Monday, March 2, 2015

SS109 Vs BATF

Once upon a time there were three little girls who went to the police academy. They were assigned very hazardous duties….Oops, wrong fairy tale! 

Wait, here’s the right one.

Once upon a time the government passed a law, Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA), to prevent police officers from being shot with armor piercing handgun rounds which would violate their soft body armor.  This was in spite of the fact that few if any officers were shot with armor piercing rounds.

This was seen by the shooting community as an attempt to circumvent the 2nd Amendment. 

GCA defines armor piercing as any projectile or a core within a projectile which may be used in a handgun constructed entirely of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, of depleted uranium.  Like almost all laws there is an “OR” involved.   Or any FMJ larger than .22cal whose jacket has a weight more than 25% of the total projective weight.

So what does this have to do with green tipped SS109?

Few people can follow or really understand the machinations of the different branches of the federal government.  Let me grab my red tipped white cane and tap out the path as I see it. 

It’s the AR pistol.  Not all “silly” innovations are deadends.  Sometimes progress looks a little wonkey but turns into gold.  Nevertheless, AR pistols are stupid.

The AR pistol fires .223 Rem or the mil version 5.56X45 NATO.  Please note these are not identical rounds and you should know what you can shoot in your gun.  BATF doesn’t appear to be comfortable with this long barrel pistol, or is it a short barrel, stockless class three rifle?  To complicate things a wrist support that allows you to lash the gun to your forearm has been introduced. 

Just what I wanted.  A high capacity handgun so uncontrollable I have to tie it to my forearm.  Now if I get a jam or run into another problem that requires two hands, well, I’m fucked.

To complicate it, you can find videos of this handful with the arm support being held to the shoulder and fired rifle style.  So now BTAF has to respond.  It’s like waving a flag at a bull.

Having previously declared it a handgun, BATF is going after armor piercing SS109 claiming it’s a handgun round fired from a handgun that will penetrate all soft armor. 

SS109 cross section
SS109

Frankly, the SS109 has developed a reputation as a poor performer by military shooters.  It creates an ice pick-like wounds that fails to stop the enemy shooter and leaves him in combat, requiring several additional hits to be stopped.  The military has switched to 77gr “open tip” MK262 for this reason.  This dumps the SS109 on the civilian market as cheap shooting.

If, the theory goes, BATF bans SS109 because it defeats all levels of soft body armor, the next step will be FMJ 55gr.  The FMJ 55gr will defeat soft armor because of its higher non-pistol velocity, not it’s construction.

So let the hording begin!!!!  I was at a gun show Feb 28 and March 1 and just about everyone sold out of .223 Rem.  Even the reloading components almost ran out the door. 

Right now BATF is collecting comments on Facebook and other locations.  The GCA “allows for the exemption of ammunition that would otherwise be considered armor piercing if the Attorney General determines that the specific ammunition at issue is“primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes.””

This is the time to put your mouth and fingers to work.  Contact the BATFE directly:  APAComments@atf.gov.  Get off the conspiracy and survivalist forums and make a reasonable effort to sound coherent and intelligent.  I’d write about my use in matches and long distance competitions.  I’d discuss how ubiquitous the SS109s are because of their inexpensive nature enabling all shooters to participate.  I’d express my belief that few police and law enforcement officers will be shot with AR pistols and remind them that all centerfire rifles will defeat soft body armor.  I’d remind them that enforcement will be difficult and will pull resources from the very real dangers of terrorism.    Do it soon!

Should you be hoarding SS109?

Let’s be honest.  I’m sure I have 30 or 40 rounds squirreled away in case I’m wrong and the Zombie Apocalypse arrives leaving me to deal with Mad Max wearing frying pan armor.  If you don’t need SS109 now, you will not need it in the future.

See my 7 March post for my letter!

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