Question of the Day: Have You Ever Been Shot At?

Thankfully, I’ve only taken fire during force-on-force training. Which sucks in ways you can’t imagine until you experience it (without protective clothing). Even so, I think that’s a no. Providing you exclude the time a farmer fired a shotgun over the heads of our pre-teen expeditionary force. But TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia includes a whole host of law enforcement officers and combat vets, many of whom know what it’s like having someone try to shoot you dead. A situation which a number of our readers have also experienced in criminal encounters of the ballistic kind. I invite those who’ve been there, done that to share their experiences with the group. What’s it like when lead bullets are aimed your way?

comments

  1. avatar Ralph says:

    “Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.”
    Winston Churchill.

    True dat.

    1. avatar SD3 says:

      Frankly, it was over before I knew it was happening.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        SD3, are we talking about the same thing? 🙂

    2. avatar J in Ga says:

      Yup, only in the mid-East though.

    3. avatar Gregolas says:

      Thank you, Ralph. That’s one my two favorite quotes of all time.

      For all of you who’ve taken fire for family, or as LEOs, or on behalf of our country, Thank You!

  2. avatar Rich says:

    Reminds me of the punchline to a Bill Engval joke:

    “Bring me my brown pants!”

    1. avatar Jarhead1982 says:

      Being scared, upset stomach, nerves and such yes before or after the incident is normal, during the action not so much as adrenalin kicked in.

      I did scare a rather large burglar attempting to break in on my mother when I put my .44 mag on his nose and began to squeeze. Ever see a 6’2″ 300+ lb man run faster than Carl Lewis in his prime while crapping his pants. Rather funny!

  3. avatar InBox485 says:

    Hate to be the one to point it out, but in shear numbers, I’d bet more civilians get shot at than military and law enforcement. And yes, I joined that club several years ago.

    You find some magical force within you to shrink to fit in places you’d never regard as cover otherwise, then when it is all said and done, you want to find the next gun control advocate you can get your hands on, thank them for supporting the laws that meant you got to take lead with no means to return it, then beat the ever living sh!t out of them.

  4. avatar SPEMack says:

    The first time I got shot was on a dove shoot in the 8th grade, got peppered by a fellow who fired just as “low bird” was called.

    Four years later, my Guard unit took scattered potshots from assorted miscreants in post-Katrina New Orleans, and four years after that, I experience I variety of fire from .303 SMLEs up to 120mm rocket fire in Afghanistan.

    1. avatar Tommy Hobbes says:

      Race riot 1968. Guard unit called up. Twilight. Someone from a block away–I saw the flash–fired one round. My best guess was it came from handgun. We still had M-1 rifles then, being bottom barrel in equipment. whilst other units had M-14s and a very few M- 16s. I knew enough not to shoot back in an urban environment where I could not see the shooter in twilight and knew there was not a safe backstop to catch and stop a Cal 30 round. In the ideal the shooter could be hosed with tracers,but reality in a city setting said otherwise.

  5. avatar Not Too Eloquent says:

    What? A post without a boogey-man? Say it ain’t so!

  6. avatar Nick Leghorn says:

    The CRSO at a 3-gun match calculated the SDZ of the range wrong, and as a result my team started taking incoming rounds while we were walking down a road to the next stage. Bullets were landing all around us, kicking up dirt and punching holes in some of the cars. We hit behind the engine block of a car until it stopped. Needless to say I never went back there.

  7. avatar Ed Rogers says:

    As to the military vs. civilian – point taken (no pun intended). As a retired USAF member, I was only fired upon while in Iraq. As a civilian, I was accidentally (?) fired upon while hunting.

    At least it was only small arms in the U.S. 😉

  8. avatar Sanchanim says:

    Uhm unfortunately yes, I have.
    I was in the uhm errr middle east.
    Let’s just say that by the time we realized those weren’t large mosquitoes headed our way, it was over. We were lucky..
    I wasn’t in position yet, and we were caught off guard. We weren’t in a hot area, like areas in Afghanistan or anything so the idea of being shot given the time and place, it felt a little surreal. The worst we had had up till that point was kids throwing rocks. We would throw them back like a game.
    I remember some of us felt tingly, a little excited, not the right word, but the only one that comes to mind. One of our guys puked from the adrenalin. It wasn’t a long fire fight only a single shooter. My best friend and partner in my platoon was watching us move in, and saw what was happening. The person only got a couple of shots off, least it felt like that, before he ended his day.
    A friend asked me later were you scared? I guess thinking back on it yes I was, but in the moment I remember thinking make sure all my friends have some cover, lets figure out where this is coming from, and hopefully it isn’t a bunch of them. Really weird actually. Then, when we were all clear, no one hurt, I broke out a cigarette I remember seeing it shaking in my hand as I was trying to light it. Yeah I know it is a no no in the field but at the time I really needed one.
    Some people say time slows down, and I guess that is true in many cases. In my case, it all happened so fast. By the time we could think in depth on what was going on it was over. We were moving on.. I slept like a log that night.. That was unusual for me since normally I would wake up if I heard footsteps. That used to piss my commander off to no end.

  9. avatar tdiinva says:

    I have taken about 90 seconds of indirect fire.

  10. avatar Jesse Nelson says:

    Shot at and shot. Although neither incident were situations like described in here.

    Someon shot the windshield of my Freightliner in north west TN one night and two kids got a hold of their dads handgun and shot me in the back when I was 7

  11. avatar CaseyBenton says:

    Yes. At the time, I didn’t know squat about guns or RKBA or ballistics or self defense, which is why I stood there stupid-like while some crack-head unloaded in my direction. Only one hit, in the thigh, but I fell over and he took my wallet and jacket.

    I like to think if we met today, the results would be different. Very different.

    Also took fire while in my car, but it turned out it was “only” a .22. I don’t think I was targeted at me, but I still got a couple bullet holes in my car.

  12. avatar Martin Albright says:

    It was in Haiti in 1994. I was at an FOB in the Northern part of the country (Gonaives.) On October 30th, the day Aristide was supposed to come back to the country after we “liberated” it, there were rumors circulating that he had been assasinated. So groups of pro-Aristide thugs started going through the town and burning and looting the homes and businesses of anybody who was not deemed to be sufficiently pro-Aristide (IOW, people who they had grudges against or who failed to bribe them.) The neutered Haitian military/police (FAD’H) were useless and our ROE didn’t allow us to engage to protect property. So we did nothing.

    Later that night the gang started moving closer and closer to our FOB which was on the East end of town, near the road that headed up towards Cap Haitien. I had actually gone to bed when my buddy Tony, who was a CI NCO, came by and kicked my cot and said “get up. the shit’s hitting the fan.” He wasn’t scared, more like excited. I put on my jacket and LBE and grabbed my M-16 and we went up to the roof of the 2 story house that we used as an FOB, where we had a 24 hour guard posted. When we got up there, the Battalion Commander and CSM were there, too. Tony had a set of NVGs (PVS 7’s, I think) so we watched the glow of the fires as the group headed closer to our FOB. When they got to about half a mile away, the Battalion CO said “call out the QRF [Quick Reaction Force] and keep them away from here” The Sergeant Major called out the QRF on his hand held radio and they headed out the gate in a couple of HMMWVs.

    We were standing on the roof, watching the procession head out there and as soon as they got to the group, we heard a lot of shouting. Then a rapid “BAM-BAM-BAM-BAM-BAM” of automatic weapons fire and a line of red tracer bullets arced in our general direction. All 5 of us hit the deck without even remembering it. After a few seconds, the battalion commander said “maybe we shouldn’t be standing up here.”

    I don’t think anyone was shooting at us deliberately, but it sure felt like it.

    In Afghanistan we would occasionally hear small arms fire or even recoilless rifles off in the distance but it was alwasy ‘green on green’, they were never shooting at us (this was in 2003.)

  13. avatar Gyufygy says:

    I think a neighbor’s kid shot at me with a BB gun, years ago. I say I think because it was based on his boasting and me seeing a chunk of rubber missing from my well-used shoe after going inside. I was also maybe 6 or 7, so I could have convinced myself of that pretty easily.

    I’ve taken a lot of fire in CoD, though. 😀

    Oh god, put down the pitch forks, tar, and feathers… :X

    1. avatar Azman says:

      Truth be told though getting shot at in COD without having played it before can get the adrenaline going pretty good.

      As for real life, no. Nor do I ever hope to.

      1. avatar shawmutt says:

        This will get someone’s adrenaline pumping:

  14. avatar Shire-man says:

    Living in a densely populated urban cesspool and working the graveyard shift comes with some interesting life experiences.

    One of the more frequent is being shot at about twice a month for ten years.

    It’s amazing how quickly something like that loses the life v. death weight and devolves into a minor nuisance.

    “Oh, the ghetto rats are shooting at us again”

  15. avatar Skyler says:

    It’s not too scary until they start aiming right.

  16. avatar Average_Casey says:

    Pheasant hunting I was shot in the neck when some idiot shot through a corn field. Luckily there wasn’t any penetration.

    As for what it’s like getting shot at, I’ve talked to a few fellow Marines who initially invaded Iraq who didn’t know each other. apparently, General James mattis got up before the invasion and said it’s fun to get shot at. Marines I talked to said it was funny it was weird because it was fun getting shot at.

  17. avatar Joseph says:

    In four decades in law enforcement, I’ve been shot at twice without the ability to return fire for various reasons. Once was on a family disturbance call where the dude had left the scene by the time we got there. He returned as we were leaving and fired four rounds at me and my partner. I heard one round whizz past my head. He then dropped his gun and ran into the back yard and lay on the ground. Couldn’t help but give him a butt stroke in the ribs with the shotgun I had retrieved from the car. The other time I was fired on by a dude with a shotgun as I drove by while making a call. No hits, not even on the car…guess he didn’t know how to lead a moving target.

    The other four times I shot first…seems to work out better that way. It all happens so fast, the nervous shakes don’t start until it’s all over. Prior to that you just react…which is why training, especially force on force is so critically important.

    1. avatar SPEMack says:

      Nervous shakes don’t happn until later for the win. First time in Afghanistan, I was on the Blackhawk, headed back to the FOB before it sunk “Holy shit, I got shot at, I blew threw five mags in my rifle. WTF?!?!?!”

  18. avatar DDavis says:

    I am a newspaper photographer. A number of years ago, I was assigned to what I thought was going to be “just another rally/demonstration”. What it turned out to be was a gunfight between two groups of dumbasses, with me and my cameras in between. Five DOA, all from the undergunned side. Time literally slowed to a crawling pace as long as I kept the camera up to my eye (disassociation from reality), then resumed to normal speed after action. Field of view became a narrow cone, zeroing in on just certain points (shooter w/shotgun, guy w/revolver, etc). Almost as if on autopilot. InBox485 had it right; you can managed to cram 6’3″ of yourself into a space that a small child would have trouble with, if you think it will offer safety. I do not wish to go there again, unless absolutely necessary.

  19. avatar Jim B says:

    I have been shot at quite a few times but never in the US unless you include accidental shots in my direction hunting. However I have had guns pointed at me in the US but no shots were ever fired. In West Africa I was shot at by the damn regular soldiers, the supposedly representatives of law and order in the country, Nigeria which has no law and order and sometimes I doubt it ever will. In Mozambique I was shot at by RENAMO forces who theoretically were on our side but really they didn’t know which side was which or what they were even fighting for. Seriously, they really could not articulate what the hell they were fighting for. They fought because that is all they knew. Sad. It moved, so shoot it. Once we landed and the tail of the plane had four large bullet holes in it which pissed the pilot off to no end since there was absolutely no reason for them shooting at us since the war was coming to an end and WE WERE ON THEIR SIDE!! The strange part is that we were flying low and they would waver to us in a very friendly manner and yet someone obvioulsy turned a heavy machine gun on us. I can’t repeat what the pilot called them for shooting up his plane. It was hard for them to understand to stop shooting after years of doing nothing else.

    Hey, I heard it from the other side too. When I joked that I could rely on my Soviet friends if I got in trouble in Angola a Soviet told me that Soviet backed forces in Angola would shoot at their ships. When they asked why they were shooting at them they would shrug their shoulders. They didn’t know. Something to do.

    I have seen things shot to hell for no reason. Not a fire fight, just shooting for the hell of it. Basically kids with guns and that is exactly what they were. Wanted destruction. It wasn’t just the kids though. The older people in charge did it in a big way, often for no discernible reason.

    War is stupid. There is no glory in it. A monkey can be a soldier and I swear a lot of them are, or at least have the mentality of a monkey.

    1. avatar John says:

      Yep… *raises hand* I’m another one shot at (or at least my boat while I was on it) in Nigeria, though mine was militants and not the military. Think I’m more afraid of the Nigerian Navy than I am of the militants though. At least the militants are trying not to use all their limited ammo supplies.

  20. avatar Milsurp Collector says:

    Fortunately I’ve never been shot at with a real firearm, but airsoft and paintball guns are by no means harmless toys. I used to airsoft once in a blue moon with friends; I underestimated a lot of dumb people when it came to safety and shed blood because of it. Thank God I kept my eye protection on at all times.

    1. avatar Chris says:

      I’ve kicked people off of commercial paintball fields before for this stupid shit and the staff love me for it. I ain’t losing an eye to an idiot who can’t be bothered to follow the rules.

  21. avatar Ole says:

    I have been close enough to a drive by shooting that I was worried about catching a stray. I was stuck at a stoplight with stopped cars in front of and behind me. I had no where to go. The other cars at the intersection probably had no idea what was going on. As soon as the car ahead of me moved I was OUT OF THERE.

  22. avatar Rich says:

    To answer the question of the day, yes. And frankly it sucks, no matter what Mr. Churchill thought of it.

  23. avatar Chris says:

    Only by weapons made by NERF, and I am thankful for that.

  24. avatar 6 gunner says:

    Getting shot at is no big deal–your mom’s usually pretty grumpy when I cut out in the middle of the night. *rimshot*

    But yes, to answer the question. The first time when I was in high school and in a crappy neighborhood. I didn’t realize what was going on (and I can’t say for sure they were aiming for me, but the rounds were definitely coming my way and probably from nothing more than a .22lr) and being young and dumb my response was to get angry and indignant and go looking for the shooter. As I’ve aged I’ve learned that when there’s lead in the air it’s usually best to retreat for a spell and get the lay of the land so to speak.

  25. avatar jwm says:

    Yes. It’s been a while and I hope it never happens again.

  26. avatar ChuckN says:

    Yep, twice. While hiking as a teenager in rural Maine I
    stumbled across a substantial pot field. Young stupid
    me decided to sneak closer and start taking photos.
    Three guys were there and one spotted me. One stood
    there shooting as the other one came after me. The
    third jumped on a ATV. It took about 5 miles through
    peat swamps and tree growth that would make a jungle
    look like manicured lawns before I lost them. The pics
    went to the sheriff and all 3 eventually got arrested.
    The 3 were very nasty guys and I decided to stay
    anonymous. Probably saved my life.
    The second time also involved a potfield. I was
    responding to a wildfire and the grower(s) decided
    to take a few potshots at us while they burned their
    operation to destroy evidence. Nothing real serious
    but close enough to evac and wait for LE. LE never
    did find those growers.

    1. avatar Ropingdown says:

      “Potshots” now defined for the new age.

  27. Id wager anyone who’s been through basic training has been “shot at” on the obstacle course where you are forced to low crawl towards the machine gun towers while the fake arty goes off in tires/barrels. For a young recruit its a pretty intense thing even though you know the towers are a good 15 feet off the ground and the arty, while noisy, is pretty harmless unless you pick one up.

    Is that being shot at? Yeah sort of. They are shooting over you and every 5th round (i think its every 5) is a tracer so you definitely see it going by. They werent trying to kill us but I would expect the feeling is similar in some ways. Definitely an adrenaline rush.

    The coolest part was going over the wall and then the whole world exploded. One of the most memorable experiences from basic next to the gas chamber exercise. All this was way back in 1987 in Fort Knox so maybe they do shit differently these days.

    1. avatar Tommy Hobbes says:

      Depends on when and where one got basic training. Ft Leonard Wood MO 1964 used MGs in singing sequence at night. The firing did not come from towers. Instead, each MG had steel pipe mounted below the barrel to prevent accidental shooting directly into us. Tracers provided an erie beauty, albeit noisy,. as we crawled under the barbed wire. I was glad that no one panicked and decided to suddenly stand up. Years earlier while bow hunting I and my pal heard the whizzing of rounds over our heads in a forested area. We met up later with the shooters who were after squirrel. They had no idea we were in their area. It sure made me feel lucky and thereafter I was very cautious about where I hunted. Stay safe.

  28. avatar al from chgo says:

    Yes, I am from Chicago, yes I have been shot at , no I am not a seventeen year old typing in the basement. I am a 69 year old typing in his basement smoking lounge.

    Nor do I habitually indulge in “war stories”, my two sons have only heard a couple, my daughter none, my six grandchildren none. My wife (hired in the first class of female Patrol Officers in Chicago, in 1975 retired as an Evidence Technician ) and son-in-law of 15 years (a CPD Sergeant) will swap stories when we are alone. The son-in-law is the primary reason my daughter does not want to hear even our 30 year old stories, she says her worries are enough without adding our flourishes .

    Now to the shooting.
    April-May 1964, Dominican Republic, USMC. Another one of Brother Lyndon’s bright ideas. Random and directed sniper fire off and on for a week. They liked to fire into the command compound where we had set up our radio van, large dark objects against the white hotel behind us. (This and my being part of the first response to the Gulf of Tonkin incident are one of the few I have told my one son, the one who is still in the Army after 24 years, his assignments stretch from the mobile nuclear missiles on the German-Czech border in 1989 to Afghanistan a couple of years ago. now a Colonel and finishing his last three years back in the States.) That about it for my military service, my brother, cousin and son saw and heard a lot more than I.

    Chicago 1966 through 1988.
    Almost all of my time on the job was spent on the Westside, near Southside, and near Northside of the Chicago. This was before the high-rise housing projects were torn down. Answering calls or doing investigations in these meant at least two two man cars, and a Sergeant. You would hear gunfire every weekend night but unless a round hit a car, the ground in front of you, or another person you could never be certain if they were shooting directly at you. In three incidents I am certain they were firing at me: one hole in the roof of the unmarked squad; walking strikes in front of us while in the play lot at the West end of Cabrini-Green just east of the old Clybourn Ave overpass (rent the movie “Thief” for a good view of this overpass), and walking fire striking the pavement in the middle of Division St with two of my guys while we were helping the EMTs try and load a wounded combative gang-banger into an ambulance. This does not count the New Years Eves spent in the Area 1 building at 51st and Wentworth, which the city built two blocks west of a string of ten story housing projects that had a very good field of fire downward at our building. The residents of the projects liked this on New Years Eve, we just stayed away from the windows.

    Can’t count the riots and conventions, days of rage etc from 1966 on. Too much gunfire, unless they hit your car you could not tell if you were the target.

    Much worse than being shot at was hearing people you know receive fire, get hit and die while talking on the radio and calling for help. This happened to me and many others on two occasions. Helpless bad feeling. See web links below.

    http://www.cpdmemorial.org/fallen_hero/po-irma-ruiz-16823

    http://www.cpdmemorial.org/fallen_hero/sgt-james-severin-1319

    http://www.cpdmemorial.org/fallen_hero/po-anthony-rizzato-12407

    Sorry, guess I did get carried with short war stories…

  29. avatar the last Marine out says:

    Been shot at with rifle rounds several times , plus rockets, and yes bobby trap got me a leg wound, but the thing i will never forget was being under mortar attack my face and body down in the mud and was able to see for a mill-a-second a shell land about 5 or 6 feet from my head, they say you never see the one that hits you ,, not so I saw it hit and go off , my second wound… that’s true , believe it or not….. what did i think at the time , i did not think other than is this real and am i going to make it?

    1. avatar the last Marine out says:

      P.S. will also add this hope it counts as incoming? also forgot to add about arty. at the DMZ was under around the clock shell fire for about 2 months, we would only leave our bunkers at night. and at the big rock pile was under around the clock shell fire till my tour of duty was over. But the one i also will never forget too was X-Mass eve. setting in my fox hole filled with rain water and we came under NAVY (our navy) shell attack , the shells were about 10 feet over heads and last will never forget our B52 attack about 500 to 1000 meters from our location behind a high dirt ridge, chunks of dirt (earth) the size of 2 story houses were flying over our heads, the next day it looked like the face of the moon , never saw so much mess … you could not even walk it was such a mess.. and last was fun to see what we called buzz bombs, ( looked just like the WW2 V-1 rockets) was very show flying and watched our Air Force shoot it down , near our hill out post… and you know i don’t think about this stuff till someone asks!

  30. avatar Blake says:

    Does it count when someone shoots at a game animal with a shotgun and said animal is about 15 feet from you and you’re in the direct line of fire?

    Anyway, no, I’ve never been in a firefight, and the above is the closest I’ve ever come to being shot at.

  31. avatar philthegardner says:

    Philippines, 1986. The dictator had supposedly fled. We were walking up a street to the main government tv station when the guard unit in the compound saw us. Apparently they weren’t told that the station was “ours” and opened up with M60’s and scattered M16 fire. There I was right dab smack in the middle of the road. I dropped like a rock and somehow found a way to hide in the flat asphalt.

    Fortunately they were shooting from behind a wire fence and they aimed high. But the rounds were going my direction and it felt like it was going straight for me.

    I melted onto the tarmac for what I thought was five minutes. Concentrating hard on hiding behind a pebble. But my buddies said the stragglers only unloaded a belt from the 60 and pulled back in under a minute.

    That was my first time. And yes, I’m afraid I wet my pants. Thank goodness the NCO’s were all old farts who had been around. Just slapped me at the back of my head once and that was it.

  32. avatar Chris Dumm says:

    Twice, by some assholes with (I think) .22 rifles. Even 20 years later, I can still hear the buzzing/whirring sound of the bullets.

  33. avatar Ropingdown says:

    Lots, but always as a sort of “duck in an arcade at the fair.” I signed up for the wrong branch, so I’d be sitting there shooting back coming into an LZ or while at a high hover extracting a recon team that “had them surrounded from the inside,” sometimes with result, but usually unable see the shooters through the vegetation. I will never ever forget Lam Son 719. But as for the “exhilarating feeling” bit, that’s true until you find out your friend was shot or killed in the next chopper. All the exhilaration goes away when the ships get home at night and you find out some pals are gone or medevac’d. Then the feeling is intense anger, in my experience. Then comes “survivor guilt” of which I had a good bit for a time.

  34. avatar bob says:

    Yes, but indirectly. I was tubing down the river with my family this summer when somebody decided to do a little target practice. Luckily I didnt have underwear on and the river water did the cleaning for me. The rounds went about two feet directly over my head and my instant reaction was to flip over and get underwater and downstream fast.

  35. avatar dan says:

    Chicago, June 2005. Long story short 3 holes in my car, miraculously none to my body. Moved to Indiana and bought a gun. Prior to this nothing could change my mind on gun control (I was hardcore anti) until actually being shot at in a gun free city for no reason other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

  36. avatar Mike2588 says:

    I had an RPG fired in my general direction that flew off away from us and blew up without further incident. it was set up on a makeshift tripod and went off on a timer. That’s my one and only experience though. like the fellow about said, it was over before I even knew what happened.

  37. avatar Tyler Kee says:

    Never shot at. Looked at the business end of a Garand from 3 feet once.

  38. avatar Andrew Snyder says:

    First time I was a teenager visiting Philly, you know the “city of brotherly love,” in the 80s. Was in the passenger seat of a car at a stop light when two people on opposite sides of the street decided to shoot at each other, first round went through both side windows in the back seat, luckily no one was back there. Driver was a vet and instantly hit the gas getting us out of there.

    Second time was in Brooklyn, specifically in the Red Hook projects area, in the early 90s. Was working for a Christian charity at the time, seemed like a good way to spend summer vacation in a cool place like NY while earning some cash. Boy was I wrong, my employers were really dumb and naive; often putting inexperienced college kids in very dangerous situations under the motto “we have to go there, that is where they need the most help”. On the day in question, the local drug lord apparently heard a rumor there was going to be a police raid and so was waiting for it. When he saw two white guys (the only two for as far as the eye could see; exhibit A to the dumb and naïve comment above) dressed in suites, he decided we must be there for the raid and opened fire. I hid behind a blue mail box while the other guy took off running. Fortunately it was .22lrs and some handgun rounds from about 100 meters away, so most of them bounced off the pavement around me, a few hit the other side of the mailbox, which I could feel and hear but luckily none made it through or under the mailbox (probably because he was shooting from a window 6 or 7 floors up). Cops arrived pretty quickly, swung open a door while slowing down a little, and I never entered a car so fast in my life. They then asked me what the hell a white guy who was not on drugs was doing in the red hook projects and when I told them who I worked for they clued me in on what I had already surmised, my employers were dumb and naïve to the point of recklessness. Fortunately, a little exaggerated hysterics at the mention of sending me back into a dangerous area landed me a much safer role for the rest of the summer. Fortunately of the 30 kids they hired, none were killed that summer, though two got their throats cut and one of those can no longer speak. I think the charity still runs, I don’t know if they still hire kids on summer break though.

    Recently I had a neighbor who was renting the oldest and by far smallest house in our lovely wooded neighborhood. Fortunately they moved out this last weekend. This summer I was outside with my 5 year old son grilling some burgers when I hear a shotgun go off and it starts raining birdshot. Not really knowing what was going on I threw my kid into the nearby open shed, pushed him to the ground and drew as I took cover, then I hear said numbnuts neighbor yell “pull” and another shotgun blast. So I stepped out in the open, aimed directly at him and notified him in a loud, yet clear and steady voice that if he fired at me again I was going to return fire. Fortunately said numbnuts, being a numbnuts was not wearing hearing (or eye for that matter) protection and heard me. Then just two weeks ago he put a target on a tree and was firing his .22 at it, with no consideration for what was downrange when he missed, including my backyard, where I was disassembling the irrigation system for my garden for winter storage. This time I was unarmed and not pleased at the sounds of rounds flying near me and my wife as we worked in our yard. I yelled “cease fire, cease fire” and he did, and apologized, saying he didn’t think the rounds would make it through the trees. Since I am on the HOA board, we contacted the owners of that house that afternoon and informed them they were getting a hefty lean placed on their property unless several violations (huge RV parked in drive way, storage bins stacked on porch, and every other violation we could think of) were fixed by the end of the month. Renter got evicted, hurray.

    The shaking always comes later, when you have time to think about what happened and how differently it could have ended up. The funny thing is, it seems to me anyways, it is a lot easier to handle when it is just you at stake than it is when you have family involved as well. Even though it was birdshot at a range where I knew I was pretty safe, the fact that my 5 year old was involved made that one the most infuriating.

  39. avatar Tim says:

    Not intentionally. Out hunting jack rabbits in the Palmdale desert outside of LA when I was 14 with my older brother and his friend. There was another group out there and the fire started to come our way. We ducked down on the ground in a gully with bullets and shot flying over our heads hitting the bush tops above us. Over in about 15 seconds. Scary. Very scary. My brother’s friend had a holstered 44 mag which he shot straight up in the air and screamed out to let them know we were there after the shooting was over. Met up with the 4 of them and agree to go opposite directions and continued the hunt.

  40. avatar Jarhead1982 says:

    Outside the military, was 12 yrs old, and my supposed friends, 2 boys lived across from my grandparents got me to go down to the junkyard with them. Funny thing afterwards, not then, is they never told me about the old lady who carried the double barrel 12 loaded with rock salt and had warned them not to come back. Sneaky old broad came up behind us and got all three of us in the butt, about 15 ft away, both barrels. My blue jeans were shredded, 11 pieces broke the skin, 8 needed large tweezers to remove, my butt burned for 4 days, tender for almost two weeks. My pop laughed so hard he couldnt punish me, although he wouldnt let me sit on a pillow or anything soft on the chair when at the kitchen/dinner table.

    Then one evening not long after leaving the military, happened to meet a young lady, real pretty redhead, with gorgeous green eyes, I was smitten and so was she. We retired to her place soon after and let nature take its course. ABout 2 hours later, a car drove up and you guessed it, her husband (she had taken the ring off) came in a hoofing it. Out the window in only my pants and when the first of two rounds went whizzing in my direction, began a broken field run my gunny would have been proud of, even while holding my britches up!

    Dont blame him for being mad, she was smoking hot (young fells only think with one head) and learned a valuable lesson, ask if they are married first, and look for the wedding band mark on their finger, LOL!

  41. avatar LTC F says:

    Never outside of the military. The first time was in Desert Storm. Mind you this was in 1991, back before we realized the US Military and our equipment was pretty damn good. (Well my equipment wasn’t THAT good, the M551A1 Sheridan Airborne Assault/Armored Reconaissance Vehicle was never state of the art.) According the press the US Military was soft, our weapons sucked, and the Iraqis were 10 feet tall and bullet proof. Thousands of us were going to end up in shallow graves in the desert.

    Being a young and dumb Lieutenant (thought thats kind of redundant) I didn’t realize we were getting shot at. I saw puffs of dust in front of my tank and thought, “Damn, its raining again.” Until sparks started flashing on my turret. Sparks caused by steel core 7.62 rounds. We returned fire with a single 152mm HEAT round. It didn’t last long enough to be scared…that came later when I realized that if the dudes dumb enough to shoot at a tank with small arms aimed a few inches higher there would have been a much different outcome (for me anyway).

    I managed to spend the next 12 years not getting shot at. I enjoyed it immensely. Until March of 2003, when about 150k of my closest friends and I went to visit Sadam again. During the run into Baghdad other than some fairly ineffective indirect fire things were uneventful. During the summer and the birth of the insurgency the mortar fire on our FOB started to get intense and accurate. I had guys wounded in my TOC. Indirect fire is a lot scarier (at least it was for me) because there isn’t a damned thing you can do about it. Crouch below sandbag wall height, hope its “only” 82mm, not 120’s, and hope you don’t take a direct hit, because a 120 will go through the concrete roof of the Iraqi contructed building you’re in.

    IEDs are even more terrifying. There’s no warning. You’re motoring along in your soft top HMMWV (we didn’t get up armors until late spring of 2004) with the Kevlar doors and sandbags piled on the floor. You see a flash, you’re suddenly in a dark cloud, you can’t breath because the IED knocked the wind out of you, you can’t hear anything over the ringing in your ears, and you’re hoping that there isn’t a small arms assualt coming before you can gather your wits about you and do something about your wounded.

    I’ve been in one prolonged fire fight. Damn near six hours in Sadr City. I fired a full basic load from my M4 (210 rounds), plus my wounded driver’s basic load, and most of my gunner’s basic load (he was too busy with the M240 to bother with his M4). Its never a good thing when the Battalion XO is firing his personal weapon. It means things are going badly. I have no idea how effective my fires were. Every shot was aimed, even if only at a muzzle flash or a window to provide cover for guys moving up to buildings to clear them, but the “hiding behind the HMMWV tire unsupported semi prone position” isn’t one we teach in Basic Rifle Marksmanship. Nor is the “run as fast as you can accross the street firing from the shoulder position” taught. Being pretty damn scared and having rounds slapping off the pavement around you will also effect your sight picture, breathing and trigger squeeze as well. A tracer does look like it’s about three feet long when it zips by, they got that right in the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan. I had no idea I had fired that many rounds until I realized after the fight that the only full magazine I had was in my weapon and the palm of my left hand was burning from the heat of the barrel through the hand guards. That and I was ankle deep in spent brass and empy magazines.

  42. avatar John E > says:

    I once made the mistake of firing an AK-47 on an indoor police training range. The round caught something on the backstop and came back at me, hitting me in the shoulder with enough force to knock me back and leave a peach sized bruise on my shoulder. I recovered the round, it had been severly flattened.

    Had a shotgun pointed at me whild conducting an investigation – retreated hastily and called the cops (I was a sex abuse investigator for the County at the time.)

  43. avatar bontai Joe says:

    I have never served in the military or in law enforcement. I’ve been shot at (no hits thankfully) 3 times in my life, twice in Chicago in the mid 1970’s and once at my home in PA. I went to school at the Illinois Institute of Technology in the southside. Funny how the school’s catalog described the campus as a “multicultural urban environment” and not as a island of rich white and foreign kids in the middle of the “hood”. The incident at my home was in the late 1990’s and was one of my mutant neighbors shooting his .45 after midnight while drunk and the rounds going over my house into the neighbor’s house behind me. Another incident in Chicago was when a mugger shoved a 1911-A1 in my face with his left hand. That .45 cal hole looks a LOT bigger than that when you are looking at it. I saw he had the safety on, and it being in his left hand, and me being a fearless 18 year old, I took it away from him. I look back on that and realize I had more guts than brains. I also wish I had kept that pistol instead of rendering it inoperable and getting rid of it. My feelings at being shot at while in Chicago? Fear, an adrenilin rush, some more fear as I had no idea where the shooter or shooters were, and as elsewhere mentioned above squeezing my 6′-3″ body into a very small hiding place. Amazing how that works! Afterwards, feeling really, really tired, angry, happy to not be hurt, and still some fear as I knew I had no defense should it happen again. The time my neighbor shot over my house? I felt VERY angry, but resigned myself to calling the police instead of shooting back. He might have deserved being shot at, but he has a wife and kids in the house and my shooting in his direction would have made me as bad as him.

  44. avatar SJ says:

    Direct fire (ineffective, thank goodness) in Dominican Republic in 1965 withe the 82nd ABN. First serious shit was in VN with 1/101 (ABN). I, a new Company Commander, shared a tent with the First Shirt and we were tucked in our cots in Song Be when mortars started dropping. We both rolled off our cots and waited a few. I, a cherry for indirect fire, was amazed at the smell. Ground probe repulsed by the troopers and the next morning everything above sandbag level was punctured…looked like a colander. I thought the smell was ordnance…it was bug bombs that were obliterated.

  45. avatar APBTFan says:

    If ex-girlfriends count then yes. That’s the shit side of teaching them how to shoot. Nothing more sad than getting shot at with your own damn gun.

  46. avatar Brian says:

    In late 1965 I was 16 years old and found myself in the front seat of a Chevy Impala driven by my father ( a businessman but also a reserve law enforcement officer from Texas) who was fleeing from a rogue NYC cop brandishing his service revolver in the course of an attempt to extort a bribe from my dad.

    The cop fired, missed my dad by a few feet but, according to later analysis by the FBI lab, missed blowing my head apart by only a couple of inches. I’ll never forget what felt/sounded like a jet blowing through sound barrier as the bullet passed by my left ear. Scary as hell, but exhilarating to discover my father (and my sister and her friend in the back seat) still alive.

    The year before the cop had shot a taxi cab driver in the course of another failed shakedown. He kept doing the same stuff for another couple of years before finally getting thrown off the force for his increasingly “erratic” behavior. This was, after all, the Serpico era at the NYPD and pretty much anything was acceptable behind the thin blue line.

    Notwithstanding that formative experience, I later took a job with the Justice Department and my daughter became a big-city assistant district attorney.

    But, because of that intimate encounter decades ago dodging a bullet fired by a nut-job cop grossly abusing the privilege/responsibility of his position in law enforcement for personal gain, I will never again credulously offer up unconditional trust to a man/woman simply because of the uniform they wear – I think that’s too bad and not at all fair to the so many wonderful individuals that work in law enforcement, but that what can happen when they don’t get rid of their corrupt colleagues in their midst sooner rather than later.

    1. avatar Chris says:

      “thin blue line.”

      I don’t think we can call it “thin” anymore.

  47. avatar TheSleeperHasAwakened says:

    Taking direct fire means “they saw you before you saw them”.

    My father’s best piece of advice on how to win a Fire Fight from his time as a Green Beret in Vietnam was that “You want to see them before they see you”.

  48. avatar Pops says:

    Ive been shot at several times while working security in Pueblo Colorado. The first time was at the race track in the late 80’s. The last several times was working security in local bars. Its a bit unnerving at the time, but it only serves to get my adrenaline flowing, then I would be on edge for several weeks. Its funny though, every time someone shot at me they were holding the gun sideways like in the movies. They missed every single time.

  49. avatar Dan Frain says:

    I got shot in the leg with a .22 when I was just turned seven. No fun, but we dug out most of it cowboy style. Remember, a little whiskey on the wound, a little whiskey in the cowboy, and dig… Not our best moment, but we’re still friends 50+ years later.

    I got hit with a rubber bullet that bounced badly once. It hurt, but zero penetration.

    I’ve had guns pulled on me a few times in my younger days, and once heard a shotgun go “click” instead of “boom.”

    I almost once shot a couple of guys in my prison days, but didn’t have the need in one (he backed off) or a clear line of fire in the other. He was over he fence and into the woods before I could get a bead.

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