The History of the M855 Round & Why It’s Still Popular Today

The M855 is characterized by the green coloring found on the tip of each round. It’s the reason why most experienced gun owners simply call them green tips, and it’s a bullet that’s been around for a long time. While there are much older cartridges like 9mm in circulation, these have been in existence since the early 1970s, initially being used by the US military. 

They were created in an attempt to improve upon the M193 bullet so that it provided better penetration and went on to become standard issue for the US Army during the 1980s. 

What Makes M855 Green Tips Different?

From the outside (aside from the green tip), M855 and M193 rounds look very similar. It’s basically a 5.56 x 45 mm round, meaning that it’s compatible with any rifle that’s chambered with .223 Remington or 5.56 NATO. However, the biggest difference is found when you look inside the jacket. 

The similarities between the two rounds at first glance in terms of dimensions are striking – hence the need to paint the tips green to differentiate them. Inside, though, there’s a lead core with an additional steel tip, giving it much more penetrative power in comparison to FMJ bullets. 

Why Is It Still As Popular As It Is?

The reason why gun owners across America are still buying green tips in their droves can’t all be about penetration, right? Well, that’s partially true, as another aspect that gives it appeal is that it’s compatible with a bunch of widely used rifles like the AR15. 

Penetration is a big factor, with the steel tip making it a good choice for target shooting and hunting. It’s not such a good idea for home defense for obvious reasons, and they’re banned from use at most ranges you’ll find due to the fact that they’re known to create sparks when hitting the target and igniting unspent gunpowder on the ground. 

The M855 round’s design contributes to its popularity for various shooting applications. Its compatibility with widely used rifles, such as the AR-15, enhances its appeal. In addition, the steel tip offers improved penetration, making it a suitable option for hunting, target shooting, and potentially home defense scenarios.

M855 Rounds – Great, But Not Designed For Everyone

If you’re a newcomer to firearm ownership, it’s easy to see why green-tip rounds are popular. They have heritage, they offer the freedom to use them with the most popular firearms and offer the kind of penetrative performance that can be a real game-changer in certain situations. 

They’re pretty easy to find for sale, and they’re available at a cost that’s not too hard on the finances, but all that said, they’re not the ideal round for everyone. They DO cost more than the regular M193, and as we’ve seen, advantages come with that extra cost, but over-penetration can be a real issue, especially if you’re living in a relatively built-up area. 

However, if you’re a long-range hunter or your target-shooting needs require that extra bit of punch to get through what you’re aiming at, they could be the best choice for you.