Good morning, boys and girls. Please ignore our vulgar pre-schooler in the front row. This morning we are going to talk about SLAP-ing your enemy. But before we do, you should be aware that this topic makes certain government officials very nervous. So much so that they have passed laws against some of what we are going to be discussing. As a disclaimer, you should know the following.
If you are NOT a Federal Firearms Licensee under the Gun Control Act of 1968 (i.e., you are an individual), it is permissable to own, sell, buy or shoot armor-piercing ammunition. It is NOT permissible to to MAKE AP ammo (18 USC sec. 922(a)(7)) or to IMPORT AP ammo (18 USC sec. 922(a)(7)).
The only persons who can make AP ammo are holders of a Type 10 FFL, also needed to make destructive devices, and ammunition for destructive devices. The only persons who can import AP ammo are holders of a type 11 FFL, who can also import DD's and ammo for DD's. The FFL's cost $1000 a year.
Also know that AP ammo is the bullets ONLY, not the loaded ammo, although ATF has identified some AP ammo by the loaded ammo, not projectiles, for the information of FFL dealers, who are not supposed to "willfully" transfer AP ammo. From this it follows that loading the bullets identified above intocompleted rounds does not constitute "making" AP ammo; making the bullets themselves does.
Now, aren't we all happier knowing that? Our subject today children is the Saboted Light Armor Penetrator, or SLAP cartridge.
7.62 NATO SLAP Rounds
SLAP ammunition is designed to penetrate armor more efficiently than standard armor piercing ammunition. The SLAP design incorporates a polymer sabot, which allows for the use of a tungsten penetrator projectile of a lesser diameter than the original bore.
These are sabots:
By using the casing of a large cartridge with a lightweight projectile, the velocity of the projectile is greatly increased. SLAP rounds are designed for use against lightly armored vehicles and aircraft. They make a perfect hash out of SAPI plates too, but more on that later.
Saboted rounds are used to get a flat trajectory (like Remington's Accelerator varmint rounds), or for armor penetration (APDS or SLAP ammo), or to use long, narrow projectiles stabilized by fins (APFDS or flechettes). The Accelerator was an effort to get flat shooting, small caliber performance from a .30 caliber cartridge by firing a 5.56mm soft point in a plastic sabot. Muzzle velocities are in the neighborhood of 4000 feet per second. As a varmint round, Accelerators are more expensive than regular ammo but no more accurate, although certainly the terminal ballistics are more, uh, spectacular.
It is when you substitute a tungsten steel penetrator for a soft tip bullet that things get really interesting. The U.S. military developed Saboted Light Armor Piercing rounds to get greater penetration from small arms. The 7.62mm SLAP round is designated the M948 and the SLAP tracer is M959. The .50 BMG round is designated as the M903(non-trace) and M962(trace). The SLAP family of ammunition is produced by the Winchester Cartridge Company and Olin Manufacturing. The sabot that contains the sub-caliber is manufactured by Cytec Industries.
The 7.62 NATO round has not been particularly successful in terms of accuracy. The Norwegians and the Swedes are reported to have done better in terms of precision sho placement. The main usage of 7.62 NATO SLAP rounds in U.S. service is in the Gatling gun type weapons where accuracy is less important. And the .50 caliber SLAPs are said to be much better than their smaller brothers.
So why, if the M948's are not as accurate should we care about them? Because they penetrate armor. The P-T-B have denied the American armed citizenry so-called destructive devices even as they cloak themselves in armor of various types. SLAP rounds, and other standard AP rounds, threaten that cocoon of safety they wrap themselves in. Most of us cannot afford a fifty caliber rifle. We CAN afford SLAP and other AP rounds.
I know a fellow who has obtained a number of M948 rounds (he found them at a gun show) and is busily pulling the projectiles and sabots and reloading them for his .300 Winchester Magnum bolt gun. Early reports are quite favorable, both as to accuracy and penetration. At one hundred yards, they went through a small SAPI plate like it wasn't even there. He is increasing the number of steel plates to see what kind of penetration on armor he can expect, but I doubt any Bradley or M113's fuel cell is immune from such treatment.
Why should we even worry about the ability to pierce armor? Because we know from past experience that the people designated to come and kill us may be riding in these:
And the people who send them ride in these:
Editorial Note: The photo originally used as the last illustration has been changed due to an allegation that it represented the President's new limo. As I am on record as discouraging Presidential assassinations in the strongest terms, the illustration has been changed to protect the innocent. And I don't mean Obama. I firmly believe he should live to see the end of his term. If it works out like we are afraid it will, he needs to stay alive for the war crimes tribunal, if nothing else. ;-)