Bill to change definition of armor-piercing bullets advances

By Ashley Steeb

INDIANAPOLIS—Indiana’s law enforcement agencies would be allowed to use ammunition currently banned if a bill to change the state’s definition of armor-piercing bullets becomes law.

Under House Bill 1095, the state would adopt the federal definition of armor-piercing bullets, which covers those made entirely of metal. Indiana has banned the use of all ammunition that would pierce a bulletproof vest or other similar barriers, but defines them as having a metal core and a plastic covering.

Rodric Bray, R-Martinsville, chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, examines a bulletproof vest used to test the American Eagle Syntech bullet. The bullet did not pierce the vest. Photo by Ashley Steeb,

Rep. Woody Burton, R-Whiteland, said police approached him about changing the law to allow them to use American Eagle Syntech bullets, which are metal with a plastic covering. However, they do not pierce bulletproof vests or other obstacles.

 Burton, author of HB 1095, testified before the Senate Committee on Judiciary Wednesday and said in the 1980s the military created bullets that could pierce almost any barrier.

“As a result of that, that technology of that time, we in Indiana said we do not want the public buying armor piercing bullets,” Burton said. “So, we banned them in Indiana. They could not be sold in Indiana.”

Burton said that when police approached him, they told him the Syntech bullet is safe in practice because it does not shatter like other hard-coated ammunition. He showed committee members a vest that was not penetrated by a Syntech bullet.

Law enforcement agencies and the military would still be the only ones allowed to use the bullets. The public is still prohibited from buying the Syntech bullets.

The bill passed the committee with an 8-0 vote. Earlier, it passed the House 95-1.

Ashley Steeb is a reporter for, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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