Why the AK assault rifle bullets are color-coded (PHOTOS)

Legion Media
White, blue, red, and black...armor-piercing, tracer rounds, blanks – here’s why bullets loaded into Russia’s AK assault rifles are color coded.

AK bullet tips are color coded to help the shooter identify the various types of cartridge and their function. Also, the oils used to make the lacquer prevent the cartridges from corroding.

Ammunition for other guns and weapons is also sometimes colored, from slugs for pistols to large-caliber projectiles for anti-aircraft guns, but here we’re just focusing on 5.45x39mm cartridges for the iconic Russian AK-74 and AK-12. Choose your ammo!

1. No color coding – standard military grade steel-core bullets

2. Green – tracer round, which leaves a long red trail behind the bullet

3. Green with the red band – armor-piercing tracer round 

4. Black – armor-piercing ammunition 

5. Black with the green band – subsonic ammunition for silenced assault rifles 

6. White – blank round for a conventional assault rifle (not replica), which breaks up in the barrel when fired 

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