M855A1: Body Armor Solutions from ShotStop

M855A1: Body Armor Solutions from ShotStop

In the world of ammunition and ballistics, advancements are continuously made to optimize performance and improve on existing technologies. 

The M855A1 is a prime example of these efforts. As military and law enforcement personnel confront modern threats, it's crucial to ensure they have equipment that can effectively protect them. 

ShotStop, a leading producer of state-of-the-art body armor, understands the importance of this and offers solutions tailored to contemporary challenges.

Breaking Down the M855A1 Round

The M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round (EPR) was introduced to replace the older M855 green tip ammunition for the 5.56mm NATO cartridge.

As a body armor company, we're always keen on understanding new technologies and ammunition that our products might come across. One such ammunition that's made headlines in recent times is the M855A1 round. 

Let’s explore this bullet and understand why it matters to both soldiers on the field and companies like ours.

Building the M855A1: Steel and Copper Come Together

The M855A1 is a bit different from the usual bullets you might think of. Inside, it's made of two main parts:

A steel tip at the front. A copper core behind that.

This design ensures that when the bullet hits a target, it holds its shape. Instead of shattering or breaking apart, the M855A1 can penetrate deeper.


The new M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round (EPR) offers better performance than the M855 against all targets likely to be engaged with small arms. U.S. Army photo.

Green Bullet: Going Lead-Free

Many traditional bullets contain lead, which is harmful to the environment. The M855A1, however, decided to be friendlier to our planet. 

Removing lead from its design reduces the environmental footprint during training exercises and real-world operations. It's a step forward in making ammunition more sustainable.

Improved Performance

What's a bullet worth if it can't perform well? The M855A1 is designed to break through barriers.

Due to its enhanced penetrator combined with higher velocity, the M855A1 provides military personnel with the capability to breach more robust battlefield obstacles compared to the existing M855. 

While the M855A1 is not classified as an armor-piercing round, it has the capacity to penetrate 3/8 inch-thick mild steel up to nearly 400 meters. 

Consequently, the M855 achieves penetration of the same material up to a distance of only ~160 meters.

When it comes to concrete barriers, the M855A1 can penetrate light masonry obstacles out to 80 meters with a full-length barrel and 40 meters with an SBR such as the M4. The standard M855 does not have this capability.

What about soft targets? The M855A1 has seen excellent results against soft targets such as vehicle doors, windshields, and Kevlar fabric. The round penetrates car doors with no issues at all. The probability of hitting your intended target through a windshield is extremely high due to the steel penetrator and copper slug not fragmenting when they impact the glass.

Against Kevlar, the M855A1 showed no mercy. The Army ceased testing after the round continued to penetrate 24 layers of Kevlar at 1,000 meters.

Whether it's steel walls, solid concrete, or even high-quality body armor, this bullet is a challenge. 

For companies like ours, it pushes us to innovate and design armor that can withstand such a powerful round.

Accuracy Matters

It's not just about power; it's about precision. One advantage of the M855A1 over older bullets like the M855 is its accuracy. 

It can hit targets more consistently over long distances. For a shooter, this means increased chances of hitting the target. 

And for those in its path, it means the importance of wearing effective body armor.

Comparing M855A1 to M855

The M855, also known as the “green tip,” had long been a staple for NATO forces. While it was a reliable and effective round, advancements in ballistic technologies and the evolving needs of military and law enforcement necessitated an upgrade. Here's how the M855A1 compares to the M855:

  • Penetration: Due to its steel tip, the M855A1 has a more pronounced ability to penetrate barriers compared to the M855.
  • Environmental Impact: The M855A1's lead-free design reduces potential environmental hazards compared to the lead core of the M855.
  • Consistency: The M855A1 exhibits less variation in trajectory, allowing for more consistent shots over various distances.
  • Terminal Performance: The M855A1 has enhanced lethality due to its construction, ensuring it remains intact and penetrates deeper upon hitting the target.

The M855A1 round notably excels in three key aspects: consistency with soft targets, penetration of hard targets, and maintaining these superior qualities over longer distances.

However, it's important to clarify that it doesn't extend the maximum effective range of the M4 or M16. 

It follows the same trajectory as the M855, which simplifies training, and reduces the necessity to re-zero for different ammunition.

So, although it doesn’t extend the maximum effective range, it does improve performance along its flight path, enhancing the terminal performance on target.

ShotStop’s Solution against the M855A1

Considering the M855A1's capabilities, one might question if there's body armor capable of withstanding such a potent round. Enter ShotStop. 

With their continuous commitment to developing the best body armor for law enforcement and military personnel, they have solutions designed specifically for modern threats like the M855A1.

To effectively stop the M855A1, body armor needs to be at least Level IV, as dictated by the NIJ (National Institute of Justice). Shot Stop’s Level IV plates offer the protection required against the M855A1. 

Level 4 Body Armor

Made with state-of-the-art materials and subjected to rigorous testing, these plates not only promise protection against this advanced round but also offer a relatively lightweight and ergonomic design, ensuring wearers don't have to compromise mobility for safety.

In Conclusion

The M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round is a testament to the evolution of ammunition, boasting enhanced capabilities over the older M855. 

 As threats evolve, so too must the protective equipment that our military and law enforcement personnel rely upon. 

 ShotStop, with its commitment to innovation and safety, offers body armor solutions that rise to the challenge, ensuring that those on the frontlines are well-equipped to face modern threats head-on.

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