Laws? Who needs to follow laws as U.S. considers switching to hollow point ammunition for military

In a new report on July 11, the United States military is considering violating a century old international agreement where it became illegal for nations to use ‘expanding type ammunition’ during armed conflicts.  In fact, the use of hollow point or other extremely lethal forms of ammunition that expand and shred within a target goes back to an agreement signed at the Hague in 1899, and has been followed by country’s for more than 100 years, even through two world wars, and by despot governments.

Until now.

In a dramatic shift for the US military, the army is considering the use of bullets that can expand and break up when striking a target to make new pistols more lethal, raising concern that doing so would violate international law.

According to the Army Times, the Pentagon recently reviewed the use of “special purpose ammunition”and determined the army could look into enabling its next-generation XM-17 pistol to use various kinds, including hollow point bullets. Currently, only ball ammunition is used in the army.

The difference is that while ball ammunition penetrates deeper into an enemy when they are struck, hollow point can break up once they hit an individual, destroying a larger area of tissue and generally producing more damage. As a result, they are more lethal.

The other difference is that, unlike ball ammunition, expanding bullets were banned under the 1899 Hague Convention. The bullets are not used by NATO members, either. – Russia Today

Perhaps it is not surprising that the United States would be the country choosing to violate international law, while at the same time sanctioning others (like Iran) for allegedly doing the same.  During the Gulf Wars of the 1990’s and 2000’s it was determined that the U.S. military used depleted uranium shells on the battlefield, which have led to hundreds of thousands of births in Iraq and elsewhere to show many defects attributed to radiation poisoning.  And in the new drone warfare program under President Barack Obama, more civilian casualties have taken place than enemy combatants killed by un-manned aircraft.


When a nation no longer recognizes or fulfills their obligations to international law, and strikes out to enact policies that will lead to the unnecessary deaths, then that country has become a rogue state, and is no different than former regimes such as Nazi Germany or the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.  And one has to ask why the U.S. military is now seeking to go its own way in arming itself with globally accepted illegal ammunition when it isn’t, and never has been, absolutely necessary.

Kenneth Schortgen Jr is a writer for,, and To the Death Media, and hosts the popular web blog, The Daily Economist. Ken can also be heard Wednesday afternoons giving an weekly economic report on the Angel Clark radio show.