ATF Proposes New Rules On ‘Green Tip’ Ammunition Ban

BY Herschel Smith
5 years, 3 months ago

David Codrea:

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives posted a proposed rule change Friday removing a previous exemption and banning the manufacture, import and sale of “5.56 mm (.223) SS109 and M855 ‘green tip’ ammunition containing a steel core,” saying it now considers it to be “non-sporting” handgun ammunition capable of penetrating protective vests worn by law enforcement officers. This latest development, ceding to law enforcement lobby interests, is prompted by the development of handguns capable of firing the cited ammunition.

[ … ]

“This ‘sporting use’ strategy was used before,” author and attorney Richard Stevens documented. “The Nazi Weapons Law (18 March 1938) forbade importation of weapons under substantially the same test.” Additionally, the intent of founders in drafting the Second Amendment makes no such exception to allow “sporting purpose” infringements, particularly by the federal government.

Read all of David’s well-sourced article.  Steel tip (aka “green tip”) ammunition is designed a little heavier for slightly different flight and terminal ballistics and better penetration at long distances.  There are a host of reasons someone might want to have this ammunition, not all of which have to do with so-called sporting purposes according to the ATF.  Then again, my definition of sporting purposes and the ATF’s definition of sporting purposes differ by a wide margin.

The Sporting Purposes test should be found unconstitutional since the second amendment pertains to the amelioration of tyranny rather than hunting.  The ATF has crafted a regulatory framework that contradicts and violates the intent of the founding fathers.  Therefore, everyone who works for the ATF is undermining the constitution.

On a personal note, I would like to thank Eric Holder for reminding me that it’s important to keep track of the good bargains in my area of operations.


450 rounds of M855 “green tip,” 30 cents per round – ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

As for Holder and the lawyers at ATF who have crafted such statist regulations, and the Golgothan for whom they all work, you will see your maker soon enough and then answer for your sins.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks


  1. On February 16, 2015 at 1:48 pm, BuckRedstone said:

    What is the probability at this point in time BATFE’s latest abomination will stand in this new CONgress? 50/50; 60/40; 70/30?

  2. On February 16, 2015 at 1:59 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Sad to say – 100%. Congress could attach a repeal to something the evil one in the White House really wanted, like a new spending bill, in order to get him to sign it, but they don’t have the guts. And there are too many pet attachments other congress-critters will want to make in order to get re-elected. No one will champion a repeal of “green tip” ammunition ban. They don’t even know what that is, much less care enough to push it. And if they don’t know, it’s likely their constituency doesn’t either.

  3. On February 16, 2015 at 3:57 pm, Pat Hines said:

    This is a proposed rule making under current authority claimed by the BATFE, they don’t need congress to make this the law.

  4. On February 16, 2015 at 2:31 pm, DNH said:

    The way the law (18 U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(B) ) is written, “capable” has nothing do with what is or is not considered to be “armor piercing ammunition”, all that matters is what the bullet is made of, not how it performs.

    It is not clear that SS109/M855 actual matches the definition given in 8 U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(B) under (i) or (ii), as the core is mostly lead, and supposedly the jacket is less than 25% of total projectile weight.

    If the bullet doesn’t meet the definition, then this law does not apply and BATFE cannot stop sales, even if the ammo is commonly used in handguns.

  5. On February 16, 2015 at 2:41 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    I assume that technically you are correct. But we’ve seen the ATF make decisions in the past – and enforce it with arrests, fines, etc. – that have no support in the law.

  6. On February 17, 2015 at 10:40 am, Ned Weatherby said:

    Actually, M885 was specifically exempted as AP by ATF some years ago. They are posting their intent to reclassify it as AP.

    “If the bullet doesn’t meet the definition, then this law does not apply
    and BATFE cannot stop sales, even if the ammo is commonly used in

    The problem here is you’re trying to use logic in re the U.S. Code and BATFU regulations and rulemaking processes. The unfortunate fact is, they’ll do whatever they please, comments regarding their proposed rulemaking changes or not. It’s about limiting ammo supply – not the lethality of the bullet tips. You can read all sorts of data on why the USMC adopted the MK 318, or the new M855A1 EPR, (which “upgrades” M855 ammo, partially by increasing chamber pressure from 55,000 psi to over 60,000 psi) and look at the original design parameters of the M855 and what it can and cannot do.

    This might be good fodder for commenting to BATFU, but IMO, the proposed rulemaking change is designed to eliminate surplus ammo from the civilian market. Bullet design has next to nothing to do with this. They will claim it has a scary “steel penetrator” while almost any standard centerfire rifle cartridge will shoot through most soft armor – typically SAPI plates are used to protect against centerfilre rifle.

  7. On February 16, 2015 at 3:56 pm, Pat Hines said:

    The panic is already in progress, with this ammo threat causing the shelves to begin to be cleaned out. So far, the only proposed restriction is on the Green tip, but my view is the BATFE will not stop here, they will continue to find more and more rifle ammo, that can be fired in a pistol, to be armor piercing. There are pistols chambered for 7.62×51, so even that is not safe from this criminal agency.

    This may generate a general panic that restarts the shortages of a couple of years ago.

  8. On February 16, 2015 at 5:22 pm, DNH said:

    BATFE doesn’t get to write new laws, they just get to interpret existing laws. So they cannot “continue to find more and more rifle ammo, that can be fired in a pistol, to be armor piercing.“– unless the ammo meets the specific materials and construction criteria given in 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(B), it doesn’t matter, even if the round is more effective than M855 at actually piercing ammo, BATFE can’t legally do anything about it.

    SS109 and M855 weren’t even that great, the best thing about this ammo was the price.

  9. On February 16, 2015 at 5:40 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Well, yes, no and maybe. They cannot legally make new laws, but I work in an industry where federal regulators do that every day. They call it rulemaking, and even if they don’t go through the process to examine financial effects, etc., like they are supposed to concerning backfit rules, they will publish a proposed regulation to the federal register, wait for comments, summarily ignore comments, and then put it out as a new regulation. Congress rarely passes laws in such detail that things like this are considered. Unfortunately they leave it up to the executive branch, thus empowering that branch even more. We answer to an army of lawyers inside the beltway.

  10. On February 17, 2015 at 9:06 am, Ned Weatherby said:

    Exactly. See, for instance, the Internal Revenue Code: The secretary shall make regulations; The enforcement of these regulations are delegated too: etc.

    It’s congress writing page after page of laws, and allowing “regulations” and “rulemaking” to be delegated to the head of an agency, who then writes delegation orders delineating who will enforce said regulation. Congress has allowed, er, directed the Executive office to usurp its lawmaking powers.

  11. On February 16, 2015 at 10:59 pm, pjb1 said:

    Clearly, they CAN write new laws, because they ARE writing new laws. Do try to keep up with reality, and don’t get too wrapped up in the difference between writing and interpreting. It’s all bullshit. They do as they please, as long as they have an executive that goes along.

    Of course they are being naughty, but what else is new? It will keep going on like this until the war starts; then there won’t be any regulations at all.

  12. On February 17, 2015 at 10:42 am, Ned Weatherby said:

    Hadn’t had time to check, but this is exactly what I suspected. One wonders if ATK and other ammo manufacturers who use SS109 tops are commenting on this proposed rule with technical data.

  13. On February 16, 2015 at 5:56 pm, No Name Brand said:

    This is a lawsuit waiting to happen, I give it a week or so and someone will file a lawsuit against!

  14. On February 17, 2015 at 1:04 am, Pat Hines said:

    No, there won’t be any lawsuits because this is merely a proposed rule making, it’s not done yet. If the BATFE follows suit, then suits may be filed.

  15. On February 16, 2015 at 7:07 pm, Daniel K Day said:

    “you will see your maker soon enough and then answer for your sins”
    I must disagree with your final statement. It will not be “soon enough” for me.

  16. On February 17, 2015 at 8:47 am, Longbow said:

    “Therefore, everyone who works for the ATF is undermining the constitution.” Jeepers, no shit? But what about the average ATF street agent I keep hearing about? What about how he is only after REAL bad guys and doesn’t want to “infringe”, and how he is, deep down, a Constitutionalist also? And a gun owner? You think maybe he just doesn’t know that the agency he works for has an anti-Constitution and anti-liberty and anti-rights agenda? You think he works for this agency for an entire career and just doesn’t know?

  17. On February 17, 2015 at 3:35 pm, Yank lll said:

    IIRC this matter was already addressed at a time when the influence and standing of the out of control agency was much high than it is now.. it was specifically designated by them as non armor piercing if memory serves me.

  18. On February 17, 2015 at 9:13 pm, Right_2_Bear_Arms said:

    Just when 5.56 was getting cheaper and more available again. Man I’m tired of this shit.

  19. On February 18, 2015 at 10:31 am, Ned Weatherby said:

    Incidentally, this proposed rule isn’t published yet in the Federal Register, as far as I can tell.

  20. On February 23, 2015 at 9:35 pm, Bo Treat said:

    so called sporting purposes? since when do we have to justify owning anything based upon sporting events….american government isn’t about preventing crime, it’s about preventing the prevention of their control. communists…this isn’t china.

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You are currently reading "ATF Proposes New Rules On ‘Green Tip’ Ammunition Ban", entry #13432 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Ammunition,BATFE,Obama Administration and was published February 15th, 2015 by Herschel Smith.

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