|“||...And now we use cartridges for currency, how morbid is that? If you think about it, one bullet is somebody's life. A hundred grams of tea cost five lives. A sausage... a mere trifle, fifteen lives. A nice leather jacket? It's your lucky day, it's on sale. Not three hundred, but just two hundred and fifty human lives.||„|
— Market Station Guard
Soviet 5.45×39mm are rimless bottlenecked rifle cartridges developed near the end of the 1960s for use with the new Avtomat Kalashnikova Model 1974. These are the standard cartridge for almost every combustion-based firearm found in the Metro, be it an assault rifle, a carbine, or a sniper rifle.
With money losing any purpose, pre-war 5.45 cartridges became the new morbid currency in the post-apocalyptic world because the technology and the equipment to manufacture them had been mostly lost and any counterfeiting attempts were severely limited as a result.
Due to the finite amount of pre-war rounds, many stations in the Metro create their own versions that are highly versatile and able to be used in many pre-war and makeshift weapons, yet are distinguishable enough to not be used as currency. These bullets are known as "Dirty Rounds", however, due a to shortage of good quality materials and poor workmanship, they lack the punch and penetration of their pre-war counterparts. The standardization of the 5.45×39mm cartridge implies that Metro technicians and gunsmiths modified weapons in order to ease the strain on resources and labor.
Dirty rounds can be distinguished from military-grade rounds by the way they're stored: Dirty rounds go in cloth pouches, AK-style box magazines and, rarely, VSV mags; MGR are kept either as a single bullet, in five round stripper clips or in the rectangular 30-round clips for the Bastard. Developers have also stated military-grade rounds have a polished, glossy look to them, while dirty rounds are, for lack of a better word - dirty.
In Metro: Last Light, MGRs return as shiny, 5 round stripper clips, but the actual amount found in the clips varies from 1 up to 15 rounds, yet the model is always the same. In a gun, most easily visible in the Bastard's clip, they are much the same as dirty rounds, except they are much shinier, making it easy to see what has been loaded in Ranger Modes.
Dirty 5.45×39mm rounds are some of the most common, if not the most common form of ammunition in Metro 2033. If the player keeps their eyes peeled they will always find some lying around the place on dead bodies, in crates, or in hideouts and friendly stations. A batch of one hundred dirty 5.45 cartridges, and ten military grade rounds, are given out to the player by the armorer on Exhibition along with the player's first Bastard carbine.
Military grade rounds are much more powerful than their makeshift counterparts, and can be used in an emergency or against strong enemies to defeat them quickly, but as you are essentially 'shooting money' you should be careful to not do this too regularly.
In Last Light, 180 MGRs are given to the player in D6 at the beginning of the game - 280 in Ranger Mode, meaning the player should always have some available for trading or combat, as long as they are not exclusively used. They will also start with lots of regular rounds, as there is an ammunition box in the shooting range. As in Metro 2033, the rounds are much more powerful than regular 5.45×39mm rounds, capable of taking down most human enemies in one shot. As well as their returning power, the rounds now appear to be incendiary, capable of setting the target on fire for a brief period, the extra punch it delivers seem to be similar in 2033 variant however. This is probably used to differ it from normal 5.45×39mm rounds, because it's possible to use MGR accidentally.
In Last Light you can carry up to 360 dirty 5.45×39mm rounds, the amount of MGRs you can carry is infinite.
In Metro: Exodus, the economy has changed. Away from the Moscow Metro, MGRs have little value. As such, they are no longer the basis of the economy and are no longer distinguished from regular ammo in any way. Players can carry 90 rounds of 5.45 ammunition with the standard armor and 180 rounds with the upgraded carrier vest.
Metro: Last Light:
|Save 500 military grade rounds.|
|Help the poor, a coin for the kid, medicine for the sick. You help everyone you see.|
|A coin for a hungry kid? Get a job!|
|Found all gold ammo, hidden throughout the stations.|
|Walking Bank||Bronze Trophy - 10|
|Collect 1000 Military Rounds.|
- Strangely, 5.45x39mm is the only rifle-type round (discounting 7.62x54mm and 12.7x108mm) found in bulk in the Metro, and 7.62x39mm (the round that the AK-47 and AKM fire) is nonexistent, even though massive stockpiles of such rounds and weapons firing them should exist and said round would prove highly useful against mutants.
- This may be due to the more common use of 5.45mm ammo, as most 7.62 weapons were phased out of service with the introduction of the AK-74 and further cemented by the introduction of the Kalash 2012 in the game universe.
- No shops are encountered after Polis, so it is recommended that you use all your military-grade rounds after that point or use them against the tougher enemies like demons or librarians.
- Military-grade rounds are commonly used by the Rangers, especially in Chapter 7 - Tower in Metro 2033. Rangers in Last Light use dirty rounds more often, most notably during the final battle for D6.
- Although the round was created for select weapons like the Kalash and Kalash 2012, many other weapons have been created or converted to use it, proving the versatility of it.
- There are 1,391 Military-Grade Rounds that can be found in Metro 2033. More can be earned through selling weapons.
- The amount of MGRs you actually get is not always the same in Metro 2033, the 5 round stripper clip will give you 1-5 rounds (usually just one), the Bastard magazine will give you up to 30 rounds.
- On hardcore difficulty, one stripper clip can only give you one MGR, but the Bastard clip can occasionally give you 30 MGRs.
- It is possible that the term "dirty" for the "dirty rounds" refers to both the condition and the homemade powder used; the casing is reused or homemade, which may cause fouling in the gun.
- In-game using the dirty round only reduces the gun's firepower, not jamming the gun.
- In Last Light, there are no more Weapon Vendors after Depot, and no other reasons to give MGRs away (beggars etc.). Thus, unless the player is saving for the Walking Bank achievement, it is worth using them all up, especially against the heavily armored Rhino, the Garden boss battle, and the final battle in D6.
- The game stops counting the MGRs and regular rounds after 9999, although more can be brought in Metro 2033
- When fired from any weapon, Millitary-Grade Rounds produce a brighter muzzle-flash than dirty rounds, adding an additional gas-effect to the muzzle flash. This is probably due to the high-grade propellant used for the bullets.
- In reality, 5.45x39 ammunition is all steel-cased, rather than the shiny brass cases seen in the game.
- However, steel ammo casings are sometimes colour treated to make them look like brass in reality, which offers a possible explanation for the brass cases seen in game.