Purpose-Built Defensive Ammo: Find It and Use It

Purpose Built Defensive Ammunition, Sheriff Jim Wilson

I have to confess that, somewhere along the line, I became an ammo snob. Now this wasn’t something that I had done intentionally; it just happened. While there is some really good defensive ammunition out there built for all kinds of particular uses, I had never believed in using specialized bullets for different tasks. I always felt that it was way more important to just learn to hit stuff with whatever ammo you had chosen and settled on using.

But there is an old saying that some people change because they have seen the light while others change because they have felt the heat. My conversion came about in this manner…

A few years ago, I regularly kept a travel trailer out in Arizona. Coincidentally, it was very close to the Gunsite Academy, and it was nicely located just above the headwaters of the Verde River at a friend’s horse ranch/bed & breakfast. An entirely delightful place.

One evening, after dark, I drove up to the trailer and let my dog out of the car. Now Katy, who was snake-trained, quickly informed me that we were not alone and there was one of those nasty rattlesnakes nearby. Pulling out my handy tactical light, I discovered a rather-large Mojave rattler just under the trailer steps. In addition to my tactical light, I just happened to have a pistol on me.

Now this pistol was loaded with a good brand of defensive JHP ammo, so I was not worried. I had never owned any of that snake-shot stuff that so many were fond of. After all, a fella ought to be able to hit was he is shooting at with regular, old bullets. So armed, I set out to engage this venomous critter.

As I sighted his head, I realized that I couldn’t shoot in that direction because my friend’s house was just over there and a ricochet might impact it. Not to worry, I’ll just shoot from this other direction. Oh, but the horse barn is over that way!

I really do not like to have close contact with Mojave rattlers. Those things have a neurotoxin as well as the common hemotoxin. It’s bad stuff. 

So, gritting my teeth, I got a stick and dragged the snake out to where I could safely shoot it without hitting a bunch of other stuff that I really wasn’t supposed to. There was some dancing around on my part and, I regret to report, some unseemly language before the deed was done.

I went down the next day and bought some snake-shot cartridges.The moral of this story is: Don’t be an ammo snob! Our ammunition manufacturers make some great ammo for just about every occasion. Learn about it. Experiment with it. Take advantage of it. In my newly reformed persona, I certainly do.

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2 Responses to Purpose-Built Defensive Ammo: Find It and Use It

  1. Paul says:

    Same here. I hike often here in East Texas. S&W 60-15 with a snake shot and four 146gr Speer semi-jacketed HPs over 12 grains of 2400 (just a real hot .38 load).

    I just make sure I don’t shoot a black tip rattler unless I really really have to (cause here in Texas it’s ‘protected’ and a $1000 fine if you kill ’em!)

  2. On our little rural ranch here in Southern AZ, we never know what we might run into, that needs shooting. While I keep several different guns handy, with varying ammo, my wife isn’t so inclined to be so educated, as to what is which. So, I set her up with a 9 shot H&R revolver. It’s cheap, so it don’t mind a ding or dent know and then. I loaded it up with 3 CCI stingers for the bigger things, three CB Shorts, for smaller critters and then 3 shot shells for the reptilians. Being a break open gun, it is easy for her to pop it open, select the right round and then fire away. With a red, green and blue Sharpy, I’ve color coded the rounds, do she know just what to choose. She packs it all over the property while working and has used it correctly, several times. She’s two diamondbacks (shot shells) and a feral dog (Stinger) to her credit. It works for her, so it works for me. At least she carries it.

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