View Full Version : The NFA Weapon in Self Defense

Rich Lucibella
December 15, 1998, 11:38 AM
I recently ordered a Scattergun Technologies 870. I was tempted to order it with a 14" barrel (NFA Weapon) but decided against it since this would be a self defense weapon for the home and campsite. I've always been under the impression that using an NFA weapon in self defense buys you a world of hurt. (As this issue can be extrapolated to any NFA, I post this Forum.)

Yesterday I opened G&W for LE and guess what. There's an article by an LEO on his purchase of a Scattergun Tech 870 with 14" barrel! In the article, the officer indicates this will be housed in the rack in his cruiser.

Have I ben under a misconception regarding use of the NFA gun in self defense?

Rob Pincus
December 15, 1998, 01:05 PM
I know several people, mostly professionals, who use NFA weapons as part of their defensive (or offensive in certain cases) menu. Weapons include several Short barrelled shotguns, a MAC-11 and a couple Short barreled rifles.

Myslef, I will go back to carrying my Beretta 25 in a wallet holster once my paperwork comes back, afterwhich it will be a properly registered AOL, thus an NFA weapon.

If you have copies of your paperwork and are in your home state (and obviously the weapon is legally registered, etc..) you shouldn't have nay additional concern from using an NFA weapon in self defense.

Obviosuly, if you empty a full mag from a MAC-10 in the middle of the mall because someone pushes you, you've got a problem. But if you pull out your Glock 20 and fire sixteen rounds at a guy that cuts you off on the highway you've got a problem too. (BTW- we had a road rage murder the other night....be careful during the holidays!)


December 15, 1998, 03:33 PM
I had the same perception as Rich: that it is one thing to do legal battle for justification of self-defense with a deadly weapon, but quite another to be burdened with the stigma of using what may be construed as a "destructive device". The former being arguable as a reasonable response, but the latter showing exceptional effort to obtain and retain legally and perhaps could be argued as a "preparation" for battle, which in turn weakens the self-defense argument, especially for the non-operator.

Any folks out there with courtroom experience on either side of this issue?

December 15, 1998, 04:01 PM
I can't give alot of details yet since the situation is pending, but some civilian used an MP5 (with FORM 4 handy) to drop a perp or two, and so far, so good.

On the lighter side, can you imagine the look on the gang member's face when he whipped that puppy out!

Rob Pincus
December 15, 1998, 06:15 PM
Upon further reflection, I have thoguht that this is simlar to the "don't use Black Talons because they'll eat you alive in court" argument.

While it is true that, especially in civil court, the attorneys can do anything they want to sway the opinion against you. As I said, most of the people I know using NFA are either LE or professional security personnel (not mall cops, either..., Of the two "regular" people I know who have an NFA handy, one is a gunshop owner (CLass II/III dealer/manufacturer) the other is just about completely regular ;).

Does anyone have any info where using an NFA has been detrimental to a persons self-defense/justifiable homicide case?

In the end, I think this comes down to mental baggage. I decided that, for me, the convenience of the wallet holster (interms of CCW) is worth the added trouble and potential hassle of getting one as a registered AOW. Does 4" less of barrel on an 870 warrant that effort?
Does carrying 32 rounds of .380 that can be fired in less than 2 seconds?

Some people think so.


[This message has been edited by Rob (edited 12-15-98).]

December 15, 1998, 10:20 PM
While I might not use a full auto, my SBR ( 10" ) Colt AR 15 ( Bushmaster upper ) with telescoping stock, is part of my personal defense for my home. Load is Federal 40 gr, or Winchester Ranger Frangible.
I have fired more than 3000 round with this gun in training, and it is very reliable, even with the frangible. GLV

December 16, 1998, 10:41 PM
I don't have any firsthand experience in using an NFA weapon in an otherwise lawful self-defense shooting, but you should be aware that you are just giving the DA ample ammunition (no pun intended) to paint you as slightly off-kilter to 12 people who were too stupid to figure out how to get off jury duty.

You're going to have a world of hurt any time you use deadly force against someone, regardless of the circumstances. It will likely cost you a lot of time and money to survive unscathed. Why make the situation worse by having to explain to a courtroom full of idiots that machineguns are legal? Sure, the DA may say, "they're legal, but why would anyone need one?"

Do you really want that going through the minds of the jury when they're back in the jury room? I sure wouldn't.

You could also probably forget about your CLEO ever signing for you again if you whacked somebody with something he or she signed for.

And, do you have any idea how loud a machinegun is going to be inside?

Ok, I know I focused on machineguns here, but I'll wager the same things go with AOW, Cans, etc.

James Bardwell mentioned this a few months ago on another board - I'm not sure if he cited a specific case or if he said it was generally considered a bad idea...

My $0.02.

danbrew :->

Rob Pincus
December 16, 1998, 10:53 PM
In fact, I use the local DA as my CLEO, so he is going to have a hard time making a big deal about it. ;)


Rich Lucibella
December 17, 1998, 03:41 AM
Yours has always been my assumption. That's why I was surprised to read of a LEO carrying an NFA in his patrol car....try explaining *that* one to IA, or the perp's family's jury.

Think the article was just good press?

December 17, 1998, 10:36 AM
As a quick follow-on to this... I would reading some literature that a suppressor manufacturer sent me last night and they talked about the value of using a suppressed weapon as a home defense weapon... but then they also said it was illegal in some states (didn't name them) to use a suppressed weapon against anybody -- even some scumbag in your house in the middle of the night.

BTW, let's all remember that the laws don't apply to one in a position of authority. A LEO carrying a subgun or sbs in his/her car would be looked upon as "part of the job".

Matter of fact, if you took 100 average folks off the street and asked them if the two following statements were true or false, you'd likely get TRUE and FALSE.

1. It's ok/legal for a police officer to have a machinegun.

2. It's ok/legal for a civilian to have a machinegun.

danbrew :->

December 17, 1998, 12:49 PM
LEOs with personal weapons is usually a matter of departmental policy. There's no way that he could carry a SBS for long without authorization without someone noticing. The information I would be looking for is whether the department would back the SBS equipped LEO when the legal defication(sp) comes into contact with the judical oscillating device.
Are his/her superiors street smart or are they pure political animals looking to get ahead by stepping on others.

Rob Pincus
December 17, 1998, 06:17 PM
LEOs carry the same type of liability that civilians do on this one. If their seargents are just "looking the other way," they should think twice about having that 870 WP in thei car, but if they have it in writing from an authorized ranking officer, they should be pretty well covered.
That is why I use the DA as the CLEO, he is the one that will ultimately judge whatever I may do with the weapon in question.

Is it possible that the manufacturer's info is referring to states in which suppressors are already illegal? (NJ is one, I beleive..)

December 18, 1998, 11:04 AM
Here in Missouri suppressors are illegal except by LE/mil and Class III with intent of sales presentation only, no ownership for personal use. SBS and SBR are legal also. I've yet to see an NFA leo duty weapon except on tactical teams.

4V50 Gary
December 21, 1998, 12:44 PM
Problem is even if use of a NFA is justifiable as self defense, your NFA will be seized as evidence pending that determination. In the city where I work, the cops assigned to the property room are all selected because of their disinterest in firearms. They'll stuff that $10,000 rifle down the 55 gallon drum along with the $15,000 Perrazi and the $100 H&R. It's just a gun to them.

That's why for my personal self defense I'll use the cheapest gun which is reliable.

December 24, 1998, 03:01 PM
I know a guy with his class III and carry permit. He carries on his person both a suppressed MP5 and a suppressed PPK. I asked him why he "needs"(the infamous "n" word) both. He laughed. He asked me why does a dog lick his balls because he can! A guy like him in a trenchcoat would be eaten alive in court! If you want multiprojectional get a shotgun. If you want quiet get a knife. It's not worth letting your toy rust in the evidence locker! Good luck and happy hosing!

Richard SIA
January 1, 1999, 01:36 AM
I distinctly recall mention in MGN of a gun shop owner in Florida who has used a full auto to defend his property, without any hassle at all, twice!

If the shoot is justified the choice of weapon should be irrelevent.

Haveing survived an attempted robbery by six "Cholo's" a few years ago, and myself armed with only a single shot rifle, I would have no problem with anyone useing FA or SB for defense.