A press release sent out yesterday by Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier, the organization responsible for the prototyping, procurement, and fielding of equipment for the US military, stated that the Army will be considering new ammunition types beyond full metal jacket—including expanding and fragmenting ammunition.

The announcement was made by a representative of the Army Judge Advocate General’s Office at an industry event related to the Army’s ongoing search for a new sidearm to replace the current M9. With more than 20 companies in attendance—and vying for the coveted contract for the Army’s new XM-17 Modular Handgun System—the bombshell dropped: the Army was considering jacketed hollow point ammunition.

“Expanding the XM-17 Modular Handgun competition to include special purpose ammunition will provide the Warfighter with a more accurate and lethal handgun,” said Richard Jackson, special assistant to the Army Judge Advocate General’s Office and an expert on wartime law.

But are hollow points legal for military use? That was the question that many industry observers asked after the announcement. Contrary to popular belief, the United States was never a signatory to the 1899 Hague Conventions article section that outlawed so-called “dum dum” bullets, or expanding ammunition. Furthermore, that specific section of Article IV that concerns the use of expanding bullets only applies to wars between signatory powers, which is not likely to occur anytime soon. The United States was the only major power at the time to decline signing the article.

Jackson further argued that even in signatory nations, hollow point ammunition is still used by law enforcement agencies due to its effectiveness and for the “increased capability it provides against threats.”

The Army has also already fielded hollow point ammunition before, although infrequently and usually only to snipers. With the search for a new combat pistol, the Army is now considering a much wider roll out.

“Other types of ammunition allow the XM-17 Modular Handgun System to be optimized by vendors, providing a more capable system to Warfighters across the spectrum of shooter experience and skill level,” Jackson stated.

That said, the Army has yet to indicate what caliber it will ultimately settle on, although it does seek an improvement over the M882, the 9x19mm NATO 124-grain FMJ currently in service.

The contract for the XM-17 Modular Handgun will only go to one manufacturer, but the Army has not detailed how ammunition will be procured.

Image from Oleg Volk on the Wikimedia Commons

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11 thoughts on “US Army Considering Switch to Hollow Point Ammunition

  1. Horrible idea and the excuse to use them from JAG office is atypical of them as few JAG are ever on the line. Open this Pandora Box and you will never get it closed again, and wounds from this stuff is going to be horrible. If anyone thinks only USA will and not those shooting at our side will not use them, well you must be JAG setting safely in office, not on the line. “Tumble effect” of the 223 etc is bad enouygh, but HP was banned for a reason, let’s keep it that way. JAG and upper end military seem to thinnk only we will be using it, same ole same ole from the “LMD2D Pilots/Grunts type” AKA Large Metal Desk 2 draws.. back at the safe HQ

  2. Banning of hollowpoint ammo is utterly ridiculous. War is war. Do whatever it takes to win. Rules are for negotiation tables. War is about who can destroy whom quicker. Bring it on. Who cares about the enemy anyway?

    1. You miss the point, what could be a minor wound with FMJ, is fatal or horrible damage with HP. If we can use the stuff, so can other side, and they will. At least with FMJ you can survive wounds that HP would main or kill you. What most of the armchair soldiers, and JAG and others who will never see butt end of rifle in combat, is if we can do it, so can other side can and will. We do not ban HP and other weapons, napalm, or CBU’s or how combat prisoners are treat via Geneva to “Play nice”. Our self interest is such we go along to protect our side AKA if we can do “it”, so can and will other side.” Perhaps if we brought back draft, a whole lot less “Patriots” would go for HP, or other items they so love. Besides might end the horror of repeated combat tours while our “Patriots” play soldier with their m16 or AK. Draft with NO deferments, unlike NAM, would make USA, as a NATION, pay more attention as to how to get into and fight wars. Since many so thrilled about women in combat, add them to draft. We have way to many in nation that think war is fun, or HP is fine etc, but “prefer” to not get involved. Since we have not won a war since WW2 when NATION totally involved, perhaps we need to look at why, my guess to many flag wavers(at home) not enough involved.

  3. I said this was our next step, just last night; and should be with the SIG #320 in 357 Sig. Only cost will prove a problem.

  4. This is just another attempt by the government to limit and drive up ammunition prices for the public. If this passes they will order millions of rounds creating another shortage, leaving us sport, and target shooters scrambling for ammo.

    This will for sure make the (Resident) in what used to be the most respected building in the United States happy.

  5. Even with the dearth of video coverage on Iraq/Afghanistan, the presence of hollow point 50 caliber rounds is omnipresent in the available videos. While the military may be considering the use, the grunts have it shipped from home with winks from their COs

  6. Doesn’t anything mean anything anymore in America? The Obama Administration has ignored our own U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence and laws, and are we going to now also ignore the Geneva Convention???

  7. How we get into war is one thing, how we protect our troops is another. A solders side arm (hand gun) is his or her last option, it’s there life insurance policy. There long gun (MHS etc) is there main firearm. We need to give our men and women the best life insurance (side arm) we can. If you think it’s better to die from 5 9mm to the body vs 1-2 357 Sig (hp)or 45 acp (hp), you are only hurting our troops ability to save themselves from monsters. We are fighting over hp vs fmj, when they are using anything to kill us (IEDs/ Aircraft… etc). We could just drop a small House boom on them if we wanted to.

  8. Correction for above!!!

    M16/M4- main gun. We could drop a H bomb on them. sorry new voice command software!

  9. Giving up barrier penetration of a FMJ in combat is a bad idea because:
    … “In reality, a solid or non-expanding bullet may produce equal if not more direct injury
    to tissue, if it tumbles after achieving penetration while the hollow-point doesn’t. Solid
    bullets may even be more lethal than mushrooming bullets.”

    … “There is no objective proof that in real-life situations mushrooming of a bullet plays
    a significant role in increasing lethality or the ‘stopping power’ of the bullet.”
    Quotes from:
    Vincent J. M. Di Maio
    GUNSHOT WOUNDS
    Practical Aspects of Firearms, Ballistics, and Forensic Techniques SECOND EDITION
    Appendix A
    “Stopping Power” and Hollow-Point Ammunition: Myths and Facts — Page 380

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