I posted the above image on TTAG’s Facebook page with a simple caption: “The jury’s gonna LOVE that..”. Not everyone agreed with my snark. “We really can’t just look at stuff and say ‘oh that’s kind of cool’ or ‘not my style’ anymore?” Stephen Byrd asked. “If you’re so worried that a skull on your holster is the thin line between prison and freedom after a shoot than (sic) don’t carry it. I’ve got a gun, spare mag, camo knife with military in its name, and tattoos (with skulls, oh my) and I just care about being legal, not PC.” . . .

Rick Garcia was amused. “Hahaha. Massad Ayoob warned against that kinda stuff. But then again, a justified shooting is a justified shooting.”

Where do you come down on “aggressive” accoutrements? I avoid them – and strident pro-2a clothing – like the plague. You? 

145 Responses to Question of the Day: Do You Care What A Jury Would Think About Your Gear?

  1. Where do you come down on “aggressive” accoutrements? I avoid them – and strident pro-2a clothing – like the plague. You?

    I avoid them as well. Ideally we should have whatever style we like. But the prosecution will comb over the jury members and remove any intelligent individuals. The emotional collectivists/statists will be left behind to determine your fate and looks matter (unfortunately).

    I once had an acquantance that had a magazine with the following laser etched on it:

    Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

    I told him – “That is super cool, but don’t use it in your EDC. Keep that magazine far away from you. The prosecution will paint you as a religious zealot extremist, and the uneducated jurors will agree.

    • Interesting topic, but for me my EDC is a tool. Nothing more, nothing less. I don’t put skulls on a screwdriver, or an etching of the grim reaper on a circular saw. But each to their own I guess. I have thought about the ammo I use a bit in that regard. I picked the most effective ammo that my gun can chamber safely. I’m sure a prosecutor could make something out of that if they were so inclined.

  2. I avoid it…anytime I offer the same advice someone undoubtably will counter with a demand that I produce a court case where something similar contributed to a negative outcome.

    I don’t really care about what has or hasn’t happened, I just know I don’t want to take a chance on it happening to me. I don’t alter the factory triggers on carry guns, no punisher logo’d grips. Even in the Zimmerman case the defendant’s firearm was addressed in great detail, both in court and in the media…safety on/off, no safety!?, trigger pull weight, etc.

    • Yet the prosecution didn’t address what I thought was the most glaring anomaly given the prevalence of training/emphasis on – “..shoot until the threat stops.”

      Zimmerman only fired one shot. With someone on top of him. While having his head slammed against the concrete. From a modern semi-auto with a relatively light trigger pull. One shot. Was he really able to detect that the threat had stopped after only one shot? Be able to observe something to consciously decide to stop pulling the trigger? Or was he startled by the gun firing before he intended to pull the trigger?

      • The way I heard it was that his pistol, as happens frequently with semi autos, jammed after the first contact range shot.

        • Thank you. I had never heard that despite everything else that came out and had wondered if that occurred- maybe from limp-wristing it due to the angle he held it etc. I remember reading a case that Masad Ayoob described where a shooting in circumstances consistent with self-defense ended up being a conviction for manslaughter when the shooter admitted under oath that he may have accidentally pulled the trigger vice intentionally having pulled it. So I wondered why prosecution didn’t try and play that angle up to get the conviction on the lesser charge…

        • Way I heard it was that the PF9 didn’t have enough distance (between GZ AND TM’s bodies) to fully cycle the slide so it was an FTE that caused the jam. Doesn’t matter. He knew the threat was over when, according to GZ’s statement, TM said “You got me man” or words to that effect. One of the reasons I intend to get a snub nose revolver as a back up piece.

        • I haven’t looked in depth after the fact and this may have just been some rumor but what I’d heard was that in fact the investigating officer who handled the pistol unloaded it then re-inserted the spent brass into the chamber. (which so far as I know is terrible and against procedure)

      • I heard that Zimmerman was actually working for Dick Cheney and was on his way back from a Klan rally, was really driving an H2 with a rebel flag vanity plate, which had a bumper sticker that said “world wide white pride”, the idea that he was mexican was a lie because he just had a tan, and that he jumped out of the truck spraying rounds from a Mac-10 he stole out of the back of a squad car, until he killed Martin, who was on his way back from Sunday School and handing out bibles, money, and food to local impoverished disabled minorities. That’s how it really went down.

  3. On one hand, a very cut and dried case this would not appear to matter at all…in a case where there is little evidence in support of your side IE the Martin case, I cant help but wonder if something like this wouldnt tip the jury against you.

  4. If a rogue prosecutor in an anti jurisdiction wants to nail you, he will find a reason to nail you. A punisher skull is the least of your worries, you better have never ever ever made a single disparaging remark in social media about anyones race, gender, national origin, any comments about criminals being scum etc or your screwed. GZ sent some semi racial joke years ago and they tried to make a mountain out of a mole hill. If the prosecutor wants you, he will try to get you and none of us are angels so bottom line is unless your holster says “I am looking for a fight” in so many words you have bigger fish to fry.

  5. Life is hard; its harder when you’re stupid. Why increase the difficulty level of proving a justifiable shooting? Don’t give the jury one more hurdle to overcome.

    • OOOOOOH MY GOOOOOOOD you carry a GUN RU looking toi murder someone? YOU JUST GET UP LOOKING FOR ANY EXCUSE TO KILL PEOPLE DON’T YOU!!!!!. What church do you go to? You voted REPUBLICAN!!!!! YOU HATE BLACK PEOPLE!!!!! Democrat….were you a fan of Robert KKKK Byrd. You used a 12 GAUGE SHOTGUN!!!! Only that is a high power weapon….racist White Cops used them for RIOT CONTROL aka SCARING BLACK CIVIL RIGHT PROTESTORS!!!..

      Do I need to go on and point out the ways an out of control prosecutor will not care how PC proof your guns are and how non-cool a firearm is will not help. If they can not find something, they will make it up. If he wasn’t dead I would tell you to ask Mr. Fish about it.

  6. Earlier today, at the daily TTAG editorial meeting . . .

    Nick: “So I did the EVO piece yesterday, and we have pending some stuff about Para not making 1911s anymore”
    RF: “That’s too little. We need more content. And if we don’t have any – let’s make some sh*t up. We need to keep people coming to the site, more ad prints, more revenue!”

    • You do realize it is a blogs job to create content right? This is an interesting (and valid) question that I’ve personally talked about with like minded friends previously. If you run a blog and all you publish is the same press release shit every other blog on the internet is publishing, you arent going to be around long, or be as successful as TTAG.

    • Earlier today, at the daily TTAG editorial meeting . . .

      Nick: “So I did the EVO piece yesterday, and we have pending some stuff about Para not making 1911s anymore”

      RF:“That’s too little. We need more content. And if we don’t have any – let’s make some sh*t up. We need to keep people coming to the site, more ad prints, more revenue!” Also, if we make sh!t up, random complainers will show up to call us out about it and talk about the sh!t we made up and that will stir up further discussions. Discussions are entertaining for our loyal readers. People like that Anonymous guy – they don’t have any friends. They like to come here and chit chat in the comments section – it distracts them from cleaning guns all day and reading about political sophist nonsense. We offer that relief to those sorts of weirdos and it’s a beneficial win-win for everyone.

  7. Theres a problem-the people who determine whether a shooting is justified wont be 12 members of the local USPSA chapter.

    Worse, we cant predict where we’ll have to defend ourselves.Even the most strident 2A supporting state has liberal zones run by and populated with people who think muskets are tactical assault weapons.Even if your neighborhood is pro gun , the place you draw your gun may not be.

    Im not saying limit your options. Im saying you should carry the military stamped, modded trigger Glock with the “Yippie Ki Yay Mother#%^*er” engraving only where you know it wont be a problem. If youre vacationing in LA,might want to carry the basic gun for hotel defense.

  8. A justified shooting is a justified shooting…until it goes to a jury…that wasn’t there when it went down…that won’t go to jail for you or take care of your family while you’re gone. Don’t confuse freedom of expression with good sense.

  9. It is also just not my taste and may be conducive to an image I do not wish to project. Actually I’d like to project no image at all but I suppose that is practically impossible.

  10. I use nothing but Hello Kitty holsters, my guns are all pink and I shoot nothing but Fluffy Bunny ammo. So I’m good to go.

    • My Fluffy Bunny ammo is their jacketed hollow points with the spinning blades-o-death and rocket assist for armor penetration and an explosive charge. But when it explodes, it sprinkles glitter around the wound, so I’m good.

      • I was interested in these 147 Glitter Grains because tnoutdoors9 had a nice video review of them. But the local sporting goods store only carries 124+Purrrs. My pistols and holsters are all relatively plain-jane, but so are my clothes, my car, my hair, and my cowboy boots.

  11. I don’t want to, but I have to.
    For the same reasons, I don’t believe anything about a defensive carry gun’s mechanics (trigger pull weight, etc) should be modified from factory setting. If the gun does not work for you in “off-the-shelf” condition, find another one that does.

    • Couldn’t disagree more. Luckily were not a communist country yet, not officially anyway, so we can still for time being chose better made options from tires, cars, windows, and yes, firearms parts.

    • I’ve changed the springs in my carry revolver. It went from slightly less than heavy enough to cause a muscle tear in my trigger finger to just barely registering within the operating range of a 10 lb trigger gage. It is still twice the pull weight of your typical semiauto carry pistol. If my lawyer can’t explain how that is completely irrelevant to the case then I need to get a new lawyer.

      • Actually, your lawyer should be able to show how this is far more responsible in minimizing the risk to bystanders due to the difficulty of being accurate with the heavier trigger pull. You lessened the risk.

  12. Any who wears punisher gear while carrying in public probably has other personality traits that will get them into trouble. Such as associating their CCW and 2A rights with violent vigilantism.

  13. I’m not the type to draw attention to myself, whatever the context. So, I doubt I’d use gear that would be likely to draw attention.

    As for considering the opinion of potential jurors: that is the same reason that for my EDC, my trigger is unmodified, the magazine disconnect is in place, and I carry Hornaday Critical Defense rounds – I want to leave as little as possible for an unscrupulous (i.e. criminal) prosecutor to try to use against me, if the unfortunate event happens that I am forced to use my firearm in self-defense.

  14. If your shooting goes to trial then you’ve already messed up pretty badly. Since the burden of proof in gun states lies with the goverment to prove that it wasn’t self defense, not with you to prove that it was. To be charged means that you shot in circumstances where most of the evidence is against you, which means that unless it’s some strange occurrence or a frame job that it really wasn’t a righteous shoot.

    And if you live in state where the laws are backwards then you should sell your guns and use the money to move as that action will give you more safety than anything else you could ever do.

    • Not a lawyer, don’t know if you are, but as I understand it a claim to self-defense is an affirmative defense. You admit to killing the person than have to demonstrate that the elements of self-defense were present. Which is easier to do in some jurisdictions than others. Than the government has the burden to prove that they weren’t.

      Bottom line, you really do need to know the law in your jurisdiction.

      • Its not that way in all states. In some, like Montana, the claim of self defense on your own property is enough. You are not obligated to provide any evidence whatsoever. The state must come up with evidence to contradict your claim. If there is no evidence either way, (example, just you claiming self defense and a dead guy with no witnesses, or other evidence to either contradict or support your claim, you cannot be charged.

        This means (in this state) that most people who are charged are found guilty sense they can only be charged if there is already good evidence against them. But most are not charged as even if the circumstances are vague or unknown as long as there is not substantial evidence against the defender he must be presumed innocent.

        You can think of it as Shall Issue for self defense. You don’t have to prove it was SD, they have to prove it wasn’t.

        • So in Montana, I can, say, shoot a pizza delivery driver on my doorstep and then claim that this was in self-defense, and get away with it for the lack of any evidence showing otherwise?

          Do they start suspecting something after the first dozen, or can you basically just keep going?

        • So in Montana, I can, say, shoot a pizza delivery driver on my doorstep and then claim that this was in self-defense, and get away with it for the lack of any evidence showing otherwise?

          In 49 of 50 States (Ohio being the exception), the accused bears the burden of production of a mere “modicum of evidence” to assert self-defense as an affirmative defense, after which the state bears the burden of proof, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the accused did *not* act in self-defense.

          So: even by that bare-minimum standard, what is your “modicum of evidence” that you acted in self-defense against the pizza delivery guy?

          Eugene Volokh explains:
          http://volokh.com/2013/07/14/burden-and-quantum-of-proof-on-self-defense/

        • “int19h says:
          February 3, 2015 at 15:25
          So in Montana, I can, say, shoot a pizza delivery driver on my doorstep and then claim that this was in self-defense, and get away with it for the lack of any evidence showing otherwise?

          Do they start suspecting something after the first dozen, or can you basically just keep going?”

          I realize the person you were responding to was a little overly simplistic, but in the above mentioned scenario there would probably be plenty of evidence of you murdering the pizza delivery boy in cold blood… not a lawyer nor do I pretend to be one but I assume, for example, there would be a record of you calling the pizza shop and ordering a pizza for delivery so you couldnt argue unsolicited tresspassing unless you asked specifically that the kid wait at the entrance to your driveway or something, and then theres the fact that the pizza boy probably wouldn’t have a weapon on him, and there probably would be no sign of struggle or attempt at forced entry, etc etc.

          At the bare minimum I would be suspicious if I walked onto that scene.

        • The perfect example recently was actually in Montana where the guy laid in wait all set up for the kids to come in his garage and steal things, they had done it a couple of times, he bragged around town it wouldn’t happen again and then laid in wait and even baited them, then killed one, an exchange student I believe. He was charged and I think he was found guilty.

        • So in Montana, I can, say, shoot a pizza delivery driver

          Why would you want to be black-listed from pizza delivery?
          Also I’d assume any gun person living in Montana lives outside of any pizza chain delivery radius.

      • Well, if your murder a unarmed kid in the street after 911 tells you to leave him alone you most certainly deserve to go to trial. He is a perfect example of a bad shoot and the resulting trial.

        • He did stop following the kid, as the dispatch operator instructed him to do. According to the testimony of both the dispatch operator and the girl on the phone with Zimmerman. Also, the girl testified that it was Martin who initiated the contact between the two of them. To be completely clear the kid was ~5′ 10″ and ~170lbs if I recall correctly. The incident did not happen in the street, in happened on a pathway between the homes as Zimmerman was going back to his truck to meet the arriving police officers. (Why the dispatcher hung up, Z had ceased following the ‘suspicious person’ and would be following up with the police who were being sent).

        • Regardless of who you choose to believe it was far from a clean shoot and had plenty suspicious factors to justify a trial.

          If the positions where reversed and Travoyn (if he was old enough to carry a gun) had shot Zim dead he probably wouldn’t have been charged and certainly not convicted.

          But, history is written by the victor so regardless of if you are in the right or not, its in your best interest to be the one standing at the end.

        • Regardless of who you choose to believe it was far from a clean shoot and had plenty suspicious factors to justify a trial.

          Hogwash. The evidence is all there for you to see, if you are willing and able to understand it.

          Zimmerman did nothing – nothing at all – unlawful. He was verbally accosted and physically assaulted by someone with no legal justification. He was pinned to the ground, thereby preventing any means or opportunity of escape. He was put in mortal fear and risk of serious bodily injury by the sustained assault. At the moment he used deadly force, he was 100% justified in doing so.

        • Well, if your murder a unarmed kid in the street after 911 tells you to leave him alone you most certainly deserve to go to trial. He is a perfect example of a bad shoot and the resulting trial.

          After this much time, with all the evidence available, such cognitive dissonance is either willful ignorance or incompetent stupidity.

        • “After this much time, with all the evidence available, such cognitive dissonance is either willful ignorance or incompetent stupidity.”

          The MSM and the left were all in for a certain narrative before the facts were known, because that narrative fit their viewpoint of how the world works and supported their agenda. As the facts came out, they simply either ignored them or bent them to fit. They will never back down, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, because that simply isn’t in their nature.

  15. Could it matter in a trial? Maybe.

    As a non operator, non operating on the streets, I have no scary logos on anything I have on me when carrying. I’m just not operational enough to pull it off. But if I were, I would, and not worry about it after a DGU.

  16. I’ll take my chances without the tactical, fear gear…

    Bias and preconceived notions are just a fact of life, you don’t know what other people are going to think before they’ve even heard all the evidence.

    But hey, use all the death dealer, high speed, overpriced gear if you like, its your money and your life.

  17. Can anyone provide a verified example of a trial where a defendant asserted he shot in self-defense, and the prosecutor got gun alterations, what the defendant’s gear looked like, or what kind of ammo the defendant used admitted into evidence for the purpose of rebutting the claim of self-defense? I have never heard of this happening. All I see is speculation that it might.

    • Can anyone provide a verified example of a trial where a defendant asserted he shot in self-defense, and the prosecutor got gun alterations, what the defendant’s gear looked like, or what kind of ammo the defendant used admitted into evidence?

      Mas Ayoob, who has testified in – what, hundreds of? – trials has both alluded and anecdotally referenced from his own experience prosecutors using exactly these tactics. Try the Gun Digest Book of Concealed Carry. I’m still working through his latest (Deadly Force – Understanding Your Right to Self Defense), so I’m not sure if he mentions it or not in that one. Try some of his videos as well (most are bootlegged on YouTube).

      • He’s also blathered on about the use of handloads in defense shootings and it took a LOT of pressing for him to FINALLY produce cites to two cases where he asserts handloads were an issue.

        Problem is, his two cases failed that test. In neither case was the use of handloads singularly determinant in jury decision if it was a factor at all.

        Ayoob gives a lot of advice and people take it as gospel. He has quite a reputation. But…the bottom line is, it is up to the defendant’s attorney to keep the trial focused on what really matters.

        The basic facts of self defense justification is ability, opportunity and jeopardy. Ayoob preaches this all over the place. THAT is what matters…replacement trigger, mag release extension or whatever does NOTHING, not one single thing, to change the fact that you were either in “imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury” or not at the time you pulled the trigger.

        I know this discussion is in part theoretical. But, it’s also about exercising rights in the courtroom…the right of due process whose own rules have set the standard of justifiable self defense. You either fired in self defense or you didn’t and your attorney should not allow any non-relevant side stories from becoming the issue.

        The real danger lies not in the court of law but in the court of public opinion…written by the press…where you will be likely convicted LONG before your actual legal trial begins.

    • I’m willing to defend my choices in self-defense gear and ammo based on practical considerations. That’s what I’ll expect my lawyer to present in my defense to jury in either a criminal or civil trial. I expect the prosecutor/plaintiff’s attorney to try to portray those choices in a negative light. That’s the reality.

    • Zimmerman’s prosecutor brought up the fact GZ carried with a round in the chamber, his gun had no external safety, and *gasp* the weapon contained 7 whole rounds.

      How effective it’s was, who knows, but it was talked about during trial.

  18. I differentiate between range gear and carry gear. I have some pretty stupid stuff on my range gear, such as the dragon’s head compensator on my AR, and my bleeding zombie targets. That said, my EDC is a Beretta Nano with a Hogue sleeve in an Aliengear holster, and otherwise bare bones.

  19. Yeah, kinda. But I also personally think a lot of “tacticool” custom and aftermarket stuff is expensive, unnecessary, and dumb anyway, so it’s not an issue for me.

  20. This kind of stuff screams: mall ninja douche bag. Not my style.

    We all have different styles and that is okay. Style aside however, I think it is wise to be unassuming and not stand out.

  21. People have repeatedly mentioned the juries in a scenario where your gear may play a factor in a decision being rendered on a shooting being justified or not, the people I would be most concerned about would be the attorneys responsible for trying such a case. In a situation where there are no witnesses other than yourself and the party that was either shot or shot and killed, there is very little to support or disparage your account of what happened. In that instance, an attorney will do whatever they can in order to discredit your mental state, intentions, actions, etc. If you were purely going about your business or if you were out in the streets looking to take stopping crime into your own hands.

    I wouldn’t what to have to explain to a jury why my holster had a Punisher logo on it, or why my Glock has a Boondock Saints slide plate on it. Even if you were just a fan of the movie and thought it looked cool, all they would have to do is twist it to say how you “are such a big fan of a movie that glorifies two men going on an unprovoked killing spree in order to take the law into their own hands that he decided decorate the gun he carried with him everyday with accessories praising that film.” Sometimes when the facts are foggy, you’re trying to win hearts and minds, not validate what actually happened.

    I’ll keep my “badass” accessories on my range stuff and keep my EDC items stock.

    • I fully agree, you have to consider how an attorney will present the piece of evidence and how the jury will interpret it.
      More than one friend of mine I law enforcement suggested my CCW be a firearm:
      1. Model in common use by police
      2. Caliber in common use by police
      3. Ammunition in common use by police and preferably with the word “Defense” in the name
      They also suggested I keep any modifications to the minimum.
      1&2 knock out if it’s a “safe” firearm. Cops use it so it must be.
      3 gives the jury the idea that you carry for your personal defense and not for aggressive reasons. The minimum mods goes back to the “safe” firearm, and also so you don’t look like you were gearing up to look for a fight. They also recommended staying away from firearms that had aggressive sounding names like the sig “nightmare” or similar.
      I know none of the above is telling of whether or not a shoot would be justified or if the shooter was a loose canon, but you have to look at it from a jury’s perspective. Most will not be educated on firearms, and will not know the person on the stand apart from how the attorneys paint them. Personally, I’d like to give them as little as possible to use against me, even if what they would use should not be relevant.
      The consensus on HD guns, was preferably a hunting shotgun with as much wood as possible. Engraving if available. The idea is to personify the normal guy that fought with what he had, and wasn’t sitting in a corner licking his lips in anticipation of shooting someone the second he had a chance. You don’t want to be perceived as some crazy gun guy in a courtroom. You want to be an average joe that has some guns. Additionally, Being a hunter and a trap and/or skeet shooter gives the jury a reason as to why you own them. Even if they are anti-hunting and/or gun, those hobbies are “acceptable” to most for gun ownership. Who you are, what you have, and why you have it, has to be acceptable to a jury in addition to the shooting to be legit if you hope to walk away mostly unscathed.

  22. I’m not worried about what my gear says. It’s my huge tattoo that says “Kill Whitey” that might be an issue and my facebook and twitter feeds that are all “Fuhk da poleeeze!” may raise some eyebrows.

    Other than that I’m legit yo!

  23. My spending priorities are (or I like to pretend the are):
    0. Yet another cleaning fluid / CLP / doodad to try once and put on the shelf;
    1. More training, and more range time;
    2. Upgrading from one firearm to another;
    3. Functionality / performance upgrades on one I’m keeping; and
    4. Cosmetic / appearance upgrades.

    While sometimes you can combine 2 or 3 with 4, for the most part my gear is pretty plain-looking.

    I think in my case a nasty prosecutor would make far more of my collection (such as it is), ammo stockpile (ibid) and magazine subscriptions first.

  24. Honestly a lot of that stuff is gay anyway. However I don’t think it would be as big of an issue as some may perceive. Of course as stated it depends on where you live/are at the time.

  25. My tactical gear: sneaks. T shirt. Jeans. Baseball cap. Bifocals. White beard. Layers of fat instead of kevlar.

    No. Tats. Piercings. Logos.

    Who wants to proscecute a harmless old granpa for shooting that violent tweaker and his pit bull to death?

    With a revolver?

    • In some states (like dear old MA), us old-timers are in a special, protected class and violent crimes against the elderly receive a five year “enhancement.” Because we’re so feeble dontcha know. Or maybe it’s because we vote.

      There aren’t many other good things to say about aging.

    • I’m with you old guys…nothing good about getting old(except a check from uncle sam). I attracted plenty of attention when I was younger too. Now I go out of my way to project OFWG. Perception is reality-it’s gotten me plenty of free stuff and gotten me out of tickets…

    • Uuuuhhhmmm, it happened here. In my area, an older gentleman (86) shot an armed robber. The BG was attempting to steal a car in the drive. The older man was forced to shoot, hitting the driver in the spine, through the windshield. The municipal DA was/is harshly anti-self defense. In exchange for non-prosecution, the older man was forced to give up his pistol, and sign an agreement he would never hold another firearm again, under any circumstance. When the DA was questioned by the media about the gestapo-like punishment of the older man, the DA declared that he wanted to send a message, “No matter who you are, no matter the circumstances, if you discharge a firearm in my jurisdiction, you will be charged, you will go to trial. You may win, but I will ruin you financially.”

      Just sayin’

        • Gotta be cautious here; nothing on the internet is secure. To avoid a knock on the door at midnight, let me say a metro area west of Dodge City, East of LA. There are actually two area DAs who have taken a zero tolerance stance on armed citizens. Not too long ago, there was a law that prohibited transportation within the metro area if you possessed a firearm in/on your vehicle. Then a law suit change that to allowing transit through the area, but no stopping (this covered hunters, CCW and others even if the weapon was in separate containers in separate areas of the vehicle). So, you were allowed to have a concealed carry permit, but could only conceal in a vehicle driving straight through. And the backstop law was/is discharge of a firearm (“any object capable of propelling a projectile” (…which seems to include staplers). If you fire in self-defense, you will be charged, brought to trial and there you may be able to successfully assert the affirmative defense of “self defense”. I am unclear if the mere assertion is sufficient, or if one must prove the case. At any rate, in that jurisdiction, the potential for criminal action might produce a fatal hesitancy (but we don’t really know). Regardless of the outcome at trial, you will then be faced with declaring you were arrested on a gun charge every time you attempt to purchase a firearm.

          The sad part is there is really no safe haven to flee to. Already ran away from several of those.

        • Can’t be Denver, they allow CCW with just about any state’s resident permit. Can’t be Vegas, they allow CCW with a Nevada permit, resident or non-resident. AmI right?

        • Permits are one thing, local laws are another. Yes, all those cities you mentioned allow CCW. However, look closely at the individual ordinances. Carry is one thing, discharging a firearm is another. It is this second instance where things get hinky. In one of the cities you cite, the discharge of a firearm is strictly prohibited (except by LEO and military in a riot/insurrection). If you shoot in self-defense, you commit a crime. You will be arrested. You will go to trial. Once at trial, then and only then, you may present “a positive defense” (a legal term meaning the DA must prove you did not, in fact, shoot in self-defense (the shooting is an established fact). The trauma and expense of the process is the intimidator. BTW, there are reports of a number of DAs around the country who take the same stance…”you may be legally justified, but we will ruin you just to make a point. In military terms, this is called “deterrance”.

        • Inwould think any prosecutor on record as threatening to “financially ruin” people even if they aren’t convicted of a crime would be subject to some sort of sanction. Lawyers on TTAG, please weigh in.

        • Prosecutoral Discretion is almost universally unlimited, so the decision to proceed would be tough to challenge (especially because the prosecutor can claim to be working for the general welfare/safety of the public. Prosecutoral Misconduct would be even tougher to pursue.

          Both of the above are part of the “deterrence”.

          My intention was/is to inform all that “a good shoot” is not an impenetrable force field. Not only may a person be prosecuted just because….if the jury returns an acquittal, civil action may still be in the offing. The trickiest hitch in self-defense law is when a grand jury returns a “No True Bill”. Then the prosecutor must decide whether to proceed. If the decision is to not prosecute, then another cute twist arises: the DA must file a final determination not to prosecute. Only then, and with a copy of the official determination, might a person also be immune to civil action. There are states that have such immunity laws, but the official determination is the key (and the requirement usually buried deeply within the legislation/ordinance/implementing regulations).

          Know the politics of any jurisdiction you travel to/through. You cannot conveniently arrange a place for a deadly attack on your person to occur.

  26. The only reason I’d get such a garish holster was if it was on discount and cheaper than similar quality plain holsters.

    Image does count somewhat, but I’m not Frank Castle, and that thing is ugly.

  27. What about adding a laser? Do you think a prosecutor would try to play that up? My EDC is a S&W Shield .40 with a Crimson Trace laser in a crossbreed super tuck or Blackhawk pocket holster, depending on dress and weather.

    • Ask around the area you mostly carry. Some places they’ll use anything they can against you.

      Other places, not so much. One of your local friends probably socially knows a lawyer…

    • I am not a lawyer, but I think you would be ok. The point of a laser (no pun intended) is to point the weapon at the bad guy you are trying to hit, so that you will not inadvertently hit a bystander. I have to believe that you could find any number of expert witnesses to testify to that effect.

      • The standard Ruger LCR is on the California approved gun list.

        The Ruger LCR with factory laser grips is NOT on the list.

        What does that tell you?

  28. I avoid those “aggressive” types of accessories for a lot of reasons.

    1. They make people look douchey, like Affliction/Ed Hardy/Barb wire tattoos
    2. They are usually overcompensating for poor quality materials/design.
    3. If I need it in an emergency I don’t want wacky colors or designs standing out.
    4. I’m not 15 anymore, skulls/dragons/zombies/unicorns on stuff doesn’t excite me.

    As many of have pointed out by now, being in a justified case of defense (which is the only time you should even pull the gun out at all) means that you probably won’t have your entire life scrutinized in court.

    • “As many of have pointed out by now, being in a justified case of defense (which is the only time you should even pull the gun out at all) means that you probably won’t have your entire life scrutinized in court.”

      Then again, you could have a prosecutor with political aspirations…

  29. That is cool but I wouldn’t own or carry a rig with that on it, I keep my carry gear plain (Glock has a lot of custom work) and no I could care less what a jury thinks about my carry gear, a good shoot is a good shoot.

  30. What benefit does it serve you to advertise anything that can be interpreted against you? Do what you have to do, but why provide ammunition to the other side? Another way to look at it, is public expression of one’s stupidy so important as to jepardize one’s future? Same goes for Facebook rants, stupid bumper stickers and idiotic tee-shirts.

  31. I’ve heard some people say this is the reason they use a shotgun or handgun for home defense rather than a scary looking rifle like an ak or ar. Honestly, I disagree with juries being so biased, but it isn’t a terrible idea. I guess it depends where you live too. If you live in the Northeast, it probably is a good plan to use a shotgun, but in Texas I have a feeling the jury would be more sympathetic, assuming this wasn’t in a larger, more liberal city.

  32. Another point…by training, and carrying, you are preparing for an event that is possible, but statistically unlikely to occur. If I’m going to that effort, im going to extend that beyond the actual shooting, and into the courtroom aftermath. Is it likely that an aftermarket trigger, or skull grips will turn an otherwise justified shooting into a conviction? Maybe not likely, but then again, it’s not likely that most CC’ers will find themselves in a defensive shooting. I figure play it safe.

  33. I’m from NJ (but will be off to greener pastures by the start of next year woohoo!) and based on what I’ve heard from fellow gun owners and a retired cop, I’d be legally better off jumping from my second story window and hiding in the woods than pulling the trigger in what would constitute even the most justified of DGUs elsewhere. I have a lot more to worry about than Punisher skulls on my gear for the time being.

  34. I worry about the fact that all my guns are stainless steel. Some lawyers will hit me up for the Bling factor of my shiny guns. I’m not the tactical joe any more so Im not looking to be discreet, When its out I want everone to know its out and of course the basic metalurgical advantages. You cant fix stupid but you can always give then less to play with.

  35. What I got from MAG40 was this: do what you can to deprive the prosecution of tools that they can use against you to sway the jury. If that means keeping the weapons, ammo and carry gear “plain vanilla” so be it.

  36. When it comes to trigger pull weight there is no real case where a modified trigger got someone jail time. The only case was when a guy pulled out his SA/DA revolver and cocked the hammer, thus making the trigger extremely light. He then (claimed to) ‘accidentally’ pull the trigger, shooting someone. As long as you aren’t stupid enough to ‘accidentally’ shoot someone there is no reason why that case would make you afraid of using a non factory trigger.

      • Is this an accurate interpretation of this case?

        It was his claimed unintentionality > that was reasoned as proof that he wasn’t actually in fear for his life > which means SD was not justified > which means he accidentally killed someone non-defensively > which puts him in jail… not the trigger job.

        -D

  37. Concealed means concealed, so I don’t give much thought to (or spend any money on) “pretty” gear. It’s hidden, anyway, and the only time anyone is going to see it, circumstances will likely be such that they won’t be paying much attention to any engraving or airbrushing.

  38. The issue with trigger pull weight is civil liability not criminal liability. After all the criminal stuff is over a light trigger allows a plaintiffs lawyer to argue that you accidently shot the decedent while holding him at gunpoint. This matters because if you shoot someone on purpose your homeowners insurance doesn’t cover that. If you shoot someone by accident, that is negligence which your policy does cover.

  39. Juries are gonna jury. My gear choices aren’t based on a possible self-defense trial.

    It did occur to me, though, that my concealed carry gat is identical or very similar to that carried by plain clothes police officers. I hope that fact would help more than hurt.

  40. I steer clear of it myself. Don’t want to give an anti-gun prosecutor any more “ammunition” than my extra mags. Easier to prove intent if a defendant has Punisher skulls emblazoned on all their carry gear. In the best Law & Order prosecutor voice you can think of(Sam Waterston comes mind): “The defendant has the logo from the “Punisher” series of comic books on their grips. That character goes around killing people because he thinks they deserve it. What kind of a person would choose that symbol? I propose that an individual who has the same mindset as “The Punisher” would choose it. Is that the kind of person you want on the streets?”
    Any more, laws come secondary to what the jury feels.

  41. 1) This has been a myth of the gun community that traces directly back to Massad hypothesizing “it could happen”, which is a lot different then “this happens”. I have not yet been able to find one example of a piece of reloaded ammo, a trigger job, or an insignia actually being used to put someone in jail for a DGU. PLEASE if you know of such a case LET ME KNOW.

    2) Since this is all hypothetical at this point, if your hypothetical lawyer is so hypothetically bad that an insignia on your gear may land you in jail, then you’ve got bigger problems than the insignia.

    3) If a skull will put you in jail, would a butterfly keep you out of jail?

    • I’m firmly in the camp that this stuff has never happened. People are getting their knickers twisted for no good reason. Now, if you’re old enough to carry and actually want a holster that looks that one pictured at the top, you might have more immediate issues to address than what happens at your hypothetical trial after your hypothetical DGU . . .

  42. I took a Self-Defense Law course at the NRA Range in Fairfax, put on by Arsenal Attorneys, who all specialize in gun laws. A former prosecuting attorney who used to specialize in drug cases presented the section of the course that dealt with this. She gave us examples of cases she worked on where she was able to use these kinds of arguments to sway a jury. She did not present the case citations and frankly I didn’t care about that. It does happen, but here is the caveat:

    Typically this is a device used by prosecutors to nail drug dealers they can’t get any other way. They get them on a gun charge and they haul all their ordnance in front of the jury. If the guns are really wicked-looking, it helps the prosecution’s case.

    If you are in a squeaky clean, good shoot, you’ll be fine. But here’s the caution for the average gun owner: This former prosecutor said very few shoots look that cut and dried in the light of the following day. If you are in a jurisdiction where a gun-hating prosecutor just wants to nail gun owners and he wants to convince a jury that you were just looking for a chance to shoot someone, the skull emblem on your gun is going to help convince them you were in the wrong.

    I am all for all of us doing whatever we want in this area. And I think most of the time it will make no difference. But I am also for not being in denial that stuff like this can never make a difference. For me, if the skull emblem does not help me defend myself and it could, even improbably, be a liability, I have no use for it. YMMV.

  43. Yes, I do. You know that saying, “better judged by 12 than carried by 6”? Well think about that. You’re in a courtroom, defending your actions and the prosecuting attorney is raving to 12 of the stupidest, most easily-manipulated people they could dredge up about how you’re an evil murderous killer who was looking for an excuse to go out and kill someone and he shows off your Punisher belt buckle, the “Property Protected by Smith & Wesson Security” and your custom-engraved Glock with skulls on the slide and it just makes his job that much easier. Even if your actions were within the law, a skilled slimeball prosecutor like this can easily assassinate your character and get a guilty verdict out of those 12 simpletons. Instead of walking away a free man, you’re now doing 25 to life in federal PMITA prison.

    • I don’t think you understand how it works….they need a lot more than just ONE juror to agree with them, and your lawyer has the same ability to choose jurors as the prosecution so your hardly up against his 12, your up against mutually agreed jurors.

  44. I agree with the poster. “RIP Brand” Ammo, holsters with skulls, posting pictures of yourself on facebook with your gun collection, all STUPID! Hell, even those people that post pictures of their NFA collection are short-sighted. How hard would it be for the government to reverse their NFA possession and go door-to-door collecting your $20,000-a-piece machine guns.

    Frankly I think the gun community has a lot of low-IQ individuals. Stubborn morons who want to carry their AK-47 into a Starbucks in the middle of the suburbs during daylight hours, retards who encourage 40-pound 3-year-olds to shoot AR15s (because it’s Murican tradition for kids to shoot guns), assholes who have “Got SIG” bumper stickers on their car while driving through states like NY or NJ, then they wonder why they’re getting pulled over. I could go on and fuckin’ on. A lot of you are alright people but a lot of you are like those old geezer douche bags at the last gun show I went to that spent 45 minutes trying to convince me that President Obama wasn’t born in the United States. Hey, maybe if you find his real birth certificate, he’ll repeal all the gun laws you don’t like!

    Just remember, sane people: when the government does ultimately come up with some type of gun confiscation plan (which is likely in the next 75-100 years), the people I’ve listed above will be largely responsible. Them and Ted Nugent.

  45. The anti-gun crowd are the jury pool from which we will be judged ‘reasonable’ people when faced with criminal charges for defensive gun use. “Reasonable people” don’t really want to shoot someone, so why would a “reasonable person” have ‘tricked-out’ weapons and accessories? Because they really aren’t good guys with a gun, they are people who treat weapons and life with carelessness, wanting to shoot someone to demonstrate macho pride.

    Look around, all our “rights” are being converted to “privileges”. The vast society of babies in adult clothing don’t care about “rights” unless their privileges are impaired,or maybe they are just inconvenienced. It is time to understand that the Constitution means very little to most of our current fellow citizens.

      • Just noting that aggravating the situation with ‘fancy’ gear will likely not play well with any jury. Play to the audience. Keep it simple, direct and utilitarian (in your own house, under attack, ‘fancy’ might not be detrimental. Thinking too many People of the Gun operate under the illusion that if they think they are right, the jury must agree. Juries are way too fickle (ask any lawyer who has faced a jury). I would love to have ‘fancy’ gear because I like how it works/looks. I recognize a jury is enemy territory, and don’t want to push “right” too far. Just lookin’ at reality and making decisions.

  46. Ok it may never have happened but if the reaction to the AR by the uneducated is any example in the current jury pool, looks matter over function.

  47. No bumper stickers on my car. No hats, T-shirts, buttons, or anything that says “gun” or “Molon Labe” or “badass.” No tacticool gear or BDU pants or anything that suggests I’m not boring and vanilla. I won’t display anything that suggests I’ve got a gat worth stealing or a bone to pick with anybody. That stuff makes you a poor ambassador for 2nd A rights at best, and in the worst case scenario, it actually turns you into a target. You guys can wear it loud and wear it proud if you like- this is America, after all.. but it’s not for me.

    • I’m with you. I thought about getting a Gadsden flag Virginia tag but it is like waving the proverbial red flag in front of a bull. Virginia alsohas an NRA tag. I have seen them on the stree. I am sure it would be a “big hit” driving through DC, NYC or Chicago.

  48. For me, having guns is about stacking the odds in my favor in the event of an attack of some kind. I’m not going to stack the odds against myself and play into the opposition’s hands with vanity crap. Besides, it would look silly on me…

  49. I intend no disrespect to anyone with this post. That said:

    1. It is apparent to me that quite a few of the posts so far have been written by people who have little understanding of the legal process. Nothing that happens after a shooting is predictable. You can be 1000% in the right and still have your case go to trial. Cops, prosecutors, and jurors are people: as such they are all different and vary in their opinions of firearms, armed self defense, and each of us.

    2. I am not an attorney. I have served on two juries, one for a medical malpractice case related to a patient’s death, and the other for a drug deal gone bad in which one of the buyers was killed. I have previously been in lines of work that required me to testify in court occasionally, and which took me into prisons to interact with inmates. My Step-Dad is a LEO, and so is an uncle. I have been interviewed by police regarding a couple of crimes I witnessed, and about the character of a close friend who was wrongfully accused of a felony. I’m not omniscient, but I have seen a few things.

    3. Anyone who believes that a jury will always arrive at its decision based solely, or even mostly, on the facts in evidence is naive. In both of the cases I was involved in every stereotype imaginable came out during deliberations. In the malpractice case I am convinced that the physician got off because the deceased was a poor country boy who lived in a trailer and the case was tried in a large city by 8 jurors who all lived in suburbia. In the murder case race figured prominently in the deliberations. A lot of very ugly things came out of the mouths of both white and black jurors. If the defendant had been heavily tattooed or if he had been caught on surveillance tape wearing a shirt wit a picture of a gun on it things would not have gone well for him. I was the only person on that jury who owned a gun, and one of only two that had ever fired one.

    4. The facts of a case can be hard to follow, especially spoken testimony. In Ohio the jury can take notes, but it is not permitted to review the transcript of testimony. A picture in evidence is worth more than a 1,000 words, because the jury can review it whenever it wants, and it leaves an indelible image. The picture that RF posted would make one heck of an impression.

    5. Personally I don’t deck out my guns with skulls, all my holsters are plain black, and I dress like a normal guy. I don’t want people to know I am armed, because it puts me at risk. I don’t want to give a jury the wrong idea, because it puts me at risk. I do have a Smith & Wesson hat that I wear to the range, as well as into Panera and Target just to make a statement 🙂 Anyone who reads this has a right to do otherwise, but I maintain that the wisest course of action is to keep a low profile as far as firearms are concerned.

  50. No, I don’t really care what a jury thinks of my gear.

    On the other hand, I honestly don’t care enough to even make any my stuff overly gaudy or “tacticool” simply in first place because I’m too lazy to do it. That, and in my experience, “tacticool” doesn’t exactly translate to ease of carry anyway.

    YMMV. JM2CW.

  51. Just happened across this enlightening intelligent discussion and made me think.
    For years I have worn my favorite ” Come and Take It” hat. I live near Gonzales Tx. Cannon logo is part of our and all of Texas proud history.
    I see it’s associated with that open carry movement and appears there’s negative stereotypes people see with that logo now. I’m disappointed that symbol of history is associated in such a manor.
    I have CHL for many years and wore hat often. After reading all this I retired that well worn hat I was so proud of. I worry now that hat could be construed like all that talk of skulls and bling and label myself as a radical gun guy.
    Now wear University of Texas hat.
    Hope no group uses the Longhorns Bevo in vane.
    Hook Em.
    Bible states avoid the appearances of evil.

  52. An antigun prosecutor will smoke you if they get a chance… They’ll twist every fact they can to argue you committed a crime. Even NRA membership is open season in some jurisdictions to prove you’re a gun but hell bent on killing.

    Our criminal justice system is broken. The truth doesn’t matter. God help you if you’re poor and brown and get accused of a crime.

  53. Do I care what a jury might make of my gear? Absolutely! Why? Because I value my freedom. I even have reservations about having a pistol grip on a home defense shotgun, just for this reason.

  54. I ain’t got time for an anti-gun DA to use me as an example to not be a gun owner in his/her district. Now, I’ve heard from a veteran LAPD officer, “A good shoot is a good shoot,” and maybe that’s true. But I’m going to stack whatever odds I can on my side and use the boring old stock 1911 with factory brown grips for my HD weapon. I’m also a member of CCW Safe, whose reps adamantly encourage members to keep their duty guns stock and dull.

  55. I wear the fun stuff when at the range or hunting with my buddies. but when I conceal carry, I want to blend and not stand out, gun and clothes.

  56. Right, so if the prosecutor (or more likely the media) wishes to characterize you as some gun-nut vigilante, you’re telling me that they’d ignore the symbol of a popular comic book vigilante on the firearm/holster? Not likely!! In the conversations that I’ve had on this subject, I’ve been more focused on the “guilt in the court of public opinion” than any legal statute. Everyone is free to do as they wish, but when there’s a DGU involving a glock with a punisher skull on the back, don’t be surprised when CNN puts that guys picture next to Frank Castle and calls him a wanna-be cop/vigilante/soldier/mercenary.

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