ATF considers 5.56 ‘green tip’ ammo ban, calls for comments

There are many weapons and ammunition I would not own and M855 falls into that. However the point of our rights as free citizens protected by government and not given to us by them is to allow us to make that decision. M855 is hardly the armor piercing death machine the tout it to be. It was designed to penetrate early Russian soft body armor not the current ceramic or steel plates commonly used by police and military.
Using the “AR Pistol” as the scape goat here makes this grab even more transparent. The AR pistol is not being used by criminals. Criminals would just as likely make a SBR illegally then use a legal pistol in a crime. Further AR Pistols are too large to easily conceal and you will find that most gun based crime is done with traditional handguns.
There is only one thin gI see that makes this whole situation worse. Cheaper Than Dirt selling the ammo at now $1 a round. If you didn’t learn your lesson about these guys before then you can see it clear as day now. FYI you wont see many of the larger sites talking about this due to the advertising money they throw around. New Media to the rescue.

Federal regulators are considering revising the framework for determining if a particular type of ammo is used primarily for sporting purposes.

Prefacing a call for comments, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives details the current framework for identifying armor piercing ammunition, with key components defined by Congress in the Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act of 1986 being ammo with no sporting purposes that can be fired out of a rifle and handgun.

The 17-page document puts a popular type of 5.56mm ammunition — M855 cartridges equipped with SS109 bullets — under scrutiny. M855, recognized by its green tip, are standardized military rounds.

“To ensure consistency, upon final implementation of the sporting purpose framework … ATF must withdraw the exemptions for 5.56 mm “green tip” ammunition, including both the SS109 and M855 cartridges,” the ATF says.

In 1986, the M855 ammo was exempt for sporting purposes, but standards, processes and firearm types changed in the past 29 years. For instance, the AR-15 — the M16 rifle’s civilian equivalent — is now available in a pistol configuration with nearly identical features and functionality.

In April, the ATF had a similar ruling with Russian surplus 7N6 5.45×39 type ammo. Upon discovering that an AK-pattern pistol was commercially available in the United States, the agency issued a ruling banning the import and sale of the ammo type. Based on its interpretation of LEOPA, the availability of the AK-pistol alters the ammo’s legal description.

The ATF says it recognizes that M855 is widely available to the public, so it soliciting comments “on how it can best implement withdrawal of this exemption while minimizing disruption to the ammunition and firearm industry and maximizing officer safety.”

The agency will consider all comments received by March 16. Submissions will be accepted three ways:

  • ATF website: Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
  • Fax: (202) 648-9741.
  • Mail: 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.

For more information, contact Denise Brown with the ATF’s Office of Regulatory Affairs at 202-648-7070.


Charles is the editor for 248 Shooter a midwest based gun news and gear review site as well as Online Content Director for On Target Magazine. He is an avid student taking classes from top tier trainers around the country. Charles shares his love for training as well as experience and opinions on some of the most talked about gear and products used by competitive shooters, military, leo and civilians.