Ballistic Evaluation of the Under-Barrel Tactical Paint Ball System

Report No. ARL-TR-1899
Authors: Lyon, David H.
Date/Pages: March 1999; 73 pages
Abstract: This report contains data obtained while conducting a test of the Under-Barrel Tactical Paint Ball System (UTPBS). This testing was conducted by the U.S. Army Research laboratory (ARL) upon the request of both the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center (ARDEC) and user representatives. The UTPBS device attaches under the barrel of either the M16 rifle or M4 carbine, similar to an M203. It consists of a trigger group and a central launch tube, which is surrounded by five rotating magazine tubes. A compressed gas bottle is located coaxial to the launch tube and supplies high- pressure gas for operation of the device. Five different types of projectiles were evaluated with the launcher. These were based upon a spherical, ruggedized paint ball with a hard plastic shell and various fills that contained bismuth powder and a combination of paint or water. The system was fired for target impact dispersion, launch dynamics, aerodynamics, and clay penetration. The ability of the weapon to target and hit a triple silhouette at 100 m was almost zero. To isolate the sources of trajectory deviation, a launch dynamics test was performed. A combination of x-rays and spark shadowgraphs revealed large transverse displacements immediately following launch. The case of this deviation was related to the shifting of the bismuth powder inside the projectile, thereby creating a mass asymmetry.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: March 1, 1999