Winchester 556 Green Tip Ammo – Why Would You Use It?

Regardless of whether you’re a complete newbie to shooting an AR-type rifle, the likelihood is that at some point, you will have encountered the term green tip. If so, it’s highly probable that you were looking at Winchester 556 Green Tip ammunition, as it’s one of the most popular in this category.

The widely-used 5.56 cartridge has also been called ‘the penetrator cartridge’ because of its 62-grain weight and part-steel center. The significance of the center and the weight is that it allows these rounds to simply punch through solid targets that other rounds can’t. 

The round’s M855 designator has been given to the round by the military, and if you read a few reviews, you’ll find that many users enjoy the accuracy they provide. However, that’s not the reason they’re so controversial in the gun world, as their supposed ‘armor-piercing’ properties have caused all the fuss. 

Winchester 556 Green Tip Aren’t Armor-Piercing

The supposed issue that resulted in many trying to ban the round was its alleged ability to penetrate the kind of body armor worn by law enforcement. It was felt that giving this kind of power to regular gun owners in the US was creating a big problem regarding the safety of police officers.

However, after a long assessment period, it was deemed that they remain legal, which was mainly because they weren’t able to penetrate armor in the same way true armor-piercers (black tips) could. 

The reason why Winchester 556 Green Tip rounds weren’t banned was that the armor plating you get in body armor contains steel that’s way denser and thicker than the steel centre in the middle of the bullet. 

So, What Are They Actually For?

Well, the primary use for these rounds would seem to be in the sphere of larger prey. It’s all about being humane and of course, knowing that if you were to encounter a bear with a taste for blood, you’d have enough penetration power to get through its thick hide.

Another characteristic of the green tip is that it fragments upon contact with the animal, potentially resulting in a fatal shot. What you don’t want is for a grizzly to be charging you, and your rifle rounds are just making the beast angrier and not taking it down. 

Winchester 556 Green Tip Rounds Don’t Offer Black Tip Power

For the job they do, green tip rounds are great. They give you that extra penetration that can be hugely useful in taking down prey and protecting yourself while you’re vulnerable in the great outdoors.

However, what you shouldn’t do when buying these rounds is think you’re getting the same kind of penetration you’d get with proper armor piercers like black tip rounds. These are only available to the military and not for sale on the open market. 

We’re fully behind black tips being illegal to buy as everyone – including the police – gets to live in a safer America. We’re also behind green tips being ok to use, as those who think they’re a threat to people wearing body armor, are basically going over the top.

Buy and use these rounds as you see fit, but buy them for the right reason, as otherwise, you’re just going to end up disappointed. 

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