Anyone owning a rifle in the 2020s has the whole internet to search when looking for the most suitable rounds for their needs. Research the web for any length of time.
When compared to your average .223 round, you’ll see that it has exactly the same dimensions in terms of width and length. Even the shape is the same. However, it’s inside where they differ.
The Composition of Winchester Green Tips
Inside the full metal jacket (FMJ) of a regular .223 round, you’ll find a lead projectile that either gets destroyed when it hits a hard surface or passes straight through. However, when talking about a green tip, it too has lead inside, but also a has a steel bar.
When a green tip hits a hard surface, the lead breaks away in the usual way, but then the steel rod in the middle continues through (unless it’s striking steel that’s stronger).
Not Strictly Armor-Piercing
To call Winchester green tips ‘armor-piercing’ is somewhat inaccurate, as while the round does offer increased penetration, the body armor worn by law enforcement personnel typically has higher tensile steel inside, meaning that steel rods just bounce off.
So, if you fire off 10 green tip rounds at an armored Humvee, it’s not going to go through – for the same reasons. So, when buying them, don’t get carried away thinking that they’ll pass through anything you fire them out, as they won’t!
The ATF Couldn’t Ban Them As ‘Armor-piercers’
The easiest way to tell that they won’t is by the fact that the ATF wasn’t able to ban their use by civilians, based on the fact that they don’t go through body armor.
The fact is if regular body armor that’s worn is hit by a regular .223 round, there’s a more than average chance that it too, will penetrate it, so the whole argument is flawed. It’s the velocity that matters, not the round itself.
They Do Penetrate Further Than Regular .223s
So, aside from the body armor debate, it’s important to state that green tips do offer increased penetration. Fired into cinder blocks, we found that green tips when through 2 of them with no real trouble, whereas copper and lead .223 only went through one.
When penetration is the order of the day, then green tips certainly fit the bill, but don’t expect them to have the ability to go through steel doors like butter!
So, Why Buy Winchester Green Tips Over Others?
Well, some choose to use them as a backup for their primary home defense rounds, but not usually in a built-up residential area where over-penetration becomes a problem.
They are classed as ‘penetrators’ rather than ‘armor-piercing’, as true armor-piercers will actually have a black tip and a much larger steel projectile inside.
The reason why you would buy green tip ammo is when you need to get through certain materials that you would otherwise not be able to. It’s also a reliable and high-quality Winchester product, so there’s that.
All that said, if you’re not in need of the extra penetration that green tips offer, there are cheaper and more suitable options available to you.