Previous Post
Next Post

You may recall the recent ATF raid on Elite Ammunition. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (and Really Big Fires) swooped down on the small ammunition maker and confiscated their entire inventory and computers, vowing to use the data to track down Elite’s buyers and take their brass ammo as well. The ATF Agent in charge claimed—but not in writing—that the existence of rifle-caliber handguns in .223, 6.5 Grendel and 6.8SPC means that brass ammunition in those calibers is now considered armor piercing. It is, therefore, banned. Since then, the ATF sent Elite a letter confirming this “new” regulation. [Click here for a pdf of the ATF’s letter.] The relevant text is as follows . . .

Brass is an alloy metal (which means a metal made by combining different metals) composed primarily of copper and zinc. The amount of copper varies between 55 and 95 percent by weight depending on the type of brass and its intended use. Projectiles that are manufactured from brass and which can be used in a pistol would be classified as armor piercing ammunition [emphasis theirs] as defined.

This will not come as welcome news for a large swathe of the hunting and target shooting community, who use brass ammo for its extra accuracy and consistency.

Elite CEO Jay Wolf told TTAG that the ATF vowed to confiscate all such ammo, regardless of its source. “They said they’re going after all manufacturers of brass ammunition in these calibers.”

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. I can’t speak for the 6.8SPC or the 6.5 Grendel, but I wonder if their is a work around for the 5.7x28mm FN rounds.

    You can, (and likely should for performance), load the 5.7x28mm round hotter for the P90 and the PS90. Design the round for the low/hot side of the SBR and regular Rifle, and offer no garauntee for safety out of the pistol.

    Since they are only legally concerned about armor piercing charachteristics out of a handgun by design, there would be no reason to be concerned around ammo ideal for rifle use.

    • I don’t think that would work. IMHO the operative phrase is “which may be used in a handgun.”
      I think what we are seeing is the BATFEARBF! deciding that any bullet in a caliber for which there is a manufactured handgun will fall under this restriction.

    • You are incorrect.

      The FsN pistol can handle higher pressures, hotter loads and is more load tolerant then the P90 and PS90.

      First generation PS90’s with riveted stocks have a hard time handling loads above 40,000 psi. Cartridge max is 50,000 psi.

      • Sorry to hear about all the troubles Jay. I am an FsN fan, and the wife is the new owner of a SBR PS90. We have been window shopping your Elite Ammunition as an alternative to the standard FsN produced variety. It seems obvious you take pride in your product.

        Is their any legal recourse for you, after recieving this letter?

    • Or, we could grab our balls, straighten our spines, and tell the ATF and all the rest of the unconstitutional alphabet agencies to fuck off.

  2. Looks like the ATF is making a push at the chest of a little guy hoping he would do something stupid. Guess they like Ruby Ridge/Waco/Fast and Furious type action. My God, I hope their days are numbered.

  3. If I were paranoid, I’d say they’re trying to get rid of pierce-capable rounds in order to protect themselves for when they make the big push against gun owners.

    If I were paranoid.

  4. Whats is amazing is just how often the ATF’s story changes. I have never dealt with face to face with a bigger bunch of liars. And I worked at car dealerships for 10 years!

    • You’re not kidding there, Jay. As a type 7 FFL I’ve had to deal with more than my share. Some were great folks, some not so much but it has become a running joke around our shop to ask all the compliance inspectors several of the the same questions & to compare their answers to what the big red book (CFR) has to say. Each inspector always answers the same question differently & The answers usually contradict what the last agent gave us as the definitive word from the BATFE. Crazy how they can get away with each interpreting the law differently (& usually incorrectly according to the FAQ page on their own agency’s website).

  5. So how is this new ATF regulation to be squared with so-called environmental concerns about lead projectiles?

    Here in California, if all handgun ammo with less than 95.01% copper is banned, what’s left to shoot? It seems as though Hornady’s GMX and Monoflex products are now illegal, too…

    • It seems as though Hornady’s GMX and Monoflex products are now illegal, too…

      AH HA!!
      (Said the Jewish guy from Brooklyn, as he checked his supply of ammo in preparation for the approaching trouble!)

  6. I wonder if we’ll see any kind of statement from Barnes? I don’t see how they contradict themselves, originally stating 3 years ago that Barnes Banded Solids loaded were in the FiveSeveN were not considered AP. Why they did they change their minds? By their classification, soft armor penetration is irrelevant.. You can see from that lovely video 🙂 that their FMJBT solid is no match for that level III sapi plate.

  7. This is just a loop hole to raise the price of really popular ammunition. If the ATF didn’t hate gun owners they wouldn’t care. Even if they did make REAL armor piercing bullets for pistols they wouldn’t care.

  8. Well now, doesn’t this beat the mousey band? Why is it, when I read of subjugation of freemen/women, the story almost always begins with “BATFE”? Wouldn’t have anything to do with personal defense and the ongoing effort to disarm the great unwashed, would it?
    States rights and nullification. A vote for Ron Paul wouldn’t be out of the question either.

  9. So much for “environmentally friendly” non-lead ammo. How long till BATFE bans non-lead rifle ammo as “armor piercing” too?

  10. Cute video, but no cigar. Do police normally wear the steel plates? Would that round have penetrated just the vest? I would assume that when police wear the vests at all it would be without the optional steel plates. (SWAT excepted, of course.)

    If it should be banned is a separate question but the video is trying so show that the round does not penetrate body armor. Because they didn’t test it (or show the results of such a test) I’m going to assume it will penetrate the vest and so it doesn’t refute the BATF’s objection. I am also assuming it doesn’t penetrate a tank. Which would likewise prove nothing.

      • The real question to ask would have been; Is that level III or level IV body armor?

        Apparently after watching the video its level III which is what most officers wear on the street…..Swat typically wears level IV

        • Most officers wear level 2 armor, not 3A. The level 3 you mention are rifle plates, what officer wears that around on patrol?

    • If you read the ATF’s rulings on classification of AP ammo, the ability to penetrate soft armor is irrelevant. I’d imagine this would have no problem going through a IIIA soft armor vest, as I know certain other loadings will, but again soft armor penetration in their classification of AP doesn’t matter

  11. The is trying so gradually ban ammunition with ANY bullet composition. As a Jewess in the US, I can only say that this BATF stupidity is but one MORE reason why all REAL Americans must now put our 2nd Amendment FIRST! Remember that America wasn’t won with a registered gun! Has anyone seen Obama’s ORIGINAL Birth Certificate? Not a .pdf with 57 layers in it?

  12. So are they going to ban rifle ammo next, seeing as how almost any decent hunting rifle will go right through most armor?

  13. SO, since when is a Barnes bullet made of brass? I have not seen anywhere on their website that indicates that they have brass components for sale as a projectile. This is strictly against the law. The document you posted from the ATF declares the projectiles as illegal because they’re described as Brass, not copper or c copper zinc alloy. Enlighten me here how you’re not in the wrong then?

  14. Update:

    The trench fighting has started so not much to report. Just the ATF stonewalling.

    The GOA’s attorney spoke with mine to get the details of the case. After their meeting the GOA has stepped up and donated 2k towards my legal battle with the ATF.

    Just want to make sure that everyone knows the GOA stepped up.

  15. a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun –

    doesn’t that put barnes and other manufacturers in conflict with 18 U.S.C. section 921(a)(17)(B)

    • Yes it does but Barnes now owned be Freeedom Arms has an entire Washington based law office working only for them. I am a small maker and one the ATF hopes to get an easy precedent set to then go after the bigger guys.

  16. Update:
    Nothing really to update. We are now going through the long drawn out process of fighting the seizure. The ATF is playing games, one person saying one thing and another saying something else, dragging it out and just plain lying.

  17. A run of single crystal titanium ammunition will soon be available for purchase. I will add the needed information when they arrive.

  18. I get a kick out of punching holes in steel. Military ‘ap’ ammo is not the ammo named in the federal law. it’s HANDGUN ammo that’s illegal. Anything else, including high caliber ammo is legal to buy brand new, newly made from a manufacturer. The purchase must be recorded by the ffl, but it’s perfectly legal. No handgun ammo. -06, .300 win mag. .338 lapua. .50 cal, etc. can be bought new and is legal to own.

  19. Some idiot made a 50BMG pistol.
    I guess this means that brass .510″ projectiles are now illegal because 50BMG is a “pistol caliber”?

    • Given a pistol by ATF definition is any firearm with a rifled barrel and no shoulder stock is a pistol (ATF and NFA legislation for that matter) EVERY single rifle round out there is also a pistol round. Though it’s confusing as some legislation points to brass and steel jacketed bullets coated in teflon being illegal but uncoated is fine, while solid brass (or expanding brass … or segmented brass) are another topic. (plus there’s vintage 8mm Lebel Balle D French Mil Surp ammo, all solid 90/10 brass). Of course, there’s also tons of mild-steel jacketed or layered solid steel bullets legally sold all over the place (it’s cheap, crappy ammo mostly, usually steel cased … sometimes better quality stuff too, but usually Eastern-European milsurp stuff in 7.62x54r, 7.62×39, or 5.45×39). Many ‘bi-metal’ bullets are just soft steel jacketed around soft steel cores with enough play in them to deform in rifling. (sometimes with a little lead as the filler material between the core and jacket, but I’ve seen some people section them to find nothing but layers of steel, usually with copper plating on the outside) Most indoor ranges don’t like those as they can spark and ignite powder residue on the floor.

      But yeah, given the popularity of customized weapons, hacked up frankenrifles, etc, etc … and the new wave of specialty revolvers in old lever gun calibers (including .30-30 and .45-70 … though the .45-70 has been in specialty pistols for years) to those specialty break-action single-shot hunting pistols that were in vogue in the 70s and 80s. And of course, Mare’s Legs are pistols. (and hell, people have made Mosin Negant Pistols: the archetypal cheap milsurp rifle to hack up … at least up until a few years back when the surplus dried up)

Comments are closed.