As a reloader, I need to ask this question. First I load target rounds for the most part, but the question is this if I load a defensive round(s) and I am forced to use that round to protect myself, is the round going to be a bone of contention? Is the fact that the round was reloaded the problem, is the problem that I reloaded the round and is there any problem at all?
Be it known all of the rounds I reload are in strict compliance with existing SAMMI standards.
I’m not a reloader, and will never be one. So I do not have any problems with this. I use self-defense ammo used by local PD and have my peace of mind.
How many rounds do I need per year? 1, maybe 2 boxes (so max 50 rounds) should be enough. Not really something I cannot afford.
There are a lot of articles, discussions that can be found on Internet, but there is really no clear answer if there are any legal consequences of using handloaded ammo during self-defense shooting.
Here is great reading about it:
which ends with one of conclusions I like: “If you’re in the least bit hesitant about making your own stuff, don’t do it.” (but that is only me)
Thanks, Jerzy, the article is very interesting, but gave no real answers.
Premedation can be tagged to almost everything we do. Putting on seat belt to drive your car, because you may have a wreck, presentation. Loading a round into your gun, just like the police do, is presentation. While I think the article was well written, legal input wad used.
The next question is if the aggressor is shot with hard ball or hollow point the wound is there and quite possibly a body or at least a wounded some one. It appears to me that the defense starts with why did you try to defend yourself from the attacket? Why didn’t you try to talk him or her out of hitting over the head with the hammer? The attacker has all of the cards as to where, when, and what to use. We are faced with stopping the threat by what ever means possible. When faced with that sort of problem if I pickup a hammer, could I be charged with excessive force, after all the aggressor only had a small hand gun.
I think it is well pass time for old rules to be used in the new day" An eye for an eye"
Like I’ve mentioned - there is no answer. I’m not sure if you even find a legal advice regarding handloaded defense ammo.
Yes, you are right.
If your self-defense action was justified - was it really important if you had used hollow point, target ammo, brass, alu, steel casing, was the ammo expensive or not really? All these should be important for Court TV Show only…
I reload most everything I shoot. I have heard that there will be the DA sending out the hounds if you use reloaded ammo for decades and our good resident lawyer @MikeBKY did a search in his data bases and pretty much came up with squat as far as reloads being a major factor(that is my analysis of what was found). I keep a fair bit of High Performance ammo for my handguns (it was free) but if push came to shove and I had a mag full of reloads when it all went bad it’s not going to cause me to pause.
Reloading allows me to practice more which increases my performance which means that I am less likely to have rounds go off target and strike an unintended target/bystander. Increased proficiency also means I am safer with my firearm reducing the possibility of an ND in a high stress situation.
Remember in a court of law you will not be defending yourself, your lawyer will be doing all the talking and the investment in finding out WHO your lawyer is and how they proceed is worth a couple boxes of ammo IMHO. I hunted through the USCCA lawyer list locally to me and selected one fella and paid him his $75.00 50 minute consultation fee to determine if and that he was a good fit for me. I am satisfied that if I should ever need his services I am in good hands and at the time of any incident I will invoke my 5th and 6th Amendment rights and SHUT UP.
Another thought which I routinely do which is why I forgot about it is to chronograph a box of factory SD ammo and then load all your practice ammo to the same standards and keep a box or 20 of the factory SD ammo for carry. I have never fired a round in anger as a civilian but have set back a few dozen boolits with repeated chamberings. If you die before running out of factory carry ammo then you either planned correctly, or not.
Yes. Everything will be called into question when you’ve had a physical self-defense incident. We recommend using factory loaded ammo for a number of reasons.
Reliability - I’ve seen reloaded ammo destroy 3 guns over the last few years where I work (at a range outside of my USCCA “day job”. That doesn’t’ mean yours will, but I’ve seen it happen.
Defendability - if you have to testify about your ammo in court, do you record all of the ammo information by lot and keep track of each and every lot separately? If you use a factory-loaded ammo, there are ammunition experts from those manufacturers who can testify to what each lot of ammo contains and they have documented quality control measures.
Objectivity - if you use your hand-loaded ammo, the prosecutors could say that you created a “super bullet” no matter how good your documentation about your ammo is. Criminals lie - we all can probably agree to that - so if the prosecutor is trying to paint you as a murderer or hot head, they could easily imply you’re lying about your documentation.
For your legal (and physical) defense, we recommend factory loaded ammo. If there is any chance of using your hand loaded ammo for self-defense, document everything, track every individual round and measurement.
I agree with the long version of my post above, well said Dawn.
A note, I’d still think about buying ammo that says “Self Defense” on the box, in court it “Can” help qualify your argument of “Self Defense” . Maybe avoid the ammo that is labeled as “Hunting”, “Stinger” … and maybe the worst would be (Even though it’s my favorite ammo company) Hornady’s “Zombie” rounds.
It doesn’t matter how funny or amusing it is to BUY zombie rounds with the design on the box and such, there will be members of a jury who think you’re serious and a nut case.
Dawn, thank you for your input, your background is extremely valuable to this site.
Not that I want to beat this horse to death, but in point one of your answer you state reliability, fine. I have seen weapons destroyed with improper loads,e.g. using +P ammo in a weapon not designed for that charge. Point two of your answer dependability, good point. If I use a +P SD round instead of the standard round where does that leave me and the court? This is coming back around to the beginning in that your point three mentions “Super Bullet”. What is that? A bullet that can be bought on the street, a bullet with a larger than standard caliber,e.g., a .575? Super Bullet can be anything the prosecutor says it is. While I can accept the fact that uscca recommends “Store Bought” ammo, the points I have presented have merit.
This is starting to remind me of a dog chasing its tail, no answer will be good in all cases, but I am glad we have had this discussion.
LOL! I have no idea! It’s a phrase I’ve heard in legal discussion that is one of those “made up” terms. I think they’re implying that you’re using extra propellant? How would you make an extra deadly round?
Your points definitely have merit and I won’t tell you that you have to do it one way or the other as you have been reloading for a while and can articulate why you’re using what you’re using.
For those new to carrying and possibly new to reloading, I would strongly suggest using factory ammo.
We’ve got people here of all experience levels so giving them a big variety of information to take in with best practices for new shooters.
I reload. A lot. I reload pistol, rifle, and shotgun. All my hunting ammo is handloaded. Most of my practice ammo is handloaded. I say almost because I need to shoot the occasional box of factory ammo to replenish lost brass which happens occasionally. That said, for all the reasons listed above, all my defensive ammo is factory. No offense to the OP, but I really dont understand the point of wanting to carry handloaded defensive ammo. What are you trying to accomplish in handloading your carry ammo that offsets the risk? You compare it to a dog chasing its tail, but its not. And it is not just a bunch of empty “what if’s” or dog chasing its tail. It is a “legitimate” avenue that a prosecutor can use to come after you. Even with insurance, do you have that much spare time to fight and beat back every attempt to paint you as the bad guy?
It is easy to dismiss this as “apples and oranges” but take a look at what is going on in today’s hyper-charged social environment. Look at the McCloskey (pink polo dude with an AR) who never fired a shot but has had his AR confiscated and rumor has it will be indicted soon. Look at all these politicians who are wanting to defund police and to try to right every social justice wrong, real or perceived. Why would you give them one more reason to try to make an example out of you?
As @Craig6 mentioned, I did a search across the country and there was little in the way of “reloads” that made it in to published appellate court opinions. That does not mean the issue does not come up in trial courts and what you load your weapon with can and will be questioned at a trial. Zombie killers are fine but I would not want the investigating officer telling the jury that the victim was hit twice in the chest and one in the head with zombie killers. There may be little difference between the zombie killer and the equivalent Federal HST, but I guarantee to that the prosecutor is going to say and repeat “zombie killers” in front of the jury as often as he possible can.
In the same way, your attorney would love the be able to say that you were using a nationally recognized brand of ammunition that is used by thousands of police officers every day in the performance of their duties including “insert your city name here” Police Department and by the sheriff’s deputies who are protecting this courthouse.
I know hand loaded rounds can be far superior then stock rounds off the shelf. They can be more accurate and made more precisely for a particular purpose. Many precision shooters load their own for that very purpose. But even in that instance, unless your job is as a sniper, it is probably not a good idea to say these rounds were developed to make a head shot at 1000 meters.
Juries are made of people and they want a story they can latch on to. Everything you do plays a part in that story.
This question is becomeing bigger than I had antecipated ever being. We have gone from: Uscca suggest not using handloaded rounds to Zombie Killers, to Super bullets to my desire to carry handloaded ammo.
I respect the request from the USCCA and donot plan to carry handloaded SD, the question was framed in such a way as to better understand the thinking of handload vs commerical load in the SD format.
It appears that the point of the question has turned into a beatdown for asking.
Point: No one has given a reason to oppose handloaded rounds from a legal standpoint, which was the basis of my question.
Point: Zombie Killer ammo indicates to me too much time reviewing video games
Point: Super Bullet, I am sure this is meant as a causal term and not based in the real world.
I do not own a Zombie Killer certified weapon, I don’t know how I would produce a Super Bullet, if I could it would be a bullet to shoot around corners.
I have enjoyed the comments and I say thank you to all that has supplied answers.
I guess to synthesize all of the above into a sound bite it would be “Carry factory SD ammo that the local LEO/FED’s carry in their duty guns”. As @MikeBKY states in more words, You will be facing a hostile (to you) attorney that will attempt to use any verbiage possible to turn the mind of the jury that you were not in fear of your life and that you have practiced and purchased highly lethal ammunition intended to inflict death or great bodily harm. It’s what’s going to happen. Any tool that you can use prior to an incident to put you in a better light is a good tool. Reloading and practicing can be presented in a favorable light by your attorney as can using common “duty” ammo.
This debate has been going on as long as I have been involved in firearms (1985) and it continues to be as passionate today as it was back then and ranks right up there with 1911 vs any gun, 9mm vs 45ACP. Lot’s of opinions (and we know about opinions).
I agree with @dawn that none of the responses are meant to beat anyone down.
You are right with respect to there really is not a reason to oppose handloaded rounds from a legal standpoint unless you are making rounds that may be prohibited by the laws of the US or some states, such as armor piercing rounds. And, as I mentioned, handloaded rounds may be much better than anything you may get off the shelf, especially if they are loaded for a specific purpose.
That said, in light of the Second Amendment, there is no reason to oppose open carry from a legal standpoint. There is no reason to oppose concealed carry from a legal standpoint.
All of that is true until you put impanel a jury. Juries are made of people and will be persuaded one way or the other by the arguments of your attorney and the prosecutor. Once a case goes in front of a jury, you not only deal with the law, but with all of their feelings, biases, prejudices and perceptions, good, bad and ugly, of each juror.
With that in mind, as an attorney what ammunition can be used against you from a legal standpoint even though the ammunition is perfectly legal to use and carry. That is why I would never recommend anyone ever carry Hornady Zombie Max as their self defense ammunition and why I do recommend carrying ammunition manufactured by nationally recognized manufacturers.