Weekly DTIC: The M855A1 Story

    For this week’s DTIC… We’re going to go elsewhere. The document we’ll be looking at, Major Glenn Dean’s “In Search of Lethality: Green Ammo And The M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round”, can’t be found there, but it is available for free on Smashwords, and I encourage readers to proceed through the link and download it. This retrospective documents very succinctly the actual story behind the M855A1, why it came to be, what its project goals were, and the scope and length of the project.

    Major Dean paints a very different picture than that of other writers handling the subject; one where the M855A1 cartridge was conceived of Special Forces input and a desire for greater and more consistent lethality and effectiveness, and midwifed by a research endeavor extensive in scope and length. This included tests of both commercial off the shelf projectiles and unique experimental projectiles that could not possibly meet Hague standards, as well as radiographs of the test projectiles in flight. The result was a cartridge with far more testing behind it than its competitors in any caliber. The lessons learned would go on to be applied to the M80A1 program, as well as the Mk. 318 and Mk. 319 SOST rounds.

    As supplemental material, this Army Research Laboratory promotional video talks about the M855A1 and shows a look at ARL’s radiograph testing range. I already covered the results of testing small arms on this range in a previous article.

    Nathaniel F

    Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. He can be reached via email at [email protected]