By David Crane
defrev at gmail.com
May 14, 2008
Modified on 5/15/08 — Some information has been redacted/removed from this article by the author/editor (David Crane) for OPSEC.
Updated again on 9/11/09 with originally-provided bullet and manufacturer info redacted on 5/15/08.
A number of months ago, DefenseReview was informed by one of our contacts in the U.S. military Special Operations (SpecOps) community that our Special Operations Forces (SOF) assaulters/operators now have a new, specialized 5.56x45mm NATO (5.56mm NATO)/.223 Rem. round at their disposal that’s been unofficially referred to as the “5.56 Optimized” (pronounced “Five Five Six Optimized”) and/or “Brown Tip”, because the round has, appropriately, a brown tip.
The “optimized” nomenclature apparently refers to the fact that the round is optimized for subcarbines/SBRs (Short Barreled Rifles) and carbines from 10.5-14.5 inches, in order to provide optimum terminal ballistics out of the shortened weapon platform. We don’t know the maximum effective combat distance for the round out of a 10.3″-10.5″ barrel, but we’re guessing approx. 300-350 yards (unconfirmed/unverified). At present, we believe that the specific weapons for which the round was optimized are the…
10.5″ HK416 gas-piston/op-rod-driven SBR and 14.5″ SOPMOD Colt M4A1 Carbine, although the the 10.3″ Mk18 CQBR (Close Quarters Battle Receiver) direct-gas-impingement-driven SBR may also have used as a testbed/platform-focus for the new round (but we don’t know, at this point). We’ll try to get confirmation/verification on this. Right now, it’s just rumor.
Defense Review does not have all the facts about this ammo, yet, but we’ve been informed by one of our sources that the new round (the bullet, itself), rumored to be manufactured by Barnes Bullets, is made of solid copper (pure copper, all the way through) and weighs 70 grains, as opposed to the 62-grain M855 ball round. It’s possible that the 5.56 Optimized/Brown-Tip bullet is a militarized offshoot of, and therefore benefits from, Triple-Shock (TM) X Bullet a.k.a. TSX Bullet technology. However, we’re not yet sure whether the 5.56 Optimized round is round nose a.k.a. solid point, open-tip, or hollow point. The limited information we have at present would lead us to believe that it’s a solid-tip round, but we’re not sure yet.
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