Archive for July 9, 2013

This is the second part in a review of the Texas Law Shield Seminar held in Garland on July 13, 2013.  The link to the first part of the review is here, which includes the seminar schedule.

Overview of Choices in Ammunition/Does It Legally Matter What I Carry?

TLS reversed the order of the final two presentations, and the speaker was Josh Mizola.  The introduction to the talk indicated that experienced shooters would not learn anything new.  We were told that this talk would not delve into the caliber wars (although it did spend a lot of time discussing measured differences between calibers in ballistic gel).  We were also advised that the presentation was not intended to help people with caliber or handgun selection.  I always worry about such disclaimers (especially what ‘not’ to expect) because the whole reason I drive such a distance to a seminar is to obtain new information.  My general impression is that most of the attendees are at least CHL holders and already understand basics such as how hollow points work and the difference between a HP round and an FMJ.  So, why not try and push the envelope a bit?  How about tuning the presentation for the more experienced gun owners in the audience?  If it turns out to be too advanced, then the Q&A period can be used to take up the slack so to speak.  I think it’s always best to be too advanced rather than too basic when presenting a topic.

Now, the speaker was in a unique position to discuss ballistics since he was struck in the leg by a negligent discharge (9mm 147gr Speer GD).   There is a big difference between talking about calibers and specific rounds and actually being on the receiving end of one of them.

The actual talk did not cover any legal topics; it was a watered down introduction to terminal ballistics, and the speaker’s outline was supposed to follow:

1 – Basics of Bullets

2 – How a bullet works when it hits a target

3 – Types of ammo

Well, the basics of bullets turned out to be very basic.  Formula for kinetic energy was wrong (I recognized this because my background is applied mathematics and I’ve make pretty extensive studies of terminal ballistics).  Explanation of the Hornady FTX bullet (Critical Defense Line) was kind of botched.  The how a bullet works segment was pretty decent, but no explanation of hydraulic pressure in the proper opening of hollow points.  Huge missed opportunity to talk about bullet construction and velocity ranges over which a bullet performs well, and what happens to a HP when velocity is too low or too high.

The types of ammo discussion was interesting if you’ve never seen slow-mo video of various rounds through ballistic gel.  A handout was provided that compared various defensive rounds in various calibers, all of which had ft-lb of muzzle energy specs.  Wow, it would have been great of you at least gave the audience an intuitive understanding of one ft-lb of energy.  Some good points included that energy measures are greatly skewed by small changes in velocity simply because kinetic energy varies with the square of velocity.  Then, we’re back to that whole bullet construction and performance envelope thing which was really glossed over.  Good videos of rifle vs. pistol rounds, but missed a great opportunity to stress how underpowered handgun rounds are relative to rifles and shotguns.  The speaker made some good points about temporary vs. permanent cavities in gel tests.

The speaker did show an x-ray of his leg with both bullet and bone fragments.  He made some good points about the differences between test media and actual shootings.

Good discussion of HP vs. FMJ ammo along with an interesting report on HP vs. FMJ ‘stopping percentage.’  Great opportunity to actually inject a legal angle to the talk and discuss ‘deliberate indifference.’  It was missed, though.  You would have to wait until the Q&A to actually get any commentary on the formal title of the talk.

Overall, the presentation was a mashup of a group of topics that indicated a lot of research on the part of TLS, but little in terms of direction and a cohesive theme.  I though the best discussion was after the talk and it might be better to eliminate this topic altogether or make it more of a Q&A session.  Then, it could be better tuned to the audience’s experience level.


Explanation of the National Firearms Act and the Law of Owning a Suppressor, Short-Barreled Rifle, etc.  (Ed Walker)

Although this was kind of a back-door sales pitch for the TLS NFA program, it turned out to be my favorite talk.  I really enjoyed the historical perspective of how fully automatic weapons were eventually regulated using the tax code.  It was cool to see an actual tax stamp if you have never seen one before.  Legalities of full auto weapons and suppressors were discussed along with media-induced stereotypes.

It was good to hear a discussion of AOW (Any Other Weapon).  For those that attend gun shows, it’s important to understand that a lot of vendors behind the table are just there to sell stuff.  They rarely have a complete understanding legal of implications of items on the table.  To prove my point, visit this page and see if you can spot at least one popular item that is regularly on sale at local gun shows.

The next time you see a cool device or holster, do some research to determine if you also need a tax stamp.


Overall, I enjoyed the seminar and the chance to interact with fellow firearm enthusiasts.  I thought it was well worth the price, especially with the new handouts, and I hope that TLS continues these seminars.