Army faces bullet debate

WASHINGTON - Nearly seven years into the wars in Afghanistan…

WASHINGTON – Nearly seven years into the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, bullets are still a controversial subject for the U.S.  So controversial it seems, that the DoD is reluctant to change the ballistics used by most land warfare combatants.

According to interviews conducted by the Associated Press, the smaller, steel-penetrating M855 rounds continue to be a weak spot in the American arsenal as the bullets were designed decades ago to puncture a Soviet soldier’s helmet hundreds of yards away.  Nowadays, the rounds are being used in different situations.  Much of today’s fighting takes place in close quarters in urban environments, not at large distances in fields.  For more details on this, click here and return back to comment.

Load Comments
  • Jeff

    Like any other “stopping power” discussion the fact remains the same, if vitals or the spine is not hit the target will not drop and die immediatly. I have done 3 tours in Iraq as a combat medic, conducting combat patrols daily. The 5.56 is not much good when a barricade is involved. I have witnessed numerous rounds fired at a target only to have to patch the one bullet wound on an extremity up. Pretty bad when the medic shoots better than the grunt on many occasions. Again, high center mass shots work and I always say if they are worth shooting once then they are worth shooting twice. Or are all of the people saying the 5.56 does not work also validating the fact that the 9mm is not SD worthy and the .45 is the king of SD rounds purely based on size? Imagine how expensize it would be to change all of the rifles in the military only to go up from 5.56 to 6.5 or so, in the end it would still be FMJ.I have also worked on extremity wounds from a 7.62 fmj. If not for our body armour we could see that the problem is bullet construction and placement and not size.

  • Scot Wilson

    There are several rounds that are far more potent than the 5.56 round currently used, and more importantly with only a change in the barrel, bolt and magazine, you can use these rounds in existing M4s and M16s. You don’t need to buy an entirely new weapon. Look at the 6.5 Grendel or the 6.8 SPC. There is no reason we should still be using the weak 5.56. We should be dropping insurgents more effectively. Asking the average infantryman to shoot more accurately is a cover for just being too cheap and lazy to keep up with the times.