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Reader Aaron D. writes:

Was the SIG Brace worth losing M855/SS109 ammunition to the civilian market? Some might immediately jump and say that I am turning my back on the gun community but I implore you to continue reading. As a strong advocate of the 2nd Amendment and our right to keep and bear arms, I think this is a discussion worth having . . .

SIG made a calculated legal and business decision to acquire the rights to what we now know as the SIG Brace and essentially poked the ATF in the eye with its release and legal justification. As consumers, we ate up the brace and the mockery it made of the ATF and the Gun Control Act if fired from a position other than its “primary intended purpose”.

The M855 reclassification feels arbitrary and capricious, but the enemy always gets a vote.  The proliferation of these devices and relative ease with which one could bypass a $200 tax stamp and registration has poked the bear. The BATFE is playing its own technicality game with this reclassification, most likely out of spite.

If you read their document, they are not asking for input on the classification of M855, the decision has already been made. What they are asking is how should they execute its removal from the civilian market.

We can endlessly debate the ATF’s legitimacy, mission, etc., but at the end of the day we are a country of laws, not of justice. The “sporting clause” was a back end handshake type deal, which holds little justification.

The American public isn’t going to be sympathetic when a cop is killed with an AR pistol equipped with a SIG Brace and the media reports that the suspect used armor piercing ammunition. In a 30-second news clip, the argument that M193, Wolf 55gr and pretty much every .223/5.56 bullet can penetrate Level II armor will fall on deaf ears. The “penetrator” round was designed to pierce soviet helmets. The BATFE clearly says it doesn’t matter what most consumers use it for, they care how the police perceive the round and who may use it.

It’s hard to feel as if we were not all duped just a little in the name of corporate profits and now it cost us a bit of our civil liberties. At the end of the day SIG SAUER, like all corporations, is responsible to its shareholders.

This is one battle in a long war; maybe a step back is in order to review the damage and assess future efforts. My hope is the legal brain trust that petitioned for the SIG Brace is willing to do the same for M855, but I am skeptical.

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    • I’d hate to say it but my thought is that someone who we think should be on our side is acting for them self rather than the average gun owner.

      Who makes more money and gets more business if surplus 5.45×39 isn’t imported? American/Euro ammo companies. Who makes more money if Russian AKs aren’t imported? American gun companies. Who makes more money if surplus .223 isn’t sold? Ammo companies.

      I guarantee the NSSF won’t be filing suit against this ammo ban, just like they’ve done nothing to help out with the Russian gun/ammo import bans since slick Willy and the Chinese ban as well. Plus SK Garands.

      • Really? You’re that silly? None of the XM855 is surplus to (as in military surplus) to anything. It is brand new production. New brass, new projectile, new powder and loaded for the civilian market. Story may have originally been that it is produced as run on production to military contract but certainly is no longer the case. Barak Hussein isn’t buying buttloads of ammunition for the military as Bush was 10years ago. Barry surrendered/doesn’t need rifle ammo.

        This antibusiness luddite BS is just moronic socialist nonsense. If you want to be a commiepinko your home is the demtard party. Enjoy their stand on the 2nd.

    • Retaliation for the sig brace? Nope. This is a response to the AR pistol overall and is not outside of their written rules. ATF regulations say that if a handgun exists that can shoot an armor piercing projectile, then that projectile is subject to restrictions. The rule is stupid, but it’s been on the books for a long time.

      The number of folks who want to throw the forearm brace and open carry crowd under the bus on this blog is remarkable….

      • The ruling has indeed existed for years. When Olympic Arms made the first commercially available AR-15s in 5.56, they made a lot of at least temporary enemies among gun owners for fears that 5.56 would be reclassified as a handgun round, and subject to the then-onerous record-keeping restrictions, etc. Thompson-Center gathered a lot of flak as well for releasing the Contender in rifle calibers.

        ATF is capricious, no doubt. And this may well be some spite-driven rule-making; but the precedent was set a long time ago.

        Time to stock up!

      • +1

        It’s more palatable for some to blame shift than it is to realize that the only lasting solution is to abolish the BATFE. The solution to infringement is certainly NOT to ask others to stop exercising their rights. That’s crazy and is suicidal for Liberty.

      • Defens (and anyone else who doesn’t realize this),

        Standard M193 penetrates any body armor law enforcement wears (Level II and Level II body) armor.

        If M855 is re-classified as “armor piercing” (which is what this proposed change is all about) and gets “banned” then AR pistols are next since the round is not what is defeating body armor, it is in fact the AR pistol.

      • You may want to read the law again. The atf is exploiting a loophole in the language, specifically the “may be fired from a handgun” phrase. The GCA was never intended to ban rifle ammo of any sort since a vest will not stop it anyway. M855 also does not meet the bills definition of armor piercing. According to the bill armor piercing ammo must have a core that consists entirely of steel, tungsten, metal alloys, depleted uranium, etc. The core of m855 is not entirely steel. The atf is plain wrong here.

        • You’re exactly right. The ATF can’t make new law outside the bounds of what’s already on the books, which is what they’re trying to do here. These rounds A) have cores that aren’t made *entirely* out of one of the prohibited “armor piercing” metals, and B) have jackets that are less than 25% of the mass of the cartridge. In other words they don’t meet the definition of “armor piercing” and cannot be banned by the ATF no matter how much the ATF might want them gone.

        • All true, but here’s the thing. They’re doing it because they were told to and they think they can. Obama has already telegraphed that he isn’t going to obey the injunction on immigration. What makes you think that it being illegal really matters? Nobody is going to hold them accountable.

      • Except the ATF doesn’t have the authority to ban M855 ammo, since it’s not “armor piercing” per the statutory definition of “armor piercing”. They can get rid of their “exemption” that wasn’t needed in the first place, but that doesn’t make a round that doesn’t meet either of the criteria for “armor piercing” illegal to make and sell.

    • Yep. But just like the Armatix, one company can produce something that has far-reaching consequences, so there’s really no conversation that can be binding there.

      It started with ‘AR Pistols’ partially getting around the stupid SBR laws; then the brace made it even more obvious. I’m surprised they haven’t decided to come down on the ammo before. The ATF isn’t pulling this out of their butts, it’s written clearly in the law. Thanks, Congress, for continuing to write laws without knowledge on the subjects…

      • This sort of crap happens in every human endeavor where arbitrary restrictions are placed on Object Type A and not on Object Type B, and the distinction between A and B is itself arbitrary. People will quite naturally try to fuzz the distinction between Type A and Type B, in order to evade the restrictions on Type A that shouldn’t have been passed in the first place. Huge parts of the Internal Revenue Code are an attempt to close “loopholes” people create by doing this, just trying to save themselves from a gigantic “haircut.”

      • Ah, but for the ingenuity of the American spirit…and the corporate world!

        We can, so we will!

        The oneupsmanship continues.

      • No, there’s nothing “on the books” that allow the M855 round to be banned, EVEN IF IT WERE SOLELY A HANDGUN ROUND WITH NO RIFLES CHAMBERED TO FIRE IT. It doesn’t meet the statutory definition of “armor piercing”. It’s core isn’t made entirely (discounting trace elements) out of one of the proscribed metals, and its jacket isn’t more than 25% of the mass of the projectile, so it’s NOT “armor piercing”.

    • Further evidence that the ATF’s proposed ban on steel core 5.56×45 mm ammunition is retaliation — they have not proposed banning 7.62×39 mm steel core ammunition which a person can shoot out of an AK-47 “pistol”.

        • Seriously? As if the existence of AK pistols is not known? Heck they were being sold in even big box stores in California through December.

          It is not some obscure thing. And I doubt anyone from the ATF is pathetic enough to spend their time reading self-important comments on TTAG anyways

      • I believe the 7.62×39 ammo you’re referring to, Wolf, Tula, Silver Bear, Brown Bear, etc., is not steel core ammo. This is the biggest lie/myth perpetrated by gun range commandos. These brands of ammo are steel cased, and bi-metal jacketed, i.e., copper and steel in the jacket. The core of these bullets is in fact lead. Ranges don’t like them, and aluminum cased ammo like Blazer, because they can’t sell them to reloading companies. They don’t want to do the extra work and separate these cases out from the brass cases. These rounds will attract a magnet, due to the steel in the case, but are nit steel cased.

        • We used to get Norinco steel core 7.62×39 for $99/1200. This was early-90’s.

          That stuff’s been gone for a long, long time.

        • Indoor Ranges don’t like them Green Tip or Steel Case because they can spark because of the Steel core or the bimetal jacket hitting the back stop and ignite “range trash ” UNBURNT Gunpowder on the floor in front of the firing line and burn the place to the ground. Its a FOR YOUR SAFETY thing not an I cant make money thing. Now please use your brain before you start trying to tell me that every gun burns all its powder before the exits the barrel.

        • Brian, don’t piss on our heads and claim that it’s rain. Any range that has such abysmal standards of cleanliness SHOULD burn to the ground as a lesson to its moron owners.

          If there’s so much unburnt powder that it’s piling up in drifts down range, then there’s going to be even more at the firing end, where it would be ignited by muzzle flash and ejected burning propellant grains.

      • Nope! Just remember who BATFE reports to, and who does he report to…..
        Right at the top you have Anti-Gunners, it is no surprise what they are doing and you will see more of this kind of crap for at least another year while Obuthead tries to punish voters who turned out his precious comrades. The attempts on out liberty will settle out in about a year so as not to rock the boat for Hillary.

      • That ammo will be next. But they are going to fry the big fish first. What we are seeing is more arbitrary application and interpretation of existing law by the Obama Justice Department. This situation is similar to Obama’s lawlessness regarding immigration, unlawful changes to the ACA, etc. We are living in a Bananna Republic ruled by Emperor Obama.

    • Ok, well, we can sit around a point fingers and play the blame game. Or we can do something about it. Or is it too late? I genuinely want to know if there’s anything we or a group I can donate too and support; can do anything about this? Because in a moments time xm193 will be next.

        • They could state that, “use of this ammo in an AR pistol is considered a ‘redesign’ and therefore the ammo and ‘pistol’ are now illegal to use in pistol format. Shooting them from a rifle is ok though…just don’t shoot them with one hand…or two hands…or from your shoulder…especially if it’s a pistol…because that would be bad…did we mention it’s ok to shoot them from a rifle?” (Sarcasm)

        • m855 is a completely lead core too. It’s not armor piercing at all. Its penetrator. It only has a steel cone at its tip. Under the current law they shouldnt be able to ban it because it’s not “steel core” even though everyone refers to it as that. But they still did. So, when they ban xm193 next, what are we going to do?

        • No, they CAN’T ban it. They can purport to ban it, but an administrative ruling that goes against the plain text of the statute from which they supposedly derive their authority is null and void.

          “Administrative law” such as this doesn’t apply to civilians, and the moment someone tries to enforce it on a civilian contrary to statute that enforcer is in violation of the law.

      • So various Leftist states have told the federal government to fvck off on previous federal laws and rulings (pot and gay marriage specifically) so why cant some state that has a manufacturer of M855 tell the gov to likewise fvck off and keep manufacturing and selling M855?

        I know the answer….because the pot/gay issues have support from a leftist president and he informs the Feds not to follow the law and go after the states.

        Would be very interesting for a future Repub president to issue an EO telling the IRS to save manpower by not going after any taxpayer who decide to clip their taxes at a 18% level and thereby achieving a defacto flat tax. The only way to stop these lawless EO’s is to gore the Democratic side once.

    • Perhaps the ATF should consider that the retaliation for their retaliation might just be being legislated out of existence….

    • Reading the ATF’s letter, it’s fairly clear that they’re talking about the Heizer .223 derringer.

      There are a few issues I have with their letter (not completely through with it so the list may grow longer.

      1. the m855 is a steel/lead core so it does not fit their criteria and the ban is illegal on technical merits alone.

      2. They explain that their previous exemptions are based on the fact that there were no commercially avaliable AR pistols in 1986 and 1993. If there was a single manufacturer selling AR pistols during that time, their previous exemptions should stand.

      3. They continually say that the AR pistols are concealable and that’s just not true. Yeah, you can wear a trench coat over it, but you can conceal a full rifle that way as well.

      4. They are determining intent, not based on manufacturer’s intent, but by “criminal’s intent.” By that standard, all ammunition, baseball bats, and cars should be illegal. A criminal’s intent with any object will be criminal, therefore it must not be allowed. Only this has never been held as law before and should not be allowed to stand now.

      5. “18 U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(B), the Court explained that an objective analysis of whether an item is “primarily intended” for a specified use must focus on the “likely use” of that item in the general community, not the subjective intent of any user or discrete group” -Since when has the .223 round been “likely used” for criminal activities? I would bet that for every 1,000,000 rounds of m855 sold, 1 or 2 are used for criminal activity. That is not a likely use to me. On it’s face here, the Supreme Court has already ruled on this and it’s in our favor.

      6. .223 is not larger than .22 and as such cannot be banned under this law. Until a round reaches .23 it is not larger than .22

      7. They talk about single shot pistols and their ammunition being exempt (I can get a single shot 30-06 pistol) but my reading of the LEOPA doesn’t allow for this. Will they amend this ruling to ban other rifle amunition later?

      8. The AR isn’t a “civilian version” of the m-16. The m-16 was the military version of the AR.

      9. Read about the “powder alarm” and see what it led to…

      “That in the event of Great Britain attempting to force unjust laws upon us by the strength of arms, our cause we leave to heaven and our rifles.”

      • “2. They explain that their previous exemptions are based on the fact that there were no commercially avaliable AR pistols in 1986 and 1993. If there was a single manufacturer selling AR pistols during that time, their previous exemptions should stand.”

        While not an AR-15 pistol, th Bushmaster Arm Pistol was introduced in the late 70’s and was chambered in 5.56.

  1. Shall not be infringed! Make no mistake, the ATF is under the kind of management that wants to delete the 2A. They know they can’t ban guns (for now) so expect other games such as banning bullets and parts.

    • SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED! Has everyone; that wants to blame anyone but the government, forgotten the English language? There is no one to blame except the government for trampling our inalienable rights.
      Whats worse is that WE THE PEOPLE are allowing it.

    • I agree with TangledThorns, also “trading” freedoms and rights to “save” a few is a poor strategy if we are to keep our rights. Despite the power of the current administration to bias and pressure the American Public there is the underlying fact that pistol or rifle, this ammo or that, a gun is a gun, and the laws are a nitpicking detail that in the big picture are wholly immaterial to the the presumed goals of those laws as gun control as they are misguided and political.

      The dollars squandered on ATF to pursue these ridiculous detail is money that could be better spent.

  2. This is nothing but tyranny. Time for gun and ammo manufacturers to go after the ATF full force. Sue them for violating due process with arbitrary and capricious laws. AR pistols only exist because of the arcane NFA laws. …”shall not be infringed,” means what it says and it’s time to stop giving ground to the enemy. Congress needs to strip the ATFs’s rule making power.

    • Really, every Federal law enforcement agency except for the counterfeiting arm of the Secret Service, the Border Patrol and Customs and the Coast Guard needs to be eliminated. The Federal government is not supposed to have any general police powers. The only three crimes the Constitution gives the Feds authority to police are counterfeiting, piracy, and treason. Every thing else is supposed to be handled by the states.

      • Just a fact-check: the Coast Guard is a branch of the military so wouldn’t fall into the categories of governmental law enforcement agencies. Otherwise I totally agree with you!

        • Actually while the Coast Guard is a branch of the military it is also a Federal Law Enforcement agency, it’s jurisdiction is primarily maritime.

        • The Coast Guard is NOT part of DOD. Was a branch of the Treasury from 1790 until 2002 when DHS was spawned buy Bush2 and the demtards and rinos in Congress. The Coast Guard was then put under DHS. DHS – what a joke,

        • Actually, the Coast Guard is a police agency that operates under the UCMJ. They are not military and yet they operate under military law. They are a police agency that operates under maritime law. It is really a weird deal. For a long time, they were part of the Department of Transportation but are currently operating under the authority of the DHS.

        • The Coast Guard isn’t part of DoD, was part of Treasury and is now part of Der Vaterlandsecuritytheatredienst, aka DHS. They’re an armed auxiliary that has performed admirably backing up the military but are not part of the military.

        • Actually, to all the guys who said the USCG is not military – please, just as you ask people to check their gun facts before posting, make sure you actually know what you are talking about before you post. The Coast Guard is a branch of the Armed Forces per 10 USC 101(a)(4). As such, the members of the Coast Guard are subject to the UCMJ, they hold the same authority as DoD members of equivalent rank, they get the same base/commissary/PX privileges as the DoD, and they get the same retirement and pay as the DoD. Yes, they even wear cammies every now and again. Now, what the CG can do that no other branch of the Armed Forces can do is to arrest US citizens within the Unites States without a declaration of martial law. The CG’s jurisdiction is primarily maritime, but there is also authority for limited regular land-side operations, and a special clause that states “as directed by the Secretary.” While they do report to DHS, they still share information and work with all of the major DoD COCOMs, and have been performing military operations in the waters of the Persian Gulf since the beginning of the Iraq war. Please bother knowing what you’re talking about. Thanks.

      • Um, the Marshalls? You know the “police force” that has always been there, and is integral to our court system?

        But then again your “only three crimes” bit makes me nauseous at how ignorant of the Constitution some supposed constitutionalists are. Leaving aside jurisdiction over interstate commerce (even if read narrowly, it would include laws other than against piracy), jurisdiction over federal lands (forts, DC, etc), the law in the military… there would also be federal law about bribing congressman, and general anti-corruption laws. Or laws concerning the post office, which is explicitly a province of the Federal government.

        Please read the constitution before attempting to champion things in its name that are foreign to it.

        And btw, the Coast Guard is under the Department of Homeland Security. It gets transferred during wartime to the Department of Defense.

  3. Submit comments in any of three ways (but do not submit the same comments multiple times or by more than one method):

     ATF website: [email protected]. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

     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. < use this info well and raise hell with atf !!

  4. Sheeple much? So basically if we keep our heads down and don’t say anything they will oppress us slowly, but if we do anything like live free or such we will get ‘punished’?

    Screw that.

  5. This is the first thought I had yesterday, the ATF is just putting the screws to AR “pistol” owners. It hurts everyone that shoots 5.56 of course, especially in the wallet… And don’t be a fool and think that it’s a coincidence that they waited for prices to come back down before doing this. Unless they decide to actually pull the stockpiles from the market, 855 (and to a lesser extent SS109) will be available for a long time. It’s just going to cost you.

        • Dicks sporting goods has tons of it. If you have an on line coupon they are .30 cents a round. Funny how they dropped selling Bushmaster rifles and ARs in general but sell the ammo for them.

  6. The ATF needs to go. While a ban on M855 would be a pain in the a$$, I wonder if it might just spur black market sales and mass non compliance. There are billions of rounds of M855 in circulation.

  7. I suppose it’s entirely possible that this is just that, “retaliation”, it’s sad to think that, but then again, look at what out govt. has become.

    In regards to the Sig brace, and that perceived fail by ATF, well, I don’t really see it. The ATF seems to have always just made up shit as they go, the Sig brace and its 3 or so letters in regards to it legality is a perfect example. It is not a shoulder stock, it is a shoulder stock, it’s ONLY a shoulder stock when shouldered. Well, fact is, they just kept making shit up as they went, to cover their own inconsistencies, par for the course. Same thing with AR 80% build parties, they are legal, now they aren’t, on a whim.

    I really think that this is an organization with to many “chiefs, not enough Indians”. Left hand rarely knows what the right is doing. It really is an agency that should be disbanded.

    • What is going on is B. Todd Jones is a commie that was put in there by Barry and Eric with-Holder to push gun control. This is what this is about. Holder was bitching about not getting in bans through during his reign. I urged Senators to not confirm Jones.

  8. The author has the right thought, but wrong scapegoat. This decision is retaliation, but not for the reason he’s suggesting. The retaliation is for the failure of the “perfectly reasonable Background Check expansion” that Barry pushed in 2013. He promised executive gun control when even his loyal puppy in the Senate failed to deliver a background-check law. This is the executive gun control we were promised.

    Think about it. There’s very little that he can actually do with executive gun control. Most gun laws are written at the STATE level, so there’s nothing for him to write regulations against. He’s got the NFA and GCA, and that’s pretty much it. The NFA affects a pretty narrow slice of the gun-owning community, but these are guys who have some pretty deep pockets (a transferable machine-gun is tens of thousands of dollars), so there’s not much mileage there.

    But then along comes this SIG-Brace thing and the 7N6 and M855 “bans”. There’s something that affects a wide-range of gun-owners. Here’s a place he can really stick it to us and get a large segment of the population that essentially can’t fire back because we’re working-class stiffs without money for lobbyists and congress-critters. So that’s where he chooses to place his effort.

    This has nothing to do with us poking the Bear, and I wish people would quit blaming the victim on this. This has everything to do with Barry Obama doing exactly what he said he would. He’s going to make us gun-owners as miserable as he can make us with the limited tools he has.

  9. You are fighting so many straw men I don’t even know where to start. You are the equivalent to what the black community calls the “house negro.” You like the luxury of your master’s quarters so much that you don’t even realize that you are still a slave. Laws can be made to say anything. 10 rounds ok? 5? 2? I applaud what Sig Sauer is doing. If Americans kept following your line of thinking, our gun rights would resemble Australia’s. No dice.

  10. blaming the brace for an ammo ban is like blaming columbine for the assault weapons ban. The argument only works if you’re an Anti and your ultimate goal is to ban guns. Your argument has no weight and only foments the usual bickering back and forth within our own community. The ar15 pistol and all of the ak and Mp5 clones in pistol caliber have been around for 20 and 30 plus years. If you do a google search for “shooting an AR pistol” and remove the dates from today all the way back to 2012 when the brace didn’t exist…how do you think people were shooting the AR pistol? From the shoulder! So what’s changed? The brace…or an administration bent on making it more difficult for law abiding gun owners? Oh yeah…and how many crimes have been committed with an AR pistol in the past 20 years? I haven’t been able to find one…

  11. I view this 2 ways , the ban of M855, one the gov. is holding stocks for it’s use and this could mean war and war plans..and 2ND. always another reason to reload and stock up on bullets etc. NOW… a war could lead to bans on ammo, food, etc. NEVER take what is said for the truth….DOUBLE SPEAK (the book 1984).

      • Based on all of the leaked documents and whistleblower testimony that have come from the various alphabet agencies over the last decade, I would say it’s pretty clear that ultimately….WE are the enemy. Resourceful, independent, free thinking, gun-owning conservatives are ultimately one of the final problematic speed bumps in the Globalist agenda.

    • M855 is on the way out. The new round is M855A1 or the brown tip ammo. One thing I can see is a lot of manufacturers are going to have a excess of materials to make M855 and would be tooling up to make larger amounts of M855A1. This would mean cheap M855 as ammo companies try to get rid of the last bit of stock.

  12. I disagree with the premise of the article.

    Aaron’s assumption is that a correlation exists between the development of a new product and subsequent actions to infringe on gun rights by the ATF. I don’t believe that is the case, primarily because the ATF was infringing on gun rights decades before the SIG brace was designed and, if allowed, they’ll continue to do so indefinitely as well.

    All kinds of products have been introduced lately with what could be described as an implied intent to skirt existing firearms regulations. 80% lowers. The creation of mass market Gun Trust providers. Bullpups. 3d printers. Pointing to any one of those items and trying to pin responsibility on it for however a federal agency acts is, in my opinion, foolish.

    What I believe is going on is what has gone on in many areas of life to greater and lesser degrees over the past 100 years: multi-front conflicts waged in many areas simultaneously between the State and the Individual over what freedoms we have. The State constantly seeks to curtail and hem in freedoms while the individual constantly seeks to expand and deepen them. Religion, political speech, firearms, financial matters… you name it, there’s a federal agency in direct conflict with citizens over how the freedoms within it are enumerated and protected.

    It’s not about a Sig brace, or a piece of plastic you can mill with a dremel, or a cartoon in a newspaper.

    • THIS is exactly correct. The BATFE constantly looks for ways to inconvenience the firearms owners of America, as part of a larger government effort to restrict the citizenry.

    • I think there may be a correlation here, but in a different way. After this whole SIG brace story, ATF (possibly its new leadership?) has suddenly discovered that they have been making some decisions that in retrospect they don’t like. This may have prompted a general revision of all their official letters to date, to see if there’s anything else there like the SB one. If they did that, they’d stumble onto the M855 legality issue pretty quickly. And seeing how they already banned 7N6 ammo that has very similar design, it would make sense that M855 would fall in the same category.

  13. “Is the ATF’s M855 Ban Retaliation for AR Pistol Braces?”

    No: The ATF, like other agencies under the Obama admin, is just stretching it’s turf as far as it can, even if that means turning the law into a pretzel. Keep in mind, the Supreme Court has smacked down the admin 9-0 a record number of times. I think we are up to twenty now. When your own two appointees don’t agree, you might be doing something wrong.

    They’d be doing this regardless of the SIG brace,

  14. Even if you’re right about their motives, you’re wrong to imply that “we got what we deserved for daring to stand up to them”. That’s just yellow.

    Congress needs to act on this. Capricious and tyrannical exercise of regulatory power should not be tolerated. We as a society have put up with this sort of thing for far too long, to our immeasurable cost, and it’s long past time to uproot these weeds that our strangling our society.

    Too bad it won’t happen. These agencies and their power only keep growing.

  15. You don’t need to defend your 2nd Amendment cred to talk about political realities.

    It kind of opens the door to a host of bargains though. Is a Sig brace worth losing M855? Sure, I’d go for that. For instance, here in Iowa we can’t have anything with an NFA tax stamp, but the carry laws are a lot better than most states, short of constitutional carry anyway. I’ll take that. I don’t have to worry about no firearm signs or whether a restaurant’s sales are 49% alcohol or 51%, or that my shirt might ride up and expose my gat if I bend over. To me that’s worth more than a suppressor. How about a 15 round mag capacity for national reciprocity?

    Of course any such bargain would be a deal with the devil since the other side will never stop. Any deal would only be a temporary cease fire.

    • Agree about the other side not stopping, they can always revise their ruling about the SIG brace and keep the ammunition ban.

  16. This “sporting purpose” crap needs to find its way to the SCOTUS. With the Miller and now Heller decision, I can’t imagine any “sporting purpose” criteria holding up.

  17. Maybe someone could clear something up for me. Years back, I bought a 200-round bag of milspec 5.56 marked “A-2552 Hirtenberg”, no 855 or whatever, marked “SC” and sold as “steel core”. No real hint that it is supposed to be armor piercing. In fact, I’m just getting ready to go shoot it up testing out a TacCon trigger, since I’m not supposed to use it on most any indoor range. I tried this stuff out on a friend’s steel plate, I’d guess about 3/16 thick, and it made a jagged little hole through the plate while standard 5.56 made a larger hole perfectly clean. I decided it was pretty darn useless as armor piercing, probably why it was not sold as armor piercing. Is this what we’re talking about being banned?

    If you’ve ever seen a cutaway bullet of 5.56 SC beside a cutaway 7.62 NATO armor piercing, it’s hard to imagine anyone calling the wee boolit armor piercing, if this is what ATF has decided to ban, without congressional action, then *I* have decided we need to cut ATF funding by 50%, to encourage them to apply themselves to efforts which could produce actual dividends.

  18. Do you even know what “arbitrary and capricious” means or do you just parrot the term because it sounds inflammatory? the fact that the BATF has taken this long to enforce that particular section of the law is nothing short of amazing. As soon as people started building SBRs and calling them pistols as a way to skirt the law, the train started down the tracks.

    • Vague wording of the laws. Currently it’s specifically handgun ammunition that’s banned, on the justification that handguns are the primary weapon used against law enforcement. This left milsurp steel-cored rifle ammunition available to the average consumer. Because “pistols” firing .223 and 5.56 NATO ammunition have proliferated, the ATF is using their existence to justify the classification of the cartridge as a pistol round.

      It’s patently absurd.

  19. I don’t doubt that the BATFE(CES) is madder than hell about the Sig Brace thing. How dare someone slither out from under their rules meant to crush those gun nuts slowly? And it’s even worse because we exploited their mistake to do it! Why, we’ve set them back entire weeks on their disarmament agenda.

    It’s just like any bully getting angry when he’s thwarted, and taking it out on his victims, rather than, instead, maybe, you know, growing up and learning to leave people the hell alone. Life is a hell of a lot less frustrating when you aren’t hopping up and down mad because people won’t do as you tell them to.

    I honestly don’t care whether this ammo ban is retaliation or not. I doubt we could tell the difference, BATFE(CES) gets out of bed in the morning mad at gun owners every day anyway. The fact that this bunch of f*ckheads is allowed to make such decisions and does so for petty reasons is the problem, not what triggered their stupid attitude that particular day. It’s certainly not our fault, though we also shouldn’t have been surprised, if anyone was.

  20. I think we have to remember that even though people may know that a sig brace can be used to sort of “skirt” the NFA/SBR regulations, the burden of proof should be on the government, and not SIG that that was their intent. I don’t think that was sig’s intent by the way… I think it was a side benefit.

    Secondly, people should be most angry with the fact that once again we are dealing with a regulatory agency who is essentially creating fiat legislation that won’t be voted on by anyone who is elected. That power may be in there charter or whatever, but it’s wrong. ATF, EPA, IRS, FDA. Abolish them all and send those good for nothing’s to the unemployment line.

    • ATF, EPA, IRS, FDA. Abolish them all and send those good for nothing’s to the unemployment line.

      I find your list of unconstitutional agencies with “good for nothing” employees offensive due to its brevity.

  21. In my limited government employment I learned that each government agency, department, branch, bureau, or whatever they might be designated as, is selfish. They are concerned with how they look and grow, public be damned. They will use buzzwords like “Public Safety”, “Concern”, “Best Interests of the Public” and so on to sell whatever agenda they are pushing.
    Could a entity like BATFE be so small of mind and purpose to do something petty “To show who’s Boss!” ? Yes they could be and probably are.
    They want a bigger budget as it makes the top folks more valuable as managers, after all they managed X amount of people and money before and now even more. They should get praises, raises and bonuses.
    In the end it’s all about them!

    • That’s a good part of it. However, the BATFE has been a very political organization throughout its history. I have no respect for anyone who works for the BATFE. If they really wanted to “catch bad guys”, they’d work in some other agency of law enforcement, like the FBI, or as a state trooper, or city cop. Nope, they hate guns, and gun owners, and use their jobs as a weapon. I fear them the way I would any terrorist organization, but I do not respect them.

  22. Well I’m sure there will be an LEO/.gov/.mil exemption. Also read the 30-06 AP ammo can remain. Didn’t see any reference to the gazillions of spam cans of Moisin Nagant ammo. Or the gazillions of Eastern Bloc AK ammo across this country. Or the 7.62 NATO, which all compared to the leetle 5.56 rd, are much more powerful. This has nothing to do with a Sig Brace.and everything to do with nibbling away a piece at a time. All those previous calibers above will be later, as the AR platform is the most popular.
    Just like the proposal to ban us lowly civilians certain types of body armor. Mag capacity, private sales, etc,…et al.
    Not One More Inch People!!!!

  23. I think Aaron makes a good point, but it was not so much “retaliation” as they realized it was just a great excuse to move forward with their long standing agenda.

    The truth is this ammo is not a great performer and this was coming sooner or later no matter what. I feel sorry for AR guys but this is just one more reason to skip the poodle shooter and get a bigger, badder chambering.

    I was looking at a Tavor, but now I know the right choice is going to be the Desert Tech MDR in 7.62. Why get a little varmint gun with a silly, scofflaw brace when I can get a real friggin assault weapon that I can also hunt with?

    Lesson learned… Don’t trust Uncle Sam, he is a Son of a Bitch. I already knew this, but maybe this bullshit will open some eyes.

  24. It is not “retaliation” so much as the natural response of a bureaucracy that is good at being bureaucratic. Gun owners found their way around one arbitrary rule, but in doing so triggered restrictions related to another arbitrary rule. Think about it: the focus on M855 as pistol ammunition would likely never have occurred had their not been an explosion in “pistols” being sold which could accept this ammunition. Did the Sig brace enable this explosion in sales? Certainly, but the fact that the two are related does not imply retaliation. I have worked with a lot of bureaucrats, they tend to have a pretty slavish devotion to interpreting and enforcing laws regardless of how arbitrary or capricious the laws might be. We don’t have to like it, but it does us no good to walk around wearing tinfoil hats.

  25. Might not have any relevance to the post.
    I feel I should be allowed to use any ammo my guns will fire.
    If I want to shoulder an arm brace and bump my face I should be able to.
    Because Im going to conceal it under my t-shirt here in Florida?? So there for its illegal??

  26. I don’t get blaming SIG for “poking the bear”. It’s BATF that’s taking away liberties, not SIG. This argument assumes that, left alone, BATF would have peacefully remained dormant, which strikes me as a VERY naieve assumption. If that bear were so easily poked, then it was going to wake up anyway, sooner or later. Might as well be now.

    The stance that it would be better to hold onto our rights “for a few more years”, likewise supposes that we’re going to lose them eventually. If one believes that, why not wake that bear up right now, while we’ve got the tools (conservative majorities) to fight it off? If we just wait for the next hoplophobe to take offices, we’re going to be in a much worse position.

    I know people want to throw SIG Brace owners under the bus, but they bought a legal product to use in a legal manner, which is an argument you might have seen before on this website for some other product. The BATF are the ones changing the rules and (according to this theory of retaliation) striking back. THEY are the ones who done did you wrong – not SIG, and certainly not SIG Brace owners.

    • +1

      I believe that each generation is in a weaker position to stop these things. We have more liberty issues today than we did in the 1990s. Look at all of the spying and tracking available to government today. Look at the drone capability. We were in a better position to stop infringement in its track twenty years ago; even better twenty years before that. As time marches forward, our odds of restoring constitutional governance diminish.

  27. “ATF regulations say that if a handgun exists that can shoot an armor piercing projectile, then that projectile is subject to restrictions.” If this is the standard for the prohibition, then any round, really all rounds should be banned under that interpretation. The clear language of the bill however only covers handguns.
    At the end of the day this runs afoul of the decision in Heller that guarantee’s arms that are in common use. We need to stop playing games with the ATF and take them to court. Having them arbitrary define statutes in a way that is not keeping with the law is unacceptable, and unconstitutional.
    In the alternative we need to have the new Republican controlled congress reign in their discretionary power on regulations. A simple amendment to a spending bill stripping the ATF of funds when interpreting regulations would be one possibility.

  28. We can work our way to replace the referee, but we still need to win the game in front of us.

    At least that how I look at it.

  29. The .223/5.56 round is highly dependant on velocity to do it’s job. Does M855 out of a pistol length barrel actually penetrate soft body armor?

  30. That is exactly what it is, retaliation. We need to press congress to defund the ATF they are turning into a more lawless agency by the day. Next thing you know they are going to start banning all FMJ rounds.

  31. What the author said about a cop getting shot with an SS109 and the media ignoring the fact that almost all rifle ammo will penetrate Level II body armor is spot on.

    Look at the 5.7. Without even knowing what it is the media dubbed it “cop killer”. The fact is tests have proven that the .22 mag is better than the 5.7 when fired from a pistol and even with the steel perpetrator it won’t go through body armor unless its fired from a rifle.

    But truth isnt as gruesome ans fantasy.

  32. Apparently there are different versions of the BATF Request for Comments floating around. The version I read was asking about banning said round, regaining custody by BATF would be costly.

    Probably the next work around to this would be re-designating the round’s name to what ever would be considered legal to own or possess with a cosmetic change- think Black Talon or ______ (fill in the blank) named pistol or rifle imported name.

  33. DHS funding still in play. The immediate step, as part of the current DHS funding negotiation and legislation, is to transfer ATF from “Justice” to DHS with a 75% budget cut. AND then transfer “Alcohol and Tobacco” to the Dept of Agriculture. “Firearms” to be left with a trivial budget. Prohibit all former AFT agents from future gov’t employment.

    The Republican party controls the House and Senate RIGHT NOW they can slap down Obuma and Holder on this. The budget is the ONLY place they will fight the SOBs. If they will even do so there.

    • Except the Republicans ALWAYS cave on the budget. “We’re going to stand firm!” “We’re caving on our position!”

  34. I don’t see how there could be a legal argument that the anti armor piercing ammo laws could even apply to M855:

    (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.

    Last I checked, M855 contains a small core insert made of steel, not a core “constructed entirely of steel.” 5.56 ammo is designed to work in a rifle (specifically the M16) and so would be exempted from the first half of the second section. Additionally, I also find it rather difficult to believe that the jacket of M855 comprises 25% of the weight of it, but I’ll fully admit my ignorance on that exact fact.

    • It would be a mistake to believe the US government cares about the law, except in so far as the law can be used to legitimize the destruction of our freedom. Laws that exist to protect the rights of the public are routinely ignored at all levels of government.

      As Jefferson once stated, “the law” is often nothing more than the will of tyrants. That is certainly the case in the modern Police States of America. We have nothing close to Jefferson’s “rightful liberty” and don’t even have equal enforcement of unjust laws. Witness, for example, the routine outrages committed by police against defenseless individuals that almost invariable goes unpunished. Or consider how DNI James Clapper committed felony perjury before Congress and hasn’t even been fired from his job, let alone prosecuted like any of the rest of us would be. The law is for them to make and enforce, and for us to obey — until Americans start growing some spine.

  35. I don’t think this latest attack on our rights is due to AR pistols or arm braces. I’m pretty sure that most bullets shot out of an AR pistol will penetrate soft armor; M855 isn’t unique in that regard.

    No, I suspect the real reason the Police State is going after M855 is that M855 can punch through armor and some newer helmets made from ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE). Such armor can stop just about any rifle rounds readily available to US civilians, including non-AP 7.62×51 and .30-06. It can even stop mild steel core 7.62×39. But M855 goes right through. If they can severely limit civilian access to M855, it will be another huge step toward total control of the population.

    Regardless of what the Constitution and the “law” say, the only rights we have are those we are willing to personally fight and die for. Very few Americans today are willing to do such things. Those few individuals who make the attempt are widely condemned as “nuts” by obedient, law-abiding, docile gun owners. Americans are very heavily armed, but armed sheep are still sheep. That’s why we have no rights anymore. We only have privileges that can be taken away at any time. Which one of the Bill of Rights is not violated today on a routine, systematic basis?

    By the way, let this be a wake-up call to the zombies who STILL swallow the ridiculous propaganda about how “our troops defend our freedom.” The only significant threat to our freedom comes from the oligarchy’s obedient mercenaries in the military and the police. The vast majority of Americans still fail to understand this. Just look at all the worshipful praise directed toward that psychopathic, lying war criminal Chris Kyle, while Edward Snowden — a TRUE hero who really did defend our freedom — is practically forgotten.

    “Our” troops are not OURS. They don’t obey us. They only obey corrupt politicians who send them overseas to invade and occupy foreign countries, all in the name of “defense” industry profits and Israeli lebensraum. Like any standing army, “our” troops are a grave threat to our freedom, not its defender. We should only have a standing Navy and Air Force, NOT a standing army of any type. That goes for militarized police, too.

    • Amen. Sadly, most gun owners worship the military and police and suffer from delusions that the police and military would never do anything wrong. There’s a horrible cognitive dissonance where gun owners prepare for civil war, but refuse to accept that the people they would be fighting are the same military and police that they praise. Of course, on the rare occasion that you find people willing to admit that the police / military can do something wrong, they insist that it’s “Not their fault, they’re just following orders” – and in doing so they inadvertently acknowledge that cops / soldiers do not think or possess any sense of justice or morality, just blind obedience to whoever sits upon the throne in the White House.

        • Yes but illegal orders are illegal. Unfortunately I don’t see many current officers and damned few cops that would refuse to follow them.

        • I know. I told more than one Colonel to go make unromantic love to himself when they ordered me to do something illegal, just plain stupid which could have resulted in people dying or getting seriously injured or could have cause the loss or damage of gov’t equipment.


        Making sweeping generalizations about “most gun owners, who worship leos and military” is both incorrect and insulting, to both of those groups, but more, to anyone with a lick of common sense and life experience.

    • I don’t see why they’d care about that, given that standard-issue military armor is ceramic, and stops both M193 and M855 equally well. Polyethylene is really the only material against which M855 has better armor piercing capabilities, in truth.

  36. The author of this article is either hopelessly naive about the atf, or possibly spreading FUD to divide POTG.
    This may even be planted hoping to “trade it up the chain” in the faux media and echochambers on the anti-gun left. Read the new expose “Trust me I’m lying” to understand how social media and blogs are exploited, to generate the same fake story with the hope it will make it to the StateRunMedia of NYT, CNN, etc where the liv’s will believe it because its written about there.

    Just more of the under the radar executive action and misdirection we saw in F&F. And the obviously coordinated agitprop after first of the year, and big money being spent in places like WA and AZ to further add confusing laws. And troll gunsites with articles to set the FUDDs and MSR fans and/manufacturers into useless circular firing squads, amongst one another, to distract from the already happening rapid takeover by mandate of the apparatchiki in the regulatory agencies, over individual freedoms.

    What does the WH and DOJ have to lose, now, for “doubling down” to “push thru the resistance” Alinsky style? Contempt of Congress? Legacy among the same hisorical revisionists and propagandists who issued a Nobel Prize for voting present?

    When the likeliest heir to Dem Crown says “What does it matter, anyway?” and the left half of the LIVs say, oh yeah, and nod blankly, and the Senate and House let it slide….do you think some outrage over confiscating “military style ammo for assault wealth ons” is going to matter?

    Get ready, you haven’t seen anything, yet…

  37. More collectivist BS nonsense from ‘Eeeeew, you made all of us look bad’ commie clique non-sequitur.

    This in fact, is the perfect time for NRA (if they actually had any balls), GOA and everyone else to coalesce together to fully abolish the ever UNconstitutional ATF once and for all, along with legal overtures to fully repeal EVERY gun control ‘laws’ that the NRA co-authored: NFA, GCA, FOPA, Brady, etc.

    As if Fast and Furious wasn’t enough?

    Just when is it time for the citizen employers, in this supposed Constitutional Republic that just about everyone in govt has neglected, gonna tell their public SERVANTS to STFU, and do as they’re told, and that the pecking order, must again be reset: the servants merely carry out what the masters tell them to.

    Unless that fundamental operative lawful premise is emphasized, the NRA et al will always be dealing with symptoms of legal alchemy delusion of generations of govt monkeys who delude they’re the ones in charge, and the citizenry should simply STFU and just go along with whateverTF they ‘decide.’

    When is enough, enough? Time to repeal and abolish, not sue, as each case arises, especially when everything the govt does is via unelected UnConstitutional agencies and their regulatory NON-LAW codes/statutes/diktats??

    • I’ll try again tomorrow.

      An error has occurred

      Sorry, there is a technical problem and this petition cannot be signed right now. Please try again in a few minutes.

      If you receive this error repeatedly, you may contact We The People to report the problem.

  38. FLAME DELETED. [ED: That was a particularly nasty piece of writing. Do it again and you’ll be permanently banned.]

    Blaming SIG and the arm-brace for this isn’t just wrong, it’s stupid and a craven attempt to deflect attention from where this change in policy originated: the White House, and Obama’s publicly stated intention to get gun control by Executive action because he couldn’t get it though Congressional action.

  39. “The American public isn’t going to be sympathetic when a cop is killed with an AR pistol equipped with a SIG Brace and the media reports that the suspect used armor piercing ammunition.”

    According to the FBI, of the 76 law enforcement officers that died in 2013, 26 were killed by firearms. Of that 26, 18 were slain with handguns and five with rifles, and three with shotguns. Pop quiz: How many of those do you think died by the dreaded armor piercing 5.56/.223 round?

  40. Why complain about this when not one gun rights groups is fighting this in the courts. Pressure NRA, Second Amendment Foundation etc to take BATFE on with this unlawful and unconstitutional order

  41. Honestly I was more concerned with this:

    In addition to limiting the machining work that gunsmiths can engage in, the ruling claims that an FFL not licensed as a manufacturer or an unlicensed machine shop may not allow unlicensed persons to “initiate or manipulate a CNC machine, or to use machinery, tools, or equipment under its dominion or control to perform manufacturing processes on blanks, unfinished frames or receivers, or incomplete weapons.” This portion of the ruling appears to require any business that rents out its machinery or tooling to ensure that the tooling is not used in any part of the manufacturing of a firearm or of a firearm frame or receiver. It’s unclear how BATFE reaches this result without completely rewriting the GCA’s definition of manufacturing, which BATFE does not have the authority to do by formal regulation, much less an informal “ruling.”

    • Guess that means no one can take a lower of any percent complete and finish it up themselves and to accomplish the enforcement the ATF would have to eliminate that pesky problem with search warrants

  42. AR pistols were a thing long before the brace. There is no direct relation between these enforcements.
    If the atf is playing a tit for tat game against gun owners, we should ask exactly what kind of operation they think they are running and if that should be allowed to continue.

  43. “If you read their document, they are not asking for input on the classification of M855, the decision has already been made. What they are asking is how should they execute its removal from the civilian market.”

    Many people might vote for the ATF JBT’s to remove them one bullet at a time, at significant velocity. The method that the ATF may use to catch the bullets is up to them.

  44. IM SO SICK OF THIS!!!! These goons work for us, so make them work for us or make them go find work in the private sector. How far do you let a bully push you? That is exactly what is going on here. Its time to contact NRA and tell them exactly what we want our money spent on. Go line the pockets of whoever you have to pay off so we can have our rights because nobody wants the other option run to this scenario. As dirty as that sounds, that’s what it is.

  45. You’re asking the wrong question…

    The correct one is: Why do we let the bear live in our midst?

    Remember, the government with the power to give or grant you anything also has the power to take away anything it wants.

  46. So we shouldn’t poke the bear? We should just lie back and take it like good, obedient subjects?

    Poke the fucking bear. This bear needs to be put down for good.

  47. Abolishing the ATF isn’t going to happen. You might as well be talking about abolishing the Department of Education. Also, I may be mistaken, but the ATF says the AR-15 is the civilian semiautomatic version of the military’s M-16 assault rifle, but isn’t it really the other way around? The AR-15 came first, as a scaled-down version of the AR-10 battle rifle. The M-16 was an assault rifle version of the AR-15, right…?

  48. No. I don’t think this is retaliation specific to the Sig brace. However, I do think it is retaliation. Everything this administration has done to try in implement gun control had failed. At the state level, gun controllers are circling the wagons around their core states. They are failing in the courts. Rather than eliminating them, all their efforts has resulted in a massive proliferation of “assault weapons.”

    The pistol is little more than an excuse to eliminate one of the most common loadings for the most common round of the most common rifle in the country. It doesn’t matter that this round isn’t any more “armor piercing” than any other rifle round larger than .22LR. It doesn’t matter that soldiers don’t like this round because of its lack of effectiveness. It matters that this takes a common and cheap round out of circulation.

    I think this is coming from higher up and reflects the use of a phone and a pen.

  49. I’m not about to blame SIG Sauer and their pistol brace. I’m glad they poked the ATF in the eye. The ATF is a worthless, incompetent, and redundant law enforcement agency. Their track record is deplorable. Obama, ,Holder, et. al, and the ATF will use any excuse to undermine the rights of gun owners in this nation. Wasn’t operation Fast & Furious illustrative enough?

  50. If they do go through with trying to ban it, it would make a court case that is fairly easy to win if someone like the 2AF goes after them. M855 clearly falls outside of the definition of armor piercing ammunition when looking at the law and should have never needed an exemption to begin with.

  51. The Sig pistol brace was creates by a veteran for veterans who might be missing a limb to stabilise a rifle. You have missed the point. The batfe are a bunch of cock sucking communist who want disarmament of the American populace. Americans want they’re guns and the gun grabbers realise this now. So they will take the ammo. Dan with all due respect, you need to go back to writing your shit poetry about how your customers piss you off by doing a background checks and the ones that fail you screw them out of they’re money for failing. I am sure this is because your wife left you and you have a small dick. You stink of a commie operative.

  52. I am sure its less about the brace and more about video, forum and commenters all referring to it as a big fu to the atfu’d back

  53. It’s all about the Brace here on The Opinion About the Sig Brace isn’t it?

    The ATF is hitting us with the Sig brace reversal (and the whole your gun is what you hold it like thing), the gun trust sign off proposal (making it impossible for many to purchase NFA items due to political pandering by chief LEO’s), and a bogus non exemption on a declared as armor piercing non armor piercing ammunition…and you idiots are still going on about the stupid brace. Get over it. Something must be done. I’ve contacted my state and national reps as well as the NRA. Hopefully more is being done at TTAG than continuing to whine about a stupid accessory.

    I shouldn’t have to remind anybody that lawful gun owners have nothing to do with cops being shot with anything, and if it does happen there’s no reason why we should be blamed. That’s classic Anti talk.


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