There was an announcement earlier this week regarding an ATF decision to ban XM855 ammunition. For those of you not overly familiar with the ammunition in question we are referring to military surplus XM855 ammunition. This has a 62gr projectile and a hardened tip. It is not ‘AP’ or Armor Piercing ammunition. It merely has a steel tip. This is the ammunition you see referred to as ‘green tip’ because of the painted green tips. Some people have a pretty nonchalant or ambivalent attitude towards this little decision. We’re going to discuss why it’s important that you care and get involved.
ATF Ammo Ban – Reasoning
The reasoning the ATF is giving behind this decision to ban a very common ammunition available for the AR15 platform is one that makes sense to a lot of people. That’s part of the danger. Anti-Gun organizers and supporters are clever. You have to keep a close eye on what they say and what they do. They claim that because the XM855 Green Tip ammunition can be fired from a pistol, and is capable of penetrating soft body armor, it poses a threat to Law Enforcement Officers and should be banned from public sale. That sounds reasonable, and that’s the problem. They are using half truths to deceive those that don’t understand.
While this may sound like a good reason to restrict the sale and use of ammunition, it isn’t, and I’m going to explain why. I’ve worked in Law Enforcement for ten years in the busiest part of a large city in Colorado. I’ve looked at and reviewed crime statistics kept by the FBI. Its available to anyone to read and it’s called the Uniform Crime Report, or UCR. You can read that here. I’ll save you some time, assaults with Firearms only accounted for 4.5% of assaults against Law Enforcement in 2013. Of the Officers killed in the line of duty, only 5 of the 27 deaths were attributed to gunfire from a rifle. The lowest number since 2005. You can look at those numbers here.
ATF Ammo Ban – Pay Attention
As the statistics we discussed above show, rifles used against Law Enforcement are extremely rare. This is a protective measure in search of a problem. I’m going to point something else out guys. Any rifle ammunition can penetrate soft body armor. As a guy who’s worn it and researched threat ratings and had to choose between different brands, they will all tell you the same thing. It’s the velocity that punches through soft body armor. Traditional, concealable, soft body armor panels made from Aramid fiber work by dissipating the energy from the bullet by spreading it out across the armor panel. Think of a sheet rippling in the wind. That’s how the panels react when hit by a bullet.
The faster the bullet is moving, the less effective the vest is at being able to spread the energy. Eventually the energy coming in overpowers the vest panel’s ability to spread it out and it penetrates. This is true of all rifle ammunition. This is why SWAT and Military Officers use hardened plates in heavier duty body armor carriers, the hardened plates are rated higher and can stop rifle ammunition. There are plenty of ‘pistols’ that are really firearms that are essentially shortened rifles. The AR15 ‘Pistol’ is a good example. If you google that you will see it’s essentially a shortened version of the full size rifle. So pistols firing rifle velocity rounds are nothing new. They’re everywhere.
Further more, in my experience the XM855 is better ammunition than the more traditional XM193 with 55gr jacketed projectiles. The XM855 has shot tighter groups and shown itself to be more consistently accurate ammunition fired out of my rifle than the XM193. Not only is it common ammunition, it’s better quality ammunition. If you don’t voice your opinion and contact your representatives it may no longer be available to purchase!
ATF Ammo Ban – Get Involved
This is a dangerous ban because it opens the door for other bans in the future and it could set a dangerous precedent. If we begin banning ammunition based on its ability to defeat soft body armor you can expect all rifle ammunition with muzzle velocities in the high teens and above (1500fps+) to come under the same set of guidelines. Obviously we don’t want all rifle ammunition banned. Hopefully it will never come to that. Unfortunately, that’s the Pandora’s Box we may be opening by allowing this ban to go into effect unopposed. So get involved.
You can read the NRA’s article on the ban here. The following is contact information for sending opinions and comments directly to the ATF. I’ve already done so and encourage you to do the same. You always get more attention by being polite and articulate, so even if this angers you, and it should, make your responses eloquent and professional.
How to comment – from the BATFE
ATF will carefully consider all comments, as appropriate, received on or before March 16, 2015, and will give comments received after that date the same consideration if it is practical to do so, but assurance of consideration cannot be given except as to comments received on or before March 16, 2015. ATF will not acknowledge receipt of comments. Submit comments in any of three ways (but do not submit the same comments multiple times or by more than one method):
ATF email: APAComments@atf.gov
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 FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Denise Brown, Enforcement Programs and Services, Office of Regulatory Affairs, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, U.S. Department of Justice, 99 New York Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20226; telephone: (202) 648-7070.
Next up you can vote in the White House Petition to stop the ATF from banning XM855 ammunition. You can do that here.
Wrapping Up ATF Ammo Ban
Actions speak louder than words everybody. We have a rich history of firearms use in this country. Whether its to acquire or defend our own freedom, for sport or recreation, or even to protect ourselves from harm it is part of our culture. If we sit back and allow our rights to be slowly eroded or repealed we will have nobody to blame but ourselves for letting it happen. Vote on the White House petition and at least send some email to the ATF. Government is a lot of things but they are not as foolish as people would think. If they believe they face significant backlash or potential removal from their cushy offices they are less likely to embark upon a cause that will blow up in their faces. Let them know how you feel!