Monday, April 21, 2008
In case you were wondering...
I had prepared a rather long piece about the 5.56x45mm (M16/M4) versus the 7.62x39mm (AK47) round, complete with history, but I decided to shelve it in the interest of brevity and just say that when it comes to which cartridge I'd rather stake my life on between the two, I'd MUCH rather go with the 7.62x39mm. Call me crazy, but I think it's a much better thumper out to its designed practical range of 250-300 yards than the 5.56x45mm. Yeah, it's less controllable in full-auto fire (or so I've read) than the M16/M4 round (I have some U.S. army experience here), but I believe one round of 7.62x39mm will do the work of two (okay, maybe 1.5) 5.56x45mm rounds.
Anecdotal battlefield evidence suggests that the 5.56x45mm has a spotty record of decisively stopping enemy combatants. This is simply unacceptable, but the U.S. military has too much invested in the 5.56x45mm now to switch to another round with better terminal ballistics. The new 6.8 SPC (Special Purpose Cartridge) round is a major step in the right direction, but I don't think it will see much use outside of the U.S. Special Forces. More's the pity for the regular U.S. soldier.
P.S. The photo above shows a ".223 Rem" round, which is, for all practical purposes, the same round as the 5.56x45mm.