Federal Ammunition Laws

Prohibited Purchasers

The federally prohibited persons for firearms categories in 18 U.S. Code § 922 also apply to ammunition.

Minimum Age Requirements

Dealers may not sell or deliver a handgun or ammunition for a handgun to any person the dealer has reasonable cause to believe is under age 21. Unlicensed persons may not sell, deliver or otherwise transfer a handgun or handgun ammunition to any person the transferor knows or has reasonable cause to believe is under age 18. There are exceptions for the temporary transfer and possession of handguns and handgun ammunition for specified activities, including employment, ranching, farming, target practice and hunting.

Armor-Piercing Ammunition

Federal law prohibits the manufacture, importation, sale or delivery of armor-piercing ammunition, with very limited exceptions. Armor-piercing or metal-piercing ammunition is designed primarily to penetrate metal or armor, including body armor commonly worn by police officers. (18 U.S.C. § 92118 U.S.C. § 922 and 27 CFR § 478.37)

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.

Firearms Ammunition: What Beginners Should Know

Firearms Ammunition: What Beginners Should Know

Bob Campbell — December 10, 2020

Defensive Ammunition: Keep It Simple

Defensive Ammunition: Keep It Simple

John Caile — June 21, 2019

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