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All this gnashing of teeth over FedGov ammo purchases...

I'm involved in two email threads on this topic.  This is my general response:

Meh. They have armed agents. Armed agents need to practice, no?

And has it occurred to everyone that agencies are trying to get buys in with end-of-year funds to avoid sequestration-related shortages?

Now, you want to talk about *why* the Federal gov't has so many armed agents, *that's* a discussion I'm willing to have.

There's another conspiracy thread you guys apparently aren't privy to - that the Prez is essentially going to forbid ammunition manufacture, and make that expensive lead-alternative ammo, and restrict purchases (and stockages) to no more than 50 rounds per person, with lots of accounting paperwork tracking purchases and purchasers.

Which will make ammo more expensive.

So, they FedGov is buying now, while it's still cheap - which, will also divert production and consumption from the civil market, and drive up prices ahead of the administration's moves against ammo manufacturers.

There. Now *that's* a finely crafted conspiracy theory.

Which I just made up.


That is probably what it is, I know we had to spend our budget or lose it for next year (always thought THAT was a stupid policy, and still do - does nothing to reward intelligent capital expenditures)...anyway, going back in my memory, which is always dangerous, I remember The One saying at his inaugeration that he wanted "A civilian Security Force equal to and trained/equipped the same as the Armed Forces", and there were rumors of this 'force' being trained at Fort Benning. Could the One be thinking of ED'ing the Posse Comatitus Act after his defeat in November and declaring Martial Law???? Nah- I'm not paranoid with this guy.
Grumpy, that came from a speech he gave in CO, July 2, 2008.  That bit:  

The whole thing, although it may have been redacted from this (back in 08 when I looked for the transcript of his little talk, the "national security service" wording had been redacted):

I do think that the underlying "gnashing of teeth" on the ammo issue is more about 'why do we have all these armed agencies?"   Dept of Education has SWAT teams?  Now we find NOAA is actually an armed, rather than just uniformed, service?  How about National Institues of Health?  Are they too an armed service rather than only uniformed?  Heck, next we might find out that the UP Patent Office is an armed agency too. 

Given the amount of firearms practice local police (don't) get, I'm surprised the Feds are doing enough of it to legitimately need millions of rounds, as has been reported...   The notion of their doing the huge buy partly to deny production capacity for civilian uses had occurred to me, just not the effect on ammo pricing.

But, but, but.. they're stockpiling ammunition!

They have amassed an arsenal of deadly, high-powered assault weapons!

Nobody needs that much ammunition or an arsenal unless they were planning something violent!


Those phrases all sound kinda familiar to me, I'm sure I've heard them all before... Hmmmm.....
Our local Social Security Adminstration office has full time a uniformed ARMED guard.

Who are they worried about?  Angry geezers?  The "disabled" folks applying for "disablity" payments (for life, often on the flimsiest pretext), or the illegals getting SSN cards for their "anchor babies"?

Too many federal agencies have become militarized for no good reason.  It surely drives up the costs of doing business, at a time when we are broke. 

And, a SWAT team for the Department of Education?  We don't even need that department in the first place!  But, it might be a plan to send them out to advise their competition "Nice little home school you got here. Be a shame if anything happened to it."
John (NTA) I see your SSA office armed guard and raise you two. I drove the Mrs over to the local SSA office in beautifull downtown KCK a few weeks ago and the had three armed guards.  And they were not Federal Protective Service officers.  

As an aside they were very polite and helpful, even suggesting that I should leave my leatherman tool back in the truck before I went through the magnometer gizmo.  Which of course I did.


Rich in KCK


I'm rather curious as to why they are purchasing hollow-point ammo in bulk.  Do they actually use the higher priced ammo for their training and certification rather than just plain old ball or wadcutters like most of us poor non-governmental schlubs?

Also, I find it interesting that our military is prohibited from using hollow-point rounds in war, but our civilian law enforcement agencies can use forbidden types of ammunition against us civilians with virtual impunity.  Seems a tad backwards to me.

If the balloon went up domestically, wouldn't this mean our civilian/government army would be better equipped than our military army?  They carry the same weapons, but not the same ammunition.  Odd eh?
 Triarii - I found it curious as to why they are using expensive hollow point rather than cheper ball/wadcutter ammo on 'paper' targets as well.  Maybe it's the "Better a sheep as a lamb" theory of Federal fleecing procurement.  Also .357mag's??? I thought the federal handgun was either a 9mm para or a .40 S&W (except for the Marines who have gone back to the good ole M1911A .45ACP).
I wondered about the .357 SIG and 7.62 x 39. However, the document did seem to look typed-as in typewriter. Anyone else got an opinion on that. I'm not sure which would be worse: getting all worked up over a fraudulent document or finding out for sure that it's legit.
 Heh.  A single well-trained platoon of infantry could take down just about any major grouping of police types in the US.  The only challenge would be properly trained, equipped and led SWAT teams.

Cops don't know how to fight in groups.  They aren't trained for it.  Anyone who thinks that the police are going to act as anything other than a speedbump to trained infantry doesn't understand the police or infantry.

As for the hollow-points -  Law enforcement is allowed (even encouraged) to use expanding bullets. If law enforcement is shooting, they are supposed to shoot to kill. Expanding bullets tend to stay in the victim, ball ammo oft times goes through them and thus on to unintended places. Expanding bullets will richochet less and lose velocity (and mass) much more quickly after hitting something and therefore be less likely to cause casualties beyond the target. They are also less likely to penetrate multiple walls, etc. 

Your issue isn't with the ammunition.  It's with the underlying assumptions of policing in it's current state.


While I do indeed have an issue with the law enforcement vs. officer of the peace mindset, that is an aside to my pondering of why the government enforcers can use hollow-point ammunition on us civilians, while our military is forbidden to use that same ammunition in war.

Geneva convention applies to combantants but not to your own citizens,,, yadda, yadda.

I am well aware of the capabilities of the different types of ammunition.  I just find it odd that our "killers" aren't equipped with rounds as capable for doing the job as our "protectors".

That curiousity, as well as my question of why is the more expensive hollow-point being purchased in bulk for training hasn't been answered.  Unless it's the usual, "we don't care it's the end of the fiscal year budget so spend it all" mindset.



 John of Argghhh - thanks for the informed information - best I have read yet.

Triarii - two items of thought, 1)hollow points, even jacketed tend to jam in an automatic - not often, but more than a jacketed ball.  2) by John's discussion, hollowpoints have less range just due to aerodymanics.  From a long time ago, we qualified on the M-14 with NATO ball 7.62 at a target at 500 yds.  The '14 was known to be able to hit farther than that.  I can't see a hollow point 7.62 coming even close to that range.  An argument could be made in the spray and pray, shoot 'n skoot of urbam warfare for military hollow point, but your supply logistics would be a nightmare - better one type ammo that fits all situations - Geneva Convention be dam*ed.
Grumpy. the 7.62 round normally used by snipers was hollow point. It also had better ballistics than the standard 7.62 ball. As I recall, the sniper round was opitimized for sectional density as well as using a boat tail form.
 QM - can you back up that hollowpoint assertion?  That sounds like a prima facie LOW violation.
 Quartermaster - I was referring to the annual Marine Rifle Qualification where we had to qual at 100, 200 and 500 yds using standard NATO ball ammo and iron sights.  I had heard stories of the hollow point boat-tail round, but I never saw or shot one - wrote it off as a sea story..
@The Armorer at 4:59: I don't think it matters in the real world, as the 5.56 is famous for tumbling and coming apart when it gets a few inches into yer body.

  As I have written here before, sometimes it's good to be scrawny.  That is, if I face the bullet squarely, I am not thick enough, front to back, to cause the bullet to start tumbling before it makes a nice neat tiny exit wound.
 Actually, JTG, the ballistics of the new rounds are different, precisely to improve penetration and range.
John, it's my understanding that from casual association with the Army MTU that "ballistic holowpoints" such as used on the M852 Match round (168 grain Sierra hollow point) were blessed off since they did not have wound enhancing tendencies. The M118LR uses the 175 gr Sierra for long range work. Black Hills also makes a 5.56 mm match round with the 77 grain Sierra that I've heard the special ops guys were buying back in OIF days.  Prior to 9/11 at least, Army snipers used M118 Match or Special Ball loaded with a 173 grain boat tail bullet. The Wiki article on 7.62 x 51 NATO does describe the M118LR as intended for sniping, but I'll look for a better reference for you
 If they don't have "wound enhancing" tendencies, then they're legal and not hollowpoints in the manner implied here.

I admit that I am nothing near an expert on current small arms ammo.
The thing about the gnashing of teeths...

Well hell, we're not allowed to bite anyone, what else can we do with the dang things?
Re. type of ammo purchased. I read on another blog (can't recall where or I'd include a link) that the Feds had some problems with using lower-powered practice ammo vs. duty ammo and someone said "OK fine, just use the good stuff to qualify with." Apparently the practice rounds from El Cheapo Bang Stuff (probably Lesters - America's Cheapest Ammo "It Usually Works") caused equipment problems and shooter problems.