Will You Beat Body Armor With Winchester 556 Green Tip?

Head to any weapon-based online forum and it won’t be long until you hear a discussion about how Winchester 556 Green Tip ammunition can penetrate body armor. The reality is that if it could, it would likely not be on sale to the general public, which should be enough evidence to clear up the debate once and for all. 

However, if you’re still on the fence and need a little more convincing, stay with us as we offer up a few facts that show what the round is and how it works. By the end, you’ll be under no illusion about what the round offers and what it doesn’t. 

Comparing the Winchester 556 Green Tip With M193

In order to make our point clearly, it’s necessary to compare it to a similar round that isn’t classified as being ‘green tip’. The 556 is also known as the M855, which we’ll use to refer to it from this point for ease. So, in terms of weight, the M855 is slightly heavier than the M913, as it’s 62 grain, compared to 55 grain for the M193. 

Physically they’re different, as the M193 has a lead core, whereas the M855 has a penetrating steel core that can penetrate further into the target – depending on what it is. Speed-wise, you’re looking at 3000ft per second for the M855 and 3,100ft per second for the M193. 

Will the M855 Penetrate Armor?

That does depend on the armor, but typically no, it won’t. Why? Well, because good armor worn by law enforcement and military personnel is most often made of higher-grade steel than you’ll find in the M855’s core. Whichever way you look at it, if a Winchester 556 Green Tip steel core hits harder steel, it’s going to lose, every time. 

That said, if you ask a Marine or someone who’s experienced in shooting, they’ll tell you that it’s the velocity of the round that kills, not the material. So, if you were to fire a lead-cored M913 through a 20-inch barrel, you’ve got more chance of penetration than with the M855.

So, Why Use Green Tip Rounds At All?

Just because it’s not an armor-piercing round on closer inspection, doesn’t mean that Winchester 556 Green Tip ammo isn’t worth buying – as it has lots of value. It allows you to penetrate barriers that others can’t – just not armor that’s got denser steel inside. 

What can’t be ignored is the fact that it’s a super-reliable, high-quality round that greatly reduces carbon build up on your weapon. Great for home defense, so long as over-penetration isn’t an issue, it’s sold in the millions across the States every year. 

We wouldn’t recommend using it for hunting though, as the chances of getting a cleaner kill are reduced, due to not fragmenting in the way other rounds do. Hollow points are usually better for stopping power and humane hunting kills. 

That’s it from us. We hope that we’ve provided a little clarity that helps you buy the right ammunition for your needs. 


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