TWC Tests M855A1: Yes, It’s The Real Deal

    M855A1 is the Army’s new round; it boasts improved accuracy, penetration, and terminal effectiveness vs. the legacy M855 “green tip” round. We previously covered the story of M855A1, and Major Glenn Dean’s history of the round’s development, but how does it really perform? Fortunately, The Wound Channel has come into possession of some of the new ammunition, and put it to the test.

    If the above gel tests are representative, then the Army’s research and development has paid off. The round exhibited exceptionally short time to fragmentation, and deep penetration from the stable copper slug, with an added deviating wound channel from the steel “arrowhead” penetrating tip. That is certainly improved performance vs. M855, but unfortunately with only two shots into gel, the above video does not give us an idea of how true the Army’s claims that the M855A1 EPR is yaw independent are – though the very short neck before the breakup of the projectile does suggest it is fragmenting before any yaw is occurring.

    As for penetration, The Wound Channel tested M855A1 against AR600 and AR680 steel plates, with the Enhanced Performance Round defeating both handily, even though they are both rated to stop the “semi armor penetrating” M855; the latter video is embedded below:

    M855A1 has not been without its detractors, nor has it been free of its fair share of teething troubles, including issues with increased wear and tear on the rifles firing it, but it certainly seems to be a big step up in performance from legacy ammunition.

    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]