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Bill
21 Mar 05,, 19:06
Hey Sir, were your SDMs using hollowpoints in Iraq?

The reason i ask is because the Army held that they're legal for snipers, yet very few people(military or otherwise) seem to know that.

Bill
22 Mar 05,, 07:53
bump.

Shek
23 Mar 05,, 01:35
Hey Sir, were your SDMs using hollowpoints in Iraq?

The reason i ask is because the Army held that they're legal for snipers, yet very few people(military or otherwise) seem to know that.

Snipers and SDMs were both issued M118 7.62 match. I'm not sure if any hollowpoints have an assigned DODIC (I'm not sure what the acronym stands for, maybe Department of Defense Identification Code?, anyways, it's the 4 alphanumeric code that is assigned to all ammo in the system). Maybe there's a ammo loggie on the board that would know. If it doesn't have a DODIC and NSN, then you can't request (SOCOM has different either procurement procedures or more cajones to issue waivers - in either case, maybe they have hollowpoints).

Bill
23 Mar 05,, 01:50
The Sierra Matchking 168gr 7.62 NATO round is type classified as M-852.

Here's the actual DoD memorandum holding that HPs are legal(check out how long ago this memo is dated, like i said, it's been kept very quiet):

"Sniper Use of Open-Tip Ammunition

MEMORANDUM FOR COMMANDER, UNITED STATES ARMY SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND

SUBJECT: Sniper Use of Open-Tip Ammunition

DATE: 23 September 1985

1. Summary.

This memorandum considers whether United States Army Snipers may employ match-grade, "open-tip" ammunition in combat or other special missions. It concludes that such ammunition does not violate the law of war obligations of the United States, and may be employed in peacetime or wartime missions of the Army.

2. Background.

Sierra MatchKing 168-grain match grade boat tail For more than a decade two bullets have been available for use by the United States Army Marksmanship Unit in match competition in its 7.62mm rifles. The M118 is a 173-grain match grade full metal jacket boat tail, ogival spitzer tip bullet, while the M852 is the Sierra MatchKing 168-grain match grade boat tail, ogival spitzer tip bullet with an open tip. Although the accuracy of the M118 has been reasonably good, though at times erratic, independent bullet comparisons by the Army, Marine Corps, and National Guard marksmanship training units have established unequivocally the superior accuracy of the M852. Army tests noted a 36% improvement in accuracy with the M852 at 300 meters, and a 32% improvement at 600 yds; Marine Corps figures were twenty-eight percent accuracy improvement at 300 m, and 20% at 600yds. The National Guard determined that the M852 provided better bullet groups at 200 and 600 yards under all conditions than did the M118. [FNa1]

The 168-grain MatchKing was designed in the late 1950's for 300 m. shooting in international rifle matches. In its competitive debut, it was used by the 1st place winner at the 1959 Pan American Games. In the same caliber but in its various bullet lengths, the MatchKing has set a number of international records. To a range of 600 m., the superiority of the accuracy of the M852 cannot be matched, and led to the decision by U.S. military marksmanship training units to use the M852 in competition.

A 1980 opinion of this office concluded that use of the M852 in match competition would not violate law of war obligations of the United States. (citation omitted) Further tests and actual competition over the past decade have confirmed the superiority of the M852 over the M118 and other match grade bullets. For example, at the national matches held at Camp Perry, OH in 1983, a new Wimbledon record of 2--015 X's was set using the 168-gr. MatchKing. This level of performance lead to the question of whether the M852 could be used by military snipers in peacetime or wartime missions of the Army.

During the period in which this review was conducted, the 180-gr. MatchKing (for which there is no military designation) also was tested with a view to increased accuracy over the M852 at very long ranges. Because two bullet weights were under consideration, the term "MatchKing" will be used hereinafter to refer to the generic design rather than to a bullet of a particular weight. The fundamental question to be addressed by this review is whether an open-tip bullet of MatchKing design may be used in combat.
3. Legal Factors.

The principal provision relating to the legality of weapons is contained in Art. 23e of the Annex to Hague Convention IV Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land of 18 October 1907, which prohibits the employment of "arms, projectiles, or material of a nature to cause superfluous injury." In some law of war treatises, the term "unnecessary suffering" is used rather than "superfluous injury." The terms are regarded as synonymous. To emphasize this, Art. 35, para. 2 of the 1977 Protocol I Additional to the Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949, states in part that "It is prohibited to employ weapons [and] projectiles . . . of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering." Although the U.S. has made the formal decision that for military, political, and humanitarian reasons it will not become a party to Protocol I, U.S. officials have taken the position that the language of Art. 35(2) of Protocol I as quoted is a codification of customary international law, and therefore binding upon all nations. The terms "unnecessary suffering" and "superfluous injury" have not been formally defined within international law. In determining whether a weapon or projectile causes unnecessary suffering, a balancing test is applied between the force dictated by military necessity to achieve a legitimate objective vis--vis suffering that may be considered superfluous to achievement of that intended objective. The test is not easily applied. For this reason, the degree of "superfluous" injury must be clearly disproportionate to the intended objectives for development and employment of the weapon, that is, it must outweigh substantially the military necessity for the weapon system or projectile. The fact that a weapon causes suffering does not lead to the conclusion that the weapon causes unnecessary suffering, or is illegal per se. Military necessity dictates that weapons of war lead to death, injury, and destruction; the act of combatants killing or wounding enemy combatants in combat is a legitimate act under the law of war. In this regard, there is an incongruity in the law of war in that while it is legally permissible to kill an enemy combatant, incapacitation must not result inevitably in unnecessary suffering. What is prohibited is the design (or modification) and employment of a weapon for the purpose of increasing or causing suffering beyond that required by military necessity. In conducting the balancing test necessary to determine a weapon's legality, the effects of a weapon cannot be viewed in isolation. They must be examined against comparable weapons in use on the modern battlefield, and the military necessity for the weapon or projectile under consideration. In addition to the basic prohibition on unnecessary suffering contained in Art. 23e of the 1907 Hague IV, one other treaty is germane to this review. The Hague Declaration Concerning Expanding Bullets of 29 July 1899 prohibits the use in international armed conflict:

". . . of bullets which expand or flatten easily in the human body, such as bullets with a hard envelope which does not entirely cover the core or is pierced with incisions."

The U.S. is not a party to this treaty, but U.S. officials over the years have taken the position that the armed forces of the U.S. will adhere to its terms to the extent that its application is consistent with the object and purpose of Art. 23e of the Annex to the Hague Convention IV, quoted above.

It is within the context of these two treaties that questions regarding the legality of the employment of the MatchKing "open tip" bullet must be considered.

4. Bullet Description.

As previously described, the MatchKing is a boat tail, ogival spitzer tip bullet with open tip. The "open tip" is a shallow aperture (approximately the diameter of the wire in a standard size straight pin or paper clip) in the nose of the bullet. While sometimes described as a "hollow point," this is a mischaracterization in law of war terms. Generally a "hollow point" bullet is thought of in terms of its ability to expand on impact with soft tissue. Physical examination of the MatchKing "open tip" bullet reveals that its opening is extremely small in comparison to the aperture in comparable hollow point hunting bullets; for example, the 165-grain GameKing is a true hollow point boat tail bullet with an aperture substantially greater than the MatchKing, and skiving (serrations cut into the jacket) to insure expansion. In the MatchKing, the open tip is closed as much as possible to provide better aerodynamics, and contains no skiving. The lead core of the MatchKing bullet is entirely covered by the bullet jacket. While the GameKing bullet is designed to bring the ballistic advantages of a match bullet to long range hunting, the manufacturer expressly recommends against the use of the MatchKing for hunting game of any size because it does not have the expansion characteristics of a hunting bullet.

The purpose of the small, shallow aperture in the MatchKing is to provide a bullet design offering maximum accuracy at very long ranges, rolling the jacket of the bullet around its core from base to tip; standard military bullets and other match bullets roll the jacket around its core from tip to base, leaving an exposed lead core at its base. Design purpose of the MatchKing was not to produce a bullet that would expand or flatten easily on impact with the human body, or otherwise cause wounds greater than those caused by standard military small arms ammunition.

5. MatchKing performance.

Other than its superior long range marksmanship capabilities, the MatchKing was examined with regard to its performance on impact with the human body or in artificial material that approximates human soft tissue. It was determined that the bullet will break up or fragment in some cases at some point following entry into soft tissue. Whether fragmentation occurs will depend upon a myriad of variables, to include range to the target, velocity at the time of impact, degree of yaw of the bullet at the point of impact, or the distance traveled point-first within the body before yaw is induced. The MatchKing has not been designed to yaw intentionally or to break up on impact. These characteristics are common to all military rifle bullets. There was little discernible difference in bullet fragmentation between the MatchKing and other military small arms bullets, with some military ball ammunition of foreign manufacture tending to fragment sooner in human tissue or to a greater degree, resulting in wounds that would be more severe than those caused by the MatchKing. [FNaaa1]

Because of concern over the potential mischaracterization of the M852 as a "hollow point" bullet that might violate the purpose and intent of the 1899 Hague Declaration Concerning Expanding Bullets, some M852 MatchKing bullets were modified to close the aperture. The "closed tip" MatchKing did not measure up to the accuracy of the "open tip" MatchKing.

Other match grade bullets were tested. While some could approach the accuracy standards of the MatchKing in some lots, quality control was uneven, leading to erratic results. No other match grade bullet consistently could meet the accuracy of the open-tip bullet.

6. Law of War Application.

From both a legal and medical standpoint, the lethality or incapacitation effects of a particular small-caliber projectile must be measured against comparable projectiles in service. In the military small arms field, "small caliber" generally includes all rifle projectiles up to and including .60 caliber (15mm). For the purposes of this review, however, comparison will be limited to small-caliber ammunition in the range of 5.45mm to 7.62mm, that is, that currently in use in assault or sniper rifles by the military services of most nations.

Wound ballistic research over the past fifteen years has determined that the prohibition contained in the 1899 Hague Declaration is of minimal to no value, inasmuch as virtually all jacketed military bullets employed since 1899 with pointed ogival spitzer tip shape have a tendency to fragment on impact with soft tissue, harder organs, bone or the clothing and/or equipment worn by the individual soldier.

The pointed ogival spitzer tip, shared by all modern military bullets, reflects the balancing by nations of the criteria of military necessity and unnecessary suffering: its streamlined shape decreases air drag, allowing the bullet to retain velocity better for improved long-range performance; a modern military 7.62mm bullet will lose only about one-third of its muzzle velocity over 500 yards, while the same weight bullet with a round-nose shape will lose more than one-half of its velocity over the same distance. Yet the pointed ogival spitzer tip shape also leads to greater bullet breakup, and potentially greater injury to the soldier by such a bullet vis--vis a round-nose full-metal jacketed bullet. (See Dr. M. L. Fackler, "Wounding Patterns for Military Rifle Bullets," International Defense Review, January 1989, pp. 56-64, at 63.)

Weighing the increased performance of the pointed ogival spitzer tip bullet against the increased injury its breakup may bring, the nations of the world-- through almost a century of practice--have concluded that the need for the former outweighs concern for the latter, and does not result in unnecessary suffering as prohibited by the 1899 Hague Declaration Concerning Expanding Bullets or article 23e of the 1907 Hague Convention IV. The 1899 Hague Declaration Concerning Expanding Bullets remains valid for expression of the principle that a nation may not employ a bullet that expands easily on impact for the purpose of unnecessarily aggravating the wound inflicted upon an enemy soldier. Such a bullet also would be prohibited by article 23e of the 1907 Hague IV, however. Another concept fundamental to the law of war is the principle of discrimination, that is, utilization of means or methods that distinguish to the extent possible legitimate targets, such as enemy soldiers, from noncombatants, whether enemy wounded and sick, medical personnel, or innocent civilians. The highly trained military sniper with his special rifle and match grade ammunition epitomizes the principle of discrimination. In combat, most targets are covered or obscured, move unpredictably, and as a consequence are exposed to hostile fire for limited periods of time. When coupled with the level of marksmanship training provided the average soldier and the stress of combat, a soldier's aiming errors are large and hit probability is correspondingly low. While the M16A2 rifle currently used by the United States Army and Marine Corps is capable of acceptable accuracy out to six hundred meters, the probability of an average soldier hitting an enemy soldier at three hundred meters is ten percent.

Statistics from past wars suggest that this probability figure may be optimistic. In Would War II, the United States and its allies expended 25,000 rounds of ammunition to kill a single enemy soldier. In the Korean War, the ammunition expenditure had increased four-fold to 100,000 rounds per soldier; in the Vietnam War, that figure had doubled to 200,000 rounds of ammunition for the death of a single enemy soldier. The risk to noncombatants is apparent.

In contrast, United States Army and Marine Corps snipers in the Vietnam War expended 1.3 rounds of ammunition for each claimed and verified kill, at an average range of six hundred yards, or almost twice the three hundred meters cited above for combat engagements by the average soldier. Some verified kills were at ranges in excess of 1000 yards. This represents discrimination and military efficiency of the highest order, as well as minimization of risk to noncombatants. Utilization of a bullet that increases accuracy, such as the MatchKing, would further diminish the risk to noncombatants.

7. Conclusion.

The purpose of the 7.62mm "open-tip" MatchKing bullet is to provide maximum accuracy at very long range. Like most 5.56mm and 7.62mm military ball bullets, it may fragment upon striking its target, although the probability of its fragmentation is not as great as some military ball bullets currently in use by some nations. Bullet fragmentation is not a design characteristic, however, nor a purpose for use of the MatchKing by United State Army snipers. Wounds caused by MatchKing ammunition are similar to those caused by a fully jacketed military ball bullet, which is legal under the law of war, when compared at the same ranges and under the same conditions. The military necessity for its use-- its ability to offer maximum accuracy at very long ranges--is complemented by the high degree of discriminate fire it offers in the hands of a trained sniper. It not only meets, but exceeds, the law of war obligations of the United States for use in combat.

This opinion has been coordinated with the Department of State, Army General Counsel, and the Offices of the Judge Advocates General of the Navy and Air Force, who concur with its contents and conclusions.

An opinion that reaches the same conclusion has been issued simultaneously for the Navy and Marine Corps by The Judge Advocate General of the Navy.

Authored by W. Hays Parks, Colonel, USMC,
Chief of the JAG's International Law Branch"

Shek
23 Mar 05,, 04:13
The Sierra Matchking 168gr 7.62 NATO round is type classified as M-852.

Here's the actual DoD memorandum holding that HPs are legal(check out how long ago this memo is dated, like i said, it's been kept very quiet):


Man, I love reading JAG analyses of the legality of weapons. Makes me glad I'm not a lawyer. Got to read the paper trail on the Taser before we got those - I didn't think there would be that much effort in justifying a less than lethal weapon (although recent reports question the less than lethal part).

Bill
23 Mar 05,, 04:16
Wow, i didn't even know our forces were using Tazers now.

Who has them, the MPs?

Shek
23 Mar 05,, 14:31
Wow, i didn't even know our forces were using Tazers now.

Who has them, the MPs?

MPs and SBCT - it may have been issued elsewhere as well by now. There is an X-rail attachment that allows them to be mounted on the Picatinny rail. It was part of the less than lethal capability kit that we were trying to build, although my guess is that it has probably been used mostly by soldiers on other soldiers messing around than against disobedient Iraqis.

Bill
23 Mar 05,, 18:04
LOL, the potential for shenanigans of having a dozen pvt's armed with tazers boggles the mind. :confused:

Shek
23 Mar 05,, 18:20
LOL, the potential for shenanigans of having a dozen pvt's armed with tazers boggles the mind. :confused:

Good thing I didn't have a birthday to "celebrate" after we got the tasers!

Bill
23 Mar 05,, 18:39
LOL...

Non-lethal fraggings could become a useful way to tell your Lt he's an idiot without killing him.

Maybe this idea does have merit... ;)

Bill
24 Mar 05,, 19:17
So what was your Co/Bn policy on the use of personal firearms.equipment?

In my unit we had pretty wide lattitude wrt adding our own personally supplied optics, supplying our own magazines, adding bi-pods, using our own GPS recievers(which were very expensive and very rare back when i served) etc, etc.

Our Bn CO seemed to have the attitude that if it helped the unit's effectiveness, go for it.

Shek
24 Mar 05,, 22:04
So what was your Co/Bn policy on the use of personal firearms.equipment?

In my unit we had pretty wide lattitude wrt adding our own personally supplied optics, supplying our own magazines, adding bi-pods, using our own GPS recievers(which were very expensive and very rare back when i served) etc, etc.

Our Bn CO seemed to have the attitude that if it helped the unit's effectiveness, go for it.

Personal firearms = general court martial (prohibited by GO#1).

Optics mix was already good (Aimpoint CompM2, EO Tech HDS, ACOG TA01NSN/TA31F), so there was little incentive to purchase your own kit, although I had one guy with his deer hunting scope.

We weren't too bad with bipods, with all M14s equipped and before I left command, we had about 15 sets of bipods/Picatinny adapter in the company (Harris Ultralites). We had another 30 bipods (they have an NSN and are the ones used on the M24) and I was working the purchase order for the adapters. By the end of last summer, there should have been enough for just about every M4 to be equipped.

We had a huge amount of PSN-11s in the company, but at the TL/SL level and above, everyone had their own personal one (some were strictly for military use, but many used them for fishing, hunting, hiking, etc.). I got enough Foretrex 101/201s (http://www.garmin.com/products/foretrex201/) for TL through SL in the BDE when I was the Force Mod Officer. This purchase was very popular, but they weren't rugged enough to last through an enormous amount of IMTing.

As far as knives, they were fine for guys to carry.

Also, many purchased their own specialty pouches and assault packs (the issued assault packs were pretty small). Tactical Tailor was the big winner in these purchases -www.tacticaltailor.com.

Snipers had a lot of COTS stuff, but the majority of these purchases were unit funded.

Here's a link to the standard RFI package to give you an idea of what every infantry should have at a minimum http://www.infantry.army.mil/taskforcesoldier/content/team1.htm. Let me know if you have any questions.

Shek
25 Mar 05,, 01:31
I'm sure you've already seen this, but just in case - the soldier gear AAR from just after the fall of Baghdad
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/2003/oif_lessons_peo.doc

Bill
25 Mar 05,, 06:26
Interesting.

During ODS and Panama i know of a lot of guys that supplied their own sidearms and shotguns. Saw it with my own eyes in Panama.

Wonder what made the Army crack down on troops carrying their own weapons. Any ideas?

Thanx again for the info.

Shek
25 Mar 05,, 12:28
Interesting.

During ODS and Panama i know of a lot of guys that supplied their own sidearms and shotguns. Saw it with my own eyes in Panama.

Wonder what made the Army crack down on troops carrying their own weapons. Any ideas?

Thanx again for the info.

My guess is ammo resupply, spare parts, etc. are all big issues (don't want bullets in care packages). Also, it's hard to argue that a line soldier doesn't have top of the line equipment anymore between the optics, IR lasers, Picatinny rails, thermal sights, etc. That doesn't mean that there are soldiers that should be better equipped (Iraq has shown no one should be equipped with only a pistol [except commanders at the BDE level and above, medics, etc.], that soldiers need a rifle/carbine to be effective when attacked).

I don't recall anyone mentioning wanting to bring shotguns (we had nine in the company that were tricked out with the shortented assault stock/grips, so one per squad); some asked about handguns, and I was not a big fan of the maintenance requirements to keep the 9mm working properly (the issued mags were probably the biggest problem).

Bill
25 Mar 05,, 13:26
LOL, when i was in only the snipers had day optics(no one was issued bi-pods), and those were all Vietnam era ART-IV redfield optics.

I bought a really nice Bausch & Laumb with a graduated ranging reticle for my M-21 and a Harris bi-pod. My spotter was issued a Colt Commando Carbine/M203(this is pre M4 or M25 days), and he had bought and mounted an AIMPOINT 1000 electronic site(The first commercially available model i believe), and a Beta C dual drum magazine which i seem to remember held 120rds. Most of the guys had at least a couple pieces of non TO&E gear. Usually knives, scopes, or hi-cap m-16 mags.

My plt sgt and Lt both bought a Magellan GPS unit and got us all up to speed how to navigate and RFF with it, but i never used GPS in the field, it was all compass and map work.

That's been the real improvement in the infantry since i got IMO, the optics, comms and electronic navigation aids. The firepower is really about the same and in some ways we had even more support fires available back then(8", Copperhead, more USAF CAS assets).

What you guys have is the ability to use support fires with more accuracy and speed.

Shek
26 Mar 05,, 02:41
Here's some more kit to check out.

PDA with voice recognition software that will play a matched, translated phrase (i.e. speak English and out comes Iraqi, Farsi, whatever, as long as it has a pre-recorded match).

http://www.phraselator.com/products/index.aspx

A high speed, directional speaker. If only Jake and Elwood had this, they could have sold out the concert hall even faster.

http://www.atcsd.com/pdf/LRAD_SellSht-0728.pdf

The Raven SUAV

http://www.talkingproud.us/InternationalElections12.html

PC/MTMOD1 Breach Torch

http://www.brocoinc.com/military.html#2

Spotlights

http://www.peakbeam.com/

Explosives detector

http://www.geindustrial.com/ge-interlogix/iontrack/prod_vaportracer.html