Doctrine of Transferred Intent.

A common misconception is that you are legally liable for every bullet you fire in a self defense situation. That is not exactly the case. The answer to this is called the doctrine of transferred intent.

The simple reason is that the shooter (self-defense actor) was not the proximate cause of the harm to the innocent bystander. Although that may seem counter intuitive to say (given he was the one who actually fired the gun), it was in fact the attacker provoking the self-defense actor who caused the bystander harm.

In the legal world this is called the doctrine of transferred intent. It has been recited in numerous cases (see State v. Green, 157 W. Va. 1031, 1034, 206 S.E.2d 923, 926 (1974)).

I don’t want to steal any more of attorney Phil Nelson’s thunder or expertise on this. Check out this article at his excellent self defense blog here. Know the law. Stay out of jail.

How Much Ammo?

Once you pick your flavor of ammo as we did earlier this week, how much of it should we have on hand? Some people say that the most handgun ammunition that you need on hand is 250 or 500 rounds. That’s ridiculous. I have more than that in any given caliber.

For starters, there are two types of ammo: range ammo and war shots. PewPew Tactical recommends 500 rounds as a starting point, with 150 of those rounds being war shots. I still think that’s low. So what do I consider to be a good amount of ammo?

For range ammo, I buy in bulk because it’s cheaper, meaning in 1,000 round cases. If I find a good deal, I snap it up. That’s how I scored 9mm FMJ for 15 cents a round back in January of 2020, when I got 2,000 rounds for $300. Of course, that was pre-COVID. Good luck getting 9mm at that price now.

For starters, .22lr comes in bricks of 500 rounds. I own a few .22 firearms, both pistols and rifles. You will seldom see me with less than a couple of thousand rounds of .22 lying about. Of course, there is really no such thing as a “war shot” with .22lr. A brick of .22 will cost you about $30 at today’s prices, making it the cheapest way to shoot. It’s also great for squirrels and rats. That’s why I keep a bunch on hand.

When it comes to range ammo, I try to stock a minimum of 500 rounds per caliber. For the high use calibers of 9mm and .45, I find that 1,000 rounds on hand is a minimum.

For defensive handguns, we need to consider war shots. For semi-autos, I try to keep a minimum of 500 war shots per handgun. For revolvers, 150 war shots per handgun. So if I have a pair of 9mm handguns, that’s 1,000 rounds.

When we get into 5.56mm and 7.62x51mm, we get into a whole different ballgame. For the AR, all I stock in 5.56mm is Green Tips. I don’t do different war shots and range ammo, because I want my war shots to perform identically to my range ammo. For that reason, I try to keep a minimum of 5,000 rounds on hand of 5.56mm.

Likewise for the 7.62x51mm, but my round count there is lower simply because it is more expensive and takes up more room. So I want my minimum there to be no less than 2,500 rounds. With the 7.62, I look for nothing but the 147 grain. That way, every round is similar in performance to every other round.

For shotguns, all I have are 12 gauges. I stock 250 defense rounds in buckshot and slug, and 250 rounds of #7 shot (for hunting).

Toss in a few smoke grenades and a couple of pepper grenades, and the fire marshal’s office will shit themselves if they ever find out about that stash.

So as you can see, that means a lot of ammo on hand. We are talking about more than 20,000 rounds of ammo. I didn’t get there by buying it all at once. I just buy ammo on a regular schedule, buy a case at a time when I do buy, and try to get more than I shoot. Eventually, you get a decent stockpile.

Mailbag: Magazine Questions

Oldvet50 asks:

How long can you safely store a loaded mag before the spring weakens and causes misfires?

The answer to that depends on the magazine manufacturer. Cheaper magazine manufacturers, especially ones with polymer feed lips, are more prone to failure. Not of the spring, but of the magazine itself. Scorpion had a well documented issue with that. It turns out that the factory Scorpion magazines would dry out when left in a dehumidified safe for long periods. That’s why the Scorpion PMAG is a better choice than the factory one.

With a quality magazine, the answer to that is decades. Magpul themselves claim that they have had magazines fully loaded for eight years, and they still function.

The damage is done by compression and decompression of the spring. The more cycles that a spring goes through, the more it weakens it. I wouldn’t worry, however. It takes thousands of cycles to wear out a spring. Still, I think of magazines as consumable items, which is why I have so many of them.

SmileyFtW asks:

Why the waste of space with the foam? Load the cans tight for maximum capacity I would think. Same stuff in one can; label the can and move on. If one can is to be an assortment, say so on the can and ID the contents so it is obvious to what each one is

That was actually what I was doing up until now. What I got was cans that either contained a bunch of different mags in the same can, or the can wasn’t full. Example. Let’s say that I have a bunch of Smith and Wesson magazines:

  • 12 magazines for a Shield 9mm
  • 8 magazines for a Shield 40S&W
  • 6 magazines for a Shield Plus
  • 30 magazines for an M&P9 9mm
  • 12 magazines for an M&P9C 9mm compact
  • 12 Magazines for an M&P40 .40S&W

That’s 80 magazines. They will likely fit into one caliber can, but they aren’t cross compatible. The worst part is that some will fit in the handgun, but not function. For example, an M&P9 magazine will fit in the M&P40, but you don’t want to attempt to fire it like that. So with this system, good luck finding the right magazine in a hurry.

Another reason for padding them is preventing damage. One of the biggest reasons for malfunctions in a quality handgun (that isn’t a 1911) is a damaged magazine. My carry guns are life saving equipment, as far as I am concerned. The number one quality that I need in a carry gun is reliability. I need to know that it will go ‘bang’ every time I squeeze the trigger. Since quality handgun magazines cost anywhere from $35 to $60 each, having 100 magazines is a significant investment. By padding my magazines, I am protecting them and my investment. I lower the chances of malfunction which will, at best cost me some range time and money replacing it, and at worst will cause a malfunction during a firefight.

That’s also why I number my magazines. I know which ones have malfunctions. Note that number 2 and 5 are both missing in this picture. It’s because they are currently loaded and ‘in use’ by one of my handguns.

It’s a simple numbering system. If it starts with a 9, it’s a magazine that will fit the S&W9. If it ends in a “c” it’s for the M&P9C. This makes sense in my mind, because the compact can accept the full sized mags (but not vice-versa). The magazine numbers that start with a ‘G’ are for the Glock 19. (That’s the only model of Glock that I have, thanks to Project Gaston)

A similar code works, with the M&PShield Plus mag numbers all starting with ‘P’, the 45 magazines starting with ’45’, etc. I have a spreadsheet* that I use to track magazines, ammo, firearms, and firearm spare parts.

*I also keep a list of spare parts on hand: springs, firing pins, sights, and other fiddly bits. That’s why I have so many M&Ps: common spares, and the best spare part is simply having a spare pistol. Not only that, but I also know how to detail strip and troubleshoot the M&P series very well, which simplifies repairs. The Glock is easy to do the same with, but I generally don’t like the way that the Glock fits my hand. I’m still learning all of the ins and outs of the AR system.


We talk about gear, we talk about kits. What about skills? When it all falls apart, what do you know how to do? I have a pretty good set of skills, and many of them will allow me to trade and participate in an EOTWAWKI society. I am certified or skilled as:

Mastery level:

  • a nurse and paramedic
  • an electrician, having been trained to do so in the military
  • an electric motor repairman. I can rebuild, repair, rewind, and completely overhaul electric motors and generators. Again, military.
  • A master SCUBA diver

Journeyman level:

  • I can maintain and perform simple to moderate repairs on a variety of firearms.
  • I can do simple machine work.
  • I can do simple auto and machinery repair. (Things like power transmissions and gear boxes)
  • a HAM radio operator

Apprentice level:

  • I can do simple welding, brazing, and cutting, along with some metal work.
  • I can perform simple electronic repairs

I am always looking at adding to my skillset. Be as widely skilled as you possibly can. Everything that you learn is something else that you know. You never know which skill it will be that saves you or your life.

  • I have a great set of tools, measuring equipment, and a pretty well equipped workshop.
  • I am planning on buying a MIG welder in the near future.
  • I have spares in stock for firearms like sights, springs, and other parts. Electrical parts, magnet wire, bearings, brushes, switches, light bulbs, and other parts.
  • Parts for the cars like brake pads, fuses, motor oil, and spark plugs.
  • Spare radios, antennas, and coaxial cable.

All of this puts me in a great place to be an asset to my neighbors and community. Don’t be a sponge, be a contributor. Be the person that others want on their team.


So there is some discussion about FMRS vs. HAM vs. GMRS vs. CB. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages. CB is high frequency (HF), FRS and GMRS are Ultra High Frequency (UHF), while MURS is Very High Frequency (VHF). HAM can be all three. Let’s take a look:

No License Required

CB Radio: Citizen’s Band, 11 meter band (~27 mHz)

CB doesn’t require a license, nor is it very regulated. CB’s biggest advantage is also its biggest disadvantage: So many people have them that it’s easy to use them to contact people not in your group, but its also a disadvantage because so many people are both listening and talking over you. Just tune to channel 6 some time and listen to the yahoos talking over everyone with their illegal high powered sets. There are people there that are transmitting with thousands of watts of power. Another big disadvantage is that there are only 40 channels. Sure, you can try tricks like SSB, but if you are going to do all of that, there are better formats than CB. Police are known to routinely monitor CB radio, especially near major highways. I’m not much of a fan of CB. That may be a plus or a minus, depending on whether or not you want to talk to them. Radios run anywhere from $50 on up.

FRS: The Family Radio Service, 462-467 mHz

FRS is a channelized FM radio service that allows families to talk to each other. There are 22 channels dedicated to this service, with channels 8-14 (467 mHz) restricted to 500 milliwatts, and the rest (462 mHz) permitted up to 2 watts. All 22 channels are shared with the GMRS. No license is needed, but like CB, you are limited to certain channels, so traffic may become an issue. They can use tone coded squelch to cut down on congestion, but remember that people not using it can still hear everything you say. The radios must use permanently attached antennas, and this is done because the antennas themselves are designed to limit the range of the radios. Expect the range on these to be somewhere around three quarters of a mile in realistic conditions. Repeaters, phone patches, and the like are prohibited by law on FRS. Radios cost anywhere from $20 on up.

MURS: Multi Use Radio Service

MURS is a UHF service that uses 5 channels in the 151 and 154 mHz band. Up to 2 watts is permitted. No license is required, and there is very little traffic on these channels, but there are a wide variety of radio products that use MURS frequencies. MURS devices include wireless base station intercoms, handheld two-way radios, wireless dog training collars, wireless public address units, customer service callboxes, and wireless remote switches. That may or may not mean interference.

License Required

GMRS: General Mobile Radio Service

This service uses the same channels as FRS, plus an additional 8 channels, for a total of 30. Using these does require a license, but the only real requirement to get one is to be 18 years old, register, and pay a fee of $35. The license is good for 10 years. One license is good for your entire family. Anyone not in the family must get their own license. Transmissions must periodically include the station’s license callsign. If you are using a repeater, the repeater can be used to do that automatically. With the GMRS, you get the 8 extra channels, the ability to use repeaters, and better antennas. This means handheld units get a range of about 2 miles, vehicles about 5, and using a repeater with an antenna on top of your house can get you 20 miles or more of range. Those 8 extra channels are allowed up to 50 watts. Radios are about the same cost as FRS, $20 on up.

HAM radio: VHF, UHF, and HF

HAM radio does require a license, but it allows you a great deal of flexibility. The license isn’t too difficult. The easiest one to get is the technician license, and that requires a small fee and a relatively easy test on basic electronics. With that license, you are good to go on HF, VHF, and UHF. Since there are no channels, you literally have thousands of possible choices. This means that the frequencies will be largely unused and not congested.

Here is what I have done: The only choice from the above list that I don’t have is MURS, but I can program the Baofeng to transmit there, if I have to. In my shack, I have radios that cover GMRS, FRS, and CB, as well as HAM. I like to be as flexible as possible. There is a small antenna farm in my attic.

Each of the above has its own advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantage to a channelized system is that users will be compressed into a limited number of channels. They all have one major disadvantage: they are unencrypted. That means working out code phrases that aren’t obviously code phrases: “John has a long mustache. The chair is against the wall.” Asking someone how Frank is doing could mean something that is known only to the two of you.

The advantage to a non-licensed system is that your friends and neighbors can communicate with you without the need for them to have a license.

Different frequencies and power levels allow you to play physics to your advantage. VHF is easily refracted by vegetation but doesn’t penetrate buildings or rocks very well. UHF penetrates buildings better. A VHF transmission in the woods at low power is unlikely to be intercepted. UHF at low power is great for a block or two in the city, and beyond that is unlikely to be intercepted as well.

If I were to have just one, HAM is the way to go. After that, my second choice would be GMRS.