ARMOR PIERCING AMMUNITION
Federal Firearms Licensees and others concerned:
On August 28, 1986, the President signed Public Law 99-408
(100 Stat. 920) which regulates the manufacture,
importation and sale of armor piercing ammunition.
The Act amends chapter 44 of title 18, United States Code
to define the term armor piercing ammunition as "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. Such term
does not include shotgun shot required by Federal or State
environmental or game regulations for hunting purposes, a
frangible projectile designed for target shooting, a
projectile which the Secretary finds is primarily intended
to be used for sporting purposes, or any other projectile
or projectile core which the Secretary finds is intended
to be used for industrial purposes, including a charge
used in an oil and gas well perforating device."
Provisions of Public Law 99-408 provide that:
1. No person may manufacture or import armor piercing
ammunition and no manufacturer or importer may
sell or deliver such ammunition except:
a. for the use of the United States or any
department or agency thereof or any State or
any department, agency or political sub-
b. for the purposes of exportation; or
c. for the purposes of testing or experimentation
as authorized by the Director.
2. Manufacturers and importers of armor piercing
ammunition must be licensed by the Bureau. Such
licenses have a fee of $1,000 per year.
3. Licensed importers and licensed manufacturers
must mark all armor piercing projectiles and
packages containing such projectiles for distri-
4. The Director may, after notice and opportunity for
hearing, revoke the license of a licensed dealer
who willfully transfers armor piercing ammunition.
The Bureau is issuing temporary regulations which will be
effective on the date of publication in the Federal
Register, except for the licensing provisions which will
be effective December 1, 1986.
Regulatory provisions will establish recordkeeping
requirements for all armor piercing ammunition
dispositions and procedures for approval to receive armor
piercing ammunition for testing or experimentation.
Regulations will establish the marking requirements for
armor piercing projectiles and packages containing such
Regulations promulgated under the Act will allow for armor
piercing ammunition received and maintained by licensed
dealers as business inventory prior to August 28, 1986, to
be transferred to any department or agency of the United
States or any State or political subdivision thereof if a
record of such ammunition is maintained in the form and
manner prescribed by regulation.
As required by the Act, the Director is hereunder
furnishing each licensed dealer information defining
projectiles considered armor piercing. Such information
is not all-inclusive for the purposes of the prohibition
on manufacture, importation, or sale or delivery by a
manufacturer or importer of such ammunition or 18 U.S.C.
929 relating to criminal misuse of armor piercing
List of Armor Piercing Ammunition
The following is an initial listing of projectiles
considered armor piercing.
1. KTW ammunition, all calibers. (Identified by a green
coating on the projectile).
2. ARCANE ammunition, all calibers. (Identified by a
pointed bronze or brass projectile).
3. THV ammunition, all calibers. (Identified by a brass
or bronze projectile and having a head stamp
containing the letters SFM and THV).
4. Czechoslovakian manufactured 9mm Parabellum (Luger)
ammunition having an iron or steel bullet core.
(Identified by a cupro nickel jacket and a head stamp
containing a triangle, star and dates of 49, 50, 51 or
52. This bullet is attracted to a magnet).
5. German manufactured 9mm Parabellum (Luger) ammunition
having an iron or steel bullet core. (Original
packaging is marked Pistolenpatronen 08 m.E. This
bullet is attracted to a magnet).
6. MSC .25ACP caliber ammunition. (Identified by a
hollow point bronze bullet).
7. Black Steel Armor Piercing Ammunition as produced by
National Cartridge, Atlanta, Georgia.
8. Black Steel Metal Piercing Ammunition as produced by
National Cartridge, Atlanta, Georgia.
9. 7.62mm NATO AP. (Identified by black coloring on the
bullet tip. This ammunition is produced in various
NATO countries. The U.S. military designation is M61
10. 7.62mm NATO SLAP. (Identified by a projectile having
a plastic sabot around a hard penetrator. The
penetrator protrudes above the sabot and is similar
in appearance to a Remington accelerator cartridge).
Inquiries regarding this circular should refer to its
number and be addressed to the Associate Director
(Compliance Operations) Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and
Firearms, P.O. Box 189, Washington, DC 20044-0189.