One of the ways I stay current with the gun industry is my subscription to The Outdoor Wire ( which is a daily newsletter that contains content about products and people in the gun industry. And if you happen to be interested in reducing gun violence, you might want to start looking at this resource because, after all, it might be helpful to know something about the industry which you believe needs to be better regulated and controlled.

speer              Of course I understand and appreciate the degree to which most of my gun-control friends would much rather base their concerns about gun violence on opinions rather than facts. After all, facts are boring and just get in the way of how we usually develop ideas – just ask Sleazy Don Trump about how and why facts are not relevant to any comment he ever makes. Be that as it may, I still recommend a daily dose of the Outdoor Wire digital newsletter because as Don Corleone says, ‘keep your friends close but keep your enemies closer.’

One of last week’s newsletters starts off with an advertisement for personal-protection ammunition from Speer, an ammo company whose Gold Dot handgun ammunition is a product often found in the duty weapons carried by the men and women in blue. The reason that cops carry Gold Dot or other, similar brands is because the manufacturing process creates a hollow-point which expands to about twice the diameter of the actual round, meaning that this kind of bullet creates a much larger wound and is lethal even if it hits someone in a non-critical part of their body.

In the Stone Age, bullets like this were called ‘dum-dum’ rounds, and they were banned in warfare by an 1899 international treaty. But the United States didn’t sign the treaty, and even if we had signed, this lethal ammunition was only proscribed in warfare, not for just walking around the urban ‘warfare zones’ of Baltimore, Chicago or Washington, D.C.  In the gun industry, we refer to this ammunition as ‘premium ammo,’ because a box containing 20 rounds can set the armed citizen back $30 bucks. But why skimp when it’s a question of protecting yourself and/or your ‘loved ones,’ right?

In this case, the ammunition being offered by Speer is actually the bullets themselves which can be handloaded into brass cases filled with powder, a process which results in “superb accuracy and immediate, threat-stopping performance.” Shooters who reload their own ammunition are usually doing it to save some bucks. But in this case Speer is promoting these new products because they are the non plus ultra in self-defense loads.

Now you would think that this ammunition would be produced in the standard handgun calibers like 9mm, 40 S & W or the venerable 45acp. But what caught my eye is the fact that these new ammo loads are being made available in rifle calibers which have never been considered to be self-defense calibers at all. Speer calls this ammunition ‘personal protection rifle bullets,’ and they are at the local gun shop in .264, .277 and .308 loads.  I happen to own rifles in all three calibers; they are bolt-action rifles made by Remington and Ruger, and I would never imagine ever using these guns for anything other than sporting weapons to take out into the woods whenever I go on a hunt.

What’s happening is that gun makers are now beginning to deliver assault rifles, like the AR-15, not just chambered for the usual .223 military round, but also capable of handling what used to be considered hunting cartridges. Both Ruger and Bushmaster are now shipping assault rifles in other calibers besides .223, Smith & Wesson has a model in .243, all of these products now being sold for use in self-defense guns.

The good news is that if I run out of bad guys who force me to carry a gun in self-defense, I can always keep my trusty self-defense rifle on the ready when Bambi comes charging out of the woods.