No responsible gun owner I know wants to ever have to use his or her gun for protection. It’s good to know you have it in the event you need it, but you never want to have to actually use it.
But what if you do have to? What if you find yourself in a life-or-death situation, and the only way out is to use your firearm? I hope you never have to do that, but if you do, I hope you have taken some steps to protect yourself from unfair legal action against you.
You may know to avoid using handloaded ammunition in guns that might have to be used for defense, because opposing lawyers might accuse you of tailoring the load to purposely kill somebody. Ridiculous, but use factory loads just to be safe.
But another warning comes with engraving on guns. AR-15 rifles, Glocks, 1911 pistols, and other guns are highly customizable. Some people go so far as to engrave catchy slogans on their firearms. This backfired on a Mesa, Arizona, policeman (sorry, pun intended). He had engraved a two-word phrase, starting with the word “You’re,” followed by a very bad word starting with “F” and ending with “ed” inside the dust cover of his AR. The gun was approved for police use, and he used it in a controversial shooting of a man who was armed with what later turned out to be a pellet pistol. But whether the shooting was justified or not, the engraving on the inside of the dust cover caused prosecutors to accuse Officer Phillip Brailsford of murder. The victim’s wife’s lawyer said the inscription showed that Brailsford was “enthusiastic” about killing someone with the rifle.
So resist the urge to engrave “Smile, wait for flash” on the muzzle of your .45.