In a recent issue of a preparedness magazine there was an article about a line of specialty ammunition from Lightfield Slugs. While the law enforcement community would refer to this ammunition as "less lethal" the truth of the matter - for anyone who will admit it - is that the lethality of any ammunition isn't guaranteed. People have survived multiple hits from various calibers of "lethal" ammunition. Death from a paint-ball type projectile has occurred where no one ever thought it could (weird circumstances there). The bottom line is that, there are no guarantees. I felt that this ammo required a second look for those who seek more versatility in their personal armory. Given that the company is marketing the ammo for civilian use, it is certainly available for off-duty law enforcement and our families. Here is an excerpt from the cited article:
Think about the woman, not so long ago, who was on national television because her conversation with the 911 dispatcher was recorded as she repeatedly said she really didn't want to have to shoot the guy who was breaking into her house through the back door. And after she DID shoot him - still being recorded on the 911 line - she immediately began asking God for forgiveness. She obviously didn't want to have to take a human life. She just wanted to be left safe in her home.
Many Americans today feel the exact same way; virtually all of our writing staff among them. We'd prefer not to have to shoot anyone - but we will do what it takes to protect ourselves and our families. With specially designed munitions - now available to civilians - another option in your level of force is available.
In law enforcement circles this ammo would be labeled as "less lethal". That's a misleading label since virtually anything discharged from the end of a gun can kill if fired under the right circumstances or at a close enough range. On the other end of that spectrum is the reality that much of today's lethal ammunition proves not to be. Think about it: how many criminals get shot by law enforcement professionals and live? Quite a few. So it's not a good idea to think of munitions as lethal or less-lethal. Really that boils down to delivery, training and intent. When it comes time to justify your use of any munition, the delivery and training will be a matter of record via police reports and whatever documentation you can produce. Intent will be what you're left to articulate and it can be clearly supported through careful selection and application of various munitions.
One example of specialty munitions is the line of Home Defender products from Lightfield Ammunition. The Home Defender line of ammo includes:
- 12g Rubber Slug (top)
- 12g HV Star (2nd)
- 20g Double Ball (3rd)
- 410g Rubber buckshot (4th)
Now, although the line is called "Home Defender" you should recognize that there are a number of handguns made today - derringers and specially designed weapons such as the Taurus Judge - that will fire .410 gauge ammo. Having the 20g and 410g options in the Home Defender line gives you more options both at home and abroad - if you can legally carry. Just as with the scenario used to open this article, with the proper sidearm your first round could be one of these specialty munitions - not designed to inflict lethal force given the proper circumstances. In doing so you may well create the Grand Jury situation as described. Your use of one specialty shot made it clear that you'd be perfectly happy if the bad guy would have stopped his attack or aggression and just gone away. Instead he chose to continue his assault and you had no choice but to fire that second shot. How defensible is that?
There are also a number of law enforcement and military professionals who leave their families home each day or night to go out and do their duty. Many of those spouses left at home want an option for home protection but aren't comfortable with the idea of just killing someone - which is how they view shooting anyone. Whether they've just bought into the Hollywood myths or hold beliefs that make them uncomfortable with the idea of taking a human life - even just possibly - in the name of self-defense, doesn't matter. If they aren't willing to fire that weapon of choice at the bad guy when he breaks into the house because they simply can't accept the idea of possibly killing him, then you have an option to reduce that risk for them. Through the use of these specialty munitions you can reduce the chance that shooting the bad guy will cause lethal harm.
Let's be realistic here: if you use a pump-action shotgun of any caliber for home defense then the bad guy is going to get multiple warnings. He's going to hear that action working and recognize it for what it is. If that doesn't turn him, he's going to see, hear and feel the shot fired at him - and the impacts of even rubber projectiles at close range is enough that he probably won't know it was a specialty munition. He'll likely think he's been shot, is bleeding and get pretty scared. If he turns to run, then so be it. Your spouse has accomplished the goal of protecting house and home without having killed someone - or at least having fired at someone with a greatly reduced risk of lethal outcome. If the bad guy doesn't turn and run then nothing short of several well placed shots with regular ammo would have deterred him anyway and your spouse will have at least put up some kind of fight rather than locking the door, calling 911 and just hoping help arrived in time.
On the range I started out with the Lightfield Rubber Slug round. This round is a .73-caliber rubber projectile designed for what Lightfield refers to as mid-range use (20-40 yards). Accuracy was good as I was able to easily engage angled 12"x18" steel targets at twenty-five yards. There was a noticeable "thwang" when the rubber slug hit (and bounced off of) the steel. Further, the energy delivery was obvious as the free-standing steel target and its stand rocked. I would hate to be on the receiving end of this round in any situation. There's no doubt in my mind that this would be a highly effective round out to the 40-yard mark that Lightfield advertises it for.
Next was the Double Rubber Ball round. One thing I noticed was that these tended to project much higher out of the barrel than I ever anticipated. Designed for indirect and low-angle fire situations at distances between 20 and 40 yards, I tested them at a distance of 25 yards using indirect fire. I was able to easily hit my target several times, but only after practicing a couple of times. At one point, in an effort to test accuracy, I aimed straight at the target and was surprised to see the projectile sing a foot over the top fo it. I aimed lower and watched the same thing happen. I don't know if it was due to the strung-balls spinning that gave them lift, but I completely missed the target with the first two shots. These things are moving fast out of the barrel and still carrying plenty of velocity when they bounce off the target. I was unable to find them to recover for photographing. To test this round I was using a B27 target taped to a large (55 gallon) plastic barrel. I could hear and see the impacts and it was quite easy to put rounds on the target (using indirect fire).
Last on the list was the Lightfield HV Star ammo. This 75-grain 1.25" "super star" is a twelve-gauge projectile specially designed to have lots of surface area. It reminds me of a small, but thick, koosh ball. I can't imagine being shot by one of these. The recoil and report was easily the most of any of the rounds tested (with the exception of the Nova Blast round that left my ears ringing even through muffs), and it was extremely accurate, even as far away as twenty-five yards. That's pretty impressive since it was designed as a close range round - eight to eighteen yards according to Lightfield's online information. I fired this round on the same free-standing steel target as I did the rubber slug and it rocked the target impressively. While I was shooting from the twenty yard line (two rounds) I noticed that the projectile bounced off the steel almost halfway back to me (that's why angled steel is a good thing).
Obviously this ammunition takes practice but with practice, planning and good tactics, the addition of specialty munitions to your home arsenal is now a possibility. For more information check out Lightfield Slugs online via the link below.