February 26, 2015
By Daniel O’Kelly, Director of the International Firearm Specialist Academy (reprinted here with permission)
Everyone is surprised that ATF has announced plans to ban M855 ammunition (steel-core 5.56 NATO). The issue has been raised as to whether the cartridge has sufficient “sporting purposes” as a means to fight the ban. Make no mistake, the “sportability” of the cartridge is not the real issue. We at IFSA agree that M855 ammunition should NOT be banned. However we would like to offer some explanation as to the methodology being used by the Government in this situation. The definition of Armor Piercing (AP) Ammunition is . . .
“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;”
This definition was agreed upon in the mid-’80s between the pro-gun and anti-gun forces as a middle-ground against the Senator Charles Schumer’s catch phrase “cop-killer bullets”. At first it was suggested that any bullet be banned which can penetrate a cop’s vest. Law enforcement and many others were all for that definition until the NRA fought it because the unthinking hadn’t realized that it would ban ALL rifle ammunition.