PMC X-TAC 5.56 Ammo Lights Up the Night…And the Day

by John Boch, president of Guns Save Life

Low muzzle flash is one of the non-negotiable requirements of any good self-defense load. In October, at the GSL Defense Training Urban Rifle 101 course, one of our students was shooting PMC X-TAC 5.56 XP-193 ammo in his stock Ruger SR-556 rifle. We noticed some muzzle-flash during the day. But during the night-time segment of the course, the pyrotechnics were downright obnoxious . . .

We looked over his rifle to see if the problem was there. He had a standard Ruger SR-556 rifle with a standard military-style flash suppressor integrated into the barrel. So we swapped him out some Israeli M193 ammo and saw only a tiny bit of flash — nothing like the ball o’ fire produced by the PMC X-TAC.

So the incident provided a valuable lesson to our students on the importance of test-firing their personal defense ammunition in low-light conditions to make sure there’s little or no muzzle flash. You don’t want to mark your position for return fire from bad guys. Not to mention blowing out your night vision any more than necessary.

In this particular case, the PMC X-TAC XP-193 ammo was double trouble. Not only did it illuminate our shooter, but it also lit up the other good-guys around him, too.

Bottom line: we can enthusiastically recommend this ammo if you want to display an impressive fireball from your muzzle and wow your friends or novice shooters. But only a fool would use this ammo for self-defense purposes, despite the high-speed, low-drag tactical graphic on the box. Remember, as the late, great Paul Vallandigham used to say,
“incoming rounds have the right of way.”

20 Responses to PMC X-TAC 5.56 Ammo Lights Up the Night…And the Day

  1. avatarsdog says:

    self defense ammo? no, but good range (day time) ammo, yes, my LWRC eats this stuff up, but i really like the federal 5.56 for plinking.

  2. avatarJohn Boch says:

    Folks who don’t know any better might get themselves into this ammo for self-defense use, especially given the slick packaging.

    I’ve been teaching rifle for a number of years now and taking classes, and I’ve *never* seen flash like this before except from either SBRs (which this wasn’t) or non-flash-suppressed barrels (think AWB days ’94-’04).

    It was also a good lesson to the guy who brought this stuff. He said he had a bunch of it. I don’t think he’ll be keeping it in his “go” mags anytime soon after this.


  3. avatarjwm says:

    My own experiences with PMC ammo have been negative. I have had semi auto pistols that run well on all types of ammo but choke on PMC. Myself and my sons have had the same experiences in different guns. It’s been a while since we’ve bought PMC.

  4. avatarMark says:

    Looks like just the thing when your flashlight fails or you need to start a fire.

  5. avatarGyufygy says:

    PMC X-TAC: Bringing the joy of Dragon’s Breath rounds to your friendly neighborhood modern sporting rifle!

  6. avatarAccur81 says:

    PMC ammo is absolutely terrible. The muzzle flash is stupendous in my Ruger SR-556 as well. Everyone who reads TTAG should stop buying their clean, reliable M193 and M855 style ammo immediately due to the muzzle flash.

    (If M193 prices ever get back to $5.49 or $5.99 a box, I’m buying another 1000 rounds or so.)

  7. avatarMike in NC says:

    I’ve come close to purchasing standard PMC .223 and PMC X-Tac 5.56 on a few occasions and have always stopped short of pulling the trigger. Now I’m reassured that I made the right call by paying a few cents more per round for Federal / American Eagle.

  8. avatarAverage_Casey says:

    Wow, that muzzle flash is insane. What would cause that? Too much of a slow burning powder?

  9. avatarRambeast says:

    I wonder if a 20 or 24 inch barrel would reduce or eliminate that flash.

  10. avatarAPBTFan says:

    Dude needs a Smith Vortex on that Ruger.

  11. avatarKFin says:

    As a practice round there is nothing wrong with PMC, but it as with any ammunition must fit its role. For practice run anything your gun will cycle and that you can afford en mass. For defense you should be using low flash rapid expansion rounds which eliminate M855 and M193 of all types. Instead using 64gr Ranger/PDX1 (Winchester Brands) or any of the polymer tipped expanders (Critical Defense, Critical Duty, hell even ZMax, Hornady Brand) will produce optimal results defensively.

    They key to keeping practice and protection rounds consistent is testing to be sure the performance of your practice round mirrors closely enough the performance of the protection round. This is true across all firearms used for protection purposes

    (For reference my ‘bump in the night gun’ is a 300 Blackout AR15 loaded with 110gr Hornady VMax Blackout/Whisper, practice load is remington plinker 115gr fml/ctfb)

  12. avatarJohn Boch says:

    The 55gr round out of a 16+” 1:9 barrel , under 100 yards, and especially under 50 yards, is a quite suitable round for personal defense, especially for novices.

    Sure, for those of us who know some of the nuances of some of these other rounds, you can do better.

    But for the guy who is going to shoot maybe a couple of hundred rounds a year, if that, who doesn’t know the ins and outs of the AR system, many of them don’t really care about barrel twists, bullet weights and bullet types. All they know is they see a pic of ninja-types on the box and they think, “oh, hey. this is it!”

  13. avatarNDS says:

    I’ve shot a large amount of this X-TAC for practice as it was available in a very large quantity for a reasonable price. There seemed to be two batches of the 62gr “Green Tip” (similar to M855), even within the same 1k round cases. One batch shot cleanly, no excessive muzzle flash and had bright, clean annealed case shoulders. The other batch was dirty shooting and had darker brass, especially on that annealed shoulder area. Not only was there excessive muzzle flash, you could see sparks and unburnt power just like the old school Federal 9BPLE +P+ used to do.

    After getting an entire case of the latter (where before it had been sporadically mixed in) I no longer buy this ammo for practice. I’ve never used the 55gr 193 pictured in the article.

  14. avatarJeff Williams says:

    I wonder if it is a Ruger deal? I notice two people mentioning their Rugers flashing. I shoot the 162 gr X TAC in my DD Midlength 16″ and have never noticed any flash like that. Day or night. I will have to put the go cam on the next range visit and tape the XTAC vs other Manufactured brands. Just to be sure.

  15. avatarWilliam says:

    Zombies are pacified by fireworks displays. Might have something to do with it.

  16. avatarChris says:

    I’m guessing all those people that are having terrific luck with the X-Tac dependability and accuracy are probably ‘not’ from the Zombie or Prepper fantasy land. Just enthusiasts just wanting to head to their local range in the daylight with some good ammo to have some plain ol’ shooting fun. That world isn’t extinct yet, is it?

  17. avatarCLAY says:

    i shoot a ruger 556 with the pmc x-tac 62 gr and no flash at all NONE

  18. avatarDennis says:

    I found a good price on this ammo so I came here to get some info./review. I’m more confused now than I was before I started. I’m starting to think that I need to put my blinders on on just stop listening to everyone else.

    • avatarJoe says:

      Buy it. It is good ammo. I love the PMC .223 and this X-Tac 5.56 is great too. Thousands of rounds downrange. No problems. Very accurate and functions great. Great range ammo.

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