NATO bullet tip colors for Tracers

Guys, my question is rather simple here. Since there are 4 colors (so far found by me) used in the NATO colors system for bullet tips for tracers, red, orange, maroon/brown and violet, which one of these is for regular tracers and which is for dim tracers. Besides, if there are differences between some tracers, how can you differentiate them? Characteristics I mean.


The different tracers are sometimes used with night goggles, or in other devices than a shoulder fired weapon.

As to colors there are many more than you list, unless your talking about only the ‘accepted’ variations. Also some rounds also have a tracer element along with their main use & that my be noted with a dual color design on the bullet tip.

You’ve not asked a simple question.

A search of the net ought to provide a NATO tracer color list and perhaps the trace colors and ranges at which they work.

Look for Technical Manuals.

The relevant NATO Allied Ordnance Publication AOP 2 (part of STANAG 2953) simply says “red” as the color for tracers (below 20 mm). While for other colors (light red, dark red) a detailed specification is given, “red” is not described in more detail.
The U.S. use “orange” for 7.62 mm ordinary tracer (M62) and “red” for Overhead Fire Application tracer (M62 OFA), as of TM43-0001-27.
Bundeswehr defines “erdbeerrot” (strawberry red) as laid down by RAL3018 as the tracer identification color.

I shall find some spare time to search for some TMs then. Thank you both!

The brown was used on a U.S. version of a 7.62 NATO to note a green trace.

One reason why your inital question is so hard to answer is you didn’t ask about a specific case type. Remember the 9mm Luger and the 5,56x45 are also NATO calibers which might have / use a tracer element

Some other colors to add to the list:


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