Magazine article National Defense

U.S. Commandos Test New 5.56 Mm Dim Tracer Ammo

Magazine article National Defense

U.S. Commandos Test New 5.56 Mm Dim Tracer Ammo

Article excerpt

U.S. Army special warfare units are considering buying a new type of armor-piercing tracer ammunition that makes it possible for sharpshooters--using night-vision rifle sights--to fire their weapons at night and not be dazzled by the muzzle flash.

Tracer ammunition uses a bullet that contains a pyrotechnic composition--similar to that used in a flare--in a hollow base, which is ignited by the cartridge powder when fired.

It is used mostly by military units for target spotting and marksmanship training, because it allows the shooter to see the bullet's trajectory.

Standard tracer ammunition creates excessive illumination or visual interference--known as blooming effect--for the user, when viewed through night-vision devices.

Infrared tracer, also called dim-tracer ammunition, has a special cartridge, which is invisible to the naked eye, but is visible through night-vision devices and does not cause the blooming effect.

Dim-tracer ammunition has been around for several years, but it's been only recently that 5.56 mm, NATO-compliant armor-piercing rounds have been available to military buyers. The infrared tracer is loaded with a special powder that reduces the muzzle flash and minimizes the signature that can expose the gunner to the enemy.

About two years ago, the Nordic Ammunition Company (Nammo) introduced a 5.56 mm, dim-tracer projectile that meets NATO requirements. The round can penetrate 15 mm armor and any Kevlar helmet or vest from a distance of 100 meters.

Ever since, the company has been trying to garner international sales of this ammo, which has a tungsten core and a steel jacket, said Mart Pella, marketing manager at Nammo corporate headquarters, in Sweden. …

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