U.S. ATF: AP Ammunition


#1

I have a Curio & Relic Federal Firearms License, and receive ATF emails from time to time, as all FFL holders do. This was in my in-box this morning (Sunday 8 March). This is an edit from three sections of the new rules. Note that as of yesterday (Saturday, 7 March 2015), 5.56mm/.223 SS109/M855 is still exempt from being defined as armor piercing. Even if M855 were not exempted, the rules appear to be silent about transactions of “AP” ammunition between non-licensed people (collectors). The new rules document is 237 pages long.

The Federal Firearms Regulations Reference Guide - 2014 Edition (ATF P 5300.4) has been updated and the revised edition is now available. Updates to the 2014 edition include corrections of omissions and editing errors. Firearms Regulations Reference Guide – 2014 Edition (Revised 3-7-15)

NOTICE OF CORRECTIONS

March 7, 2015 On January 15, 2015, ATF posted the 2014 Federal Firearms Regulations Reference Guide (the “2014 Guide”) to the ATF website (www.atf.gov). ATF last published this guide in 2005; the 2014 Guide incorporates almost a decade of updates to the federal firearms regulations. Since posting the 2014 Guide, ATF became aware that it contained some inadvertent omissions and editing errors. ATF has corrected these omissions and errors in an update to 2014 Guide posted on March 7, 2014. The corrected omissions and editing errors are:

(2) At page 190, within the General Information section, the last two subparts of Item 10, Armor Piercing Ammunition, were not included. These subparts consist of: (a) the text of the 1994 amendment Congress made to the Gun Control Act’s (GCA) definition of armor piercing ammunition and, (b) a listing of the projectiles that have been granted exemptions to the GCA’s prohibition on armor piercing ammunition. These subparts are now included.

10.ARMOR PIERCING AMMUNITION
Under Federal law, it is unlawful for any person (including licensed importers and manufacturers) to import or manufacture armor piercing ammunition unless such manufacture is for a governmental agency, exportation, or testing/experimentation. See 18 U.S.C. 922(a)(7),(8); 27 CFR 478.37, 478.148. Licensed dealers may only transfer armor piercing ammunition to a governmental agency if the ammunition was received and maintained by the dealer as part of its business inventory prior to August 28, 1986. See 18 U.S.C. 923(e); 27 CFR 478.99(e).

The GCA 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.”

Armor piercing ammunition includes the following:

KTW AMMUNITION, all calibers. Identified by a green coating on the projectile.

ARCANE AMMUNITION, all calibers. Identified by a pointed bronze or brass projectile.

THV AMMUNITION, all calibers. Identified by a brass or bronze projectile and a head stamp containing the letters SFM and THV.

CZECHOSLOVAKIAN manufactured 9mm Parabellum (Luger) ammunition having an iron or steel bullet core. Identified by a cupronickel jacket and a head stamp containing a triangle, star, and dates of 49, 50, 51, or 52. This bullet is attracted to a magnet.

GERMAN manufactured 9mm Parabellum (Luger) having an iron or steel bullet core. Original packaging is marked Pistolenpatronen 08 m.E. May have black colored bullet. This bullet is attracted to a magnet.

MSC AMMUNITION, caliber .25. Identified by a hollowpoint brass bullet. NOTE: MSC ammunition, caliber .25 identified by a hollowpoint copper bullet is not armor piercing.

BLACK STEEL ARMOR PIERCING AMMUNITION, all calibers, as produced by National Cartridge, Atlanta, Georgia.

BLACK STEEL METAL PIERCING AMMUNITION, all calibers, as produced by National Cartridge, Atlanta, Georgia.

7.62mm NATO AP, identified by black coloring in the bullet tip. This ammunition is used by various NATO countries. The U.S. military designation is M61 AP.

7.62mm NATO SLAP. Identified by projectile having a plastic sabot around a hard penetrator. The penetrator protrudes above the sabot and is similar in appearance to a Remington accelerator cartridge.

PMC ULTRAMAG, .38 Special caliber, constructed entirely of a brass type material, and a plastic pusher disc located at the base of the projectile. NOTE: PMC ULTRAMAG 38J late production made of copper with lead alloy projectile is not armor piercing.

OMNISHOCK. A .38 Special cartridge with a lead bullet containing a mild steel core with a flattened head resembling a wad cutter. NOTE:
OMNISHOCK cartridges having a bullet with an aluminum core are not armor piercing.

7.62x39mm with steel core. These projectiles have a steel core. NOTE: Projectiles having a lead core with steel jacket or steel case are not armor piercing. In addition, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 added to the definition of armor piercing ammunition the following:"… a full jacketed projectilelarger than .22 caliber designedand intended for use in a handgunand whose jacket has a weight ofmore than 25 percent of the totalweight of the projectile."

Exemptions: The following articles are exempted from the definition of armor piercing ammunition.

5.56 mm (.233) SS 109 and M855 Ammunition, identified by a green coating on the projectile tip.

U.S. .30-06 M2AP, identified by a black coating on the projectile tip.


#2

M2 AP is exempted, but WW2 sintereisenkern is oh-so-dangerous?

Absolutely laughable.


#3

More laughable is the .25acp solid-brass MSC bullets being on the list. They technically meet the definition, but lets be honest about how much more vastly destructive something like a soft-point .22TCM bullet would be to body armor, or anything it hits in comparison to a .25acp bullet no matter what it is made of. But, then thank goodness the law is so incredibly specific with the wording of what the bullet’s construction needs to be, and is not based on the bullet’s performance ability such as is the case with Washington D.C.'s law DC ST § 7-2501.01 which restricts any pistol bullet capable of defeating 18 layers of Kevlar (that would be quite a few pistol bullets actually).

I wouldn’t read too much into what the ATF includes & omits from the specifics of that law within the reference guide. The guide is just a summary that does not contain every single part of the laws which it describes, only the ones which they feel need clarity for whatever reason.

I am surprised that they did not add any type of example to the specific projectile brand list such as Elite Ammunition 5.7x28 stuff with brass Barnes bullets since that issue was probably the biggest blowup that law has seen since 1994 not including the pending M855 issue.

One thing which I always notice as being overlooked, especially within the context of the BATFE’s Federal Firearms Regulation Reference guide when it comes to the 1986 pistol-cal AP ammo law is how the definitions of “importation” and “manufacture” are always omitted from the summary:

18 U.S.C. chapter 44 §921 definitions, part 21:

b[/b] as applied to a manufacturer of ammunition, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to
manufacturing ammunition as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of
livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the ammunition manufactured;

b[/b] as applied to an importer of ammunition, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to importing
ammunition as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit
through the sale or distribution of the ammunition imported.

And those aren’t even limited to the pistol-cal AP law, they mean any “ammunition”, and they are talking loaded or projectiles only - which is always quite a shock to people when I tell them this. The issue of live ammunition coming in from out of the country via shipment however is always more of a US Mail, or customs issue which entangles that, and not this law. That, and the senders from other countries are usually always limited by not being able to ship live ammo out of country by any method other than commercial / government license. However, with regard to pistol caliber AP projectiles (since this law is referring to projectiles only in terms of manufacturing & importation), a person can seemingly make or have shipped in from outside the country any small-ish number of pistol-cal AP projectiles so long as they are not conducting regular business on a commercial scale or earning the primary means of their livelihood from it. So all it takes is a motivated recipient, a willing sender, and a non-commercial level of projectiles, and it is fine according to the law. There are usually however, not any willing senders from other countries where such projectiles are typically restricted to possess anyway.


#4

Saw this article today discussing this specifically. The omission was an error / not meant to be binding. etc…

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/03/09/atf-guide-indicates-bullets-at-center-political-firestorm-already-banned/#