- Posted January 16, 2013 by
Vancouver, British Columbia
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Gun control debate: Background checks
Myths of military full metal jacket ammunition.
Between the reporters, the military, and other guests on CNN in the last month, there has been a complete farm load of stories and exaggerations as to the effectiveness of the AR-15 ammo. Descriptions of the results range from murderous, explosive, to one retired General stating the 5.56 round is devastating on the human body. This is all hype, closer to bull actually.
By legal agreement, military full metal jacket ammo is not designed to kill. It is only designed to injure with small wound channels!
Well over 100 years ago there was a series of treaties between world governments called the Hague Convention, and the Geneva Convention, which are still abided by. Specifically to this subject, it became illegal for military forces to deliberately kill. Several types of weapons and ammunition became illegal to use. For rifle ammunition, expanding or hollow point ammo can not be used because it causes too much damage to the human body.
This led the military to switch back to the full metal jacket round, and a change military thinking. The FMJ round is designed to penetrate the target, leaving as small as injury channel as possible. It is not the legal goal of military forces to kill the enemy, despite what is actively promoted through propaganda. The goal is to injure the enemy. The reasoning behind this thinking is if a soldier is killed on the battlefield, it costs nothing to treat him. If a soldier is injured, it now takes two or more other people to carry him off, and another to treat his injures, and requires resources to transport him back to a medical unit. In the long term, it costs that soldiers government much more money to treat his injuries over his lifespan than if he died.
.223 or 5.56
The AR-15 rifle can in most cases, depending on the barrel installed, shoot both .223 and 5.56 military ammo. That information will be stamped into the guns barrel on what caliber it can shoot.
The .223 full metal jacket round is a lower power round for sporting uses and target loading. The organization that regulates that is called SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute). The European Union and other countries have their own regulations regarding ammo loading and firearms.
The 5.56 (NATO) round is the higher pressure military use loading. This loading too varies depending on what what country your in.
You can shoot .223 ammo in a gun designated for 5.56 ammo, but never shoot 5.56 ammo in a .223 designated gun, it may explode. The benefit of being able to shoot different types of ammo is the wider selection of ammunition choices.
These results can be searched out on Youtube. The .223 round has a habit of flipping end first when entering the human body or ballistic gel. The 5.56 round is not suppose to break up, as per regulations, but that does happen with certain higher power loadings, and custom loading. There is not enough mass or stability in the rounds to compensate for deflection by foreign objects hence the round got a bad reputation in the jungles of Vietnam, deflecting off the vegetation.
The full metal jacket round is also used as a target round. Many indoor shooting ranges specify full metal jacket rounds, or target loads only because expanding or hollow point ammo is too damaging to the backstops.
Hunting regulations specify that full metal jacket rounds can not be used. Regulations specify that only hollow point or expanding ammo can be used, as that is designed to kill. The .223 or 5.56 specific hunting round can't be used on anything bigger than a coyote. For hunting purposes, the round is classed as varmint use only. Hunting deer or larger is illegal in most states. It is also mentioned quite frequently that a human is equivalent to a deer sized object.
Depending on where it comes from, not all ammunition will work reliably in the same gun. Semiautomatic firearms are particularly affected by different ammunition loadings. A gun may work fine with one manufacturers ammo, but not cycle at all with another brand. It's up to the owner to find what works best for his particular gun.
Soldiers since the start of the Iraq war have complained about the lack of stopping power of the military round. Despite the retired Generals assertion that the round is devastating, as stated, it was never designed to stop people, only injure them.
This does not mean it can't kill, that's all about shot placement. Even a low powered pellet gun can kill with the right shot placement.
Why is military ammo available to the public?
The military buys ammunition in mass bulk, and like many things in life, it has a shelf life for military reliability standards. After the time expiry, the ammunition is sold off as surplus. The least dangerous method, and least costly method of disposal is to just fire it off in a gun. Some ammunition types are not sold to the public, such as armor piercing rounds. Some states don't allow tracer rounds due to the fire hazards. Homeland security is now the largest buyer of commercial and surplus ammunition.
Surplus ammo can be shipped out to other countries for sale, and other countries surplus can be shipped into the US for sale. This is no different than any other commercial product for sale. Surplus ammo has the benefit that its more economical to shoot for practice, and bought in bulk. Accurate shooting is a perishable skill, and like any other sport requires lots of practice to be competitive.
President Obama's speech on January 16 about new gun control legislation repeated many myths and mistakes this article corrects.
Click on my username Militiaact to see my other posts on gun control