How Much Ammo Does a Soldier Carry?

How Much Ammo Does A Soldier Carry
Alfred Mendoza

Soldiers plan before starting a trip, and one thing included in the inventory is bullet count. It would be hardly impossible for an army to survive an operation without carrying enough bullets throughout.

In this post, we will give you ideas on how much ammo does a soldier carry.

Different armies do have different rules when it comes to carrying various bullets and equipment on a trip.

For the basic combat load of the US Army, the primary weapon number of ammunition is 210 bullets carried in 7 mags. The Austrian and German Military, on the other hand, carries five magazines with 30 rounds each. 

Mobility is a thing to consider, especially on extended missions. In addition, the challenging terrains and unexpected weather may also affect the stamina of the soldiers during a fight.

With this, the soldier’s role will define the necessary ammunition load they should carry on each trip.

solider ammo

Ammo Load Based on Function


The infantry soldier’s basic combat load ammunition is on an average of 150 – 240 bullets in 5 – 8 magazines. The infantry personnel cannot bring as much ammo as they want because of the additional weight aside from the gear and additional rifle they carry.They should carry a minimum of 65 pounds and should still perform the tasks easily [1]. These combat soldiers are also known as foot soldiers, so mobility is always a thing to consider.

Due to the logistic system, soldiers frequently experience capacity restrictions, so reusing the magazines without wearing the spring is always the scenario. With this, the infantry does not maximize the capacity of mag and stripper clips to preserve the spring tension.

Read: FMJ vs Hollow Point Ammo

Machine Gunner

A machine gunner’s ammunition varies from 500 to more than 1,000 rounds. The machine gun round stocks can be higher than 1000 rounds depending on the location of the resupply point and duration of the mission.

Since they have a high consumption rate, their basic combat load is higher than that of a rifleman. 

The machine gunner spends plenty of rounds when giving suppressive fire to pin the enemy. If they are in a fixed position, they can rely on large round reserves.

However, an assistant gunner or ammunition bearer is needed to haul the weight of the magazines when on the move.

Machine Gunner


The grenade launcher’s role is to pound the enemies with powerful explosive rounds. They usually carry 18 – 36 rounds of grenade aside from the gear, sidearm, and rifle. However, independent grenade launchers need to carry other equipment such as a rifle for defense in case of close encounters. 

Grenadiers should be tall and strong to hurl grenades without harming themselves and the squad. Since they are one of the front liners, throwing with timing minimizes the ability of immediate counterattack.

Related Posts:


When it comes to precision shooting, marksmen are well known to shoot even at high value and long ranges.

For the marksman or primary sniper weapon with bolt action, they carry 5 – 20 rounds only. 

As marksman uses advanced technology to perfect the accuracy of their shots, they carry binoculars and keenly observe before starting to shoot.

Marksman has the favor for accuracy; with this, they can survive with limited bullets.



Artilleryman prepares 4 – 8 rounds of heavy explosive ammunition to fire. The weight of the bullets is indeed heavy, so that it may be limited. Along with other weapons, more ammo for the whole trip is distributed to the whole squad. 

Their combat load usually does not include a rifle because they are not threatened by direct fire. However, body armor is needed for the artilleryman. The primary danger they can encounter is the shrapnel from the counterattack.


A Navy SEAL carries a basic combat load of 210 bullets for the primary weapon. Along with this, they carry a loaded pistol and firearms with a few magazines. However, if the squad mission is longer and the anticipated amount of platoon is higher, other rucks are filled. But, how long does ammo last?

A soldier in WW2 carries 5-6 magazines with 30 rounds each in the basic combat load. Superior firing can pin down a platoon and allows the infantryman to get close. A soldier like a BAR rifleman in WW2 had an assistant firing man and ammo bearer, so if he would give all of the bullets to the carrier, the gunner could use more or less 14 magazines

Parting Shot on A Soldier's Ammo Load

Firearms and other weapons carried by a soldier are useless without any round to reload. Even though the supply point is organized on each trip, it is always assumed that there will be problems.

Bringing a spare would be a wise decision. After all, it is not good to run dry on any mission.



1 thought on “How Much Ammo Does a Soldier Carry?”

  1. I was reading about binary triggers when I saw this post about combat load. As a former Sergeant in the US Army I was curious. I was not an infantry soldier, but was tasked in Iraq as a convoy security. I know of none that carried less than eight mags (theoretically 240rds), but I wasn’t conducting surveys’ either. No one I heard of seemed concerned with spring tension in the mag either, you can tell if it’s weak when you load the mag. There are so many mags in supply when our deployment was ending they did not want the mags back. They had thousands of them, so they were easily replaced. The ideal rounds per mag is 29 for M4/M16. If the bolt is closed (i.e. your mag is not empty) in a firefight and you have a momentary pause, Reload! It can and does happen that a 30 round “Full Mag” when shoved into the mag well under the intensity of battle, will fall out on the next trigger pull. A design flaw that there isn’t enough room for the 30th round with the bolt closed. On the range you could probably get the mag release to latch, but usually on the range you fire until the bolt locks to the rear so no problem. Nothing is perfect in battle. It can get you and/or your battle buddy killed if your mag drops, and you are distracted under fire. The enemy won’t wait.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *