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Why No Hollow Points for Soldiers

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Craig_VA, Aug 10, 2008.

  1. Craig_VA

    Craig_VA Well-Known Member

    On occasion, posts in this and other forums raise the question of hollow point versus ball ammunition for self defense, law enforcement, and military. Often the question arises why the U.S. military only issues ball ammunition for most combatants. (Based on multiple posts in THR, it appears they do issue hollow point for some non-combat law enforcement purposes.)
    To be sure I understood the background, I found the relevant Declaration of the Hague Convention, and am reproducing it below. I am not a lawyer, and this does not represent a legal review of the current state of international treaties and conventions or the "law of war." It does give us, however, the point in time (1899) that this rule became codified.
    My source is

  2. csmkersh

    csmkersh Well-Known Member

    As stated else where,

    1. the US was not a signatory nation to the 1899 Hague Conventions.
    2. DoD has determined that open-tip ammunition is not banned by the 1907 Conventions to which the US is a signatory nation.
    3. The US currently does issue open-tip ammunition for combat operations such as sniper work.

  3. Hardware

    Hardware Well-Known Member

    Point of fact, ball ammunition does not have to be used against insurgents. The agreement below only governs contests of arms between two or more sovereign powers. Even if we were party to it.
  4. Eric F

    Eric F Well-Known Member

  5. CountGlockula

    CountGlockula Well-Known Member

    Also, FMJ are more effective on insurgents and through their homes.
  6. Vaarok

    Vaarok Well-Known Member

    Penetration of cover, too.
  7. RNB65

    RNB65 Well-Known Member

    And reliability. The risk of jamming is always greater with JHP than with ball. Not a problem when hunting deer but not good in a firefight.
  8. psyopspec

    psyopspec Well-Known Member

    Because my boss says so, and regardless of why I'm bound to follow his lawful orders.
  9. bhp31

    bhp31 Member

    i always just figured that it's because it is the goal of the military to maim, rather than kill....

    you maim soldiers and their fellow soldiers see it,,it has a detrimental impact on morale...

    at least that was the way of thinking during WWII.
  10. Happiness Is A Warm Gun

    Happiness Is A Warm Gun Well-Known Member

    I never felt the need in Iraq to have JHP with one exception:
    M9 9mm. If I need to draw my nine then likely the SHTF. The idea of having to shoot a BG with 9mm FMJ wasn't very comforting.

    Ironically the Iraqi were more afraid of 9mm then anything else we carried (M4, SAW, .50 cal M2).
  11. Happiness Is A Warm Gun

    Happiness Is A Warm Gun Well-Known Member

    Not only morale. A wounded soldier consumes a lot of resources and does nothing to help the fight.
  12. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Well-Known Member

    Some people get really upset for some reason when I say this, but the above comments are correct. Military strategy is to wound enemy soldiers, not kill them. A wounded soldier is out of the fight (the primary goal) but continues to consume resources such as food, water, medical supplies, and requires other personnel to care for him. Wounding an enemy is much better than killing him.

    Of course, the individual soldier shooting at an enemy is thinking about killing him. But the top brass prefers you wound him.
  13. csmkersh

    csmkersh Well-Known Member

    The policy of wounding an enemy combatant was valid when fighting in Europe. We've since learned that many non-Europian nations have less regard for their soldiers lives and will leave wonded lay until the battle is over. No longer can we expect one wounded to equal 3 out of action so we might as well plan on a KIA for the opponents. Won't tie up our medics or use our supplies either.

  14. DoubleTapDrew

    DoubleTapDrew Well-Known Member

    I would venture to guess cost and penetration of cover, especially on suppressive weapons like the SAW (and using the same eases logistics). Also isn't the 5.56 intended to fragment rather than expand like a hunting bullet?
    I wouldn't feel comfortable with fmj in a 9mm as your last chance weapon.
  15. AF_INT1N0

    AF_INT1N0 Well-Known Member

    Same with Afghans...

    I think that is because everyone can get a rifle.. Only powerful had handguns.. also handguns were used a lot for executions.
  16. JWF III

    JWF III Well-Known Member

    In the "old world style" of combat, the enemy was civilized. Meaning that they would take care of their wounded. For every man wounded, there was one corpsman/medic, one soldier to help with evacuation, and the wounded, that was taken out of the fight. If there was more wounded than medics, you could figure 2 soldiers per wounded. Generally speaking it takes at least 2 people to take care of 1 wounded in the field.

    We (the US) failed to keep up with the times as combat has changed. This started (AFAIK) in Vietnam. And on to today. Our modern enemy does not care if their fellow soldier/insurgent/terrorist is killed, wounded, or mamed. They'll just leave them there, where they lay. They will not tend to anybody, probably even after the fight, unless they may be their leader or religious leader.

    In todays combat, the best would be to just flat kill them. That way you don't have to worry about the possibility of them trying just 1 last kill, or body booby trap IED.

    My 2 cents
  17. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Well-Known Member

    On these two points: this applies to the match bullet used in sniper rifles. The fact that it has a hollow point is incidental to the design of the bullet and is not specifically designed to expand.

    IMO, regardless of who signed what, there should be no constraints on bullets for this particular enemy, who are not uniformed soldiers of a recognized military force of a warring nation, but terrorists. Do you see our police forces only shooting criminals with FMJ bullets?
  18. ZMP_CTR

    ZMP_CTR Well-Known Member

    100% correct
  19. Larry E

    Larry E Well-Known Member

    Along with all the above the current enemy knows that our troops will pick up their wounded and care for them, so why should they waste their time and resources.
  20. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    "Military strategy is to wound enemy soldiers, not kill them."

    That is absolute, stupid nonsense and I would like to see any army manual that says that, or any version of it. The object is to kill the enemy. Period. A wounded enemy is an enemy who remains deadly or who can return to battle. (If an army really believed such a silly thing, it would issue rifles in .22 LR or .32 S&W!)

    The U.S. has made open statements at various times that we would abide by the Hague conventions even though not a signatory, and we have kept our word. The only reason for the exception for some sniper ammunition was that the most accurate bullets available were target type open point bullets; the DoD lawyers determined that the expansion would be insufficient to violate the convention.

    In addition, if the U.S. did issue expanding or hollow point bullets, the pro-Jihad press (CNN, MSNBC, NYT, etc.) would have yet another reason to beat up on the U.S. ("Army using vicious, cruel, 'dum-dum' bullets", Wolf Al Blitzer would scream.)

    In fact, the whole thing is silly. The wounding power of modern high velocity bullets is such that hollow points add little or nothing to lethality. They are mandated for hunting not because they are more deadly but because they cause rapid bleedout and are deadly sooner.


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