Legal and Illegal Bullet Types
All of us carry handguns to protect ourselves and our families from a bad guy doing the unthinkable. Part of a proactive mindset is choosing the ammunition you are comfortable with to stop a perpetrator before he hurts you or your loved ones. This leads us to a question we often hear. What kind of ammunition is legal in Texas? This video will not cover ammunition for long guns, antique or black powder firearms.
Instead, we’ll focus on what Texas and federal law both deem as legal ammunition for modern day handguns. To begin, federal law defines ammunition as ammunition or cartridge cases, primers, bullets or propellant powder designed for use in any firearm.
Different types of ammo
Texas law does not generally define ammunition, but it does define one type, armor piercing ammunition. Coincidentally,armor piercing handgun ammunition is the only specifically defined ammo that is illegal under both federal and state law. Also, a person must be 21 years or older to purchase handgun ammunition under federal law. Texas does not regulate the age to purchase ammo.
This means that all other ammunition is legal, including hand loads, law enforcement ammo, and the nastiest hollow points you can find. You can rest easy purchasing these bullets from your local gun store.
If you find yourself firing at an attacker, you cannot be prosecuted under either federal or Texas law solely for using these types of rounds. For most people, using a more effective bullet to stop someone from killing them or their family is a no-brainer. However, with the rise in arrests in all incidents involving firearms, even in clear self-defense cases, it’s natural to wonder if using those critical hollow points to stop the masked gunman in your home was a bad idea.
Texas law typically does not require a person to retreat if faced with deadly force by a perpetrator. If a bad guy forces you to use your weapon in self-defense or defense of your family, you are 100% legally justified in using hollow points to take him down.
Are hollow points illegal?
Unfortunately, even if the ammo is legal, a prosecutor may argue that by using rounds marketed with a catchy name, sayRIP hollow points, Zombie Max or Shredder bullets, that you are out to kill someone as opposed to using your gun as a defensive tool. This type of argument is a plea to jurors’ emotions rather than the law. That is why it’s extremely important to have an attorney who understands the nuances of ammunition and the law of justified deadly force.
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The information provided in this presentation is intended to provide general information to individuals and is not legal advice. The information included in this publication may not be quoted or referred to in any other publication without the prior written consent of U.S. LawShield, to be given or withheld at our discretion. The information is not a substitute for, and does not replace the advice or representation of a licensed attorney. We strive to ensure the information included in this publication is accurate and current, however, no claim is made to the accuracy of the information and we are not responsible for any consequences that may result from the use of information in this publication. The use of this publication does not create an attorney-client relationship between U.S. LawShield, any independent program attorney, and any individual.
Much of the hollow point ammo available today is designed so as to not pass through the target and hit a possible bystander. What if any law is effected here ?
This is exactly what the prosecutor tried in my case. I was using hollow point thus my ‘state of mind’ showed I wanted to use more lethal ammo that say, a .38 round nose..
Can you brief us on your
CpCpase and the outcome please and state u live
Is there difference between Federal law which may prohibit certain ammo as it relates to our sidearm – but yet a state has no law in place which your choice of ammunition is not brought into question.
I found it helpful when you said that you must be 21 years or older when purchasing handgun ammunition based on federal law. This is something that I will share with my brother to make sure that he will not bring his 19-year-old son when he shops for 9mm ammo next Friday. I want him to be able to complete his ammo purchase without breaking local regulations.
I have carried 40 and 45 hallow points in my personal carry weapons for 38 years without incident mind you. My choice was based on stopping my threat without unintended casualties. Say a pass through round. I learned at an early age to look beyond my intended target as I shot a whitetail buck. Him and the doe behind him both fell down. I took my black talon’s out after the Brady bill passed. I replaced them with cor-bob +P hollow points and haven’t changed since. Ironically the only time I have pulled my weapon other than a range was a month before my first permit was granted for an atm robbery. The first officer on scene told me to make my firearm dissapear before law enforcement arrived. The officer was off duty and the victim’s a woman and her daughter were all thankful I stopped the perpetrator but all were concerned with how I would be treated bye law enforcement.