Are Hollow-Point Bullets Illegal For Personal Defense

Are Hollow-Point Bullets Illegal For Personal Defense

Michigan Coalition For Responsible Gun Owners
Michigan Coalition For Responsible Gun Owners

Michigan –-( Q: Are hollow-point bullets illegal for personal defense? What about laser sighting devices?

A: There is no statutory restriction on the type of ammo that you can carry in your personal defense weapon. Nor is there any prohibition on sighting devices. There may be some potential concerns about jury perception if you ever have to use your gun in self-defense and find yourself facing charges. (This is much less likely to occur at this point in history than prior to the enactment of Public Act 311 of 2006 [MCL 780.951] which created presumptions that deadly force is appropriate in certain situations and also created qualified immunity to those who use force in legitimate self defense.)

There have been examples of prosecutors focusing on the hardware used by defendants. They try to overcome the self-defense argument by painting a picture of the armed citizen as blood-thirsty. In one particular case in another state, the defendant used a certain brand of hollow-point ammo that came in a box featuring a picture of a hawk or eagle talon. It appears that the tactic was successful and contributed to the conviction of an armed citizen who argued that he fired to save his life. I'm told that the particular brand of ammo in question has changed it's name and packaging.

Hypercav Hollow Point Bullets
Are Hollow-Point Bullets Illegal For Personal Defense

Many law-enforcement agencies use hollow-point ammunition. There are some famous brands that are well-known as “good guy” ammo, and a prosecutor would have a hard time making the case that one who carries the same ammo in his or her personal defense weapon is being unreasonable. In my opinion, there is no reason not to carry effective personal defense ammunition.

The same is true of laser sights in my opinion. The technology is mature, widely available, and considered effective by tactical experts. From a legal standpoint, the key is to make sure that any use of force is justified by necessity and that you control your weapon. Insofar as a laser helps with control, it seems to me that it is more likely to help a self-defense shooter avoid liability than create perception issues in the event of a jury trial.

I have personally recommended hollow-point ammo and laser sights to family and friends, and will continue to do so.

On a related topic: I have run across examples of engraving on guns, and more than one tattoo, that might lead to extra challenges for a defense attorney. For example, engraving “Widowmaker” on your personal defense gun, or “Make my day” on your arm is certainly bound to give any jury member the impression that you are something less than a responsible citizen who hopes to never face the necessity of shooting in self defense.

This information is provided by The Law Offices of Steven W. Dulan, PLC ( This answer is intended as general information and should not be relied upon as legal advice for any specific situation or case. The facts of each case vary and you should consult an attorney whenever you have specific questions.

Did you Know? In the 4 years (1997-2000) prior to Michigan becoming “shall-issue”, reported incidents of crime averaged 4,509 per 100,000 people per year. In the 4 years after, (2002-2005), reported incidents of crime in Michigan fell 17% to an average of 3,717.

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