M855 Ball Ammunition, Armor Piercing?

BATFE Seeks Ban of M855 Ball Ammunition

It’s still early in 2015 but the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) is on a roll. They’ve already implemented a major change, by executive action, to the definition of activities that constitute regulated “manufacturing” of firearms and reversed their position on firing a shouldered “pistol.”

Now, BATFE has reversed their position on the M855 ammunition that we’ve all been feeding our AR-15’s for years.

Previously, the BATFE had ruled that M855 ammunition was “armor piercing” but granted the projectile an exception because it was “primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes.”

A 1986 federal law prohibits the manufacture, importation and sale of “armor piercing” ammunition by licensed manufacturers or importers that may be used in a handgun. Because there are handguns capable of firing M855, it “may be used in a handgun.” However, the definition of a prohibited “armor piercing” projectile is a “projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and which is constructed entirely … from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, berylium copper or depleted uranium.” M855 has a traditional lead core with a steel tip. It should never have been designated as “armor piercing” in the first place.

Suddenly, M855 (in the evil black rifle minds of the current administration and BATFE) is no longer “primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes.” Never mind that M855 has been “intended to be used for sporting purposes” since the 1986 ruling on “armor piercing” rounds.

To be clear, BATFE’s decision on M855 (and SS109) has already been made. They are not currently seeking input on the decision to reclassify these projectiles, merely on how to implement their removal from the civilian market.

Just one more infringement through executive action ….