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Size Does Matter!

I orginally posted this on Dean's World while I was guest-blogging, but I like it so much I'm putting it up here as well.

This is dedicated to Anna over at Belligerent Bunny Blog, in honor of her marvelous "Arsenal of Democracy" series.

One of the more perennial debates in the armed forces has been size (caliber) vs. stopping power. This is why the US Army originally developed the M1911 .45 caliber pistol during the Phillipine Moro insurrection.

Today the US armed forces (as well as most American police) use the M9 9mm (.35 caliber) pistol. Interestingly enough, the Marines are looking at buying a new .45 caliber model to replace the M9. Sometimes, bigger is better.

There's a similar search going on for the rifle range as well. The Leitner-Wise Rifle Company has developed a kit that upgrades the standard M-16/AR-15 5.56mm (.22 caliber) automatic rifle to 12.7mm (.50 caliber).

Just for reference, the US Army Air Forces used .50 caliber machine guns in the classic P-38, P-47, and P-51 fighters. The Browning M-2 ("Ma Deuce") .50 caliber machine gun was the most efficient air-to-air weapon before the development of 20mm and larger automatic cannon.

The upgrade kit results in a rifle that fires what's called a "mini-50" round, which is shorter than the standard M-2 or Barrett sniper .50 caliber round, but still carries a hefty wallop. The resulting rifle is about 36 inches long and weighs between 8-12 pounds, depending on configuration, with a recoil similar to a 12-gauge shotgun. A standard 30 round M-16 clip will hold 10 mini-50 rounds.

Besides stopping power, a .50 caliber rifle makes an excellent anti-vehicle or anti-helicopter weapon, not to mention the impressive effect of an armor-piercing round...

Personal note: I do not, ever, want to be on the recieving end of one of these puppies...

There's a good photo of the modified rifle from StrategyPage.com here.


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