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Old 12-20-2007   #41
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Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
1.) C.R.I.S.A.T = Collaborative Research Into Small Arms Technology. CRISAT is a research analogue based on the requirement that a small arms round has to be able to do more than merely create large wounds. Very useful if it can go through car doors for example, and it has to do it for quite low cost because armies buy millions and millions of rounds. To anyone who criticises CRISAT I say come up with a better test analogue.

2.) How do soldiers perceive the power of a round, when only a very tiny proportion ever see their rounds hit a target? The highest rates of fire are used for suppression, where they can rarely, if ever, see an effect.

In terms of gun culture it is interesting to note that the perceived lack of effectiveness of 5.56mm is a mostly a unique US issue. I have asked every Israeli, UK and even South African combat experienced soldier I have interviewed in the last three years, and none of them have said its an issue.
Only one of the 14 SOG veterans I talked to ever raised it, and the IDF guys only pointed out that they liked 7.62mm for GPMGs because it went through walls better than 5.56mm SAWs - as did the US OIF guys I talked to.
The value of big, relatively slow bullets is not just a cultural thing. And it IS a cultural thing. Fast and relatively light bullets tend to shed energy quickly on barrier materials. Large and relatively slow bullets tend to penetrate everything BUT body armor better. Most 5.56 rounds will not penetrate as well as .40 or even 9mm ball ammo, for instance, except against body armor.

What I am suggesting is that instead of optimizing bullets to poke little tiny holes in a type of armor, that we optimize bullets to do damage on human flesh and general barrier material, and supply a saboted round for specialized use on armor. With the bottle-necked pistol rounds currently the rage as PDWs, you are optimizing to penetrate body armor and suboptimizing for general barrier penetration and flesh.

The weight penalty would only be the additional projectile weight, as both rounds would be approximately the same size. The saboted rounds would be around the same weight as the current PDW rounds, with a slight tradeoff in armor penetration due to the pressure effects of using the larger bore.
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Old 12-20-2007   #42
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"On the Terminal Effectiveness of Small-Arms Ammunition"



http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk/terminal.htm
A couple notes: First, an Army shouldn't equip itself based on what the capabilities of the worst soldiers are. I'm a combat arms guy, with significant experience working in a major CSS HQ, and those guys couldn't fight their way out of a wet paper bag. It wouldn't matter HOW "handy" you make a weapon, it's just a paperweight to them.

Second, I read, corresponded with and have learned a bunch from Tony Williams, but like the great majority of technological historians, he is a collector of trivia. An extremely talented and readable collector of trivia, but a collector of trivia, nonetheless. And the problems with trivia collectors is that they are seldom burdened by functionality.
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Old 12-20-2007   #43
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1. Most 5.56 rounds will not penetrate as well as .40 or even 9mm ball ammo, for instance, except against body armor.

2. What I am suggesting is that instead of optimizing bullets to poke little tiny holes in a type of armor, that we optimize bullets to do damage on human flesh and general barrier material, and supply a saboted round for specialized use on armor.
1. I am not sure I can agree with that statement. I've seen 5.56mm round go through material at 300m, when 9mm was dropping out of the air. Give me a range, some specific rounds and a specific material. 9mm DM11-A1B2 performs very differently from 2Z. (speaking as a former body armour tester.)

2. So what criteria do you suggest, that can be usefully measured? What you are asking for is the holy grail of bullet design. The NATO working groups long ago decided the optimum round had to be able to do both. If you were planning to fight US equipped troops, wouldn't you want a round that could defeat the PASGT helmet?

...and yes, we don't want to tailor weapons potential to the base-rats and REMFs.
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Old 12-22-2007   #44
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What I am suggesting is that instead of optimizing bullets to poke little tiny holes in a type of armor, that we optimize bullets to do damage on human flesh and general barrier material, and supply a saboted round for specialized use on armor. With the bottle-necked pistol rounds currently the rage as PDWs, you are optimizing to penetrate body armor and suboptimizing for general barrier penetration and flesh.

The weight penalty would only be the additional projectile weight, as both rounds would be approximately the same size. The saboted rounds would be around the same weight as the current PDW rounds, with a slight tradeoff in armor penetration due to the pressure effects of using the larger bore.
Some are already doing something similar to this. Some of my buddies carried mostly mags of 5.56LR but also carried a mag or two of green tip if they needed penetration. I was not blessed with as much LR so I alternated LR and green tip in my carry mags. 5.56 is not as effective as 7.62 but it is still better than green tip in terms of wound characteristics.

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Old 12-25-2007   #45
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2.) How do soldiers perceive the power of a round, when only a very tiny proportion ever see their rounds hit a target? The highest rates of fire are used for suppression, where they can rarely, if ever, see an effect.

In terms of gun culture it is interesting to note that the perceived lack of effectiveness of 5.56mm is a mostly a unique US issue. I have asked every Israeli, UK and even South African combat experienced soldier I have interviewed in the last three years, and none of them have said its an issue.
Only one of the 14 SOG veterans I talked to ever raised it, and the IDF guys only pointed out that they liked 7.62mm for GPMGs because it went through walls better than 5.56mm SAWs - as did the US OIF guys I talked to.
Ding....ding.......ding. I've heard myself saying the same thing to folks who are dismal on the 5.56 and never carried the weapon before.
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Old 12-26-2007   #46
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My issue with the 5.56 is based on admittedly anecdotal evidence but evidence from sources I trust. The most telling is the stories from guys I knew in Afghanistan. Doing CQC in the caves they ran into numerous situations where they were putting two, three or more rounds in the boweling pin and not putting the bad guy down immediately. The guy was dead but he did not know it yet and often got several shot off before he died. As a a result of this, some of our guys were killed or wounded. I have heard similar stories from Iraq and the Philipines. Having said that, green tip was id'd as being a significant problem, which is why so many of us started loading LR which has somewhat better ballistic effect.

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Old 12-30-2007   #47
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I found interesting topic "6,5 Grendel vs 7,62 NATO" and in the middle of next link, there are nice penetration tables (I have never met before).

http://www.65grendel.com/forum/showt...6&page=2&pp=25
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Old 02-10-2008   #48
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I've thought about this issue for a couple months now, as something bothered me about it, but I couldn't think what it was. This afternoon, as I wrap up yet another meaningless Reserve Drill, it suddenly came to me:

This whole issue about PDWs and teenie-tiny projectiles and the statistical gunfight strikes me as being the modern day incarnation of the pre-WWII Royal Air Force "Area Attacks".

Basically, "Area Attacks" was based on the exact statistics that "prove" that individual fighter plans can't possibly accurately target enemy bombers, so therefore the RAF went to rifle caliber guns, instead of cannon, mounted 8 per aircraft, and synchronized to provide a "suppressive spray" at extreme range. And the squadron leader would maneuver the entire formation to "saturate" a box of sky, therefore "statistically" shooting down any bomber present in that sky "box".

"Area Attacks" were popular among theorists, and scientifically supported by all sorts of "facts"..... But were a complete and utterly impractical failure, that put the RAF back a year in the fight against the Luftwaffe, which valued individual marksmanship, airmanship, and automatic cannon mounted on aircraft, synchronized to hit at a focussed range.

The more I examine the analogy, the more I like it, and see it's relevance. Sure, well-emplaced GPMGs and Mortars will do excellent work on the majority of engagements, but I don't think that is a good reason to do away with the rifleman.
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Old 02-12-2008   #49
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Thank you, Wilf, for writing such a thought-provoking article.

Why only one GPMG or LMG per squad/section?
Assuming some flavor of FN MAG or FN Minimi, the weight of that extra gun would equate to 300 to 500 fewer rounds of ammunition. However, a squad/section that is otherwise equipped with PDW's, and, for whatever reason, loses its one and only GPMG/LMG is in dire trouble on the battlefield.


I must admit that my bias is that I spent most of my time in mechanized units, so I am used to having a vehicle handy for the carrying of stuff (heh, and almost unbelievably, once you add up body armor, weapon, ammo, radio, NVG's, spare batteries for everything, water, and some "because you never know" survival items, what one carries still pushes the 30% bodyweight limit). Of course, in Iraq, most units do have a vehicle handy, and the latest re-org in the US Army even puts a fair number of vehicles back into the light infantry brigade (and where, exactly, in the MTOE *are* we going to put all of those MRAPs?) So, I happen to fall into the category of person that would prefer a heavier round than 5.56...
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Old 02-12-2008   #50
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Originally Posted by Sabre View Post
Thank you, Wilf, for writing such a thought-provoking article.

Why only one GPMG or LMG per squad/section?
Assuming some flavor of FN MAG or FN Minimi, the weight of that extra gun would equate to 300 to 500 fewer rounds of ammunition. However, a squad/section that is otherwise equipped with PDW's, and, for whatever reason, loses its one and only GPMG/LMG is in dire trouble on the battlefield.
Very happy and even honoured that you are happy. It was to provoke thought. Unfortunately that upsets a lot of people!

The one MG per section is actually one MG in 50% of the fire teams. The others have MGL.

GPMG/LMG is not the only way of creating useful fires, and I focus on the platoon, or multiple as the minimum element, not the section. Survivors from a badly mauled section, can always be usefully employed supporting the platoon in other ways.

As an aside, I am not sure I would support the move to a PDW, without extensive testing to prove the concept and then, if proved a huge education program to bring the boys up to speed. Hope this helps.
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Old 02-12-2008   #51
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What about adding some long range fire into the mix? Didn't the red army have platoons armed with nothing but submachine guns supported by a rifle and mg armed group? The ballistic characteristics of that PPsh SMG would be pretty close to the P90, so it's not a bad match.

Add in some long range rifles into the mix (not assault rifles) and you'd have a workable organization. Not one per team, but supporting the MG equipped teams. The MG teams would have a longer range, but they'd use that to stay far away. The MGL teams would work up close and do the assault/breach thing.

I'd propose doubling the LMGs in the heavy teams to two and giving the remaining members of those teams long rifles. That would answer any long range concerns. The unit as a whole is still better off because the light teams have gotten so much lighter.
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Old 02-12-2008   #52
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What about adding some long range fire into the mix? Didn't the red army have platoons armed with nothing but submachine guns supported by a rifle and mg armed group?
I agree. We actually talked about this else where. Something I am proposing in another article/paper is 2 x 7.62mm / 8.6mm rifles per "Platoon Group."
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Old 02-16-2008   #53
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I don't think that one per man per MGL can provide any meaningful fire for more than a single engagement. Might work for low-intensity with only sporadic fights, not against a conventional enemy. I think that as with a LMG you need two men per MGL.
I view a MGL-heavy section is kind of like a long-range shotgun unit, lotsa bang during the first ten seconds, then 30 sec reloading. And ballistics of the 40mm make hitting further out against moving targets not so easy.

Adding a long-range precision rifle to the squad is a good idea (the Germans had something similar). This would result in a "networked combined arms infantry squad" 1 Squadleader, 5 Riflemen Carbine, 1 Precision Automatic Rifle, 1 SAW, 1 MGL.
I say networked and combined arms because such a setup would have difficulty executing more than one engagement without resupply.

All in all I still hold up my view of a MG for the squad, and all other indirect fire and seldom-used multi-crew served weapons (MGL, RPG) should be grouped at platoon level.
That makes it easier for the

And regarding mini-caliber PDW I think that up to platoon level every single soldier should have a "full" IW. Bulk is not so much a factor when using bullpup rifles. PDWs like MP-7 are not sooo small either.
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Old 05-06-2008   #54
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Hi all - just a layman (museum worker) here really, but from everything I've read the small PDW calibres are woefully inadequate both anecdotally, and in ballistic gel. So I was confused to read William Owen's RUSI article suggesting adoption of 4.6 or 5.7mm weapons, and his comments here regarding the NATO data.

Can I confirm Wilf (if I may) that you saw the post by DocGKR on the Lightfighter forum link you were given earlier in this thread?

http://lightfighter.net/eve/forums/a...102#4131082102

How do you reconcile that data with what you have (and I admit that I have seen none of your data - I'm genuinely interested in how two so different assessments of the same round (5.7mm) can emerge, bearing in mind that you do support the validity of ballistic gel tests.

Look forward to your reply, but quite understand if you're too preoccupied (and also that this isn't really the thrust of your RUSI article - but it's an aspect that stuck out for me.)
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Old 05-07-2008   #55
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How do you reconcile that data with what you have (and I admit that I have seen none of your data - I'm genuinely interested in how two so different assessments of the same round (5.7mm) can emerge, bearing in mind that you do support the validity of ballistic gel tests.

Look forward to your reply, but quite understand if you're too preoccupied (and also that this isn't really the thrust of your RUSI article - but it's an aspect that stuck out for me.)
Hey Jonathan F! Very happy to take time to reply.

No, I haven't been able to access the link, but its most likely immaterial.
There is a massive hoplophile inspired bug fight over PDWs and small calibre rounds, that has nothing to do with operational reality - in my view - and has not been tested in that regard.

Testing the rounds is easy. We can measure their terminal effect on targets. The problem is that no one can agree on the most desirable effects. My contention is that we are missing the point. (I also speak direct to both FN and Heckler Koch's - so I ignore most of what is on the net)

What my RUSI article was suggesting was that we trade IW weight for sensors, support weapon, and projected HE weight. EG- The things we know create greatest benefit in dismounted operations. The article was intended to be provocative, but has sparked little useful debate, except here!
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Old 05-07-2008   #56
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Let me firstly say thanks for your reply, and I'm sorry the article didn't raise the discussion in the professional or academic circles you were hoping for. The overarching argument seemed to me to be a good one, although I agree with the caveat above that the military will simply plug all weight gaps with other equipment as and when they come available. If you could ensure the made-up weight consisted of the sort of kit you talk about (MP7s and P90s notwithstanding for a moment) then it seems a perfectly sensible approach to current conflicts. Of course, what goes on in the future is a different matter. But if a greater degree of flexibility comes out of suggestions like yours, that can only be a good thing.

On to the terminal ballistics. Hoplophile is a new one on me, and a good one too, but unfair in this case I think. "DocGKR" is Gary Roberts, a recognised wound ballistics expert. Dr Martin Fackler (who I think you must have heard of) is also down on these rounds. Neither, as far as I can tell, qualifies as a gun nut, cultural bias aside.

Both men point to a very small permanent wound channel and little to no secondary effect, which to me (and I stress I am not an expert by any means) makes a lot of sense. The only reliable way to cause incapacitating wounds aside from shot placement is to use weapons and ammunition that create large permanent wounds that, to put it bluntly, will bleed a lot.

Ironically enough, at 4-500m, this would be less of an issue. Any 10"+ perforating gunshot wound is going to cause a fighter enough difficulty at that range to put them out of the fight. But at the <300m range you're talking about, rapid incapacitation becomes pretty crucial as I see it, and not just from anecdotes that may relate to unusually resilient individuals (such stories can be rustled up for just about any calibre).

If you acknowledge the utility of gel tests, I wonder how you square the following with what you've seen, and would ask how the test methodology and results compare (assuming you have access to the articles cited)?

(Edited quote from the lightfighter link - I'd urge you to read the whole thing in situ)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Gary Roberts
Other than being able to perforate soft body armor, the 5.7 x 28 mm used in the FN P90, as well as the 4.6 x 30 mm fired from the HK MP7 cause wounds less incapacitating than those made by 9 mm FMJ fired from a pistol...

Several papers have described the incredibly poor terminal performance of projectiles fired by the FN P90.
--Dahlstrom D, Powley K, and Gordon C: “Wound Profile of the FN Cartridge (SS 190) Fired from the FN P90 Submachine Gun". Wound Ballistic Review. 4(3):21-26; Spring 2000.
--Fackler M: "Errors & Omissions", Wound Ballistic Review. 1(1):46; Winter 1991.
--Fackler M: "More on the Bizarre Fabrique National P-90", Wound Ballistic Review. 3(1):44-45; 1997.
--FBI Academy Firearms Training Unit. FBI Handgun Ammunition Tests 1989-1995. Quantico, U.S. Department of Justice--Federal Bureau of Investigation.
--Hayes C: “Personal Defense Weapons—Answer in Search of a Question”, Wound Ballistic Review. 5(1):30-36; Spring 2001.
--Roberts G: “Preliminary Evaluation of the Terminal Performance of the 5.7 x 28 mm 23 Grain FMJ Bullet Fired by the New FN P-90 , Using 10% Ordnance Gelatin as a Tissue Simulant”, AFTE Journal. 30(2):326-329, Spring 1998.
--Roberts G: “Terminal Performance of the 5.7 x 28 mm 31 Grain SS-190 FMJ Bullet Fired by the FN P-90 in 10% Ordnance Gelatin.”, AFTE Journal. In Press.


It is all basic physics and physiology. Look at the surface areas in contact with tissue for 9 mm FMJ and JHP compared to 5.7 mm. When both are point forward, the 9 mm FMJ crushes more tissue than the 5.7 mm; for the short time that the 5.7 mm is at FULL yaw, it crushes a bit more tissue than the 9 mm FMJ. At no time does the 5.7 mm crush more tissue than the expanded 9 mm JHP--even when the 5.7 mm FMJ is at full yaw, an expanded 9 mm JHP crushes more tissue. The relatively small temporary cavities produced by both the 9 mm and 5.7 mm projectiles are not likely to cause significant injury to the majority of elastic structures of the body. As with any penetrating projectile, if either a 9 mm or 5.7 mm bullet is ideally placed to cause significant damage to the CNS or major cardiovascular organs, a fatal result is likely.
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Old 05-07-2008   #57
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If you acknowledge the utility of gel tests, I wonder how you square the following with what you've seen, and would ask how the test methodology and results compare (assuming you have access to the articles cited)?
I am extremely familiar with Gel tests and the wounding literature to which you refer. Gel tests are excellent for comparison data, (as is CRISAT) but you can't use Police Firearms criteria for judging these rounds.

1. Military rounds are not just about what they do to humans. The ability to perforate cover is absolutely critical.

2. As I say in the article, no one ever says, "c'mon lads. They're only using 4.85mm. let's go!" Any round can suppress.

3. PDW rounds have very low dispersion and good accuracy at <200m. Very few tests take this into account.

Hoplophile = Lover of Weapons, or "gun nuts".
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Old 05-07-2008   #58
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Thanks Wilf.

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Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
I am extremely familiar with Gel tests and the wounding literature to which you refer. Gel tests are excellent for comparison data, (as is CRISAT) but you can't use Police Firearms criteria for judging these rounds.

1. Military rounds are not just about what they do to humans.
I realise that, but it's increasingly a factor in weapon design and procurement, at least in the US. So what are your thoughts on the gel testing that shows a smaller permanent wound channel and neglible secondary "tissue stretch" effect?

Quote:
The ability to perforate cover is absolutely critical.
I appreciate there's a difference in military and law enforcement requirements. Again I would suggest that attitudes in this respect are changing and I'd also ask why not consider wound ballistics? If it's important to a policeman to quickly incapacitate his target, why not a soldier?

I also accept that historically, armies have been happy simply to suppress and to score penetrating hits at range. But to equip infantrymen with what are basically less ballistically effective sub-machineguns, seems like a case of baby+bathwater to me. I realise you're proposing that GPMGs, MLGs and sniper weapons can take up the slack, but I just don't see the PDWs cutting the mustard even at the <300m range.

Quote:
2. As I say in the article, no one ever says, "c'mon lads. They're only using 4.85mm. let's go!" Any round can suppress.
Yes, but not any round can incapacitate, nor make it through cover (see below). I concede that my suggestion that insurgents might adapt to take advantage of platoons armed primarily with short-range weapons was exaggeration to try to make a point.

Quote:
3. PDW rounds have very low dispersion and good accuracy at <200m. Very few tests take this into account.
True, though of course so does 5.56, which can also work to mid-long range and (with the right ammo) cause reliably incapacitating wounds). Much heavier weapons, of course, which I recognise is really your point in the article - reducing carried weight.

So are you thinking along Project Salvo lines? Lots of grouped small-calibre rounds to increase hit probability, at the sacrifice of terminal performance?

Quote:
Hoplophile = Lover of Weapons, or "gun nuts".
I did gather (after a google, admittedly) which is why I said it was a good line, didn't apply to the experts I cited, and used the term "gun nuts" myself. Just because a lot of gun nuts support something, doesn't lend it either credibility, or a lack of it.

In the expanded version of what I posted, Roberts (as does 120mm above) states that the 5.7mm round is NOT good at making it through cover, I presume in terms of maintaining velocity and vector (since it can do the CRISAT and soft armour no problem). This is because of its low mass/momentum - AP 9mm is (he says) better at this. So I wonder why you feel PDW rounds do meet this military criterion.

I'm still not sure how you can say that "4.6mm and even 5.7mm weapons are generally more effective in terms of measurable criteria (CRISAT performance and PERMANENT wound channel) than 9mm SMGs." Everything I've seen, and simple physics as Roberts says, strongly suggests otherwise. So whilst I'm not saying terminal effects in bodies should be the be-all and end-all of a military round and weapon, what I am saying is that the current 5.7 and 4.6mm rounds are not the compromise that you're looking for to save weight.

Now, once again, I realise that all I've read has all been online, whereas you have access to some real data that might totally trump the Fackler/Roberts tests. But if you could just clarify why you think those cited articles show a lesser gel result than 9mm ball, where other tests (presumably) contradict that, that would address my main concern (if for the sake of argument I concede that sub-carbine weapons are appropriate IWs). If you can point me to anything online or accessible via say, JSTOR, that would be a bonus for which I'd be most grateful.
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Old 05-07-2008   #59
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JonathanF

I am not sure I would advocate the issuing of small calibre PDWs until I had done all the testing I feel necessary to provide the data. UK Infantry Thinking is incredibly conservative and equipment focussed, so I merely advocate it, to create discussion.

Be very careful of using the word "incapacitate." It's meaningless unless applied to a specific time frame and capability which you seek to defeat.

A .22 long rifle round can incapacitate just as well as a .50 if it hits in the right place. I know I use it as wildly as a lot of folks, but that's the frame of the argument right now.
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- The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
- If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
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Last edited by William F. Owen; 05-07-2008 at 12:06 PM. Reason: Can't read or write
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Old 05-07-2008   #60
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JonathanF
A .22 long rifle round can incapacitate just as well as a .50 if it hits in the right place. I know I use it as wildly as a lot of folks, but that's the frame of the argument right now.

That is very true Wif. One of the worst Officer Survival films I have seen involved a South Carolins State trooper who was killed by a .22 fired from what we used to call a mouse gun (small handgun). It entered his armpit just above his body armor and just nicked the top of his heart causing him to bleed to death. Also the trooper fired his .357 magnum at point blank range at his attacker hitting him 3 time I believe. The attacker survived. the trooper didn't.
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