Rumour: The SAS Need Bigger Guns

By Chris Mills on at

The SAS, famous for their ability to storm embassies and produce crappy writers with equal ferocity, apparently needs bigger bullets. According to the Daily Mail, a report on SAS operations in Afghanistan claims that the 5.56 NATO-standard round is too lightweight for the SAS, and they need something bigger, preferably with an extra testicle and more chest-hair for good measure.

Allegedly, the report claims that the 5.56mm round fired by the SAS from their Diemanco C8 carbines (and also, by the way, the same round used by the rest of the Armed Forces, US armed forces, and most of the rest of NATO) "did not take a big enough chunk out of them [the Taliban], allowing fanatical insurgents to keep on fighting despite their wounds. As a result, more SAS soldiers were shot and badly wounded". There's also a claim that the 5.56 round is impotent over longer ranges, as it loses velocity and therefore 'stopping power' more quickly.

The rumoured replacement would be something chambered in NATO 7.62x51 (which, to be clear, is not quite the same round as used by the AK47 -- that's the 7.62x39mm). The 7.62 is the bullet used by the previous Army-issue assault rifle, the SLR. The rumoured mythical new SAS gun would be chosen from a competition, most likely featuring action-movie-favourite weapons like the SCAR-H and HK 417.

To be fair, these rumours of the 5.56 being a bit limp-wristed are nothing new -- the Army's already bought a new 7.62 Sharpshooter rifle to help with the long-range thing, and created a whole new copper-nosed 5.56 bullet for 'increased lethality'. Plus, the SAS do have a history of pimping out their arsenal, according to a military expert:

"The adoption of a 7,62 individual weapon system by the SAS is nothing new, with the SAS preferring to use short rifle G3s in Ireland in heavily built areas"

Still, at this point this remains purely as rumour -- no one's actually seen the 'top-secret' report the Mail speaks of -- but it's indicative of the changes that our forces are likely to be undergoing as they sit down and take a long, hard look at the lessons learnt from a decade of hard war. [Daily Mail]