Here’s How You Can Help Stop the Proposed 5.56 M855 Ammo Ban

February 23 2015
by GSL Staff
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As I’m sure you’re aware by now, earlier this month the ATF released their proposed plan to ban the sale and manufacture of M855 (aka “green tip” aka “penetrator”) 5.56 ammo. This round is arguably the second most popular round for the AR-15 rifle on the market, behind M193 55gr.

This would represent one of the largest ammo bans in history. Fortunately, the ATF is currently taking comments on the proposal, and you can make sure your voice is heard. A new website, has been setup which basically automates the process of contacting the ATF as well as your congressional representatives.

The site has been having some issues, due to volume, with their automated fax systems. We recommend copying/pasting the following letter (in addition to using their website), emailing it and mailing a physical copy.

Here is the ATF contact info:


Denise Brown, Mailstop 6N-602, Office of Regulatory Affairs, Enforcement Programs and Services, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, 99 New York Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20226: ATTN: AP Ammo Comments.

Here is the letter we recommend sending. Please note, you need to fill in your information on the last two lines:

To whom it may concern,

I am writing to voice my opposition to the proposed change in framework to determine whether certain projectiles are “primarily intended for sporting purposes” under 18 USC § 921(a)(17)(C).

18 USC § 921(a)(17)(B) reads:

The term “armor piercing ammunition” means—

(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.

A number of manufacturers are producing projectiles made out of brass and other alloys in order to comply with the ever increasingly oppressive EPA and State regulations regarding lead ammunition. In an effort to follow these new regulations and laws, manufacturers must turn to alternative materials that are effective for their given purpose.

Manufacturers are hesitant to research and invest in these alternative materials due to the uncertainty of ATF’s arbitrary manner in which these projectiles are classified. This prevents manufacturers from hiring individuals and expanding infrastructure. Additionally, ATF’s proposed framework does not comport with the original intent of Congress, which was to protect law enforcement officers from small, concealable handguns.

Just because a projectile MAY be used in a handgun does not mean it poses any real threat to law enforcement and could not be used for sporting purposes. ATF in its proposed framework has also decided to arbitrarily reclassify SS109/M855 as armor piercing. It is my position that ATF does not have the authority to do so as SS109/M855 does not meet the statutory criteria of being armor piercing.

In the case of M855 ammunition, the projectile consists primarily of lead, with only a steel tip. As such, term (i) does not apply. The jacket weight does not weigh more than 25 percent of the total weight of the projectile. As such, term (ii) does not apply.

The claimed purpose of this change is to “protect the lives and safety of law enforcement officers from the threat posed by ammunition capable of penetrating a protective vest when fired from a handgun”.

As was known when the Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act of 1986 was passed, the type of body armor that law enforcement employs on a daily basis is NOT capable of stopping a rifle round. Body armor rated for threat levels of IIA and IIIA are rated for certain pistol cartridges only.

Claiming that a ban on SS109/M855 will protect the lives of law enforcement officers is disingenuous and an egregious abuse of authority to remove an exemption for which ATF had no power to grant in the first place.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

YOUR FULL NAME (Don’t Skip! This is important!)

We also recommend signing this petition to force the White House to publicly respond to the issue.

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