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Assessment of Small Arms Munitions Impacts on Natural Infrastructure in Sensitive Downrange Areas on Military Installations

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Technical Report

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U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) Champaign United States

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Large areas of high-quality terrestrial natural infrastructure exist downrange of small arms training ranges on Department of Defense DoD installations. Live-fire training has caused concern to regulatory agencies because of the potential impacts on natural resources, and to safety concerns expressed by adjoining landowners. This report investigated methods to quantify the number of bullets that escape the containment berm and terminate down range. Inquiries were made among Natural Resource peers and reviewed methods that address bullet fate on ranges. Responses to the inquiries indicate that Natural Resource personnel on military facilities, as well as those at other state or federal agencies, do not have adequate tools or guidance to address the potential issue of smalls arms munition impacts within sensitive downrange areas. It was concluded that both acoustical and visual techniques have potential for quantifying bullet overshot and ricochets into sensitive wildlife areas, though neither approach is sufficiently developed. Acoustical techniques can quantify bullet intrusions into downrange areas. Visual and 3-D analyses can estimate the likelihood for intrusions downrange, but only more comprehensive development and testing would reveal the effectiveness of these techniques at ranges under different field conditions.

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