weapons.

What am I missing here? Why has no army commissioned such rounds for their troops?:confused:
you mean the Chinese 5.8 round not the 5.6. 5.56 was never meant to have stopping power compared to the 7.62 it was accuracy, wounding area and range.
 

Nem116

Junior Member
i believe the US army is making up for that by adopting a heavier grain (77-grain, or 0.5g) round that was originally designated for use in the Mk 12 SPR. apparently, these rounds fragments more violently on impact.

the trade off, of course, is a lack of penetration compared to the current M855 rounds.
 

TerraN_EmpirE

Tyrant King
Thanks, did not know that.

Although it seems silly that you can use a Barrett .50 cal or a flame thrower and not a hollowpoint.
Conventional incinerator units are also mostly gone from the battlefield but mostly due too the weight and "zippo effect" the wearer would suffer though if shot in the Tank. Some of the newer 5.56MM rounds are better optimized against unarmored targets via destabilizing the round. the more stable a FMJ round the More is penetrates but if you sacrifice stability the round creates a unstable wound channel causing more physiological Shock too the Target.
Remember there are three ways in which a organic body dies violently.
the first is destruction of key points too the central nervous system, IE the Brain stem this shuts down the brains ability too sent instructions too the body. doable but tough as you have too hit that point.
The second is circulatory shock were in a massive loss of blood pressure causes organ failure and eventual death this is the most often done.
the third is Nervous system overload. much harder as the body needs to basically be too damaged too function although this is also the method of death is enountered during volcanic and fire deaths when the victims body is overloaded with pain instructions and the nervous system ( basicly the Bodies computer) Crashes.
 

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