View Full Version : How Much Ammo?

07-06-2008, 06:33 AM
Let's say you're an ex-military (Delta Force or equivalent) mercenary gearing up for the mother of all firefights. You have your trusty MP-5, your sidearm of choice, a combat knife, body armor, a canteen, and webbing. Realistically, how much ammo (how many clips) could you carry and still expect to move quickly?

Thanks in advance!


07-06-2008, 06:49 AM
I'd say a minimum of one round per target and that would be stretching believability. You might look up the weight of the rounds, multiply by the necessary number of shots and then see what kind of bulk and weight you are talking. Ammo is surprisingly heavy when you have to carry it over rough terrain. Of course the hero could always do the video game thing and keep trading weapons with his deceased targets

07-06-2008, 06:54 AM
As I recall, a standard ammo pouch carries four clips. If the character is gearing up for an immediately firefight, I might think about having him carry four pouches of four clips each. Just a guess.

07-06-2008, 07:06 AM
Actually, having been in a few situations where we needed to move fast, we went with more ammo than was nescessary. I would switch the MP-5 with the Ak-47. The world is full of the AK-47/74s. They are easy to get, good stopping power and a merc would like the anonyminity of of it. Ammo is essential. Yes, it can be heavy, but let me tell you, it sucks when you run out. Swapping weapons with the enemy and ammo with the foe, in real life, has its plus and negatives. 5 full clips is bare minimum and if it is going to be a nasty firefight, triple that.

As for relying on procurement of weapons and ammo from the enemy, you can be pinned down and be stopped too long, thus, you run out of ammo. You could be pushed back some and have to regroup to counter attack, you run out of ammo. The other guys may not have fire discipline and they already barely have ammo, thus, you run out of ammo.

If the hero is a merc, look into the AK. Quite a few of us that have dealt with it, prefer it. It fires in the worst situations, isn't a pain to clean, mass produced, easy to acquire anywhere and very good stopping power. I have had other people brag about the accuracy of other weapons, notably the M-16, and I will tell you that they jam easier. I would rather keep firing than hit a few beautiful shots and then hear a click from a jam. I had it happen in combat once and about went in my pants.

07-06-2008, 07:22 AM
Great info! Thanks, everyone! Sadly, the poor merc and his compadres won't be in a position to snag enemy weapons (as the enemy is of considerably lower tech but more numerous by far -- they more than make up in numbers and fanaticism for what they lack in firepower). So, what they take to the fight is all they're going to have. Added to the mix is the locale: a rather cramped complex of caves and corridors. I'm sure grenades and shotguns would be handy to have, too.

Aragon, I like the idea of the mercs using AK-47's. In the part of the world they're in, the AK would be ubiquitous. Thanks!



07-06-2008, 09:49 AM

This pouch holds 5 magazines. And remember Magazine=/=Clip. We haven't used clip loaded guns for military operations in decades.

07-06-2008, 11:00 AM
Of course the hero could always do the video game thing and keep trading weapons with his deceased targets

Or he could do the cheesy TV shoot-em-up thing, and just never run out of rounds.


Histry Nerd
07-06-2008, 11:04 PM
Hey, Memnon -

A basic load (standard number of rounds a soldier going into combat is supposed to need) for a U.S. Army rifleman is 210 rounds--seven 30-round magazines. Any unit going into extended operations where resupply will be uncertain will at least double that in magazines, and may carry more in their rucks depending on the tactical situation. I don't remember what the basic load was for the pistol; five to seven magazines (at fifteen rounds each for a 9mm) should be more than enough for a typical situation.

I don't know what kind of basic load Special Ops guys carry. It will be less for Delta-type missions (generally quick in-and-out affairs) than for the more standard Green Beret-type missions (deep insertion, followed by a long hump in, followed by extended operations without significant resupply, followed by a long hump out to an extraction site).

If your guys are going into cramped quarters like you mentioned, they might be better off slinging their rifles and going in with pistols or submachine guns. They don't have quite as much punch, but at ten feet that doesn't matter much--and it's a lot easier to turn with a pistol than with an AK. If they know about that going in, they would probably plus up their pistol ammo accordingly.

For what it's worth.

07-07-2008, 02:37 AM
In cramped quarters a shotgun is a necessity. A pistol is good, but a scatter gun does real good. I like a Mossberg, but there are several good brands out there. Caves can be interesting, though. There can be some wide open spaces in there that need someone with an ability to adapt.

Also, remember that you can read all the books you wish, but in combat, someone with experience loves ammo. Someone with experience also knows that all the planning in the world goes out the window once the fog of war rises up. Also, Dick Marchinko is right, Mr. Murphey likes to appear. Always over plan.

07-08-2008, 07:25 AM
More ammo than food. A merc, not a Hollywood merc, like a good soldier is gonna carry more ammo than most anything else.

People used to laugh when I said I'd carry a thousand rounds for the SAW if I was going into the shit. It's heavy, real heavy, but I was always glad to have it.

For a personal weapon, I'd carry more than I needed. Better to have and not need, than be dead because you didn't have enough. Battle rifle, I usually carry 20 magazines at 30 rounds apiece. For my pistol, only 10 magazines. After awhile you get used to the weight and learn to move with it.

Lots of people like shotguns, and so do I, but I've had better luck clearing rooms with a pistol and never had to worry about blast scatter hitting innocents nearby. People have said it's silly, but work with what you know, and with what your good with.

Caves in Afghanistan aren't always the type of caves people think of. Lots of them were crawling on your belly and knees type where a pistol is easier to handle than a shotgun or battlerifle.

Two MREs, and tons of ammo. You can't eat if your dead. Unless it's braiiiiiins. ;)

07-08-2008, 09:06 PM
Q for OP, what about food and water? Are those going to be issues? Are the enemy....(what's the PC term?)...edible...like crab-people? It's been a long time since ROTC and things have changed quite a bit from the military perspective since then, but we were told to figure on 80 pounds as an individual's carrying capacity and still be able to go into battle. Water is heavy and even one day without water will hinder one's accuracy and ability to fight.

Q for the others. Does the AK have a grenade launcher or some equivalent to the M203 for the M16?

07-08-2008, 10:34 PM
Excellent advice, Vanatru (Histry Nerd and Aragon, too)! Thanks!

Good questions, GeorgeK! Here's the basic premise: The very near future, South America . . . a multinational corporation doing research into alternative energy sources at a facility in the hinterlands of Brazil bring in a team of "private contractors" for a search and rescue operation. An expedition of company scientists have gone missing in a cave complex where their research has been focused. The last communication with the scientists included yelling and gunfire. Enter the protagonist and his fellows -- mercs hired by "the Dutchman", the enigmatic individual who provides security for the multinational. Seventy hours after the scientists go missing (time delay caused by travel and prep -- mercs are subjected to an odd battery of psychological tests enroute), they're inserted into the cave complex. Via the multinational, they have access to virtually any piece of equipment or armament they might need.

So, my new question: you're the merc . . . what would you take with you?




07-09-2008, 07:04 AM
Q for the others. Does the AK have a grenade launcher or some equivalent to the M203 for the M16?

Yup (http://world.guns.ru/grenade/gl05-e.htm).

Cav Guy
07-10-2008, 12:04 AM
So much of weapons loadout and the like is mission-dictated it isn't funny. If you look at the difference between (say) what a line grunt in Vietnam carried as compared to a SOG guy about to go into Laos it's often amazing.

For a short-duration op I'd say your guys would carry a couple of MREs (maybe), some water (for sure), and lots of ammo. Enclosed spaces like caves would seem to dictate shotguns and carbines like the AKR/M-4. Maybe some larger assault rifles, but not as many as the close-in weapons. Concussion grenades for a rescue-type mission. Pistols are always good, especially for close stuff as Vanatru suggests.

Minimum of 20 mags for larger weapons, pistols I'd say 5-10. If you have any LMGs (light machine guns) have a total of maybe 1500 rounds with 200-300 of that with the gunner and the rest spread out with the rest of the team. If you've got a grenade launcher (mounted under one of the rifles), that guy would carry say 40 rounds (maybe more, depending) and might not carry any MG ammo (40mm grenades are heavy). Your force would be tailoring itself to survive with some serious casualties, so think on that as well.

07-10-2008, 06:58 AM
Since this topic has already been made, I guess I'll ask it here. How many MRE's/water would last for a week? It's a group of 5 guys initially, they lose one, so they divide up his supplies, later they link up with a group of four, who have been there for a number of weeks and for a lack of a better word, are starving. They divide the deceased members food among themselves.

07-10-2008, 12:27 PM
I'm purposely ignoring the ammo issue, simply because I think it's been issued. The other things would depend on how long the mission was anticipated being, if they
are able to set up some sort of base, and if they have any kind of vehicles.

The general rule is that you are going to need two MRE's per day, as well as at least two canteens of water (more likely four given your mission parameters). Since it sounds like a search and rescue mission, they would probably set up a base camp, which would include a chow line, food for about a week, and at least three personnel dedicated to it (one cook, an armorer, and a communications specialist), as well as one officer in charge of the group and one for each group. There would also be one tent for command and food, as well as one tent for every four people (keep in mind that the officers and enlisted (which includes NCO's) would be separated).

Each merc would probably carry all of the usual equipment (which would include a radio, an excavation tool, a butt pack with a poncho, helmet, web belts (for first aid packs, insect repellent, flares, flashlights, and any additional tools), as well as possibly summer BDU's (lighter fabric than winter ones) and jungle boots (boots with canvas sides and reinforced soles; they would be comfortable than standard boots). I'd add night vision goggles (using light enhancement rather infra-red, simply because they would be navigating cool caves).

Arms and armor would depend on what was expected, especially given the temperatures capable in South America, even in the caves. Only if there was heavy action would flak jackets be used, and mostly because the weight would increase the personal body temp of the soldier, as well as decrease where they could go. Again, arms and ammo as been noted, but it would probably be limited to small arms (pistols and non-automatic weapons with no grenade launchers) due to the small spaces and pools that they would encounter (to avoid richochets and destabilizing the caves). Ammunition would be probably be limited to three or four magazines (base being close, as well as avoiding accidents).

If it helps...


Cav Guy
07-10-2008, 05:35 PM
Water and food depends on climate to a certain degree. I know SOG units in Vietnam tended to carry about one meal per day (they used dehydrated rations...something similar to but not exactly like MREs), and they planned to be out for at most a week. LRRPs carried about the same, but it was something of an individual decision. Both SOG and LRRPs didn't count on resupply, while line units did.

Water...if you're in a tropical climate your guys will go through quite a bit. If there are local sources they might carry less, with purification tablets and a quick prayer to protect them from anything that might be in the local water.

In addition to FR's base camp idea, they might simply bring extra food in to a certain point and then cache it. Lots of tactical variables here.

07-17-2008, 09:17 AM
As others have said, the equipment load-out will vary depending on what third-world-shithole your in. For cave work, your gonna pack differently than where your humping about alot in the bush or field. More lights or vision assisted gear, more compact arms, water, and lots for rope..........lots of rope and rappel gear.

When I'm in country I find I usually eat once day. A normal meal or MRE, and snack small amounts a few times and most of my squaddies do the same. That's in garrison/camp. In the field I'll generally have no more than two MREs and maybe a few candy bars or local sweets at other times and generally drink A LOT.

For cave work? From my experiences, two pistols, one SMG, several grenades, four MREs, rappel harness, rope, caribiners, and at least two canteens. Oh, and at least three........yes, three........light sources. Flashlight, headlamp, weapon mount light, pocket light, glowstick, etc and chalk.