Kill Versus Wound — the M16A2 .22 Caliber Round

BY Herschel Smith
8 years, 4 months ago

Courtesy of Michelle Malkin (Kill, Don’t Capture), CENTOM (linked on this web site) gives the following brief:

    BAGHDAD, Iraq – Coalition forces killed one terrorist, wounded another and detained one associate during a raid north of Balad on the morning of June 24. 
    Reliable intelligence indicates that the targeted terrorists were associated with numerous senior al-Qaida in Iraq members including two local Emirs.  The group is also reported to be tied to another recently captured individual who had previously led the overall network and has since admitted to countless attacks on Iraqi civilians.
    While the troops were moving to the target area they encountered two armed terrorists who attempted to engage the ground force.  The ground force immediately engaged the terrorists killing one and wounding the other.  The wounded terrorist was provided immediate first aid on site.
    Multiple men fled the immediate target area upon arrival of the assault force.  The ground force then quickly contained and secured the target area.
    The troops pursued and ultimately detained another suspect.

Michelle observes that it is better to accomplish a kill in the field.

The history of the M16A2 (and the whole Stoner system of weapons) is interesting.  What you don’t usually see in writing anywhere is that the U.S. adopted the small caliber (.22 caliber, or 5.56 mm) round due in part to its being a more humane weapon, tending to wound rather than kill, as opposed to the 7.62 mm NATO round, which tended to main or kill just about no matter where it hit.

However, the upshot is that they teach Marines to place the round in the right location to accomplish a kill.  Moreover, the light weight of the M16A2 allows it to be brought to bear on a target more quickly than the heavier M14.  Also, the smaller round (a) gives much less recoil than the 7.62 mm round, and (b) gives it a high muzzle velocity that allows good body armor penetrating capability.

Finally, the United States Marines, unlike every other branch of the military here or abroad, requires every Marine to qualify on his M16A2 at 500 yards.  Today, a variant of the M16A2 is used — the M4, with a shorter stock and barrel.  It is capable of single shot or three-round bursts.  The SAW (Squad Automatic Weapon, one per fire team of four Marines) is also a 5.56 mm round, capable of fully automatic firing.

Sometimes we get the sweet satisfaction that even when the left tries to harm us (more “humane weapon”), the law of unintended consequences gives us a nice gift.  The M16A2.




You are currently reading "Kill Versus Wound — the M16A2 .22 Caliber Round", entry #146 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) War & Warfare and was published July 25th, 2006 by Herschel Smith.

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