I'm curious. Exactly why does any law enforcement officer require sub-sonic ammunition to use against the people it protects and serves?
27th November, 2012 @ 3:22 a.m. (California Time)
What about a series of staged ignitions, built into the bullet head, so that the bullet is continuously propelled forward but at a subsonic speed?
27th November, 2012 @ 3:47 a.m. (California Time)
Try tiny bullets at much higher speed. That should get them in beneath the human hearing threshold and improve range and accuracy.
27th November, 2012 @ 6:11 a.m. (California Time)
Why not just use Silencers ?
And there ARE Silencers on Guns other than subsonic hand guns.
27th November, 2012 @ 9:43 a.m. (California Time)
Flink, nowhere in this article does it mention law enforcement. The article is purely about a military round for Spec Ops use. However, the police could use such a round when doing raids on drug houses, etc. where there are heavily armed potential assailants that could be taken out silently as to not give the other bad guys (victims, as you would probably call them) an audible cue to take up arms. Protect and Serve by taking out or arresting those that do the opposite, i.e. criminals.
27th November, 2012 @ 9:57 a.m. (California Time)
@ Estelja. Re: Nowhere in this article does it mention law enforcement.
The last para of the article states: "Dual use by law enforcement is an additional SOCOM goal."
27th November, 2012 @ 11:02 a.m. (California Time)
Last paragraph, third sentence:
"Dual use by law enforcement is an additional SOCOM goal."
US LEO has neither a requirement nor the authority to use anything other than flash suppressors. It's not legal to simply shoot a target unless a hostage or other LEO is about to be shoot by said target. I'm not arguing that it wouldn't make things easier, just that it's not legal.
It's not easy to approach a building unseen nowadays. There are dozens of IR surveillance/security cam systems on the market and they're fairly simple to build from scratch.
Covert entry is seldom practiced in a civilian setting unless there are hostages. Entry into most buildings is accomplished with brute force and plenty of noise. There's no way to do it in silence. At best, you might quietly divert the DWV into a bucket in a crawlspace or capture the outflow to the sewer line before entry so that you don't loose evidence. Once the ram hits the door, there's no need for silence.
Stealth is often practiced but seldom used. It's mainly for building clearing when the environment is mixed (target/friendly) or unknown, and then only when a surreptitious entry is possible. A locked and chained door usually makes that impossible. And it's good practice for the period after the entry if you're working a large, multi-floor building. There are few things that suck more than having someone shooting at you through the floor/ceiling.
UK LEO have access, but only because they have so often had to deal with many flavors of terrorist organizations.
27th November, 2012 @ 11:44 a.m. (California Time)
If you want it to be effective at long range and subsonic you have to throw a large heavy bullet (I would recommend some on the order of 60cal.) or have an engine on the bullet. (firing little magnesium or white phosphorous fueled ramjets would be cool.
27th November, 2012 @ 12:05 p.m. (California Time)
300 AAC/BLK Does this now with a 220 grain 308 bullet at just over 1000FPS. Works in an M4/AR15 with the swapout of a barrel. Uses standard M4 bolt and magazines. Done
27th November, 2012 @ 1:07 p.m. (California Time)
silencers and suppressors are the same thing. They only mute the sound at the barrel, not the second crack from the supersonic bullet. To be effectively silenced the ammo needs to be subsonic
27th November, 2012 @ 2 p.m. (California Time)
Subsonic? Does that mean it will travel shorter distances? Hmm, they could use blowguns and crossbows. Slingshots and atlatls.
Oh but then the defence contractor cant pad the books and take tax payers for billions off low powered ammo.
By the way these weapons do work in skilled hands. Shit an atlatl will take down a caribou at full charge.
27th November, 2012 @ 2:56 p.m. (California Time)
The Russians did this years ago. Should be pretty simple.
27th November, 2012 @ 3:33 p.m. (California Time)
Im not sure I understand the problems here, they say the ammo is for urban and close combat environments but then cry about the poor distance performance because of the slower speed? Well which is it? For urban combat for for long range?
27th November, 2012 @ 5:31 p.m. (California Time)
Fire a canceling noise prior to a supersonic projectile. It doesn't matter what the target hears, it's what others in the vicinity can hear.
Sub-sonic projectiles have limited range. They can be heavy sledge hammers or lightweight needles, all are subject to the laws of gravity and will have a 'rainbow' trajectory, but a consistent trajectory equals accuracy.
How loud is the supersonic crack of a needle?
28th November, 2012 @ 1:28 a.m. (California Time)
So if the speed of sound is 343 m/s, and we assume the bullet travels at that speed the whole time (somehow overcomes air resistance without breaking the sound barrier, and assuming this will not break the sound barrier on another day with different conditions) then under the effect of gravity, in the first 0.1s (34.3m) the bullet will drop 9.8m/s^2*(0.1s^2)= (9.8/100)m= 9.8cm. I can't imagine why they might have an accuracy problem, with a whole handspan drop in just a bit over a third of a football field. Clearly this is only useful as a very close range. Why don't they switch to energy weapons? A high power pulse diode pumped IR laser could put a nasty hole in someone with minimal noise and the ability to recharge anywhere you can find a decent wall outlet (or a vehicle providing solar or hybrid electrical support). That, or just start filling paintballs with something a little more nasty - I imagine at least half of the SOCOM guys have extensive experience with paintballs already and this gives them access to more customization that DARPA will ever have.
28th November, 2012 @ 8:43 a.m. (California Time)
Damn fools need to talk to the Russians. They have the VSS "Vintorez" and the VSK and VSSK "Vychlop" weapons.
The VSS is a direct replacement for the AK-47 / AKM series of rifles that have been fitted with silencers. It fires a subsonic 9mm bullet with a solid steel core fitted to a necked down 7.62x39 case. It is capable of defeating body armor out to 400 meters.
For a true silent but deadly sniper weapon, the VSSK is the way to go. Firing 12.7mm solid bronze slugs with an 1 MOA accuracy at 100 meters this weapon would be an ideal for urban campaigns. The weapon is fitted with an integral bipod and silencer.
28th November, 2012 @ 9:29 a.m. (California Time)
Ah. I was going to mention VSK and VSSK. You could also design bullet to become mini-missle, burn fuel - but visible in dark. Cheapskates use "rim-fire" rounds. Lower velocity, much less sound. Requires some scope adjust. Fancy range-finder does trick. Perhaps government should do so rim-fire?
28th November, 2012 @ 11:15 a.m. (California Time)
Use a crossbow (or better still, Russian technology).
28th November, 2012 @ 1:29 p.m. (California Time)
Rocket propelled bullet with compressed air launch. Not silent but reasonably quiet. Even a crossbow or a slingshot is not silent. Both can be fairly accurate, and deadly.
28th November, 2012 @ 3:03 p.m. (California Time)
If the Russian weapons will not do, Gyrojet with a kick starter sub-munition round all sealed flatter trajectory high energy impact at max range with lots of mass available.
28th November, 2012 @ 7:51 p.m. (California Time)
Didn't the airplane folks recently solve sonic boom problems on aircraft by modifying the shape? I wonder if a bullet could be shaped to travel supersonic w/out making a boom. Someone straighten me out if I've got this wrong.
28th November, 2012 @ 10:35 p.m. (California Time)
Dig through a pile of back issue of American Rifleman, what they want is likely in there somewhere.
Another benefit of a subsonic rifle round is it'll shoot through several feet of water. Supersonic bullets shatter in 2 feet or less, even the mighty .50 BMG.
Just once I'd like to see in a movie where some guy jumps into a river and other guys start blasting away... someone says "No you idiots, pistols! Subsonic bullets go deep in water!" In other words, every movie you've ever seen with rifle bullets shooting past someone swimming underwater has it wrong.
29th November, 2012 @ 12:41 a.m. (California Time)
The problem with crossbows is that they take so much energy and time to reload. A large caliber C02 air rifle with a sound suppressor should work really well.
29th November, 2012 @ 10:17 a.m. (California Time)
I thought they were already playing with 50 cal prechargedpneumatics at 900fps. accuracy problems until they change alloys and shapes. I think the shape of the projectile can 'stretch out' the wave of the boom so it is less noticeable. What happened to the micro powered missiles that were supposed to drive by wire ... Solyndra? The Israelis use indelible ink paintballs filled with drop-you-to-your-knees cadaverine (or similar).
I like the doped blow dart idea best. The impact of the hit causes it to syringe-in the drug. Maybe they should watch (Crocodile) Dundee 2 for some ideas.
29th November, 2012 @ 2:53 p.m. (California Time)
If you desire quiet, why not use a small crossbow?
29th November, 2012 @ 4:40 p.m. (California Time)
All the crossbow enthusiasts please make a crossbow shaped object and then move around your home trying to clear rooms with it. If you have children have them play the op-force with toy guns. See who wins.
29th November, 2012 @ 9:42 p.m. (California Time)
A subsonic round in a non-suppressed weapon? AFAIK the 45 cal is usually subsonic and its not silent so yes, law enforcement can and have been using subsonic rounds
2nd December, 2012 @ 8:16 a.m. (California Time)
Well, you could introduce a rifle with a "gas dumping" gas regulator. That is, have a lever that can reduce the amount of gas going to the projectile. Old muskets used to lose gas out through the flash hole area, so all you'd need in a basic example is a hole, and a slider to adjust the amount of gas loss. This would form as a type of power adjuster, so the amount of force available to the projectile could be reduced to an amount only suitable for subsonic speeds. An ordinary sized rifle projectile at that point may be too small (F=MA) to do sufficient damage, but may be effective at short range.
Another way to look at it might be some kind of staged smart bullet. Most people here know how a hollow point works - it's aerodynamic in flight, and becomes a bludgeon on impact. Well, couldn't that theory be applied in reverse? Imagine a two-stage bullet with poor aerodynamic characteristics in it's first stage. That is, when the projectile is fired, it has poor aerodynamics, then at a predetermined point in flight, the first stage breaks away, leaving an aerodynamic second stage which has been "air braked" down to a subsonic speed by the poor characteristics of the first stage. It might sound a bit tech heavy, but similar things are being developed elsewhere in military technology.
4th December, 2012 @ 6:12 a.m. (California Time)
This is not a new "problem" nor is it new research. Frank Barnes of 'Cartridges of the World' fame did a load of research and testing and forwarded it to the US army during the 70s e=when a new 'brushbusting' caliber was needed for special forces in Vietnam. He shortened the redoubtable .458 Win cartridge and got it to work in a semi auto rifle. It went through anything (trees, walls, backpacks and radios) and was sub-sonic. They rejected it.
The .30 Wisper is another experimental sub-sonic cartridge that supposedly has accuracy and hitting power.
Most of the press releases by these firms doing the research are to justify their 'reinvention of the wheel' and the subsequent cost.
30th January, 2013 @ 8:38 p.m. (California Time)
stick a silencer on a 1911 the 45APC is already subsonic. WWII used 45apc in a modified, silenced, LE #4 rifle for special operations.
As noted SSK industries has a well tested, line of subsonic ammo, with simple inexpensive refit to M16
4th April, 2013 @ 2:34 p.m. (California Time)