Self defense ammo

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When it come to self defence ammo....factory or reloads?

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Self defense ammo

Post by hawcer on Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:21 pm


Opinions needed please!

when it comes to self defense ammo, should one stick with factory ammo, reloaded ammo using high quality hollow points, or maybe even cast or swaged hollow points?

I recall reading or hearing somewhere of liability issues regarding reloaded ammo used for self defense... I have yet to reload any of my ammo for the sole purpose of being a self defense round and anything I have reloaded that comes close to that category eventually ends up in the berm anyway...

I have thought many times about loading up my own SD ammo, but there is always the little voice in the back of my head telling me to cover my arse. Seeing how I am looking to get a new 45 just for a CCW weapon, this really becomes a dilemma for me since I have never,ever purchased factory ammo for my 45acp's except for one cheap box of cast reloads....I've always carried my 9mm or 40 loaded with Gold Dot's.

Should I continue this thought pattern and get a couple boxes of factory gold dots for the 45 or finally take the plunge and reload my own?

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Re: Self defense ammo

Post by hawcer on Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:32 pm

Oh, if you vote, could you please post your reasoning...

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Re: Self defense ammo

Post by tripples on Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:47 pm

Well I am 50/50 on this. I agree with you on the hearing about liability issues with using hand loaded/reloaded ammo. In a SHTF situation if it comes out the end of the barrel its gonna fly. My home defence round is different than my carry ammo. My home defence ammo is reloaded and my carry ammo is factory. I feel that if its in my residence they may not have belonged here, If I am out and about I may not have belonged there or could have left in time.
Either way I also feel that no matter what you have loaded you should practice with and know that it will be accurate in the firearm you plan on using it in. I would never just go out and buy "brand X" (because Joe said its great) ammo off the shelf and load the mag or cylinder and say its good to go. That also goes for the same ammo purchased at different times if the lot # is different I will shoot a few rounds to make sure that they hit the same as the last box I bought.

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Re: Self defense ammo

Post by RemMan700 on Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:55 pm

I think the whole liability issue with using reloads is a crock o' you know what. I have yet to ever hear of one case where anyone has ever been in trouble for using their reloads. There is no way that your reloads are going to "excessively" kill anyone more then a factory load. Think of all the +P+ ammo out there that manufactures put out. If there were liability issues then +P+, glasers, frangible ammo would not exist. People even use shotguns and rifles for self dense and we all know how much more damage they can do then a handgun. If you had to shoot someone they would already know who the shooter was and probably not even do any type of forensic ammo testing, and if they did it would be harder for them to tell since most people use factory components in reloads. I could load Speer Gold Dots in a nickel plated Speer stamped case and the only variable that might be different would be the primer and powder. The only issue with using your own reloads is that you test them out and make sure you have a reliable load.


Last edited by RemMan700 on Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:02 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Self defense ammo

Post by Daywalker on Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:56 pm

There is always talk about liablity, but never conctrete evidence or proof that it exists. It is always talked about within the firearm community. My reloads are no where near the power that factory ammo is made with. Especially the rounds that are +p or +P+. There are factory ammo that is legal to own and does more damage than any of the rounds we can load.

I will continue to carry my reloads with me. Once the trigger is pulled, there are alot more things that I have to worry about than the ammo I used as far as factory or reloads.

I would love to see concrete proof, some court case, or a couple that backs up the liability issues. Until then, I am all about carrying reloads errr I mean handloads...

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Re: Self defense ammo

Post by Reload3006 on Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:59 pm

I have heard lots on both sides of the coin.
First if I have to shoot someone I know this sounds bad and please forgive me. But my intent is to kill not maim. I dont intend on ever having to do this. But if I do I am not out to wound. Sorry. If you wound someone and cripple them then you are open to severe liable even if they are in your home. depends on the state. But besides this If I have to shoot someone My life or my wife or childs life is in jeopardy and I dont care if i lose all my worldly possessions. It was in self defense. So i suppose you could load your gun up with FMJ so you can say your intent was just to stop the person not to kill and they sue your rear off. or even worse you shoot them and they kill you your wife and child before they are stopped. what was the point in carrying in the first place? So my vote is for the most lethal round i can find. ITs just to important to chance. BUT SAYING ALL THIS I PRAY I NEVER HAVE TO.
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Re: Self defense ammo

Post by hawcer on Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:18 pm

Excellent view points!

So I need to look into working up a load/bullet combination that will have the velocities to produce maximum expansion but also be consistent, dependable, safe and have repeatable accuracy.

Not too much different than working up a load for good hunting ammo.

It looks like I'll have to find a different powder to use than what I've been using for my target loads. I don't think WST will cut it in the self defense catagory....I might have to give Unique a try in the 45acp.

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Re: Self defense ammo

Post by Reload3006 on Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:27 pm

i voted for the middle one ... but actually you can swage a bullet called i think its a webley man stopper ... it has a huge huge hollow point intended for very large expansion. that is the bullet I use. or for inside my home I use a 12ga with #6 bird shot. at the less than 10 yd range like most shots in your home it is probably the most lethal round i can imagine. and it affords a little room for error. I say that because if an when it comes down to it. your going to be scared you may or may not get a good sight picture. and just maybe you wont have to shoot especially if it is a pump because when you throw that slid home everyone alive knows exactly what it is. and if they have any self preservation sense about them they are headed for the hills.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0-s9e8D-Z4
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Re: Self defense ammo

Post by BigAgitator on Fri Jan 21, 2011 2:05 pm

I'm really enjoying this discussion!

On paper, the concept of loading my own works best for *me*. This is because of several factors. 1: availability 2: cost 3: the more you practice with your defense ammo, the more effective you will be with it- so why not shoot it as your primary ammo? 4: The more defense ammo you have around, the better prepared you are do defend your home (say 2-3 hundred rounds). Try buying that many gold dots and you might as well just buy a second gun with the money.

I believe that if a person can develop an effective big game hunting load, it is also within the realm of possibility for one of us to develop an effective defense "load" (projectile and loading configuration). As my skills and taste mature, my opinion could and probably will change.

My concern for over penetration is ameliorated by the concept that I may have to penetrate a windshield or car door (maybe I'm the one in the car). The more terminal force the projectile has, the more likely it is to be effective.

I voted for the cast/swaged option. I'm toying with making a slightly-hollow pointed lead cast bullet for defense. My decapping pin makes a tiny hollow point but drilling is a better way. The pin hole is too small a diameter.

310 grain Lee Gas Check


It's hard to deny the effectiveness of those 240 grain sjshp's that I made
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Re: Self defense ammo

Post by badjeep02 on Fri Jan 21, 2011 2:30 pm

Nice pics. I'm guessing that leads on the soft side. I really haven’t given this much thought before. I carry my own loads because I practice with them. They are a fraction of the cost of factory defense loads. I use a somewhat oddball cartridge which makes the prices even worse. I use a 357sig with a hornady XTP 124gr loaded hotter than Megan Fox. It’s not reloads, it’s "custom ammo".
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Re: Self defense ammo

Post by BigAgitator on Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:40 pm

That sounds pretty good bad jeep.
You're right about that lead. It's straight up WW alloy but it's fresh so it should harden a lot in the next 2 weeks. I didn't quench teh bullets so that doesn't help either. Those 310's with gas checks @1450 fps are pretty nasty. I'm going to experiment with poor man's ballistic gel and see what diameter and depth of hollow point yields modest expansion... with an emphasis on mass retention.

They definitely need to be harder.
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Re: Self defense ammo

Post by hawcer on Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:51 pm

One thing about cast boolits....they retain most of their weight. They really don't have anything to peel off or come apart except for maybe the gas check unless intentionally designed to do so.

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Re: Self defense ammo

Post by notenoughguns on Fri Jan 21, 2011 4:07 pm

I really don't have a choice on this poll for I carry factory hard ball in my semi's or factory jacketed soft points in the wheel guns . Been reloading most of my life but never for self defence . Don't know why but that's just me .

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Re: Self defense ammo

Post by XbonesX on Fri Jan 21, 2011 4:30 pm

factory self defence ammo, because my Uncle who is a DA, and my friends who are cops recommended it

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Re: Self defense ammo

Post by hawcer on Fri Jan 21, 2011 4:33 pm

XbonesX wrote:factory self defence ammo, because my Uncle who is a DA, and my friends who are cops recommended it

Do they recommend it for dependability or legality reasons? Just curious....these are the answers I'm looking for in helping me decide what is best for the situation.

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Re: Self defense ammo

Post by RichBirdHunter on Fri Jan 21, 2011 5:26 pm

The legality of it makes me uneasy, so in a high pressure situation I don't want to think about, are these hand loads really the way to go.

So yes I buy factory and keep them loaded.
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Re: Self defense ammo

Post by eagle60 on Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:10 pm

I voted for the factory ammo for this reason, the folks that manufacture ammo for a living have the time and money to invest to see what works in the self defence arena and have have come up with some impressive products.
The fact is though, in self defense situation I would be just as likely to use handloads simply because I spend more time getting to know them and can depend on them.
Legality wise, I'm sure they may frown on it, but "sometimes it is better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission" if the life of someone that I love depended on it.
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Re: Self defense ammo

Post by Daywalker on Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:20 pm

XbonesX wrote:factory self defence ammo, because my Uncle who is a DA, and my friends who are cops recommended it

hawcer wrote:Do they recommend it for dependability or legality reasons? Just curious....these are the answers I'm looking for in helping me decide what is best for the situation.

This is my problem. They recommend it, yet, no one can show where the law exists or anything on the books about legality. If there is a legality, then there is a law. I want to see the law and read it. I have not been able to find it anywhere. I have searched the internet for over a year and all I can come up with is people on the forum stating this or that with no actual proof. That is why I carry handloads. No proof, therefor the law does not exist. If it is a law, it would have to exist and somewhere, someone would be able to quote it.

Thats all I am saying... So with that said, does anyone here have the law on using handloads for personal defense?

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Re: Self defense ammo

Post by BigAgitator on Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:32 am

Good points Hawcer. First about the lead (retaining mass) and also your question about legalities.

I'd be curious to know, XbonesX
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Re: Self defense ammo

Post by tripples on Sat Jan 22, 2011 3:24 am

Daywalker I have never heard of a law either but you always have that lawyer who is out looking for a name or money. ie. woman spills coffee on her lap and sues McDonalds, I do not know this for fact but I whould be willing to bet my paycheck that at the time (again AT THE TIME) of her purchase she would have been madder than hornet if it would have been served luke warm or cold. Shoot for that matter she might have tried to sue again because it was not HOT.
In this ammo situation I believe that it would go some what on the lines of this. This dangerous man sat at a loading bench for several hours putting together this ammo bullet and practiced shooting with it. These bullets are designed to cause lethal harm on innocent people. I will tell you again this dangerous man practiced shooting this ammo designed to harm people. My point is this they would have a field day with the ammo used if the need would ever arise. The fact that the victom broke into your home, pulled a knife on you, tried to kidnap one of your family members would be the least that his lawyer would want to talk about in court.
Either way I am not saying that anyone should do this or that. To each there own, and hopefuly the need is never presant.
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Re: Self defense ammo

Post by Reload3006 on Sat Jan 22, 2011 10:58 am

Tripples said what i was trying to say. I don't think there is a "Law" against it but liable. leaving your self open for a law suit. But I believe you are doing that no matter with CCW. The lawyer says in court This paranoid man sat practicing with his lethal weapon hoping for the day he could maim an innocent person with it words to that effect. As I stated earlier I hope I don't ever have to use deadly force. But if I do I intend it to be Deadly force. I was taught as was all of us not to ever point my weapon at anything i didn't intend to kill.
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Re: Self defense ammo

Post by Daywalker on Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:00 pm

Very good points all around. I pray that I never as well. The same argument could very well be used, this angry citizen went to the gun store and bought a gun and a box of the most deadliest rounds with the intention of killing anyone that came into his home. Ladies and Gentalmen of the Jury, this is premeditation. He knowingly bought a handgun and he knowingly bought the most lethal ammunition in anticipation of using it to kill somone that enteres his home...

Where does it end right??

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Re: Self defense ammo

Post by Reload3006 on Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:16 pm

I have one last point to make then i wont comment on this any further because I like BGAgitator am really interested in everyone Else's thoughts.
"The best ammo Best weapon there is, is the one you have on you when you need it" What I mean by that is if you are like most people and not anticipating trouble but are prepared for it if it comes. Probably your hunting rounds and gun is what you are going to have available when SHTF so that is what you will use and if any of you are like myself that maybe a shotgun with bird shot it may be a handgun loaded with what ever or a rifle with a hunting round in it.
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Re: Self defense ammo

Post by BigAgitator on Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:47 pm

I really like the stuff that's being said by you guys. Excellent points.
DW's last post really addressed a lot of things I've been wondering about as well.

There's no need to muddle the discussion by elaborating on my already stated opinion.... well maybe a little sofa

Mister Clapton touched-on something I was thinking... Hunting loads. It's very blatant that a human confrontation was anticipated if the defender had purchased some kind of "man stopper" load and used it on the POS intruder. However, one could argue "I went for my gun and whatever ammo I had that was suitable." That ammo being hunting style loads (I do have a hunting license and DO use the loads for deer). It'd be hard to argue that I've been stockpiling "hunting" ammunition for what? Home defense?

It's no "magic bullet" (pun intended) in teh court room but it would definitely suggest that man to man confrontation might not have been the first thing on my mind when buying a gun.

I'd be very interested to hear some opinions on this speculation
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Re: Self defense ammo

Post by kcatto on Sun Jan 23, 2011 2:14 am

Well the answer to the question entirely depends on the state you live in and the laws that are either there to protect the defender or persecute them.... In the state in which I live in, you have the right to protect yourself with deadly force, so reloads, factory, not really an issue as this question was posed to our state attorney general and the state supreme court a few years ago and the response from the attorney general and the supreme court was basically the same answer... do not quote me as I am paraphrasing from memory but it was something along the lines of "if it was a legal shooting situation in a self defense scenario, then what does it matter"....

My self defense load is a cast 100% lead swc or a wadcutter with gas check, or a SWC loaded backwards nice and flat like a "flying ashtray as they used to be called"....

now my reasons for this is simple, 100% lead is the best for stopping power, very minimal loss of weight and almost 100% percent transfer of ft lbs.... and massive expansion.... affraid

I am not really worried about extreme accuracy with these loads considering most gun encounters are under 21ft anyway....
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