In a numerical micromechanical study of the tensile properties of a metal reinforced by short whiskers, the elastic-plastic deformations of the metal are described in terms of crystalline plasticity, using a planar crystal model that allows for either two or three slip systems. Plane strain analyses are carried out for a periodic array of aligned whiskers for whisker volume fractions of 10 percent to 30 percent, and comparison is made with predictions based on a corresponding flow theory of plasticity with isotropic hardening. The predicted trend for composite strengthening with whisker volume fraction is the same for the various matrix material constitutive characterizations. It is found that the crystal model can give rise to shear localization, initiating at the sharp whisker edges. As a consequence of this localization, the stress carrying capacity eventually drops.