True military or civilian parachute cord is referred to as 550 paracord due to its
550 lb. minimum breaking strength.
Typical nylon military spec cord is made up of 7 strands which are composed of 3 individual twisted braded lines. Civilian cord on the other hand is generally is made of 7 strands each of which are made up of two individual lines braid twisted together.
There are technically 6 different types of Military cords and all are specked to have a minimum elongation (stretch) of 30%. Only two have breaking strengths over 550 lbs…Type III and Type IV (750 lbs). Typical 550 paracord is appx 4mm or 5/32 in diameter.
Now you know the facts. If your investing in the real thing, look for the true 550 rating. Be wary of bargain “Paracords”. You may be getting decent cordage depending on your needs but more than likely will not be getting the real “550 Paracord” you were originally looking for.
You never know…your life could depend on it!