Shortly after I released from the military and began competition shooting as a civilian, I began reloading my own ammunition to keep my practice costs down.

Civilian sport shooting is very different from the military firearms training.

For soldiers in the Canadian Forces it is a severe offense to be in possession of live rounds, empty casings, or pyrotechnics without authorization from their chain of command.

When completing live fire training, soldiers must give an ammunition declaration to a commissioned officer indicating they have no such items in their possession.

Violation of this declaration is punishable up to being court martialed with punishment potentially as severe as being imprisoned in military prison.

Every military facility has an “amnesty box,” where soldiers may anonymously deposit any live rounds or empty casing they find in their possession to avoid such punishment.

Conversely, any Canadian civilian with a valid Firearms Possession and Acquisition License (PAL) may lawfully acquire and be in possession of live ammunition.

Without a PAL, any Canadian may acquire and have ammunition components such as empty casings and projectiles in their possession.

After I released from the military, I remember thinking of the dichotomy of mindset between civilian and military shooters.

As a member of the military, you voluntarily relinquish many of your rights and freedoms.

Every Canadian soldier upon being sworn in surrenders many of their rights, such as freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom of movement, freedom of possession of certain items (such as empty casings), and certain democratic freedoms.

13 years after releasing from the military and starting my own family, I realize how sacred these freedoms are and how serious it is to voluntarily relinquish them.

One day, after cleaning and sorting brass, I observed how the headstamp on several of my casings was marked “IVI.”

This marking was the same marking as ammunition originally designated for the Canadian military.

Often times, either the military or the ammunition manufacturer auctions off surplus ammunition to retail distributors or law enforcement agencies, which eventually trickle down to civilian gun owners.

As I reflected on this, I realized that as a civilian, one right I have is the right to be in possession of ammunition casings. As a soldier, I could have been imprisoned for being in possession of those same items.

This is an important lesson I wish to impress on younger shooters and my children.

NEVER take their rights and freedoms for granted.

NEVER voluntarily relinquish them without fully understanding why.

Most importantly, cherish the rights and freedoms inherited from Canadian heroes who came before us.

Freedoms our great Canadian heroes purchased for us through tremendous self-sacrifice. In many instances with their very lives.

Each “Freedom Bullet” is a deactivated “IVI” military surplus casing with a 55 grain full metal jacket bullet.

They contain no live components (primers or gun-powder) and are a tribute to Canadian heroes (especially military and law enforcement) who loved their communities and served their country faithfully.

Freedom bullets are a solemn reminder of the incredible sacrifice members of these essential agencies are called upon to make both in the past, present, and future in defense of our rights and freedoms.

To all members of the military and in law enforcement, THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!