posted on Jun, 9 2005 @ 06:54 PM
Bringing In The Big Guns
Originally posted by fritz
Used against personnel, I can't see the point! Why waste such valuable ammo taking some git's head off with .50 (12.7 milly) when you can achieve
the bursting melon effect with a 5.56 or 7.62 round?
The allure stems from the amount of energy the .50 BMG brings to the party. There is no body armor currently made (that I am aware of, anyway) which
can defeat a strike from a .50 BMG.
Also, with the .50 BMG a sharpshooter can, with the aid of thermal imaging optics, take out targets behind such things as cinderblock walls at
One strategy which has proven effective is having forward-deployed scouts light up a spot on a wall with an infrared laser and have a sharpshooter
with an M82A1 drop a round on the dot -- and through the wall, into whatever the forward observer wanted to take out of action.
The large size of the .50 BMG projectile allows it to be loaded with interesting specialty packages, as in the case of the M8 Armor-Piercing
Incendiary (API) cartridge, which works wonders against fuel tanks in depots or in light armored vehicles. Such specialty rounds are available for
smaller calibers as well, but none carry the payload the .50 does.
My understanding is that many Iraqi BMPs fell victim to this round during Desert Storm. Considering the cost of one of these rounds versus say, a TOW
missile, Hellfire missile or a run from a 30mm Avenger gun, the .50 BMG is a major win, and a very low-risk engagement option.
On the negative side, even the lightest .50 BMG rifles are heavy as hell, though, and thus have some limitations in the field. However,
pintle-mounting rifles such as the M82A1 Barrett on vehicles makes up for this problem quite well, and can turn a Hummer scouting into mobile
merchants of distant death.
It is eminently apparent to me why commanders would want to have .50 BMG rifles as an option in a wide range of combat environments.