Prohibition of frangible ammunition

I am concluding a book concerning legal and technical issues related to guns and ammunition in Portuguese laws. Among other items, frangible ammunition is forbidden in Portugal (considered

What is the reason for the prohibition of Frangible bullets?

I think, some of the european authorithies have fear, to be shot with an unidentifiable
bullet. :-))

In Germany we had similar attempts, but they where dropped, as the european generell law on guns and ammo, do not mentioned them in the section “A” of the EU-VO -

As Vito has already written, the AP, Incendiary, Explosive and AP-bullets are inside of this range.

In Germany all “military” cartridges for military GUNS (except Ball-ammo) are forbidden by the war-control act for civilians. (Military guns are: All Machine Guns -except watercooled ones-, all Submachine-guns and Semi-Autorifles (except such ones in use, before 1.9.1945).
This guns which do not fall under the warcontrol-act, can maybe possessed with a special license; but only the guns already in Germany. An Import from abroad is not possible.
This means for the ammunition sector, that Ammunition, still fitting in an Aircooled machinegun, a SMG or Semiauto-Military rifle (after introduction year 1.9.1945) is still considered War-Material, as long it contains Tracer, Incendiary, Explosive or AP-Elements and cannot be possessed legally at all by civilians (some excemptions for “old” material, already possessed before the warcontrol act 1976).

If the ammo with special contents (i.e. Incendiary/Explosives/Tracers/APs) is either only for civilian guns, or for former War-Material guns (SMGs before 1945, or watercooled MGs) and do not fit in a “modern” War-Material-gun, they can be bought and possessed by People holding a special collectors or dealers license, because they are falling under the “normal” Gun control act. This license is only issued from the federal police (BKA)
In Germany you need anyway a license to buy and to “have” NORMAL ammo at hand. This means ammo , such as RF, CF-Pistol/Revolver ammo, CF-Rifle ammo with “normal” bullets, containing only lead or a material less than 400HB hardness. This licenses are either issued with the approbr. Gun license, or with a ammunition license, or with a collector license; the hunting license is only valid for Rifle-Ammo. This licenses are issued from the local police Authority.
The special license to get in the civilian field (non-military ammo) which contains the above mentioned AP,Tracer,Inc/Explosives contents, can only be obtained from the federal police, as long you are holding a “normal” license. Furthermore, it only allows you to BUY this type of ammo for collection purposes, but you cannot use them up for shooting. Only the smallest available Paket is allowed anyway.

So, this was a little bit far from the outgoing question about “Frangible” ammo, but I would make clear, that even the frangible ammo is already only to get, as long you are holding a “normal” license to buy and keep ammunition. Frangible ammunition itself is NOT considered as “Special” ammo, for what you need a Federal license, or cannot get a license at all, as they maybe only made for War-Guns and in the case, that no civilain guns for the same caliber exists…

Tests from MEN and Fiocchi with old type of Frangible ammo have shown, that you still get enough evidence of the gun used in a crime, when this type of Frangible was fired. As long, as the bullet doesnt hit a very hard target, you have “broken parts”, still showing enough rifling a.s.o. for identification of the gun(s). Fiocchi mounted a short jacket beneath the Frangible bullet, to have better chances of identification; but in fact, it is not needed.
I have not seen tests for the newer Frangibles from the US and if, or not, it was possible to take rifling signs, after this bullets where fired into a soft target (as a human body is)…

SO, my answer can only be valid for Germany; but I knew, that Belgium, Luxemburg and Holland does not forbid expressly the sale and distribution of frangible ammo of any kind.
This statements are only for small caliber ammo -not for cannons a.s.o., which are falling under other legislation-


I find this scary and was wondering if anyone else had that same feeling.

While reading Forensic’s excellent post I couldn’t help but thinking - California, or Massachusettes, or Ohio, or New Yawk.


In fact forensic gave us an excellent explanation about the legal restrictions in Germany. In Portugal the possession of ammunition (normal ones) became subjected to severe restrictions. Possession without the legal permit is to be punished with incarceration up to 3 years or a heavy fine.
Knowing some people that were connected with the commission that produced the recent gun laws in Portugal, I suspect that the prohibition of frangible ammunition is correlated with myths. First the allegedly absence of rifling marks, second because some so-called

Ray, you think Germany has a hard time, we are only allowed manually operated rifles (bolt, lever, single shot or doubles) in calibres over .22RF. Pump and Semi Auto rifles are permitted in 22 Short or Long RF (But not .22 Mag). Signal pistols and humane slaghtering devices are also permitted if you have a legitimate use for them. To own any of these it requires you apply for a firearm certificate, which 2 separate people in “authority” must sign to say you are of suitable character to own a gun. This certificate takes 6 months to come through. This is known as a “Section 1 Certificate”. You also have to provide a “good reason” to own each firearm, such as vermin control, hunting, target shooting. They will also contact the owner of the land or club you shoot on to check this. With this certificate you can purchase ball, tracer and expanding bullet (only in rifle calibres) ammunition. Air weapons with an operating pressure of over 12 Ft/Lbs are also classed as firearms.

For AP / Incendiary / Explosive / Teargas or other chemical agent / Expanding bullet ammunition in pistol calibres, you must have a “Section 5” ammunition certificate which is extremely difficult to get. You have almost zero chance of getting a certificate for Section 5 weapons (Machine guns, pistols, Centrefire Semi auto Rifles etc). I know of no one who has one.

Shotguns are held on a separate certificate, but mostly only single and double shotguns, pump and semi are allowed as long as the magazine only holds 2 cartridges (and one in the chamber). They must have a barrel length of 22 inches or above. If it holds any more cartridges or has a barrel length of under 22in they have to be held on a Firearms Certificate, and it is almost impossible to provide a “good reason” for one of these that will be accepted in the UK.

Recently interesting ways to get around these laws have come out. Revolvers with a 12 inch barrel and a wrist brace being legally sold, as they classify as rifles under our laws due to the barrel length (12in+) and overall length of the weapon (2ft+). There are also straight pull (bolt action: the cocking handle must be re-cocked after each shot) AR-15 and Kalashnikov type rifles, but these types of weapons are not common. The penatly for breaking any of hese laws is either a maximum fine of

Regarding forensics explanation, I would like to say that in Portugal there is some

[quote=“Falcon”]… Expanding bullet ammunition in pistol calibres, you must have a “Section 5” ammunition certificate… /quote]

I wonder what is considered to be

[quote=“vitor teixeira”]
I wonder what is considered to be

Falcon, don

Hearing about the 20mm thing or your example does not surprise me at all. Most people I show an inert round think that the whole thing (case and all) fires out of the gun barrel…

[quote=“vitor teixeira”]Falcon, don

[quote=“Forensic”] (…) At moment, the focus is on Softair-Guns, usually Kids-guns to shoot with plastic balls of about 0,5 Joule…As they sometimes look, like very real guns, the police union has now pressed the Ministry of Interieor to FORBID carrying such guns -even by kids- in public place…The reason: Police maybe will shot a kid, if he sees it, whit such plasticguns in hand…
Common sense, is not longer used, in such laws and maybe not present in the brains of “our” rulers and lawmakers. (…) [/quote]

Portuguese gun laws changed last year and now Softair

Softair guns in the same class as nuclear weapons…complete idiocy. Softair pistols sting when they hit you but the ones I used to play with as a kid certainly could not destroy an entire city…

California is much the same as Europe on soft-air guns or any other kind of toy gun. It is forbidden to have a toy gun that looks like a real gun, ie: one that is black or silver in color. Green, red, orange, etc. is permissable. All the smart crook has to do is paint his real gun that color, and the police won’t know from the look of it if it is real or not. In San Francisco, two police officers, shielded behind their car, shot a young retarded boy who was waving around a toy, black plastic Uzi, and wouldn’t drop it. He reportedly was saying “Bang, Bang,” since of course it would not shoot. I have seen this model toy - it looks very little like a real gun to anyone who knows anything about firearms. They killed him for it. The worst part is that they fired ten or twelve rounds at him, from a distance of perhaps 7 or 8 meters, and hit him twice - once in the foot and once in the head. Both are “misses” according to police training here, where they are taught to shoot at the upper torso. But, of course, that doesn’t bring this poor, retarded youngster back to life.

Laws about guns are made by the same self-serving idiots that make the laws in other areas about which they know nothing. A shame! We all pay for their stupidity. Forensic said it right - only the people who obey the laws suffer from this repression - not the criminals.

I am sure that if the poor boy pointed a cellular phone like if he was handling a gun the result would be the same, that is: the police officers would have soot him. Nevertheless cellular phones didn

Just noticed this old post. As far as frangible ammo laws, Hawaii, (believe it or not) actually has a law which bans frangible ammunition by its definition. It was probably meant to just ban exploding bullets which the law does mention, but it specifically bans “any projectile which fragments upon impact” and it does not mention rifle or pistol caliber, so either type is banned apparently. The statute is: HRS 0134-0008

In Britain, although I don’t think its specifically mentioned, frangible bullets would come under the same classification as expanding bullets and would therefore be banned. The law seems to be interpreted by the authorities as a blanket ban on which they have the final say in all matters.


where do you get the reference that expanding bullets are banned in the UK from?

I have expanding bullets in 3 calibres on my section 1 certificate, couldn’t go stalking without them…

Thats right, you have been granted an exemption to possess them. Without that exemption it would be illegal for you to possess them. Loaded or unloaded. However, an exemption is not quite the same thing as a legal right. When they introduced the legislation commonly known as the handgun ban all expanding bullets were banned. They then had to backtrack because they were so stupid they didn’t realise the implications of what they had done. The legal position is still uncertain and fortunately untested so after ten years its a bit wishy washy.'tm

Without a FAC it is perfectly legal to have as many unloaded FMJ or lead bullets as you want, you can have crates of them. However one unloaded HP or SP bullet is enough to get you in hot water.

Even though you have authority to possess expanding bullets for deer hunting you can only have them in the calibres specified so the authority is not open ended.

If you reload you may well find the police insisting that you store unloaded bullets in you safe and treat them as if they were live.

All in all its a bit of a dogs dinner but I am reasonably comfortable in describing expanding ammunition as “banned” in the UK.