The United States Army has recently adopted poison bullets. These poison bullets basically kill anyone that they touch. The poison acts in 10 seconds which is longer than it takes to cure the person. Also assume that this is legal and not a war crime. The US is also the only country with this technology and it is impossible for others to copy it.

How would an opposing army defend against these bullets in modern day? What new fighting styles/armor would they adopt?

  • $\begingroup$ If you want a countermeasure from us you have to explain how the bullet works. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Apr 11 '20 at 13:19
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    $\begingroup$ How do the soldiers load their magazines without touching the bullets? $\endgroup$ – user535733 Apr 11 '20 at 13:25
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    $\begingroup$ The same as normal bullets, avoid being hit and use bulletproof armor. Without any other information, your bullets just became more deadly, but the precautions for soldiers stay relatively the same. Maybe add one layer of plastic to stop poison seeping through if your armor stops the bullet, and make armor a little bit more focused on stopping a bullet than spreading trauma. $\endgroup$ – D.J. Klomp Apr 11 '20 at 13:35
  • $\begingroup$ What opposing army is the US fighting this time? Incidentally for the suicide bomber, he will just laugh and run onwards to your soldiers. $\endgroup$ – D.J. Klomp Apr 11 '20 at 13:37
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    $\begingroup$ Most casualties in warfare are from indirect fire and air support rather than small arms, so not much change. Given the US military's record of friendly fire incidents, main effect will be that the rapidly diminishing pool of US allies will be even less inclined to join them in their latest war. $\endgroup$ – KerrAvon2055 Apr 11 '20 at 13:44

Small changes. Not big ones.

What this means is that all bullet wounds are now lethal. If you are a soldier and the enemy shoots a bullet in your direction, will you think "well, it will only be a flesh wound" or something like that? I don't think so. People tend to take cover when suppressive fire comes their way, that is why armies spend so much ammo. A stronger incentive to duck won't change things much.

As a side effect, some friendly casualties from handling the new ammo. If people are afraid to load their magazines or to carry a belt of MG ammo, how will efficiency suffer?

Last but not least, expended bullets will poison battlefields for a long time. You can search the trench lines of WWI, or some WWII battlefields, and find old bullets.


It wouldn't make any noticeable difference, as soldiers (and insurgents)take all practicable measures to avoid being shot already. Maybe expect even more IEDs, RPG and mortar attacks but those are already vastly more common than small arms attacks.

Note however that poison bullets would have rather limited effect: the vast majority of casualties are caused by others means -- specifically artillery and mortars or various types, along with a variety of rockets (from should-launched upwards) and guided missiles (again, from shoulder-launched upwards) as well as the ubiquitous grenade launchers. The general idea it to avoid your footsoldiers getting close enough to the opposition to get shot.

Legality is perhaps the biggest issue here, along with toxic remains of war. How do you clean up the battlefield with all these deadly poisonous munitions afterwards? How long do they remain poisonous for? What happens when a bullet hits a solid object (eg concrete wall, do you get lethal toxic powder remnants?)


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