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Legality of armor piercing handgun ammo?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by The Real Hawkeye, Jul 8, 2006.

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  1. The Real Hawkeye

    The Real Hawkeye member

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    I know it's illegal for merchants to sell it to the general public, but is it illegal to own or buy/sell privately? Just curious, because I was looking through some old stock of mine and came across a little plastic sealed package of six rounds marked ".41 Magnum AP: Defeats Level III Soft Body Armor." Must have bought it many years ago and forgotten about it. I've had a handgun in this caliber since the early 1980s. Would it be a violation of law for me to load this stuff into my .41 Magnum and carry it? Is it illegal for me to merely have it in the house? Would it be illegal for me to sell it to someone who is not a police officer, not being a merchant myself?
     
  2. LAR-15

    LAR-15 Member

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    Your legal
     
  3. Chipperman

    Chipperman Member

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    From the ATF website:

     
  4. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    Interesting. There is no level III soft body armor. Level IIIa is the highest rated soft body armor. Level III is hard armor.

    A lot of ammo will pierce soft body armor. In fact, just about most ammo with higher velocities (say supersonic at impact, some even subsonic) that are FMJ and have spitzer tips will pass through fine and dandy without any sort of specialized compositions such as steel tips, but these will not defeat hard armor or most hard armor.

    So is the ammo actually AP ammo made to defeat level III hard armor or is it simply ammo that will penetrate IIIa soft armor and the "AP" is just a marketing gimmick like "For Law Enforcement Only" stamps on packages?
     
  5. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    For an individual, it seems to me that this applies:

    "§ 923

    (a) No person shall engage in the business of importing, manufacturing, or dealing in firearms, or importing or manufacturing ammunition until he has filed an application with and received a license to do so from the Secretary..."

    If you're not in the "business" of making, say, an Arcane bullet, but only making it for your own lawful use, you're okay. I read "business" as making something for sale and with the intent of profit. But IANAL.

    That some cartridge/legal-bullet load will penetrate a vest does not make it "armor piercing" in the law's definition of the term. As near as I can tell by my own dictionary and a wee tad of logic, anyway. Good luck to me?

    Art
     
  6. The Real Hawkeye

    The Real Hawkeye member

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    The package specified "soft body armor," so it will not likely penetrate hard armor. Just a guess.
     
  7. ctdonath

    ctdonath Member

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    The catch is that for this particular bit of law - not to be confused with other laws - the term "armor piercing ammo" refers to the BULLET alone, and is entirely a matter of composition, not ability.
     
  8. geekWithA.45

    geekWithA.45 Moderator Emeritus

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    Art, I'm not sure I agree with your reading.

    This section seems to rule out manufacturing for your own lawful use.


    The only thing I couldn't find is prohibition on posession.

    Also, you'd need to check your state laws, some states explicitly prohibit AP handgun rounds.

    --------------------------------------------

    Anyone know the backstory on why M855 and AP 30-06 was exempted? Why not .308?
     
  9. beerslurpy

    beerslurpy member

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    Legal to possess, not to make or import.

    A round is only considered "armor piercing" if all of the following are true:
    -it can be fired from a handgun
    -the bullet has a metal core
    -the ATF declares such to be true regarding that specific round
    -it also isnt 5.56x45mm or 30-06 AP ball

    There are an enormous variety of AP rounds that arent in one or the other categories, the law is basically a joke. It bans norinco 7.62x39, but few other rounds of importance. And the norinco stuff is also banned under various norinco-focused bans (non gun control related).
     
  10. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    Yeah, I guess 922(a) controls.

    Shame, really. The Arcane is a really nice defense load. It's nasty at close range, but slows down extremely rapidly. The idea behind it was to avoid seriously hurting somebody downrange in the event of an up-close miss on a bad guy.

    For a .45ACP, back-drilling the bullet gives a weight of no more than 90 grains.

    Art
     
  11. LAR-15

    LAR-15 Member

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    Again, you can possess it under Federal law.

    People who had such ammo before the law was passed were allowed to keep it.
     
  12. ctdonath

    ctdonath Member

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    Again, the AP ammo ban is about BULLETS ONLY. "Manufacture" refers to making the bullets. If you, as a private citizen, get your hands on some you can load rounds using them.
     
  13. Working Man

    Working Man Member

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    I thought they had a steel core. Am I wrong?
     
  14. The_Antibubba

    The_Antibubba Member

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    The Mouse That Roared?

    MSC AMMUNITION, Caliber .25. (Identified by a hollow point brass bullet. NOTE: MSC ammunition Caliber .25 identified by a hollow point copper bullet is not armor piercing)


    Does "Armor-Piercing" in a .25 mean it will penetrate a winter coat? :D


    Now I'm unable to stop the images of a suppressed Baby Browning with a 40 round mag and "da switch!" :D :eek:
     
  15. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    Working Man, they do contain a steel core but have been allowed under the law as not counting as AP.

    So The Real Hawkeye, are the bullets of your AP ammo attracted to a magnet?

    Maybe a better question would be to ask the make and model of the ammo and then we could look up the specs to find out if it is actually AP ammo as defined by law or if it is simply ammo with the velocity and/or shape to slip through soft armor, such as done by 5.7x28 ammo for level II and IIa soft armor by the commerical "sporting" rounds (www.fnhusa.com/contents/tw_57x28mm.htm).
     
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