AR-15 Green Tip Ammunition Already Classified as Armour Piercing

Townhall and others report that M855 “Green Tip” may already be classified as armour piercing by the BATFE …

When you take a look at the 2005 ATF Regulation Guide, you’ll see an exemption for AR-15 “green-tip” ammunition, which means it exempted from the definition of “armor piercing” and therefore is legal on the federal level.


When you look at the last page of the new, most recent ATF 2014 Regulation Guide, which was published in January, there is no longer an exemption for AR-15 “green-tip” ammunition.

You can still buy it online. Take a look at IronSights for a list of retailers still stocking the round.

Thanks to HK and others who sent this in.


Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • TangledThorns

    Next time vote for a Republican president.

    • UpChuck.Liberals

      With the way the ‘Republicans’ have been skrewing us over in the House and the Senate, I’m not so sure.

      • TangledThorns

        Have you been paying attention to the Democrat controlled states of California and New York?

        • BattleshipGrey

          Have you noticed that the Republican controlled House AND Senate just rolled over on “net neutrality”? Assisted in passing the “affordable” healthcare law and have thus failed to repeal it?

          The Republicans might be less bad, but it means that they’re still bad.

          • TangledThorns

            ^The Democrats want this^

        • UpChuck.Liberals

          You misspelled Kommieforniastan. I’m a proud resident of the Peoples Democratic Republik. All Hail to Moonbeam and his Golden Unicorn.

    • Alex Waits

      Just because they are less likely to support statism, doesnt mean they wont, with our “two party” system they are more likely to go with who ever pays their bills, regardless of their ultimate agenda

      • Grindstone50k

        Define “less likely”. I’d say giving us wonderful things like the Patriot Act and the DHS aren’t “lesser” statism.

        • Alex Waits

          Im going to assume your praise of the dhs and the patriot act is sarc, being that, politicians want job security, big government gives them that regardless of their party alignment, so being a republican doesnt mean anything other than what specific legislation your “supposed” to support.

    • n0truscotsman


      So we can get Republicans like HW Bush?

      Or Romney?

      Or Reagan

      Or Chris Christie

      No thank you

      Its time to vote or republicans, libertarian, independent, or democrat non-statist/non-authoritarians

      • BattleshipGrey

        That’s what drives me nuts, the Republicans keep nominating “moderates” because they think they’re the most “winnable”. Even though Romney and McCain were lost to landslide elections, Christie, Romney and the like keep testing the waters.

    • noguncontrol

      first vote for a non-Rino, non-liberal, non-baby killing, non-pro-homo, non-gun-grabber, non-statist, anti-13th amendment, pro-2nd amendment Republican in the primaries, then elect the same real Republican for president.

      • Grindstone50k

        >anti-13th amendment


        • Ethan

          Yeah that was my reaction.. I mean was that a typo, or do people like that really exist??

      • Are you seriously pro-slavery?

      • andrew

        You and I are not alike.

      • KestrelBike

        You forgot to repeal the 19th! To arms for old sweet Dixie!

      • Wolfgar

        I don’t care what people do in their personal lives but I shouldnt have to like it, embrace it or pay for it. We are already slaves with income and property taxes. Wake up this is about freedom not personal opinions.

      • DZ

        Pretty confidant liberty goes hand in hand with the 13th amendment. Oh wait, republicans are the reason the 13th was even ratified.

      • Don Ward

        Next time vote for an anti-3rd Amendment President! Because when soldiers get quartered in our homes again, we can trade baked goods, homemade moonshine or a kiss from our daughter’s for the chance to borrow, barter or steal a magazine of M855 ammo!

        Contact your congressman today!

      • Squirreltakular

        Haha. I was just reading through the comments and was thinking, “Wow, there are a lot of people on here who seem like reasonable, liberty-minded, centrist gun owners… Oh great, now there’s this guy…”

      • mosinman

        10/10 best troll ever

      • as a homosexual, i can say with confidence that you are what is killing gun ownership. gun owners are their own worst enemy.

    • Without being political in one direction or the other (as per our policy), I would like to remind you that it was W. Bush who gave us the barrel ban, his father who gave us the 1989 import ban, and Ronald Reagan who signed the 1986 machinegun ban.

      A brief overview of gun legislation in the United States will show that either party is willing to legislate firearms if it furthers their agenda.

      • TangledThorns

        This is happening because politics. Instead of dwelling on the past lets work on the present gun grabbers of today. See California and New York for evidence. PTFO!

        • Ethan

          I think the one conclusion we can draw with relative certainty is that Power Corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

          Anyone who spends too many years in the ivory tower of Government will become detached from the will of the people that put them there. That’s human nature, regardless of party affiliation.

          • TangledThorns

            Lets stick to the facts of today instead of the philosophy of the past.

          • Ethan

            I don’t deal in philosophy, and Human nature is certainly not “past” – it remains constant and unchanging.

            I would appreciate it if you would dial down the confrontationalism so we can discuss things like adults.

          • Bill

            The philosophy of the past would include the Bill of Rights, would it not? But you are essentially correct, as the Constitution has been amended numerous times to stay relevant to the times.

    • AC11

      No, vote for a candidate with a Pro-2A track record. RINOs are everywhere.


    That is why I am against any f=of those so-called ‘reasonable’ gun controls that grant authority from democratically-elected legislatures to the bureaucratic executive branch of our government, which has a long history to make abrupt interpretation of laws. Remember the 14-inch shoe string classified as machine gun per BATF? Remember 7N6 ammo for AK74? Remember the back-and-forth for Sig Brace? BATF has proven its in aptitude again.

    • Grindstone50k

      “reasonable gun control” is nothing but further infringement of the 2nd Amendment.

  • nadnerbus

    Seems like Congress could at least convene an inquiry into why the ATF has decided to let a longstanding exemption laps. I am not comfortable with the long trend of Executive branch and the agencies that answer to them reinterpreting law to its own perceived advantage, regardless of party. Would be nice to see the legislative branch retake some of its constitutional prerogatives.

    Apologies if this counts as too political for the venue.

    • Grindstone50k

      Congress needs to reign in the ATF’s ability to make up what amount to laws on the fly.

      • sauerquint

        Congress ceded that authority to these agencies decades ago. They routinely pass laws they’ve never read.

  • M

    Green tip is not all that is affected. All .223/5.56 is flying off the shelves now.

    • KestrelBike

      As soon as the green tips were under fire, I bought a case of 55grn from freedom munitions for just under $300. Glad I did!

    • Bill

      That’s because no one excels at panicking and over-reacting like gun owners.

  • Mark N.

    A late posting over on TTAG reports that the ATF has issued a statement that the absence of M855 (and a .30-06 round) was a printing error and that no decision has been made as to the fate of the M855.
    Not that it matters. There is no .223 in 55 or 62 grain to be found. Heck, a week ago I was cross-checking prices from the weekly ammo report, and Lake City was up to .60 round, and all the other places I checked out had none.

    • Ethan

      While I would be very interested to hear more about that, TTAG’s standards for what constitutes a “credible source of information” have always been suspect at best. I would take that with a large grain of salt.

    • UpChuck.Liberals

      I’m not sure where your looking but I’ve found plenty but then you’ve said .223 not 5.56. Prices from .32 round to .62 for M855, shipping and taxes extra.

    • n0truscotsman

      Why in the name of ever holy Jupiter are people panic buying 55 grain stuff?

      I’ve noticed that too. Stupidity spreads like a case of the flu, thats for sure. This is a repeat of another post-sandy hook panic (when no ammunition ban was proposed).

  • Curmudgeon5462

    Here’s a crazy concept: since the two answers we keep giving for the leaderhip question have been proven wrong countless times, let’s stop supporting D’s and R’s! How about that? The US is NOT a two party government and it never was. Two party system is a made up term to keep people from supporting independents who might actually be worth a $#!%.

    • Sore loser

      I’m with you bro. Unfortunately they get taxpayer campaign funding aloung with their own juggernaut cash piles.

      • Squirreltakular

        Wolf-PAC is working right now to get a 28th Amendment passed that would make it so that companies couldn’t contribute to political campaigns.

        • Marshall Price


        • Tothe

          If you want to get money out of politics, you need to get politics out of money. Driving it underground doesn’t solve the problem.

    • MR

      It’s a one party system. The Obstructionist Party. Actors playing parts to keep us entertained, while they steal away our freedoms, the right taking this, the left, that.

    • superflex

      The two party system is designed to keep the populace divided.
      A united populace is the biggest threat to TPTB.

    • Alex Waits


  • Grindstone50k

    And now the ATF are walking it back or something.

  • Jeff

    The “Regulation Guide” is just that a “guide” it isn’t the actual codified law or regulation. If it shows anything it shows they’ve been planning this for a while. IF they have in fact changed the “regulation” as it appears on the books, this actually opens up a basis for challenge of the reclassification of M855 since changes of this sort must be open up to a period of comment, challenge, and be published in the Federal Register prior to the change; failure to do so allows anyone who might be effected to challenge the change in court on the basis of violation of due process of law.

  • Geoff a well known Skeptic

    I passed up a chance to buy 500 rounds bulk 55 gr. XM 193 two weeks ago. Now, there is no 5.56 / .223 ball ammo in Florida. It’s as bad as .22 LR. Sigh. Moral JUMP! even if you have to borrow money. Geoff Who hesitated and lost.

    • Ethan

      Start reloading. 🙂 You’ll never regret it.

  • mosinman

    This is why the ATF and other organizations that operate like it should be banned. They have far too much authority and the people have 0 representation in the arbitrary and poorly thought out decisions they make. (Not to mention they’re unconstitutional) of course their rulings should be rendered void as well.

  • Ethan
    • Okki125

      Signed. Thanks for the link

  • Chris

    we probably shouldn’t be discussing this, I mean here its firearms not politics….

    • Zebra Dun

      A Gun or ammo ban blends politics and firearms.

  • Lance

    Still not a done deal contact your Reps and Senators tell them to back repeal of this ATF ammo grab.

  • squirrel

    Seems silly… doesn’t .308 go through police body armor without a steel penetrator? And .22 magnum in some cases?

    • Cymond

      Yes, but read the law. The law defines AP by construction, not by performance.

      If it was performance based, every significant rifle cartridge that has ever been chambered in a Thompson Contender or Encore would be redefined as AP pistol ammo.

      • AlDeLarge

        M855 doesn’t meet the law’s definition of “armor piercing ammunition” in the first place. It “may be used in a handgun” as the ATF keeps emphasizing, but it is not “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.” It’s mostly lead.

        • Cymond

          Right? Exactly? That’s what confused me for so long.

          The way the ATF sees it is that it does have “a core constructed entirely” of steel, and that core sits in front of a lead core. It’s a pity the legislature phrased it as “a core” instead of “the core”.

          I still think ATF’s attempt to ban M855 was utter BS, but I got very tired of everyone freaking out, claiming that the ATF was going to change the law to include every rifle caliber as AP. ATF can do a lot of damage with their “interpretations”, but actually changing the law requires an act of Congress.

          • AlDeLarge

            Yeah, I never thought of that, but if you’re going to consider it as having “a core and another core” it makes the “entirely” pointless.

  • Anonymous

    That’s hilarious, because the exact language of the 1986 “cop killer bullet” law specifically exempts .22 caliber and smaller projectiles.

    If it won’t accept a bore gauge larger than 0.220″ in diameter–and that’s the diameter across the tops of the lands in a standard .22 LR or 5.56mm barrel–then it cannot be “armor piercing” by the exact language of the law.

    ATF’s regulatory action is therefore illegal on its face, with no basis in law. Not that I expect the jelly-spined Republicans to do anything about it, of course.

    • Miles

      You’re 1/2 right and 1/2 wrong.

      You’re only understanding a part of the statute, not all of it.

      Here it is:


      (B) The term “armor piercing ammunition” means—

      (i) a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and which is 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

      (ii) a full jacketed projectile 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.

      Because of “(i)” AP ammunition can be of any caliber. Sorry.

      The operative word at the end of (i) is “or” which means that a bullet is AP if it meets either (i) OR (ii). It doesn’t have to meet both to be classed as AP.

      Now, I’m not agreeing with ATF’s definition in the slightest, but unless you understand Where They Are Coming From, you will have already lost an argument with them.

      The law sharks at ATF are hanging their hats on this latest release:

      Armor Piercing Ammunition Exemption Framework

      The Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA), as amended, provides the Attorney General the authority to exempt projectiles from the restrictions applicable to “armor piercing” ammunition if he determines the projectile is “primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes.” Between 1986 and 2011 the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) received few requests for such exemptions. Since 2011 ATF has received approximately 30 such exemption requests.

      The GCA defines “armor piercing ammunition” as:

      “(i) a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and which is 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

      (ii) a full jacketed projectile 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.”

      Pursuant to the GCA, ammunition that meets this definition may be eligible for an exemption from the statutory restrictions placed on armor piercing ammunition if ATF finds the ammunition is “primarily intended” for sporting purposes. As part of its review process of the pending exemption requests, ATF sought input from industry and law enforcement organizations on the application of the “sporting purpose” exemption set forth in 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(C).

      ATF released for public comment a framework, including legal and technical analysis, to guide its determinations on what ammunition is “primarily intended for sporting purposes.” The framework is intended to uphold the requirements of the statute and its goal of law enforcement protection while respecting the interests of sportsmen and the industry. The framework is not a final determination; ATF will accept comments for 30 days, and will finalize the framework after considering those comments and making any appropriate adjustments.

      It is important to note that the limitation on “armor piercing ammunition” in the GCA does not apply to projectiles manufactured exclusively from non-restricted materials such as copper and lead; it only applies to projectiles that include the specifically restricted materials, and can be used in a handgun. The framework will not apply to projectiles manufactured exclusively from non-restricted materials; licensed manufacturers will continue to be free to manufacture such projectiles without seeking an exemption.

      NOW UNDERSTAND THIS! That last paragraph is where ATF is twisting the clear wording of the statute. Parse the paragraph carefully!

      • AlDeLarge

        It never should’ve been exempted in the first place, because it does not meet the definition. I’ve been trying to spread the word on this too, but nobody seems to be paying attention.

  • KestrelBike

    I don’t believe they’re not stupid. I believe even less that this was an oversight, and not them really backpedaling after orders from their leftist handlers who started feeling the backlash pressure.

  • mike

    The laws definition does not meet M855 as being an AP round. No exemption is needed.

  • Core

    I just bought a bunch at the local boxstore: its still legal. Just fyi the M855A1 has a sabot that is considered armor piercing and hopefully it will obtain an exemption like the SS109. When the surplus floods the market hopefully we have an opportunity to buy some.

    • CommonSense23

      You might want to look up what Sabot means.

  • Russian Roulette

    Ban the ATF.

    • Ethan

      For the children!

  • Ups and Downs…they threaten, we get all riled up, then it goes away until next time! Either way, they will never get it passed!