July 26, 2013
The U.S. Army is now looking to stockpile nearly 3,000,000 live rounds of Soviet-era Russian ammo popular with civilian shooters.
A U.S. Army solicitation posted July 18 on the Federal Business Opportunities web site asks for “non-standard” ammunition from vendors which includes:
- 2,550,000 rounds of 7.62x39mm ball ammo
- 575,000 blank rounds of 7.62x39mm ammo and
- 425,000 rounds of 9x18mm Makarov ball ammo
The army intends to store all these rounds in ammo storage facilities at both Camp Stanley in Boerne, Texas and the Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky.
As the solicitation implies, the 7.62x39mm and the 9x18mm Makarov are not standard-issue in the U.S. military or NATO.
Rather they are calibers developed by the former Soviet Union which are now commonly used by civilian shooters in the United States.
The 7.62x39mm in particular is extremely popular with private gun owners due to the wide availability and affordability of both military surplus ammo and firearms chambered for this round, such as the AK-47 and the SKS.
Handguns chambered for the 9x18mm Makarov, such as the FEG PA-63, are common, inexpensive imports.
The desired list of calibers attached to a previous, related acquisition request also included oddball rounds such as the .303 British and the 7.62×25mm Tokarev.
In addition to this solicitation for nearly 3,000,000 live rounds of Russian calibers popular with the public, the army made a similar request last year for a long-term weapon supplier who can ship both foreign non-standard and obsolete U.S. military weapons anywhere in the world.
According to this 2012 request, the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) wanted to find a vendor who could “reach around the world at any given moment to gather and provide multiple types of weapons and weapon parts.”
The extensive list of desired weapons included firearms popular with civilians such as the aforementioned AK-47, 1911s, M1903 Springfields, Walther PP/PPKs (another common import), and other “commercial and para-military weapons.”
This solicitation also asked for “books, manuals, tools, and gauges” pertaining to the firearms.
Headquartered in New Jersey, ARDEC is primarily known for its research in advanced weapons such as lasers and nanotechnology.
These unusual requests prompt the question as to why the U.S. Army, and especially the army’s advanced weapons research and development division, needs a vast quantity of non-NATO rounds and decades-old – sometimes even 100-year-old – firearms popular with civilians for worldwide deployment “at any given notice.”
The ARDEC request in particular seems too broad.
Are World War I era M1903 Springfields really that common in today’s battlefields, or even the popular CZ-52 imports which have been retired from Czechoslovakian service since 1982?
Are these obsolete weapons used that frequently in current world conflicts to warrant specific mention in an army acquisition request?
Do century-old firearms really need to be shipped all around the world for “research and development?”
What about the huge purchase of 425,000 9x18mm Makarov rounds?
Are they going to somehow end up in the sidearms of Obama-backed Syrian rebels, especially after two congressional panels cleared the way for shipping small arms to Syria?
Handguns chambered in 9x18mm Makarov are still commonplace among Syrian militants because Syria received military aid from the Soviet Union for over 20 years.
These solicitations, with planned acquisitions ranging between $500,000 to $22,000,000, definitely forge fears of back door gun control by creating artificial scarcity that denies Americans access to a wide-range of firearms and ammo, especially in the wake of the U.N. arms trade treaty which was signed by Obama but rejected by the Senate.
Regardless of the army’s intentions, these large-scale purchases will only further intensify firearm and ammo shortages for gun owners across the country.