Tracer Ammunition

Tracer Ammunition

This is a discussion on Tracer Ammunition within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I try to practice and in the relatively benign atmosphere of a range am generally accurate. However I do not believe I would perform nearly ...

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Thread: Tracer Ammunition

  1. #1
    Member Array Fenris's Avatar
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    Tracer Ammunition

    I try to practice and in the relatively benign atmosphere of a range am generally accurate. However I do not believe I would perform nearly as well in a defensive situation where lives literally were at issue. According to my reading of those famous FBI reports, most shots fired in combat are complete misses (i.e. "over-shoots" rather than over-penetrations ) Lights, lasers are all good. But would it also be useful to use tracer ammunition to try and minimize common over-shooting?

    Or are there good reasons for not using tracers?

    Sorry if this is a foolish New-Be question that has already been covered. I didn't find it doing a search.

    Thanks.


  2. #2
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    Tracers generally aren't known to be the most accurate of bullets. As the trace compound burns, it alters the weight of the bullet. Since bullets are filled by volume and not weight, there is a lot a variation in the overall weight which tends to cause multiple shots to be dispersed.

    At normal handgun encounters of 7 yards or less, tracers are a waste of time for a couple of reasons. One, is that most tracers have a minimum distance to light off, most rifle tracers are 80-100 yards, pistol tracers are usually 15-25, which makes them useless for normal defensive ranges. The tracers purposely don't light until downrange to save wear and tear on the barrel, so the tracers probably wouldn't even have time to light off before they hit their intended target.

    At the range, they are alot of fun to shoot though, and can be very educational as to bullet drop and the effects of wind. Just be sure you don't start any fires and make sure that the range you are shooting at allows it, because many ranges don't.
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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    Tracers can catch stuff on fire,you miss a bad guy with a tracer and it can catch anything it hits on fire,that's why cops don't use tracers,the military doesn't worry as much about collateral damage in a fire fight
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    VIP Member Array frankmako's Avatar
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    shot many back in the day in the army thru the 50 cal on top of the m113. don't know much about them, but they sure could set things on fire if it was not the rainey season. they sure look good at night and could tear up some real estate.
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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Look........tracer ammunition won't even light off before 75 yds to start with. Your ideas of tracers are misleading.
    Quote Originally Posted by HotGuns View Post
    Tracers generally aren't known to be the most accurate of bullets. As the trace compound burns, it alters the weight of the bullet. Since bullets are filled by volume and not weight, there is a lot a variation in the overall weight which tends to cause multiple shots to be dispersed.

    At normal handgun encounters of 7 yards or less, tracers are a waste of time for a couple of reasons. One, is that most tracers have a minimum distance to light off, most rifle tracers are 80-100 yards, pistol tracers are usually 15-25, which makes them useless for normal defensive ranges. The tracers purposely don't light until downrange to save wear and tear on the barrel, so the tracers probably wouldn't even have time to light off before they hit their intended target.

    At the range, they are alot of fun to shoot though, and can be very educational as to bullet drop and the effects of wind. Just be sure you don't start any fires and make sure that the range you are shooting at allows it, because many ranges don't.
    Another member who obviously knows. Most ranges won't allow tracer ammo because of fire hazards. Most ranges are short range (under300yds)and those won't quit burning in flight time under 500yds for rifle. If you somehow come across any pistol tracers they likely won't burn out for 100yds. Again...a fire hazard under certain conditions once it hits the berm or grass at 50yds. They will continue to burn until the fuel is exhausted. If you are an expert reloader, all the elements are readily available to make your own. But, I really don't think this will have any benefit in the short range defensive scenario. In other words...(and putting it mildly), you're way off base in your thinking.

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    Senior Member Array Rossman's Avatar
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    Fire Hazard.........

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    Member Array Fenris's Avatar
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    Well as I said, probably a stupid new-be question. :shrug:

    It seemed like it might be a good idea, but the negatives do appear to seriously outweigh... well no advantage at all I guess.

    Just looking for an edge.

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    VIP Member Array Superhouse 15's Avatar
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    Tracers

    I have a couple of boxes of Hornady Vector tracers in 9mm and .40. They are a cold tracer and provide a bright white light at the muzzle to over 100 yards. They are supposedly non corrosive, at least I never noticed any problems with them. I have some SHTF magazines for the Glocks loaded with two of them near the bottom of the magazines. When the tracers fire, you know you are getting empty. The Vectors are the only rounds I would trust in a handgun, they have none of the previously mentioned disadvantages. They are accurate, light the trace from the muzzle, and are non corrosive. As for the original purpose, I don't think it would be a good idea. I know of no JHP tracers and I wouldn't trust just FMJ for SD.

  9. #9
    Distinguished Member Array C9H13NO3's Avatar
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    Traces will definitely educate you on why not to shoot a warning shot into the ground...Shooting the .50 cal from a helicopter, I've seen tracers skip off the ground another couple hundred yards. I've seen 5.56 tracers on the rifle range hit a berm and ricochet into the sky. I've always known bullets will ricochet off the ground, but never knew the extend until I saw it with tracers.

    With the .50cal, we use tracer burnout to help guestimate range. Tracer burnout occurs at around 1800 to 2000 yards, so you can reference target range against when the tracer burns out.

    I don't see a whole lot of use for the tracer in small arms period. Machine guns (especially ones with no sights) firing from a moving platform at moving targets really helps you walk your shots on target at night on NVG. During the day, you can see the impact on the ground. For small arms, during the day you should be aiming at your target and not walking shots on target. During night, you should also be aiming, but tracers could be useful for supression purposes. In a self defense situation, even if you could effectively watch the tracer from a pistol, it would be unwise. Your shots need to count, and you can't afford collateral damage while you're walking it onto the target.
    -Ryan

    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

  10. #10
    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
    Well as I said, probably a stupid new-be question. :shrug:

    It seemed like it might be a good idea, but the negatives do appear to seriously outweigh... well no advantage at all I guess.

    Just looking for an edge.
    There are no stupid questions. Tracer ammo is expensive unless you can make your own, and even then it's expensive. But for SD, it's out.

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    Member Array mike28w's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superhouse 15 View Post
    I have a couple of boxes of Hornady Vector tracers in 9mm and .40. They are a cold tracer and provide a bright white light at the muzzle to over 100 yards...........
    The Vectors sound interesting. Think I'll go read about them.....

  12. #12
    VIP Member Array Superhouse 15's Avatar
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    Vector

    Unfortunately long out of production, but I found several boxes of 9 and 40 at a pawn shop a few years ago priced as FMJ.

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