Armor Piercing Ammo

The regulations on armor piercing ammo are among the strangest of the federal firearms regulations. The first is that AP ammo is rather odd in its definition. The ATF defines it as handgun ammunition, but there’s a catch. If any handgun has ever been made in a specific caliber, then ATF considers that the AP ammo regulations then apply to that caliber. That’s why you can’t buy AP ammo for cartridges like 7.62×39 and several others. The 5.56x45NATO is specifically exempted from this, even though there are pistols made for it.

It’s perfectly legal to possess, purchase, sell or shoot armor piercing ammunition. It’s not legal to manufacture or import armor piercing ammunition.

In order to manufacture AP rounds, you have to hold a type 10 FFL (18 USC sec. 922(a)(7)). In order to import AP rounds, you have to hold a type 11 FFL (18 USC sec. 922(a)(7)). If you hold either one of these FFLs, it’s not legal to sell or export AP rounds, except to military, law enforcement (18 USC sec. 922(a)(8)). In addition, if you hold a type 06-08 FFL (manufactures of firearms, importers of firearms, manufactures of ammunition), then you also my not sell AP rounds to the general public.

For regular type 01-03 FFL holders, you may sell or deliver AP ammunition, but it must be entered into the Acquisition and Disposition Record (bound book). So if you have any AP rounds in your possession, that’s ok. But it’s been illegal to manufacture or import new ammunition that’s transferable to ordinary citizens for quite some time, and for the most part, it’s generally unavailable, and certainly not in any significant quantity for most calibers.

Of course, there are also various state restrictions. Pennsylvania prohibits KTW ammunition. NJ and NY have additional restrictions on AP ammo.

8 thoughts on “Armor Piercing Ammo”

  1. Is it not odd that everyone forgets that almost any Center fire Rifle ammunition is capable of piercing Armor? 7.62x54R, .30-06, 7mm, 8mm, .303, .308, are prime examples.

  2. Just FYI, steel core 7.62×39 isn’t actually armor piercing because it is mild steel used to save costs, not hardened steel for piercing armor.

    The law is unaware of this distinction and treats anything with a steel core as armor piercing, regardless of ability.

  3. Don’t ya just love how the Federal gun laws and regulations read like the feaking tax code. Cause everybody understands those as well.

  4. That’s funny, I see it advertised all the time. I guess it is non FFLs selling it.

  5. Depends on the caliber. Some calibers aren’t regulated under this law. It’s part of the 1994 crime bill that didn’t have a sunset clause.

  6. I know for a fact that you can get Armor Piercing Ammunition almost anywhere. Go to cheaperthandirt,com or You can find even armor piercing incendiary ammo too. Cops better watch out because there is alot of it out there and the wrong guys will use it on a cop. I just feel bad that there are not strict laws on the black market guns in America, the desk ninjas of America are alwayws coming up with some faschious way of a fairy tale world…guess what, they will be the first ones killed when the terrorists come to the U.S. its because of thier ignorance and non-chalant behavior that the gun and ammunition laws are so screwed up. Thanks Obama…(He is Muslim/ want t opray 5 times a day to Allah) But I am merely expressing my 1st Amendment right. The Right To Free Speach. Thanks

  7. Any rifle ammunition and some handgun ammunition that is not armor piercing will penetrate police bullet resistant vests. Bullet resistant vests are not “armor” in the sense of armor piercing ammunition. Armor piercing bullets are defined more accurately by the composition of the bullet rather than by its penetration. Even jacketed lead ammunition will penetrate mild steel pretty reliably.

  8. I find it odd that this country and politics are so against law abiding citizens holding any type of firearm. Honestly, law abiding citizens should be able to own armor piercing ammo, fully automatic weapons, different configurations of machine guns ect…. The reason is simply this: WE OBEY THE FREAKING LAWS OF THIS COUNTRY!!!!! To stop a law abiding citizen from owning a gun, ammo or other device is as assinine as putting a muslim in the highest office in a country when that country is at war with other muslim nations! Just another day in this wonderful land of contridictions……….. God bless the USA and remember to thank those that have fought bravely for this country. God speed. jsmithusaf89

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