If you visit your local range and crack out the ballistic tip 5.56 rounds from your bag, it’s not going to be long until the people running it tell you to stop. That’s because they’re banned at pretty much every range from sea to shining sea, but why is that? Why are they not allowed?
The main issue – and it’s a valid one – is that 5.56 ballistic rounds (a.k.a. Green tips) are specifically designed to penetrate through steel. Guess what ranges use to stop bullets at the other end of the range! You got it! It’s steel. That means your bullets could go through and cause damage or worse.
Protecting What’s Behind the Range
Ballistic tip 5.56 rounds are legal for civilians to buy because – unlike what many people think – they’re not able to penetrate body armour. They’re often mistaken for black-tipped rounds that can only be bought by the military and law enforcement. However, they’re not quite as powerful and, as such, will just bounce off the hardened steel in body armor.
That said, a bullet being able to penetrate range steel presents a problem, as it may continue through on its trajectory and cause injuries or death. It also partially rests upon the shot’s velocity, in addition to what the target is made of, but the risk is always there.
Backdrop Damage Is Also Common
Also possible when firing green-tip ammo at the range is a lot of damage to the steel backdrop. Sheets of metal of this size and thickness aren’t cheap, and the moment you make a hole in one – the whole thing needs to be replaced. Ordinarily, these metal sheets last for years – so it’s totally understandable why those running these ranges don’t want you to come in and wreck everything.
Of course, one or two ranges may let you fire ballistic tip 5.56 rounds, but they are few and far between. It’s hard to say which ranges allow it and which don’t, but it tends to be at locations where the entry fee is a little higher – meaning they rake in enough each year to cover the cost.
Firing green tips at range steel isn’t going to ruin it instantly, but it will degrade it fast the longer you keep doing it.
Don’t Lose Your Temper With the Range Owner!
So, if you turn up to your local range with a box or two of ballistic tip 5.56 rounds with their familiar green paint on the end, don’t be surprised if you’re not able to use them.
Ranges focus heavily on safety, and for good reason, so if they’re telling you that green tips aren’t allowed, it’s best just to accept it and move on. They want to keep customers happy, but they’re more interested in keeping customers and staff safe. It’s nothing personal and not something to lose your temper over. It’s just how it is.