Gen. James Mattis pushed for 6.8mm ammo in Marine Corps.

Before Marines in Afghanistan received enhanced 5.56mm rounds last month,…

Before Marines in Afghanistan received enhanced 5.56mm rounds last month, an influential four-star general advocated behind the scenes for an option that packs even more punch: 6.8mm ammunition.

Three sources with knowledge of the Marine Corps’ acquisitions process confirmed Gen. James Mattis’ interest in the 6.8mm round, saying the head of Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Va., lobbied for it as recently as December while pushing broadly for better service-rifle ammo.

“It’s something he was definitely interested in,” said one source, speaking on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject. “He was concerned with the stopping power of the M855,” the standard 5.56mm round that the U.S. military has used for decades.

Instead, the Corps adopted enhanced 5.56mm Special Operations Science and Technology ammunition, commonly known as SOST rounds. Using an open-tip match round design common with sniper ammo, they are designed to be more accurate and more deadly than M855 rounds, staying on target better after penetrating windshields, car doors and other objects.

Mattis declined to comment, saying he is confident Lt. Gen. George Flynn, commander of Marine Corps Combat Development Command, is “dealing well with this complex issue.” Flynn could not be reached for comment.

Read the rest of Dan Lamothe’s story at Marine Corps Times.

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