"Non standard" calibres for primary military weapons?

Does anyone here know if any national military forces anywhere in the world field any “non standard” calibres for their primary weapons?

I am thinking of anything other than 7.62x51, 5.56x45, 7.62x39 or 5.45x39

I understand that Venezuela briefly did with the the 7mm Liviano, although that was a long way back now. There must be a small obscure state somehwere that uses somthing else.

Thanks for any info.

China’s 5.8x21mm pistol and 5.8x42mm rifle rounds come to mind.

Are the French and Swiss still using their respective 7.5mms in any capacity? In addition, a number of countries are using .338 LM for certain applications.

I believe the Swiss still use the 7,5 x 55 mm in the MG51 machine gun employed in different armoured vehicles.

  • Ole

Jordan and Saudi Arabia have both acquired carbines in 6.8x43 Remington SPC in recent years.

Thanks for the replies.

I should have thought of the Chinese ones, especially as I have examples in my own collection.

I know calibres such as .338 Lapua are used for special applications, but I was thinking more of rifles issued to the regular soldier.

Falcon, I have to point out that the 9x19mm is a standard caliber in very many countries including NATO!


Lew, I thought you might remind me of that. I did think of including pistol calibres, but then changed my mind. This is, as I understand that in most military forces, pistols are issued in far fewer numbers than rifles.

In Norway, the MP7 with its 4,6 x 30 mm cartridge is replacing the 9 x 19 mm MP5. The MP5 has traditionally been used as primary firearms for medics and crewmembers.
Handguns in use are the P-80 (Glock 17) and HK USP, both in 9 x 19 mm.

I believe also Germany is replacing their MP5s and MP2s (IMI UZI) with the MP7.
Seeing as neither the 4,6 x 30 or 5,7 x 28 are NATO standard cartridges, I guess they both count as “non-standard”?

  • Ole

Ole, the MP5 is no regular weapon in the German Armed forces. Just special units may have some (like MP bodyguards with the MP5K and the normal MP5 with combat divers and long range recons).
Also the MP7 is partially replacing Pistols already with personnel which used pistols but now gets a much better (longer range, accuracy and piercing capability) device in trade for a little bulkier weapon.
I wonder if the 4.6x30 will also come in pistols then. Pistols do exist but I do not recall having see one being used - maybe because for what I said above.

I stand corrected, thank you for the info.
As for 4,6 x 30 pistols, HK developed the UCP (Universal Combat Pistol), which was scrapped during development as it failed to perform as well as they wanted.
I’ve not heard about any other handguns using the cartridge. A few other PDW designs exist but none are in service.

  • Ole

Falcon, Pistols are widely issued to today’s military, not like the old movies where only officers carried pistols. My main reason is that the machine pistol is a very commonly used weapon in many countries armed forces and shouldn’t be neglected since some armies use these in their assault rifle calibers and some in pistol calibers.


For a long time, Serbia (I am actually thinking of Yugoslavia, as I don’t know is this is current information I am giving) still used the German MG42 (and perhaps some MG34s as well - not sure on that one) in its original 7.9 x 57 mm version. Don’t know if Serbia ia still using them, though.

If you get into pistol, then some of the Eastern countries are still using the 9 x 18 mm Makarov (also in SMGs), and with the number produced, we are not likely to see its disappearance from the scene in our lifetimes, or certainly in mine. It has been “officially replaced” in several countries, although pistols and SMGs in that caliber are still probably in use, at least with Militia, with the 9 mm Para cartridge. Russian has announced the replacement of the Makarov Pistol, officially, three times now with three different pistols. Wonder what the fourth one will be. :-)

John, this time it seems to be more serious as of 2006 it is the PYa (Pistalet Yargina = Yargin Pistol) in 9x19.
Also they are using several SMGs and other pistols (like the GSh-18) in 9x19.

Yes, I know the Yargin Pistol. I just found it amusing that there were so many pronouncements about “official replacements”, all from Russian Govt. Sources, for the PM. I know they are phasing in 9 x 19 mm Pistols and MPs, but I suspect in the Armed forces, not to even mention Militia and other police and Reserve Elements, the Makarov will be in holsters for a lot of years to come. Of course, in is used in some roles in countries other than those of the former USSR- Indonesia, Cuba, Peru, China (although in that country, I think its using is coming to an end quickly. For the size of its “armed establishment,” China seems to have a remarkable ability to replace obsolescent small arms fairly quickly, unlike the “old days” there when they clung to any piece of ordnance they could get their hands on), etc.

John, you are certainly right as the best example for this is the M1895 Nagant revolver which was carried by the state guard service “VOKhR” well into the 1980’s and maybe even later.

[quote=“tennsats”]I stand corrected, thank you for the info.
As for 4,6 x 30 pistols, HK developed the UCP (Universal Combat Pistol), which was scrapped during development as it failed to perform as well as they wanted.
I’ve not heard about any other handguns using the cartridge. A few other PDW designs exist but none are in service.

As I understand it, the 4.6x30 cartridge is fundamentally unsuited for use in pistol-length barrels. The gas pressure has such a small bullet base area to work on, it needs time to accelerate the bullet to a useful velocity - so the MP7 barrel is about as short as you want to go. The FN 5.7x28 (which is also in service) has a bigger base area so the FiveseveN pistol does work. Of course, the MP7 is much smaller and lighter than the FN P90, so having a pistol available is less important.

The good old 7,62x54R is still very much in use by military forces around the world -or has it been mentioned already…?
10mm auto is in use by the Sirius patrol, showing the danish flag in north eastern Greenland, and I think, but are not sure, the royal yacht crew use them as well. If that is the case, 10mm auto is a naval thing in Denmark.
The danish army use .338LM for their standard sniper equipment (SAKO TRG42)


Have you ever seen a box label for the 10 mm ammo used by Denmark? Do you know who makes the cartridge they use, and what the headstamp(s) are?

This was total news to me.

No, but I have asked one of my members who works for the Navy. Probably factory standard. It is for -among other things- polar bear when the usual US model of 1917 lets them down. Thats the story anyway.