Infantry Weapons

IMI unveils new 5.56 mm armour piercing round

14 February 2018

Israel Military Industries (IMI) has unveiled a new 5.56x45 mm round that it said will enable combat units to use one type of ammunition for assault rifles and machine guns.

IMI's new APM 5.56 mm round. (Israel Military Industries)IMI's new APM 5.56 mm round. (Israel Military Industries)

IMI decided to develop the Armor Piercing Match (APM) round after being told by militaries that standard types of 5.56 mm ammunition do not provide the performance needed on the modern battlefield, according to Israel Shmilovitz, the company’s corporate vice-president and managing director of its Small Calibre Division.

“The Israel Defense Forces is certainly examining this bullet in a serious manner. It is highly interested. I can’t go into further details,” he said. “Other militaries are examining it as well.”

The APM has better accuracy and penetration than the standard 5.56 mm rounds commonly used in military assault rifles, according to IMI. Comparing it with the standard M80 7.62 mm round used by the US military, the company said the APM is 30% more accurate at ranges up of to 550 m and can penetrate 3.5 mm of NATO-standard plate at 800 m, while the M80 can only do this at ranges up to 550 mm.

This means units can use the APM to achieve the same level of firepower with lighter 5.56 mm machine guns that use the same ammunition as its assault rifles, simplifying logistics as well as increasing the amount of ammunition that can be carried.

The APM is also cheaper than other armour piercing rounds, according to Shmilovitz. “Some cost four to five times the price of regular rounds and are used by special forces. The APM is available at a reasonable price,” he said.

IMI said the APM’s improved performance was achieved with a new FMJ boat-tailed (FMJ-BT) armour-piercing hard-core (APHC) bullet design that weighs 73 grains (4.7 g). Its shape and weight improves its ballistic coefficient, lowering its drag and hence velocity loss over distance.

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