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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
Number of posts: 11,607

Journal Archives

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.

If I may point out...

"What I said was that most of the gun control orgs are engaged in other efforts, efforts that have a chance of making a difference. Anyone who is serious about gun control realizes Assault Weapons can't be banned because they cannot be properly defined and any definition can usually be overcome with minor design changes.

And yet those gun control orgs rammed through a harshly punitive "assault weapon" ban in 2013 in Maryland, did they not? Putting a protruding handgrip on a new Ruger Mini-14 in your state is now a serious crime. Your new ban not only outlaws the most popular target rifles in America, it even outlaws Olympics-style target pistols (Hammerli, Benelli, etc.) due to the forward mounted magazine.


I have yet to read of a gun control organization saying such bans are wrong or misguided or should be opposed, just sometimes that they're not practical nationwide "yet" so they're not a priority "for now". Bloomberg's Everytown organization, the Brady Campaign, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and the Violence Policy Center have all made it quite clear that such bans are a legislative priority, and they ram them through every chance they get (as in Maryland), even though rifles are consistently the least misused of all weapons nationwide.

You are correct that magazine bans are a separate issue, and one likely to spur even more backlash (since >10-round magazines are used in many, many more firearms than semiauto rifles), but they are often introduced alongside aesthetic/ergonomic feature bans and are equally pointless.

"Yes, I've had experience with Maryland's "peaceable gun-owners." To pick just one instance, a co-worker - a PG County resident - was told by his supervisor that his work was sub-standard and that he was headed for a PIP. Said worker didn't take it well, threatened his supervisor and then went back to his cubicle, called the gun dealer he deals with, and asked about purchasing a specific pistol and ammunition. Fortunately a co-worker overheard him and alerted security. He didn't deny it. They escorted him out of the building and fired him. He's still out there somewhere and I'm sure his supervisor spent a few very nervous months before he felt safe again. "

If he were calling a gun dealer to ostensibly buy a gun in order to commit a crime, doesn't that imply that he didn't already own same?

Even if your perception of him as a gun enthusiast were correct, though, how is stereotyping 80+ million people by the actions of your former coworker any different from stereotyping any other group by the actions of a tiny minority of bad apples? Gun-violence perpetrators skew very heavily (>90%) toward people with long records of participation in violent crime and impulse-control issues. At the other end of the spectrum, concealed carry licenses are a decent statistical proxy for gun enthusiasts, and in most states that track crimes by CCW holders, our per-capita rate of violent crime tends to be far lower than the population at large, and usually even lower than that of LEO's. That's not to excuse any wrongdoing by anyone, but if your aim is to reduce violent crime and save lives, it seems to me that focusing on those who are not the problem isn't going to help one iota, and will actually be counterproductive due to diversion of resources and political capital away from more productive approaches.

The Bush/Cheney secret blacklists were and are a blight on civil liberties

if people on them are denied the free exercise of their rights. It is not a list of terrorists or terror suspects.

ACLU: U.S. Government "No Fly List" Is Unconstitutional and Ineffective

ACLU: Watchlists are bloated and overinclusive

San Francisco Chronicle: No-Fly Blacklist Snares Political Activists

Marshals: Innocent People Placed On 'Watch List' To Meet Quota

Schneier: Infants on the Terrorist Watch List

The Nation: Bush's Lingering Blacklist

I have mentioned this before, but should people on the terrah blacklist have keys and access badges at local schools? Should they be allowed to work at airports, sports stadiums, hospitals, and banks? Should they be allowed to fly airplanes, drive forty thousand pounds of gasoline through your hometown, buy fertilizer and diesel fuel, teach at mosques, work at chemical plants, or adopt children?

Here's the problem: These aren't lists of "known or suspected terrorists"; that description is an intentionally deceptive Bushism. They are lists of people who got put on a list for some reason---traveling out of the country, or innocently attending certain mosques, or protesting the Iraq war, or getting involved in the environmental movement, or looking perturbed at a TSA agent, or simply to meet someone's daily quota of new names. Senator Edward Kennedy got tangled up by the secret blacklist for a while, and it took a personal phone call to the head of DHS to get his name cleared. There are a few names on the list who are legitimate suspects, but they are known as such from other sources, not from the terrah blacklists.

If someone is an actual terrorist, they should be arrested and imprisoned/deported. If they are a terror suspect, they should be investigated and either arrested for any crimes uncovered, or cleared. Revoking civil liberties without trial or due process is downright Orwellian.

In the other thread, you said it's ridiculous to think gun controllers want to ban "assault weapons"

You emphatically stated that gun owners' perception that AR-15's and >10-round magazines are under attack is the result of paranoia and of "demonizing lies" on the part of the NRA, and that the only gun control activists who still advocate for AWB's are newbies who quickly learn better.

Then you turn right around and praise your new-for-2013 ban on "assault weapons" and over-10-round magazines in Maryland and bemoan the fact that some people are fighting the ban. So forgive me for thinking that you're trying to play us.

FWIW, Maryland had only 5 rifle murders in 2012, the last year before your new laws were rammed through, out of 365 murders in total. That's 1.36% of Maryland murders, for all types of rifles combined. Your 5 rifle murders compare to 45 with knives and other edged weapons, 28 with blunt objects/rope/etc., and 15 with shoes and bare hands. Your precious AR-15 ban wasn't aimed at saving lives, or targeting criminals; it was aimed squarely at Maryland's peaceable gun enthusiasts.

Like these terrorists?

ACLU: U.S. Government "No Fly List" Is Unconstitutional and Ineffective

ACLU: Watchlists are bloated and overinclusive

San Francisco Chronicle: No-Fly Blacklist Snares Political Activists

Marshals: Innocent People Placed On 'Watch List' To Meet Quota

Schneier: Infants on the Terrorist Watch List

Funny how the Bush/Cheney Administration's war on civil liberties, as conceived and aggressively advocated by the Bush/Cheney Justice Department, suddenly becomes wonderful and "progressive" when somebody waves the "ZOMG gunz" flag.


CRS Report for Congress
Order Code RL33011

Terrorist Screening and Brady Background Checks for Firearms
July 25, 2005

William J. Krouse
Specialist in Domestic Security
Domestic Social Policy Division

Historically, terrorist watch list checks were not part of the firearms background check process implemented pursuant to the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act. Such watch lists were not checked, because being a known or suspected terrorist is not a disqualifying factor for firearm transfer/possession eligibility under current federal or state law. Nevertheless, if a person is a known or suspected terrorist, it suggests that there may be an underlying factor (e.g., illegal immigration or fugitive status) that could bar him from legal firearms possession. For a time, moreover, all Brady background check records for approved firearm transfers were destroyed almost immediately, precluding the opportunity to used the background check system to screen for known and suspected terrorists.

Consequently, three issues emerged regarding Brady background checks following the 9/11 attacks. First, should approved firearm transfer records be maintained on a temporary basis to determine whether persons of interest in counterterrorism investigations had previously obtained firearms improperly? Second, should terrorist watch list checks be incorporated statutorily into the Brady background check process? Third, should persons watch-listed as known or suspected terrorists be prohibited statutorily from possessing firearms?

In February 2004, the FBI reportedly modified its National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) operating procedures to retain NICS records temporarily for approved transfers that result in terrorist watch list hits, and to pass that information on to FBI investigators on the Joint Terrorism Task Forces. In addition, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has directed the DOJ Office of Legal Policy to form a working group to review federal gun laws---particularly in regard to Brady background checks---to determine whether additional authority should be sought to prevent firearms transfers to known and suspected terrorists.

In the 109th Congress, several related pieces of legislation have been introduced that are related to NICS procedures and terrorist watch lists. The Terrorist Apprehension and Record Retention Act of 2005 (S. 578/H.R. 1225), introduced by Senator Frank Lautenberg and Representative John Conyers, would authorize the retention of all related records for at least 10 years, among other things. In addition, Representative Peter King introduced H.R. 1168, a bill that would require the Attorney General to promulgate regulations to preserve records of terrorist- and gangrelated record hits during such background checks until they were provided to the FBI. Representative Carolyn McCarthy introduced H.R. 1195, a bill that would make it unlawful for anyone to transfer a firearm to a person who was on the “No Fly” lists maintained by the Transportation Security Administration.


Prior to HSPD-6, DOJ initiated, in February 2002, a NICS transaction audit to determine whether prohibited aliens (noncitizens) were being improperly transferred firearms.21 As part of this audit, NICS procedures were changed, so that NICS examiners were informed of VGTOF hits. Effective February 2004, the FBI reportedly changed its NICS operating procedures to inform NICS examiners of VGTOF hits for known and suspected terrorists.22 In non-Point of Contact (non- POC) states, NICS staff validate terrorism-related VGTOF hits by contacting TSC staff. The latter have greater access to identifiers in terrorist files, with which known and suspected terrorists can be more positively identified. In full and partial POC states, the law enforcement officials who conduct firearms-related background checks under the Brady Act contact TSC staff directly. In the case of valid hits, NICS staff delay the transactions for up to three business days and contact the FBI Counterterrorism Division to allow field agents to check for prohibiting factors.

They're not steel tipped, they're not armor piercing, and they won't penetrate the lowest level

of rifle-resistant armor (NIJ Level III, which is rated to stop steel-jacketed 7.62x51mm NATO).

Armor piercing 5.56mm is M995 (tungsten core) and has been banned for years. This is just an excuse to ban ordinary ball ammo, even though it is primarily *lead* core and therefore exempt from the ban on steel-core bullets.
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