AR15.Com Archives
 TRACER AMMO
jobbass  [Member]
2/1/2009 8:02:06 AM EST
Why some tracer ammo are red and some are green.

What is the difference?

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mattwv  [Member]
2/1/2009 8:36:13 AM EST
Not meaning to be smart but I think that it is just simply the color. Someone else can correct me if I am am wrong.
jobbass  [Member]
2/1/2009 8:41:27 AM EST
Originally Posted By mattwv:
Not meaning to be smart but I think that it is just simply the color. Someone else can correct me if I am am wrong.


Any reason sometimes we use green and sometimes we use red.
Red_Six  [Member]
2/1/2009 8:52:17 AM EST
Reading books about Vietnam the green was incoming and the red was outgoing....
green=bad guys
red=good guys......
still the same today???

ODA_564  [Life Member]
2/1/2009 10:55:37 AM EST
Originally Posted By jobbass:
Why some tracer ammo are red and some are green.

What is the difference?



US and NATO trcers are red. So are those from countries that are western-oriented.

Warsaw Pact (Soviet) and Red Chinese (and all their buddies, like Cuba, etc.) use green tracers.
FreeBear  [Team Member]
2/1/2009 1:41:01 PM EST
During WWII the Krauts used different colored tracer to signify sectors of fire in defensive positions. By observing the outgoing colors it could be determined more easily if there were gaps in the defensive kill zones.

Also, experiments were conducted during daylight to see which colors were more readily seen during the day to help fighter pilots and bomber gunners in leading their targets when engaging them.

Another tidbit...... The US experimented with a very bright white pyrotechnic compound to be used in 50cal ammo only. The bullet not only had the normal tracing characteristics, but it was also ported on the sides as well to allow flame to escape from the sides of the projectile. This type of tracer round was called "Headlight Tracer" and was intended more for distracting the bad guy you were firing at. Although made in small quantities, it was never "Type Classified" for issue or full production. I'm not positive on this –––– but I think it was introduced very late in the war and the idea was just dropped for lack of a need anymore.




Bear



BTW: Tracers are cool!
Southernman077  [Team Member]
2/1/2009 6:20:44 PM EST
If you are looking at 5.56 rounds, a green tip is not a tracer. It is the 62gr M855 ball round. A red painted round is the M196 55gr tracer. An orange round is the 62gr M856 tracer. The communists use green tracers and NATO uses red tracers (as far as I know). If you are talking about 50 cal rounds, then there are several color variations denoting all types of goodness. Tracers have the right of way, always.
Cognomen  [Team Member]
2/1/2009 7:37:06 PM EST

Originally Posted By Red_Six:
Reading books about Vietnam the green was incoming and the red was outgoing....
green=bad guys
red=good guys......
still the same today???


So do they flip a coin before the battle to determine who's going to be the good/bad guys, and divy up the color coded rounds that way?

Edit: I'm not arguing with the designations, it just seems very strange to me that different forces, especially in the setting of Vietnam, would agree on the color of tracers they use.

ODA_564  [Life Member]
2/2/2009 6:17:54 AM EST
Originally Posted By Cognomen:

Originally Posted By Red_Six:
Reading books about Vietnam the green was incoming and the red was outgoing....
green=bad guys
red=good guys......
still the same today???


So do they flip a coin before the battle to determine who's going to be the good/bad guys, and divy up the color coded rounds that way?

Edit: I'm not arguing with the designations, it just seems very strange to me that different forces, especially in the setting of Vietnam, would agree on the color of tracers they use.


No. After WW2, the US, our NATO allies, our SEATO allies and countries within the combined sphere of influence of the US, the UK, France, etc, and those that bought arms and ammunition from these sources, standardized on red tracers.

Likewise, the Soviet Union, their Warsaw Pact puppet states, Communist China, North Korea, and all the countries that were influenced by or bought arms and ammunition from, those countries (like Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Libya, etc.), standardized on green tracers.

Some countries fell into neither camp (officially) and bought arms and ammunition from both and had both colors in their inventories simultaneously.

Today, countries that use NATO standard ammunition (i.e., 5.56x45mm or 7.62x51) generally use green tracers, while tracers for ex-Soviet / Russian / Chinese calibers (like 7.62x39mm and 7.62x54R) generally use green.

There are probably exceptions (like former Warsaw Pact East European countries that are now in NATO might load 7.62x54R with red tracers while converting over to NATO ammunition - or ammunition specially loaded for one reason or another for international sale to small countries).

When Communist China had their border skirmish with Communist Vietnam there were green tracer flying in both directions.

When Honduras and El Salvador fought the "Soccer War" in 1969, there were red tracers flying in both directions.

During the Second Indochina War, the Communists forces used Soviet / Warsaw Pact / Chicom-supplied Warsaw Pact standard green tracer ammunition in their Soviet / Warsaw Pact / Chicom weapons and the US and our allies used NATO standard / SEATO standard red tracers. When the Communist forces used captured French or US weapons, they used captured French / US ammunition.
T18B40  [Member]
2/2/2009 3:50:31 PM EST
ODA 564, I have to humbly disagree with you. I have had several tins of Soviet 7.62x39 and -54R tracer in my past years of shooting and collecting. Guess what? They all traced red, not green. The only true green tracer I have ever shot was Chinese. Even the Soviet 5.45 stuff is a red tracer, at least the ones I've shot. No expert here, just trying to throw in my opinion. I am not sure about Yugo or other countries. On the other hand, all of the -54R tracer I have ever fired, regardless of country of origin, has traced red. Hope this doesn't make this "clear as mud" as I say.
Southernman077  [Team Member]
2/3/2009 2:25:54 AM EST
I have seen red trace 7.62x39. I just figured that they used pulled .308 bullets.
ODA_564  [Life Member]
2/3/2009 3:50:51 AM EST
Originally Posted By T18B40:
ODA 564, I have to humbly disagree with you. I have had several tins of Soviet 7.62x39 and -54R tracer in my past years of shooting and collecting. Guess what? They all traced red, not green. The only true green tracer I have ever shot was Chinese. Even the Soviet 5.45 stuff is a red tracer, at least the ones I've shot. No expert here, just trying to throw in my opinion. I am not sure about Yugo or other countries. On the other hand, all of the -54R tracer I have ever fired, regardless of country of origin, has traced red. Hope this doesn't make this "clear as mud" as I say.

Since my personal experience shooting Soviet and Warsaw Pact-produced ammunition in multiple third-world shit holes is 100% opposite, what can I say?

If it was Soviet, in original Cyrillic marked Soviet packaging with no English, green tipped, and it traced red, then it was either (1) for export or (2) non-standard tracer produced for some unknown reason (however, Soviet-made "deniable" ammunition that I've seen always had English labeling), or (3) the damn Commies fooled us for all these years. .

Soviet (Russian) / ex-Warsaw Pact 7T2 7.62x54mm tracer with the T.46 bullet traces green as it uses barium salts as the trace element (tracer composition according to my DIA Ammunition Guide). So does standard 57-N-231P 7.62x39mm tracer. Both are marked with green tips. Standard 7T3 5.45x39mm tracer is catalogued as tracing green and marked with a green tip, but I've never shot any.

I first fired green Soviet and Chinese tracer out of Soviet and Chinese unopened cases in SF in the 1980s, mostly in machine guns. The open ammunition our site manager scrounges in Afghanistan is usually Chinese and traces green, but we have had Egyptian orange tipped tracer (traces orangey-red) and Soviet / Russian (traces green).

Some countries, like Egypt, manufacture domestic "Soviet" calibers that trace other colors (as I said, Egyptian traces orangey-red and has an orange tip).

There is also military tracer ammunition loaded with luminous or "headlight" tracer than is bright white, IR or "dim" tracer, and smoke tracer (rounds actually trail smoke).

I've seen commercially sold "Soviet" tracer here in the States that traced red, but it had red tips. I've also seen 5.56x45mm green tracer sold commercially and its not US issue / STANAG, same with "headlight tracer" in .45 ACP (US .45 ACP tracer existed / exists, but its red).
FreeBear  [Team Member]
2/3/2009 6:03:31 AM EST

......Those damn Commies......
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