IMPORT BAN ON 7N6 5.45×39mm ammunition

From the internet:

ATF Special Advisory issued April 7, 2014


On March 5, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) received a request from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) to conduct a test, examination and classification of Russian-made 7N6 5.45x39 ammunition for purposes of determining whether it is considered “armor piercing ammunition” as defined by the Gun Control Act (GCA), as amended. Since 1986, the GCA has prohibited the importation of armor piercing ammunition unless it is destined for government use or testing. The imported ammunition about which CBP was inquiring was not destined for either excepted purpose.

The Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA), as amended, defines the term “armor piercing ammunition” as:

“(i) a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and which is constructed entirely (excluding the presence of traces of other substances) from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium; or

(ii) a full jacketed projectile larger than .22 caliber designed and intended for use in a handgun and whose jacket has a weight of more than 25 percent of the total weight of the projectile.” (emphasis added)

When ATF tested the 7N6 samples provided by CBP, they were found to contain a steel core. ATF’s analysis also concluded that the ammunition could be used in a commercially available handgun, the Fabryka Bronie Radom, Model Onyks 89S, 5.45x39 caliber semi-automatic pistol, which was approved for importation into the United States in November 2011. Accordingly, the ammunition is “armor piercing” under the section 921(a)(17)(B)(i) and is therefore not importable. ATF’s determination applies only to the Russian-made 7N6 ammunition analyzed, not to all 5.45x39 ammunition. Ammunition of that caliber using projectiles without a steel core would have to be independently examined to determine their importability

So this applies to import only and not to what is being sold inside the US like the M855 or similar?

The absolute height of absurdity. This is the same sorry thing the bureaucrats did to imported 7.62x39 and .308 with steel cores back in the early 90’s because a few “handguns” existed which could shoot the ammo. Of course there are 100-fold as many 5.56 “pistols” made in the U.S. which shoot the same exact type of M855 bullet, but they wont do anything about that (yet). This means that the only available source for this 5.45 ammo in the U.S. will be the existing stock in-country, and the prices will spike up during the next year as there will be panic & hype, but then it will calm down since there is a huge amount of it. The 5.45x39 never really caught on much in the U.S., and is a relatively unpopular caliber though. There is plenty of commercial lead core stuff available as well. Still, people will gobble up the imported surplus ammo with the steel core tip, even if they don’t own a gun to shoot it in.

I see on Gunbroker that a tin of 1080 rds is selling for upwards of $240 (used to sell for $125 a couple years ago). If you get crafty and search for misspellings though you find guys like this selling “5.54x39” for a respectable $150:

The ban does not impact the 5.56x45. It is cartridge specific. The ban also effectively prohibits the sale of 5.45 X 39 AP ammo except for existing stocks.

In my opinion, the ban has nothing whatsoever to do with AP ammunition or handgun cartridges. It is just another nail in the coffin leading to ammunition control which is a back door form of gun control.

The guys who shoot the newly banned 5.45mm ammo are a small minority and the noise they are making is all out of proportion. Other cartridges, such as the 7.62X39 and 7.62mm NATO have been banned for more than 20 years and shooters have adapted. Given time, the new shooters will too.


Ray - we can also thank some in our own ranks for these laws - they are handed to BATF on a silver platter. Why anyone would make, or for that matter even want, a pistol in 5.45 x 39 is beyond me. I know the “pistols” are actually short-barrel AKs made without a stock so they can be called pistols, and therefore have the short and quite useless barrels, that do nothing, except for the Walter Mitty group, except destroy the ballistic capabilities of the cartridge and make the gun harder to aim and harder to conceal. But, it sure gives the Govt. the opportunities to pass new laws that hit also the person who owns a real rifle in the prohibited caliber.

Shooters would adapt, but I wish some of the manufacturers, and their customers, would think a little about what they are doing, and learn from the past. There were moves to ban 5.56 x 45 and others because some idiot manufacturer decided to trade to make a pistol out of a rifle.

Just my opinion. Probably shared by no one, but it doesn’t change my own views on the subject. Waving red flags in front of bulls was never very smart, and right now, like it or not, the bulls, along with their own forms of bulls…t, are in power.


I cannot disagree with what you said. However, we can,t fall into the trap of blaming someone else for what our government is doing to us. They (Govt) would like nothing better than to divide us into smaller groups and pick us off one by one.

On another shooting forum that I visit there are guys who are suggesting that we tar and feather any firearms manufacturer who makes a handgun chambered for a “rifle” cartridge. I suppose that would include Thompson Center who has been a friend of shooters for many years. They also want to blame ammunition dealers for the high prices when it is the shooters themselves who are responsible for the frenzy.

Believe it or not, one of them is even arguing that cartridges like the 7.62mm NATO are only used by rich people so we should not be concerned about banning it. I did not realize that shooting the NATO round put me into the 10 percent crowd. Banning my favorite cartridge was ok with them, but now that their ox is being gored it’s a different story.

There is no doubt in my mind that the forums are being watch by our Govt. They must be very pleased with some of
the stuff they are reading. They are probably even taking pleasure from my ramblings.

The irony of course, is that any type of bullet in this caliber with lead core or steel core will do the same harm to any body armor (the motivation behind the 1986 law), so restricting this ammo does nothing towards the kind of safety the law purported to be about.

Meanwhile, supposedly more “dangerous” stuff like 5.7x28 SS190 (same type of bullet) is perfectly legal to own and shoot in the 5.7 pistol and the loaders on Gunbroker are now selling discounted ammo with reloaded components as some agencies or departments are apparently rotating this stuff out to surplus. Naturally, no officer has been shot, killed, or had body armor penetrated in the 10 years that this weapon / caliber has been around, let alone the 5.45x39 which has been around in the U.S. for over 20 years.