ATF Proposes Ban on Previously Exempted Armor-Piercing Bullets

Thursday, March 05, 2015
5.56mm armor-piercing bullets (photo: Wikipedia)

Gun enthusiasts are outraged by a federal proposal to ban a type of armor-piercing bullets capable of penetrating ballistic vests worn by law enforcement officers now that the rounds can be used in handguns.


Varieties of 5.56 mm rounds with metal cores that are commonly used in AR-15 assault rifles, the civilian equivalent of the military M-16, would be prohibited under new rules crafted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Ammunition makers would be barred from producing, selling, importing or distributing the rounds. However, individuals already owning the ammunition would be allowed to continue to legally own it, according to the Associated Press.


Armor-piercing handgun ammunition has been outlawed since 1986 under the federal Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act (pdf) to help protect police officers, but the ammunition in question was exempted because it was used for sport shooting in assault rifles. Now that there are handguns capable of using the rounds, the ATF is considering a ban on the ammunition.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

U.S. Considers Banning Type of Popular Rifle Ammunition (by Alicia Caldwell, Associated Press)

What AR-15 Ammo Is in the BATFE’s Crosshairs and Why (by Joe Songer,

ATF Framework for Determining Whether Certain Projectiles Are “Primarily Intended for Sporting Purposes” within the Meaning of 18 U.S.C. 921(A)(17)(C) (Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) (pdf)

The White House Blatantly LIED to the Press Corps about M855 Ammunition. Here’s Why It Matters. (by Bob Owens, Bearing Arms)


Lousy reporting 9 years ago
If you read the ATF's definition of "Armor-Piercing", the M855 round doesn't qualify. The majority of the core is lead. To be armor-piercing, the bullet must be constructed of hard metals other than lead. All rifle ammo can penetrate a bulletproof vest, but not when fired from a short, pistol-length barrel. AR pistols are not easily concealed, and so are not a viable threat to law enforcement officers. The ATF is trying to open the door to ban ammo based on what it can do, not what it is made of. If they succeed, they will be able to ban ALL ammunition overnight. THAT is why the Second Amendment supporters are against this proposal.

Leave a comment