Friday, June 01, 2012

All other things aside...

Anybody who puts that silly Hornady "Zombie Max" ammo in their carry gun probably drank Billy Beer and orders sets of hand-painted Franklin Mint 50 state quarters to use in vending machines.

It's frivolous, a gag, novelty ammo. And while any situation requiring you to actually bust caps with your CCW gun will probably be novel, it will be about as far from frivolous as anything you ever do in your life.

I know everybody has their hypothetical self-defense scenario in their head: The bad guy jumping out of the van with no windows in the grocery store parking lot or the convicted felon with the neck tats and wife-beater, carrying a stolen handgun and climbing through your broken window in the dead of night.

Nobody's hypothetical scenario ever seems to include getting beat down by a moody, unarmed teenager who reacts belligerently to "Hey, do you live around here?" In a case like that, do you really want to be standing over a cooling corpse with a gun full of joke bullets?


Anonymous said...

"Joke bullets".... Yo mind do work in ...Interesting...directions, Tam. Lemme ponder on that one a while.... JohninMd(help!)

Bram said...

Here in gun unfriendly NJ, I load with EXACTLY the same Gold Dots that the State Police carry.

Ferret said...

Z-Max is +1 versus face-eating zombies.

Maybe Hornady needs to send a case to Miami PD for T&E?

Anonymous said...

Actually I understand the Z-MAX stuff is exactly the same stuff as the CRITICAL DEFENSE AMMO with a different color plastic insert in the nose. Same plastic, different color. I did buy some strictly as a novelty, but if it came down to it, I wouldn't hesitate to use it. YMMV.

greg said...

I bought a box also, as a joke for my wife, but not until verifying, as noted above, it's the exact same round as the CDA, just with a green poly plug instead of red.

I could only bring myself to buy one box though, because they wanted $2 more for a box of 20 for THE EXACT SAME AMMO, just in a differently decorated box.

Not that you don't have a point about the 'joke ammo'. IN this day of civil lawsuits(even if the police say a shoot was justified) being painted as someone using 'zombie ammo' in your gun might not help your case.

Internet Logician, Lawyer, and Self-Defense Expert said...

If the jury believes some dumb lawyer, that's their problem, not mine. Molon labe! I'll tell 'em I'm a sheepdog! Woof woof! My internal monologue trumps their stupid consensus reality! Three percent!

Never had to use 'em, but I've carried 'em for years and they've never let me down. Trust me, a 410 out of a four inch barrel will take down an elephant, and you don't even have to aim. That's why they're banned in IDPA, it breaks the 180 just by being there on the range. Sphere of Death, they call it.

Tam said...

"Actually I understand the Z-MAX stuff is exactly the same stuff as the CRITICAL DEFENSE AMMO with a different color plastic insert in the nose."

No duh.

I know that, and you know that, but do you really want to have to explain it to twelve people, all carefully screened to make sure that none of them owns a gun, after they've had a chance to examine the box the joke bullets came in?

This is such a simple problem to avoid: Don't put joke bullets in your gun.

"But I WANNA!" Fine, it's not like it's against the law. It's not against the law for grownups to wear Superman Underoos either, but don't come crying to me when everyone in the E.R. is too busy laughing their asses off to treat you. ;)

GreatBlueWhale said...
Thanks, Tam. Always asking questions we don't think about.

Anonymous said...

Bram - Here in gun unfriendly NJ, I load with EXACTLY the same Gold Dots that the State Police carry.

I have read this advice (load with what local law enforcement uses)elsewhere, and it seems pretty good to me.

skidmark said...

Given the scenario of "getting beat down by a moody, unarmed teenager who reacts belligerently to "Hey, do you live around here?" and the options of a) standing over a cooling corpse or b) laying there in a pool of my own blood I'll take "standing there with a gun full of joke bullets" if that's all that was available at the moment.

I know what you were getting at. But it's a scenario wchich, by interntez law means we must change it before we answer any question about it.

stay safe.

Anonymous said...

I saw 'joke bullets' and immediately the DumDums from 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' came to mind.

Must go watch that movie now.

Brad K. said...

From the original post, "I do believe that if the prosecution has lowered themselves to trying to prove your guilt based on the shape of your bullet, . . but has actually moved the barrel and started digging underneath it in a desperate attempt to save face. "

I wouldn't use the word "desperate". A lawyer establishing a new precedent for defending/convicting someone using a shaky premise (like the warning on the bullet box) gets name recognition among lawyers, and published in legal and sometimes mainstream media. It adds to the resume, often to the take home pay, for being creative and persuasive.

A defense/prosecution based on z-max or other bullet labeling would be a much-sought-after kudo, not a desperate, lost-cause-so-we-will-try-anything gamble. A lawyer would see z-max labeling as low hanging fruit, ripe for the picking, and begging to be exploited.

Sort of like a contest where the 25 foot target is set at 20 feet out.

I don't want to make surviving a bad encounter worse than it has to be.

staghounds said...

Don't give anyone even a tiny stick to hit you with.

Not even a toothpick, they might jam it in your eye...

cj said...

If anyone ever gave me a box (as I'm not going to be buying any myself), I think it would sit on the shelf as a novelty item, until I got tired of seeing it there in which case it would head to the range with me to convert money into noise and smoke.

DirtCrashr said...

I buy my ammo through the Lilian Vernon catalog!

Shrimp said...

All one needs to see is the name "Harold Fish" to realize that the state will employ any method, and go to any length to get a conviction. Giving them ammunition, literally or figuratively, is simply unwise.

The Raving Prophet said...

The only reason I'd ever consider using it would be if Critical Defense was my chosen defensive ammo and for whatever reason I couldn't get it but could get the Z-Max. It would be easy enough to explain "Hey, it's the same stuff, and availability does matter."

However, it seems that availability usually runs the other direction (CD is easier to find than Z-Max), CD isn't necessarily the best stuff out there (I have some of it, it's accurate and works fine in my P250s, but I don't know that it's my first choice), and even an easy explanation is more than I'd really want to do. Think about it- if a lawyer has to spend an hour of his/her time to explain it, how much does that hour cost you? For that much money you can easily get your hands on another type of round and get enough supply to have on hand even after proving reliability in a carry gun.

So really, much ado about nothing. I don't begrudge the folks who buy a few boxes for kicks, but I don't see the point myself.

Goober said...

I recall there was a big row about the naming of handgun ammunition back in the early to mid 1990's, tot he point to where a lot of manufacturer's renamed their stuff so it was more kinder and gentler named, specifically for this reason - lawyers were going to court and saying "you bought XTP ammo, right?"


"Did you know that at the time you bought it, XTP stood for "Extreme Terminal performance?"


"Oh, but it says so right on the box. So tell me, Mr. Smith, did you buy this ammunition specifically because it claimed to be more deadly or more capable of killing people than the other amunitions available?"

Yeah. That didn't work out so well. I was very young in the early 1990's (the 90's were my teen and pre-teen years) so I may be mistaken about all of this, but I do remember that being the case.

As for this zombie max crap, one wonders if a guy could be held liable for using it "off-label" since it is designed for zombies, not people. /snark

.45ACP+P said...

Uh, Bram, using the same gold Dots that the State Police use may be an issue when “hollow point” bullets are illegal for citizens. Better, check but you may be in violation just by possessing them. New Jersey legislators seem to think that hollow points are “scary”.

Jack said...

Hadn't much thought about any of this until the Z-MAX discussion surfaced recently, so I looked at a box of the Cor-Bon 185 +P I use in my Constant Companion.

All it says is "High Velocity." Which it is. I do remember something about Ayoob discussing the inadvisability of using one's reloads as opposed to factory fodder, others recommending using whatever the local gestapo uses, etc.

If Having The Right Ammunition is such a critical component of post-conflict self defense, I suspect much courtroom angst could be avoided if every single ammunition manufacturer put the phrase "Premium Self Defense Ammunition" on their boxes.

Kristopher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kristopher said...

The current version of Federal Hydroshock ammo are now marked "Low Recoil" as the ammo name, specifically to screw with civil tort plaintiffs' attorneys.

The box has a clear plastic circle where you can look down into the bullet cavity and see exactly what you are really buying ... heh.

Bram said...


NJ gun laws are too confusing to ever get straight. My understanding is that you can use hollow-points for home defense - but not carry. I haven't even tried to jump through the legal hoops of obtaining a carry permit here.

If shot an intruder with wad-cutters, the prosecutors would probably tell the jury how deadly those are.

David said...

I bought several boxes of ZMAX the other day. I usually carry CDA 45ACP primarily because it shoots well in my carry gun

Well I stopped in the local shop to pick up a couple boxes of different ammo to try out in my new 9mm. I had grabbed a box of CDA and a couple other brands when the owner grabbed a box of the ZMAX set it down next to the CDA ammo and told me - "This is the same stuff, just a differnent colored plug. And I'll throw in a free zombie target with each box you buy."

I read the outside of the boxes and then opened them up and visually compared the rounds while my son was raving about how cool the zombie targets were. Then I noticed that ZMAX was marked $2 a box cheaper than the CDA.

I put back the CDA, bought the ZMAX, including several boxes of 45 for my carry gun. My kid and I had a blast (pun intended) shooting the zombie targets. I got to test the different ammos in my new 9mm and just like my 45, I will probably carry the CDA/ZMAX loads in it also. All four brands worked just fine, price was comperable for all ammos and none seemed to outperform any others in the limited tests we ran.

We went back to the store and bought more of the ZMAX 9mm before their Zombie Weekend Sale ended and we got more zombie targets for next weekends range trip.

eeky said...

To play devil's advocate, someone would say this somewhere:

"He used the same ammunition the local police department is currently using, so he's obviously a trouble-seeking wannabe playing at being a cop."

Still far better than "zombie bullets", though.

Anonymous said...

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury. My client obviously never had any intention of ever having to shoot a living human being. His firearm, in fact, was loaded with a special ammunition designed to kill the undead.

Anonymous said...

Remember the whole Black Talon is an evil round brouhaha?

After that, mine were fired into the local range's backstop. As Staghounds said, "Don't give anyone even a tiny stick to hit you with."

Anonymous said...

... oh, and some SXTs did find their way into the magazines later. ;^P

Firehand said...

Line I read somewhere was
"So you bought the same ammunition the police carry BECAUSE YOU WANT THE MOST LETHAL AMMUNITION?"
"Are you saying the police want to make sure they kill anybody they shoot at?"

This mess can go round & round &...

Windy Wilson said...

This mess can go round & round &...
As well it should. Joe Huffman once said that our representatives should be prohibited from voting against liberty, which sentiment I agree with, but as this thread of comments indicates, just what actually constitutes "voting against liberty" would be topic A, as most of what Congress has voted for in the past 70 years has constituted voting against liberty to someone, even the laws' supporters who would argue that it is all for the greater good.
IIRC, in the Los Angeles area the preferred LEO brand and model is Silvertips.

Ed said...

Sometimes, the people in the E.R. are impressed that you are wearing underwear that is clean and without holes, just like your mother told you to do.

Derfel Cadarn said...

The serious issue here is that so armsmakers and ammo companies can maximize profit they produce bullshit like this and make us all look stupid. Firearms were once again becoming mainstream in America yet they would aid in throwing that away for a few bucks! Talk about shooting ones self in the foot. WTF!!!

Grayson said...


There is NO SUCH THING as a 'joke' bullet. Particularly one pointed in your direction. Or one that you find yourself using to stop a clear and deadly threat.

Furthermore, if a prosecutor attempts, in any way, to use your choice of ammunition as a means of damaging your credibility in court, both you and your legal council have both the obligation and the right to look the judge in the eye and scream that said prosecutor is engaging in character assasination, instead of paying heed to the FACTS of the case.
If you are skeptical of my advice, then I strongly urge you to actually speak with a lawyer on this subject - as soon as you can.
The best bullet for self-defense is the bullet that STOPS THE THREAT, AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. The name on the ammo box is nothing more than a name.
Let no prosecutor say otherwise without challenging that statement.

And also, thank you for having the guts to bring up a subject that few gun owners can be bothered to worry about.

Brad K. said...

@ Grayson,

On the one hand, a firearm is considered "deadly force", and there is no such thing as "more deadly" or "not as deadly". Really. I see the point, even a box of something called "Zombie" bullets and "not to be used on [living?] humans" doesn't affect whether the bullet is deadly or not.

On the other hand, though, a lawyer -- and probably a jury -- might well consider whether a person with Zombie bullets, maybe Zombie targets, maybe with a second or third gun, might be "normal". Or might be obsessed with looking for an excuse to shoot people. Used to paint a psychological profile of a defendant, the "zombie" on the box might be devastating.

[snark] Not to mention, if the box says "not to be used on [living?] human", you might be in violation of Federal law for using the bullets contrary to the label directions. If the lawyer were being creative. [/snark]

Tam said...


At least one Real Live Prosecutor™ has already commented in this thread.

Him who hath ears, let him hear.

Mad Saint Jack said...

Went to the store today and looked at a box of z-max. The disclaimer is NOT on the box. It is on the website.

Sale clerk says they sell an ass ton of the stuff.

Ryan said...

When I get back to the states I will probably buy a couple boxes for idle amusement. Have it in my Zombie survival .50 cal can or something. Ditto it would be a fun little gift for a gunnie friend.

However I wouldn't load it into one of my defensive guns. First of all I would just stick with what I have been using already because it is easy and I am used to it. Secondly I would be concerned about that being a problem in a criminal/ civil case. "He is a total psycho who loaded his pistol with zombie bullets, etc" is a compelling reason to use good old Hydroshocks.

Tam said...


"Sale clerk says they sell an ass ton of the stuff."

No doubt. They sell an ass ton of Taurus Judges, too.

Anonymous said...

I have nightmares about sitting in front of a jury of slackjawed liberal moonbats and trying to explain why I felt the need to murder one of *their* peers with Zombie bullets.
Living in New England will do that to you.

The two questions that I would never want to have to answer in court are:
"Do you believe in zombies?"
"Do you think that this is funny?"

Anonymous said...

"Superman Underoos"

Oh please! They wouldn't even raise a snigger nowadays when we're vaguely grateful that there's something even approximating 'normal' underwear (and they're soo comfortable and stylish too - I'm not biased because I wear Bart Simpson shorts).

To laugh you need, as an example, the slightly overweight (read grossly), 6 foot, balding, bearded 'gentleman' dressed in grungy biker leathers who attended A&E, not following a bike accident, but for assistance in removing the set of D-cells (yes, I said 'set') he had 'misplaced somewhere anatomical. The 'chuckling' in the break room afterwards was more because he was found, on disrobing, to be also wearing red, patterned hold-ups (stockings) and a nice pair of frilly lace French knickers (please, please don't ask why these elicited more comments than the batteries! Just use your imagination).

Grayson said...


Point taken. Thank you.

Justthisguy said...

Able, you have told us much, much more than we needed to know. You might be almost as bad as I am when it comes to being weird and contrary.

Justthisguy said...

You don't own a saxophone, Able, do you? I hope not, and bet not, you seeming to be a sensible person.

As you'll know if you've frequented Tam's comments very much, I have a chronic, severe anti-saxophone animus, which also applies to those who pretend to make music with saxophones.

Of all my irrational crankinesses, I love my anti-saxophone crankiness the most.

Anonymous said...

I guess then the "Glaser Blue Safety Slug" loads I use will earn me some points from the lawyer. How bad can I be if I use "safety" ammo?