The NRA tip above – keep a shooting diary – doesn’t mention the purpose of the exercise: CYA. If you’re ever involved in a defensive gun use (DGU), you could be subject to intense prosecutorial scrutiny. If they really want to nail you – a possibility that usually depends on the firearms-freedom friendliness of your particular location – your antagonists will sell you to the judge and/or jury as . . .

a trigger-happy gun nut. While some gun writers reckon that’s reason enough to curb your enthusiasm (e.g., not install a lighter trigger on your self-defense gun), there’s no harm in proactively assembling proof that you’re a well- [even if self-] trained gun owner. If push comes to ballistic shove and your DGU gets caught-up in an anti-gun jihad, a book detailing your training will help your defense. Who knows how much, but some.

34 Responses to Guns for Beginners: Keep a Shooting Diary

  1. Or it could be used to help convince the jury that you’re such a wacko gun nut that you go through hundreds of rounds a week (at significant expense) shooting at paper targets, making you so poor that your kids have to go to a public school.

  2. It will also let you keep track of which ammo you like (wow, this is clean burning ammo), what your gun likes (geez, much less accurate with Smile-X brand ammo), and other oddities (learned you can “encourage” 13 rounds into a 10-round .45ACP XD magazine, and it still fits in the gun … sort of).

    I found this sort of thing very helpful during the Great Ammo Drought, when I was trying whatever I could get my hands on. Now I can go back and ser that both my wife and I really liked Speer Lawman Cleanfire, for instance.

  3. Give it to your attorney, if the sh!t hits the fan. It will be protected by attorney/client privilege. You don’t want the police or the prosecutor to see it. They’ll use it against you.

    • I am not a lawyer, but I’m pretty sure that if they know or suspect it exists and they get a subpena your lawyer will have to turn it over as evidence.

    • Keep it as an encrypted file. They can subpoena the computer and the file; but last I heard passwords are protected under the 5th amendment.

      They could always try to crack it, but given modern encryption it’d likely not be worth the cost to the prosecution unless you’re a spree killer or something equivalent in vileness.

    • That’s not how it works. It would have to be created in anticipation of litigation to even start getting that kind of privilege attaching to it. And that’s leaving out other parts of the analysis. But yes, give it to your lawyer if you get in a jam because they will figure out how to be deal with what’s in it.

    • A diary doesn’t become a confidential attorney-client communication just because you hand it to your attorney.

      I can think of some value to being a little naive after a DGU, and a diary isn’t that. Now if you’re keeping track of competition info or handloads, maybe.

    • Agreed on the reloading aspect. Compared to factory ammo which either sucks or doesn’t in your particular weapon. By tracking the variables that you’ve just exponentially increased (different powder charges, different brass, different bullet selections even different primers and stuff I’m forgetting) keeping it straight requires work especially if you are trying to 100% optimize what you’re doing. This also goes for people who are trying to do any sort of competitive action and possibly any one serious about personal defense. If you pay attention while shooting or doing tasks related to it you can learn a great deal.

    • I track my load development and how each load performs but this sounds like more than that. If they want a record of how often I shoot, there are my weekly bullseye scores online, some of those I’m not particularly proud of though.

  4. Or, if you’re a well known pro-gun blogger and owner of a popular right-wing pro-gun website a prosecutor might seize on that information and use it to depict you a obsessed gun-nut who couldn’t wait to shoot someone. Basically, an anti-gun prosecutor or one who just want’s to build his/her career by taking your head will seize on anything that’s gun-related in your life and use it against you. Waco isn’t exactly libtard paradise and look what that prosecutor and judge is doing to the bikers.

  5. As a former SCUBA enthusiast I religiously recorded every dive in my logbook. It was supposed to be “proof” of my experience that resort and dive boat operators were supposed to reference in determining whether the diver was competent enough for the dive conditions and was an acceptable risk. In over 100 dives over the course of five years, my logbook was never requested for review. Reading the old entries I got a few chuckles remembering the events long past, but other than that, the logbook was a useless accessory that I had to hold onto as if it were my certification card itself. Keeping a logbook of one’s firearms activity is in my opinion introducing an unnecessary risk because an ornery prosecutor can misinterpret and/or spin anything to suit there agenda and I’m not a big believer in providing the enemy with ammunition. As long as this country fails to fully support our constitutional rights, I firmly believe that privacy is the best policy.

    If my Glock 35’s 3.5 trigger is the subject for discussion, all I need to defend it is the prime example of “dirty” police shootings using 12-pound triggers, my arthritis and the anecdotal evidence of hundreds of thousands of other Glocks with the same triggers that have not resulted in accidental incidents. Besides, I’d freely admit to intentionally pulling the trigger, so “the question is moot” as Reverend Jackson used to be known for saying.

  6. I can see the value of keeping such a log for data-collection purposes, i.e. what kind of ammo does this gun shoot best? How many rounds have I put through that gun, etc… But has there ever been a case where someone’s shooting diary was entered into evidence as a defense in a DGU? If your DGU is questionable enough – or in a place that’s so anti-gun – that you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel for shooting logs to try to prove you’re not a violent psychopath, you’re already screwed, and I can’t see how a notebook of how much ammo you burned through last year is going to save you.

    Odds are, if your situation is that dire, it’s going to backfire on you, anyway. “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the defendant is so hopelessly obsessed with guns, he actually kept a diary of every bullet he ever shot!” How do you think the prosecutors and media would have spun it if George Zimmerman had tried to use a shooting diary as evidence in his defense?

  7. Training diaries are useful in recording information to improve your performance. Little reminders on things like how you performed when tired, when there was a left crosswind, right crosswind, with particular types of ammo. Things you can review (like game tapes) to remind yourself of tendencies/habits you can work on. How did your performance really change with any changes to the firearm – new trigger, sights, grips etc. (how many times did that Cabot jam – was it as bad as I remembered? Was it with just certain brands of magazines?) They force you stay honest with yourself about your score, flyers, flinching etc etc.

    I don’t see them as useful in count at all. I’d argue irrelevance to the situation before the court- was I in imminent fear of great bodily harm? How much or whether I practiced is irrelevant to whether the shoot was legally justified.

    • Nope, it’s

      911 I was in fear for my life,
      I shot to stop the threat,
      There were three witnesses,
      His knife fell in the bushes,
      I’m in shock I need an ambulance and will give a statement once my attorney is present

  8. If we spend this much time worrying about potential hostile lawyers and fallout….the anti-rights types have won. Have a good lawyer on speed dial, try to avoid confrontation, and volunteer at a soup kitchen once in a while to show your “good guy” status. Other than that, live your life. I personally have had enough of jumping at every shadow.

  9. “If push comes to ballistic shove and your DGU gets caught-up in an anti-gun jihad, a book detailing your training will help your defense”

    What happened to innocent until proven guilty in a court of Law?

    I liked the article that said SCREW YOU to the statist, and not like this one, which is championing gun control based on trained or untrained self defenders. Who decides what is enough training? What does the state acceptable training consist of? The Swedes saying bang is not the training an American should accept, but would have to if their political betters made that part of the privilege to self-defense.

    When people fear the government that is tyranny. A smart man, once expressed his concerns about corruption in America with those very words, and it is worthy repeating, it seems.

    Further proof that the Constitution is no longer pertinent to whatever our government has been transformed into.

  10. As a reloader and benchrest shooter I keep a log book, but I don’t think that would count as a ‘diary’. Conditions, loads, my crappy blood pressure (hey, its a thing). I’d have a robot do it (sighting and load testing) if that was feasible, and leave the actual fun part for me 😉 (no, I don’t enjoy load testing)

  11. Nonsense.

    Keep a detailed log for load data, and a dope book for precision rifle shooting.

    In case of prosecution why would you want a record of all of your practice? Does being an experienced shooter make you less likely to be convicted if it’s a bad shoot? Just STFU and let your lawyer handle it.

  12. “Innocent until proven guilty.”

    “Anything you say will be used against you in a court of law.”

    “Right to remain silent.”

    “Anything you say will be used against you in a court of law.”

    Why would you keep a diary of your range visits in order to provide information that can be used against you should you be (God forbid) forced to defend yourself? Good grief, what a terrible idea.

    • Agreed. Terrible idea.
      If I need to prove “training”, it’s going to involve receipts and certificates from recognized training facilities. Things where the trainer can testify in person as to what the training involved and what it did not.
      A handwritten logbook of trips to the range isn’t going to show “training”, it’s going to show “obsession”. No thanks.

  13. What if they examine my desk top and phone for text messages for TTAG comments??????? Oh nooooo!!

    I keep a written record of my training. It helps me improve everything about being a gun person.

  14. Seriously? I have been shooting since I was 18 and with many years under my belt came to Texas (ugh) but ran into some seriously awesome ladies as part of the A Girl & A Gun organization (www.agirlandagun.org) and the facilitator (Tracy Hughes) at The Arms Room in League City Tx, where we shoot, presented the group with shooting journals with specific drills to shoot because as an “advanced shooter” there are ALWAYS things to improve on, and I have. I get the CYA part of this post as well, but if they (prosecutors or those who place judgement) don’t see my shooting journal to “hold against me”.. they will see the organization I am part of, the RSO and other classes I have taken, or the NRA shooting drills, the many guns I boast (read: post in private group) about buying or owning, the great deals on ammo by the case, the matches I have shot in or the plethora of armed women tshirts I wear… they will find SOMETHING to hold against me. But in part of the shooting journal and being an educated woman who continues to educate herself for her safety and that of her family.. I will be that much more prepared in the event of the potential need to discharge my firearm in case of urgent need. I guess I got off topic.. but rounded it up… shooting journals are meant to encourage folks to improve themselves, their safety, accuracy and etc with regard to firearms.. I think it’s all good!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *