Get the lead out: Military testing new green ammo - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Get the lead out: Military testing new green ammo

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(CBS 8) - The military is doing its part to protect Mother Nature on the battlefield. The Army is testing out a so-called "green ammo" which it claims is more efficient during battle, and less toxic on our planet.

They are the same weapons the army uses in combat, but the bullets are very different. Video shot by Military dot com shows the army testing new environmentally friendly ammo using a steel core instead of lead.

"Ranges were filling up with lead rounds that would, during rain, seep into the ground water and essentially pollute the ground water," Military.com journalist Christian Lowe said.

Better for the environment, but what about the safety of our soldiers? In a demonstration, the old ammo puts a dimple in a metal plate, but the new ammo shoots right through it.

"We saw clear as day that this round goes through the same kind of armor plating that bad guys are putting on their vehicles in Afghanistan today," Lowe said.

But it's still a hard sell. And you can't blame our troops? It's their life on the line.

Lenny Magill owns Glock Store, and says he understands why soldiers would be concerned. If a steel bullet shoots right through a person and misses vital organs, the bad guy could still be standing.

"The problem I believe these military are concerned about is in close quarters -- 15, 20, 50 yards people are shooting at them and they want to stop someone instantly, go in with a gun and be able to stop that threat so it can't fire back," Magill said.

The Army argues that the new bullets are more accurate, so if you aim properly you have a better chance of stopping your attacker, a message they reiterated to Military.com's reporter at its demonstration.

"We want everyone to know and have proven in the range this green round is a lot meaner than the current lead cored round," Lowe said.

So what's next in the green movement? Larger bullets for specialty rifles, then possibly new technology for casings, making them lighter and more disposable.

The Army isn't saying how much the green ammo costs, but says it's only slightly more expensive than lead, and with the environmental benefits, it could actually end up being cheaper in the long run.

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