7.9x57mm Dual-Color Tracers


The German 7.9mm S.m.K. L’Spur (grünrote) loading is a pretty well known, dual-color AP/tracer. It traced green for approximately 500 meters then to red for the remainder of the trace. Not so widely known is that the Czech Vz. 28 tracer also had a dual-color trace. It traced white, then to red at mid-range of the 1000 meter trace.

Is anyone aware of any other 7.9x57mm tracers that had a dual-color trace?


What was the purpose of multi-colour tracing? I watched tracers at Knob Creek and they seem to do great by just being red.


I think one of the major purposes was for range estimation. You could get an idea of the range to the target by seeing where its position was in relation to the color change.
Kind of archaic compared to what’s available with today’s technology!


Sometimes they fired these at a tank or a structure just to get the range estimation for a subsequent anti-tank shot with the appropriate weapon. If the tracers bounced off red at point of impact, then you’d know it was a certain distance, if they bounced off green, then it was a different distance. I assume red came before green in the burn?


DK - The German label would indicate to me that the green came before the red, not the reverse, the way it reads on the label - “grünrot” = “greenred” which I would read as “green to red.” I could be wrong of course. My German is not that great to know how the two colors simply printed right together should be interpreted. Just food for thought.

John Moss


To quote Kent’s book: “When fired, the bullet traced green for 500 meters and then abuptly changed to red for the remaining distance”.


That makes sense since the wording goes “grunrot”, but I wasn’t sure since some French & German word strings work sort of backwards as to what English speakers are used to.


DK - that is usually the instance of a noun and an adjective. For instance, in Spanish, “the red point” is written “La punta roja.” Note the adjective “roja” (red) follows the noun. It can do that in Italian as well, and probably in French. I don’t know about German.

John Moss


People who talk about weapons but do not actually use them usually do not realize how important range determination is. These tracers were a “secret weapon” of the time and very effective in all platforms. Kicking up dust short of the target is not very efficient AND in the case of war can get you killed.


The green/red tracer had nothing to do with distance.
It was a matter of visibility. They changed it before the war started, in 1937 to yellow and later in to orange.

The air force used for this reason white and orange tracers, normal and the 100/600.



Why bother ?


The TRACER is a purpose made projectile designed to allow the gunner to correct and control the trajectory of his projectile path or stream in the case of machine gun type weapons. Trajectory is a path over a distance. The TRACER allows the gunner to see the path and distance which his projectile steam is subtending. All tracers are ranging tools. The German tracers which change colors at stated distances are more useful than one color tracers in this.

Tracers are not always a wise choice in combat as the visible trajectory can be visible in both directions. It is difficult to hide when you are producing a light path to your location.