Believe it or not, that title is only about 65% clickbait. There is some truth to it, I swear. Dig:

Philippine Military Seeks Traceability & Accountability

See, would you have clicked on that headline? Probably not. But “Laser Bullets”? Who wouldn’t click on that? Come on. Anyway, the Philippine government recently set out to acquire up to three additional laser marking machines so that they can add identifying markings to each and every piece of small-arms ammunition they produce and/or purchase. One laser marking system is already in operation, but lacks the necessary capacity to keep up with production.


“Looks like one of yours, Gary.”

The ID marks will help the National Police and other armed forces keep track of their bullets, letting them know to whom the ammo was most recently issued. Tracing government-issued ammunition recently became a national issue in the Philippines, after the PNP confiscated firearms and ammo with “government arsenal” markings from a terrorist group operating in the country.

While those markings did identify the weaponry as government issue, they did not provide any information as to where they came from. With their new laser marking capabilities, the Philippine government will add barcodes and whatnot that will show exactly who the last authorized user of the ammunition was—i.e., if someone in the military is giving or selling bullets to terrorist organizations (or anyone, really), the government will be able to find out exactly who, just by scanning the markings on the casings.

According to Roger Gamban, chief of the strategic management office of the Philippine government arsenal, the new laser marking directive “would make the [government arsenal] the second ammunition manufacturer in the world that employs laser markings.”

Pew-Pew, Bang-Bang

It’s interesting that the Philippine government chose to buy the machines themselves, rather than contract out the laser marking services they need. It’s a smart move, really, in that it will likely save the government money in the long run—not a lot of national governments would make that move. The Philippine government passes the savings on to you!

One hopes that they’ll hire a few people who actually know what they’re doing to run the laser machines, rather than just having a couple of dudes from the force try to figure it out. Not sure that a laser beam should be left in the hands of amateurs, particularly if there’s live ammo around. And, one would assume that the plan is to mark up the cartridges before the gunpowder and bullets are added, but you never know. Government-affiliated organizations have done stupider things.