This is really a fairly intricate legal concern on the federal level in the United States. The specific text is important in this case given that the United States defines armor piercing ammunition not by capability but by physical characteristics.
US Code Title 18 Chapter 44 Section 921 CRIMINAL OFFENSES AND CRIMINAL TREATMENT
(17)( A) The term “ammo” means ammo or cartridge cases, guides, bullets, or propellent powder created for usage in any firearm.
( B) The term “armor piercing ammo” suggests–
( i) a projectile or projectile core which might be utilized in a handgun and which is constructed completely (excluding the existence of traces of other compounds) from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or diminished uranium; or
( ii) a complete jacketed projectile larger than.22 quality developed and intended for use in a pistol and whose jacket weighes more than 25 percent of the overall weight of the projectile.
( C) The term “armor piercing ammunition” does not consist of shotgun shot needed by Federal or State environmental or game guidelines for searching purposes, a frangible projectile developed for target shooting, a projectile which the Attorney General discovers is mainly planned to be utilized for sporting purposes, or any other projectile or projectile core which the Attorney General finds is intended to be utilized for industrial purposes, including a charge used in an oil and gas well perforating gadget.
So let’s evaluate this bit of United States code. I’ll note what doesn’t qualify as armor piercing ammunition by meaning.
- Shotgun ammunition of any type. On the federal level, all shotgun ammunition is excused from armor piercing guidelines.
- Rifle ammunition which does satisfy the construction products requirements noted for AP ammunition, however can not be chambered in a handgun which has actually been standardized for the usage of United States citizens.
- Ammunition under the designations of.30-06 M2AP and 5.56 x45 M855 have received specific exemptions since the Attorney general of the United States has found these 2 types of ammunition to have sporting purposes.
So any ammunition that fulfills those construction requirements and can be fired from a pistol is legally thought about armor piercing. It is legal to purchase and have armor piercing ammo, but it is prohibited to offer armor piercing ammo. That means you can have it, however nobody can sell it to you.
Now the more interesting concern is, what do you do if you want ammo which can pierce armor, but isn’t lawfully armor piercing?
First Off you can buy a rifle. Bullets of almost every type will permeate soft body armor when projectile effect speed exceeds about 2000-2100 feet per second. Such velocities are common for almost every non-rimfire and non-pistol quality rifle. 1/4 inch thick steel plate armor can be permeated by bullets with an effect velocity of approximately 3100-3200 feet per second. Ceramic based plate armor fares a bit better and is much more difficult to permeate, particularly customized bullets are required. Fortunately ceramic plate armor isn’t particularly typical outside of the military and very specific sections of police. So rifles are normally the go to option for permeating body armor.
Handguns on the other hand are more intriguing from a technical perspective. The best you’ll be able to permeate is type IIIa soft armor, normally Kevlar or Dyneema based, which likewise occurs to be the most common armor in basic use. IIIa armor is very successful versus typically built lead core bullets, so unique but not legally armor piercing ammo will be required. There are a number of options to this issue.
The very first option is to increase projectile velocity by reducing projectile mass. A lighter than normal projectile is always simpler to accelerate. If you can get your projectile going around 2000-2100 feet per second, a regular handgun bullet will penetrate soft armor much like the rifles mentioned above.
The most typical way of decreasing projectile mass involves utilizing a totally copper bullet. Copper is less dense than lead. This means a copper bullet of the exact same size and length as a lead bullet will be much lighter and as a repercussion, can be propelled much faster by the exact same powder charge. Due to the reality that monolithic copper bullets do not really have coats, they can’t legally fall under the 2nd part of the armor piercing definition.
Additionally you could use a hard however incredibly low density metal for the bullet core, such as aluminum or titanium. Certain kinds of 5.7 x28 ammo use aluminum cores.
The 2nd technique to beating soft body armor with pistols involves utilizing still reasonably high velocity bullets, however solidifying them versus deformation. Effect velocities around 1700 feet per second are ideal for this path. Specific 7.62 x25 tokarev ammo takes this method by using steel jacketed bullets. The letter of the law did discuss steel cores, however absolutely nothing about steel coats.
The 3rd solution to beating soft armor with a pistol is simply to get an actually substantial pistol. Specific 44 magnum loads and rounds like.454 Casull toss lead bullets with high sectional density and a great deal of kinetic energy. At a particular point, soft body armor simply can’t protect the user. The bullets will either penetrate the armor or deform the armor so badly the armor itself penetrates and concusses the body.