Reloads in a SD situation

I had an interesting conversation with a seasoned criminal defense attorney today. His opinion on reloads and customizing your SD firearms goes contrary to my personal belief and what I've been told in the past. Here's a couple of points we discussed.

1) Reloads are better for SD than factory ammunition.

The reason behind this theory is based on the "innocent until proven guilty" concept of our judicial system. Though some may argue that you used "souped up", "extra hot" or "killer" loads, the converse argument is that your loads may have actually been "less" powerful than factory loads. Purchasing similar factory loads or a subpoena of a particular manufacturer can provide specific information on what their product is capable of. This will give you a good idea of how the ammo was loaded and what it "most likely" will do, given the standardized method in which factory loads are made. OTOH, hand loads cannot be definitively reloaded. There are so many variables and the "human error" factor. It's more likely that the shot in question cannot be replicated due to the many variables. Unlike the stringent and "accurate" factory loads.

2) Customizing and accurizing your SD firearm is good.

By having an accurized firearm, you eliminate the argument that you fired "excessively" at your target. Most folks who customize their firearm spend many hours on the range getting their shot groups into as small of an area as possible. Combined with the correct handloaded ammo, you will have an excellent chance of "stopping" the threat with minimal shots fired and less likelyhood of over penetration and collateral damage.

I AM NOT A LAWYER. The preceeding information was derived from a conversation I had with a seasoned criminal defense lawyer who has many years of experience in defending firearms related cases. It's funny how I was called as one of his "expert witnesses" (regarding a particular firearm in question). We chatted a bit prior to the class, and shortly after court adjourned for the day. Something to think about, I know it will be on my mind for a while.


An interesting perspective. Indeed, most reloaders load for accuracy. Sometimes this is under the standard load. Trying to load for safety and accuracy could be considered favorably in a court case.
Depends on what kind of reloader you are. I have had squib loads and even no powder in a factory box of Remington ammo once, and primers inserted backwards in a box of Winchester. You should always inspect all ammo before carrying that ammo for defense.
I haven't been reloading too much lately, but plan on getting back into it. I have used my personal loads for guns I carried or kept by the bedside. My Dad was a custom reloader and Gunsmith on the side of his L/E Career and loaded some super hot 380 loads for State Police Undercover Narcs who were carrying Walther PPK's for their primary deep cover gun. The recoil springs were modified to take the extra power and tested extensively. My defensive loads were new or once fired brass and the best components, along with lots of tender loving care and random testing of rounds out of each box. BUT, these days I use factory ammo, like Speer Gold Dots, or Hornady TAP.
I have never heard of anyone getting sued or jammed up in court over reloads and the reasons listed, even though I have heard the stories. Usually it's rumor and presumption. Police Depts usually do not authorize "Reloads" because they have no control over the quality of who is reloading the ammo. They have also at one time or another had bad experiences with reloads on the range. Therefore, they believe all reloads are junk, lack quality or are unreliable and they specify factory ammo for duty purposes. It also sets a standard of what ammo specifications they want on the street
I have not reloaded for a long time. If I was really into it and felt confident in what I was reloading I might consider it. I will not carry someone else reloads because I do not want to take a chance on my life when I can not be sure about the quality of the loads. Years ago I bought a new Sig 225. About a week later I picked up some reloads at a gun show. When I tried them at the range I had continual feeding problems. I never used reloads again and have never had a malfunction in that particular gun sense.

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