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Posted: 11/18/2003 5:30:34 PM EDT
Just because there hasn't been enough controversy, noise, and commotion about the topic of M-4 stopping power (or not) I thought I would forward the following e-mail from Dr. Martin Fackler to a friend of mine.

SD


> Peter,
>
> I delayed commenting on purported "Combat Failures of 5.56mm Ammunition"
> because I wanted to show it to John Hall (recently retired FBI lawyer and
> former head of the Firearms Training Unit at Quantico) with whom I was
> sharing the stage at a Deadly Force Training Seminar at MacDill AFB last
> week. I asked him to read the document and give me his evaluation as to
its
> value as evidence. His unhesitating answer agreed with mine: it is
> essentially useless. Huge uncertainty and propensity for error plagues all
> such reports by the persons involved. "Gunshot hits were THOUGHT to have
> been scored on the enemy" Some evidence! We know that more often than not
> what those involved in deadly force incidents "thought," was, in fact, in
> error.
>
> Unfortunately, "close inspection of the enemy's corpse" by those untrained
> in human anatomy and pathophysiology, is also problematic. A detailed
> autopsy by an MD well versed in wound ballistics is needed before any
> rational conclusions can be drawn. I had a case in LA recently in which a
> person was struck by eleven police HP 40 S&W bullets and wasn't even
slowed
> down -- until a half-hour later when he was struck, almost simultaneously,
> by one sniper's 5.56 SP in the head and one from another sniper in the
> heart.
>
> The complaint that soldiers are being furnished equipment that "is not the
> best equipment our country could give them with which which to defend
> themselves." is literally true. But, unfortunately, our government follows
> the rules set down in the Hague Convention of 1899 -- which prohibits
> expanding bullets. We were smart enough not to sign that ridiculous
> document -- but still abide by it (for political reasons I suppose).
>
> I also, am no fan of the 5.56: but must admit it has some advantages --
> soldiers can carry more ammo, and the light recoil makes it easier to
train
> soldiers to shoot it accurately.
>
> But we must not forget, the 5.56 is essentially a groundhog cartridge --
> never meant for shooting deer sized animals (e.g., homo sapiens). With the
> 5.56, there is no margin for error. With the the .308 you can knock off
800
> ft/sec and still have a man killer -- but with the 5.56, such a velocity
> loss will affect performance very adversely.
>
> Ordnance engineers missed a great chance to add some margin, and increase
> the wounding capacity of the 5.56, when the A2 was introduced. They should
> have changed the chamber to an .223 Ackley Improved. That would have: 1)
> increased the muzzle velocity, 2) allowed the A1 bullets to be fired in
the
> new chamber (fire-forming them into new Ackley Improved cases), but have
> prevented the larger A2 cartridge from entering the chamber of the old A1.
> Many police groups use surplus A1s, with a 1 in 12" twist. One of these
> days, the police are going to shoot somebody using an A2 or some other
> too-long-bullet in the 1 in 12" twist barrel. This is likely to cause a
very
> large stellate entrance wound when it hits going sideways: and I cringe to
> imagine what our firearm illiterate press will do with the "inhumane
bullet"
> accusations.
>
> Later, ordnance engineers chopped off 5 1/2 inches from the A2 barrel to
> make the M4. The degree of wound ballistics illiteracy demonstrated by
doing
> this astounds me. But, based on my contact with our highly-trained special
> military groups, I must opine that the blame is not entirely with the
> engineers. Understandably, we tend to modify equipment based on the
requests
> from members of these highly dedicated and well trained special forces.
> Also, understandably, they want the most compact rifle they can get. Our
> system gave them what they wanted. Unfortunately, no matter how strong,
> well-trained, brave, and "special" the members of these forces are -- they
> are essentially wound ballistics illiterates. Allowed to choose what they
> wanted, they chose barrels too short to provide the needed velocity --
and,
> at that time, there was no safeguard built into our system to prevent such
> idiocy. The wound ballistics lab at the Presidio closed in 1991 -- and has
> not been replaced.
>
> Fortunately, about 18 months ago, a Tri-Service Wound Ballistics Team was
> formed at Picatinny Arsenal. I am one of the core members, and was
involved
> with the formation of the team from the beginning. I was able to convince
> the engineers to assign two additional highly firearm literate, combat
> experienced MDs as core members (Dick Mason [Pathologist], and Paul
> Dougherty [Orthopedic Surgeon]).
>
> Currently, it appears that we are stuck with the 5.56. In that caliber,
> however, if we changed the chamber to an Ackley Improved, and put it in a
24
> inch barrel, we could get performance close to that of the 22-250. If such
a
> long barrel is too inconvenient in the M 16 configuration -- put it in a
> bullpup.
>
> Marty
Link Posted: 11/18/2003 6:54:52 PM EDT
Fackler not a fan of the 5.56? This is going to send the AR fanatics into a tail spin. Just goes to show you, fragmentation isn't everything.
Link Posted: 11/19/2003 1:44:29 PM EDT
This would get much more attention if posted in the AR ammo forum. Just put your flame suit on first.
Link Posted: 11/19/2003 6:01:53 PM EDT
I wonder what he would think about rounds in the 6.5mm range (or even the unique 6.3x? in the FN90 gun)?
I just do not see common issue of a caliber that seriously needs more than 18" of bbl.
Link Posted: 11/19/2003 7:23:46 PM EDT
Just posted a link to this thread on the AR side in Ammo.....

We'll see what kind of knee jerk reaction we'll get.....
Link Posted: 11/20/2003 6:27:36 PM EDT
if your going to change calibers, why re-invent the wheel? Just bring back the m14, even if it is in a limited role. Give the guys who can shoot the m14 and the others an ar for supressing/cover/volume of fire. Best of both world. Different rifles for different purposes.

My opinion anyways. Free as always
Link Posted: 11/22/2003 9:24:36 AM EDT
Why would Dr. Fackler refer the the M855 as the "A2" round and the M193 as the "A1" round?

He knows damn well what the names of these two cartridges are.

Letter smells fishy.
Link Posted: 11/23/2003 6:36:28 AM EDT
Letter smells fishy

The source is personally known to me and you can bet the deed to your house that it's genuine.

Bear in mind that this was not something meant for publication but instead a personal communication between two guys who communicate regularly. We all use some form of shorthand-speak when talking with someone we know. Heck, take a look at most of the posts on this board and decide if technically perfect desriptions are used with any regularity.

SD out.
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