Breathing heavily and everything seems like a blur. You realize you are in the back of a squad car handcuffed. What just happened? You were in your first self-defense situation where you had to use your firearm against an attacker. The last thing on your mind is if you had hand-loaded or factory-loaded ammunition. The thought of only carrying factory-loaded self-defense ammunition has been a topic of discussion in the firearms community for years. We did some digging to see if there is any validity to it.
This article took a few rewrites because there is not enough evidence in the last 10-15 years to support online arguments. We decided to take a step back and look at the situation objectively.
The basis for any criminal case is, did a crime take place? If you shoot the right person for the right reason, it should not matter. If your self-defense shooting is justified, and for the right reason, the firearm or the ammo will not matter. After talking with a local police officer, he did mention a few things to expect when this happens. Expect to be arrested and taken down to the local station. You might be thinking, “why am I arrested?” I did not commit a crime. When the police officers arrive on the scene, they do not know what happened other than someone was shot, and you are the shooter. They need time to control the situation and gather evidence. The best thing you can do is go down to the station without argument, and ask for your lawyer.
We have established that if you shoot the right person for the right reason, a crime did not take place. Should you care if you used hand-loads or factory loaded ammunition? We found several court cases about using reloaded ammo in self-defense situations, but the most recent one that we could find was in the 1980s. We wondered why in the last 10-15 years; we had not seen any court cases involving reloaded ammo in self-defense cases. A few big things came to mind. There have been a lot of technological advances in the last 30 years, and there are many more self-defense ammunition offerings since the ’80s. With so many different bullets for just the 9mm, why would hand-loaded ammo even matter? Along with technological advances (cell phone cameras, etc.) it can make it easier for cops to gather evidence and make a more accurate determination of what happened.
This blog mainly is covering the criminal side of the justice system. Which is more clearly defined as what you can and cannot do. As long as the evidence supports the action, then you will be fine. You can be sued civilly for anything. Which makes the civil side of a self-defense shooting a tangled web of confusion. Even if excused in criminal court, you can still be sued in civil court. To protect yourself, we recommend going with a lawyer who deals with self-defense cases or getting something like USCCA, NRA Carry Guard, CCW-Safe, and Second Call Defense. These insurance companies deal specifically with firearm related cases. And will help with the cost should you deploy your firearm in self-defense. When you are shopping around, make sure they cover you for bonding out, and both criminal and civil court case costs. You are not a criminal if you used your firearm legally, but you will be guilty until proven innocent. Having insurance if you carry is a good idea, when things go down, trying to find a lawyer is the last thing you want to try and figure out.
I first sat down writing this blog, thinking I had all the facts and going with the old mentality of do not carry hand-loads, only factory. After taking a step back and talking with people in law enforcement, I found out that it is an old mentality we need to rethink. My biggest take away from this is to question everything. Do the research yourself and look at the information logically. When we realize that a lot of the information we have or the mentality we have created is from 30 years ago, it makes you wonder “what else have I blindly accepted?”