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Glow Ammo: “Cold” Tracers Turn Pistols into Laser Guns

There are problems with modern tracer rounds, the biggest is that they rely on the friction from flying through the air to heat up the element which glows and makes it visible. Not only does a “hot” tracer such as that have a tendency to start fires, but it can easily be seen by enemy troops (or home intruders or whoever your bogeyman of choice is). Glow Ammo claims to fix all of those issues, using a “cold” tracer substance placed on the back of the bullet that is visible only to the shooter and others on their side of the firing line. Ammo is available and seems to be shipping, but at about $1 a round it’s still spendy stuff.

The site appears to have been up since 2009, but this is the first I’ve ever heard of it. Rest assured, we’ll have a couple boxes shipped to us for testing and evaluation ASAP. This has the potential to be a fantastic training aide and do some real good in the military so we’ll be keeping a close eye on it.

[Glow Ammo via Reddit]


  1. avatar LC Judas says:

    Okay, the big questions that come to mind are…

    A buck a round for any caliber or are rifles more? Then, is the round essentially still FMJ? Lastly, it’s “cold” and it glows…does that mean the compound is already stable and glowing in the box, lowering the shelf life of this round in a tracer capacity?

    1. avatar ExurbanKevin says:

      IIRC, it uses the same stuff in glowsticks, only it consumes the chemicals a MUCH higher rate than glowsticks so it’s brighter and shorter-lived.

      Also, it uses the bullet motion to mix the two reactants together.

  2. avatar Ryan Finn says:

    Nick this is the same stuff you, Ben and I shot at the range when we did the revolver test. Hopefully your reloads won’t squib in anyone’s pistol 😉

    1. avatar Nick Leghorn says:

      As in, this is the EXACT same? Like, this is you guys?

      1. avatar Ryan Finn says:

        Not us, but the same stuff. Check your email.

  3. avatar Jay W. says:

    It would have been nice if their video had a remote camera looking at the shooter to show that the trace was only visible from the shooter’s perspective.

    1. avatar Nick Leghorn says:

      We’re getting some for T&E. Rest assured this video oversight will be fixed.

  4. avatar ExurbanKevin says:


    It’s doesn’t go “PewPewPew”, it just goes “Bang!’

    Not interested.


  5. avatar David says:

    I have some in 9mm, pretty awesome stuff.

  6. avatar Anon says:

    Tracer rounds have a hollow base usually filled with phosphorus that is ignited by the gunpowder not friction in the air.

  7. avatar Rob J says:

    Sounds fun. Someone please shoot some steel to see how the bullet looks when it goes “splat”.

  8. avatar TXGunGeek says:

    I got a hold of some samples last year and finally got around to testing them back in March. Interesting stuff as an instructor for teaching night shooting students. For myself, I was not too overwhelmed by the glow from the shooters perspective. Fun stuff though. These were my handloads standard 115Gr FMJ practice rounds.

  9. avatar Joe nobody says:

    I think it would be great if someone made an infrared tracer that can only be seen with night vision.

    1. avatar Gossven says:

      Those are already a thing.

  10. avatar Robert says:

    I wonder if this will be Cali legal.

  11. avatar JOE MATAFOME says:

    I already know where the bullets are going when I pull the trigger, so I don’t see how these rounds will help.

  12. avatar copsoldier says:

    You wouldn’t have use only these rounds. Military loads tracers 1 in every 5. Keeps the barrels cooler. You could load these every other round to save money. Kinda looks like a firefly kitting your windshield at night.

    1. avatar Jake says:

      I had always wondered how guns didn’t way overheat when using tracers, because I can’t see how the thing wouldn’t be burning from the second the bullet leaves the case. Some have told me the tracer only starts once the round is out of the barrel, but I haven’t found any documentation that specifically addresses that yet.

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