alejandro_ wrote:I do not understand this very well as I thought 7.62x39 mm was made obsolete by 5.45mm. Is there new ammo around? Venezuela did select a 7.62x39 calibre (AK-103) but it was thought to be a political decision. According to wikipedia Pakistani forces used AK-103 in Red Mosque siege.
It's appeared there is no absolutly best round for any purpose in the world. The low caliber rounds for assault rifles were designed when US and USS armies were occupied with the fear of big war. In this circa the round better to be light and unified for maximum to reduce the burden of logistics. The infantrymen thus could take with them 1.5-2 time more ammunition with 5.56/5,45 than with 7.62 of any kind. It really worked in Nam and A-stan per the memories of witnesses. Also the trajectory of low caliber bullets is flatter due to their higher velocity. It's very good for not super perfect shooters, because it means longer range of stright shot, easy aiming. Also lower calibre meant lower impulse i.e. better stability of the weapon in automatic fire.
However, last 20 years, the conditions, war tactics, war theaters were changed.
1) new measures for weapon stabilisation appeard: fire/sound depressors with gas stabilisation, assault rifles with mass balanced automatics, rifles with recoil removed recoil. All those give almost 5.56 level of automatic fire accuratenes with 7.62 mm rounds.
2) new war theaters emerged in urban areas, where the penetrating capability of 7.62 mm rounds allow ti fire through light walls. The same - in a forest areas 7.62 rounds penetrate wood while 5.56 doesnt.
3) the recuchett issue is very prominent with 5.56 and especially 5.45 mm classic round. 7.62x39 is much safer in this issue.
4) stopping power of any 7.62 round is much higher. it's also important in a close range engagement with a highly motivated enemy.
5) the trend for lighter weapon pull the use of 'carbines' . but the capability of 5.56/5.45 mm bullets fired from shorten barrel weapon is even less convincing, while for 7.62 mm it's still good.
I dont thing Chaves' choise of 7.62x39 - is purely politic. He could take 5.56 mm AK-101 or 5.45 mm AK-74M as well. I'would say about Venesuela's AK-103 purchase it's may be a wise moving, since they knew very well the deficiencies of 5.56 mm rounds: the neibough Columbia's forces use 5.56 mm AKmoids (Galil) against FARC rebels, so they have a lot of information how it works in jungles. The average range of engagements there in Selva is relative close, so you just cannot benefit from longer range and accuratenes of low caliber rounds.
About allegedely AK-103 using in Pakistan, I think, it's still rumors only. However, the pakistani autorities appealed to Russia after the Red Mosque siege for supplying special weapons for such situation. I thing, the relative high loss of civilians was then due to using of Army weapon for special operations. It's broad known, that Pakistani Spec-Op forces have no any special rounds and still use Chines AKmoids with 7.62x39 mm regular rounds. I see their problem is in recuchett and low accuratenes. If they will bay something from Russia, it more probably a special weapon for 9x39 mm rounds than regular AK-103. I also dont sure Russia will sell them AK-103 in numbers - the profit from small arms is low while the risk to found them in the arms of terrorists is high. 9x39 mm weapons are much safely from this point of view due to strict control for 9x39 mm rounds production.