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5.56×45mm NATO Cartridge

The 5.56×45mm cartridges are the NATO standard ammunition primarily used in carbines, assault rifles and the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon. The first version of the round was developed from the older .222 Remington round in the late 1950's. Soon after, the AR-15 and the new bullet were adopted by the U.S. Army as the M16 and 5.56×45mm M193. In the early 1980's the bullet design was updated by Fabrique Nationale in order to improve the reliability and lethality of the M16. This resulted in the M16A2 and the 5.56x45mm NATO round.
5.56×45mm NATO Cartridge

M855 Ball

The M855 Ball is used by the M249 machine gun and the M16A2/A3/A4 and M4-series weapons. The cartridge is intended for use against personnel and unarmored targets. It is a gilded metal-jacketed, lead alloy core bullet with a steel penetrator. The cartridge is identified by a green bullet tip.

Characteristics

Dimensions
Cartridge length: 57.4 millimeters 2.26 inches
Projectile length: 23 millimeters 0.9 inches
Weight
Cartridge weight: 12.31 grams 190 grains
Projectile weight: 4.2 grams 62 grains
Features
Chamber pressure: 55 000 psi (3 867 kg/cm2) ( )
Velocity: 922 meters per second (at 78 feet / 24 meters from muzzle) 3 025 feet per second (at 78 feet / 24 meters from muzzle)
Miscellaneous
Propellant: WC 844

M856 Tracer

The M856 Tracer is used by the M249 machine gun and the M16A2/A3/A4 and M4-series weapons. The tracer is intended to permit visible observation of the bullet's in-flight path to the point of impact by delivering a visible red light signature through its trajectory. It is ballistically matched to the M855 ball cartridge, but it does not have a steel penetrator. The cartridge is identified by an orange bullet tip.

Characteristics

Dimensions
Cartridge length: 57.4 millimeters 2.26 inches
Weight
Cartridge weight: 12.38 grams 191 grains
Projectile weight: 4.13 grams 63.7 grains
Features
Chamber pressure: 55 000 psi (3 867 kg/cm2) ( )
Velocity: 875 meters per second (at 78 feet / 24 meters from muzzle) 2 870 feet per second (at 78 feet / 24 meters from muzzle)
Miscellaneous
Propellant: WC 844

M995 Armor Piercing

The M995 AP is used by the M249 machine gun and the M16A2/A3/A4 and M4-series weapons against light armored targets. It offers the capability to defeat these targets at ranges 2 to 3 times that of currently available 5.56mm ammunition. The projectile consists of a dense metal penetrator (tungsten carbide), which is enclosed by a standard gilding metal jacket. This cartridge is identified by a black bullet tip.

Characteristics

Dimensions
Cartridge length: 57.15 millimeters 2.25 inches
Weight
Cartridge weight: 11.66 grams 180 grains
Projectile weight: 3.37 grams 52 grains
Features
Chamber pressure: 50 250 psi (3 533 kg/cm2) ( )
Velocity: 1 013 meters per second (at 78 feet / 24 meters from muzzle) 3 324 feet per second (at 78 feet / 24 meters from muzzle)
Miscellaneous
Propellant: WCR845