As we are bound to see in the Zimmerman case there’s a whole lot of things you may do that you may not think one second about, but if you ever come under the prosecutorial microscope after a self-defense shooting you may find those insignificant things can weigh heavily against you. One of these is ammunition selection. The kind of ammunition you load in your defensive firearm can have consequences in court.
One of the biggest (and legally proven) mistakes can be using reloaded ammunition. Personally I keep my reloads separate from my serious social purposes ammunition and I don’t load the same projectiles. The other thing I do is make sure all of the ammunition I am carrying is from the same lot. The boxes it came from are kept and I record the date loaded and the serial number of the firearm on the inside of the flap. When I change out my ammunition I make sure to shoot all of the old lot so as to avoid any potential issues.
A more recent and as yet untried issue in court is ammunition like Hornady’s Zombie Max Ammunition. We’ll talk about the whole zombie craze some other time, but Tam makes an excellent point about carrying it. Right on the box is a warning that the ammunition is not to be used on humans. I bet a prosecutor or tort lawyer would positively drool over getting to use that against someone in court. Not to mention the aspersions that can be made towards one’s mental state if they carry that ammunition around all the time.
So what to carry for self-defense? Personally I check a few places for records on what rounds are seeing the most use by law enforcement (even better if you can find out what your local forces carry) and see which ones are performing the best at stopping a fight. Then I document my findings as well as the ammunition’s performance in my own firearms. If it meets my standards for accuracy and reliability then that is what I carry. If not then I go down the list till I find a round that does and carry that being sure to mark the boxes as I’ve mentioned previously.