BREAKING: ATF Claims Guide with M855 Ban Was a “Publishing Error”


ATF Press Release on the recently revealed Regulation Guide Announcing M855 Ammo Ban. Note: this does NOT mean the AFT have given-up on their proposed ban. It simply means that they announced its adoption and implementation prematurely. We can assume that they assumed it would go through, prepared their Guide accordingly and released it inadvertently.

On Feb. 13, 2015, ATF released for public comment a proposed framework, including legal and technical analysis, to guide its determination on what ammunition is “primarily intended for sporting purposes” for purposes of granting exemptions to the Gun Control Act’s prohibition on Armor Piecing Ammunition. This proposed framework is posted for public comment only; no final decisions have been made as to its adoption . . .

Media reports have noted that the 2014 ATF Regulation Guide published online does not contain a listing of the exemptions for Armor Piercing Ammunition, and concluding that the absence of this listing indicates these exemptions have been rescinded.

Please be advised that ATF has not rescinded any Armor Piercing Ammunition exemption, and the fact they are not listed in the 2014 online edition of the regulations, was an error, which has no legal impact on the validity of the exemptions. The existing exemptions for armor piercing ammunition, which apply to 5.56 mm (.223) SS 109 and M855 projectiles (identified by a green coating on the projectile tip), and the U.S .30-06 M2AP projectile (identified by a black coating on the projectile tip), remain in effect.

The listing of Armor Piercing Ammunition exemptions can be found in the 2005 ATF Regulation Guide on page 166, which is posted here.

The 2014 Regulation Guide will be corrected in PDF format to include the listing of Armor Piercing Ammunition exemptions and posted shortly. The e-book/iBook version of the Regulation Guide will be corrected in the near future. ATF apologizes for any confusion caused by this publishing error.


  1. avatar Albaniaaaaaaaaaaaaaa says:

    The ATF should not exist.

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      You’re not alone in that opinion. Click here for hope for change. (I’ll write it up tomorrow. My kidney stone says its time to quit.)

      1. avatar Accur81 says:

        Hmmmm, a publishing error. I think the powers that be took a look at how many lowly civilian gun owners would completey ignore this ban. Hopefully prices on .223 / 5.56 will go down again. And hopefully we’ll get a decent POTUS and AG.

        And hopefully the ATF doesn’t change their mind on this yet again. The M855 / SS109 shouldn’t require a frivolous exemption as is, nor should there even be a “sporting requirement.”

        Regardless, there are now so many ARs, 30 round mags, and 5.56 ammo in civilian hands that the statist goal of disarmament is going to be a monumental venture.

        1. avatar Excedrine says:

          The chance of getting a decent Human being into either of those positions is actually less than zero, something I never thought possible until this current administration. We are absolutely guaranteed to never see that happen in our or anybody else’s lifetimes, and it has always been that way since long before our great grandparents were born.

          Even hoping for it to happen is, has always been, and forever shall be a fool’s errand.

        2. avatar Shawn says:

          855/SS109 is not armor piercing according to the ATF’s definition. I am not going to quote it here, but you can do a little investigation of your own. I have over 10,000 rounds of 855. I guess I will have to surrender them if the ATF rules against us….NOT.

      2. avatar Jeff in CO says:

        Thanks for bringing this “revelation.” Wish I would have had a stockpile to sell over the last month. All they did (besides causing an uprising and a few migraines) was send sales through the roof (again). They do need to just “go away!”

      3. avatar Grindstone says:

        Oh, the dream of abolishing a government agency.

        1. avatar Governmentknowsbest says:


        2. avatar Grindstone says:

          Abolishing even just one is still just a dream.

      4. avatar Geoff PR says:

        “My kidney stone says its time to quit.”

        Youch. I get those, no fun at all.

        Thank God for high-powered semi-synthetic opiates.

        1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          Drink more fluids and, even more importantly, get more calcium in your diet.

          Both of my parents had kidney stones. Both of them failed to consume enough calcium or drink enough water. I consume plenty of cheese and milk and drink lots of water and weak green tea. I have never had any trouble whatsoever with kidney stones.

        2. avatar Geoff PR says:

          “Drink more fluids and, even more importantly, get more calcium in your diet.”

          Yeah, doing that and drinking lots of low PH (acidic) fluids like cranberry juice.

          I’m also good on Ca. Cheese, I cut plenty (rimshot).

      5. avatar ProfBathrobe says:

        Hope that stone passes through without much more pain.

      6. avatar Soccerchainsaw says:

        Kidney stone? Sorry to hear about that. Sounds like there’s not enough beer in your diet. It’s good for what ails ya. Get well quick.
        Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nor have I ever played one on TV or the movies….

      7. avatar Justsomeguy says:

        I think you should be careful what you wish for. I do not believe the FBI would be our friend in the administration of these laws and that’s where most of them would go. They are in charge of NICS and will not release how the search histories are (or are not) being destroyed for just one example of their lawlessness on the issue. They have more credibility with the people and congress and could be very likely to try and tie any type of firearms violation into terrorism,

        1. avatar John in Ohio says:

          I was thinking along the same lines.

      8. avatar John in Ohio says:

        I hope that stone passes quickly, RF. I haven’t had kidney stones but hear they are a real bitch. The closest I’ve been is pancreatitis of unknown origin every few years. I’ve been told that the pain is similar so I sympathize.

        Get well soon, RF!

    2. avatar Ray Ficara says:

      MORE proof that Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms should be a convenience store and NOT an agency.


      1. avatar Jack says:

        lol love it!

      2. avatar Grindstone says:

        Or, better yet, a drive-thru

        1. avatar Retired LEO says:

          Not drive-thru. SC allows beer & wine but both feet have to be on ground takes twice as long to check out.

        2. avatar Grindstone says:

          Come to Ohio then.

    3. avatar Rusty Shackleford says:

      G. Gordan Liddy has a quote about his feelings toward the ATF, which sums up the sentiment rather well.

  2. avatar MIKE CROGNALE says:

    Wondered how long it would take them to backpedal once their scheme was exposed.

  3. avatar William B. says:

    This story is now moving faster than the goofy speed of a silent movie. Egg, meet face!

  4. avatar CCDWGuy says:

    Thank you Katie Pavlich

    1. avatar Desert Ranger says:

      Everyone please raise a glass in thanks to a real journalist and patriot.

      1. avatar BDub says:

        Sláinte, Ms. Pavlich!

        1. avatar Desert Ranger says:

          And to the goon squad at the ATF, póg mo thóin!

  5. avatar GS650G says:

    Sounds like someone got an interesting phone call today.
    Curiouser and curiouser.

  6. avatar John E> says:

    So much fail in one agency…or administration for that matter

  7. avatar Tom says:

    Clown show.

    1. avatar DJC1012 says:

      I’m not so sure it that wasn’t planned to move attention away from the continual failures and scandals this President and his administration faces; the discovery of the Learners “lost” e-mails, the continuing screw ups in the Middle East and the latest … Hillary’s E-mail Gate. Your president is losing the faith of his base. He has to “DO something”

  8. avatar racer88 says:

    So, it was all a “big misunderstanding,” eh?

    Holy crap…. that “misunderstanding” caused a run on ALL .223 / 5.56 ammo and ran the price back up 30+%.


    Mistake, my ass. They knew EXACTLY what they were doing…. testing the waters.

    1. avatar BDub says:

      Perhaps the Hughes Amendment was a misunderstanding as well then?

      1. avatar Jon in CO says:

        If that’s the case, I’m going to have to take out a loan for some new purchases.

    2. avatar John says:

      im beginning to see a pattern here , think some “insiders ” are getting fat rich off pitching media announcements ,, hmm mag bans , lead bans assault weapon bans ,,,,, the term insider trading comes to mind ,but they are doing it in plain sight ,just a thought

    3. avatar uncommon_sense says:


      While the price of M855 green-tip ammunition may be up quite a bit, the price of many other types of 5.56mm ammunition is relatively stable.

      From a plinking and self-defense perspective (assuming self-defense at ranges less than 50 yards), it doesn’t really matter what kind of 5.56 mm ammunition you shoot from a rifle with a 16+ inch barrel. So, buy the cheap stuff — even Ukranian ammunition if you want — for those applications. Prices on bulk jelly-bean 55 grain ammunition haven’t moved much.

      Correction: apparently prices have moved up even on the cheap bulk stuff. Prices were starting to dip below $0.30 per round. Now most of it is selling for over $0.40 per round.

      1. avatar racer88 says:

        Yep… that’s my point. From 30¢ to 40¢ / rd (for bulk FMJ) is a 33% increase… not insignificant, eh?

  9. avatar Leighton says:

    Yet the ammo will resettle at a slightly higher price, I bet.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      There must be a whole lotta very pissed-off folks who paid scalper prices for M855 over the past week or so…

      1. avatar Grindstone says:

        Sucker born every minute…

  10. avatar Jeff says:

    Uhh so does this mean they basically just got caught, gave up, and M855 is now cool with the ATF again? Even after the WH openly announced that they were going to ban it?

    1. avatar Desert Ranger says:

      Does the fox give up on the henhouse because the farmer shined a light on him? Answer- no, he now knows the method used to stop him. The hens aren’t going anywhere…

  11. avatar David N says:

    Does anyone but me think this was a trial balloon sent up just to see if they could get away with this nonsense?

    1. avatar Desert Ranger says:

      Yes. It was a trial run for when the balloon does really go up.

    2. avatar BDub says:

      I don’t. They’ve gotten away with this exact nonsense once before. They were obviously operating under the assumption that they could easily do it again, only this time around the world is a helluva lot more socially wired and politically aware.

  12. avatar AllAmerican says:

    Ya. “Publishing error”…. Oh well at least they failed and prices can start comming back down. I really thought we were witnessing ammo panic 3.0.

  13. avatar Alex says:

    You forgot, “OMG!, OMG!, blah blah blah…!!!! OMG!

  14. avatar SpecialK says:

    I hate to be Debbie Downer here, but the ATF is NOT saying that the proposal to ban M855 was a publishing error. They ARE saying that the 2014 Regulation Guide indicated M855 was already banned in error. In short the proposal to ban M855 will continue to move forward and is not affected by this announcement.

    For context, see

    1. avatar Yep says:

      Exactly. This means they just jumped the gun on their publishing. They are still in the comment period of banning it.

      1. avatar John Freeman says:

        The request for comments isn’t for “if a ban should be implemented” but rather for “how to implement it with least amount of upheaval in the publc”. This can be found in one simple sentence in the “request for comments” they posted on-line & I quote here, “ATF is specifically soliciting comments on how it can best implement withdrawal of this exemption while minimizing disruption to the ammunition and firearm industry and maximizing officer safety.”

        1. avatar jeff says:

          Finally someone who actually reads and understands what was printed! +1

    2. avatar Jus Bill says:

      Yes indeed! Classic bait and switch. The proposal is anything but dead.

    3. avatar Brandon says:

      Thank you! This is the comment we should be reading! The ban is not over, they said no such thing. All they said was the published book was in error and they will fix it in PDF form soon. When it is shortly banned the PDF will be updated gain. This is just their equivalent of getting caught with their hand in your daughter’s blouse, apologizing for it, and as soon as you leave the room they are at it again.

    4. avatar Emberly Kimberly says:

      They forgot one word in the press release, at the end of the 3rd paragraph: “Temporarily.”

    5. avatar HKGuns says:

      Amazing how many people fail at basic reading comprehension. Follow the topic folks.

      Nice job steering all the comments in the right direction.

  15. avatar mike oregon says:

    Bureaucrats should not have this much power over citizens, how can we better define what the ATF can and more importantly can’t do?

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      They take their lead from the WH gang. They can do whatever they please.

  16. avatar C says:

    Error insofar as they’ve had it drawn up for a while now and accidentally published it two weeks earlier than intended.

  17. avatar Another Robert says:

    Maybe their intent was to drive the price up? I imagine they succeeded in that. Or am I giving them credit for too much smarts?

  18. avatar Dr. No says:

    Wait, so is the ban gone? Or is the thing saying they banned it gone.

    1. avatar SpecialK says:

      Only the latter, unfortunately.

  19. avatar Grindstone says:

    A drive-thru

  20. avatar Grindstone says:

    Laws-by-fiat need to end. This “regulatory” agency needs to go. Laws need to be made by legislators, not executive-branch agencies.

    1. avatar Accur81 says:

      I’m thinking laws need to be made by taxpayers and rescinded by the same. Let’s return to a government of the People, not a government who rules over them.

      1. avatar Grindstone says:

        The problem with that is tyranny of the majority is just as bad as any governmental tyranny.

        1. avatar Accur81 says:

          True. I also meant a return to Constitutional limits on government.

        2. avatar John in Ohio says:

          @Accur81: +1

          Let’s make that BATFE seal shown in the article a retired seal of a disbanded agency. The date ought to read 1972-2015.

  21. avatar Ozzallos says:

    Okay, so what bullet did they really intend to ban?

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      Only all of the ones for the AR-15 pattern guns…


    2. avatar James69 says:

      all of them….

      1. avatar Jus Bill says:


    3. avatar Pantera Vazquez says:

      The question truly is-what will the next attack on the 2A be and when……..let us not forget this particular battle is not over-this was just an oops moment.

  22. avatar BDub says:

    Still playing that exemption angle though. Why does something need and exemption if it fails to meet the definition it is being exempted from?

  23. avatar Paul says:

    absolutely a mistake. they didn’t want us to know how sure they are of themselves after all.

  24. avatar PavePusher says:

    Back-pedaling at the speed of social media….

  25. avatar Gordon Wagner says:

    “Publishing error”?

  26. avatar rosignol says:

    Unfortunately, in the state I live in, you need a license to sell ammo legally.

    Otherwise, I’d be perfectly happy to let my cans of green tip 5.56 go for whatever the current rate is. It’s not like it’s anything special relative to other 5.56 ammo.

  27. avatar Nick says:

    F’ing LIARS. We are living under the thumb of a dictator.

  28. avatar James69 says:

    I just hope all the douche bags that ran out and bought all that “illegal” ammo get it stuck up their asses and can’t pay their rent at the trailer parks. Trying to gouge people. I’ve seen it listed for OVER a $1 a round on message boards. I hope that shit drops like a rock.

  29. avatar KenL says:

    This is turning into a real circus.

  30. avatar John in Ohio says:

    The BATFE just blinked. 😀

  31. avatar 33AD says:

    In their defense, they really didn’t expect anyone to read that guide.

  32. avatar BrandonSC says:

    You all do realize this doesn’t say they don’t intend to band it. It says it was published by mistake. They still have all intention of attempting to ban it and the Obama administration fully supports the ATF and Obama will most likely veto any bill that attempts to prevent the ATF from going through with ammo regulation changes.

    The battle is not won. It has only just begun

    1. avatar Phil LA says:

      That was my understanding too. This letter is retraction on date, not policy. The fix is in.

    2. avatar Yep says:

      This. They are still going through with everything as before.

  33. avatar slow says:

    It is illegal to buy and sell stocks on insider or nonpublic information. Wonder how many friends and relatives of the BATFE upper management are in the business of selling Ammo?

    1. avatar MoviemanR says:

      Valid point. Because I’m almost to the limit of just getting a job with the ATF myself, just to stir the pot.

  34. avatar Fug says:

    If it wasn’t clear before, it should be now that the ascension of the Prophet Barry Soetoro(PBUH) was not an “Electing Error” but a part of a plan to disarm us and pave the way for dictatorship.

  35. avatar Jeremy says:

    That’s one hell of a prescient “error”…

  36. avatar Raul Ybarra says:

    I sti don’t get why M855 even needs an exemption. It doesn’t fit either definition of armor piercing. Others are right,though. This isn’t a win. They just tipped thier hand early. We still need to write ATF.

    Expect them to take the FCC approach next time and release the regs first.

  37. avatar gregory says:

    They are just as bad as Obama at telling lies. It was not an error.

  38. If you want to stop the AR-15 ammo ban the deadline to submit opposing comments is March 16th!
    You can sign the letter, spread the word, and join the fight at:

    1. avatar jeff says:

      First- you really need to go back and read, the comment period has nothing to do with a ban of any ammunition. The ammo in question ss109/M855 is BANNED. In 1986 when LEOPA went into effect AR-15 pistols did not exist, when they were created an exemption for ss109/m855 was created. Their statement is not the creation of a ban, but the removal of an exemption. Their comment period is for how to do it: “ATF is specifically soliciting comments on how it can best implement withdrawal of this exemption while minimizing disruption to the ammunition and firearm industry and maximizing officer safety.” It is best to know the facts before making incorrect statements.

  39. avatar Paul says:

    The publication is a big deal. It says that they adapted/published a change PRIOR to getting a single Public Comment, effectively meaning the decision was made prior to the 60 day period. It’s a solid basis for a lawsuit.

    1. avatar Yep says:

      Someone should bring them to court for this.SCOTUS

  40. avatar styrgwillidar says:

    I would love for a manufacturer to continue selling it pointing out it doesn’t meet the definition of a AP ammo which ATF has the authority to ban, and therefore never needed an exemption in the first place.

  41. avatar ARluv says:

    A publishing error that only involved one of the hottest topics in the industry as we speak. Right…error my a$$.

  42. avatar gsnyder says:

    They know what they do.

  43. avatar Lance says:

    More like Robert they thought they could go under the radar on this ban thinking with Obama’s help this would be a fate acomple. But got caught by gun owners so there partly back peddling away from the illegal ammo ban.

  44. avatar Al says:

    So in other words, the “comment period” was just a farce. The BATFE had no intention of considering the opinions of us lowly peons. Why does this administration keep proving tin foil hats correct? Are we quickly approaching civil war?

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      Obuma is working on closing DOD.

  45. avatar John in Ohio says:

    I wonder if someone outside the agency uncovered this evidence of premeditation and BATFE is engaging in damage control before the whistle can be blown.

  46. The fight isn’t over… If you want to stop the AR-15 ammo ban the deadline to submit opposing comments is March 16th!
    You can sign the letter, spread the word, and join the fight at:

  47. avatar Nelson says:

    Oh really?

    Like how Fast & Furious was merely a “publishing error” too??

    riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. xD And Shannon Twat of MAIG now loves her some AR15, too.

    ABOLISH this utterly UNconstitutional, fascist GovtTerrorist agency, once and for all!

  48. avatar michael3ov says:

    Shouldn’t even be an exemption for it in the first place. It doesn’t need an exemption since it doesn’t meet the definition of armor piercing.

    Nevermind that, it doesn’t need an exemption because the BATFE shouldn’t exist along with the NFA.

    1. avatar Raul says:

      Well actually, that would be the least disruptive way to remove the exemption. Simply clarify that it doesn’t meet the definition of armor piercing and that no exemptions are needed.

  49. avatar Tarrou says:

    Translation: “We didn’t think anyone would read our stealth ban, so this is our backup strategy”

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