SayUncle is reporting ATF is reclassifying these rounds as handgun ammunition, which means they need to meet the federal definition of not being armor piercing. This would mean a round made of 100% copper would be so classified. This is coming from one company, who was apparently raided, so it’s hard to assess its validity. I believe classification of ammunition as handgun or rifle is a matter of policy, rather than being part of the Code of Federal regulations, but I still believe a policy change has to be printed in the Federal Register, and I can’t find such a policy change being published. Here’s the federal definition of armor piercing ammunition:
Projectiles or projectile cores which may be used in a handgun and which are 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 full jacketed projectiles 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. The term does not include shotgun shot required by Federal or State environmental or game regulations for hunting purposes, frangible projectiles designed for target shooting, projectiles which the Director finds are primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes, or any other projectiles or projectile cores which the Director finds are intended to be used for industrial purposes, including charges used in oil and gas well perforating devices.
So the standard is “may be used in a handgun,” not primarily used in a handgun.
I’ve always wondered under this definition why Corbon DPX is legal, but I always figured they had a determination that said it did not fall under the definition, since the AG can issue exceptions. It’s possible that Barnes, Corbon and other manufacturers got exception to manufacture their product, and Elite Tactical did not.
UPDATE: I missed the lack of comma between beryllium, and copper. Beryllium copper is a specific alloy.
UPDATE: Looking more at the actual bullets, it would appear they are turned brass. Brass is a no-no alloy. Barnes makes these bullets too, but they are marketed by Barnes as hunting rounds. Possibly Barnes received an OK from ATF to sell these under the sporting purposes exception. ET seems to be marketing them differently. It’s also possible Barnes doesn’t use enough Zinc to be considered brass. Also possible ATF is being completely arbitrary, which would not be the first time.