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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy folks,

I first posted this on my first gun site, in response to a farily heated debate over whether self defense weapons should be loaded with factory or reloaded ammuntion. It is not my intent to start or rekindle that debate.

Rather I wanted to throw this thought out for folks to seriously consider. I know our site has a ton of serious shooters, as well as LEOs and LEO firearms instructors. If you are a shooter, please don't say well it is a good idea, but it does not really apply to me. What I would suggest is if you like the idea, then try your best to make it apply to you.

All of us probably know at least one LEO- active or retired. They know who their firearms instructors are. So make that contact somehow, discuss this idea, and then offer to help them with the training. That is how anyone can really make this apply to them if they will make the effort.

These are just my thoughts, but from personal experience, I at least like to think it has made a difference over the years. It is still something I do, and will do, even once I retire. Most of the local and federal prosecutors know me or at least know of me, so that is helpful. I have also done this training several times since moving to southern AZ, and it probably is time to make a new offer too.

But to me everyone wins from this, or at least has the potential to win. So please give it some serious thought.

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Well I know I am really late in adding my two cents here, but I will do it just in case my thoughts will possibly help someone down the road. Ok first just a bit of background, I am not an expert, but I have been certified as one in the courts before. But that is just a term I shy away from whenever possible.

I am a 35+ year law enforcement officer/police firearms instructor, and spent my early years as a homicide/armed robbery investigator for my department. I have also been reloading for about 35 years. I trust my reloads more than I do factory rounds.

But that being said, I still load factory rounds into my handguns when I am carrying them for self-defense. I think to do otherwise is just giving some attorney more logs for his fire than he needs. As has been pointing out, I have spent my years wondering how many defense attorneys I have encountered could look in a mirror without breaking it or ever get to sleep at night - but they do.

What I think is much more useful to discuss here, is a way to possibly help out the person who has been forced to pull his weapon and fire it in self-defense. But help them before their case ever hits the desk of the prosecutor who will be making decisions that may have major impact on their lives.

Whenever I have been able to generate any interest, I have gladly taken out prosecuting attorneys, both local and federal, to the range for some basic firearms training. Once I have them comfortable with basic shooting and safety principles, I quietly get up on my personal soapbox.

One at a time, with safety always stressed, I put the prosecutor with their back to a shoot/don't shoot target, then give them the command to turn and make the appropriate response. I use a minimum of 3 different targets, and always change the target after they have seen it before turning around to await my command to respond.

Without exception every prosecutor has consistently fired their weapons at each target, even when they were "good guys".

Then I talk about the amount of time they were using in making their decision and response. I then explain the short amount of time a law enforcment officer has to make that same decision. I explain if they are wrong they may not go home or ever see their family and co-workers again. I talk about the real-life pressures involved in those decisions for law enforcement, adding that many shootings occur in low light situations, which only compound the decision making process.

I then note the same statements apply to the civilian concealed weapon permit holders. I explain they are required under state law to obtain a minimum amount of training to obtain the permit. I also explain the amount of firearms training every agent in my office is required to receive every year, and the various training that is required by firearms policy.

I stress that police and ccw holders receive more training than I have been able to give them on the range in one session. Then I simply ask them to think about how they responded to a low-pressure, non-life threatening scenario in which they always shot everyone, good guys and bad guys. I then say and by the way, no one was trying to kill you while you were deciding what you should do.

I just ask them to think long and hard about their time on the range, the next time a case crosses their desk involving either a law enforcment officer or a ccw holder involved in a self-defense shooting. If you could see some of the expressions that form on their faces in response, you would know the training has made a real point with them.

My first experience with this was roughly 33 years ago, when an experienced prosecutor seriously asked me why another law enforcment officer simply did not shoot the gun out of the hand of the bad guy. Folks they were being totally serious.
Attorneys are taught the law, they may receive some firearms law if their state or juridiction allows concealed carry permits. But very, very few of them has ever had a weapon in their hand, let alone fired one. Even if they have shot, most have never pointed a weapon at a life-like target. Their firearms background and understanding is largely what they have seen on tv or in the movies...which we all know is a total joke.

I smiled at the prosecutor and said let's go to the range, and I will do my best to try to show you why they did not. After our short range session, he had a much better understanding of why the cop shot at center mass to incapacitate the armed threat.

That one question, posed by a prosecutor I respected highly, made me realize their exposure to real-world firearms issues needed to be based in reality, not the movies. That was when I started offering firearms training to prosecutors.

Maybe as responsible gun owners, shooters, reloaders, and probably a lot of firearms instructors here too - we should spend more time trying to do a little quiet "preaching" to the prosecutors in a low-keyed way. If I am able to help one person who has been forced to defend themselves, I feel like my time and efforts have been well spent.

But based on my experience on the job and in courtrooms, I have to vote for factory ammo only for self-defense. I have seen what defense attorneys will try under the best of circumstances. I don't want to cut any more trees down for them on my own. Even when the shooter has been cleared on any criminal wrong-doing, it does not stop some attorney from filing a civil suit. They don't have to have a case to get it filed, just sign a piece of paper in the Clerk Of Court's office. Then get ready for a total nightmare.

But as gun owners, etc., as noted above..why not spend some time trying to educate the folks that will make prosecutorial decisions. We can not stop civil suits, but maybe we can have an impact on criminal charges not be filed at least. To me that is a better use of my time, than trying to change anyone's personal opinion over whether they are going to load up with factory or handloads.

Once the bullet has left the barrel you can never call it back. Plain and simple. Obviously the most crucial issue is was the shooting justified. But even if the criminal jury says yes ... don't think that is the end. If is often just round one.

But that does not mean we can't try to be more pro-active in trying to educate the prosecutors who have to make those decisions. Maybe in doing so, we can help someone who has been forced to defend themselves, maybe not. But personally I will keep trying.

Hopefully, I am causing some of you folks to rub your chins a bit, and think about any prosecutors you know personally, or maybe you have a friend who knows some. Or maybe a police firearms instructors you know, that you could suggest this type of training to. We will never change the "system", but we can try to exert a little influence locally on the folks who have to make court decisions.

I have never had a prosecutor's office I have approached, that has not had at least 3 or 4 attorneys jump at the chance to get some instruction. They just don't know I will be putting up shoot/don't shoot targets later and driving home an important point about the use of deadly force.

Everytime I have done the first training, I have had other prosecutors who heard the comments from the first group. I then got phone calls asking me to schedule another date for others to come out for some training.

Every prosecutor has promised me they will now look at shooting situations in a new light, based on their own personal experiences on the range. Have they, I really can't say. I have moved too many times for various agencies and promotions. But at the very least I sure like to think that they have, and will continue to do that.

But I do know for a fact that one prosecutor never asked me again why a cop did not shoot the bad guy's gun hand. He saw how much trouble he had even hitting the scoring zones of our qualification target. After he was comfortable shooting the target, I drew a hand on the target. I put him at 7 yards and told him to hit it. He never really got close to it. Then I said, that hand is holding a gun pointing at you. Where are you going to point your weapon when you shoot back. His hands on training made a real impact on him. He later became the district attorney, so that had to help the cops working in that jurisidiction.

Just a suggestion I really hope some of you will consider, while you are debating what to load your handguns with. Why not try to do some low-keyed but proactive training with the folks who could impact your future or the future or your family or friends, or even strangers?

Just another suggestion on reloads, while throwing out my two cents here. First let me make it clear I am not a competitive shooter. It has been a tempting thought at times, but I have just never had the time because of work really. So I am not a competitive shooter, I have always trained for survival situations.

But when I reload, I load rounds that as closely as possible equate to my factory carry loads. That way all of my training is done with what is basically my carry load.

I shoot to survive. Tight holes well centered are great, but if they are shot with considerably less felt recoil than the load you may be betting your life on in a real-world situation, are you really doing yourself any favors? That is why all my reloads basically equate to factory carry loads. Sure it may give me less loads from my powder, and cost more to use hollow points over less expensive projectiles. But like I said, I love shooting, but I shoot for survival.

Someone made a very important comment in this thread. The first obstacle that must be crossed in debating what round you had loaded, is to first survive the deadly force situation. If you don't, then every word and opinion cited for this thread is really a moot point.

I know opinions are like the southbound end of a northbound horse, we all have them. In this country I will fight to my dying breath for someone to be able to express his, even if I don't agree with it. But I just wanted to throw out some thoughts. I hope some of you will try to do some training with your prosecutors. At least that is a first step, and a good one I think. But again, just my honest opinion for what it is worth.

Be safe, and always work to shoot a little better each time you have some trigger time. If you are someone who normally shoots target loads on the range, try to find some time to finish up with the loads that you trust your life too.

It does not matter if they are factory or reloads. But training with them does. It's nice to be alive. I know the Good Lord knows when He is going to punch my timecard. I just do my best not to doing anything stupid that makes it get punched sooner than later.

twoguns
 
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Good work. Continue to drag DA's, Deputy DA's and prosecuting attorneys to the range and stick a handgun in their mitts for some real-world, hands-on, pseudo-gunfighting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Howdy Mr. nevadaalan,

Thank you sir. I think the one thing that has struck me the hardest every time I have done this type of training is their reactions. You can almost see the wheels of their brains moving and the thought hit them - shucks this is not like the movies or tv at all.

First most suddenly understand it is simply not easy to be accurate with a handgun. Second when they realize they have just shot a "good guy", well I will say I was not aware some ladies knew some of the language I heard initially. But that one really seemed to make an impact on them, which was one of the points I wanted it to make.

I do encourage our members to seriously consider doing this or helping to do this, or at least trying to motivate others to do this. I do see it as a win-win for us shooters.

twoguns
 

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Hy twoguns.

Law and guns and self defense is something that worries me a lot.

I am allmost sure I have commented that in my country you are able to shoot ONLY if the aggressor also has a weapon. This are the old napoleonic codes. Self defense in equal conditions.

A kill (murder) is a worse crime than a violation. No matter if it is your daughter the violation victym. Thats the law status here.

I have seen our LEOs firing, and in a bad situation, I have the feeling they will have allmost no chance against a bad guy.

I think this situation is because we are a non violent country, at least a non weapons violent country. WE ARE EXPERTS IN POLITICAL VIOLENCE AND DISTURBS in streets, and fights are with stones and contundent weapons.


But slowly, bad guys are learning from TV an we also have some bad guys that come here to robber from neighbour countries, and slowly, weapons will be more common in crime scenes, and will not be sporadic situations as today.

Most firing weapons are no legal or registered here.

Someday we will have a new weapons legislation.

At this moment, if you fire in self defense with a reloaded bullet or factory ammo is not relevant in a trial. Relevant is which ammo you prefer to use in self defense situations. I mean which ammo is the best defense ammo for you. Following your instructions, I am keeping the few Hydra shocks I have, and I am allmost sure my grandchildren (my oldest daughter is 13), will find this bullets never used in a case when they will serach all what grandpa had after he died in year 2040. They will find my IPSC championship medals also.


Lawyers are here and in the states the same, but here we have journalists that might be worse than prosecutors, so, in my country I think we have to show the press people how a gun works, and bring them to a range, because they are the ones that with theyr pubications and TV reports will make a trial more difficult than prosecutors and lawyers. This because a self defense shoot is here so uncommon, that such a trial will be in all media, and will be commented by most of the bolivian population.

I will bring your thougts to the club discussion, and suggest we have to invite some sports journalists to fire when they come to cover the sports shooting. This can be a beginning to prevent all what you are considering in your post.

Different countries, differenmt situations, as you can see, but with potential simil
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Howdy Mr. Iagbarrb,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and situation with us sir. Please do not worry about your English or spelling, both are excellent and easily understood.

If my suggestions will help you and your fellow shooters, I am happy they will do so. When you have the chance to let the reporters do some shooting, we would love to hear your thoughts on how they reacted to this.

Take care my friend.

twoguns
 

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Gents,

In the past, when I was training, I often invited local politicians to the range where I conducted training. Most declined, some attended, and some had a reaction that was akin to me asking to have sex with their daughters!
Pretty sad that they can't at least have an open mind on the subject.

Wes
 

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Back when I helped run the Coors Regional Schuetzenfests for the southest region, one part of the program was to invite the local politicos, newsies, and other 'celebrities' to the match.

The first days events were mostly schmoozing with them, plus a BBQ. I like to think it helped a bit, tho it seemed that the ony ones who showed up had some interest in the shooting sports already. Still, we got some TV and print coverage and they got exposed to a new sport.

Hadn't really thought about the DA's office since the DA is a friend and avid hunter, but would be a good thing to get his people out for a day.


Regards,

Pat
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Howdy Mr. Pat,

When you can make the time sir, I really encourage you to invite them out for the day. Please finish up with the shoot-don't shoot targets and a bit of your personal soapbox. In my opinion, that portion of the exposure is really a win-win for everyone.

If you do get to do this sometime, please post your experience. I think our members seeing someone else discussing this, would serve as more motivation for them to consider doing it too.

Good luck sir, and please feel free to yell if I can offer any suggestions to you beyond what I have already written.

twoguns
 

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The way I'll likely approach it is have the DA contact the instructors at the SO or the PD, so we can use their facilities and instructors. I can work with them on the agenda.


Might be a while though.


Regards,

Pat
 

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Twoguns,

You wrote,


"But that being said, I still load factory rounds into my handguns when I am carrying them for self-defense. I think to do otherwise is just giving some attorney more logs for his fire than he needs."
I am curious if you have actually seen a court case where the fact that someone used reloaded ammo was an issue.

Massad Ayoob has written about this, and recommended sticking with factory ammo so that a prosecutor or an opposing attorney in a civil case cannot argue that you loaded up super-duper extra-evil killer bullets, or something to that effect.

However, another gunwriter (whose name escapes me, I will have to think about it for awhile) has stated that he has never found a documented case where reloaded ammo was an issue in a self-defense shooting. Hence, my question to you -- have you seen this happen? I always find actual cases instructive.

Thanks in advance.


elb
 
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