Why is the U.S. Military Switching to 6.8mm Ammo? Bigger Bang, Better Accuracy
The most commonly used bullets
The pros and cons of both are clear
Currently transitioning to 6.8mm
There is a tongue-in-cheek saying, ‘If you get shot gently by a bullet, you’ll survive.’ Of course, this is a nonsensical statement, as any bullet hitting any part of the body could cause fatal injuries. Military writers will know that bullets used in rifles or machine guns, like the 9mm, have enough killing power.
So why are the representative bullets commonly used in rifles and machine guns, the 5.56mm and 7.62mm, used separately? Today, let’s look at the pros and cons of these two bullets and their alternatives.
U.S. military standard bullet 5.56mm
The thinness of the bullet is a disadvantage
The 5.56mm bullet is the most commonly used assault rifle bullet in the U.S. and its allies. From the M-16, which was used as a standard rifle from the Vietnam War, to the K-2 in Korea, and the M4 carbine rifle used by the U.S. military until most recently, all use 5.56mm bullets. The small size of the bullet allows for large quantities to be carried, and its low recoil makes it very effective in close combat.
However, the small size of the ammunition is a significant disadvantage when trying to suppress enemies. It is said that there were often cases where enemies, high on drugs and attacking, were not stopped even after being hit with seven 5.56mm bullets. This was a disadvantage of the relatively weak penetrating power of the 5.56mm bullet.
The longest used 7.62mm
Being too thick was the problem
The 7.62mm bullet is a venerable bullet used since the 19th century. It has been used worldwide, and the AK-47, the most-produced assault rifle in the world, also uses this bullet. In other words, it could be the most used bullet globally. Because of its thick caliber, it has high penetration and long range, making it very advantageous in long-range combat, and unlike the 5.56mm bullet, it is effective even at long range.
However, on the contrary, guns using 7.62mm bullets have a very high recoil, so they have the disadvantage of low accuracy, and the bullet’s stability was also said to be lower than that of the 5.56mm bullet.
The 6.8mm combines only the advantages
Adopted as the next-generation rifle bullet
If both being too thin and too thick are problems, then using a bullet of exactly medium size would be the solution. The next-generation standard bullet selected from this idea is the 6.8mm. It is the most ideal bullet, with the accuracy of the 5.56mm bullet and the destructive power of the 7.62mm bullet or more.
The 6.8mm bullet is already scheduled to be introduced as the next standard bullet of the U.S. Army. Still, since so many 5.56mm and 7.62mm bullets have already been produced as NATO standards since the Cold War, it is expected to take a long time to replace them.