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The 5.56 Ammo Controversy

5.56_ammo RS

There is a lot of rhetoric flying around from both sides of the aisle. Not just because I’m in the firearms industry, but I’ve got to say the BATFE is wrong on this one. Let’s look at the history of the round of ammunition and describe its construction to understand why. For most of its life the AR frame rifle was designed for, and has fired, a standard 5.56 55 grain Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) bullet. The military has used it since first entering inventory. In our recent conflicts they determined that the 55 grain bullet was fine against human targets but did not have enough weight to penetrate glass, car doors, and other objects and continue its path to hit a human target on the other side. So they developed the 62 grain Penetrator, or Green Tip (to differentiate it from the standard round), 5.56 round. So how are they different?

The 55 grain FMJ is a copper plated bullet with a lead core. The Penetrator round is copper plated bullet with a steel tip for penetration and still has a lead core. So how did the BATFE decide this was armor piercing? They changed the definition. Traditionally armor piercing rounds have something other than a lead core, like steel or depleted uranium or some other hard material. By that definition the Green Tip is not armor piercing. Therefore their reasoning for banning the ammunition is wrong.

So the question remains: Will the ammunition be banned? There is a groundswell of grassroots opposition to the ban being led by the NRA and National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). Congress has weighed in with its own letter to the BATFE opposing the regulation change. My guess is that the majority of public comments also oppose the ban. That said, just because the public opposes the ban doesn’t mean the BATFE has to listen to them. They are a Federal Agency whose Director reports to the Attorney General who reports to the President. And I’m sure if the President says ban the ammunition they will. Right now the ammunition is flying off shelves if it can be found. And if it is subsequently banned I’d suspect there will be numerous lawsuits against the ban. We will continue to follow and provide updates.

With weather warming we start turning our thoughts to target shooting and for us that means sporting clays, one of the fastest growing shooting sports. So if you are a shotgun shooter during the hunting season and thinking about shooting some clays this spring and summer let’s give you some fundamentals to help you break more targets. Just like many things you do, how you start out can affect your performance. In sporting clays the Ready Position can determine whether or not you bust that target. There are six portions of the Ready Position: Stance, Balance, Hold Point, Draw Length, Barrel Orientation, and Visual Pickup Point. Let’s look at the first, stance.

Your feet should be positioned approximately shoulder width apart with the foot opposite your shooting shoulder slightly ahead of the other. This will lead to one of the other portions, balance. Once you have that, you want to face the point at which you want to break the target, not where it is coming from. Facing the break point and turning your upper torso toward the hold point will put you in a more natural position when you are ready to pull the trigger. We’ll follow up next week with balance.

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