Indian Army

Top 5 Most Used Ammunition

Hello defence lovers! Today we have a very interesting article. we often talk about various types of guns but we talk very little about the most important part of the guns, the ammunition or commonly called bullets, which out which they are useless. So in this article, we are going to discuss the top 5 most used ammunition.

9×19mm Parabellum

The 9×19mm Parabellum or 9mm Parabellum or 9mm Luger, is the most popular handgun cartridge. It is used extensively by police forces, militaries and also civilians around the globe. Its low cost and wide availability contribute to its continuing popularity. Under STANAG 4090, it is a standard cartridge for NATO forces as well as many non-NATO countries.

9mm Parabellum was designed by Georg Luger way back in 1902. It was introduced by the German weapons manufacturer Deutsche Waffen- und Munitionsfabriken (German Weapons and Munitions Factory) for its Luger semi-automatic pistol. As it was designed for the luger, it is also known as the 9mm Luger. Interestingly the name “Parabellum” is derived from the Latin motto of Deutsche Waffen- und Munitionsfabriken, which is “Si vis pacem, para bellum” (which means in English “If you seek peace, prepare for war”).

According to the 2014 edition of Cartridges of the World, the 9mm Parabellum is “The world’s most popular and widely used military handgun and submachine gun cartridge.”

In the year 2007, Newsweek claimed that about 60 per cent of the firearms in use by police are 9mms and credited 9mm Parabellum pistol sales with making semiautomatic pistols more popular than revolvers. 


The 7.62×39mm (aka 7.62 Soviet or .30 Russian Short) round is the ammunition of the legendary Kalashnikov family weapons ( The Ak 47 family). According to statistics, almost one in every two shots fired is 7.62×39 mm ammunition. This is because of the fact that Kalashnikov family weapons contribute more than 50 per cent of the total firearms present on earth. Thus it is the most used ammunition even in our list of top 5 most used ammunition.

The 7.62x39mm cartridge a rimless bottlenecked cartridge of Soviet origin that was designed during World War II. It is used primarily in the Ak 47 family weapons. It is also used in RPD and RPK light machine guns. Due to the worldwide proliferation of the Soviet SKS and AK-47 pattern rifles along with the RPD and RPK light machine guns, the cartridge is used by both militaries and civilians alike.

The 7.62×39 mm round pack a huge punch. This bullet is particularly known for its stopping power and its shear transfer of energy. It is comparatively slow and bulkier than the 5.56 NATO rounds but it does much more damage on its target. It is a devastating bullet!

5.56×45mm NATO

The 5.56×45mm NATO is a rimless bottlenecked intermediate cartridge family. It is widely used worldwide as an assault rifle ammunition. Perhaps after the 7.62x39mm bullets, it is the most used assault rifle ammunition.

The 5.56×45 mm ammunition was developed in the late 1970s in Belgium by FN Herstal. It consists of the SS109, SS110, and SS111 standard cartridges. On 28 October 1980 under STANAG 4172 it was standardized for NATO forces as well as many non-NATO countries as the second standard service rifle cartridge. The 5.56×45mm NATO cartridge family was originally derived from the .223 Remington cartridge designed by Remington Arms in the early 1960s for the experimental AR-15 type rifles which were then in the developmental phase.

The 5,56 rounds are smaller compared to the 7.62 but are much faster. These rounds create a shockwave inside the targets body when these enter. It often splits into splinters. Unlike the 7.62, it is not designed to pass through the target’s body, instead break into small pieces to further increase the damage. The INSAS rifles and the Tavor tar 21 bullpup rifles fire this particular ammunition.

7.62×51mm NATO

The 7.62×51mm NATO is a rimless bottlenecked rifle cartridge developed in the 1950s as a standard for small arms among NATO countries. It was used in battle rifles such as the HK G3, L1A1 SLR, FN FAL. Thus it was also known as the battle rifle cartridge. But recently Indian Army has inducted the Sig 716 G2 rifles which uses this same cartridges.

The 7.62×51mm NATO was introduced in U.S. service in the M14 rifle and M60 machine gun in the late 1950s. Eventually the M14 was found to unsatisfactory and hence dropped from the U.S. service as the infantry adopted the 5.56×45mm NATO M16 rifle. However, the M14 and many other firearms that use the 7.62×51mm NATO rounds are still in service, especially in the case of various DMR or sniper rifles, medium machine guns or general-purpose machine guns such as the M240, and various rifles in use by special operations forces. The cartridge is used both by infantry and on mounted and crew-served weapons mounted to vehicles, aircraft and ships.

.338 Lapua Magnum

The .338 Lapua Magnum ( or the 8.6×70mm ) is a rimless, bottlenecked, centerfire rifle cartridge specially designed as an accurate sniper rifle ammunition.

The .338 Lapua Magnum was developed during the 1980s as a high-powered, long-range cartridge for military snipers. It was used extensively in the Afghanistan war and the Iraq War. As a result, this cartridge became more readily available yet expensive. This bullet is so powerful that it can penetrate better-than-standard military body armour at ranges up to 1,000 metres and has a maximum effective range of about 1,750 metres. Its muzzle velocity and varies from 880 to 915 m/s (2,890 to 3,000 ft/s) for an ideal load of 250 grains.

In November 2009, a British sniper Corporal of Horse (CoH) Craig Harrison established the then-new record for the longest confirmed sniper kill in combat, at a range of 2,475 m (2,707 yds) at Musa Qala, in Afganisthan with an L115A3 sniper rifle which is also known as the AWM.

Indian Army also used some rifles of this calibre such as Barrett Model 98B, Sako TRG, and the Beretta Scorpio TGT. The round is very powerful but its high cost limits its usage.

So these were the top 5 most used ammunition. Hope you enjoyed the article!


Sheershoo Deb

I am a defense aspirant preparing to be an officer in the prestigious Indian armed forces. Earning the prestigious blue uniform is my dream.

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