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Who uses tracers?

Started by galzohar, Aug 05 2012 06:20 PM

#1 galzohar

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 06:20 PM

Following this discussion on the Project Reality forum:
http://www.realitymo...rd-set-bit.html

And apparently a recent rule they made on their server to not use the non-tracer rounds because they are only in the game because they forgot to disable them..

Therefore I was wondering how many regular infantry actually load tracers into their regular magazines. I know in IDF the standard for rifles is 6 normal magazines (no tracers) and 1 all-tracer magazine, while LMGs (5.56) had 1/10 tracers (also often manually removed by the gunner). MMGs (7.62) had 1/5 tracers. HMGs (0.5") had 1/3 or 1/4 (don't remember exactly).

Does anyone have any concrete information about how US army/USMC/British Army/other 5.56 users actually load tracers into their magazines, in a 1/3 or any other ratio? And where it is actually a standard, do everyone actually go with it rather than take the tracers out? I just find it very weird that using 1/3 tracers in normal rifles is such a wide-spread standard (that I've just happened never seen any evidence for myself), and that those who serve in an army with such a standard don't go out of their way to re-load their magazines with 0 tracers.

If they end up forcing use of tracers in PR I will seriously consider shooting every 2rd round into the ground to avoid detection. I just can't believe people actually choose to use tracers as part of their regular ammo, as the disadvantages are so great compared to the advantages.

Note that the purpose of this thread isn't about how effective/ineffective tracers are, I'm sure we all know their advantages and disadvantages, but I was rather interested in who actually ends up loading them and going into combat with all his magazines having some sort of 1/X tracer load.

Thanks for any info!

Edited by galzohar, 05 August 2012 - 06:27 PM.

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#2 WhiteKnight77

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 06:30 PM

This may have changed since I was in, but at least in the Marines, for night fighting, every 5th round would be tracers with two at the end of the magazine. Belt ammo was 1 in 5 too.
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#3 galzohar

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 09:27 AM

Wait, you'd take different magazines for night fighting? Did everyone actually go with loading tracers in or did some take them out to keep their own asses safe?
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#4 DetCord

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 09:54 AM

That thread is a little confusing. Are they ensuring tracers are added for SAW's and CSW's, or for every weapon including personal rifles? The reason tracer rounds are not used anymore in personal weapons is due to the fact the riflling in a M4/M16A4/L85 is not sufficient to stabilize the heavier projectile of a tracer round. We have PEQ-15's now for a reason.

WK77 is correct about the ratio for SAW and CSW varients.
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#5 Ick

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 01:18 PM

I would be interested in hearing the tally on current usage.

Personally when I have purchased and fired small caliber tracer rounds I have been unable to see the round mid-day with any sort of effectiveness.  Now during and after twilight or an extremely overcast day... but not otherwise.

#6 WhiteKnight77

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 06:06 PM

 DetCord, on 06 August 2012 - 09:54 AM, said:

That thread is a little confusing. Are they ensuring tracers are added for SAW's and CSW's, or for every weapon including personal rifles? The reason tracer rounds are not used anymore in personal weapons is due to the fact the riflling in a M4/M16A4/L85 is not sufficient to stabilize the heavier projectile of a tracer round. We have PEQ-15's now for a reason.

WK77 is correct about the ratio for SAW and CSW varients.
See, things have changed for assault rifles but not for the other. Like I said, things might have changed and they did. Of course I got out some 26 years ago too.

Ick, the need for tracers in daylight is negated due to being able to see your target and being able to accurately aim, but then again, you should know that or at least I hope you would.
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#7 DetCord

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 07:00 PM

 WhiteKnight77, on 06 August 2012 - 06:06 PM, said:

See, things have changed for assault rifles but not for the other. Like I said, things might have changed and they did. Of course I got out some 26 years ago too.

Ick, the need for tracers in daylight is negated due to being able to see your target and being able to accurately aim, but then again, you should know that or at least I hope you would.

Changed? Not really mate. Tracers rounds have been the exact same since the late 70's and early 80's (M196/M856 or 855 can't remember). While the M196 was designed to be utlizied in a Personally Issued Weapon, they rarely are and that round was never really designed to be used as such, except in a training environment. Back in the day, erm, your day that is, Posted Image night fighting capabilities were highly limited by technological constraints of the time. Again, things have changed and military technology has advanced exponentially in the past decade negating the need in PIW's. I know you're aware but others mght not be, that the purpose of tracer at least in SAW and CSW varients, is to check the drop and target acquisition of that weapon, and to enable others in that combat element to prosecute the target that might not otherwise be visible. Suppressing fire etc etc.

So, for everyone outside of the know, all you non-military cats out there, a rifle doesn't have the rate of fire to accomplish the above. That is why tracer rounds in rifles is a rare thing.

Plus its bad for the rifle itself.

Edited by DetCord, 06 August 2012 - 07:01 PM.

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#8 Cpl Ledanek

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 07:35 PM

thanks for the education Det

I was going to comment same as WK, but, I figure there are more qualified person.
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#9 Snowfella

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 02:15 AM

Back when I was in for my basic tracers for your personal weapon was virtually an unknown, back then Sweden was just bringing the M249 into service so tracers in 5.56 wasn't anything we could get our hands on.
97-98 when I was in Bosnia tracers could be found in small quantities, not sure if they were Swedish issue or "traded" ammo from other nations. Also could get our hands on a very limited supply of AP rounds that most definately wasn't issued ammo.
There I ran most of my mags with the last 3 rounds being tracers, hoping that if the crap hit the fan it might give me a heads up that I was about to run dry. Also had one mag with the first few rounds being AP, that mag was only used when standing point in vehicle checkpoints. Reasoning being that if I really needed to be the first to open fire I wanted every chance to punch through a windshield/panelling without trouble.

No shots were fired in anger that tour though so it was all a moot point!

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#10 Ick

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 03:26 PM

 DetCord, on 06 August 2012 - 07:00 PM, said:

Changed? Not really mate. Tracers rounds have been the exact same since the late 70's and early 80's (M196/M856 or 855 can't remember). While the M196 was designed to be utlizied in a Personally Issued Weapon, they rarely are and that round was never really designed to be used as such, except in a training environment.

I think he is asking if the carry loadout has changed, not if tracer technology has changed.  Are there really two loadouts, one for day/night?  Or do they just run one loadout since the enemy can't track tracer fire during the sunlight of the day.

#11 DetCord

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 03:47 PM

 Ick, on 07 August 2012 - 03:26 PM, said:

I think he is asking if the carry loadout has changed, not if tracer technology has changed.  Are there really two loadouts, one for day/night?  Or do they just run one loadout since the enemy can't track tracer fire during the sunlight of the day.

I understand where he was coming from. My point is that tracers in rifle systems is a rare thing. Load-outs don't changed based upon the time of day. The ammo is linked with a tracer/ball combination, its how it comes in the can for a SAW/CSW.

FYI concerning "tracking fire", if two combat elements are engaged in a small-arms fight, the one engaging the other in a HVoF that has tracer rounds i.e. OPFOR ------> <------ BLUFOR aren't going to be able to see the tracers coming towards them. It's a matter of physics and how the tracer round burns. So, you can see them going out, but not coming in.
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#12 galzohar

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 06:04 PM

Yes, since we never use tracers here for any rifle (other than a tracer mag for "just in case" situations which is carried as a standard but is practically never used), I was surprised at how strongly some were insisting that tracers in normal rifles is a standard thing in British/US Army/USMC, and that even if they were standard, I'd still find it surprising if soldiers actually go with it rather than just ignoring the standards and not using tracers.

I don't fully understand, though. Are you saying that the increased capability of night fighting have made tracers stop being standard for rifles, so those saying tracers are used as standard basically have outdated information? Or did I get it wrong?

I know what tracers are good/bad for and how they work, I just don't know what is standard and what isn't (today) for tracers in rifles outside the IDF, if there is even a standard, as there seems to be too much conflicting information around.
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#13 DetCord

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 11:53 PM

 galzohar, on 09 August 2012 - 06:04 PM, said:

Yes, since we never use tracers here for any rifle (other than a tracer mag for "just in case" situations which is carried as a standard but is practically never used), I was surprised at how strongly some were insisting that tracers in normal rifles is a standard thing in British/US Army/USMC, and that even if they were standard, I'd still find it surprising if soldiers actually go with it rather than just ignoring the standards and not using tracers.

I don't fully understand, though. Are you saying that the increased capability of night fighting have made tracers stop being standard for rifles, so those saying tracers are used as standard basically have outdated information? Or did I get it wrong?

I know what tracers are good/bad for and how they work, I just don't know what is standard and what isn't (today) for tracers in rifles outside the IDF, if there is even a standard, as there seems to be too much conflicting information around.

Oh okay, apologies mate. I'm getting the question now.

I currently have four deployments, two to Iraq and two to Afghanistan. I can tell ya for a fact that the only time I had tracer ammo in my M4 was when regular ball ammo was scarce. Our SOP specifically dictated that no tracer ammo was to be de-linked and utilized in our rifles, period. Again, tracer ammo in a rifle rarely serves a purpose as it can't compete with the RoF of belt-fed weapons. Therefore, well you get it. I'm not sure if that is DA wide or not, but I can only speak from my experience SOP wise on the 1st ID and Marine Corps side of the house.

I'd like to know where these supposed experts are getting their info to be making such blanketed statements like that.

EDIT - One of our members here is currently deployed in theater, maybe he'll chime in as to his units SOP.

Edited by DetCord, 09 August 2012 - 11:55 PM.

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#14 Snowfella

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 04:19 AM

 Ick, on 07 August 2012 - 03:26 PM, said:

I think he is asking if the carry loadout has changed, not if tracer technology has changed.  Are there really two loadouts, one for day/night?  Or do they just run one loadout since the enemy can't track tracer fire during the sunlight of the day.

Well, tracer technology has changed alittle with the development of IR tracers invisible to the naked eye. Likely not widely used but it does excist.

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#15 Kris

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 06:57 AM

Small group of special forces guys, SAS I think, vs a much MUCH larger group of enemy soldiers.
They loaded up their weapons with a lot more trace rounds then usual and sprayed liberally to great the illusion of more men.

I can't recall where I got the information - may have been a documentary - but anyway... there is a use for tracers beyond letting you know where you're aiming.

Edited by Kris, 10 August 2012 - 06:57 AM.


#16 Ick

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 08:27 AM

Good topic. Learned some nuanced info here .

#17 galzohar

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 06:53 PM

I don't know, really. They want to remove non-tracer mags completely for US, UK and Takistani, and on top of that the US/UK/USMC ones are set (bugged?) to actually have 1 tracer every 2 rounds, and last 3 rounds tracers. I would think they have some serious reference that nobody in the US/UK/USMC uses 5.56 magazines with no tracers in them. To me it doesn't make sense, of course, for all the reasons already mentioned, which is why I'm looking for additional info.
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#18 DetCord

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 07:19 PM

 galzohar, on 11 August 2012 - 06:53 PM, said:

I don't know, really. They want to remove non-tracer mags completely for US, UK and Takistani, and on top of that the US/UK/USMC ones are set (bugged?) to actually have 1 tracer every 2 rounds, and last 3 rounds tracers. I would think they have some serious reference that nobody in the US/UK/USMC uses 5.56 magazines with no tracers in them. To me it doesn't make sense, of course, for all the reasons already mentioned, which is why I'm looking for additional info.

Really mate? Wow. Again, whomever these supposed experts are, the American ones at least, need to have their DD-214's reviewed by the development team. It doesn't seem like they have the right people advising them. Feel free to post these portions in that thread, or I can do it, I just think they need to "check fire" on this aspect and seriously reevaluate where this information comes from.

Edited by DetCord, 11 August 2012 - 07:20 PM.

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#19 galzohar

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 06:30 PM

Well, that's the thread: http://www.realitymo...-set-bit-3.html

Of course there is no mention of who their military advisers are.

To be honest, other than new islands being worked on by a single mapper it doesn't seem like much development is being done, and if there is any it's very hidden and very slow. I mean, the mod hasn't seen a patch for month even though it has some pretty obvious issues that have very easy fixes. I really hope they don't just kill it nor working on it so slow that it won't see a real update before Arma 3 is out. I've offered my help to the development team both offering to help development directly as well as sending them custom missions they can use on the servers, but so far no results.
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#20 BTH

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 06:49 PM

I don't know.... maybe there's a NATO standard that rules the ball/tracer ratio. It seems to me that it's always 4 to 1 when the ammo comes already linked in a box. That's for all the 5.56, 7.62 and .50 ammo i've used, except of course boxes with no tracers in them.
As for OPFOR... well if you're fighting in an "army" which is low on resources, you will probably just link all the ammo you have. If you only have tracers, then it's either all tracers or fighting another day.




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