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A Lousy Shot: Ukrainian Army Complains About US-Made Shoddy Cartridges

A Lousy Shot: Ukrainian Army Complains About US-Made Shoddy Cartridges

A Lousy Shot: Ukrainian Army Complains About US-Made Shoddy Cartridges
May 04
15:53 2017

The army and the National Guard of Ukraine are dissatisfied with the penetrating power of sniper cartridges purchased from the American company SBR, according to Sergey Zgurets, editor-in-chief of the Ukrainian magazine Defense Express.

RIA Novosti quoted Sergey Zgurets, chief editor of the Ukrainian magazine Defense Express, as saying that the army and the National Guard of Ukraine are unhappy with the quality of sniper cartridges purchased from the US company SBR.  The country has used the ammunition in the ongoing Donbass conflict.

Zgurets, for his part, cited a military source as saying that the quality of the US cartridges’ bullets leaves much to be desired.

“These bullets ‘devour’ our [sniper rifles’] trunks. This ammunition is worse in terms of accuracy than those that we buy on our own.  And the cores of the armor-piercing bullets just crumble when they touch an armored barrier,” the source


Zgurets recalled that earlier this year, Ukraine purchased four varieties of the US-made cartridges, to suit four ammo calibers for several types of sniper rifles.

However, it turned out that the ammunition isn’t sufficiently accurate, and only a few of the US bullets were capable of piercing through a six-millimeter steel plate used in bulletproof jackets.

“Armor-piercing 12.7mm and 8.58mm cartridges have characteristics which are even worse than the Soviet cartridge B-32 of a smaller caliber,” Zgurets said.

He quoted military sources as saying that the quantity of copper in the purchased ammunition is less than what is required; it is something that makes the bullet more “tough,” and wear and tear on the barrels of sniper weapons allows them to only fire a thousand shots.

To make things worse, the US cartridges proved to be non-waterproof, and if a liquid leaking in such a cartridge, its powder can grow damp, according to Zgurets.


“As far as the sniper ammunition is concerned, the Americans got the money, which should prompt Kiev to demand that the cartridges’ quality be on a par with the price tag,” he concluded.

In late March, Ukrainian Defense Minister Sergey Poltorak said that his country’s armed forces are currently in need of some types of ammunition.
He said that Ukraine is “planning to buy ammunition from our partners while munition factories are being built” in the country.

Also in March, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that US President Donald Trump will not provide any information related to sending lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine because he does not want to undermine his own negotiating strategy.


At present, US military assistance to Kiev is limited to supplying uniforms and equipment, including counter-battery radars, drones and means of secure communication.

In April 2014, Kiev launched a military operation against the self-proclaimed Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics in the Donbass region in the east of the country. The republics proclaimed independence following a coup in Kiev in February 2014.

In February 2015, Kiev forces and the Donbass militia agreed to a cessation of hostilities brokered by the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany in the Belarusian capital of Minsk.

The ceasefire has repeatedly been violated since then, with both sides accusing each other of breaking the truce.


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Edward Bokhua

Edward Bokhua

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