Originally ushered in in the 1970s, M855 Green Tip ammunition used to be named SS109 and was primarily used by NATO. At the time NATO didn’t have a standard 5.56 cartridge and the organization needed the round to have additional penetration over longer distances.
The US military adopted it at the beginning of the 1980s and at that point the tips were painted green and it was given the new moniker. The reason behind this move was to allow soldiers to be able to identify the difference between the new rounds and previous M193 ammunition.
Over the next decade or so, it was introduced into the US market, with the green tips being seen as more of a gimmick and marketing ploy than anything else.
Is It Possible to Buy M855 Green Tip Ammo Legally Everywhere?
The good news is that, yes, it is completely within the law to buy and own this round, however, certain parts of the US (namely California) have stricter guidelines that regularly try and put a stop to the types of firearms a person can use. So, if you are going there, it’s best to check out local laws to ensure you’re not transgressing any.
In fact, the government has already tried several times to outlaw the round recently, but thankfully, the robust guidance provided by the 2nd amendment has put a stop to it. This last happened in 2015, directly after new rules were introduced governing lead shot. Said rules have already been taken away.
ATF Tried to Deem the Round As Armor-Piercing
At roughly the same time as all this was going on, the ATF was trying to make the case that the M855 Green Tip was technically an armor-piercing round and that it should only be used by law enforcement and the army. It would seem that they were very much against the idea of civilians carrying this kind of ammo around with them every day.
The great news is that despite this attempt, no rules were changed, as the M855 is not strictly classed as an armor-piercing cartridge. That’s because 80% of the round is made of lead, leading to the ATF deciding against further pursuing a ban.
Go Right Ahead With M855 Green Tip If Local Laws Allow It
So, if you’re considering buying some green tip and enjoying the extra benefits provided, then you can do so knowing that it’s completely legal and above board. Rounds of this type tend to fracture when they hit their intended target, so they make quite a nice backup round in a defensive scenario.
They might not have the stopping power of some of the larger calibers, but this fracturing is something that allows smaller rounds to have more of an impact and make more damage. What it won’t do is over-penetrate, as you’d expect an armor-piercing round to do.
What you do have to remember is that these rounds are not completely legal everywhere, so it’s certainly worth checking out the local rules so that you don’t fall foul of a hidden bylaw.
That’s it from us. We hope you enjoyed reading.