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How much ammo do soldiers carry?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Alan Fud, Oct 10, 2003.

  1. Alan Fud

    Alan Fud Well-Known Member

    Saw a show last week how quickly you can empty a 30-round mag on a M16 shooting full-auto. That got me to thinking :rolleyes:

    1) How much ammo (both rifle & pistol) do combat soldiers carry?

    2) Has this changed over the years?

    3) What about during WWII (both rifle & pistol) ?

    4) What about the other wars? 'Nam? Korea? Etc.?
  2. greyhound

    greyhound Well-Known Member

    Not sure how many for each of those examples, but from what I read in interviews, its never enough.:D

    Quote from "Black Hawk Down":

    "Dude, you don't need that. Take more AMMO!"
  3. Mark Tyson

    Mark Tyson Well-Known Member

    Depends. 180 rounds is a pretty standard combat load in the US. That's six magazines not counting the one in the weapon. Six mags fits into the 2 ammo pouches on your pistol belt or into the chest pouches on the load bearing vest. You can never carry enough ammo. Sometimes almost all you're humping is water and ammo. I could fit two extra ammo pouches on my pistol belt.

    This varies for base of fire weapons(249, 240G, etc.)

    Full auto fire is notoriously wasteful of ammo, though it can be mastered with enough practice. Semi auto is the way to go most of the time.
  4. C.R.Sam

    C.R.Sam Moderator Emeritus

    Light kit and mobile.
    .762....eight 20 round mags n one in weapon.
    M-16 (later)...ten 20 round mags n one in weapon.
    Thompson...four 30 round sticks n one in weapon.

    Heavy kit and workin out of fixed area....as much ammo as could draw, beg, borrow or steal.

  5. Teufelhunden

    Teufelhunden Well-Known Member

    We are issued gear to carry 6 mags with 30 rnds/mag (180 rnds) plus one in the weapon for a total of 210 rounds.

    Having said that, it is also true that a buttpack or thigh cargo pockets hold an awful lot, so an individual's combat round count can easily double (if they're smart).

  6. Mark Tyson

    Mark Tyson Well-Known Member

    Forgot to add: with those old ALICE packs you could clip extra ammo pouches to your ruck for a truly hellacious firefight. With that newfangled MOLLE that costs 1000+ USD I'll bet you can carry all kinds of goodies . . .
  7. Johnny Guest

    Johnny Guest Moderator Emeritus

    Farther back in time - - -

    Early WW-II newsreels depicted infantry personnel armed with the M1903 rifle wearing only the standard ten-pocket cartridge belt - - This would have been 100 rounds. When the M1 was in common issue, the same web gear held only 80 rounds. By this time, you began seeing photos and newsreels showing infantry at the front with one or more six-pocket bandoliers - -48 rounds with M1 clips, or 60 in '03 strippers.

    While the initial manuals for the 1911 pistol depicted cavalry with a three pocket mag pouch, these never reached full issue, and the web or leather two-pocket pouch was standard. Pistol armed personnel got a pistol, holster, web pouch wirh two extra mags, and a combination tool. It apparently wasn't difficult for front line officers and NCOs to procure spare pouches and mags. Manual said 21 rounds was standard load, but I don't know just how the ammo was issued. Boxes of 50 and 20 rounds were standard.

  8. striker3

    striker3 Well-Known Member

    What I like to carry for an M-16 is 7mags. 1 in weapon, 6 in LBV. Plus at least one extra bandolier which is an extra 120 rnds.

    For SAWs at a minimum you need at least 3 drums. One on the weapon with 2 more in SAW pouches. Plus the A gunner needs to have at least 2 more drums. It is also best if the rifleman of the team carries a drum.

    BTW current issue M-16s do not shoot full auto. Also it is rare that we(USMC at least) fire bursts. Semi is much more acurate, easier to control and has a comparable rate of fire to burst because of the better recoil control.
  9. Chindo18Z

    Chindo18Z Well-Known Member

    SOP I have used for a while:

    300 rds 5.56 (9 mags ball/tracer 3-1; 1 mag solid tracer)
    45 rds 9mm (3 mags for M-9)
    2 M67 Frag Grenades
    1 PDM
    1 HC White Smoke Grenade
    If M203, then 12 rds HEDP, 2 white parachute flares

    Add any (NOT ALL) below according to mission & total hump weight):
    1 Incendiary Grenade
    1 HC White Smoke (additional to above)
    1-2 Red or Yellow Smoke
    1 Claymore Mine
    1 LAW
    2-3 Diversionary Device
    2-3 Breaching Charge
    180 rds 5.56 (6 additional mags)
    2 additional M67 Frags
    6 additional 40mm HEDP
  10. Nightcrawler

    Nightcrawler Well-Known Member

    A-Gunner? Your SAW gunners get A-Gunners? I never get an A-Gunner... :uhoh:
  11. Teufelhunden

    Teufelhunden Well-Known Member

    My units SAW gunners don't get A-gunners either (USMC Combat Engineers, essentially grunts with C4).

    Yeah, you can also expect that newfangled MOLLE's plastic frame to crack the first time its chucked off of a 5-ton...

  12. Nightcrawler

    Nightcrawler Well-Known Member

    Hey, I'm a combat engineer too!

    I don't know that anybody's SAW gunners get assistant gunners. It's almost always issued as an individual weapon, isn't it?
  13. Mark Tyson

    Mark Tyson Well-Known Member

    When they had the 60 we used assistant gunners to carry ammo/tripod, but never used them with the SAW.
  14. Teufelhunden

    Teufelhunden Well-Known Member

    You can keep it--I'm a Field Radio Operator. I might be a bullet magnet, but it beats being a mine detector ;) Best mine detector in the world is leather boots: work in all weather, don't run out of batteries and every PFC's got a pair...

    My thought is that anything small and light enough to be fired on the move (well) probably doesn't need an a-gunner. The spare barrel and cleaning gear in the a-bag don't weigh enough to justify another mule, and if you ever fire long enough from a static position with a SAW to rate a barrel change, you probably don't have time to do it, much less need help with it.

    Back OT Alan, I think your answer is:
    Issued: 7 mags
    Practical: The 7 issued plus as many more as make you comfortable. You're the one humping the weight after all...

  15. LCSNM

    LCSNM Well-Known Member

    Outdated I know, but in 75, had to carry M16 with 208 rounds and a S&W .38 combat masterpiece with 54 rounds.

    Required anytime left maintenance bldg to storage area.

    Deadly force was definitely authorized.
  16. BluesBear

    BluesBear member

    Sam, I thought the Thompson pouch for the 30 rounders held 3 while the 20 round mag pouch held 5?
  17. Kamicosmos

    Kamicosmos Well-Known Member

    My Dad in Vietnam carried:

    300 rounds for the M16 (10 - 30 round mags)
    1 Law
    2 belts of M60 ammo
    at least 4 grenades
    usually 1 claymore
    He said this was the heavy load for seek and destroy and long patrols.

    His light load was the M16 and the 300 rounds and grenades, which was for the short daily patrols near firebases.

    He also said he was the flame thrower guy for a couple months. Didn't like it...

    I'll have to ask him what his M14 load was, when he first shipped over, that was his issued rifle (USMC '66)
  18. Captain Scarlet

    Captain Scarlet Well-Known Member

    LRRPs and Mike Force carried a lot...

    I heard that the special units in Vietnam like the LRRPs and Mike Force guys
    carried all the ammo they could carry, sometimes 500 rds or more! they
    carried more ammo than the typical infantryman.
  19. Sunray

    Sunray Well-Known Member

    Great question. In the olden days, my CF Combat uniform had 20 rd FN 7.62mm mag pouches in every pocket. While wearing a shirt(6) and jacket(6), a troopie could carry 12 mags. That's 240 rounds in his pockets. Plus bandoliers of either stripper clips or more mags. Fit those infantry guys. So they are.
    Mind you, every army is different. Most troopies don't carry any pistol. Up here, again, in the olden days, a rad op, most officers and anyone too busy to carry a rifle carried a Sterling SMG. Senior NCOS and other NCOS whose job required it got a pistol. At least the armour types did. Walking to a fight is daft.
  20. C.R.Sam

    C.R.Sam Moderator Emeritus

    Blues Bear...
    We had light nylon pouches that held two 30R sticks each.
    One pouch each side.


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