U.S. Army To Replace 5.56mm with 6.8mm.
The United States Army will be changing their M4A1s and M249 SAWs (Squad Automatic Weapons) to fire the chad-like 6.8mm bullet.
The army has already chosen five companies to start manufacturing the new round. The old round, 5.56mm is now defunct in the eyes of the Army. In use since the 60’s the 5.56 round was created to counter Russian body armour, and be a smaller calibre than the heavy 7.62mm. The 5.56 refers to the diameter of the bullet, coming in at .22 inches which makes its very similar to the widely used civilian .223, the 5.56mm round is in the words of Kanye; “LONGER, BETTER, FASTER STRONGER.” No seriously, it’s longer, heavier and faster, which naturally is better used for the Army, as it does better damage against flesh.
However, its just not good enough anymore, with many enemies now using body armour that the 5.56 just isn’t as good at penetrating through. This is where the 6.8mm comes in, its essentially a bridge between the armies old 7.62 standard calibre, used by the M14 pre 1964. The 7.62 is a large bullet that creates too much recoil to be easily managed by soldiers. Herein lies the solution, the 6.8, it has over an extra millimetre of diameter against the 5.56, while the casing is still the same width, this really bridges the gap between full power and intermediate cartridges.
The weapons that will be used to fire these rounds are currently being designed by AAI/Textron Systems, FN America, General Dynamics, PCP Tactical, and Sig Sauer, they have been awarded army contracts as of July 2018, to design a new 6.8mm firearm for them, with the plans expected to be released in July 2019. These new contracts follow closely after the Army chose the Sig Sauer P320 to replace the aging Beretta M9.
The new weapon must fall under a number of criteria; “The weapons must be resistant to rust, scratches, chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, electromagnetic pulse, and cyber attacks (something for the contractors to keep in mind if the weapon is electrically controlled), and must come in some shade of Coyote, a shade of brown popular with the U.S. military. They must function in “all environments and weather conditions” and come equipped with a so-called “Picatinny rail” for mounting of optics, aiming lasers, and other weapon enhancements.”
The Marines however are still happy with the 5.56 and will most likely be shafting out their M4A1’s in Favour of H&K416’s, dubbed the M27’s.
There is just on issue however, NATO…. Not just in general, obviously. NATO standardisation means that most if not all NATO members have to used standardised equipment, so all armies can share, if needed, as well of many other benefits. With the world’s largest Army moving away from 5.56, how will this work? Well, no one knows, we do know however that other NATO members are too, just like the Marines, eating crayons, I mean… Happy with 5.56.