The Times’ Editorial "Bullets Designed to Maim" exhibits ignorance of the role of firearms and deadly force in police work. The purpose of deadly force is not, as the editors seem to imply, to injure. It is to kill.

If a situation escalates to the point that an officer must fire his gun, he is trained only to shoot to kill. Police are also trained not to shoot if it would endanger a bystander. It is therefore immaterial to argue about the increased injury that hollow-point bullets could cause to suspects and bystanders. The 9mm full-metal-jacketed rounds police used to carry are notorious for not stopping in the first thing they hit, resulting in random ricochet hazards. There are also stories of drug-crazed criminals unimpeded by critical wounds from these bullets. Hollow-point rounds are not designed to maim, but to stop in their target and kill it.

Furthermore, the suggestion that target practice is the only prerequisite for successfully resolving an armed encounter shows disregard for the ambiguity and confusion that prevail in real-world confrontations, not to mention the tremendous pressure on an officer to ensure the safety of himself and the innocent public.