Army Greatest Inventions 2011 Winners: M992 40mm IR cartridge, 5.56mm M855A1 & M240L

The M992 40mm IR cartridge, 5.56mm M855A1 & M240L were all winners of this years Army Greatest Inventions competition. Most of you will be familiar with the M240L, the lightweight version of the 7.62mm M240, and the 5.56mm M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round, the new environment-friendly 5.56mm round, which I have blogged about many times in the past. I had not heard of the M992 40mm IR cartridge before.

Chemring Ordnance M992 40mm IR cartridge

The M992 is fired from regular 40mm grenade launchers. Unlike other 40mm parachute flare rounds, which illuminate the battlefield for both its users and opposing force, the M992 produces very little visible-light. Instead, it lights up the battlefield with IR-spectrum light, benefitting only those equipped with nightvision equipment.

I guess the downside of this round is that the bright IR light would make the ITPIAL infrared laser aiming systems harder to see.

M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round

[ Many thanks to Lance for emailing me the link. ]

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Lance

    The new cartridge is the best since it meant to shoot from a M-4 and meant not to over penetrate. But the USMC MK-262 is far better since its a HP and will mushroom on impact more damage than a lead free FMJ. The M-240L isn’t as much since its the same a a B model just pound or two lighter but just the same. the 40mm inst BIG advancement in the past flares used to do the job this is just alot more NV friendly.

    I can’t wait to see the new M-4 bolt and carrier improvements next year that’s a BIG advancement.

  • Mr Maigo

    The flaw would be that if we ever fight a modern army, they’ll all have NV as well

  • abc123

    The M240L seems like a great design. I remember the normal FN MAG (with wooden stock) was very heavy and difficult to run with. I hope the Swedish army buy the M240L.

  • Bryan S

    Anyone think that the IR blinding feature can be used not so much as a drawback but as a plus? If you know your enemy is using IR equipment, flood the air with it!

  • Nathaniel

    The Greatest US Army Inventions of 2011 are…

    An IR grenade cartridge… Which we’ve had in mortars since at least the ’80s…

    A ’50s era machine gun with a titanium receiver…

    And a bullet that uses no lead.

    Man, is the Army ever on top of their game!

  • I wish that M855A1 image would get deleted from the web, because it’s out of date. The production version of the bullet uses a copper slug in the base, not bismuth-tin.

  • Dan

    I can’t believe they left out the mk48.mod 0. It’s a SAW chambered for 7.62, and I can say from personal experience it’s the best thing the US Army has introduced in years. It’s far more reliable and powerful, and solves basically all the issues the SAW had. Particularly in Afghanistan where hauling the 240 around mountainsides can be impractical, the mk48 is perfect. I can only assume it wasn’t in competition because it’s a navy design?

  • charles222

    Mk 262 doesn’t mushroom. What the hell does that have to do with this anyway?

    These flares are a nice idea; they have a 70mm rocket version of these (they float under a parachute after launch, IIRC) and they light things up beautifully.

  • Evan Jay

    What uniform is the guy with the 240 wearing?

  • Junkball

    Looks like Multicam the Army is introducing to Af

  • Lance

    @ Evan Jay

    That’s new OEF patter uniforms for all troops in the Afghan theater of operations. Replaces all ACUs in combat areas. The Army is looking into new uniforms since grey ACUs didn’t work.

    @ Charles222
    Mk-262 is a hollow point round and while yes technically it was designed not to mushroom in combat the round dose as any hollow or soft nose round dose. Its better since the round doesn’t over penetrate like old M-855 did.

  • charles222


  • @Dan, the 7.62mm Minimi was designed by FN in Belgium. The US only tweaked it a bit before adopting it as the MK48.

    @Lance, the MK262 is not designed to expand and will not normally do so. It is a match bullet with a tiny little hole in the tip and a very small gap in the lead filler in the nose, and is made that way in the interests of accuracy (it’s the same as the Sierra MatchKing and Lapua Scenar – both intended for target shooting). Expanding hollowpoints have much bigger holes in the tip and in the core.

  • charles222

    No, it doesn’t.

    Wiki quote:

    In 1990, the U.S. Army Adjutant General’s Office issued a legal opinion holding that the Sierra MatchKing bullet, despite being a open-tip design, is not designed specifically to cause greater damage or suffering in a human target, and in fact normally does not create a wound readily distinguishable from wounds caused by conventional full metal jacket bullets, and is therefore in their opinion legal under the Hague Convention for use in war.[2]

  • subase

    I counter your NV 40mm lighting grenade with a the disco ball 40mm NV blinding grenade.

  • Lance

    I said it wasn’t suppose to expand I can say they may do that when hit in the right way into a victim. Ive shoot enough 5.56mm HPs to say. But your right there not made too and they don’t occasionally expand.

  • This makes great sense to anyone

  • crabster

    IR Mortars were not fielded until mid-late 90’s.


    This surely makes perfect sense..

  • This makes perfect sense!