The Countertop Chronicles

"Run by a gun zealot who's too blinded by the NRA" - Sam Penney of

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

One Stop Shots

The other day I put up a post about how the military finally realizes it needs to drop the poodleshooter and that it is now looking at automatic shotguns. Part of the post, of course, was singing the praises of the M14 and the much respected (at least by those on the receiving end) 7.62x51 (.308 Winchester).

At the time, I had hopped to post a passage from Black Hawk Down which I thought summed up the situation in particularly graphic detail, but alas, my copy of the book was downstairs - and it was late and I was upstairs.

Nevertheless Gullyborg made this comment.
I am going to go out on a limb here and say that since .223 has near 100% stopping power according to every study on the subject, it works just fine. It's light; it's cheap; it's already a mass-produced standard. There is no reason to replace it.

Now, I don't know who Gullyborg is, outside of his excellent Carnival Postings, and I have admittedly never been in a situation where I needed to shoot either gun (or any gun) at someone, however even those people I know in the Armed forces who are fans of the poodleshooter admit that its failure to take people down quickly is a major flaw. I commented to this effect, as well as referenced the passage in Black Hawk Down, but again did not have the book handy.

Well, now that I am home, I've pulled it out and reread the passage. It, and the entire book, are great and well worth reading again.

This is near the end of Chapter 3 of "The Alamo" section of the book.

Down on one knee, Howe swore bitterly as he fired. Everything about the situation was pissing him off, the god-damn Somalis, his leaders, the idiot Rangers . . . even his ammunition. He drew a bead on three Somalis who were running across the street two blocks to the north, taking a progressive lead on them the way he had learned through countless hours of training, squaring them in his sights and then aiming several feet in front of them. He would squeeze two or three rounds, rapidly increasing his lead with each shot. He was an expert marksman, and thought he had hit them, but he couldn't tell for sure because they kept running until they crossed the street and were out of view. it bugged him. His weapon was the most sophisticated infantry rifle in the world, a customized CAR-15, and he was shooting the army's new 5.56-mm green-tip round. The green tip had a tungsten carbide penetrator at the tip, and would punch holes in metal, but that every penetrating power meant his rounds were passing right through his targets. When the Sammies were close enough he could see when he hit them. Their shirts would lift up at the point of impact, as if someone had pinched and plucked up the fabric. But with the green tip round it was like sticking somebody with an ice pick. The bullet made a small, clean hole, and unless it happened to hit the heart of spine, it wasn't enough tot stop a man in his tracks. Howe felt like he had to hit a guy five or six times just to get his attention. They used to kid Randy Shughart because he shunned the modern rifle and ammunition and carried a Vietnam era M-14, which shot a 7.62-mm round without the penetrating qualities of the new green tip. It occurred to Howe as he saw those Sammies keep on running that Randy was the smartest soldier in the unit. His rifle may have been heavier and comparatively awkward and delivered a mean recoil, but it damn sure knocked a man down with one bullet, and in combat, one shot was often all you got. You shoot a guy, you want to see him go down; you don't want to be guessing for the next five hours whether you hit him, or whether he's still waiting for you in the weeds.


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