By Debbie Gregory.
In a dramatic shift for the US military, the Army is considering the use of bullets that can expand and break up when striking a target, making new pistols more lethal.
After a recent legal review within the Pentagon, the Army can consider expanding the use of fragmenting ammunition, such as hollow point bullets, to increase its next-generation handgun’s ability to stop an enemy.
A hollow-point bullet is an expanding bullet that has a pit or hollowed out shape in its tip, often intended to cause the bullet to expand upon entering a target in order to decrease penetration and disrupt more tissue as it travels through the target. It is also used for controlled penetration, where over-penetration could cause collateral damage.
This marks a departure from battlefield practices over a century old, and raises concerns about violating international law.
While this isn’t the first approved use of such bullets in the military, the stance represented a re-interpretation of the legal standard for ammunition. Currently, only ball ammunition is used. These rounds are designed to hold together, increasing penetration and narrowing the tunnel of damaged tissue.
More than 20 manufacturers are vying to make the XM-17, the Army’s next handgun. Most of the Army uses full metal jacket, or ball ammunition, in both handguns and rifles.
Expanding and fragmenting bullets can flatten or break apart, and are more likely to remain in the body of a target and transfer all of their energy to it. A wider swath of tissue is typically destroyed.
The United States has generally observed the 1899 Hague Convention battlefield rule barring expanding and fragmenting rounds. The declaration was ratified by all major powers, except the U.S. , but the Pentagon has used it as the legal standard to rule out any ammunition other than ball for use in sidearms.
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Army Considering Hollow Point Ammo : Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory