Data Dump: Army 'Black Tip' Ammo


This afternoon on I wrote a story about the Army's new M855A1 ammo. As the story says, the Army found the new steel penetrator round can punch through steel, concrete, glass and even some foreign steel and ceramic rifle armor plates at pretty substantial distances (in the 300-400 meter range for most, and 40-80 meters for concrete).

Here's some more data on the M855A1 round, including the attached briefing we received at the Aberdeen demo yesterday.


A couple thoughts...Officials say the EPR is optimized for the shorter-barrel M4 where the standard M855 was optimized for the M16. The powder burns faster and creates more pressure, and has the effect of reducing flash. I've also heard there were some pressure problems and other wear and tear issues with the rounds, but Army officials denied that and said the only problem they found was with the primer -- and they designed a new one to address that.

Officials say the round yaws like the M855, but its yaw is more consistent and predictable, meaning its terminal effects "are not yaw dependant." There are Kit Up! readers who will understand that more than I do, and that's also why I included the attached slides.

One thing is for sure: this thing punches through hard targets a lot better than the M855. We saw it for our own eyes. We saw rounds fired out of a SAW punch through the engine compartment and into the engine block of an old truck at 500 yards. Woods and Newill actually regretted that they couldn't show us the EPR's performance on ballistic jelly, saying they had planned on it (it was even in our schedule for the event) but legal turned them down for fear of divulging SECRET info. I tend to think it was more out of a fear that journos would tie it to the bin Laden melon than anything else...but I'm s jaded skeptic.


One thing the Army folks wanted to drive home was that despite the prejudice against anything "environmental" (and I include myself in that group), the EPR is better than its lead-core predecessor and all Joes should make sure they're loading in the new "black tips" over the "green tip" option.

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