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Gender: Male
Hometown: Eastern North Carolina
Home country: United States
Current location: Eastern NC
Member since: Wed Dec 1, 2004, 03:09 PM
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The only person angry in this thread is you.

The ATF made the right decision in pulling the proposal, for the reasons I outlined in the OP. M855 is no more dangerous than any other .223, or .243, or .308 (and semiauto range-toy "pistols" exist in those calibers too, JSYK).

And this particular contention is *ludicrous*.

"I then countered that with rapid fire ability, due relatively low recoil of a handgun firing greentips at a fixed spot, a couple could penetrate level III in same spot. And, how other rifles with higher recoil - gained by heavier bullets - could not penetrate level III bpvs by concentrating fire on one spot, due to rifle rise. "

A stockless .223 "pistol" recoils considerably more than a full-length AR, and is considerably harder to aim. Less mass, less moment of rotational inertia, no shoulder-and-cheek weld, more wobble, more difficulty in tracking the dot from shot to shot.

Blathering about drawing from concealment and putting several rounds in one hole in a second using a shorty AR "pistol" is like talking about shooting an Olympic-level skeet score with a stockless short-barreled PGO shotgun. Not. Gonna. Happen. Even Jerry Fricking Miculek can't do that. And anyone who *could* somehow do that could just shoot their intended victim in an unarmored region instead, much faster. If you can shoot 0.25-sec splits while hitting a dime-sized target with an AR pistol, how fast are your splits on an 8" paper plate at the same distance?

If you can do that, you should quit your day job and go kick everyone else's ass in every top-level practical shooting competition in the world.

Because M855 is lead-core *NON* AP, and if it can be designated AP under the new framework

then pretty much any full metal jacketed .223, or .243, or .308 rifle ammunition can be designated AP using the same framework.

I've been OK with the AP ban since it was passed in the 1980s, as I've pointed out here on DU since 2004 (and 5.56mm AP is indeed banned by that law, as I'm sure you know). But extending the AP ban to cover lead-core non-AP, even though the statute explicitly *excludes* lead-core ammo, turns the ban on its head.

To quote the law verbatim (18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(17)(B)):

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

(i) a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and which is constructed entirely (excluding the presence of traces of other substances) from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium; or

(ii) a full jacketed projectile larger than .22 caliber designed and intended for use in a handgun and whose jacket has a weight of more than 25 percent of the total weight of the projectile.

The "framework" document that ATF has since withdrawn would have gutted § 921(a)(17)(B)(ii) by pretending it applied only to rimfires under 40 grains, in contravention of the statute, and ignoring the "designed and intended for use in a handgun" language. More of a problem though is pretending that the "core...constructed entirely" language doesn't exist, because that opens the door to ban inexpensive bimetal-jacketed 55gr .223 range ammo, or plain 55gr M193 FMJ since it penetrates body armor as well as M855, or any FMJ up through .308 for that matter, including steel-jacketed 7.62x51mm.

The Dems who wrote this law wrote it to ban handgun ammo that would allow a .38 or 9mm to penetrate like a rifle round, not to ban rifle rounds, and they were insistent that it would and could never be stretched to ban rifle ammo (including M855 ball, which was on the market and which the law was worded to exempt). Gun owners didn't complain too much when it was stretched to include 5.56mm AP (M995) and 7.62x51mm AP, and we didn't even complain a lot when 5.45mm 7N6 was banned, but going after popular lead-core ball in .223 was a first-order shark jump.

As to the green tip, M855 ball is painted green to allow it to be distinguished from older 55gr M193 ball, because the old pre-A2 M16's had a slow 1:12" twist barrel and didn't stabilize the longer 62-grain loads very well resulting in poor accuracy. But it is ball (green tip), not AP (black tip).

Because they see it as caving to people they utterly despise.

Regardless of the merits, or lack thereof, of any particular gun control proposal with regards to addressing criminal violence, there seems one and only one heuristic determining whether or not to support it, and that is whether or not it goes after lawful owners.

Something that targets gun misuse *without* also targeting lawful owners tends to get a whole lot less support than something that targets lawful owners without addressing gun misuse at all. Compare the level of advocacy for prosecuting straw purchasers, or enhanced sentencing for career violent criminals who use guns in the commission of crimes, vs. the advocacy for banning the lawful ownership/use of big target rifles, or M855 non-AP .223, or legislating rifle handgrip shape, or harassing people with carry licenses.

Pointing out facts is always "rabid gun zealotry" if those facts

happen to run counter to any proposal that attacks peaceable gun owners. Even if the benefit (as in this case) is demonstrably zero lives saved. Even if the bans in question are based on fundamental misunderstandings of armor specifications, bullet construction, and Federal firearms law. Even if entirely imaginary and demonstrably ludicrous scenarios are invoked as their rationale.

If a ban cannot be supported based on facts (number of officers killed annually with M855, penetration ability of M855 vs. other common rifle bullets, whether or not M855's core is "constructed entirely" of steel vs. being made mostly of lead), then make stuff up. If these made-up scenarios (magic pseudo-SBR's that don't recoil, magic shooters who can hit a dime several times in a second with a stockless pseudo-rifle but who can't shoot for shit otherwise, imaginary bullpup .223's not much bigger than a longslide 9mm) still don't support the ban, then accuse nonsupporters of being insane, sexually deviant, or evil.

And at the end of the day, if the Federal agency that proposed the ban says "hmmmm, maybe we need to reconsider this" and pulls back, stick your fingers in your ears and pretend this had nothing to do with any flaws in the ban. Because any proposal that restricts the rights of gun owners must be righteous and justifiable and must be defended at any cost.

Good to hear. It appears sometimes facts can win out over the scaremongering.

I am still seeing a few media outlets calling M855 ball "armor piercing" so we may see this meme around for a while, but I think ultimately the only lasting outcome of this misadventure is going to be an uptick in M855 sales for a while.

It works that way in Call of Duty, amirite?

All you have to do is release the left trigger and pull it again!


Having fired both an AK "pistol" and a stockless PGO pump shotgun owned by friends, I am of the firm opinion that stockless firearms that aren't light enough to shoot from an isosceles or Weaver stance with a good sight picture are pretty useless compared to their stocked counterparts. But, what do I know. Maybe I just suck because I can't blaze round after round through the same quarter-inch hole at quarter-second intervals while yelling yee-hawww, or something.

Oh my....let's discuss.

I hardly know where to start, so let's take this sequentially.

"with a handgun an undetected shooter can get much closer to police (& all soft targets), thus compensating somewhat for the less energy on impact from the AR15."

An AR may be a small caliber rifle, but it is a bulky rifle, quite deep and wide through the receiver. I measured my AR last night; with a magazine inserted, it is almost a foot high to the top of the optic and would be two feet long even with the barrel and handguard chopped to a feeble 7.5". No matter what kind of coat you wear, that's going to be pretty darn obvious.

"It seems that up close, repeated braced pistol .223s would be more accurate than repeated braced .223s from an AR15 fired from a distance, due external ballistics from distance (or could be)."

I seriously doubt it. Cut-down rifle "pistols" may be fun range toys, but lack of accuracy and shootability, along with their greatly reduced power, are why they are range toys. They are immensely loud, they shoot big flames, and they are not nearly as stable a platform as a rifle is---a lot like their smoothbore counterpart, the pistol-grip-only shotgun.

"The interval between braced rapid fire handgun bullet hits could be what, a fifth of a second to a half second? momentum transfer from one or two 55 grainers usually isn't enough to push a man off, mainly his own reflex reaction, so dunno about much change in a stationary, perhaps sitting, target, after a second or two. And up close, shooter's aim is better &, as with all pistols, makes for a better shot for unprotected parts; solid hitting an unprotected part up close with a .223 is generally either a delayed death sentence or an amputation."

I can tell you have never shot a rifle-caliber stockless "pistol". You are talking about trying to put two or three bullets through the same hole a couple dozen feet away, after handicapping yourself with a stockless, wobbly goofball of a firearm that kicks like a .30 caliber and has the muzzle flash of a .50 even though it's a .22. The recoil of the first shot will walk the muzzle off that dime-sized spot you are trying to shoot.

Consider this: in the last eleven years, exactly 3 police officers were murdered through the vest using any .223 from any firearm. During the same period, 7 were shot through the vest using deer hunting calibers, and 385 were shot in the head or between armor panels using concealable non-rifle-based pistols. Your fantasy of bulky, obvious rifle-based pistols being more of a threat than actual pistols and revolvers is just that, a fantasy.

"What is new is that gun manufacturers are making handguns that use a 5.56 mm 'green tip.' "

Baloney. Handguns shooting .223 Remington have been around since the 1970s, and AR-15-based pistols in .223 have been on the civilian market since 1992. The first one, the Olympic Arms OA-93, was smaller than the ones on the market today due to the lack of a buffer tube, which it did away with by using a proprietary upper. Just like the ones still sold today, it was an impractical, goofball range toy and hard to hit anything with.

Olympic Arms OA-93, 1992

Olympic Arms OA-98 (1998)

That, ATF says, violates the Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act of 1985 that aimed to ban armor piercing bullets. "The AR-based handguns and rifles utilize the same magazines and share identical receivers," the ATF wrote.. "These AR-type handguns were not commercially available when the armor piercing ammunition exemption was granted in 1986. To ensure consistency, upon final implementation of the sporting purpose framework outlined above, ATF must withdraw the exemptions for 5.56 mm "green tip" ammunition, including both the SS109 and M855 cartridges."

Since the law in question states that lead-core and partial-lead-core ammunition is not armor-piercing, and since the M855/SS109 is 80% lead by weight with only a tiny bit of steel in the core (about the mass of two BB's) and is classified as non-armor-piercing by the military, the BATFE jumped the shark hard by going after this now. Along with the M855 announcement, they published a "framework" document claiming much broader powers to ban ammunition than the law granted. Specifically, they have discarded the lead-core exemption, they have limited the .22-caliber-jacket-mass exemption to rimfires under 40 grains even though the law exempts all .22's from that rule, and they appear to be going by a new standard that boils down to "Can it penetrate a non-rifle-resistant vest, and is there any multi-shot handgun that can fire it." The Democratic authors of the ban back in 1986 were emphatic that the law could and should never be interpreted in this way, and this interpretation violates the clear text of the statute, so I see this as a huge miscalculation by the BATFE and gun control advocates. The exact same rationale being used to ban M855 can ban M193, or bimetal-jacketed .223 plinking ammo, or .243 Winchester FMJ, for that matter.

"Final concern is, what is the green tip bullet needed for? the armed tyranny invasion?"

I have rarely laughed out loud at a post on DU, but I laughed at this one. M855 is the same bullet that the media has been decrying for years as "not lethal enough for military use" due to its lousy performance from shorter barrels and its limited wounding ability, but it's now some kind of mythic super-ammo with the Green Tip of Power?

M855 is not armor-piercing, but rather plain ball (green tip); armor piercing is black tip (M995). If you shoot a plate of AR500 steel armor (commonly used for shooting range targets in addition to its military uses), M193 and M855 will disintegrate whereas M995 will punch a hole through it. M995 will also punch through NIJ Level III hard armor, whereas M193 and M855 will not.

62-grain M855 FMJ is popular among civilian shooters because it (1) it has a higher ballistic coefficient than 55-grain M193 FMJ, making it superior for target shooting out to 600 yards or so, and (2) it is cheap, because the military is ditching it since it doesn't work all that well. Although listening to the silliness in the last week or so, I wouldn't be surprised if some percentage of buyers are gullible enough to actually think it is some sort of AP...

They already do (Steyr AUG and IMI Tavor).

"when some gun manufacturer comes up with a bullpup pistol version, what then?"

They already do; the civilian variants of the Steyr AUG and the IMI Tavor.

Steyr AUG

I've wanted an AUG since 1989, but unfortunately Bush the Elder and his arch-right-wing "drug czar" William J. Bennett got AUG importion banned before I was old enough to buy one, so I eventually ended up with an AR instead. They now make AUG's domestically, so I'll own one someday, unless you guys get your way and ban domestic production too (make mine an A3 flattop version with an Aimpoint, please).

But notice the profound size difference between the real 16"-barrel .223 bullpup (which is as small and light as they could figure out how to make one) and the imaginary gun from Deviantart (awesome site, btw, but you have to keep in mind that unicorns and Detonics-sized .223's aren't real):

Imaginary bullpup .223:

Real bullpup .223:

Believe me, if it were feasible to make a .223 action as light and compact as shown in the Deviantart drawing, it'd be even more popular as the basis of lighter, more compact .223 rifles. Thing is, there are fundamental engineering reasons why even a bullpup .223 built from the most advanced materials cannot be 16.5" long with a 16" barrel. A Browning-style tilting barrel system (shown, although the artist didn't allow room in the receiver for that barrel to tilt) is compact, but not strong enough to handle the bolt thrust from a rifle cartridge, with a working pressure over 55,000 pounds per square inch. Also notice that the front of the magazine is in *front* of the rear of the barrel, meaning that the imaginary design postulates pulling the cartridges out of the magazine from the rear (which has been done with short, fat pistol cartridges, but I don't think it's been done successfully with a rifle round). AFAIK, not even single-shot break-open .223's (e.g. Thompson-Center Contender) are that short.

But let's say that fundamental breakthroughs in materials science did allow you to make a .223 or .308 pistol that small, and let's further imagine it had onboard gyroscopic stabilizers and whatnot that made it easier to shoot. How would even that justify the ban on 80%-lead M855, which penetrates just like other .223, .243, or .308 lead-core non-AP, including plain Walmart FMJ and M193? M855 is stopped by properly constructed NIJ III (which is tested against steel-jacketed 7.62x51mm FMJ) and M855 will splatter against AR500 plate just like other non-AP will. Postulating imaginary pistols that don't and probably can't exist doesn't change the pesky fact that M855 isn't an armor-piercing round. Also keep in mind that concealable 9mm handguns aren't 16" or 20" long overall, they're 5"-9" long overall, and .223 acts like a .22 rimfire out of any barrel that short.

Hey, they admitted that AR-15 rifles are typically used by target shooters and hunters.

"Until now, the powerful “M855 green tip” bullet has been legal for use in AR-15 semiautomatic rifles, typically used by target shooters and hunters."

Hey, they admitted that AR-15 rifles are typically used by target shooters and hunters. Nice to see facts breaking through the facade...

"the gun industry’s reckless development of new handguns that use the bullet — criminals prefer handguns over rifles — has led the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to sensibly propose banning it in the name of greater gun safety."

The "pistols" in question aren't regular, concealable handguns, but are essentially a full sized AR-15 rifle with a bare buffer tube or arm brace instead of a shoulder stock and a shorter barrel. So they are shorter than a full length rifle, but are still as bulky as a full sized AR-15 and way too big to realistically conceal on the person and deploy in a hurry. Visual aid (pictured without sights, since the owner's choice of sight or optic is usually added after purchase):


Even the 7" barreled version is still nearly two feet long overall (23"), and the 10.5" barrel version is 26.5" long, longer than the legal minimum length for an actual rifle, and 10-11" from top to bottom. By comparison, a Glock 19 9mm is 7.3" long and 5" high, and that is not a particularly small gun (it's considered a midsize pistol).

The dumbest thing about all of this is that out of a pistol-length barrel, a .223 wastes half or more of its potential muzzle energy making noise and flame instead of accelerating the bullet, as I mentioned upthread. In a true rifle, M855 is going between 3000 and 3100 ft/sec out of a 20" barrel or 2850-2900 ft/sec out of a 16" barrel, and carries 1120-1320 ft-lb of energy at muzzle exit. Out of an 11" barrel, it manages only 2650 ft/sec or so (967 ft-lb) at muzzle exit, and a 7" barrel manages only ~2200 ft/sec (670 ft-lb). So not only are they far harder to shoot accurately than an actual rifle, but the shorter AR-15 "pistols" are only about half as powerful as a full-length AR-15 even using the exact same ammunition. To me, that pretty much delegates them to range-toy and paper-punching status, since .223 is the least powerful of common rifle cartridges to begin with.

Now one of *these* rifle-caliber pistols can be concealed, and they are available in .243 Winchester, etc. up through .375 JDJ and .45-70 Government. But they suffer the same barrel-length handicap as any other rifle-caliber pistol; rifle cartridges are made for rifle-length barrels, and they need that length to attain rifle velocities.
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