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I know that you can see my name in my email address, however, if you don’t mind I would like to remain anonymous for obvious reasons which will become clear in a moment.

Please, allow me to introduce myself. I was a Marine scout/sniper. I fought in Fallujah, Iraq in Nov 2004 with 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, Alpha Co, 1st plt. I was in the historical “Candy Shop” skirmish. I was also involved in Afghanistan, Liberia, Djibouti, and a slew of other places many people have never heard of. I know what I am talking about and usually stay quiet on many subjects, but the subject of gun control has me irritated . . .

Recently there have been many arguments that the .223 (or 5.56) is a powerful round that civilians cannot handle or is for military/law enforcement use only. I have a personal story to share to the contrary.

This is a true and accurate account of what happened to me and my fellow Marines in a deadly firefight in central Fallujah, Iraq.

I was sitting on a roof top of a two story building, we were pushing south with other units. Our tactics were to move at night and setup in buildings during the day for the fight. Rarely did we move during the day, and if we did, it was not far. The other Marines on the rooftop with me were spotting targets and eliminating them. I noticed a bad guy, with a AK strapped to his back, run out into the middle of an ally about 100yds from me, produce a RPG and take a knee.

I carried 3 different weapons with me in the Fallujah battle. My M40 bolt gun, my M9 pistol, and a modified M-16A4 with a heavy barrel, better trigger, and a scope. I generally used that last rifle as my primary. It shot a standard 5.56 cartridge, nothing special about the ammo.

This bad guy took a knee and started to aim his RPG at our building. I fired once, hitting him square in the chest. The man stumbled a bit but regained his balance and steadied his weapon. I fired again, again hitting him. But this time, it did not faze him and he was able to touch off that grenade. The explosion rattled the building and injured a Marine below me on the second floor.

The bad guy dropped the RPG once he fired it, got up, and ran down the alley away from me. He still had the AK on his back. I fired again, twice, both times hitting him in his upper thoracic region. He was not phased. My L-T was shooting at him while yelling at his sniper (me) to kill him!

The man started pushing himself up a short wall near the end of the alley way. The wall was maybe 4 1/2ft tall. I decided to take a head shot at about 125yds. I centered the cross-hairs, and squeezed. JUST as the round broke, the man ducked his head, the bullet entered his brain housing group just at the base of the skull, effectively removing the back portion of his dome. I skull capped him.

He stumbled over the wall and fell down behind it, out of my view in the dead space. For a split second, I thought “there…” until I saw him RUNNING away from me, brains leaking from his head! As soon as I saw him, he fell down and did not get up again. It took 5 well aimed rounds to put this guy down. Granted, he was most likely on something, but it still took 4 in the chest, and one head shot to stop this guy. I was not the only Marine to be involved in something like this. Who is to say that an attacker in the U.S. is not “on something?”

Now, is the .223 (5.56) a deadly round? Absolutely! A .22lr is deadly in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing. Is it effective? In this Marine’s opinion, no. The .223 is a varmint round, meant to kill targets no larger than a rabbit or coyote. Because of its horrible terminal ballistics and external ballistics, many people build AR’s in other calibers.

The AR-15 can be built in many different calibers that better meet the needs of HUNTERS and target shooters. 6mm, 6.5 Grendel, 6.8lbc just to name a few. Also the AR-10 is .308. The primary reason the military adopted the M-16 in 5.56 is because of the LOW recoil, and amount of ammo that a warrior can carry into battle. The .223 is the smallest the military would adopt at the time.

I have much more info to share, but I know your time is precious and I have other rants to get to. I believe this nation needs to be better informed of the truth, especially if someone believes the .223 is “too lethal” for civilians.

Thank you for your time and attention.

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    • I usually joke that intermediate calibers(556, 7.62×39 etc) are calibers designed for new shooters(particularily women) to learn to shoot without the recoil of .308 or 7.62x54R. This story proves why you should rather have an AR-10 instead of a AR-15.

      • Agreed, but the last 20 years has been a golden era for the intermediate calibres, do you remember AK ammo at 89 bucks per thousand in the late 90s?

        The surplus ammo was always alot cheaper than .308, 30.06, etc as general rule, hence all the hub bub now as the reality it may no longer be affordable or even available sets in.

        • The author sounds like somebody whose concept of war is a video game. Why don’t you use the “varmint slug” on yourself ? Just kidding.
          But I do hope you’re “sectioned-8” before that happens or you take out another civilian, foreign or domestic.
          Your writing skills are excellent for a “2-month wonder”.

      • Blah,blah,blah! Smell fish story here-dd anyone check said jihadi to confirm actual hits? Could the head wound have been a glancing shot? Was said jihadi/ insurgent wearing body armor( its the modern battle field and even news broadcasts show ISIS fighter wearing level III/IV body armor!)

        Point is, any true sniper or marksman knows that the human body is dynamic in the amount of abuse it can take; even famed US President Andrew Jackson carried a large musket ball lodged in his body years after he was wounded and lived with it! WW2 vets were hit multiple times with German 8mm and Japanese. 6.5 mm rifle rounds and lived. One of my former Capts in the L.E agency I worked for, had the nasty evidence of at least three scarring wound recieved from AK 47 FIRE when he fought in the battle for Hue City in Vietnam.

        Bottom line, there is no SUPER bullet. Only a well placed shot to the brain stem or massive blood loss will shut down an aggressive assailant, be that a street gang member or a taliban fighter.

        During my LE and private contractor career, I’ve seen horrific gunshot wounds( a 17 yr old gangmember with a .45 wound to the head which blew off his right ear and 2″ of his lower skull, an Army soldier with a presumed 7.62 x 39 whole thru his lower thigh you could drop a quarter pasved what should have killed or seriously maimed them, and no I heard the soldier didnt lose his leg!)

        WW2 showed that combat is no longer totally “1,000 yd” engagements, and Korea showed that firepower dominates. The 5.56 mm round is NOT a ” varmint round”( it literally explodes rabbits ) it is an effective lightweight man killer that is a universal round, decent penetration, decent distance, decent power dump.

        Many of us who didnt carry around M-14s and full ammo loads in our youth will probably never know pissing and moaning about the weight or the fatigue. The modern army and from my stand point, law enforcement, need something light and fast and easy to bring on and stay on target.

        Going backward and dragging around 11-12 lb garands up in the mountains of afghanistan by 20yr olds loaded down with 90lbs of kit doesnt relate to future city block fighting in eastern europe. We have BOMBERs and armed drones that can take out more enemy forces than the rifle of an average infantryman.

        With all this whining over the ” whimsical knockdown power” its amazing that people we have contentious relations with ( namely Red China and Russia) ” comfortably” arm their soldier with the 5.45x 39 and 5.8 mm firing weapons; those rounds have been proven to little or no marked performance edge over M855a1 or the MK 262 5.56x 45 ammo we use…

        • Good points, and one of my own to add. To the author: This guy survived 4 bullet strikes and finally a head shot killed him. I’m not doubting your story, but my question is this: How many people did you shoot with your 5.56 that did NOT get up and run off? If 5.56 is such a crappy round, did you ever take it with you again? It is easy to get wrapped around the axle over anecdotes, but we need to remember that they are only anecdotes.

          PS, when the military switched from .30-06 to .308, soldiers made the same arguments then as they do today about it being underpowered for humans.

        • Bla bla bla ????? Is this the way you answer to a experienced us marine sniper WOW shame on you.
          Just because there are survivers from 7.62-39 or 6.5 or etc… Doesnt mean any thing as you read the sniper is well trained to do shoot placement and he said the last one was to the head i think you are not reading well put your glasses on.
          If just because you said there were survivers to a hevier calibers then the marine sniper is wrong then let me tell you i know people who has survived granades tnt detonations house bomming well even the iroshima nagasaki nuclear boms hade survivers.
          The sniper is rigth the 5.56 its no good for regular people may be for skiney small people yes but for regular average or well built people its a peace of sh*****
          But your best option is use the hollow point and yes that may be a good option but the solid fmj its a i dont want to repeat the word

        • Felipe – I cannot understand ANYTHING you are attempting (poorly) to say. It was absolutely painful to try and interpret what your point was. Before you try to correct others and call them stupid you should first learn to write properly.

          I understand you probably didn’t finish grade school but geez it was BAD.

        • When I was a young boy, YEARS ago, before the first mass shooting and before the raging AR-15 controversy, I used to hunt with a 223. I used it for ground hogs. My father would not let me use it for deer because it was not powerful enough to reliably or humanely put down a deer. I was so confused when I went in to the military and had a 5.56 (same thing as a 223) put into my hands. The military began using the 5.56 due to the weak recoil and that, subsequently, anyone with any background can easily shoot it and manage the recoil. It is a varmit round. Will it kill? Yes, of course. But is not a powerful round regardless of what you believe. Sorry.

        • I like argument about 223 was employed only because of recoil. I wonder why don’t US Army employed 22LR or slingshots?

        • You just sound absolutely retarded saying it “literally exploded the rabbit” <— that sentence right there tells me everything I need to know about you 🤦‍♂️

    • Just got 500 rounds of 7.62×39 for $180 delivered. It was $120 just a couple of months ago.

      Still some ammo is better than none.

      • You can also say a 1911 is not a .45 ACP. It is a year and a model, when people think of .45, they think of a 1911. When people refer to 7.62×39 they think AK, not SKS. Even me when I have never had anything but the SKS. I need the sight radius.

        If you are going to yammer, dither, and make irrelevant caveats and yah-buts, then:

        Growing up when you said Smith & Wesson, I thought of a .357 Magnum revolver, not a .45 colt or a piece of plastic pumping out 9mm. Next you will argue clip vs magazine. I’d rather have a clip, but then I’d rather shoot a .357 Magnum [8 shot], SKS [10 shot], or M1 [8 hot] which load with clips.

        They do not make 20 gauge, 12 gauge, 7.62×39 or .30-06 revolvers with moon-clips, but there are low recoil rounds for them. For reloads, I prefer a Chicago reload rather than a magazine.

        They tell me some people only carry one sidearm. Others just like a backup, but I want options. Sometimes I need a screwdriver rather than a hammer on my tool belt. I’d rather have a screwdriver for a door than a hammer. FMJ is a great hammer, but I’d rather have a screwdriver to go through a door at a carjacker. I’d rather have 2 oz of turkey shot for a turkey in my living room who is an escaped jailbird than 51 Four Buck or 9 double ought buck.

      • He never said it was! Why do all of you kids have such a low mental capacity??!?!?!??

    • Yea I call B.S. Running away with his brains hanging out my damn ass. This Internet commando spent zero time in the Marines or any other branch. Can’t believe this was ever approved for posting.

      • Because it’s a true statement. It’s really sad how many of you have a low mental capacity

    • I guess that shooter’s experience (assuming it was even real) was with M855, or even tracer ammo. Possibly from a short barrel? I can’t keep up with all the M16 variants, because shooting geezer.
      Civilians in the US can have any barrel length and any ammo they want– they are not limited to ball ammo. With the lead hunting ammo ban sweeping over the western states, criminals shouldn’t count on being shot with the old “friendly” lead hollow points or soft points. Ammo is increasingly likely to be premium copper hollow points, which will blow clean through them leaving a good wound channel, just like it does on mule deer. And all that with 5.56
      Texas shooters who burn up tons of 5.56 ammo on wild pigs report that Barnes TSX copper monoliths in 62 and 70 grain weights have MORE destructive wound channels, than surplus .308 FMJ ball ammo!
      Having hunted with a 5.56 self loader, I have no illusions about its wimpiness.

    • I think the guy is full of crap personally. Not about the fact that the 5.56 is is too powerful for civilians, because it’s not. The whole story is bs. Sounds like a hater to me. Just because you don’t like a particular round is no reason to make stuff up. My father was in the first air Calvary in Vietnam in 68 and 69. Said he would have married his m16 if he could have. Saved his life and many of his friends over there. That round has killed more people than small pox so have a little more respect. And don’t disrespect the military like that by lying about being somewhere you were not. And just to let a lot of you people on here know. Do your homework before you start talking about something you have no idea about. The 5.56 round was never designed to injure anything. It was made to kill and has been doing a very good job of it for a very long time. At 200,300 yards it will take any deer out all day long. It was never designed to be a sniper rifle. Practical range is 500 yards against a 200 to 300 pound man. Deer weigh about the same.

      • I am calling you out! You cannot even see a deer at 500 yards away let alone hit it or a man. 200 yards is long for deer and 300 is for skilled shooters hunting elk. I been doing it for 40 some years and 300 yards is prone to breeze, the spin, scope error and even slight jerking bench rested or prone. .223 not legal for big game here in Colorado. .27 caliber or more unless you hunt with a pistol then 100 yards is too far for most.
        .223 was used for its injurious properties, think about it…

        • re: seeing or hitting at 500yds: You know we qualified at 500 meters with M16s in the Marine Corps, right? Now whether the round has much left at over 300 yards or is the best choice for deer and up, I don’t disagree, but don’t tell me that we can’t hit men at that distance and don’t tell me that you wouldn’t mind being hit by a 5.56/.223 at that range. Nuff said.

    • Disservice! The AR or M16 round of 223 caliber wounds very well which causes two of the man’s buddies to drag him out of the firefight which then totals 3 not engaging in the fight due to one shot. If the man dropped dead then the other 2 are still firing. You been duped by this fluff piece and it is full of holes.

    • Yup, he’s got lots of history to share. And even though he knocks the 5.56 he still owns one. Mind you, his “go-to” is an AR-10…

      • I think his “go-to” is anything he can “get-to”… But I am sure he loves his .308 AR-10, it hits like a REAL rifle!

  1. Interesting story.

    I’m curious about that video, with the bullet exiting the top of the gelatin. If you watch the gelatin as it gets hit, it flexes upwards. If you pause it right when the bullet hits, the trajectory becomes almost a straight line due to the flex of the gel block. I’m curious if the bullet path would have curved up that way if the block had been fixed such that it could expand, but not lift the way it did.

    • I think you are spot on, Matt.
      If they made the blocks themselves, they could have put in some bones from a butcher shop to see if the rounds do, in fact, “bounce around”.

      • Lead does not “bounce around”, this is an old wive’s tale.
        Bone can be fragmented and act as secondary projectiles, or ball ammo can exhibit yaw, but lead does not bounce. Try it, try to bounce some lead. Not today!
        Source; postmortem examination of hundreds of hunting successes, gelatin, wet newspapers, and all other sorts of ballistic media, over 100k rounds downrange.
        I’ll add one exception, I did see a 12ga slug bounce off a gigantic Live Oak, and proceed to ding my shin.
        That was only about the wood, not the lead. Unlike Northern oaks which are split easily, this oak is tougher than nails and twisted, not to mention the compressive forces 20 tons of tree placed on the trunk.
        Right in the shin from 10ft away wowowwee! Eyeeeyow!

    • Along these lines: I would be extremely interested to know if the 5.56 round being used was 55-62gr M193/M855 or 69-75gr OTM, SMK, or polymer tipped. My (potentially flawed) understanding is Scout/Snipers have access to a greater variance of ammunition, so I figured I’d ask the question.

      I have read a great deal about 5.56 terminal performance and the narration above aligns perfectly with much of that material in terms of M193/M855. Purportedly the heavier grain (non ball/OTM, etc) rounds offer markedly improved terminal performance in such scenarios. Scenarios, I might add, that I am thankful I have not had to experience personally.

      Though I can attest that 75gr BTHP does one hell of a number on feral hogs.

      • He wasn’t using the WRONG 5.56. This Marine didn’t need 10, 15, 25% improvement in efficacy. In even the simplest math: it took five shots, so he needed a 400% more effective round. 5,56 is simply not physically capable of delivering the energy necessary for a one-shot stop on a human who has any sort of dedication to the mischief they are doing.


        No amount of permanent wound cavity or hydrostatic shock or whatever, changes the fact that 5.56 NATO just does not take the energy there.

        • Military cant use hollowpoint. While the round may have problems at 2-3oo+ yards in certain instances, twice the energy of a 357 magnum at self defense range and beyond is more than sufficient. The story, while interesting, is hardly empirical evidence.

        • Pat:

          We use Mk262 rounds that are called open tip, something that sure has heck looks like a HP, although designated as something else. Now, granted, the intent of the bullet is to be a match bullet, so mushrooming is not what you would expect of a bullet designed to mushroom and create a larget cavity. Intuitively, though, I would expect the Mk262 to mushroom to some degree.

          Furthermore, the use of non-HP or frangible (a.k.a. dum-dum) is tied to the Hague Conventions in the context of a conventional, international war. Our current engagement in ‘stan is not a conventional war, and while we have chosen to follow the Conventions, we are not bound by them.

        • The 5.56 was designed to wound, not kill. This effectivly removes not just the wounded enemy, but additional personel to drag his ass off of the battle field.

        • @pat – The U.S. is not a Hague signatory, nor have they been fighting against Hague signatories. They “can” use expanding ammo/hollow points all they want. They use FMJ because of reliability, expense, and penetration based reasons.

        • Hundredsi of thousands have been killed with 5.56.

          This is ONE example, an anecdote at best. For all we know, he was wearing plate armor and took the first four rounds in a protected area. Or maybe it was just one of those improbable things that happens. The human body can take a lot of trauma if the CNS is not destroyed. People are regularly cut in half in vehicle accidents, and still able to speak and move their arms. If the guy was shot in the chest at a couple hundred yards with FMJ, he could have sustained lethal wounds, even if he was shot directly in the heart, he had enough blood in his brain and body to remain a threat for up to 8 seconds.

          Also, civilians are not limited by the Geneva convention. We can put animals down ethically with proper .224 projectiles.

        • 5.56 was not “designed to wound.” That’s old wives’ tale BS.

          The entire story reeks of BS. No one is moving with brains leaking out.

          It’s also not standard for a sniper to carry three weapons.

          This sounds like call of duty.

          There’s no truth about guns in this post.

        • Kinetic energy is F=mv^2/2
          What you mentioned is Newton’s second law which is another story. Please go back to school

    • Bullets yaw (move off-axis) in gelatin, and people. Even FMJ .223/5.56mm will yaw and fragment in tissue or tissue simulant if it has sufficient velocity, the FMJ loads will usually split at the cannelure and the resultant fragments take their own path through tissue. It’s spinning, for one thing, and it’s not all that uniform in terms of shape to begin with. The fragmentation adds to the lethality by making a larger permanent cavity, it’s actually such a nasty thing that people have accused us of using projectiles against the Geneva Convention because we KNOW the bullets will fragment and we use them anyway.

      The best guy to read on this is probably Martin Fackler, who is a pathologist and wound ballistics specialist who has done a lot of work for the Army. His gripe with the M855 and the M4 together as a package is that as originally designed the 55gr M193 and the 20″ M16 barrel are actually a pretty nasty combination, particularly when the original 1:15 rifling is used. Story goes that the original AR-15s sent to Vietnam had barrels made on old rifling equipment so that the twist was actually more like 1:16 or higher. As a result the 55gr bullets whizzing out were barely stabilized but at jungle combat distance they would start to yaw pretty early and produced devastating wounds. Reports were things like “Hit in buttock, bled to death”, “Head came off”, “Shoulder hit, arm came off”. Nominal performance was 3000fps at the muzzle.

      To improve accuracy the rifling was increased to 1:12, and some of the lethality went away. Then the A2 came out and to stabilize the 62gr bullet (chosen for penetration) the rifling twist went to 1:7 for military rifles. Not only that, but the increased bullet weight resulted in a not-as-fast projectile, and when you combine that with velocity loss from launching it from a 14.5″ barrel on the M4, you have a high-penetration, overstabilized and under-velocity bullet that won’t have sufficient velocity to fragment beyond 75 yards or so. It’s more accurate, but it does a lot less when it gets there.

      Fackler’s suggestion was to just issue 55gr M193 ammo for the M4. You get back some of the velocity to insure yaw and fragmentation, and being able to shoot through body armor reliably wasn’t that much of an issue for urban combat. The military decided to spend a lot of money on the M855A1 and the SOST and other trick projectiles to up lethality, in the meantime they suggested that targets be shot center-mass TWICE. Not kidding.

      Were I to build a custom AR-15 upper for defensive uses, one idea would be to get a custom barrel with a 1:15 twist and just shoot 55gr M193 out of it. By report, that worked pretty well until it got “improved” to the point where you get Black Hawk Down reports about the M855 passing straight through targets without noticeably incapacitating them. Accuracy would be acceptable (I imagine) out to 300m, and if you’re shooting at something that far away, is it really defensive?

      The other option is the 5.45×39. Bullets look like little knitting needles, and their lethality is due to the in-tissue yaw ripping a permanent cavity the length of the bullet (if it’s in tissue long enough), rather than the diameter of the bullet. The Afghans hated it when the Russians were using it.

      • “…have accused us of using projectiles against the Geneva Convention because we KNOW the bullets will fragment and we use them anyway.”

        It is the Hague Convention, not the Geneva Convention that banned the use of expanding bullets in warfare.

        • “Overstabilization” is BS that even a 2 minute read on ballistics will cure.

          It is true that the M855 was badly designed. Stabilization has nothing to do with it.

          If internet experts spent as much time reading as they do spouting, we’d all be better off.

    • Good eye… the reason the .223 was adopted was because it was so destructive once it entered the body. This round has a “tumbling/buzz-saw” effect. In essence, this round would create more internal damage which had a more likely “kill effect”. It could enter the shoulder and conceivably exit at the femur. The idea was to give the troops in (Vietnam) a decent advantage in firefights because of the lack of “initial field experience”. And, as stated above, it was a lighter round which made it easier to carry more. Although the AK round is far deadlier and the AK is far superior in actual field use, the military is bound by “bid” contracts by law… we all know what happened when the first M-16 series was issued.

      • Mark, obviously you favor the AK-47 because I assume you own one and possibly subscribe to the “bigger is better” argument. And generally that’s true, with the exception of the AK-47 as the weapon is designed to just throw rounds down range with the accuracy of a 12ga shotgun. The US needs a weapon that can hit the target with a sense of accuracy beyond 50 yds. YOU KNOW WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT AK ACCURACY, or should I say LACK of it. It just doesn’t deliver. The ONLY reason terrorist love the weapon is because their versions are full auto, and they can throw lots of rounds down range, quickly. Without hitting there target though. I’ll take a weapon I can reach out 300 yds with a head shot as compared to your semi-auto AK that can’t hit the side of a barn with. And by the way, I was in Nam and the M16 by the time I got there was and still is a great platform that is NOW quite reliable, accurate and lightweight.

    • Ditto, Matt.

      The bullet exited the top because the gelatin was curved from the impact as it penetrated. I think they would have gotten more realistic results if the gelatin had been secured in place.

      I have a 6.8 AR, btw, because I still like the idea of having a 110gr projectile that expands properly out to 300+ yards…

    • The 44 mag (unless its a reduced load) will expend most of its energy in the wall behind the target while the 223 with the right load will put all its energy (around 1300 ftlbs, or twice that of a 357 magnum) into the target.
      The 454 is used for Kodiak and the 500….on T-Rex.

      • Much of the discussion on expansion and deformation fails to account for the amount of bullet energy consumed by deforming the projectile.
        I became aware of this in airguns when a rifle capable of penetrating 5″ of flesh with a non deforming projectile was only capable of penetrating 1.5″ with a very soft projectile.
        In cases like this where only 30lbft of energy is available, wasting energy that could be used on penetration to instead deform a pellet, really displays the balance needed. All things being equal, an exit wound is a highly desirable feature in a permanent wound channel.

  2. Thank you for your service Marine.

    I can’t speak for RF, but I’d love to hear more info whenever you get the chance.

  3. This is a “twofur”. As in – this is good for two reasons. First, this guy counters the new BS by McChrystal that the 5.56 is too deadly for civilians.

    Second, it counters the old B.S. coming out of the DoD for almost 1/2 a century now that the .223/5.56 is all that. Many former service members have been saying the same ting for years. Granted, what this Marine experienced could have happened w/ almost any caliber; there are reports of guys getting hit multiple times w/ .45’s, 7.62’s (x39 & x51), m1 carbine, 5.45, and the list goes on. However, it tends to happen more w/ the 5.56 as it relies on the bullet “doing something” when it hits its target. This is unpredictable as this Marine has pointed out. Relying on a larger wound-channel/caliber is a better way to go.

    • In Korea the M1 carbines were mostly discarded as the .30 carbine round for them literally bounced off the thick coats of the Chinese.

      5.56 is similar in its inability to penetrate as the Marine above discusses.

      • It’s complete BS that it “literally bounces off a frozen coat” and demonstrations have been done. It’s also a myth that they threw carbines away.

        They’d probably bounce off your thick head, though.

      • Although snipers are trained for head shots, typical marksmanship training in the various armed forces trains to shoot at center mass.

        • No, in fact, they are not. Center mass all the way. Head shots leave too much room for error. 8″ target vs. 18″

          FYI – I’m not an OFWG…Marine Sgt turned civilian here.

        • RE: Saul’s comments:

          …which allows the round to puncture (or shatter) the heart or one of the main arteries in the mediastinum (aorta, one of the vena cavae or the pulmonary arteries) which would render the target permanently non-functional….

          As to the author’s account:

          I find myself raising a brow to the issue of the last shot:
          He hit the guy in the cerebellum/brain stem area.
          It’s kind of hard to make the legs move when the brain can’t communicate with them.
          But then, a close-enough shot, combined with hypovolemic shock (from earlier shots) and local hemorrhaging might take a few moments to affect motor functioning and the target doesn’t have to be on anything but adrenaline.

          This all is not meant to discount or disparage the author’s service. The continuing actions of the enemy in spite of reportedly well-placed shots are extraordinary.

        • How I read it, the head shot glanced off and removed a portion of the skull, but did not do significant damage to the brain tissue. Impairment would come later from loss of blood, rather than sooner if there had been direct tissue damage or if the hemorrhaging had put pressure on the brain.

        • Shooting at the head of a moving target is EXTREMELY difficult, and I regularly miss.

    • We could have had the trifecta if he’d also pointed out that the 5.56 goes through interior walls in US houses without slowing significantly, just like it did for him (repeatedly) through 10″ of bad guy thoracic tissue.

      This is one of the reasons I have shotguns and large-caliber handguns as my go-to home defense tools, not an AR in 5.56. If I ever have to shoot someone, I want them to stop and fall down Right Now, not bleed out over the course of 30 minutes from a half-dozen through-and-through laser holes.

      • EXCELLENT point. A 12 guage slug to the chest, when you absolutely positively have to stop them NOW.

        • Holy cow, how big is your house? The longest uninterrupted sight line in my house is ~14m, so I’m not exactly worried about making a 100m shot.

        • Saul Feldstein/9Jan2013 at 15:33,

          If you use a slug, the old felt-base Brenneke’s still available. More accurate & devastating than any regular Foster type in a smooth barrel.

          For 12ga:

          Chamber round – High brass #2 birdshot
          First round in tube – Slug
          2nd & 3rd rounds – high brass #1 or #4 Buckshot
          4th &/or 5th rounds – high brass #1 or #4 Buckshot

          If the shotgun can hold more than 5 rounds, the order is 2 slugs/3 buck/2 #2 bird with a #2 bird or Rem 2×4 birdshot in the chamber.

          For 20ga:

          Chamber round – high brass or mag #4 birdshot
          First round in tube – Slug
          2nd & 3rd round – #3 Buckshot
          4th &/or 5th round – #3 Buckshot

      • Sorry, have watched too many live fire experiments with .223/5.56 ball ammo doing less penetrating through interior walls than 9mm on up. It seems the .223/5.56 starts to tumble dramatically from the impact of the first wall and might hit the next wall but with not enough impact to penetrate! Whereas the handgun ammo, went through up to three sets of double sided drywall depending on caliber.

        • I’m always glad to see more data on this topic, so if you have links to studies or other documentation please share.

          The evidence I’ve seen so far, namely that from The Box O’ Truth experiments and other folks who have replicated those results, has been consistently in support of US interior drywall construction not appreciably slowing 5.56mm rounds.

        • AG, maybe Rob Pincus can chime in here, but he and Mike Janich (SP) did these penetration drills on The Best Defense, plus I’ve seen similar demos on Personal Defense TV with Tom Grishum (SP) and Ed Head from Gun Site. Besides the .223/5.56 (ball ammo) slowing down after the first set of drywall, they also determined that birdshot was also less lethal through drywall. And no I don’t have the links, sorry!

      • 5.56 has roughly the same penetration through drywall as a 9mm or 00 buck assuming you fire XM193.

      • Or run around like a chicken with it’s head cut off. By the way, even “dead” people can squeeze the trigger. Ask first responders to suicide by self-inflicted gunshots why they do not just rush in.

    • that is why OTM ammunition that is more predictable in its behavior is being increasingly fielded for 5.56 calibers. there are NO lethality problems with the Mk 262 or Mk 318…i cant say much for the M885A1.

      Military personnel compare the FMJ M855 green tip, which is designed for optimal penetration, from the velocity obtained from a M16 barrel, and lump all 5.56 cartridges in with its performance. Its a faulty attribute comparison. Any other 5.56 besides FMJ, which is what most civilians use anyways, has no lethality problems.

      Also, yes larger wound channels and kinetic energy do help in bringing down a enemy faster, though you are trading those advantages off with heavier recoil and increased weight. there is no such thing as a free lunch.

      and box-o-truth debunked the 30 cal “bouncing off frozen clothing” myth. The M1 carbine and 30 cal are plenty lethal with 300 meters.

    • Please remember that we civilians can use hollowpoint, and most of the lethality stories were at greater distances than most would consider useful.

    • David/9Jan2013 at 15:13,

      I still remember watching a Drill Sgt demonstrate the “power of the M-16” by shooting a locked, water filled ammo can & the “OOOOHs” & “AHHHHHHs” from the assembled newbies most of which had NO experience with firearms. Those who had busted caps for real at either bi or quadrupedal targets & observed the effects therefrom knew that the demo was little more than ‘confidence building’ BS, comments like “my .357 could do THAT”, “if they think THAT’S something, they’d freak out at what my .30-30 would do to that can”, & “hell, a .243 would splatter that can like a grenade went off in it”. The shooters in the group just looked at each other, shook their heads, & began formulating plans to acquire a 1911 &/or see if they could get assigned to the M-60 mg. Some ruminated on their prospects for becoming the squad shotgunner in addtn to getting a .45, others went in the M-203/M-16 direction, it was commonly agreed that everyone would do their utmost to load up on boomfruit & get the biggest, nastiest damned pigsticker they could comfortably carry (& that their CO would allow) when they got to their regular unit.

      Funny how the low opinion of the 5.56 formed in VN & the equally low opinion of the 9mmP formed during WW2 keep being confirmed.

      • I still would not want to get hit in the chest with something that had twice the power of a 357magnum and penetrated 12 to 14 inches (hollowpoint or fragmenting).
        I would want a m14 to take someone out from several hundred yards away.

  4. This is the type of truth that the antis just don’t understand. In their minds all black guns are evil, fully automatic, designed to spray a thousand rounds a second, and have no purpose but killing innocents. Any vest is bulletproof body armor, any magazine is a high capacity clip, and any private sale of firearms is a “loophole” that should be closed.

    There’s a word to describe a lack of knowledge or understanding about a particular subject: ignorance.

  5. Though I regret your career choice, I welcome you to our side, buddy.

    And I can’t swear to it, but I believe it’s “faze”, not “phase”.

  6. This validates everything I have said about the 5.56 round. It was a big mistake to drop the M-14 and the 308 round. If a WWII infantryman could carry the 9.5lb M-1 and 200+ rounds of 30-06 through jungles of the Pacific and be effective so could a soldier in 1964 or today using an M-14 with a composite stock to save a little weight.

    As this marine said the 5.56 is nothing more than a varmnt round that is at the lower end of the 22 caliber centerfire family. It’s time to replace it with a more lethal round.

  7. Semper Fi, devil dog! Thank you for your service and your courage in combat.

    Were you using M855 green tips or Mk 318 barrier blind rounds? I’ve heard more than a few situations where it took multiple chest hits with M855 to put the bad guys down.

    I’ve also seen video in police sniper training where the bad guy was hit in the center of the chest with a .223 and killed two police officers with a shotgun before dying from his injury. The .223 / 5.56 is definitely not a death ray. I’d take a 300 BLK or 6.8 SPC with me on duty if I had the choice.

    • Yes – pay more for a round with the same effectiveness as the dirt cheap 7.62×39, in a rifle that’s half as reliable.

    • While there are better rounds (6.5, 6.8) than the 223, its a great round with hollowpoint and specialty loads for home defense and close to midrange.
      Lumping something that has twice the energy of a 357magnum with a 22lr is disingenuous.

  8. The (in)effectiveness of the .223 (5.56×45) round is one the hotly contested subjects if some of you listen in on the military.
    A good read if you’ve got time is a paper written back in 2009 called “Increasing Small Arms Lethality in Afghanistan: Taking Back the Infantry Half-Kilometer”

    A weapon is only as lethal as the person thats using it can make it.

    • Forgot to metion, some of those AQ and taliban a-holes were on opium and other narcotics, as mentioned by the Marine above. Same as the Japanese during WWII, just like he mentioned it would most likely require the dislodging of the brain to stop those guys

    • afghanistan pushes the 5.56 to its limits. If the US actually wanted to win wars, we would have dropped our egos and took Soviet experience over there as a example: increasing the proportion of designated marksmen and snipers armed with 30-caliber rifles to extend the range of infantry squads.

      the limitations of smaller cartridges in afghanistan is no new lesson. we were just stupid enough to have to re-learn it the hard way.

      • If we were serious about winning in Afghanistan…..

        We wouldn’t worry about Afghan civilian deaths.
        We would set up exclusion zones over large areas of Afghanistan against all Afghans, Pashtun, Paki’s, Arabs, etc. and start filling them with vetted foreigners from US-friendly places/ethnicities. Colonizing: yes. Facing deportation as an illegal alien from USA? How about 40 acres and a John Deere tractor for you and extended family in Afghanistan?
        The Soviets almost got it right. Exclude and deny territory to the enemy and their support people. Show no mercy. End poppy production, or completely control it.
        No way can we win with our half-assed measures, no matter how lethal or excellent our forces.


  9. My Dad was a military advisor in Viet Nam in the early 60’s. As such, he got to carry pretty much what he wanted, and for CQB that was usually a Thompson with a 1911 sidearm. A young soldier with him one day fired several 5.56 rounds into an enemy combatant with almost no effect, and got a quick and lethal squirt from an AK in return. Before he could aim at my Dad, he was hit with a burst from the Thompson that spun him around and smashed his spine, killing him instantly.

    Dad was also in the Ordanance Corps later in his career, and told me that it was well known in the selection of the 5.56 that it was barely lethal. That was considered desirable, as if you were fighting a civilized enemy, you would tie up two or three people to care for each wounded combatant. Unfortunately, shooting people with a gun that does not kill or at least put down with authority results in a lot of our own casualties.

    I love plinking with the 5.56, but I wouldn’t dare try and take a deer with it. I’m confident that I could mortally wound it, but I wouldn’t want to see the animal suffer waiting to bleed out from the wound.

    • These are good reasons why many states (including CA) prohibit the use of .22-class rifles for taking large game animals.

      Makes it doubly ironic that many of those same states say the most common .223 rifle, the AR, is too lethal for civilians to own.

      Seems reasonable to say that if you can’t use a given weapons system to reliably kill a deer or a pig, you might not want to count on it to take down the remarkably tough and resilient human.

    • When, as a teenager, I was being introduced to the world of firearms by an uncle who’d been a sniper (for the opposite side). He explained one of the reasons for NATO choosing the 5.56 was that it was considered a more “humane” round….

    • use OTMs and then try to sell me that 5.56 is not “lethal enough”.

      and 5.56 was not designed to tie down two soldiers to take care of a wounded one. that is a myth that refuses to die.

  10. Please, lets not accept this civillian vs military/LE paradigm. The correct catagories are Citizen, Civil Servant (including Civillian law enforcement), Military.

    • Actually, there’s only 2 tiers. Civilian and Military.

      Civilians can quit anytime they want and do whatever they want as long as it’s legal.

      Those who serve in the military:
      -Can’t quit.
      -Voluntarily give up certain rights and freedoms while still defending the same.
      -Must follow all legal orders by those appointed above them.

      I’m missing many more. Having said all that, there’s nothing wrong or lesser in not being a member of the military. On occasion, I have noticed other civilians who are public servants make disparaging remarks about those “civilians” as if they are 2nd class citizens. While this is not representative, I’ve seen it often enough that it stuck. I appreciate the military and those that serve others. If serving others is not a big enough distinction or reward for a public servant, then you should seek employment elsewhere.

      • I think we basically agree. I meant to eloborate on the fact that law enforcement is civillian and does not equal military. I wasn’t trying to speak to what is differant about being in the military, I have nine years of experiance about just how differant it is.
        My point was that our society has a habit of lumping all other government employees (espicially police) in with the military and comparing them against all other law abiding citizens. Our founders were adamently against being policed by the military and we do ourselves no favors by allowing our opponents to compare the rights and needs of citizens (civillians, comoners, inhabitants) to those of a conglomerated government enforcer. They make those comparisons based on flawed roles. Some citizens join the military to work for the civil government and protect our nation from outside threats, other citizens join the civil government to help our nation opperate more smoothly. They have very differant roles to help the nation, and neither of them has more power (or should have more powerful tools) than the people.
        So my basic summary is that “too powerful for civillians” is a flawed argument from the begining and especially so when lumping military and civillian police together on the opposide side of the spectrum.

      • Citizens who have served in the military for at least single term (AD enlisted especially), and are honorably discharged, tend to appreciate their status much more than a person who has gone to college (left-wing indoctrination program), run for office, and can command military to “do things”.

  11. Ammo selection is also important.

    FMJ vs. Hollowpoint. My big assumption is that our service members are being issued FMJ, which probably just zip right through somebody. I would rather hit them with a .223 varmint round that basically explodes on impact. Or any hollowpoint for that matter.

      • Just about as valuable as ‘gun control’, in that it’s only obeyed by the sort of folks who obey rules, and is happily ignored by those who don’t.

        • …The 1907 “unnecessary suffering”version, specifically.

          Though as of 1985 “expanding rounds” are considered permissible in counter terrorist operations (those not involving engagement of the armed forces of another state). Hence, current Open Tipped Match usage.

    • Even the FMJs aren’t uniform in the services.
      For a while, standard rounds are 55gr but crew
      serve weapons use the heavier 62gr rounds.
      A lot of infantry just started taking saw ammo.
      The DoD knows full well the 5.56mm isn’t worth
      crap because they’re starting to phase out FMJ
      for plastic tipped hollow points. (The ballistic
      tips are an end around the Geneva convention’s
      rules on hollow points.) However, ballistic tips
      have their own issues and don’t always work as
      designed. Depending on what, where and how
      they hit (and temp, life span etc..) a ballistic tip
      (especially in smaller calibers) can perform the
      exact same as an FMJ. Solution: use what armies
      figured out over 100 years ago. Use a medium to
      heavy load with a bullet in the .30 caliber range.

  12. Don’t forget Somalia where we used the NATO green tip 5.56 to poke tiny holes in the skinny, malnourished militia fighters who probably died later from infection but showed almost no affect from the hits.

    The .223 is not “too powerful” for civilians and McCrystal shold be held to task on that statement for the rest of his days.

    • Brad/9Jan2013 at 15:28,

      If the ‘esteemed’ Stan the Man believes the .223/5.56 to be “too powerful” for mere civvies, the .30-06 used by our grampas & daddies (WW2, Korea) & the .308Win/7.62×51 used from VN-date likely gives him a severe case of the shaky drizzlin’s. God only knows how terrified he is of the 12ga pumps & .45ACPs some troops get, probably thinks they’re somehow ‘unfair’ to use on the enemy. It’d sure be fun to see someone with HEAVY mil experience take his ‘informed’ opinion apart in public. And don’t be too surprised at StannyMcC’s utterance, he’s just following in Stormin’ Norman & Colin Powell’s bootsteps. Remember that they also weren’t enthused about all those non-milpers having firearms.

  13. He is correct, the 556 should only be your backup, or a rifle for a small woman,young person, .. If you are in a real life and death fight you need at least a 308 win. or 3006 spring. even the 30/30 win is good, will had the needed knock down (most the time) , count on the bad guys using drugs etc. or a vest that slows the bullet. We shot Viet Cong. rebels at point blank and they did not go down on 1 shot… and I seen marines die when we were overrun because of the 556 nato… for the pistol same you need at least the 45 ACP or 357 mag. to stop a attacker… ( count on 2 or more pistol hits) the double tap or ahead shot…

    • Most people don’t know (or won’t acknowledge) that it was the AF that selected the AR for security police to replace the M-2 Carbine and grease gun. It wasn’t suppose to be a battle rifle. It was meant for rear area security.

    • Again, us civilians, using hollowpoint or fragment ammo, at close to mid distances, cant ask for more than a 223. Twice the power of a 357magnum and all the energy goes into the victim.

  14. 6.5 grendel is what the military (then us) should switch to. It’s not recoil that makes people flinch (to a point) but noise.

    However, there are also many stories of people being hit with 6+ 7.62mm AK rounds and surviving and continuing to fight. A well placed .223 round is pretty devastating against flesh and thin clothing. Through cover or any type of armor, .223 is pretty bad outside of 100 yards.

  15. Thanks for that info, jarhead. From a former squid. I never liked the M-16 or the 5.56 mm round. I always thought the AK was more like our M-1 Garrand you could drag it through the mud and it would still fire but the M-16 had to be kept too clean for a combat weapon. I’ll have you realize that I am a Vietnam vet, the M-16 that I was given was manufactured by a division of GM, I never liked GM products either.

    • The latest GM cars come with ONstar, to better track you down and remotely shut off your ignition with.

    • The Garand, M14, and the AK all use piston systems for their cycling. No gas tubes blowing into bolt to get clogged up by the mud and dirt. I’m kind of tempted to pick up the Osprey 416 piston conversion kit, but then I wouldn’t be able to shoot 22lr out of it. Eugene Stoner wanted a really light rifle, and direct impinging was the price. Reliability in Vietnam wasn’t helped by the fact that they were using blackpowder in the ammo instead of Dupont smokeless.

      • “Reliability in Vietnam wasn’t helped by the fact that they were using blackpowder in the ammo instead of Dupont smokeless.”

        Where did you hear that gem? They never used black powder in the M-16! They used Winchester ball powder at first which was a problem. The military hasn’t used black powder in rifles since adopting the 30-40 Krag!

        • They smoke alot Ash in Afghanistan . The brain continues to function even though there is no blood pumping oxygen in brain . This has been proven a fact ! White male on on steroids smoking crack hit 6 x in chest with 357 runs up and still kills a police women .The lady hit 5 times with 45 in chest and still lives to talk about it . There’s video of man being shot down by sniper falls
          and gets up 5 times and still runs away .There’s sons of bitches out there that don’t die ! There satanist .

      • Garand, M-14, AK, FAL, all piston operation, covers most of the world. They work, but are certainly not the only way to get good performance over a long time. The Germans have done fine with the no-gas G3. Adjustable gas port of FAL is a feature that should be available to every gas system to use other than “the right kind” of ammo. 40 years later, AR-15 direct-impingement works well, when well-known problems are not included in a system (incl. operator errors).

        Over-optimizing a system is what the US Army procurement system for weapons is guilty of. M-16 sacrificed the fundamental function of “hitting power at range” to get every other feature, and now over-depends on heavy weapons or air support to get soldiers out of trouble. The initial peak for infantry weapon was the M-14, then it was criticized for being difficult for 95 pound females or tiny SE Asian men to use in continuous-fire mode. Heavy ammo limits basic load to about 200 rounds (boo hoo!), meaning expensive and time-consuming individual accurate-fire training is needed (instead of “group fire” or “mass fire” technique).

        Perhaps, M-14-approximating rapid-fire noise-making fireworks should be developed and issued to frighten the enemy with loud posturing (instead of shooting them accurately to death/surrender). There’s not money in that, and it’s mock-worthy.

        How about we issue .222 varmint rifles with fancy stocks by Mattel? We’ll re-name the cartridge “5.56” and sell it again! We’ll invent a fancy three-letter acronym like PDW, since the M-4 platform is only capable of close and mid-range effectiveness, not LRSHEK (long range single hit enemy killer).

        God help us.

    • garands can choke because of mud and dust too. that is one of the limitations of the M1 garand/M14s more open action. The M14 EBR was more difficult to maintain and generally less reliable than the M4 and M16 due to a variety of factors.

      there were rampant reports of M1s becoming “single shot” rifles due to lack of maintenance intervals on the front line during World War 2 and Korea. This is not a jab against the M1 garand, but a reflection of reality that harsh conditions even choke piston guns.

      • I heard ARs are more cold weather and dust sensitive. You got to really jam the mud into that open action on the M1A (as shown in the silly youtube vid of one being pulled through the mud). I know the wood stocks had problems in the humid jungle (they started issuing fiberglass while the M16 was being phased in).
        You certainly got to take care of your weapons AR/M14/FAL/even AK. Pistons do seem to run drier, which may be of concern if your in a hot, sandy environment shooting your AR alot during the day and cant do maintenance.

        • i really cant conclude that ARs are. Of course the more violent action of the 7.62 NATO and ’06 ensures that more debris is cycled out of the gun, but ARs are more reliable than what is believed.

          Ill even argue to say that in Afghanistan, the M16s and M4s were far more reliable than the M14 EBRs. There’s a wide variety of factors of course, but generally, the AR platform was very reliable.

        • You are probably right on the greater reliability of the M16/m4 over the M14 EBR because those M14’s were tuned out of (and turned into) something they were (should) not have been….from Battlerifles (great reliability and function as a squad designated marksman rifle) into strange, less than ideal pseudo sniper platform.

  16. This is why I maintain a couple of 7.62’s and I am a huge advocate of head shots when possible.

  17. I too thank you for your service, Marine!

    Obviously general knowledge and competency of weapons and ballistics are not required of Army Generals. Sad, very Sad.

  18. Great article, really appreciated seeing that today.

    On one hand, the plural of “anecdote” is not “data”. On the other hand, one really great example can change hearts and minds.

  19. The .223 is a varmint round. Chicks dig it. Men shoot the 7.62 NATO. Real men shoot the 7.62 X 54R or — be still my foolish heart — granddad’s .30-’06.

  20. Read Blackhawk Down sometime to see the dislike for the 5.56 expressed by some of the troops involved.

  21. In a way I am happy letting these idiots believe the 5.56 is too lethal. If we keep telling them the truth what happens then? Instead of just coming after 5.56 will they come after everything from 5.56 – 50BMG? I don’t know what to think anymore. No matter what we say or do they find a way to turn it against us.

  22. While this may be true in the military, it needs to be said that our military is required to use only FMJ ammunition. If you can use soft point or hollow point ammunition or ammo that reliably fragments on impact, it makes the .223 round significantly more effective.

  23. An Israeli sniper friend of mine tells a very similar story about an experience with .223 on patrol…. Roughly the same story, but with more vulgar language and thick Israeli accent…quite entertaining. He’s now a fan of .308 or NATO equivalents….

  24. I’m not a Marine sniper, but this is consistent with the Marines in my battalion in Iraq in 2005. Too often we would shoot someone in the chest with a 5.56mm and they would jump right back up and keep fighting. I don’t believe they had armor, but they could have. Regardless, the 5.56 is pretty weak for an outfit that should be focused on one shot being one kill.

    If you ever pull butts at the rifle range, the 5.56 sounds like it’s barely breaking the paper when it hits the target at 500 yards.

  25. I served in both Iraq and Afghanistan and the 5.56mm was a very deadly and accurate round IMO. I didn’t have any mechanical or kill issues with my M16A4.
    Most of these comments are obviously from people who have never been to war and have no idea what they are talking about or are bashing the 5.56 for some particular or personal reason.
    Let’s argue against gun control with a legit argument.

    • I’ve been to both theaters as well. It certainly can kill, but it does not have the stopping power that I would prefer.

  26. Thanks for the article. To me it highlights that even spectacular gel test results don’t tell the whole story.

    The M193 and M855 blow the living shit out of gelatin but I’ll take quality first-hand experience any day.

  27. I think that this anecdote illustrates more about the type of bullet used rather than the actual “lethalty” of a particular caliber. In the authors own words: “[The rifle] shot a standard 5.56 cartridge, nothing special about the ammo.

    Assuming a “Lake City” variety of 5.56 ammo I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments expressed by the author and the majority of those commenting. However, I would argue that when the round is paried with a “premium” hunting bullet you have a very capable platform within reasonable ranges.

    I would also agree that to “reach out and touch someone” effectively you’d be better served by a .30-caliber class projectile.

  28. Before we jump to conclusions, I think we should all keep in mind that:

    1) However valid, this is still anecdotal evidence.
    2) What’s to say the exact same thing wouldn’t have happened if the guy was shot with 7.62×39mm.
    3) The military uses FMJ 5.56, not open-tips that make the bullet “explode” in the body.
    4) Was the guy he shot in the chest wearing a vest?
    5) I also seem to remember reading that lots of people in the military hate the 9mm round too for the same reason (it’s “ineffective”) and prefer the .45 instead. The military also uses ball 9mm ammo rather than JHP. However, “scientific” evidence seems to suggest that there’s not much difference between 9mm and .45 and both are relatively ineffective compared to buckshot and rifle rounds.


    • 1: Yes, but it is anecdotal evidence backed by many similar experiences spanning the decades that 5.56×45 has been in service.

      2: It is very possible that the results would have been identical if the target had been hit with a 7.62×39. However, the growing trend of turning AR-15’s into weapons with AK ballistics is rather telling.

      3: Yes, which simply demonstrates that Armed Citizens should not handicap themselves by following a law of warfare (Hague Convention) that does not apply to them.

      4: Not having been at that particular firefight, I cannot say, but my own “anecdotal” experience tells me that he most likely was not.

      5: Apples to oranges. Handgun cartridges are historically weak when compared to rifle cartridges. Handguns shine in the areas of conceal-ability and portability…but are terribly weak in the areas of ballistics and terminal effects.

      The other take-away from this? Caliber wars will never die, and there is no “wunder-round” and never will be. Understanding your cartridges capabilities and limitations, with a healthy dose of shot placement and follow-up shots is the key to winning any gunfight. At least, in my oh-so-unprofessional, “anecdotal” experience.

      Badger 8-3

      edited for poor spelling.

    • I hear that a lot but if you are restricted to ball ammo the 45 is a much more lethal round than the 9mm. Yes modern 9mm JHP is equal to or better than 45 ball but 45 also comes in a modern JHP. It takes a 9mm +p JHP to exceed the lethality of 45 JHP. You can also get the 45 in +p. Of course there is now a 9mm +p+. The caliber wars continues.

      • not remotely true that is all i can say.

        FMJ 45 and 9mm are examples of the two calibers being more similar kinetic energy wise more than ever.

        • Since when is a .36 caliber hole superior to a .45 caliber? .45 ACP FMJ is superior to 9mm FMJ in stopping power.

        • “45 ACP FMJ is superior to 9mm FMJ in stopping power.”

          prove it. tell me what the differences are between the two and get back to me.

        • See the Joint Munitions Effectiveness Manual if you are a cleared person. Mass is the most important determinant of lethality for a given velocity range. JHPs transfer for energy for a given mass but mass is still king. This is while a modern 9mm JHP is as lethal as 45 ball, the higher mass of a 45 JHP will be even more lethal.

          Again, it’s about mass and energy transfer.

        • WLCE/

          Sanow & Marshall say different, as does the experience of numerous non-LE self-defense cases & gangstas who’ve been shot with a 9mm & lived versus those who’ve been shot with a .45ACP & didn’t. Be advised that the .40 S&W’s also racking up a record for being much better than the 9mm whether the load’s ball or JHP. Then there’s the extensive experience of WW2 G.I.’s shot with the 9mm to consider.

        • in a bullet that has 1-200 joules of energy difference and .12″

          very, very negligible.

          if 45 was measurably that much better, then everyone would have it. I wish really wished that it was for the longest time since i started off as a 45 proponent.

  29. Giving thanks for “service” in the Standing Army? Why?

    Prevention of service in a standing army is what the Second Amendment is all about.

    “What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty….”

    ~Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, spoken during floor debate over the Second Amendment, I Annals of Congress at 750, August 17, 1789

    I’m damn proud to be a freeman who hasn’t served in the Standing Army.

    And no, the Standing Army isn’t necessary for freedom, and doesn’t protect it. It’s just a damned shakedown swindle, as retired United States Marine Corps Major General and two time Medal of Honor recipient Smedley Butler puts it in his book War is a Racket.

    Put that in your militaristic “service” pipe and smoke it.

    “And call no man your [Roman PATRON,, i.e., Boss, C.O., or any other hierarchical title] upon the earth.” ~verse 9, chapter 13, The Jefferson Bible

    • Except the militia was failure in battle. You need an standing army to take care of the nation’s interests and provide cadre when you need to train citizen soldiers for a big war.

      • “You need an standing army to take care of the nation’s interests…”

        A Standing Army is against the Second Amendment.

        If you don’t appreciate the intent of the 2A, fine, but then you put yourself in the same authoritarian anti-2A camp as Obama himself.

        • Completely understand and respect the Founders intent. I also agree with it entirely.

          The end-run around that? America has been in a state of war or military intervention since the late 1800’s. I can’t provide a link, but there is a webpage out there that provides a year by year breakdown of US military intervention. I believe I could only find maybe 5 (total, not consecutive) years that the US was not involved in either a domestic or foreign affair. Not saying it justifies a damn thing, but standing armies can be raised to further American interests…and if they are constantly shuffled from one hot zone to another, there is no chance to disband the military, per the Constitution and the founders intent.

          Badger 8-3

          edit: found the link.

        • An army that is required to disband after a couple years obviously isn’t “standing.”

          To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years. ~Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution

          That is obviously a loophole through which an oppressive military industrial complex has been driven.

          The Swiss model of the citizen-soldier with armed neutrality was the founder’s intent; the sloppily-written Constitutional loophole needs closed. And we could have national defense at an economical 1/7th of the cost, just like the Swiss whom the Germans dared not invade.

        • The standing is not prohibited by the Second Amendment. Show me where it says thay in the text. We have one since Jefferson’s day.

          And US has been at war with someone throughout most of its history or don’t the native Americans count?

          With tthe historical ignorance shown here we are going to lose this fight.

        • I did show you the intent of the 2A to prevent a Standing Army; I’ll do it again.

          “What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty….”

          ~Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, spoken during floor debate over the Second Amendment, I Annals of Congress at 750, August 17, 1789

          Don’t forget, any Army raised was to be disbanded after 2 years, according to the Constitution. (Actually read it sometime.)

          Now who’s ignorant?

        • “Now who’s ignorant?”

          speak for yourself. a standing army could be raised back them, with pre-requisites towards funding.

          “An army that is required to disband after a couple years obviously isn’t “standing.””

          ??? um, yes it is. a non-standing army would be military age males in their homes.LOL.

          try reading the constitution sometime and the documents of our founding fathers instead of cherry picking.

        • Quoting several founding fathers isn’t cherrypicking, weasel.

          Why don’t YOU try reading the Constitution, which limited an Army two 2 years funding? Because you don’t like that part of the Constitution?

          Right wing militarist authoritarians piss on it like Leftist collectivists piss on it.

          You’ve both been pissing on it for so long, it’s no wonder we’re in the spot we’re in.

        • “Quoting several founding fathers isn’t cherrypicking, weasel.”

          it is if you are discounting the entire debate they had over maintaining a standing army after the American Revolution and the relative ineffectiveness of the militia experienced by commanders such as george washington. that is cherry picking.

          “Why don’t YOU try reading the Constitution, which limited an Army two 2 years funding? Because you don’t like that part of the Constitution?”

          which is still a what Ivy Mike?????? a STANDING ARMY. even if the funding was for 2 years, that army would be standing for 2 years. Of course, the constitution allows for this.

          “Right wing militarist authoritarians piss on it like Leftist collectivists piss on it.”

          Yes they do. Im in agreement with you over that.

          “You’ve both been pissing on it for so long, it’s no wonder we’re in the spot we’re in.”

          Yes that is true. I agree with you.

      • what are you smoking?
        rogers rangers and the militia under francis marion were astoundingly effective. so effective, that they are considered the beginning of the US Army Ranger’s lineage.

        militia were extremely effective at waging asymmetric war in defiance of the standard rank and file European tactics of conventional armies. They were not as effective, predictably, when facing a conventional army on the open battle.

        nobody is arguing against A standing army. our founding fathers warned us against large standing armies (like what we have now).

        • nobody is arguing against A standing army

          Au contraire, Monsieur.

          Before A standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed. ~Noah Webster

          “Nor is it conceived needful or safe that A standing army should be kept up in time of peace for [defense against invasion].” ~Thomas Jefferson: 1st Annual Message, 1801

          “…no such engine of oppression as A standing army.” ~Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Cooper, 1814

          “None but an armed nation can dispense with A standing army.” ~Thomas Jefferson, 1803

          A standing army is one of the greatest mischief that can possibly happen.” ~James Madison

          “This [citizen-militia] appears to me the only substitute that can be devised for A standing army…” ~Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist, Number 29

        • au contraire,

          “In time of actual war, great discretionary powers are constantly given to the Executive Magistrate. Constant apprehension of War, has the same tendency to render the head too large for the body. A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence agst. foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people. ~ James Madison, Speech before Constitutional Convention (6/29/1787).”

          the argument against large standing armies under the control of tyrannical executive legislation was the fear. our founding fathers had every reason to distrust standing armies.

          James Madison: “As the greatest danger to liberty is from large standing armies, it is best to prevent them by an effectual provision for a good militia.” (notes of debates in the 1787 Federal Convention)

        • You stated, falsely:

          nobody is arguing against A standing army

          I disproved your assertion with several quotes proving they argued against A standing army. Read ’em.

          The founders were against a standing army, whether they thought it large or not.

          Can’t weasel out of that.

        • To Roger’s Rangers I juxtapose the Invasion of Canada and the Battle of Bladensburg. I omit the overall poor performance of the militia during the Revolution and its final curtain call during the Blackhawk War.

          You could say that they were instrumental in winning the Battle of New Orleans except Jean La Fafitte and his merry band of pirates did most thedamage except they were professional fighters. If the British got over the parapett the militia would have run away and Jackson would not be a hero.

          Do not confuse a band of dedicated men with a the general population (re Rogers Rangers). Without a standing army of professional soldiers to act as cadre to train them the “militia being the whole body of the people” is just an armed mob that will run away at the first sign of blood.

        • cadre to train…the militia

          Amazingly, the Constitution provides for an Officer core, just like the proven Swiss’ citizen-militia maintains.

          “To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.” ~Article 1, Section 8, U.S. Constitution

          Disband the Standing Army (by far the largest Welfare-tit-sucking constituency out there), keep core officers for training, and we’d get by on 1/7th of the money now spent on today’s “defense” appropriations, which are actually just a military-industrial-complex racket.

        • You stated, falsely:

          nobody is arguing against A standing army

          “I disproved your assertion with several quotes proving they argued against A standing army. Read ‘em.”


          the fact is that the constitution allows for the raising of a standing army, forefather reluctance or not. Get over it.

          “The founders were against a standing army, whether they thought it large or not.”

          The founders? youre generalizing. Again, read my citations.


        • WLCE, you’re as deceptive about the Constitution as any Leftist. Did you learn that with in pillow talk with DiFi? *chuckles*

          While the Constitution allows for raising an army, it is only for a period of 2 years.

          Because the 2A was intended to be the Anti-Standing Army amendment.

          “What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty….”

          ~Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, spoken during floor debate over the Second Amendment, I Annals of Congress at 750, August 17, 1789

          You keep weaselin’ around that.

        • FLAME DELETED – If you’re flamed please email [email protected]. Do NOT respond to flamers.

          “While the Constitution allows for raising an army, it is only for a period of 2 years.”

          Yes and where have I said otherwise? that is also discounting the professional officer corps tasked with maintaining order and discipline to the militia and the naval forces.

          the authors of the Federalist argued not only for the utility of a small, permanent army but, furthermore, that the militia would always be great enough to overcome a usurpation of the people’s liberties by the national government.

          “Because the 2A was intended to be the Anti-Standing Army amendment.”

          Indeed, and to add to that, it was intended as a check to keep a professional armed force in check from terrorizing the general population (which happened countless times in Europe).

          “What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty….”

          ~Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, spoken during floor debate over the Second Amendment, I Annals of Congress at 750, August 17, 1789″

          “As the greatest danger to liberty is from large standing armies, it is best to prevent them by an effectual provision for a good militia.” -James Madison, 1787 Federal Convention-

          I suggest you read,

          The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745–1799. Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick. 39 vols. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1931–44.

          “You keep weaselin’ around that.”

          I would have to be against the idea of armed citizens to have any incentive to weasel around that. i dont. There is a reason for the 2nd amendment.

          If you think of me as a supporter of large standing armies and executive power manipulation to maintain such a beast in direct contradiction of our own constitution (like what is happening now), then you couldnt be more wrong.

    • The USMC is a department of the Navy, the one military force that the Constitution gives permission to be maintained in times of both peace and war.

      Badger 8-3

      • They’re no longer sharpshooters in the rigging of sails in ship-to-ship actions.

        Reality today: “The Marine Corps combat capabilities in some ways overlap those of the United States Army…” [wiki]

        And don’t forget the October 1994 Marine questionnaire at the Twentynine Palms Marine Base in California, where recruits were asked 46 questions, including whether they would kill U.S. citizens who refused to surrender their firearms.

        That is a task given to a Standing Army.

        • Certainly their mission has changed. To expect it to have remained the same is simply demonstrating extreme naivety toward the evolution of warfare (i.e. we no longer use sailing ships with rigging). In fact, it’s dangerously similar to “the Second Amendment was written back when all they had were muskets, they never imagined ‘assault weapons’!” To call for the disbanding of a unit provided for per the Constitution because technology has evolved around it is incredibly short sighted.

          Fact is, the Founders were very intelligent and had witnessed innovation and advancement in their own lives. To assume that they assumed technology would stagnate once they died is foolish. The Constitution is written, not sloppily, but in a way that allows it to retain relevance in any age, regardless of technology. It simply relies upon a moral people, something we lack in the halls of Washington today.

          Also, please look back on my post above, discussing the Founders intent behind a standing army. I was agreeing with you…as of right now I am respectfully attempting to point out a few errors in your posts. Don’t jump down someone’s throat because they don’t agree strongly enough with you. I would fully support dismantling the US Army, per its un-Constitutional standing. However, I know this will never happen.

          Also, please re-read the section of the Constitution you quoted above. The two year time limit was for appropriated funds…money…not a limit upon how long the army was maintained. The Constitution is misquoted and misunderstood far too frequently these days. Further misunderstanding of the document simply leads to it eventually being declared obsolete by the ignorant public at large.

          Per the 29 Palms survey…I’ve read it. Note it was recruits who were questioned…recruits who as of yet don’t know their ass from a hot rock. Per my own experience, I know few active duty Marines who would follow orders that they knew were un-Constitutional. Key word being ‘knew’. You cannot blame or deride soldiers, sailors, airmen, or Marines for serving when the US has merely paid lip service to its original intent since the so-called Civil War. The intent and goal of the Founders is no longer taught…excuse their ignorance, teach the truth, then you can deride those who chose to ignore the truth. Barring that, hope that the individuals you so clearly despise hold true to the oaths they may not fully understand. In the meantime, I respectfully ask that you refrain from demonstrating your hatred towards my brothers and I. We, the good ones, don’t ask for special status or favor, and we neither deserve nor tolerate disrespect, as no other good Citizen deserves it, nor should tolerate it.

          Badger 8-3

        • The founders stood vociferously against a Standing Army, the 2A was meant to prevent a Standing Army and they said so, yet you support every pretext that the Collectivists have offered for maintaining a Standing Army.

          You may as well kiss Feinstein on the lips, because you both piss on the intent of the 2A. You aiming on the first half, and she on the second half.

          You weasel with words like Feinstein. Do you really think you can get around the Constitutional 2 year limit on a raised army with your Leftist sea-lawyerin’?

        • “What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty….”

          ~Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, spoken during floor debate over the Second Amendment, I Annals of Congress at 750, August 17, 1789

          Why are you having a difficult time understanding? Because you don’t like the 2A any better than DiFi herself.

        • “Because you don’t like the 2A any better than DiFi herself.”

          …Because you don’t agree with me, you dont like the 2A any better than DiFi herself…

          fixed that for ya.

          unfortunately, for your case, my side does not have finklestein in it.

  30. The only issue with this article is that the round was probably M855.

    I’m more than confident that my 75gr Hornady TAP will bring down someone with a few rounds to the chest.

    • I use that as well thanks to it being recommended by DocGKR. Only thing that sucks is it costs close to a buck a round.

      If you look at the graphic here under 2) OVERPENETRATION INSIDE THE HOME you’ll see that the round appears (to my untrained eyes) to create a permanent wound cavity (in ballistics gel) that is larger than that of 00 buckshot.

    • yes absolutely

      M193 and M855 are good for plinking or range use (m855 even less so, which is why i have little of it), but there is a plethora of other options that are much much better.

      i would rather use 45 gr winchester HP than M855.

  31. Sounds like an updated (and rifle) version of the whole reason the 1911 was developed. 38 wasn’t doing it to the locals hopped up on the local flora, so the army went to something bigger. I’ve also heard reports of GI’s in the sandbox grabbing m14s out of mothballs because they wanted a little longer effective range.

    • GI’s” cant grab “an m14 out of mothballs”.
      1. The military has few m14s left, many given to other countries by clinton
      2. The navy actually had the most m14s in stock in the 90s
      3. The army doesnt haul old rifles to war zones to be “grabbed
      4. The few m14s in use by the army are as designated marksman rifles, carefully controlled
      5. The ‘EBR” m14 is a socom weapon
      6. Pity the GI who shows up in the field with “a gun he grabbed from mothballs”….hello brig
      7. Did you actually serve? This is a really dum myth

  32. Thank you for your service sir.
    Not to get an argument going, but this is the very issue that’s kept me from getting an AR. In 1992, Dr. Martin Fackler(former head of the Army’s wound ballistics lab) released a study of mass murders from 1970 to 1991. He compared 5.56mm and 7.62×39 wounding/lethal effects versus those of killers using 12 ga. shotguns. The ratio of dead to wounded victim survivors for the intermediate rounds was 26-74%.Whereas the ratio for the shotguns was76-24% a nearly 3x higher leathality. Notice that the dead/wounded ratio at the Aurora theater was exactly what Fackler’s study predicts.
    Moreover, despite what I’ve read here in comments claiming it was not U.S. strategy to field a rifle designed primarily to wound(thus causing the enemy to expend more national assets) Dr. Fackler stated in the study that in fact that was the design rationale of the 5.56,and that mass civilian shootings in both calibers reflected it.
    This, along with anecdotal stories from combat vets such as this Marine,(read”BlackHawk Down”) make me hesitant to go AR except with hollowpoint hunting rounds. However, I’ve never shot one,nor am I a hunter,so I’ve never seen it’s effects on game. So I’m stuck in the realm of theory here.

    • Incapacitation is the goal, not lethality. If you are hit in the chest by a 223 hollowpoint at close range (twice the energy of a 357magnum…a known manstopper that did not kill many, but stunned them temporarily out of the fight), you are sooooo screwed.

  33. I was a MC Scout Sniper in the previous war. As USMC Snipers we do not have access to anything other what is doctrinally spec’d for all our weapon systems. The Corps has vacillated between the Sierra 168 great Matching, Normandy match ammo and some unspecified projectiles. All are now pretty much ballitic hollow points but Geneva compliant. Point being; the Marine shared his experience is correct; the. 56/.223 is woefully under powered for what it is used for Militarily and while it can and does kill, a good hunting cartridge in a better caliber will do a far better job killing.

    • copied from
      “Scout Snipers are infantrymen skilled in long-range marksmanship from concealed locations. Their primary mission is to conduct close reconnaissance and surveillance operations in order to gain intelligence on the enemy and the terrain. Scout Snipers must earn the rank of Lance Corporal, be selected by their battalion to join the scout-sniper platoon and complete an approved scout-sniper course in order to receive this designation.

      Initial Training
      Requirements vary by battalion, but infantrymen who qualify may be selected for training conducted at the battalion level after successfully completing a two-week indoctrination course. After serving for a time in the battalion scout-sniper platoon, a Marine may be sent to the formal Scout Sniper Basic Course to earn the official scout-sniper MOS.

      Within the MEU
      A Scout Sniper platoon works directly for the battalion commander. They may be tasked to provide support to maneuver units or may operate separately.

      Scout Snipers include:
      Spotter: Detects, observes and confirms sniper targets, calculates the range and wind conditions on a given target, conducts reconnaissance and surveillance.
      Sniper: Delivers long-range precision fires on selected targets, conducts reconnaissance and surveillance.” -end quote from

      Based on this description, I note 2 jobs: Spotter and Sniper. The men involved have likely cross-trained officially or unofficially to be able to do their part better.

      Based on this description, Marines in these jobs are well-trained, experienced (Lance Cpl., at least), and operate independently for long periods (days, weeks?) when deployed.

      “Their primary mission is to conduct close reconnaissance and surveillance operations…” and their secondary missions are to do what snipers traditionally do: defensively or offensively provide security against infiltration/enemy snipers, delay enemy movement, navigate without being noticed, and generally provide uncertainty to an enemy by being individually/team first-shot lethal at range beyond modern PDW’s. Patience would be an important personality feature of an individual doing these jobs.

      A militia unit with someone who has experienced this job and perhaps been tasked to train Scout Snipers would be greatly improved over those units/individuals doing “self-training” from manuals and guessing. Even if the members of a militia unit cannot meet the standards of elite Marines, the operational knowledge would be very valuable.

      On-topic: .30 cal, or .50BMG, precision rifle.

  34. Semper Fi and thanks for your service.

    I guess one more opinion won’t hurt.

    I think the mentality behind the .223 selection (as well as the Geneva Conventions against expanding bullets) comes from a 19th/early 20th century mindset where soldiers were conscripts of despotic countries. These men were essentially slaves forced into battle. Once shot (the theory is) they would sit down and think “OMG I’ve just been shot! I’d better sit here and wait for a medic.” The .223 is a fine cartridge against such a soldier. Against a “soldier” who is hell bent on collecting his 72 virgins, not so much.

    As far as what is enough, I’ve heard of deer getting heart shot with 30-06 and bolting 50 yards before crumbling to the ground. If all the bad guy has to do is pull the trigger after being shot, I don’t know if there is a round large enough. With the .223, much like the 9mm it’s best not to shoot once and wait to see if you’ve made a one shot stop.

    • conscripts of despotic countries

      Then the US is certainly despotic.

      “I also think there are prices too high to pay to save the United States. Conscription is one of them. Conscription is slavery, and I don’t think that any people or nation has a right to save itself at the price of slavery for anyone, no matter what name it is called. We have had the draft for twenty years now; I think this is shameful. If a country can’t save itself through the volunteer service of its own free people, then I say: Let the damned thing go down the drain!” ~Robert A. Heinlein

      Now we have a Standing Army of Hessians, well-paid mercenaries sucking on the Federal Welfare tit, with US “defense” spending equaling all the other countries of the world combined. If any were truly Oath-Keepers, they’d quit, knowing that the Constitution limits funding for an Army to a 2 year time limit, and must therefore be disbanded after that.

      • Totally agreed on conscription. If a war is worth fighting than the warrior is worth market rate for his services.

        As far as our foreign policy the precedent was set by one of the founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson when he sent the marines to the Barbary coast. The USA will protect our economic interests abroad. I generally think that’s a good philosophy, but in our modern global society we have to learn when and where to expend our resources wisely.

        • The weaseling continues.

          The Barbary Pirates in Jefferson’s day were kidnapping American sailors off the high seas.

          Nowadays, the military is used to bully Mafia-style smaller nations with resources to take.

          Big difference, as noted:

          War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.


          I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912 (where have I heard that name before?). I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

          During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

          ~Major General Smedley Butler, USMC, 1933 speech

      • Bear in mind that it was MERCHANT sailors that were being kidnapped. In 1812 it was the same deal only Briton. In 1917 it was the Germans who weren’t kidnapping our sailors but killing them in u-boat attacks. We fought the communists to keep free markets free. This country was founded on commerce, made rich on commerce, and has fought and always will fight to secure our economic interests.

        Recently, however we’ve strayed from that path. We fought in Bosnia and Somalia for no interest other than humanitarian. Our chief interests in Iraq is the security of our ally Israel and the free flow of oil to Europe – we get very little of our oil from the middle east. We have no interest in Afghanistan now that Bin Laden is dead. And BTW what resource are we getting from Iraq and Afghanistan? Almost all of the oil contracts in Iraq went to non-American companies.

        No, we’ve strayed from the path. We need to choose wisely where our economic interest are and which ones are worth the investment in blood and treasure to secure.

  35. Woah! This post got a few comments!

    I have always considered .223 be too light for deer. I know some guys that use .223, but I’d lots rather drag ’em back to the truck than practice my tracking skills. Just lazy I guess. lol


  36. Thank you for your service and your invaluable insight, Sir, and I anxiously look forward to reading more from you!!

    • It was where Alpha Company, 1st plt , 1/8 went too far into the city at night, the next morning found themselves too deep behind the enemy, cut off from reinforcements and completely surrounded. The enemy didn’t even know they were there. When the shooting started, 1st plt was made “combat ineffective” (loosing over half) within the first 30 mins. The building was a convince store that the Marines dubbed “the Candy Shop.”

  37. I dont agree that 5.56 is just a “varmint” round. again, lets not try to bullshit ourselves. the article is trying to lump all 5.56 in with the effectiveness, or lack of effectiveness, of the M855 green tip. The green tip was:

    1.) designed to perform optimally velocity wise by being fired out of a 20″ barrel
    2.) designed to penetrate the body armor and steel helmets of Soviet motor rifle troops.

    However, it was not designed to:

    1.) perform optimally with 14.5″ or especially 10″ barrels typical in modern carbines (M4 and Mk 18).
    2.) engage malnourished, unarmored third world terrorists that could be hopped up on opium.

    Now lets throw M855 out of the equation and introduce modern OTMs currently being used by units in Iraq and Afghanistan. Or the HP/OTM cartridges used by DOD civilians and federa law enforcement in Afghanistan and stateside. From that perspective, 5.56 has no issues with range or lethality.

    Is 5.56 the cats meow? it is lightweight with low recoil and very accurate, having the approximate kinetic energy of a 44 magnum. With modern ammunition, it is very effective against human targets. Is it the best the military could have adopted? not remotely. We messed up by ditching a true intermediate cartridge for the 308 and then messed up again by adopting the even smaller 5.56.

  38. If you don’t believe that the 5.56 is an effective combat cartridge, check out this You Tube video of Travis Haley (former Magpul instructor) when he worked for Blackwater in Iraq as a sniper. In this 6 min video, he is using a Bushmaster 20″ 1/7 twist, firing MK262 rounds. After the dust settled, target engagements were estimated to be as far as 600 yards. Check it out!!

  39. I don’t think this article is about the effectiveness (or lack of) the 5.56 round. Its more about what the general population believe it be.

  40. until I saw him RUNNING away from me, brains leaking from his head!

    100% bovine scatology! This calls into question a lot of this supposed scout/sniper’s bona fides. What he describes is simply not possible with the headshot he describes. We humans aren’t chickens or cockroaches (most of us). My guess? The poster is lying entirely about his service or he’s lying entirely about his shooting skills.

    • Not true at all.. .at the far rear/upper base of the skull exists your vision complex. Just forward of that, and slightly down exists your cerebellum/central core where your fight/flight instincts reside. To the left/right of that exist your motor complexes for things like finger/toes/arms/legs etc… all your motor functions that are caused by intentional thought. Breathing, heart pumping etc, all exist toward the center of the aft/center of the head. The proverbial perfect shot consists of separating your spinal cord from the brain complex. The frontal lobe contains thought/reasoning/personality and is not subject to survival in most instances. (Check out a fella named Thomas Gage)… It is entirely possible the shot hit above and aft of the cerebellum/spinal cord/brain stem and that the guy DID get up and run off… he was probably blind when he did it, but entirely plausible. Do some research on the physiology of the brain before making baseless comments.

  41. the 5.56 was not “designed to wound”.

    that myth refuses to die.

    to be honest, do you think the ideologically driven Soviet military cared about their wounded? do WE care about our wounded when you throw the big picture of securing a objective onto the plate? the answer to both is no. most certainly, in hypothetical World War III, wounding enemy combatants to take two soldiers out of the fight is illogical because the intensity of such a war and the essential priority of strategic objectives means wounded soldiers would be placed on the lower list of priorities.

    and from my experience, wounded combatants still fight…which means they can kill or wound you and your fellow soldiers.

  42. ITT: people without any modern combat experience argue that 5.56 is good in spite of combat evidence to the direct contrary. A Marine was injured and could easily have been killed for NO OTHER REASON than that 5.56 NATO was too weak to get the job done.

  43. You can pull any anecdotal evidence you want, and make any caliber look bad if you really want to. So I don’t really take the above article with a grain of salt. You could ask a number of people who have shot people with 5.56×45 and I’m sure you would get different answers.

    “In India, during the Chitral7 campaign of 1895, the .303 Lee-Metford rifle was clearly shown to be less effective than the older .577 Snider and .577/450 Martini-Henry rifles. Reports of enemy combatants receiving multiple wounds from the .303 and remaining active were commonplace. There was even one report of an individual being struck six times, who then walked roughly 14 kilometers to a British aide station for treatment8. The Indian Army, which had a fairly large amount of independence from the British Imperial Army, set to work to improve the effectiveness of the .303 cartridge.”

  44. 5.56 is 5.56, not a .30cal or 50cal that snipers use for a reason. To expect it to be a one-shot stop is not ideal, which is why snipers always use larger caliber rifles for that purpose.

    As much as I like the 5.56round, I agree it may not be the most effective at putting down human-sized targets immediately. But it was probably designed that way–to incapacitate a BG and put him out of action, not necessarily kill him. Its also used by our Military to be able to carry more rounds and provide more cover fire downrange, not necessarily kill everything it hits. So why is everyone surprised?????

    The marine’s anecdotal experience is good, but I wonder why he didn’t just go for a headshot the first couple of times to begin with. Shot placement is king, isn’t it? Or why didn’t he use his other larger-caliber rifle?

  45. Justice; the headshot angle is a myth born in Hollyweird. Doctrinally, we train and are trained (sniper community) to take center mass upper body/torso shots. Ultimately we are looking for solid strikes on high bleed areas as opposed to high drama hits. It increases your hit likelihood.

  46. Duke; .50 Beowulf, like other similar cartridges won’t deliver the range. The 5.56, while anemic in comparison to .30 cal is still devastating and provides some energy out to 500 yards. Until we drawn into the desert (starting in ’90), there was murmuring (although not in the Corps), that there was no more need for rifles and cartridges with ranges beyond 150 meters. That talk was incredibly short-sighted and I believe has been put to rest for the foreseeable future.

    There has been talk about replacing or upgrading the current rifle inventory to a larger cartridge, possiblt 6.8 or even back to the 7.62×51 (.308). We haven’t seen any movement in that direction yet. What we have seen is M14s coming out of mothballs, being upgraded and reintroduced to the battlefield. Most of these are being put to use as DM rifles and in some cases supplementing Sniper teams.

  47. M-1 Garand. .30-06 – 150gr at 2800fps. Done.

    Or crank a 168gr BTHP at 2700fps out of a .308 AR-10 platform.

  48. Nice to hear true scoop from a scout/sniper, as we civilians do hear quite a bit of scuttlebutt. I was in the USMCR when the m-16 was introduced and we had reservations about it at the time, of course we had trained with the M-1 and M-14. He is correct that the .223 (5.56) is basically a varment round,that is what it was developed for, this was before the military adopted it. The 223, 222, 22-250, 218 Bee and the 220 swift were developed to take praire dogs, coyotes etc.

    I agree that some of the newer rounds such as the 6.5 Grendel and the 6.8 SPC are much better choices. My personal perference is the 6.8 SPC but actually the two are pretty similar- it’s like argueing about a 270 versus 30-06.

    • 270 for deer, 30-06 for elk. What argument? Kill ALL the things!

      For those not in the know, 270 is the 30-06 case necked down to accept a slimmer bullet, thereby increasing velocity but reducing bullet weight.
      What I’ve never been clear on, where did they locate .277 dia bullets in the 20s? 7mm Mauser?

    • In the practical world, there are more and cheaper .30 bullets available than any other diameter. Every weight, every variation, is available.

  49. With FMJ ammo like the military and many cops use, this is 100% accurate. Upgrade to a good defensive round like the 75 grain Hornady Tap2, or the 77 grain black hills round, or the Black Hills 50 grain TSX barrier blind round and the differences are dramatic in power.

    I still favor a 308 round the most for the average person who will not have machine gun or air support. That would be a good FAL, HK91, SCAR 17, or even an AR in 308 though they have had a lot of reliability issues over the years.

  50. Awww, crap! Way to go; ya just let the cat out of the bag. Now Feinstein will try to limit us to 4 rounds of .22LR. 😉

    @Avenger1 – remember McChrystal was on a book/promo tour when he said that. He didn’t want to offend the media types who were giving him free ad time to hawk his book.

  51. Dear Experienced Warrior,

    I am grateful for your feedback and do not dispute your conclusions on the .223 (or 5.56) round. My point of contention is different. You described the “guy with a AK strapped to his back”, who ran out into the middle of an ally as the BAD GUY.
    May I remind you that the man in question was defending his family, friends, and nation from invading marauders. He was and is still a hero.

    The WAR and engagement that you described was and is built on lies. If we did not know it in 2003, there should not be any doubt of it in 2013. Brave young men and women, such as yourself, who fought and died in foreign lands were duped. You became nothing more than the muscle and thugs of criminal banks.

    And now those banks who so eagerly murder innocents overseas are happily planning to disarm, imprison and murder any American that stands in their way of establishing a one world government.

    U.S. Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler figured this out in 1930.
    Why do we have to repeat this idiocy every generation. We have to unite to fight these monsters. Based on your wisdom, it is clear that .223 round is not sufficient to eradicate the financial criminals.

    • I’ve heard this theory before. One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. It’s a load of crap. War is politics by other means. Everyone has their politics buddy. The USA intends to have the best politics and walk away with the win in one form or another. That’s how we do it. Every man by their nature is defending their life, liberty and property. Your peacenik theory does not survive the test of humanity. Human’s are essentially killers and we will always be killing one way or another. You want to bad mouth the USA’s initiative in this world then I would suggest you GTFO and go join the enemy.