Is this 5.56 tracer Italian made?

A friend deployed in Afghanistan sent me the pic - said they have a ton of it.

Chris, it looks much like it.
“SMI” stands for Societa Metallurgica Italiana.

Wasn’t SMI an Austrian company by '95? I could be mistaken.

It is italian , EOD is right - società metallurgica italiana

Jon - the “SMI” from Austria is a different company, I believe, than the SMI from Italy. I think the clue that this round is Italian, aside from some knowing it is outright, is the use of the NATO mark. Austria is not a NATO country; rather they are a neutral country. The fact that both countries/companies use “SMI” is confusing, though.

John Moss

The Austrian “SMI” is “Südsteirische Metallindustrie A.G.” in Leibnitz. If I remember right they made only blank cartridges of the Assmann design (I know of 12.7x99 BMG). I could not find any info in the internet, probably they are out of business. Anyone with more detailed info?

Thank you gentlemen.


this is a bad clue. S&B made brass cased and steel cased 5,56 in 1993 and 1994 marked with NATO symbol without the country being in NATO yet (entered in 1999 or 2000?). In my understanding the NATO mark just indicates that the item is made to standards. Israel made marked 7,62x51 in the 60s for export too.

Hans - of course you are absolutely right. I wasn’t thinking. Not only do some countries put a NATO mark on ammo that is NATO specification, but also some countries that are not NATO countries, like Israel, have made ammunition for countries that are, so my answer gets hit with a double whammy. Sorry about that. I need to slow down and think these things out more. Old age is slowing down my thought processes.

John Moss

I presume from the original post that this ammunition being issued to troops? if so, I would be interested to know which troops?

Fourteen year old ammunition for issue to front line men is a bit old and given that its of a different nationality I would say it looks suspiciously like its been bought on the cheap. Nato ammunition usually gets sold off around 7-8 years old. Thats when it comes down to us rifle shooters.

If its British Forces that are getting it I would be far from suprised. The appalling cost cutting that is going on already is costing lives and is well publicised. Issues around lack of body armour, inadequate body armour, badly protected vehicles, lack of helecopter are only a few.

If it should turn out that they are being sent out out to fight with cheap date expired surplus Italian ammunition then a call to the newspapers is in order.

Hasn’t ammunition from Non-Nato countries that is not even made to Nato spec but is marked with the (+) turned up?

I beleive CAC in NZ made Nato Spec 7.62x51 with ⊕ in the hstp. I am unsure if ODL does.


I’m not shure if we can blame it all on age, in my case age and passion do the same.



In my experiience old age has a very detrimental effect on passion but thats not someting I am going to eleborate on here.