From a deployed troop leader back in GWB’s GWOT:
Thought I would take a minute to jot my thoughts on ballistics before we redeploy. We’ve been in heavy fighting the last few days.
5.56 works just fine on people, provided you don’t have to shoot through anything heavy. Not sure where it got the rep of not working. Expectations too high, most likely. People we shoot with it fall down and die. Very accurate.
The M4 is the perfect size. It is an excellent system, ergonomically. For law enforcement, it is perfect. For military work, with the exception of the cartridge, it is also.
We need to quit trying to optimize performance in tissue, from a military point of view. Do all that you want for cops, hunters, armed citizens but leave us out of it. I just spent the last 10 months in urban combat as an adviser to the Iraqi Army, so I have a few opinions.
Whatever round we get needs to penetrate stuff. And I don’t mean dribble out the other side. It needs to blast through cover, then through the dude behind it and preferably the dude behind him. It should, at a minimum, penetrate:
2 mm mild steel
2 inches hard wood
2 car doors with windows down
Trunk, back seat, front seat and dash
2 stacked AK 47 mags with steel cased ammo
AND do all this at minimum 250 meters. If you can get it to do this, it’ll flatten people too.
By mid WWII, ALL 30.06 was steel cored armor piercing for this very reason. Nobody who’s ever used it has complained about effectiveness. While we’re at it, we should go ahead and make it incendiary as well. No point in carrying different types. For the squeamish, it could be formulated to only ignite on hard targets. Personally, I want the guy to burst into flames when I shoot him.
By way of example, we were surrounded in a long fight on 4 Feb. We finally got an Browning M2 .50 with a mix of High Explosive and Armor Peircing Incendiary shooting at one of their positions. The .50 pinned them in a cemetery and our M203 gunner pounded them with HE while they were trapped. Mini combined arms fight and we killed a bunch. They have no stomach for API. Might as well give it to everybody. With the proliferation of optics, no need to load tracer. The incendiary compound would provide the burst on target necessary for correction, without tracing back to you.
Once we have all that, figure out the smallest gun it’ll fit in. Trust me: If it works, the troops will carry it. M14s are popular. I’m carring an M203 and use it regularly.
If I could figure out how to hang a 203 under an M14, I would.