NATO always wants to do what is right for the population. They make sure to have effective weapons and ammunition and be ready for defense. But a question has been raised recently, and many people don't seem to have an answer to it. More specifically, people are curious why NATO uses the 5.56 caliber, instead of switching to a 6.5 Grendel cartridge.
A lot of people consider the latter to have some added advantages compared to the caliber currently in use, so they want to know why the change won't happen. Well, you can find the answer in this article, so keep reading.
What Is the 6.5mm Grendel?
Before we get into the rest, let's establish what a 6.5mm Grendel is. This cartridge has been created to be very versatile and has been designed as a low recoil that is also able to be very accurate. More specifically, it was created for the AR-15, as a way to surpass the popular 5.56mm NATO cartridge.
The Grendel one is larger in diameter while having the capacity to use more powder. More than that, it can also shelter high-ballistic coefficient bullets that are longer.
However, using these cartridges would require a longer barrel to work, as well as heavier bullets. The performance of the cartridge is amazing, as it's a cross between the 5.56x45mm NATO and the 7.62x51mm NATO.
Why Won't NATO Adopt Grendel for Military Use?
Grendel cartridges are said to be much better compared to the 5.56 cartridges used by NATO, so why don't they switch? The confusion comes simply because people think some additional benefits make a cartridge a much better choice for the organization. Here are some reasons why NATO sticks with their cartridges and don't adopt Grendel:
If you're thinking that all NATO has to do is buy the cartridges and they're good to go, you should think again. Since Grendel cartridges are longer compared to the 5.56 NATO, replacements will have to be made to have them work.
Basically, to have Grendel fit, NATO would have to consider replacing the magazine followers, bolts and barrels, but that's not all. New magazine bodies will also be needed, as long as they want the cartridges to perform at their full capacity and be reliable.
6.5mm Grendel won't work properly with your short firearms. For example, an AR-15 short pistol may save you some storage space, but it won't be able to use 6.5mm Grendel cartridges. A Springfield Armory Saint Pistol 7.5" 30+1RD has a short barrel and it wouldn't work with Grendel.
The same way, rifles used by the military have barrels that fit their cartridges and switching to Grendel will require replacements. Just imagine how long that would take, and all the agitation around it.
This is probably one of the main reasons why NATO won't ditch their 5.56 and grab the 6.5mm Grendel. Aside from the agitation that replacements are going to cause, they also require a lot of money from the government. The number of rifle users, multiplied by the number of replacement pieces they'd require, will make a very big sum of money that might be difficult to deal with.
Also, while having some additional benefits, the cartridges won't cause that much of a change. So, it's really not worth the hassle from the Government.
Let's face it - walking around while carrying a lot of ammunition must be very difficult and annoying. A big amount of 5.56 is probably hard enough to carry around, so just imagine how much pressure Grendel is going to add.
Basically, the 5.56 takes up less space and doesn't weigh as much as a 6.5 Grendel. So, while the latter may have some benefits, the former can be carried in bigger amounts as it doesn't take unnecessary space. Therefore, the soldier will have more firepower during a battle. That already speaks for itself.
While the 6.5mm Grendel is efficient in its own way, the 5.56 still has more chances to effectively hit the target because it has less recoil. A missed shot may cost the soldier a lot, so why take risks? Things will go much better with a 5.56 since the soldier is used to it and can actually hit the target with a single shot.
As mentioned earlier, a 6.5mm Grendel can contain more powder. While that sounds good at first, it's important to keep in mind that the heavier charge causes it to heat up more. Meanwhile, the 5.56 has a much lighter charge and doesn't heat up that much and that easily.
When a soldier is in the middle of a battle, ammunition may cause the weapon to heat up, thus being more dangerous and harder to use. Given the 5.56 isn't that much of a problem in this regard, it's preferred over the Grendel cartridge.
These cartridges work differently, and that comes as no surprise. One aspect that makes them very different is the impact on the target. A 5.56 NATO will hit a target and not exit it. It will tumble, and most of its energy and damage will go into the target, which is more effective during a battle.
Conversely, 6.5mm bullets will pass through softer targets so the energy won't be spent there. Therefore, the impact will be less powerful.
As you can see, NATO can't adopt Grendel for military use as too many changes and too many costs would be required. Whereas the 6.5mm cartridge has some improvements, it also has some disadvantages worth considering - that's why the organization sticks to the 5.56mm bullets.
The replacement costs would be way too high, while the bullets would take more space and be heavier to carry around. Besides, they would heat up very easily. For now, it's best that NATO sticks with their diminutive 5.56 until they find something better from all points of view.
In a weary world of endless US military interventions, sanctions, trade tariffs and chaos, let’s pause and take stock of the shining house on the hill