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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, this might be a goofy sort of thought, but it just popped into my head. Lately I've been following some discussions on the potential ramifications of using reloads for carry, as well as the "1911 problems" thread. The reputation of Glocks came up in the latter, and I got to thinking. In the aftermath of a personal defense incident, would a jury tend to look more favorably upon someone carrying a 90 year old design than they would someone with one of those new-fangled plastic guns that obviously has no purpose other than to kill people?

zook
 

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I think the issue is more "single action" vs. "double action" and as a lawyer I see it as a catch 22. An effective (I won't say "good") lawyer could argue that the light trigger pull on the single action may have caused you to shoot somebody you otherwise wouldn't have shot. Your response would be something like: "you bet your ass I intended to shoot, the guy was trying to kill me" or words to that effect. With a double action, if there is a double or more tap, the effective lawyer argues that the difference in trigger pull resulted in an unnecessary follow-up shot. Same response.

Personally, I would argue that the reason for carrying a 1911 is that the redundant safeties demonstrate my respect for human life. You are going to be in trouble if you pin the grip safety in a personal defense weapon.

Bob
 

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zook,

Firearms are not built to "kill" people, they are sporting arms intended for sporting purposes only, even the newer plastic ones. Th killing of others is just how some choose to misuse firearms just as they did bows and arrows, tree branches, bones and stones before that. Make no mistake about this, in a defensive situation it should only be your intention to stop the attack against you. Should the attacker later die of injuries received during the defense of your life, which by the way can only be decided on by a power bigger then all of us, so be it. But it should never be your stated intend to "kill", only to stop the attack against you.

Good shooting,

Dean
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Dean, but I was trying to be facetious in describing what your typical jury member might think about a Glock. I knew I should have put a
in there . . .



zook
 

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Not being a person of legal background but one who listens well when a knowledgeable person speaks, I was advised to contact my local police department and determine what brand of ammunition they carry in their weapons. The argument being that if it's good enough for the police to use to protect us, it's good enough for us to use to protect ourselves. Made sense to me. Regarding the use of Glocks vs. 1911, ocbizlaw makes a very good point that the 1911 has redundant safeties. It is also a tried and true weapon that has been used by our fore fathers to protect and serve our country long before there were glocks. Just my 2 cents worth.
 

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If you ever have to face a jury (and lawyers), and it's discovered that you're using handloaded ammunition, be sure that a lawyer is going to make you look like a bloody-minded fiend who spent all their spare time cooking up a special round to cause a horribly painful death for the person you shot. Even if you're shooting the lightest target round. Buy your carry ammo. As for type of weapon, as long as it's not obviously modified, you should be ok.
 

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Originally posted by Flip:
If you ever have to face a jury (and lawyers), and it's discovered that you're using handloaded ammunition, be sure that a lawyer is going to make you look like a bloody-minded fiend who spent all their spare time cooking up a special round to cause a horribly painful death for the person you shot.
Heard that statement over and over (particularly by Ayoob). Never seen an actual case of it happening.
 

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Several things come up with personas regarding guns. While I have a Colt .45 ACP, I do not refer to it as an automatic weapon, although it is frequently referred to as a "45 auto" or "45 automatic" or just an "automatic pistol" like others such as Glocks. What most of the public does not realize is that these are semi-automatic shooting, but are autoloaders. Unless there is a malfunction, these guns do not have automatic fire, plain and simple. The general public does not often make that distinction.

I agree with Deang about guns not being designed for the purpose of killing people. My guns are designed to deliver a projectile down range in a controlled manner, that projectile usually being composed of lead and possibly other metals. Similarly, a bow is not designed to kill people, but is designed to deliver an arrow down range in a controlled manner. A gun is simply a much better way of throwing a rock. Yes, after 4 million years of evolution, we are still throwing rocks at one another.

Lawyers can argue all they want. If you shoot an attacker who has a knife or gun, either before or after giving the command to drop the weapon, and they refuse that command and are still standing or making aggressive moves, you are still in jeapordy and follow up shots will be in self defense.

Regardless of how bad the goblin is hurt by your gunfire, you are not a doctor (most likely) and nor are you in a position to assess the extent of the wounds suffered by the goblin. In retrospect, any lawyer can argue that a followup shot was unnecessary because the first shot did significant damage. As long as the other person is armed and makes an aggressive move or is armed and still standing and will not surrender the weapon, you could still lose the fight which means losing your life or the life of a family member.

For all practical defensive applications, use factory ammo, use normal firearms, and defend your family and a lawyer can still find a way to make you look like a monster. That is what they do for a living and they make a lot of money doing that. Your sole responsibilities are to protect yourself and your family at whatever costs, ideally without injuring bystanders for whom you will be accountable. Try to avoid yelling things like "Die Bast*rd!" or running up and shooting the guy in the head several times after he is down (as happened in Salt Lake City). Remember, even if you won the fight, you are the intended victim. Try to act like it no matter how much joy you feel for surviving.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It is also a tried and true weapon that has been used by our fore fathers to protect and serve our country long before there were glocks.
I guess this might describe the basis of my thought quite well. The 1911 design has a long history of service to our country, whereas Glocks seem to be developing an undeserved reputation, among the politically correct, for being popular among gang-bangers, etc. So I just wonder if people on a jury might, at some level, see someone with a 1911 as a "good guy", as opposed to the "bad guy" with the Glock.

Of course, nobody would want to make a decision about what to carry based on anything like this, and any impact on a trial would likely be negligible, but it struck me as interesting fodder for idle musing.


Thanks, all!

zook
 

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zook,

Don't forget that there are hundreds of law enforcement agencies in the US, including the US Secret Service and the FBI, that are issued or authorized to carry a Glock.

Suggestions, only use factory ammo as your carry ammo, get professional training, train, and train.

Good shooting,

Dean
 

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One important fact to remember is that a number of so-called elite law enforcement are going back to the 1911. Springfield just got a big contract with FBI HRT to provide them with 1911s as their duty weapons. That helps.

Bob
 
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Originally posted by Flip:
If you ever have to face a jury (and lawyers), and it's discovered that you're using handloaded ammunition, be sure that a lawyer is going to make you look like a bloody-minded fiend ...
This is an urban legend. No one has yet found a court case where the use of reloads was an issue.
 

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It seems to me that, other types of cases excepted (accidental shootings etc), it doesn't really make any difference whatsoever "what ammo you used", or whether you "removed that magazine disconnect", or what type of pistol.

In a defensive shooting the question before the DA, then (if the DA passes it on) a Grand Jury, and maybe the Courts, will be "was this a justifiable homicide". Or, "justifiable use of deadly force" if your assailant doesn't actually die as a result.

It is mistake to try and softpeddle what is, afterall, DEADLY FORCE. Which is, by definition "that force which a reasonable person would know is likely to result in DEATH or serious bodily harm" (words to the effect). This is universal, the only variances being when it is justifiable - as in States that require you, if possible to retreat, say, from your home vs those who allow you to stand your ground etc.

I wouldn't try and "lawyerproof" your gun. Waste of time. Lawyers are in the business of "making a case", and if neccessary - making one, out of nothing. Better to make 100% SURE that you only ever use deadly force, when it is justifiable. Then you need only concern yourself with proving the applicable FACTS.

Responses to any challenges, concerning your "choice of ammo", or "what type of pistol" you used should be met with matter of fact replies. Because it IS "matter of fact". Superfluous fact.

Just tell the honest truth.. ".. because it is a reliable and accurate pistol".
"this ammo is accurate and functions reliably in my pistol".

In anycase, questions straying away from the subject matter of an indictment, the specific charges against you, should be challenged by your defense counsel (and if he/she doesn't you need to give them a PROD) or yourself if you find yourself without one.

Any questions about "ammo" or "type of pistol" can be rebuffed thusly: ALL pistols, using ANY type of conventional ammo, can be expected by "a reasonable person to cause DEATH or serious bodily harm". 'Nuf said.
 

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I've been reading this board for a good month now but have held off on posting because I wanted to make my first post a report on my new Kimber Stainless Gold Match. Said report will be forthcoming after this weekend, but I feel the urge to toss my two cents worth in on this debate. Here goes:

I would beg to differ with the opinion that our 1911s and other firearms such as Glocks, Sigs and H&Ks were designed simply to deliver a projectile and not to kill people. Killing/incapacitating people is exactly what these weapons were designed to do, and our darling 1911 is the textbook example. John Browning was given a list of specifications for a hand-held weapon which US troops could use to most reliably and efficiently kill and injure enemy soldiers. He designed a device to meet these specifications and submitted it to the Army for approval. 90 years later it remains as one of the gold standard examples of purpose-driven design. The gun was not designed as a target or sporting firearm, although it has been successfully adapted to these uses over the years. It was designed to inflict injury and/or death on human beings, period. As citizens of a free state, we have a right to possess and bear such devises.

I have never been comfortable with the idea of sugarcoating the purpose of combat firearms or the intent behind our right to keep them. What most shy away from saying directly is that the second amendment has absolutely nothing to do with sporting firearm usage and even personal defense is of secondary concern. The second amendment was put in place to facilitate armed rebellion against the government should "the people" deem it necessary to do so. For fear of being labeled and written off as a ******* anarchist, many stop short of putting it in such direct terms.

To reiterate, the 1911 and similar firearms, many of which are simple refinements of the basic 1911 operating concepts, were designed as military/law enforcement/personal defense weapons, to be used against people. I think it cowardly to try and deny or gloss over this fact. You have a constitutional right to possess such a weapon and a God-given right to use it to protect your person and your loved ones. The only thing that should be at issue in a court is whether or not your or your loved ones' safety was in fact in jeopardy in a given incident. The configuration of your weapon or what it is loaded with is of no consequence.

As to the issue of using handloads for self defense, I have never handloaded ammunition for my defensive pistol, (H&K USP Compact .40) but were I to do so, it would be for the same reasons that I choose to handload .45 caliber ammunition, to achieve the utmost in accuracy and reliability, and I would use these reasons to justify that action. Since there are usually commercially available defensive loads that push the acceptable safety limitations for a given caliber, I'm assuming that you wouldn't be loading anything appreciably "hotter" than the stoutest factory loads. Considering that reliable functioning and shot placement, particularly the avoidance of "stray shots", is of utmost importance when it comes to defensive shooting, you are simply being responsible by doing everything in your power to insure these goals are met. Such is the argument that I would use if called upon to do so.

In court I would answer truthfully that:

1. My H&K USP Compact belongs to a family of firearms designed for military/law enforcement/defensive use against human targets.

2. My particular weapon is a shortened version designed to be concealed.

3. I purchased ammunition with a velocity and bullet design intended to inflict the maximum possible amount of tissue damage and blood loss in a human target.

4. I loaded the aforementioned weapon with said ammunition and kept it at my disposal specifically for the purpose of killing or inflicting incapacitating injury on an attacker, human or animal, who is attempting to do bodily harm to myself or a loved one.

5. I shot and killed Mr. John Doe because he attacked me with a ----- and I had a reasonable fear of death or serious injury if I did not act.


This is how a man of courage and conscience gives a full accounting of his actions.

[This message has been edited by Chris F (edited 03-01-2001).]
 

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Bravo Chris! I applaud your statements above. I would change a word or two in (4) and (5) above due to my views on legal proceedings, but this is not to suggest my wording is any more correct than yours.

4. I loaded the aforementioned weapon with said ammunition and kept it at my disposal specifically for the purpose of STOPPING an attacker, human or animal, who is attempting to do bodily harm to myself or a loved one.

5. I shot TO STOP Mr. John Doe because he attacked me with a ----- and I had a reasonable fear of death or serious injury if I did not act.


My personal preference of wording, but I hope neither you nor I ever have the opportunity to see which one of us would fair better in court.

Regards,

Mark
 

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The wording of the statements is intended to be blunt and to issue a direct challenge to the perception that one does not have the right to shoot to kill an assailant. Use of the term STOP is, in my opinion, sugarcoating, and leads to dangerous questions such as "why didn't you shoot your attacker in the leg to STOP him?" Law enforcement long ago realized the danger and futility of this perception and instructs officers not to attempt such "trick shots" with the aim of merely stopping a criminal. Officers are taught that if deadly force is justified and necessary in a particular situation, make it just that, DEADLY force. In other words, shoot to kill; if he lives, so be it, if he dies, so be it. The same rules should apply to citizens defending themselves.

My use of the words "and killed" in #5 is assuming that I would be making these statements past-tense and that the most extreme outcome had indeed come to pass, that being that I was forced to shoot my assailant and that he died as a result.
 

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Officers use the word "stop" and not "kill". Your intention is/should be to stop the aggression, not necessarily kill the attacker.

This is not sugarcoating.
 

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Of course, the ultimate goal is to STOP hostilities, but your actions are a direct attempt to KILL said assailant. Police officers and civilians being taught defensive shooting are taught to attempt to put bullets into the vital organs of their attackers, causing tissue damage and blood loss, with a reasonable expectation that this will cause them to expire. The injury and incapacitation of an assailant, without death, while still a desireable outcome,is often a failure of the shooter to accomplish under duress what he/she was trained to do. That, or an ammunition failure.

Yes, public image concerns and political correctness have forced police agencies to use the term "stop", but it is made very clear that shots at non-vital areas, with the intent of merely disabling an attacker should not be attempted.

Were I to point a gun in the general direction of a random passer-by and loose a series of shots at them, aiming for nothing in particular, even if none of the bullets touched them, I would be charged with attempted murder. My point is this, to point a firearm designed to kill/injure human beings at a human being and pull the trigger is to take an action which you have a reasonable expectation will result in the death of that person. If one cannot or will not come to grips with this fact, then they are not mentally prepaired to use a firearm in self defense and should not keep or carry one for this purpose as they then pose a greater danger to themselves and others than if they were unarmed.

I pray that I'm never forced to shoot someone in self defense. Should the unfortunate happen, I know that my ultimate goal is to "stop" my attacker, and that, with hostilities stopped, their survival is a desireable outcome, perhaps even more so than their death. However, I have no illusions about the fact that when I point a deadly weapon at another human being and drop that hammer, killing them is exactly what I'm attempting to do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Chris,

I too admire your honesty and conviction, and like to think that I would approach a trial with the same attitude.

My Dad is a retired attorney. He didn't do any criminal work, but over the course of his career, he was involved in exactly two lawsuits, one of which involved my property. One piece of advice he gave me was that one should never volunteer information - answer truthfully, but with a simple "yes" or "no" whenever possible. By the same token, I think it would be advisable to say only that "I shot the attacker because...". If you say "I shot and killed the attacker because...", you're essentially saying two things: "I shot him because..." and "I killed him because...". While both statements would be true, they would leave distinctly different impressions on those listening to you. I think it's important to avoid any potential ambiguity in describing a self-defense incident.

I find it interesting that, in visualising scenarios, I tend not to think about what might happen to the imaginary attacker if I shoot him, and I don't know if that's good or bad. Sometimes I'm shocked by the realization that I could actually kill someone, and have to stop and ask myself if I'm really willing to do that in order to protect myself or others. The answer is always a somewhat reluctant "Yes, if I have no other choice." In a trial, I would want to be honest and blunt about the incident and the tools I used, but I would also want to honestly and clearly express that mindset.

zook
 

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I would disagree with ChrisF on the stop vs kill argument.

When you discharge a firearm with the goal of killing something, you are hunting.

When you discharge a firearm with the goal of stopping a threat, you are defending yourself.

The issue, is what your goal is in discharging the weapon, not the ultimate consequence of that discharge on the target.

Cops are told to shoot to stop, because they are in the defending business, not the hunting business.
 
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