Just Banging Away with a 120mm Tank Gun (VIDEO + PHOTOS)

04/8/19 6:30 AM | by

Just Banging Away with a 120mm Tank Gun (VIDEO + PHOTOS)

Army, Marine, Reserve, and National Guard tankers regularly get to head to the range to stay proficient with the big 120 mm tank gun, which packs a wallop.

The German-designed gun (they learned a few things about tanks over the years) originated with Rheinmetall in the 1970s and equips most M1 Abrams main battle tanks as well as the German-made Leopard 2. Smoothbore, the nearly 18-foot long gun has a 4,000m range and can fire everything from tank-eating sabot rounds to the M1028 Canister round, the latter filled with hundreds of tungsten balls that effectively turn a tank into a 73-ton mobile shotgun.

From left to right, a 120mm KE-W A1 tungsten Armor-Piercing, Fin-Stabilized, Discarding Sabot-Tracer (APFSDS-T), 120mm IM HE-T High Explosive, and M1028 canister round (Photos: General Dynamics)

From left to right, a 120mm KE-W A1 tungsten Armor-Piercing, Fin-Stabilized, Discarding Sabot-Tracer (APFSDS-T), 120mm IM HE-T High Explosive, and M1028 canister round (Photos: General Dynamics)

The shells fired by the 120mm gun weigh between 40 and 50 pounds depending on type. The Soldier here is holding a APFSDS sabot round, identified as practice ammunition by its distinctive NATO-designated Saxe-Cobourg blue color. (Photo: 1st Lt. Robert Barney/U.S. Army)

The shells fired by the 120mm gun weigh between 40 and 50 pounds depending on type. The Soldier here is holding an APFSDS sabot round, identified as practice ammunition by its distinctive NATO-designated Saxe-Cobourg blue color. (Photo: 1st Lt. Robert Barney/U.S. Army)

As shown in the above video from the 1st Infantry Division, the effects of the 120mm gun can be dramatic. For a more quiet majesty, check out the below of a recent shoot by the 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team of the Idaho National Guard, earlier this year at the Orchard Combat Training Center.

Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 116th Cavalry Regiment, conducts table six tank crew qualification Feb. 4, 2019, Orchard Combat Training Center

(Photos: Sgt. Mason Cutrer/Idaho National Guard)

Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 116th Cavalry Regiment, conducts table six tank crew qualification Feb. 4, 2019, Orchard Combat Training Center Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 116th Cavalry Regiment, conducts table six tank crew qualification Feb. 4, 2019, Orchard Combat Training Center Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 116th Cavalry Regiment, conducts table six tank crew qualification Feb. 4, 2019, Orchard Combat Training Center Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 116th Cavalry Regiment, conducts table six tank crew qualification Feb. 4, 2019, Orchard Combat Training Center

As a bonus, attributed to the big tank’s gas turbine engine, the Abrams also doubles as a mean BBQ grill, as long as you are good with that good ole JP8 smell.

Latest Reviews

  • .308 Win

    Top Four Premium Hunting Ammo Choices for the .308 Win

    We’ve selected four of our favorite .308 hunting options that work well in most firearm platforms, tackling everything from predators...

    Read Now
  • Hellcat

    First 100 Rounds: A Look at the Springfield Armory Hellcat

    Springfield Armory hooked me up with a Hellcat to take for a test drive. Though my full thoughts and opinions...

    Read Now
  • Sixty Years On, Mossberg 500 Series Shotguns Going Strong

    Sixty years on, Mossberg 500 series of shotguns are going strong. They're well built, reliable and an excellent bang for...

    Read Now
  • The Ruger Mark Series is Ready for Competition or Hunting

    One of the world’s most popular .22 LR pistols, the Ruger Mark II brings a versatile pistol design to the...

    Read Now