English: Tracer rounds ricochet off of a tank ...

Any guy knows what a Tracer is. It’s a type of ammunition that leaves a red or green trail behind it when fired, or so the movies tell us. But there’s more to it then that.

Roses Are Red...

It seems that the first application of tracing a bullet for combat was invented by the British in 1915 and then again by the good ‘ole boys of America in 1917. Either way, it was the early twentieth century that brought in the ability to track and trace a bullet impact in order to aid in aiming a weapon. Originally soldiers were forced to visibly see their bullet impacts until someone came up with the bright idea of making them flash when they hit something. Soon however, the ‘Spotlight’ bullets were struck down as a violation of the Hague Convention and were found useless for applications other then ground fire. Smoking bullets, another method of tracing rounds, were favored for a while but they were flawed because of the mechanics that made them smoke. You see, they would burn much of their weight off, throwing the ballistics of round off. Not good if your trying to stay alive!

Luckily for our guys, the modern tracer was born, made famous by old Vietnam War movies. These babies would show a trial of bright red light as they screamed toward the bad guy’s, making it possible to mark targets, send signals, burn stuff and to aim better. However, there was still a problem with them. Not only could our guys see where their red tracers where going,

Tracer fire lights up the night sky as Marine ...

but so could the bad guys and soon they found themselves enveloped by green tracers. So, to solve the problem, some bright mind remixed some chemicals, placed them in the cavity of a tracer bullet, and BAM, subdued tracer ammunition was born, which waited about a hundred yards before igniting.

All this can be found here at this Wikipedia link. I’d suggest brushing up on it before viewing the following content.

Below is a video of some local Idaho boys putting on a Tracer Shoot. Now before you get your panties all in a bunch about the legality of such an event, tracer ammunition is perfectly legal, though I wouldn’t recommend firing on any dry BLM land anytime soon. Take a look at what tracers can do in the following video. They are a lot of fun to see and to shoot. The explosions you will see are caused by gas being released through punctured pvc pipe filled with propane. The gas is ignited when a tracer flies through it’s cloud. Hoorah!