Mesko: Poland’s Ammunition Maker

Mesko, Poland’s leading ammunition manufacturer turns 90 this summer. From the beginning it was meant to provide the Polish Army with high-quality ammunition – and within the intervening years that’s what the plant, through its many guises, always did….

The AA12 Shotgun

One does not often think of shotguns as viable combat weapons and in the law enforcement arena, shotguns have lost traction in favor of the patrol carbine. The destructive power of the 12 gauge shotgun is not disputed; the real issues with the changeover had more to do with the patrol carbine being more versatile with its ability to penetrate body armor and reduce collateral damage from stray pellets. In the military arena, the shotgun still has its place but it’s rather limited. The standard….

The 6.5×40 Cartridge: Longer Reach for the M4 & M16

Feedback from Afghanistan was clear – much small-arms combat was taking place at far greater distances than expected, a lot more than the U.S. Army’s standard carbine and light machine gun were designed for. The Army was being outgunned, and had to rush older, more powerful weapons to the dismounted troops. These did the job, at the cost of significantly greater weight and recoil. Mitch Shoffner has come up with a different solution – the 6.5×40, a new cartridge designed to fit….

Black Hills Ammunition

There are many manufacturers making ammunition as well as remanufacturing it. Few have a reputation of being precision ammunition manufacturers let alone manufacturing military grade ammunition. But consider ammunition that is match grade loaded to military specifications? Trying to bridge match grade accuracy and ability to produce military reliability is very difficult. Loading any precision round is difficult in mass production. But there is one company out there that has done it, and that is Black Hills Ammunition owned by Jeff Hoffman and his wife Kristi, who is a co-owner and an integral, indispensable part of….

Hornady Law Enforcement Ammunition

The name Hornady is well known throughout the industry.  Hornady is a much diversified company being involved in ammunition production, manufacturing bullets for the reloading community, manufacturing reloading supplies (presses, scales, etc.) and so on.  The ammunition business provides advanced projectiles for commercial hunters, target shooters and law enforcement….

NAMMO Lapua: Tactical Ammunition for Special Forces

The origin of the company lies in the establishment by the Finnish government in 1923 of a cartridge factory in the town of Lapua in western Finland.  The State Cartridge Factory (as it was named in 1927) was the main supplier of ammunition to the Finnish Army during the Winter and Continuation Wars with the USSR between 1939 and 1944.  In 1991 it became an independent company under the new name Cartridge Factory Lapua, Ltd.  The next year, Lapua acquired the German cartridge factory SK Jagd- und Sportmunitions GmbH.  In 1996, Finnish military manufacturers were combined under the banner of Patria Industries; Lapua became Patria Lapua.  In 1998 Patria Industries Oyj from Finland….

The Military & Law Enforcement Ammunition of Federal Premium and Speer

Law enforcement and military ammunition has come a long way in the last 20 years. Military ammunition, not so much due to the Hague and Geneva convention restrictions but advances in LE ammunition have made calibers known for being poor man stoppers into very effective and efficient man stoppers. Federal has always been one of the top industry leaders in advanced ammunition development – perhaps the first true high performance hollow point with the introduction of the Hydra-Shok round that really saw its popularity peak in the mid to late 1980s. The new HST round has currently in the opinion of many been found to be one of if not the best LE/personal defense projectile on the market….

Barnes Military & Law Enforcement Ammunition

The name Barnes is renowned in the firearms industry. It has been since its founding in 1932 by Fred Barnes. In 1965, the company was sold and renamed the Colorado Bullet Company. Then in 1974, Randy and Coni Brooks purchased the company. After getting consult from Fred Barnes, they acquired the right to change the name back to Barnes Bullets. To date, Barnes has been known for producing solid copper projectile for hunting, law enforcement and military applications. They also load cartridges with OTM (Open Tip Match) projectiles….

RUAG Ammotec: Tactical Ammunition for Special Forces

The origin of RUAG Ammotec can be traced back to the Eidgenossische Munitionsfabrik established by the Swiss Confederation in Thun in 1863. In 1995, this was merged with another Swiss firm, Munitionsfabrik Altdorf to form the Schweizerische Munitionsfabrik (SM), following which expansions and reorganization occurred rapidly. In 1999, RUAG Holding was formed to incorporate SM; the name changed to RUAG Munition in 2001. The small arms ammunition sector of Dynamit Nobel was acquired in 2002, leading to the….

Cheytac Thor Anti-Materiel Rifle

In order to understand the .408 Cheytac anti-materiel rifles, it’s important to start with the cartridges. The .408 cartridge was originally produced by two different companies – Tactical High Energy Impact Solutions (THEIS) and Lost River Ballistics Technology – both defunct as of this date. The parent cartridge was a .505 Gibbs; developed in the early 1900s (1911?) as a dangerous game cartridge originally firing a 525 grain bullet at 2,300 feet per second for 6,180 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. Very effective on anything that walked….

The 300 AAC Blackout

Over the last several years many new calibers have been introduced to the AR-type platform; from the .204 Ruger, 6.8mm Rem SPC, 6.5 Grendel, 7.62x39mm, 5.45x39mm, 5.7mm, .450 Bushmaster, .458 SOCOM, .50 Beauwolf and .499 LWR. These are just for the AR-15 platform; there is a whole other array to the AR-10. Of all those mentioned, the only one who has really done well is the 6.8mm Rem SPC. There are several manufacturers of rifles as well as ammunition. As of this writing this author could not find any ammunition….

SOST: A Way Forward in Contemporary Understanding of the 1899 Hague Declaration on Expanding Bullets

In 2006, the U.S. Special Operations Command’s Special Operations & Technology (SOST) office tasked the Crane Division, Surface Warfare Center, to develop a general combat ball round that would exhibit enhanced internal and external ballistics, and improved consistency in its terminal ballistics. It required a capability to defeat intermediate barriers such as auto glass and doors when fired in a carbine-length weapon system. The ammunition would have to maintain full compatibility with all existing weapon platforms….

New Weapon on the Battlefield: .338 Machine Gun

5.56mm is the ammunition of the infantrymen who have used it for the combat at short distance since the war in Vietnam.  Its current range for battlefield use is approximately 440 yards (400 m) and its performance improved with the introduction of the 5.56mm NATO whose SS 109 bullet made it possible to engage up to 650 yards (600 m).  For shooting up to 1,100 yards (1,000 m), sniper rifles and machine-guns in 7.62mm NATO are used….

Barrett MRAD .338 Lapua

Barrett Firearms Manufacturing, based in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, was founded in 1982 and was centered on Ronnie Barrett’s idea of a shoulder-fired .50 BMG rifle.  Many…

IWA 2013 – Barnes Bullets (Video)

IWA OutdoorClassics is a massive yearly exhibition in Nuremberg, Germany that focuses on the latest gear for hunters, recreational shooters, law enforcement officers and soldiers….

Functioning of the Soviet PSS Pistol with SP4 Captive Piston Ammunition

For a compact assassination pistol, the Soviet PSS with its companion SP4 silent ammunition is a hard combination to beat. While the PSS resembles a somewhat large conventional blowback pistol, it is definitely unique. The weapon is 6.7 inches long and weighs 30 ounces. Its size is comparable to a SIG P226 pistol, but the specialized ammunition delivers a close range lethal projectile with almost no sound signature….

Torture Test: U.S. Ordnance MAG-58/M240

The famous MAG-58 General Purpose Machine Gun has its roots in John Browning’s 1918 Browning Automatic Rifle: the BAR. FN Herstal’s relationship with Browning is well-known and it’s no surprise that the excellent BAR operating system would evolve in their hands. The FN Model D BAR added features such as a quick-change barrel, but the core operating system was alive and well throughout the evolution. Put simply….

SHOT Show 2013 Recap

FAXON Firearms today unveiled their new complete upper receiver for the AR-15 series of rifles. Called the ARAK-21 it features a flat to upper Picatinny…

FIDAE 2012: Bigger Than Ever

The International Air and Defense Fair (FIDAE) that takes place in Chile every two years rebounded from the quake that shook the region in 2010 with the exhibition in 2012 proving to be 25% larger than the previous event. Two years ago, FIDAE took place against all odds and only a few days after the country was hit by one of the biggest earthquakes and tsunamis in history. The exhibition took place as a showpiece to demonstrate that Chile had fortitude and organizational skills to allow the show to go on, as relief assistance was taking place in parallel to….

Open Tip Match: When a “Hollow Point” is Not a Hollow Point

Early boxes of Open Tip Match were marked ‘NOT FOR COMBAT USE’ as noted in the original box (top row, both sides) and bottom left….

Devil Dog Days: Modern Day Marine 2011

“…that’s going to require us to replace an awful lot of gear that’s been used very hard over the last ten years or so. We know what we need and we‘re going to work with you to get it.” – Lieutenant General Richard P. Mills, Marine Corps Combat Development Command. Mills, the three-star general who heads the Corps’ concepts and capability command, was offering a glimmer of hope to a large audience of high level defense industry representatives attending the exclusive, invitation-only Report to Industry briefing at the 2011 Modern Day Marine (MDM) Expo….

IDEF 2011

The 10th International Defence Industry Fair (IDEF) was sponsored by the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation under the auspices of the Ministry of National Defence on 10-13 May, 2011. The show was held at the Tuyap Fair, Convention and Congress Center in Büyükçekmece-İstanbul, Turkey, and had record turnouts. The majority in attendance was Turkish military and procurement, and the foreigners were typically influential buyers and end users from over 104 countries. There were 633 exhibiting companies from over 45 different countries. This, the 10th IDEF, shows remarkable growth from the already well attended earlier shows….

Partner 2011

The fifth bi-annual PARTNER Serbia show was held over the course of four sunny days in Belgrade, Serbia in late June 2011.  The show has grown considerably since the first show, as well as from the previous one in 2009 (reported on in SADJ Volume 3, Number 1), having now moved into the largest of the exhibition halls in Belgrade Fair.  Expectations are that the 2013 show will have grown significantly from 2011, both in vendors and attendees.  YugoImport is the co-promoter of the show and the various factories they represent take up a significant portion of the floor space….

ASDA 2011

The City of Split, Croatia, was an excellent choice for a show in the region. The April weather is wonderful, the sights are breathtaking, the people are hospitable and the accommodations and expenses are very reasonable. Split is located on the Dalmatian Coast of the Adriatic Sea, and the Croatian heritage is influenced heavily by millennia of interaction with Italy, just across the Sea. Split is also centrally located to many of the regional military groups, making it readily accessible and providing a good flow of attendees….

LAAD 2011

LAAD Brazil has grown in leaps and bounds over the last decade and today it is a formidable contender as a top Latin American military trade show.  We find it second only in size to the FIDAE show in Chile but that’s not a fair comparison, as FIDAE has a massive airshow attached.  Attendees and the 600+ exhibitors alike were pleased with the large turnout (24,000 people and delegations from 53 countries) that….

Bunker Busters: Firepower From the Dismounted Soldier

Urban warfare, snipers and insurgents are hiding in buildings and they will try to do devastating attacks on soldiers and the insurgents are protected by the building they are firing from. When the soldiers are approaching the buildings, it is a good chance that some of them will be killed. What they need is a weapon that can level the playing field – the shoulder mounted assault weapon. As western armies are seeking lighter equipment for their dismounted infantry….

Project Manager Soldier Weapons

By the time you read this, the XM25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement System with its uncannily accurate airburst ammo will undoubtedly have drawn its first blood in Afghanistan. This sci-fi looking individual armament, initially the “grenade gun” upper half of the ill-fated Objective Individual Combat Weapon, has been in combat operational test mode for several months now with selected elements of US Special Operations Command….

IDEX 2011

The International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) of 2011 is a biannual show that has reached its 10th anniversary with this event. It is a mature show with well developed habits and procedures for the exhibitors and attendees. Having established itself as a benchmark show much like Eurosatory, Milipol, DSA or AUSA, IDEX attracts a rich diversity of attendees from around the world. The show itself is centered in Abu Dhabi, the capitol city of the United Arab Emirates….

IndoDefence 2010

6 November, 2011 – The Mount Merapi volcano was acting up about 450 kilometers from Jakarta, and many of us were stranded at diverse airports…

Guns of the Spetsnaz: Specially Designed CQB Rifles

Pair of OMON (SWAT-type unit) operators prepare for entry exercise, armed with suppressed 9-A91 rifles. By the late 1980s, special operations elements of the Soviet…

Infantry Weapons Conference Report

A U.S. Marine Corps Marine, Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment (BLT 1/6), 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, International Security Assistance Force, NATO, looks…

Do We Need a New Service Rifle Cartridge?

U.S. Marine Cpl. Ian. E. Peterson, with 1st Marine Logistics Group’s personal security detail (PSD), fires his M4 assault rifles to align their advanced combat…

The Next NATO Rifle and Machine Gun Cartridge?

Peruvian naval infantrymen with F2000 assault rifles conduct a beach assault rehearsal with U.S. Marines from Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force 24 and 3rd…

Is There a Problem with the Lethality of the 5.56 NATO Caliber?

French soldiers watch U.S. Marines prepare to fire FAMAS F1 rifles at a target during a joint operation exercise with U.S. Sailors and French soldiers…

Partner 2009

The fourth bi-annual Partner Serbia show was held over the course of four sunny days in Belgrade, Serbia in June 2009. The show has grown…

BSDA 2010: Black Sea Defence & Aerospace

With the addition of Romania to the European Union in 2007, the EU stretched from the North Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, from the Atlantic…

Brugger & Thomet’s MP9 in 6.5×25 CBJ

The phone call from Carl Bertil Johansson in early summer 2009 came out of the blue.  The founder of the Swedish company CBJ Tech had…

Ammunition Mecca in Middle America: A Visit to the Lake City Ammunition Plant

Freshly loaded .50 BMG rounds. Each color used to seal the primers represents a separate loading machine, allowing defective rounds to be tracked back to…

Russian Underwater Guns

Dr. Philip H. Dater takes aim with the SSP-1M 4-barrel underwater pistol. The sound signature was recorded as 160.1 dB average in open air. (Dan…

Identifying & Collecting the 7.62×39 AK-47/AKM Magazine

Russian magazines (from left): Russian Slab-Side, Early Izhmash Spine Stamped, Ishmash Side-Stamped, Aluminum Waffle, Izhmash AG4. Identifying all magazines, for all AK variants, would be…

The Elusive Vintorez 9×39 Sniper Rifle

The Soviet Union and its current iteration, Russia, have long been known for innovative weapon development; only some of which has seen the light of…

RKG-3 Hand-Thrown Grenades

A lot of readers and deployed troops have asked us about the “Potato Masher” type hand thrown grenade that has been used in Iraq more and…

The RPG-7 System Primer

The Soviet era design referred to generically now as the RPG-7 was the fruit of decades of design development in many countries: there were forces…

Beyond Quiet: The Russian PSS Captive Piston Pistol

An armorer test fires the PSS silent pistol. (Photo by Dan Shea) Little is known in the Western world of the Soviet silent pistols utilizing…

Sloboda: Munitions in the Mountains

Sliding a Sloboda manufactured M91 Anti-Personnel barrel launched rifle grenade onto the end of Zastava’s M70 AK Variant. We thought it appropriate to focus and…

40mm Grenade Launchers Fight Back

Sectioned IMI 40mm LV HEAB round. Note the secondary HE/fragmentation element in the base, to provide a spherical fragmentation pattern. The US Army’s programmes for…

Metal Storm Update

Metal Storm is a radically different concept for weapons and ammunition, the brainchild of a self-educated Australian inventor with brilliant intuition for practical applications in engineering, physics and electronics. Following its genesis in the early 1990s, this novel electronic ballistics technology has suffered from what might charitably be termed unrealistic expectations. Early claims of a rate of fire capability at 1 million rounds per minute inspired some fanciful applications ranging from covert wrist guns to missile defense….

Personal Defense Weapons and their Ammunition

There has long been a requirement for a personal defence weapon, or PDW, for soldiers whose primary duty does not involve carrying a rifle. They need something much smaller, lighter and handier which does not burden them or distract them from their main task. Originally, the main priority was for officers, who were almost invariably given revolvers or pistols; but handguns also found a place with cavalry and, later on, with soldiers such as gunners who might come under infantry attack or with tank crews whose space was at a minimum….