Determined to get away from lead ammo and come up with an "environmentally friendly" 5.56 load, the Army...
That's no plastic tip. The M855A1 EPR features a bullet with a steel/alloy core and copper jacket.
Determined to get away from lead ammo and come up with an "environmentally friendly" 5.56 load, the Army is now fielding the M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round, replacing the M855 that has been standard issue since the 1980s.
While it may look like it has plastic tip, it's actually the tip of a core that's steel at the front half and bismuth/tin alloy at the back. The design promises increased effectiveness against hard targets such as vehicle glass and masonry, and according to the Army press release it also delivers better performance at all distances, higher velocity and lower muzzle flash. The Army says the new round outperformed 7.62 ball ammo on certain targets.
The M855A1 EPR was tailored for the M4, but according to the Army it will also "vastly improve" peformance of the M16 and M249.