December 19, 2010

.308 Winchester/7.62 NATO Outlawed by Iraq for PMCs?

I just had a very interesting phone with a defense contractor, who informed me that the Iraqi government just passed a law that outlaws the use of .308 Winchester/7.62 rifles in Iraq by private military contractors.

As a result, overwatch teams that have been using rifles chambered in this caliber for counter-sniper roles are going to have to find other long-range calibers that meet the standards of Iraqi law. I have no idea if this affects 7.62 machine guns as well.

Why has this been done? I have absolutely no idea, and cannot find the first mention of this in the MSM or military media at this time. There is the possibility that this is a false alarm or miscommunication of some sort, but if it is, it is a miscommunication serious enough that PMCs are reaching out for alternative weapons.

I'll update if I learn any more.

12/20 Update: This doesn't appear to be a "law" as such, but perhaps a directive or "suggestion." I can get my hands on the language, but it appears that the intent it to require counter-sniper weapons to be chambered in 5.56, something similar to a Mk 12.

Considering much of the PMC work and Iraqi population is contained in urban areas with high population densities, it makes sense to reduce the risk of over-penetrating or off-target bullets to nearby civilians, and the reduced range is probably mitigated by the reality of reduced lines of sight anyway (that is purely speculative, btw).

All things considered, this seems to be a pretty logical request, does it not?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at December 19, 2010 01:11 PM

I can understand the prohibition on MGs, of any caliber, we were already starting that in 2008 when I was there. But a rifle is a rifle. 7.62/308 is no more or less lethal than the alternatives, and there are a lot of them. There is nothing special to distinguish that ammo from 30-06 or the very common 7.62x54R. Even overpenetration is common with 5.56mm so there is no real benefit of one over the other.

The only difference is that smaller rounds are less lethal to people using body armor and 7.62 is overmatch for the common armor styles worn by the peoples of Iraq, diplomats and contractors. But then again, the good guys aren't getting shot at by other good guys, so this is hardly an issue.

Posted by: professor Hale at December 19, 2010 07:35 PM

There is nothing wrong with the .30-06, and on the plus side it opens up the option for heavier projectiles.

Then there are:

.300 Winchester Magnum
.300 Winchester Short Magnum
.338 Winchester Magnum
.338 Lapua

getting even more exotic we move to the H&H rounds, and the Weatherby stuff, and the Lazzeroni stuff, maybe even something by JD Jones.

I'm guessing someone is looking for an opportunity for a little graft with the approval process.

Posted by: ThomasD at December 19, 2010 08:43 PM

I'm no military expert, but I did see the movie Mr. Mom. Perhaps they're going for bigger ammo, like .309s or 7.63s?

Posted by: Kevin at December 19, 2010 09:01 PM

sounds like an M-1 Garand might be the answer.

Posted by: redc1c4 at December 19, 2010 10:58 PM

I would worry more about .50 calibers...

Posted by: Norm at December 20, 2010 10:17 AM

Could it simply be that Iraq, which has shown very little love for military private contractors, is just trying to make life more difficult for said contractors who must now rearm or get out?

Posted by: Indigo Red at December 20, 2010 06:22 PM

I suspect it is just contract renegotiation time.

Posted by: professor Hale at December 20, 2010 07:23 PM

Isn't this just like some school kid with a knife showing up to a fight and insisting there be rules that no one is allowed a knife?
I'm a LOT of years separated from things military, but seems to me that someone's trying to make ROE that benefits the enemy more than the FreeFor.
Again, I dunno snot about diplomacy or modern warfare, just my .02

Posted by: JimShyWolf at December 20, 2010 11:33 PM

Maybe they're just finding more creative ways of asking us to leave.

What size round would the walls in your house stop?

Posted by: lee at December 21, 2010 01:05 AM