Breathing heavily and with everything seeming like a blur, you find yourself in the back of a squad car, handcuffed. What just happened? You’ve just experienced your first self-defense situation, where you had to use your firearm against an attacker. The last thing on your mind is whether you used hand-loaded or factory-loaded ammunition. The debate over carrying only factory-loaded self-defense ammunition has long been discussed in the firearms community.

Analyzing Legal Precedents and Modern Realities

We’ve established that if you shoot the right person for the right reason, no crime has occurred. Should you care if you used hand-loads or factory-loaded ammunition? We found several court cases involving the use of reloaded ammo in self-defense situations, but the most recent one we could find was in the 1980s. The absence of recent cases in the last 10-15 years may be attributed to technological advances and the proliferation of diverse self-defense ammunition offerings since then, particularly for the 9mm. These advances, including the widespread use of cell phone cameras, enhance evidence gathering and improve accuracy in determining what transpired.

Navigating the Legal Landscape

This blog primarily covers the criminal side of the justice system, which defines what is permissible. As long as the evidence supports your actions, you should be in the clear. However, the civil side of self-defense shooting remains complex and prone to lawsuits. Even if cleared in criminal court, you can still face civil litigation. To safeguard yourself, we recommend seeking legal counsel specializing in self-defense cases or obtaining insurance from providers like USCCA, NRA Carry Guard, CCW-Safe, or Second Call Defense. These companies focus on firearm-related cases and help cover expenses if you deploy your firearm in self-defense, including bonding out and costs associated with both criminal and civil court cases.

Reevaluating Conventional Wisdom

Initially, I approached writing this blog with the old-fashioned belief of never carrying hand loads, only factory ammunition. However, after stepping back and consulting with law enforcement, I’ve realized it’s an outdated mindset that warrants reconsideration. My main takeaway is to question conventional wisdom and conduct thorough, logical research. When we acknowledge that much of what we know stems from three decades ago, it prompts us to question what else we’ve accepted without scrutiny.