Update: 6.8x43mm SPC SPECOPS Cartridge in Trouble? 6.5 Grendel on the Rise?

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by David Crane

The 6.8x43mm SPC, according to DefenseReview sources, has been performing extremely well in the field against enemy combatants. Special Operations end users are thus, reportedly, very pleased with it. Unfortunately, it’s also been reported to us that the 6.8x43mm SPC has been running into a considerable amount of resistance from some U.S. Army brass, who are trying to kill it (unconfirmed). And, they just might end up succeeding in that endeavor (also unconfirmed). We’re getting this information from several of our sources. It’s possible that the people trying to kill the 6.8mm don’t like the ammunition supply logistics problems it perhaps creates. This is just a guess.

To make matters worse, we’ve received another unconfirmed report that the 6.8x43mm SPC/6.8mm SPC has been experiencing production/supply problems, of late. DefenseReview was told that Remington hasn’t been manufacturing/supplying the 6.8x43mm SPC (Special Purpose Cartridge)/6.8 Rem SPC ammo in the needed numbers, and has not been adhering to the proper/original cartridge specs for the ammo it has been manufacturing/supplying. We will, of course, try to confirm whether or not this is actually the case. We hope it’s not. All of these reports came to us some time ago, so it’s possible that Remington has already fixed the problem (if the reports of ammo manufacturing/supply problems were indeed true). DefenseReview has always known Remington to be an excellent company, so we’re confident they would fix any manufacturing and/or supply problems quickly, if they ever existed in the first place.

If all these reports are indeed true, however, that would be very unfortunate. It’s DefenseReview’s opinion that if the 6.8x43mm SPC/6.8 Rem SPC has proven to be effective in the field and the operators like it,…

then the cartridge should be supported by the higher-ups, and manufactured correctly, according to the exact original technical data specifications. It’s important that our operators on the ground be able to choose whatever they wish to use operationally, and have confidence in their ammo.

It would appear that military operators would have good reason to have confidence in the 6.8x43mm SPC. According to noted gunwriter Gary Paul Johnston, "For military purposes, the 6.8mm SPC outshoots anything in its class–including the 5.45x39mm, 5.8x43mm [Chinese Army’s standard infantry rifle cartridge], 7.62x39mm, and even the 6.5mm Grendel. Producing increased incapacitation at all ranges out to 600+ yards, the 6.8mm round fires a 115-grain Hornady Match or Sierra Match .270 caliber bullet at over 2600 fps (feet per second) from a 16-inch barrel M16 type rifle called the Mk-12 Variant "Recce", and has essentially the same trjectory as the M118 7.62mm NATO Match cartridge. A conceptual 6.8mm SPC version of the Special Purpose Rifle (SPR) also exists. The 6.8mm SPC is at least as accurate as the 5.56mm NATO and 7.62mm NATO rounds now used by U.S. Military Forces." (November 2004 Issue of "Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement" Magazine, p.62).

Interestingly, the 6.5 Grendel (6.5mm)/.26 Grendel is itself reportedly garnering a fair amount of positive attention from U.S. Special Operations forces, at the moment. From everything DefenseReview has seen, it’s a very impressive cartridge. The 6.5 Grendel has a superior ballistic coefficient and thus superior long-range trajectory characterstics to the 6.8x43mm SPC/6.8mm SPC, past 500 meters. The 6.5 Grendel (6.5mm)/.26 Grendel bullet should also work quite well at CQB (Close Quarters Battle) range (if not quite as well as the 6.8mm SPC), especially if designed with an air pocket towards the tip like on the Russian 5.45x39mm bullet. Hopefully, an armor-piercing/armor-penetrating (AP) version of the 6.5 Grendel featuring a tungsten or tungsten carbide core will also be developed. DefenseReview is interested to know the amount of felt recoil that the 6.5 Grendel generates. For CQB applications, weapon controllability on full-auto is of primary importance–right up there with weapon reliability. While engaged in dynamic CQB in urban environments, our operators have to be able to get hits on hostile moving targets, fast.

Click here to see an Armed Forces Journal (AFJ) video clip of the 6.5 Grendel being explained and demonstrated at Blackwater USA. DefRev highly recommends our readers view it.

As we’ve previously reported, Barrett Firearms is currently manufacturing and marketing both complete rifles and replacement upper receivers chambered in 6.8x43mm SPC/6.8 Rem SPC, called the Barrett M468. You can contact Barrett Firearms at 615-896-2938, or via email at mail@barrettrifles.com.

Alexander Arms LLC designed and developed the 6.5 Grendel/.26 Grendel cartridge. They currently manufacture and market complete rifles, replacement upper receivers, and (we believe) ammunition. Alexander Arms LLC can be contacted at 540-639-8356, or via email at sales@alexanderarms.com. Ask for Bill Alexander.

Update: 6.8x43mm SPC SPECOPS Cartridge in Trouble? 6.5 Grendel on the Rise? by

About David Crane

David Crane started publishing online in 2001. Since that time, governments, military organizations, Special Operators (i.e. professional trigger pullers), agencies, and civilian tactical shooters the world over have come to depend on Defense Review as the authoritative source of news and information on "the latest and greatest" in the field of military defense and tactical technology and hardware, including tactical firearms, ammunition, equipment, gear, and training.

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