I thought I would run some more bullet ballistic tests using Bohemia's traceBullets function since I haven't tested vanilla, RHS and SMA weaponry in a while. I will likely do more tests in the future comparing more mods or weaponry and perhaps even make a Dslyecxi-style video to demonstrate this visually.
In the test I simply fired a few different types of rounds from a some vanilla and modded weaponry against a several 2-3 inch thick layers of plywood and then screenshotted the ballistic outcomes.
Bear in mind that this is an extremely simple demonstration of a very complex Arma 3 system. If you wish to see a more detailed explenation of the game's ballistic featuers, I suggest you check out Dslyecxi's video here.
The colour of the bullet's trajectory indicates its velocity as a percentage of the initial speed that it leaves the barrel at (muzzle velocity). The slower the bullet, the less damage it is likely to inflict upon its target / less chance of penetrating more materials.
(Vanilla) 5.56x45mm NATO --- (Vanilla) TRG-21/TAR-21
Pretty impressive trajectory and penetration considering the target could be hidden behind six wooden fences and you would be able to hit it a still very effective round. Heavy drop off at the end as the round likely breaks up. Bearing in mind that Bohemia do not state the exact designation or what type of 5.56 round is available in the default game, so this could be some futuristic 2035 technology.
(Vanilla) 6.5x39mm NATO --- MX
Slightly more efficient than vanilla 5.56, especially towards the end of its journey. Not much else to say, pretty impressive all around. Perhaps this is a factor as to why NATO made the change to 6.5mm Grendel in the Arma 3 universe.
(Vanilla) 7.62x39mm --- (Vanilla) AKM
Realistically impressive penetration considering the age of the rifle and the round, supposing it is not a modernised version. Again, no exact designation or type specified for the ammo.
(RHS) 5.56x45mm NATO [M855] --- (RHS) M4A1
Pretty damn poor penetration when compared to the vanilla 5.56, however a still very effective round for shooters who don't happen to have x-ray vision. The United States Armed Forces standardised M855 ball ammunition in October of 1980, meaning this is a very old round in comparison to the time period of Arma 3. Keeping this in mind, both vanilla 5.56 and RHS' M855 can find a place together in the game realistically, due to the fact that the vanilla 5.56 round is likely a much more modernised version of NATO's 5.56 calibre and therefore perform way better than a round that is half a century older. In other words, comparison between these two rounds should not revolve around balancing as they are from completely different time periods and not really competitive.
(RHS) 5.56x45mm NATO [M855A1 EPR] --- (RHS) M4A1
Now were talking; a certain improvement over the round's predecessor... shame it took more than 30 years. Standardised in 2010, M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round was a direct result of the U.S military's concerns for the 5.56's lack of materiel penetration. Certainly more comparable to vanilla ammunition and perhaps even equally as competitive. Side note on this photo, I was aiming a bit too far downwards as you can see from the heavy drop. This means that the angle of penetration was increased and therefore the effective penetration of the round was reduced. More simply, should the trajectory have been a bit flatter, the round would likely have performed better.
(RHS) 7.62x39mm [57-N-231(89)] --- (RHS) AKM
So that's why Russia keeps 7.62x39 lying around. Nearing the effectiveness of 2035 ammunition, the Soviet 57-N-231 (1989 variant) performs admirably and comparably to the vanilla version of the round. Keep in mind that this round is quite large and although the vanilla 5.56 may penetrate more than RHS' 7.62, it certainly won't hurt as much if it hits you. I used the 1989 version of the round since the original version is near obsolete in it's role of penetration, unlike M855 which is not made to punch through walls. RHS have some very modern rounds to compliment there weaponry, I just chose a round I would expect to be comparable to vanilla and SMA. Russian 5.45x39mm 7N22 would likely penetrate into the fourth box and maybe even out the other side, so be sure not to assume that RHS does not have tools to satiate your need to destroy.
(SMA) 5.56x45mm NATO [M855A1 EPR] --- (SMA) M4A1 blk
I've always been sceptical of criticism towards Red Hammer Studios (RHS) when compared to Specialist Military Arms (SMA) and I think this photo pretty much sums it up. A fair few members of AhoyWorld have stated that RHS is under-powered and noncompetitive when facing vanilla-asset factions such as PLA. Personally I have always found that through testing and experience, it isn't that RHS is under-powered but that SMA is over-powered. This test only confirmed my suspicions. A clear difference can be drawn between RHS and SMA weaponry through this screenshot. While each mod's version of the exact same weapon and ammunition have been demonstrated, SMA's M855A1 is clearly more effective in penetration that RHS' own version. SMA's M855A1 penetrates better than vanilla 2035 5.56mm and 2035 6.5mm while being a round that is 20 years older. Additionally, due to my dreadful aim, I fired low once more - meaning that, as described previously, the round may have even penetrated even more walls than it did. It may have even gone out the other side of the final box and kept on going, considering where the round stopped. It only had 1 more wall left to penetrate.
These simple tests were mainly intended to update existing knowledge of ballistics, but also to deflect and appease notions of poor RHS performance. Of course these tests were extremely basic and can be used for not much more than a first step in comparing mods, I just thought it might be cool to see.
If the post is recieved well I'll likely do more, or just a video. Maybe comparing BAF or keeping it just within the current modpack (mostly RHS). Then it could be used to inform players as to which rounds/weapons are most effective at certain tasks.