Left-right:4.6 x 30 mm, 5.7 x 28 mm, .30 Carbine

The 4.6x30mm NATO cartridge is a PDW cartridge, newly designed for the MP7 and the now cancelled HK UCP.


The 4.6mm round was created as an answer to the 5.7 mm made by Fabrique Nationale de Herstal and the FN P90.

Usage Edit

It was developed especially for a compact, submachine-gun type Personal Defense Weapon, known as HK MP7A1. The cartridge represents a miniaturized rifle round and is loaded with long, pointed bullets to provide adequate effective range (up to 150-200 meters) and good penetration against body armor. There also are other types of loadings in this caliber, such as expanding bullets (for police use) and ball and frangible bullets (for training). So far, only one weapon is produced in numbers to fire this cartridge, the aforementioned HK MP7A1 PDW, which is adopted by German army and British Military Police. Ammunition in this caliber is loaded in Switzerland, Italy and UK.


Because of its light weight, the conventional soldier can carry more of the 4.6 mm than for example the 5.56mm NATO (or any other assault rifle cartridge). Also because of its lighter weight, aiming in high rates of fire is easier than other bullets.[1]


Along with the 5.7x28mm, many have claimed these PDW rounds are somewhat ineffective. This claim comes especially from those who disagree with the "energy dump" or "hydrostatic shock" theory of wound ballistics such as Dr. Martin Fackler and Dr. Gary Roberts. Kinetic energy manifests itself in human tissue in temporary stretching of tissue, which most tissue except for liver and neural tissue is able to withstand with little ill effect, and a permanent wound channel. Dr. Fackler and Dr. Roberts claim that the combination of a small permanent wound cavity and frequently insufficient penetration (the FBI recommends a minimum of 30 centimeters (12 in) of penetration in ballistic gelatin) make these PDW cartridges terrible terminal performers. Slow motion videos show that the 4.6 mm bullet yaws at impact on soft tissue. (although this tumbling and yawing is common with many full metal jacketed spitzer shaped bullets). This is because the center of mass of the bullet is behind the geometric center, causing the back to come forward at impact to regain stability, and therefore tumbling through soft tissue, creating a larger wound channel.

Comparison to 5.7 x 28 mmEdit

Test results Penetration at 50 m
(20 % gelatin block 300mm long)
Energy transfer at 50 m
(1.6mm Ti + 20 layers of Kevlar)
Energy transfer at 100 m
(1.6mm Ti + 20 layers of Kevlar)
4.6x30mm: 280mm (11 in) 220 J 115 J
5.7x28mm: 230mm (9 in) 180 J 65 J




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