What type of ammunition would the Agency use?

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What type of ammunition would the Agency use?

Post by Odon on Wed 9 Jan 2013 - 11:47

There's been a lot of talk about what type of weapons the girls and their handlers would prefer, but what about ammunition? Back in the 90's when I Was A Teenaged Gun Nut, I used to know all about Glasers and Blitz Action Trauma rounds and what jacketed hollowpoint was recommended by the likes of Massad Ayoob or Evan Marshall, but I'm a little rusty now, so I thought I'd put the question out there for our contemporary gun nuts. Especially given the twin roles of the Agency in assasination and hostage rescue. HRT rounds would need to break up inside the body for maximum stopping power and to prevent overpenetration. A round used for assasination however would need to overpenetrate to provide the through-and-through wounds which are more likely to be fatal, and subsonic rounds would be needed for silenced weapons. Let's not forget Padania too; some stories have mentioned them equipped with armor piercing ammunition against the cyborgs. And would you really need breaching rounds when cyborgs can kick open steel doors? Let's hear your opinions and recommendations.


Last edited by Odon on Wed 9 Jan 2013 - 20:04; edited 1 time in total

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Re: What type of ammunition would the Agency use?

Post by Kiskaloo on Wed 9 Jan 2013 - 12:41

I've tailored the ammunition to the mission.

Covert missions call for subsonic ammunition. Long-distance snipes call for high-velocity penetrators. I believe I have used breaching rounds once or twice. I've also used high-velocity flechettes to penetrate armored doors as well as Armor-Piercing-Explosive-Incendiary rounds for anti-material roles.

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Re: What type of ammunition would the Agency use?

Post by Darkstar117 on Wed 9 Jan 2013 - 13:09

I'd pick a round that would pass US FBI specs.

http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Self_Defense_Ammo_FAQ/index.htm



If you were using a suppressor, having subsonic rounds really doesn't make much difference from a standard round.

One exception to this would be with a single-shot or bolt action system, where there is no noise from the action of the firearm.



As for the Padania, I would imagine they would use whatever they can get. The black market generally doesn't supply the best gear without bringing attention to itself.
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Re: What type of ammunition would the Agency use?

Post by Kiskaloo on Wed 9 Jan 2013 - 13:15

@Darkstar117 wrote:If you were using a suppressor, having subsonic rounds really doesn't make much difference from a standard round.

A suppressor doesn't stop the sonic boom caused by the bullet's supersonic travel speed.

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Re: What type of ammunition would the Agency use?

Post by Darkstar117 on Wed 9 Jan 2013 - 13:49

@Kiskaloo wrote:
@Darkstar117 wrote:If you were using a suppressor, having subsonic rounds really doesn't make much difference from a standard round.

A suppressor doesn't stop the sonic boom caused by the bullet's supersonic travel speed.

Correct, but the action noise is usually quite substantial.

Generally the rule on supressors is that they help hide the location of the shooter, and not the fact a shot had been fired. A supressed firearm generally sounds like a very loud nail gun.
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Re: What type of ammunition would the Agency use?

Post by Alfisti on Wed 9 Jan 2013 - 18:34

Considering the large variety of firearms the SWA (even in canon) uses I think it would be fairly resonable to assume they change loadouts dependent on what the mission required... as an everyday general carry though, I dunno, something with stopping power so maybe a hollow point?

That said, Jethro + Monty I've always seen as using just straight FMJ ammunition as my understanding is that, with the small, low powered rounds they use, hollow points would have difficulty penetrating even thick clothing. Given their roll they need their ammunition to be a catch-all rather than particularly excelling at one thing or another.

Another argument could be made for, as a SWA general issue/training round, just using the standard NATO 9mm... simply because it'd be easy to get in bulk and hide the SWA's requisitions amongst those for other police and military units.

As to the Padania: agreed with Darkstar in that they'd take whatever they could get... though as time went on I would picture their supply channels getting more sophisticated and able to aquire more specialised gear... particularly once they did realise they needed to deal with the cyborgs.

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Re: What type of ammunition would the Agency use?

Post by Odon on Wed 9 Jan 2013 - 20:02

I always through the Raufoss Mk 211 round had potential as an anti-cyborg round. It's a fifty calibre armor piercing explosive incinedary round used in Iraq (supposedly not against people due to the Hague Convention) so one can imagine a corrupt element in the US military supply line diverting some along with the Barrett rifles to Padania. It would match with what we see in the Turin Plant attack where Triela gets her limbs blown off by fifty cal rounds; the Raufoss is supposed to have the same effect as a 20mm.

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Re: What type of ammunition would the Agency use?

Post by John_234 on Thu 10 Jan 2013 - 5:17

This is going to be a complex explanation, so yay spoiler tags.

Handguns
Spoiler:

Handguns basically all do the same thing.

Nobody has made the claim yet, but I'd like to point out that FMJ on handguns doesn't really affect performance against body armor, as all decent armor will stop a typical handgun round. Where normal ball has an advantage is intermediate barriers, like clothing as Alfi said, or car doors, windows, etc. In the case of a .32 pistol, FMJ is suggested not because of barriers, but because the bullet might not penetrate enough of the person to do lethal damage. Same with .380 and low-pressure .38 loadings.

So, generally speaking there's nothing wrong with using JHP assuming your handgun is of moderately powerful caliber. The FBI guidelines posted on the thread are a good standard - a cartridge should reliably penetrate about 12 to 14 inches in ballistic gelatin and expand. This means it chews up more of the target and stops in the target faster, reducing the chance of exiting the target and hitting something behind them. In very cold weather, layers of clothing can fill up the nose of your JHP and turn it into a ball round. This doesn't actually make it less effective than FMJ, but the advantage JHP affords in stopping power is gone at that point.


Various JHPs expanded to max size. Remember, they don't always do this in real life.

Some people only carry 9mms today because advances in bullet technology mean they expand very well. Take that away, and firearms experts like Massad Ayoob have been known to switch to .45 or other, large-caliber handguns during cold weather. Even if the bullet doesn't expand, its still a .45.


Two FMJs, two different JHPs, one lead semi-wadcutter (LSWC or just SWC) and one lead round nose. The lead ones are typically used as cheap practice ammo and do nasty things to soft targets.

From the aspect of what makes sense on a daily basis JHP is a pretty tried and proven performer against people. However, specifically in Italy it is banned for use by military, police and civilian use by my understanding. So something like a FMJ, JFP (jacketed flat point) or pure lead bullet that deforms on impact might be desirable if you don't want to raise too many questions. For assassination, it doesn't really matter because you'll be shooting them in the vitals from close range with the element of surprise.


This is the kind of ammo most soft body armor will stop.

As far as AP ammo goes, you can buy steel-core penetrator ammo which punches through kevlar pretty easily, or run a Five-seveN or Tokarev for improved effect against soft armor. In the military / direct action sense I'd rather use a handgun loaded with specialized AP ammo than use 5.7x28 or 7.62x25, as specialized PDW rounds tend to suffer from greatly reduced stopping power. The thing is though, all of those are defeated by rifle plates, so principally with a handgun, you want to shoot until they drop, and shoot around the armor if necessary. There was an incident in the US a year or two ago where a cop had to fight a soldier with mental illness who had all of his body armor on. The only thing he could do was aim for a headshot.

Also, stuff like the Glaser safety slug and frangibles being ideal for use against people I'd have to say is mostly myth. That stuff has been known to explode in contact with even glass windows, striking their target but having almost no stopping power. Frangibles are for range use. The best approach for using a handgun in a police / hostage rescue environment is use good, expanding ammo that is consistent and accurate, and train to the very best you can.

Some bullets over-penetrate the target upon impact. Every single bullet out there will punch through a wall or intermediate barrier if you miss the target entirely, though. The biggest liability is not bullet design, but human error.


There's a LOT of bullet types out there.

Full Metal Jacket Truncated Cone
Jacketed Hollow Point Truncated Cone
Full Metal Jacket Round Nose
Full Metal Jacket Round Nose
Jacketed Hollow Point
Jacketed Hollow Point Truncated Cone
Full Metal Jacket Round Nose
Full Metal Jacket Truncated Cone
Full Metal Jacket Round Nose
(Silvertip) Jacketed Hollowpoint
Full Metal Jacket Truncated Cone
Jacketed Hollow Point Boat Tail
Full Metal Jacket Round Nose Boat Tail


TL;DR: If you want to use my characters as an example, they use straight up defensive JHP, with AP on hand if the job might indicate the need for it. .380s are often just FMJ for improved lethality, and sometimes the .38s are lead bullets for same reasons of poor penetration, but offering the deformation of a lead round.

Rifles
Spoiler:

Bullet fragmentation has a lot to do with how well the gun stops the bad guy.

When your gun cranks out major velocity like a rifle, most bullets will inherently fragment when they strike their targets. Most bullets need to penetrate so much flesh / barrier to fragment, so what can happen is if the bullet hits a limb, it might just go in and out without a chance to fragment and expand to do serious damage. Most rifle damage is caused by hitting bones.

Rifle ammo choice is probably a whole lot more important than handguns. 5.56 bullets, for example tend to fragment under 200 meters anyway, but you can buy bullets that are designed to fragment more easily in targets and interior walls to reduce collateral. Similarly but in the opposite direction, bonded-core bullets will hold together better through cars and automotive glass. You have hollowpoints for hunting that fragment and expand very violently - similar designs, like "open tip match" ammo are used in the tactical world to reduce collateral.


The M855 is mildly AP because it has a steel penetrator in front of the lead core.

Some ammo is mildly armor-piercing. All rifles do a heck of a number against armor to begin with, which is why we need specialized ceramic and steel plates to stop rifle ammo. But you have the US-issue M855 series, which has a steel core to increase weight and stability - this also serves to give it a mild armor-piercing capability that defeats some brands of level III rifle plates. AK bullets by some manufactures have a steel core, as it can be very cheap to use low-grade steel as a bullet filler.


Actual AP ammo like this M955 has a serious penetrator compared to the mild one in the M855 ball ammo.

Even the M855 is not a true AP bullet. The M855 fragments at short range, dramatically so. A true armor-piercing bullet generally has a very large steel or tungsten penetrator. This is good for dealing with vehicles, up-armored vehicles, body armor and so forth. The bullet generally defeats the armor or not at all. If a .308 can't beat a level III steel plate on the first shot, it will rarely ever defeat it in dozens of following rounds. Ceramic plates on the other hand can break in anywhere from a half dozen to dozens of rounds depending on what bullets and what plates. So, the best option regardless of bullet choice is to keep shooting, or aim for vitals like the head or pelvic girdle, rarely armored enough to stop rifle bullets.

On top of all that, the weight of your bullet affects if its more suited to subsonic use with a silencer, how much of a range its going to be effective at and so forth, even the fragmentation. 55 grain 5.56 ammo will fragment very fast at close range, but really isn't that stable past a few hundred meters. 77 grain 5.56 has a very stable range of up to maybe 500M, but its not going to fragment past very short range due to a heavier, tougher bullet.

TL;DR:

What the US calls Mk 308 Mod 0. OTM (Open Tip Match) has an open nose and a lead core for consistent fragmentation. It's a good general purpose bullet.

In a law enforcement context, lightweight FMJ, OTM or JHP bullets that break up faster in targets backed up with a few magazines of heavier bonded-core or heavier ball ammo is probably a sound approach. Armor piercing ammo is rarely seen used by the police, mostly a military thing.

Shotguns
Spoiler:
Ammo choice literally makes the shotgun. If you use birdshot, you're going to have a range of about five yards. The most common load is OO (double-ought) buckshot. That's nine thirty caliber pellets, basically an entire magazine from a typical .380 ACP pocket pistol.


Different sizes of shot.

OO, and its larger cousin OOO buckshot actually waste a bit of space in the shell because the pellets are so big, but the weight of individual projectiles means you get the best range out of the varieties of shot (non-slug, pellets and stuff.) This is important if a shotgun is your primary weapon.


In a home-defense or direct action scenario, you probably want a lighter buckshot. Number 1 buckshot is the largest pellet size that doesn't waste air space in the shell like OO. In the pic above, you can see OO has all this air space around the pellets because they're so big. There's also Number 4, which is often advocated for HD since it carries a ton of pellets and penetrates walls less, supposedly. It's not as effective as OO or Number 1 pellet-for-pellet though, so your shots may not reach the internal organs to hurt the guy.

Then there's slugs. Brenneke, foster, all similar in effect - they're thrown like a shuttlecock with the front end weighted, so they have a consistent trajectory. They suffer from horrible bullet drop, but penetrate very well (not as good as a 7.62x51mm FMJ round, but better than most) and do a ton of damage. You can seriously damage engine blocks, kill someone with blunt impact even if they have armor that the slug doesn't penetrate and kill most large game. That aside, slugs in the LE or military world serve to extend the effective range of a shotgun.


Buckshot has a range of 50 or so meters, tops. More with high-quality chokes. Slugs can be worked with to 150 meters easily, maybe farther by a good shooter. So, when you have a shotgun it is very common to have a tube full of buckshot, with slugs as your reloads on a sidesaddle or ammo pocket in case you need more range. More than any other gun, having different ammo on hand is what makes the shotgun so versatile.


Traditionally slugs have been visually different from buckshot. They're usually blue, have open noses and higher brass. Buckshot is generally green or red. Yellow for twenty gauge.

Then we have the less-lethal ammo like taser, beanbag or plastic baton rounds. They don't cycle in most semi-autos, hence pump guns being used for them typically. Generally speaking a 37mm grenade launcher with beanbags works a lot better, but they are nice in a pinch. Breaching rounds also don't cycle in autos. The reason breaching rounds exist when you can just blast the door open with a slug is collateral damage. A breaching round is made of compressed copper or similar. It impacts the lock mechanism and rips it apart, but also disintegrates by the time it leaves the target, making it less likely a hostage within the room is injured. It also doesn't have as much of a chance of splashing you with shrapnel as OO buck or slugs.

Most specialty rounds like "bolo," flechette and Dragonsbreath don't actually do all that much and rarely function better than typical shotgun ammo.

TL;DR: For shotguns, a good, accurate buckshot load that fits your mission needs backed up with slugs that you know how to hit accurately with is a pretty good fighting load. Changing ammo on a shotty and reloading constantly is really important. Specialty ammo is necessary for various jobs in some manner.

Exotics
Raufoss rounds are intended for EOD. A .50 round can't make a mortar shell or mine explode. Load it with a bit of explosive, and it probably will. In an anti-cyborg sense, it doesn't actually make much of a difference. .50 BMG is so powerful, you could hit them with a normal bullet and still rip off entire limbs. The Raufoss would not change that in a way significant enough to justify the extra cost, most likely.

Explosive rounds in most normal rifle or handgun bullets have so little content, it doesn't really make a difference either. So my humble opinion on that is, if you're not actually using it to destroy sensitive equipment or explosives, its probably not necessary. Unless you just want to make someone look evil cause they're using explosive bullets, anyway.

Flechettes, I have to say are unfortunately pretty bad. Out of a shotgun, they quickly turn sideways in flight and offer almost no penetration. They don't actually penetrate more than typical bullets - their advantage is that a smaller, thinner projectile goes faster and is hypothetically more accurate, like a sabot-discarding projectile from a tank cannon. This is why we tried to make rifles shooting flechettes in the Cold War. Didn't really work, though. The most accurate bullets we have today for small arms are all of a conventional design. If you want to penetrate armor, use denser bullets designed to penetrate armor and / or a bigger gun.

Subsonic ammo is also nice if you want the rifle to run as quiet as possible. It's not always feasible though, since most rifles with subsonic ammo need to be manually cycled. Not an issue for a majority of handguns, that said.

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