Military Review

Modern cartridges for pistols and submachine guns

In the comments under the previous articles, we were repeatedly asked to review modern, “fresh” ammunition for small arms. weapons. Of course, in one article this amount of information is simply impossible to give, moreover, it will not be entirely correct to give characteristics for new cartridges, without comparison with common types of ammunition, and with such a comparison the article will turn into a very difficult set of numbers for perception and it will be interesting only to narrow circle of people.

In addition, at the moment I have very little experience and knowledge to create voluminous material of this kind, so that such an article is not expected. Instead, I propose to talk about what ammunition, or rather what characteristics of ammunition, is currently especially important in different niches of use, well, to get acquainted with those cartridges that are most suitable for these criteria.

In no case do I pretend to the only true opinion, this article describes only my opinion, and not the ultimate truth, so disputes, reasoned criticism is welcome.

Cartridges for pistols and submachine guns, at the moment, one of the most popular topics for disputes. Despite the abundance of a wide variety of ammunition, the armies of many countries still use 9x19, and they are not in a hurry to retire on this ammunition in law enforcement. The 9х19 cartridge was and is the best option in terms of balance among many characteristics, but it is increasingly possible to find the opinion that this cartridge is already outdated and its further modernization is meaningless.

If the first statement, especially when using ammunition for army needs, can be agreed, then the second statement is more than debatable. It is possible and necessary to upgrade, but it is also necessary to take into account the weapon in which the new ammunition will be used, since not all designs will be able to "digest" the new cartridge normally, which means that it will also be necessary to modernize the weapon or develop new models for more advanced ammunition.

In other words, to squeeze the maximum out of the old cartridge will not work, without looking at the weapon, which, in most cases, hinders further development.

An important factor that influences the development of cartridges for pistols and PP is actually mutually exclusive requirements that are imposed on ammunition in the army and the police (we still do not take into account the civilian market).

For the army, the ammunition should have, first of all, high armor-piercing properties, no one refuses the so-called stopping action, but what's the point if the bullet cannot penetrate the body armor and the only effect from hitting the body of the enemy without penetrating wounds?

Nobody argues with the fact that the armored action when hit is unpleasant and can often cause serious injuries incompatible with life, but for such an effect a bullet with high kinetic energy is needed, which in turn will make weapons for such ammunition far from the easiest and most pleasant in application.

For law enforcement agencies, in the absolute majority of cases, on the contrary, ammunition with low armor-piercing properties is required, since police targets are very rarely protected by body armor, with the lowest possible propensity to ricochet upon contact with solid obstacles and the maximum possible stopping effect.

Thus, the army and the police need two completely different cartridges for their qualities, and two different cartridges are also two different versions of weapons for the army and the police. This, of course, is not a problem when there is money, but they usually even if there is, they want to keep it, and then they start looking for a compromise, the result of which is often very far from ideal.

Cartridges for pistols and submachine guns for the army

As already mentioned above, for an army pistol you need a cartridge with a bullet, which possesses, first of all, high armor-piercing properties, since, for the most part, the potential enemy will be protected by body armor. In this case, the weapon should be light and comfortable when worn, since it is not the main one, respectively, and the ammunition should be light and compact.

Modern cartridges for pistols and submachine guns

Significant contributions to the development of such weapons and ammunition were made by arms companies that were interested in the concept of personal weapons protection for military personnel. True, it should be noted that in the framework of this program, many turned a little out of place there and, in fact, developed submachine guns, which are clearly less convenient for everyday carrying, especially with the main weapon. Such PPs were offered as weapons for those who do not need a full-fledged machine gun, in most cases, that is, drivers, doctors, pilots, and so on, while the rest of the servicemen remained “in flight”.

You can argue for a long time whether you need a gun in the modern army at all. You can often find the statement that the gun is needed only to shoot, and as an element of dress form. However, due to its compact size, this weapon is indispensable in certain circumstances. And even when the machine fails or the ammunition runs out, a pistol with effective cartridges can help take more attackers with you, “get hold” of the enemy’s weapons, and there may not be a chance to shoot, with a fair amount of luck. In general, it is too early to write off such a class of weapon.

The concept of "Personal defense weapon" was developed more than a dozen of the most interesting ammunition. In the process of development, the designers, first of all, paid attention to the armor-piercing qualities, but many did not forget about the effectiveness of the hit, trying to implement it with various success.

It is easy to see that almost all such ammunition, which is offered by foreign gunsmiths, have a small caliber, this is due not only to a decrease in the contact area of ​​the bullet with a target when hit, but also one more important factor. As is known, the kinetic energy consists of two components, namely, the product of mass and square of velocity divided by two; we ignore the rotation of the bullet.

Thus, in order to increase the kinetic energy of a bullet, it is possible to increase its mass, but it is much more efficient to increase the speed, while sacrificing the mass of a bullet.

You can give a simple example. Suppose that the mass of a bullet is equal to 5 grams, and its speed is equal to 300 meters per second. Given such parameters, we obtain the kinetic energy of the bullet equal to 225 Joules. If you double the mass of the bullet, to 10 grams, the kinetic energy will increase to 450 Joule. In order to get the same kinetic energy from a five-gram bullet, the speed needs to be increased only by 125 meters per second. Of course, the first and second options, in the context of firearms, have their own nuances, but about them just below.

If back on the fingers to explain how the kinetic energy has to armor-piercing, then you can give an example with a hammer and a nail. If you put a nail on a wooden bar and put a hammer on it, say, weight in 450 grams, then nothing will happen. If you put a blank weighing 450 a kilogram on the same nail, the nail will enter the wood under the weight of this blank. However, if you take a hammer weighing 450 grams and hit the nail, the effect will be the same, and only the speed of the movement of the hammer will determine the nail in the bar by a third, half or completely under the cap. Here you can also include an example with a nail with a blunt and sharp tip, an attempt to break through a sheet of tin with an ordinary nail and hardened, in general, a nail and a hammer are irreplaceable items in the household. But from carpentry back to firearms.

To achieve the effect of armor-piercing, a bullet must have high kinetic energy, due to its high speed, small caliber and be strong enough not to collapse when it hits a solid surface of an armor plate. However, there is another factor that is one of the most important for bullets - stability in flight.

To give stability to the bullet, that is, so that it does not tumble in the air after the shot and fly at least in the direction the shooter was aiming, it is given a rotational motion about its axis, which is why the grooves in the barrel actually exist. Depending on the speed with which the bullet will move, the pitch of the rifling will be different, but it’s impossible to completely abandon them.

Work on high-speed ammunition has been going on for a very long time. The advantages of such cartridges are primarily in a flat flight path, as well as simplified firing at moving targets, with minimal lead. Of course, the armor-piercing qualities of such cartridges are not in last place.

Just the same in the process of working on such ammunition, the designers faced the problem of stabilizing the bullet in flight, namely with the disruption of the bullet from the rifling at high speeds. That is, instead of starting the rotational movement in the barrel due to the passage through the cuts, some part of it was cut off from the bullet in the barrel and it flew out of the trunk not only damaged but also unstabilized.

A more dense shell material and a bullet shirt can solve this problem, but the barrel, which already suffers a lot of stress, will suffer from this. Another solution to the problem may be to increase the area of ​​contact of the bullet with grooves in the barrel, increasing the length of the bullet. All these negative aspects of the pursuit of higher armor-piercing and higher bullet speed can be observed most vividly in this class of weapons as anti-tank guns, so in this regard a kind of spiral course can be observed stories.

It is worth noting that this is only part of the problems that gunsmiths need to solve, there are other equally important ones. For example, the conservation of the kinetic energy of a bullet after passing armor plate, and indeed the conservation of the kinetic energy of small bullets. The increase in the effectiveness of the defeat when it enters the body of the enemy. The pressure of the powder gases in the bore with a decrease in caliber and so on. In other words, a correctly designed cartridge, for specific tasks, requires work comparable to the development of a new type of weapon, if not more in volume and cost.

Of all the above, you can make the following list of requirements for the pistol cartridge for the army. The cartridge must be of an acceptable size and weight. Ammunition should have a light bullet with a high initial speed and high armor-piercing qualities. Well, of course, the price of a new ammunition should not be transcendental.

Despite all the diversity of ideas and solutions that are offered by both our and foreign designers, among all this I would like to single out one interesting ammunition originally from Sweden. Of course, this solution also has its drawbacks, but from the totality of the characteristics, and most importantly for the price, the Swedish patron was very interested in me personally.

The basis of the Swedish patron 6,5х25 was an improved sleeve from the cartridge 7,62х25 (or Mauser, or Borchardt, it all depends on who "worships" which religion). In the process of adaptation for a new ammunition, the liner was pereobzhat under the new caliber, and also its bottom was strengthened so that it could withstand the higher pressure of powder gases. It is worth noting that I also liked this ammunition because of the use of the original cartridge, since I am of the opinion that 7,62х25 was written off very early and now, with its improvement, you can get a very good modern cartridge for the army, which was shown by the Swedes.

The most interesting, and most importantly, the easiest solution was a bullet caliber 6,5 millimeters. Its design is an armor-piercing core with a diameter of 4 millimeter, which is packed in a plastic sheath. Due to the use of plastic, the mass of the bullet is very small - a little more than 2 grams, but with a barrel length of 200 millimeters, the powder charge accelerates this bullet to 830 meters per second.

What is the strength of this ammunition? At a distance of 50 meters, its bullet pierces 7 millimeters of rolled armored plates, and at a distance of 230 meters it can hit a CRISAT target, that is, pierces a bulletproof vest consisting of a titanium plate of 1,6 millimeter thick and 20 layers of aramid fabric.

Particularly impressive are the photos, which give examples of bullets hit by a NATO patron in caliber 7,62 and 5,56 and a patron 6,5x25 CBJ in armor-piercing. By the way, these photos can give an incorrect idea of ​​the superiority of this munition over 7,62x51 and 5,56x45, the fastest cartridges were used with lead core bullets, and the bullets were simply “smeared” on the armor upon hit.

It is worth noting that this cartridge was developed for a submachine gun, and not for a pistol, because some of its characteristics may seem unnecessarily exaggerated, and some of them are insufficient for cartridges for pistols. But the main thing here is not the cartridge itself, but the idea of ​​using plastic around the armor-piercing core. Certainly such a decision will have a positive effect on the price of the ammunition and the ammunition production process. In addition, such a cartridge will be more benign to the bore, which will affect its durability. By the way, it is also noted that the barrel in the process of shooting remains more “clean”, apparently the combustion products are removed along with the subsequent plastic shot of the bullet.

However, this munition has a number of drawbacks, without them, unfortunately, nowhere. Far from all polymers will behave in the same way when the temperature changes over a wide range, so it’s impossible to make a bullet by melting a couple of bottles found in the trash. It is necessary to take into account both the lowest possible temperatures and the highest temperatures that occur with intensive firing from the PP. That is, you need a polymer that does not become too brittle at low temperatures and will not be too ductile at high. Do not forget about the coefficient of expansion with temperature. On the other hand, with the modern development of the polymer industry, this problem can certainly be solved, once the Swedes succeeded, the climate of which is clearly not tropical in the country.

The armor-piercing bullet of this cartridge is not the only one, there are other options, even ammunition with a semi-bullet bullet, which shows very good indicators on the effectiveness of hitting, but, of course, no armor-piercing. Such a cartridge would be in demand in law enforcement, which brings us to the next paragraph of the article.

Cartridges for pistols and submachine guns for law enforcement

If for the army, with the proliferation of body armor, armor-piercing for short-barreled weapons came to the forefront, then for the law enforcement agencies, in the overwhelming majority, it is important to guarantee that you will not want to continue the resistance from the first shot. As I see it, cartridges with a semi-bullet bullet or bullets with an expansive cavity are not bad for this. The ideal option would be a bullet with a plastic “nose” covering the expansive cavity, which combines both maximum efficiency in contact with and acceptable ballistics. The truth is that there may be a problem for doctors to find plastic in the body of the person who hit such a bullet, but metal powder can always be added to plastic or this issue can be solved in some other way.

The ideal option for such bullets, I think not from excessive bloodthirsty, but for good reasons. First of all, such ammunition will force you to take the weapon more seriously, since it will be understood that when fired, with a very high probability, not a wounded, but a corpse is formed. In addition, it is not uncommon for law enforcement officers to encounter people under the influence of alcohol, interesting substances and just a body weight more than 120 a kilogram, for which the hit of 9x18 bullet is often a weak stopping argument. Do not forget about animals, in particular, many breeds of dogs, with appropriate training and stock character, do not perceive the hit cartridge 9x18 as something serious, at least, until the adrenaline level goes down.

From all this we can conclude that the use of cartridges with such bullets is more than justified. It should also be borne in mind that the need to use weapons by law enforcement officers often arises within the city and in the premises, that is, the distance of use is small, but there is a risk of rebounding from the walls of buildings.

This means that the bullet must be heavy enough. When hit, it should remain in the body of the enemy, so as not to injure those who are standing behind, to have a reduced ability to ricochet when confronted with solid objects and to have a short distance for a direct shot so as not to fly out the window of someone's apartment when they miss. Pistols for law enforcement agencies are not sports weapons, and most employees, frankly, are very far from Sergey Nikolayevich Pyrzyanov, therefore it is reasonable not to create a “sniper” pistol, but weapons and ammunition capable of providing accurate firing at 20-25 meters. which, conversely, speaks in favor of heavy bullets.

It is impossible not to touch on the topic of the widespread distribution of AKSU in law enforcement. To whom the first thought came to give these weapons to law enforcement officers, one can only guess, but the use of these weapons by a police officer within the city limits may have the most negative consequences.

In my opinion, this weapon should be changed for a long time for submachine guns, in which, of course, the use of cartridges with the same type of bullets, which was discussed above, will be more than doubtful. For the PP, which could replace the AKSU, we need a cartridge that provides the smoothest possible trajectory of the bullet at a distance of up to 75-100 meters, but it is very desirable that these two cartridges be made on the same base.

With a great desire to write that both versions of ammunition have long been implemented on the basis of .45АСР, I still turn to the remnants of common sense and tend to ammunition 9x19, among the variety of options for which there are options with bullets that meet the requirements and ammunition, as for pistols, and to the cartridges for a submachine gun.

This is applicable to all non-special police officers. For special units of law enforcement agencies, everything will depend on the situation, and a number of ammunition and weapons at their disposal are already quite extensive.

Once again, I clarify that my opinion does not claim to be the ultimate truth, this is only my vision of the issue on the cartridges for pistols and submachine guns for the army and the police. I do not even rule out that over time my opinion may change, which, in my opinion, is quite normal, strange, when over the years a person doesn’t change his opinion on the contrary. In this regard, I propose to discuss the issue of these ammunition and modern requirements in the army and the police for pistols and for submachine guns.
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  1. Bongo
    Bongo April 16 2018 15: 07
    Read with pleasure! good But it would not be bad to sign the photos, I could not identify all the ammunition shown on them.
    1. AlexMark
      April 17 2018 00: 58
      Those cartridges that I can not identify in the cut myself only if with a reference book in my teeth))) There are some very interesting designs there. It is generally unfair that no one knows the designers of ammunition, but the designers of weapons are widely known. I will slowly correct this injustice, as far as possible soldier
      1. kalibr
        kalibr April 17 2018 11: 31
        Of course, there should be explanatory captions under the photos. This is decent, the only one true from a professional point of view, and ... speaks of respect for the reader. Under the Kremlin, you can not give a signature, but under the cartridges you need to.
  2. san4es
    san4es April 16 2018 15: 31
    For the army, the ammunition must have, first of all, high armor-piercing properties ...

    1 million frames per second hi
    1. AlexMark
      April 17 2018 01: 04
      One of those videos that you can watch endlessly)))
    2. akims
      akims April 20 2018 14: 28
      Creepy beauty.
  3. Amurets
    Amurets April 16 2018 15: 39
    Author. Thanks, interesting. Indeed, you have chosen a very complicated topic.
    1. AlexMark
      April 17 2018 00: 48
      The topic is not really complicated, it is very easy to choose a cartridge, even from existing ones, when there are specific requirements ... and money)
  4. sib.ataman
    sib.ataman April 16 2018 15: 39
    The material is interesting, informative, not overloaded with different TTX, etc. parameters. Nevertheless, like the conflicting capabilities of different PSUs, it would not hurt to see a couple of pivot tables in the article to compare the PSU parameters mentioned in the article. The author for the work, thanks.
    1. AlexMark
      April 17 2018 01: 08
      We take into account) The idea itself was to share my personal thoughts about the issue, without a dry comparison of figures, when I deal with the rubble on intermediate cartridges, there will be more material on them, so there already will not do without comparison. While digging into the cesspool of knowledge and trying to systematize smile
  5. alex-cn
    alex-cn April 16 2018 16: 04
    Is it worth it to bother? There are requirements of the army and there are requirements of the civil-police market. Both are very capacious and the release of ammunition for both will not be unprofitable. so that the ongoing process of improving ammunition can calmly advance further in its niches. and there life will show their relevance.
    But I still jammed the article with pleasure. Thank you!
    1. Vladimir 5
      Vladimir 5 April 16 2018 20: 37
      For military use, requests for a cartridge are unambiguous and feasible. Plastic coatings of bullets look especially promising, plastics have been developed for a long time, the author has nothing to doubt. The question is only of an economic order, and such an application is necessary for machine guns of all calibers and purposes. Here for police purposes, to create a universal cartridge is not foreseeable possible. As a way out, the presence of two samples of a gunshot, for armored targets for defeat, another for unarmored with limited impact, next next is electroshock weapons, gas ... Police functions have a wide gradation, depending on the situation and goals ...
    2. Kibb
      Kibb April 16 2018 21: 03
      There are also all sorts of conventions - what is allowed to the policeman is not always allowed to army men, and also for turnover
      1. Vladimir 5
        Vladimir 5 April 19 2018 12: 30
        Each country, at its discretion and needs, must act, conventions are in second order ... It is interesting to note that the Constitution of the Russian Federation provides for the primacy of treaties to the detriment of the interests of statehood - questions to the creators of the Yeltsin Constitution ...
  6. The comment was deleted.
  7. prodi
    prodi April 16 2018 21: 49
    the spiral channel of the barrel could probably solve the problem of barrel strength, bullet shell and initial velocity
    1. AlexMark
      April 17 2018 01: 19
      Do you mean polygonal cutting of the trunk?
      1. prodi
        prodi April 17 2018 09: 03
        polygonal forms a bullet, although for pistol ammunition this is nonsense. I was referring to the spiral around the central axis, although this is probably interesting, rather, for hunting weapons
        1. Saxahorse
          Saxahorse April 17 2018 22: 13
          Are you talking about screw trunks like the "Lancaster guns"? I want to remind you that they showed themselves very poorly both in terms of barrel survivability and due to the tendency to jam the projectile tightly.
          1. prodi
            prodi April 18 2018 08: 03
            No, it’s about the spiral, although it is hardly possible to make a drill, it is more likely to “wind” between the rolls. For long-range weapons is not suitable, but for short, round bullets and shots - should
  8. AlNikolaich
    AlNikolaich April 16 2018 23: 03
    I want to throw a fan from my pot ... The requirements for pistol cartridges in the army and in the police are the same! In both cases, the stopping effect of the bullet is important! For the gun is used at such distances that the experienced shooter can hit parts of the target body that are not protected by body armor. And on the other hand, the enemy, having received a hole in the bulletproof vest and body, of a small size, may stupidly not notice it, and he may not immediately blame! And he has a trunk!
    And when a heavy blunt bullet hits a hand or a leg, it flies out immediately, and leaves the state of mental equilibrium for a few seconds, which will enable the enemy to shoot further, or ... to escape!
    1. AlexMark
      April 17 2018 01: 18
      If we talk about the effectiveness of hits, then you can solve the issue of shooting with a cutoff of three rounds with a high armor-piercing effect. In the body of the gun it is quite realistic to organize. We must not forget that the gun is usually used already when there are no other options anymore, that is, it will be a guaranteed stressful situation and possible injuries, which does not in the best way affect the accuracy of firing. Shooting on the legs is also something else, pleasure, better then down the abdomen - the groin aims.
    2. would
      would April 17 2018 04: 56
      For the gun is used at such distances that the experienced shooter can hit parts of the target body that are not protected by body armor.

      Exclusively in computer games and action films or to the extreme in a dash. In reality, a very good shooter will be able to insert 50% of all fired bullets into the body, mainly into the torso as the largest part of the body. And this very good shooter.

      There is never any talk of intentional defeat of arms, legs, and head in a real shootout.
  9. AlexMark
    April 17 2018 00: 27
    Since we now have a "cartridge day" on the site, then in the aggregate the idea of ​​replacing lead with aluminum in order to reduce the weight of the bullet and plastic instead of the lead shirt, came up with the following concept. Everyone knows the cartridges SP-10, which due to the armor-piercing core have excellent armor-piercing properties. When it hits the armored plate, only the core pierces it, everything else remains outside, and if the bullet hits the soft tissue, then it works out completely with its entire structure. What if the bullet consists of an armor-piercing core, an aluminum shirt and a plastic shell? As a result, we get a high-speed light armor-piercing bullet, which will have armor-piercing properties, and if it hits unprotected targets, it will have a good stopping effect, since the destruction of the bullet, if it happens, will already be in the body of the enemy.
    What do you think about this?
    1. 4thParasinok
      4thParasinok 19 May 2018 19: 33
      Quote: AlexMark
      What do you think about this?

      nothing, for theories are tested by practice, not by idle talk.
      1. AlexMark
        21 May 2018 23: 02
        Offer to try to do and bring yourself under the article?))) I remember that we already had a fight over the violation of the Criminal Code, only then everything was the other way around) But seriously, first of all, the question was addressed to specialists, for example, to the same chemists, so to speak, to find out if there is currently a shell polymer capable of withstanding loads, in particular, a rather sharp temperature difference. The Swedes do it all implemented a little differently, in the embodiment proposed by me the shell thickness will not be so big. Well, in my opinion, before the beginning of the practice, there should be a detailed and thought-out theory, so as not to waste time and money on what cannot be realized request
        Can we finish spitting at each other, hopelessly this occupation? If there are any errors or inaccuracies behind me, feel free to point them out, I am “for” with both hands for valid criticism. If to argue, then with some specific result, useful for other visitors, but we initially somehow did not have a constructive dialogue drinks
        1. 4thParasinok
          4thParasinok 10 June 2018 19: 05
          I don’t spit, just for your information a bullet with an aluminum shirt, even with a plastic coating breaks from the rifling. If you use alloys that will allow you to spin the bullet, it reduces the resource of the barrel.
          In bullets of small arms, aluminum is used only on small calibers, placing it behind aluminum in order to increase stabilization in flight and when hit by a target. Weight reduction is already a secondary task.
          1. AlexMark
            15 June 2018 18: 14
            And if you combine this mess with polygonal cutting?
  10. Catfish
    Catfish April 17 2018 01: 50
    Good night, Mark! wink
    I have never dealt with weapons under the SP-10 cartridge. But I heard that there are problems in supplying this ammunition. Those. there is no such “shaft” as in 9x18 and 9x19. And the idea is not bad in my opinion, but I'm not special in ballistics. And at a price, how will it be compared to the standard? Yes, and it’s a pity that they did not sign photographs of cartridges in the article, not everyone is clear. And what kind of PP model?
    And thanks, it was interesting. hi
  11. Nikolaevich I
    Nikolaevich I April 17 2018 03: 08
    Recently, several articles have appeared on ammunition for small arms. But they do not mention (almost never mention ...) jet bullets. Yes. It turned out that they have significant shortcomings, which served as a "sharp" reduction in work on them. But every new “product” can be “damp” at the beginning ... There are also “pluses” in reactive bullets that solve the problems that are “expressed” in the article ....
    PS As a “historical” knowledge ... cumulative bullets were also developed ... (it seems that “hunting” is still going on in hunting calibers) ... There is also a known case when a brow was killed by a “strike nucleus" ... (in a cartridge accidentally hit the stove, on the capsule of which there was a dent ... (factory defect) ...
    1. Kibb
      Kibb April 17 2018 15: 10
      The reactive bullet does not have the main ability - the initial speed, it accelerates already outside the barrel, that is, it can not be shot at close range, even a leather jacket can hold, but there is practically no recoil.
      1. Nikolaevich I
        Nikolaevich I April 17 2018 15: 49
        There is something .... but, as Y. Detochkin said: "... there were flaws in my work, but who doesn’t have them? ..." hi
  12. Lena Petrova
    Lena Petrova 19 June 2018 20: 18
    Quote: akims
    Creepy beauty.

    If you don’t think about what it is for.