Tracing bullet Purpose, device and features

The modern market is able to offer various types of live ammunition. They have their own performance characteristics and purpose. Notable are tracer bullets for pneumatics and small arms, which are used in case of poor visibility in the process of shooting. They are represented by a variety of models. What are tracer bullets, what features do they have? These and other questions you will find answers in this article.

What are tracer bullets?

The tracing bullet is the head of the combat cartridge used in small arms, sporting and hunting weapons. It is designed to adjust the fire in the process of shooting at a distance of one kilometer.

The main feature of these bullets is the movement of the center of gravity and the change in weight, which occurs due to the burning of the tracer.In this case, the longitudinal displacement does not adversely affect the flight. However, with a transverse displacement of the center of gravity, the bullet can become dynamically unbalanced, which leads to a significant increase in dispersion. This is due to the unilateral burnout of the tracer present in the composition.

tracer bullet

Moreover, in this process, combustion products are capable of being released, which are distinguished by chemical aggressiveness and destructive action on the bore. It doesn’t matter if a machine gun is firing. However, for a sniper rifle such bullets should not be used. In addition, shooting accuracy will not be perfect. Moreover, when losing weight, the penetration capacity of the ammunition will be lost. A distinctive feature is the green color of the tip.

What are armor piercing tracer bullets?

Armor-piercing tracer bullets are ammunition, which are used in small arms. They consist of a bimetallic shell, a container with a tracer composition, a core and a cavity in the main part of the shell. This invention relates to ammunition of small arms, which is intended not only to adjust the fire, but also to defeat technology with light armor.In the field of development of bullets of this type, there is a development in the direction of increasing the breakdown effect and accuracy parameters.

Known tracer bullets of this type with the presence in its composition of the shell, armor-piercing core and the container with the tracer composition. In addition, they can be supplemented with incendiary mixture. However, military ammunition does not meet modern requirements in the field of breakdown action. To eliminate this drawback, it is necessary to produce the head of the bullet with a taper-like point, and to increase the weight of the core.

 ammunition device

There are also ammunition that have a similar design, but the shape of their head is optimized. This contributes to the enhancement of breakdown action. Moreover, this design allows to reduce the cost of kinetic energy in the process of passing the obstacle core.

Armor-piercing tracer bullets may also contain a shell, core and tracer checker. The use of such a two-layer scheme contributes to an increase in the weight of the core, and, accordingly, penetration. In this case, the dimensions of the core are significantly limited due to the need to maintain a suitable location of the center of mass. As a result, it is impossible to achieve the expected performance.Moreover, the absence of a special lead shirt leads to an increase in the likelihood of tracer damage.

What is armor-piercing incendiary tracer bullets?

An armor-piercing incendiary tracer bullet is a structure that consists of a bimetallic shell, a container with a special composition, a core and a cavity in front of it. The tail part of the core has a cylindrical shape, and the head - oval. The subject invention relates to the field of small arms ammunition. These bullets are used to carry out the adjustment of fire, as well as the defeat of auxiliary and lightly armored vehicles. They are designed as armor piercing bullets with a tracer inside.

Armor-piercing, incendiary tracer bullets are designed not only to destroy lightly armored targets, but also to ignite the fuel behind the armor. They are used to fire their light and rifle machine guns, rifles and carbines. To understand how this type of bullet works, you can consider two types of rifle ammunition.

BZT bullet consists of the following components: bimetallic or brass-plated sheath, steel core,a shirt made of lead, containers with pressed tracer and flammable composition, as well as incendiary and transition mixture. The weight of this ammunition is 59 g.

armor piercing bullets

The BLS bullet incorporates the following components: a brass-coated casing, an aluminum jacket, a core made of metal-ceramic, a tracer container with pressed tracer and flammable composition, and an incendiary mixture.

The two types considered are slightly different, but their execution determines the speed of the bullet and the accuracy of hitting the target. Analysis of technical solutions allows us to understand that due to the increase in the weight of the core, an improved breakdown effect is achieved. It is worth noting that in the process of firing under the influence of powder gases, the corresponding composition of the tracer is ignited. After the bullet flies out of the barrel, the tracer component will be ignited, resulting in a trace from the tracer bullet. The use of such ammunition will allow for the adjustment of fire and hit lightly armored vehicles.

How does a tracer bullet work?

Products of this type have a tracer composition as a filling. It is pressed in several stages using high pressure.This is done to prevent the destruction of the composition when fired. It is also possible to avoid the destruction of the supply in flight and the burning of the tracer on large surfaces. In the shells of similar ammunition of domestic manufacturers placed core, made of lead alloy with antimony. Behind there is a glass with a tracer composition, which is pressed in several layers.

In order to prevent the destruction of this substance, basically no knurling on the side surface is created. It also helps to ensure normal burning. The cartridge with a tracer bullet of this type has a mount due to the landing in the Dultsev with tension.

In the process of firing, the flame from the powder charge ignites the tracer composition and burns when the bullet flies. This forms a bright glowing trail, which is clearly visible, regardless of the time of day. Glow can be green, crimson, orange or yellow. It depends on the use in the manufacture of components and the time it will take. Best of all it will be noticeable at any time of the day is the crimson glow.As you can see, the device tracer bullet is quite simple.

Application features

Tracers are bullets that allow you to visually assess the trajectory of the projectiles being produced, which is based on tracer tracking. The scope can be determined by the labeling of the product. If it does not have special designations, the bullets have a general purpose. If the combination is the letter "T" or "Z", it will be special-purpose cartridges. They will have greater effectiveness of the main damaging factor.

Shooting with the use of tracer bullets is mainly performed interspersed with several main ammunition. This is ensured by appropriate equipment tapes and stores. In order to obtain a high accuracy of target indication, it is necessary to achieve a good comparison of the trajectories.

bullet speed

In the process of adjusting the fire most often used ammunition with a red color track. It will be well observed at any time of the day. Also important is the high speed of the bullet and the tracing distance. Effective products are in great demand.It is worth noting that the tracer bullet of 5.45-8 mm has a range of tracing from 800 to 1500 meters. For large-caliber ammunition, this figure reaches 2500 meters.

The brightness and the length of the path depend on the properties and speed of the burning tracer composition. Of particular importance is the pressing pressure, as well as the ratio of the diameters of the composition and output pressure.


Tracer bullets were invented before 1914. Ammunition of this type gave a trace in the form of fire or smoke, which contributed to the effective adjustment of the shooting. This was especially important in the process of firing on aircraft in the dark. English and French tracer bullets have a special design. They were released with increased size. From the back of them there is a groove, which is half or a third of the length of the bullet. In the production process, a special compound is pressed into it. It can burn with red, green or white fire.

At first, the visibility of the bullet track was insignificant and was about 350 meters. In 1918, this figure was increased to one kilometer. If the device of ammunition provides for the presence of a core of lead, the tracer composition is previously placed in a special cup.Such a manipulation avoids melting the part as a result of the combustion of the composition and the formation of a high temperature. A similar device has an English tracer bullet. In this case, the composition in it ignites the powder gases of the charge.


The use of tracer bullets is prohibited by the third protocol of the Hague Conference. For this reason, the use of military ammunition of this type in combat against personnel constitutes a crime. In this case, their use for aviation and ground equipment is permissible. Also, the ban does not exclude the intentional damage to people by cartridges of this type. In such cases, a person may receive serious injuries that are only in some cases compatible with life.

In fact, such a ban was established as early as November 1868 by the St. Petersburg Declaration. It was developed by Minister of War Dmitri Alexeyevich Milyutin, who insisted on the introduction of a ban on the use of incendiary and explosive substances when shooting at people. From the standpoint of modern man, such ammunition is a barbaric tool that has no justification.

tracer bullet cartridge

Despite the existing prohibition, tracer bullets were actively used during the Second World War. They were mainly directed against the partisans. If before the ammunition had a caliber of 9 mm, then today in service with NATO there are sniper rifles with a figure of 25 mm.

Ministry of Defense refusal from tracer bullets

In 2013, the Ministry of Defense of Russia made a decision, which consisted in the abandonment of tracer bullets from lead. They will come to replace the armor-piercing tracer ammunition, which are equipped with a core of steel. The military believe that standard products serve only to adjust the fire, therefore, they are highly specialized. In addition, lead causes damage to nature in the landfills and the body arrow.

Under bad weather conditions or at night, when conducting combat and training firing, one tracer ammunition is used through four conventional ones. It is indispensable in conditions of poor visibility. Modern protective helmets and body armor cannot be pierced with such bullets. This is one of the reasons why the Ministry of Defense decided to use armor-piercing tracer products.

Similar cartridges were developed in 2000 by the Moscow Region Constructive bureau of automatic lines; four years later, they were put into service. However, the military department they were purchased in small quantities. The purchase was completely discontinued in 2010. At the moment, the Ulyanovsk ammunition plant produces tracer ammunition.

The new generation of tracer bullets

Tracer ammunition for more than a century has contributed to the conduct of aim fire by soldiers in the dark. They have many advantages, but also have disadvantages. The most significant of them is that the enemy soldiers can easily calculate the position of the enemy, observing the fire, which is conducted through the use of bullets of this type. The US Department of Defense today is engaging engineers and scientists in the process of developing a new generation of ammunition. In this case, the trace of them should be visible only to the arrow that firing.

The use of pyrotechnic materials and non-combustible mixtures is the basis for the creation of traditional tracer ammunition. Products will be developed usingfluorescent materials as well as chemical sources of illumination. They will be activated only during the shot. A special recess is created in the back of the bullet into which the luminous material will be placed. For this reason, the light will not be visible from the enemy.

military ammunition

The use of ammunition of this type has an important advantage. Due to the jet of flame arising in the flight of an ordinary bullet, the trajectory of its movement changes. In addition, as the tracer burns, the weight of the ammunition changes, which affects the flight ballistics. The tracer shells of the new generation will not have these drawbacks. Their advantage lies in the high accuracy of shooting.

Tracer projectile of this type can be used for combat by eliminating the problem with changes in the flight path. Today, tracer bullets along with ordinary bullets are used in the ratio of 1/3.

Rules for the storage of ammunition in the units of military units

Tracer and armor piercing bullets should receive proper care. First of all, their owner must adhere to the following storage rules:

  • Cartridges must be protected from dirt, dust and moisture. If you neglect this condition, over time they will become completely unsuitable for firing.
  • Products must be protected from liquid. If it penetrates the inside of the sleeve, the powder charge will be moistened. This will cause a misfire, because protracted shots or bullets are stuck in the barrel.
  • Storage is required to provide an indoor area.
  • When the contents of cartridges in the open air need to provide means of protection from pollution and environmental influences.
  • It is forbidden to make fires near the place of storage.
  • It is unacceptable to put a box of ammunition on the ground. This requires the use of a strip of wood or other materials.
  • The box must be placed with the lid up.
  • It is forbidden to store foreign objects and lubricants near the cartridges.
  • It is possible to open tanks with ammunition only in cases when they are needed.
  • Special attention should be paid to the decals in the process of opening the boxes.
  • It is strictly forbidden to keep in one place combat, training and single cartridges.
  • If the products become rusty, they should be wiped with dry cloth.
  • If the cartridges were scattered for a long time, they should be carefully wiped before the equipment into ribbons.
  • Bad bullets cannot be used for shooting.

Adhering to the rules of storage and use of cartridges, you can avoid serious problems in the process of shooting.

rifle ammunition

Tracer bullets have a lot of advantages, so they have been actively used for a hundred years in military operations in many countries. Moreover, the presence of their benefits has been proven in practice. The development of a new generation will lead to the achievement of high efficiency in the shooting process. In addition, the arrow will not notice the enemy, which will lead to maximum security.

Many are interested in the question of how to make a tracer bullet on their own. The cartridge of this type can really be done by hand. However, it should be understood that this can lead to negative consequences. It is undesirable to create such structures at home from materials of dubious quality, since the user may suffer in the process of shooting.Original tracer bullets with proper storage are absolutely safe for their owner.

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