Hollow Point Handgun Ammunition is Not Illegal (HP Ammo)

Many people say that hollow point (HP) handgun ammunition is illegal to own and use in Canada. So far no one has been able to show where in the law it says this is illegal. The only reference seems to be that to import it requires a permit [Explosives Act]. Once it is imported there appears to be no restictions on its use. This is not legal advise, read on and decide for yourself.

Date: Thu, 5 Mar 1998 12:59:01 -0600
From: "David A. Tomlinson, NFA"
Subject: Re: CCW -- For a Bearbaiter

[part about CCW snipped -- Y4]

on hollowpoints:

"It is an offence under the Explosives Act regulations to import, manufacture,
distribute, sell, or buy this type of ammunition (for use in a pistol)..."

False data. The Explosives Branch has the authority to classify cartridges, and if it refuses to classify a cartridge as a "permitted explosive" then that cartridge cannot be imported. If it has been classified as a "permitted explosive" and imported (often with a little sticker on each box saying "for use in rifles only"), then the cartridges CAN be used in handguns, because the only possible charge is possession of an explosive which is not a "permitted explosive."

Also, any HP HG cartridge that was made in Canada is OK, because the Explosives Branch is not vested with the power to classify them.

There is a very old letter from them, stating that the rationale is the "Hague Convention" which deals solely with ammunition for use in war, and which has nothing whatever to do with hunting, police or target firearm usage.

Many handgun cartridges (9mm, 10mm, .38 Super, .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, etc.) which are also commonly used in rifles would be able to come in without the laborious, pointless and expensive application of "For use in rifles only" stickers -- which have no effect whatever once the cartridges have cleared Customs anyway.

By dropping this ill-founded idea, police importation of cartridges would be facilitated, much pointless paperwork could be eliminated, and no visible problems would be created.

Dave Tomlinson, NFA

See Cdn-Firearms Digest, March 5 1998, Volume 02, Number 246 for above original text: http://teapot.usask.ca/cdn-firearms/Digests/v02n200-299/v02n246.txt  

See also Vol.2 No.262, No.268 and No.273 for some other references to hollow point ammunition below:

From Cdn-Firearms Digest Vol 2 Number 262  

Date: Thu, 12 Mar 1998 23:15:24 -0600
From: Rod Regier
Subject: re: HP ammo in handguns

Mike Sanders made a recent posting on this topic.

I would recommend that he get a copy of the specific CC or regulation his source believes is applicable, or at least the number of CC section, regulation or OIC.

To my knowledge, nothing new regarding *hollowpoint* handgun ammo was introduced during Kim Campbell's reign as Minister of (In)Justice.

There were several OIC's, some of which talked about *other* kinds of handgun ammo.

When I first tried to research this very topic over 10 years ago, I got all sorts of wrong info from the RCMP and other allegedly knowledgeable sources until I finally found the actual EMR Explosives Branch Bulletin regarding HP handgun ammo.

It was kind of like playing the party game "gossip", but with public servants who might at some future date use their version of the "gossip" to determine if they would arrest or harrass a member of the public :-(

Just another vivid demonstration of how looney laws and regulations get once they wander away from describing behaviour or actions that the vast majority of the public would agree is wrong (murder, assault, robbery versus "owning a handgun with the wrong bore size", "owning a semi-auto long gun that's ugly", etc).


Dave Tomlinson has already pointed out in his recently posted analysis that EMR Explosive Branch authority in that area really only extends to approval or denial of importation of ammunition. Once it has been legally imported into the country, they lose control. They have no control over privately assembled ammunition (assuming you have not been prohibited by a court order from owning reloading components or ammunition).

- --

Rod Regier


Date: Thu, 12 Mar 1998 23:15:45 -0600
From: "David A. Tomlinson, NFA" 
Subject: Re: Hollow point ammo in handguns

Seems to me I read in the digest where it is LEGAL to use hollow point bullets in handguns.

Talked to a person who should know today. He claimed that the use of hollow point bullets in handguns is definitely NOT LEGAL. That the law on this was passed back in Kim Campbell's day.


There is no such law. Go back and challenge him to come up with a reference.

Dave Tomlinson, NFA

From Cdn-Firearms Digest Vol 2 Number 268  

Date: Mon, 16 Mar 1998 06:29:06 -0600
From: Keith P. de Solla
Subject: Re: Hollow point handgun ammunition

Hi, Bill,

Interesting. The full text of the Explosives Act is available from the Dept. of Justice at:


Chapter E-17 makes no specific reference to hollow-point (or any other) ammunition. Section 21 merely states that *any* violations of the Explosives Act may result in a fine of $10,000 and/or six months in prison.

CSC599 amends the Explosives Act, and sets out a ban on the import of any hollow-point handgun ammunition without an Explosives Importation Permit (as set out in the Table accompanying Section 148).

This statute applies (or, at any rate, _seems_ to apply) only to the import of hollow-point ammunition, not to its domestic manufacture.

I talked to the Chief Inspector at EMR to confirm my understanding of what the law is & he agreed with what I believed the regulations to really be:

Keep in mind this was discussed verbally and is not worth the paper it wasn't written on.

- -keith

Keith P. de Solla, P.Eng - NFA Field Officer

From Cdn-Firearms Digest Vol 2 Number 273  

Additionally, I have some old hollowpoint 45ACP ammunition. Is it illegal for me to posess this?


Dave Tomlinson, NFA

Explosives Act -- CHAPTER E-17 at Justice Canada website  

Explosives Regulations -- C.R.C., C. 599 at Justice Canada website