19 Feb 17

Modern small-arms ammunition for our military?

With regard to my last Quip, a friend asks:

“Does not the ‘Geneva Convention’ restrict our military to hardball pistol ammunition? If so, isn’t 9mm 124 gr. FMJ, whether launched from a Beretta 92F, G19, or Sig320, confined to the same abysmal terminal performance from which our military has suffered since ‘upgrading’ from the 45ACP?”

Here is the answer:

In 2011, the BBC lamented that London Metro Police (the few of them who are actually armed) were to be issued “unsurvivable” hollow-point ammunition, “outlawed in warfare under the Hague Declarations of 1899/1907.” Many Brits, particularly professing “journalists,” obviously know nothing about guns, ammunition, nor fighting, and like leftists everywhere, take arrogant pride in their ignorance!

You won’t find the term “hollow-point” anywhere in the 1899/1907 Hague documents. Hollow-point pistol ammunition was unknown at the time. Soft-point pistol ammunition was produced, but its performance in human tissue was inconsistent (poor by today’s standards). The actual Hague language vaguely describes small-arms bullets which “expand or flatten easily in the human body.” Curiously, during the 1899 debate on the subject, it was in fact, the British themselves who defended the use of such ammunition!

In the Hague document, the subject of controlled-expansion pistol bullets is obviously non-specific and imprecise, and by design. Any bullet can “expand” upon impact, whether it is designed/intended to do so or not. In fact most do, to one degree or another! However, writers knew when they mentioned anything specifically, no one would sign the agreement. They thus wrote in vague terms, so nations could subsequently “translate” the text any way they wanted.

Then, they added:

“The present Declaration is only binding for the Contracting Powers in the case of a war between two or more of them. It shall cease to be binding from the time when, in a war between the Contracting Parties, one of the belligerents is joined by a non-Contracting Power.”

CYA was alive and well, even back then!

In the often-incorrectly referenced “Geneva Conventions” of 1864, 1906, 1929, and 1949, the subject of small-arms ammunition isn’t even mentioned. Those documents concerned themselves mostly with treatment of prisoners and non-combatants.

Up until recently, the USA’s armed forced have voluntarily restricted themselves to hardball pistol ammunition. Until the 1970s, American police did the same!

Yet, with modern, controlled-expansion pistol ammunition, through-and-through penetration is less likely. Deanimation takes place faster, making protracted gunfights less likely, and multiple shots less likely to be necessary. It is much better than hardball, for all concerned!

In the American police community, the fact that controlled-expansion pistol ammunition is thus vastly superior to hardball, became so obvious that today virtually all police routinely carry modern ammunition. Even the Brits have joined-in, as noted above.

Our military community is now, at long last, waking-up to this same set of facts!

We can “translate” the 1899/1907 Hague Documents any way we want. Everyone else has!

Once again, technology has out-paced ancient conventions, will-meaning as they might have been, in this case making them mostly irrelevant. A “cultural lag,” as social scientists like to describe it.

It is time to catch-up, and move on!