Wave propagation in homogeneous granular chains subjected to impact loads causing plastic deformations is substantially different from that in elastic chains. To design wave tailoring materials, it is essential to gain a fundamental understanding of the dynamics of heterogeneous granular chains under loads where the effects of plasticity are significant. In the first part of this work, contact laws for dissimilar elastic–perfectly plastic spherical granules are developed using finite element simulations. They are systematically normalized, with the normalizing variables determined from first principles, and a unified contact law for heterogeneous spheres is constructed and validated. In the second part, dynamic simulations are performed on granular chains placed in a split Hopkinson pressure bar (SHPB) setup. An intruder particle having different material properties is placed in an otherwise homogeneous granular chain. The position and relative material property of the intruder is shown to have a significant effect on the energy and peak transmitted force down the chain. Finally, the key nondimensional material parameter that dictates the fraction of energy transmitted in a heterogeneous granular chain is identified.