I learned a great deal about police procedure at the SIG SAUER Active Shooter Instructor’s  Course. If there’s one key piece of information that an armed citizen facing a gun-wielding madman in a public place needs to know it’s this: a police officer who sees you with a firearm in your hand will shoot you dead. Nobody sets up a perimeter and waits for the SWAT team anymore. No one shouts “FREEZE!” The first law enforcement officers arriving on the scene of an active shooter enter, guns drawn and attempt to neutralize the threat. I repeat: the threat is anyone with a gun. Which means two things . . .

1. Don’t engage the shooter

You don’t have to watch as a madman takes innocent life; you have the right and (one hopes) the means to stop a lethal threat. But give the opting-out option serious consideration.

Protecting the lives of your loved ones and yourself (which protects them) is your first obligation. There’s nothing wrong with running away/hiding from an active shooter. More than anything else, the arriving police need intel on the shooter or shooters. If you provide it, you’re a hero.

“I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t stop someone from taking innocent life.” Fair enough. It’s your life. Just realize that getting shot by the police is only one of the many downsides of taking on an active shooter. For example . . .

People don’t like people who shoot at them. If you engage an active shooter he’s going to engage you right back. If you have your family or friends in tow—as in near you—taking shots at the madman will draw fire towards your loved ones.

At the risk of emboldening the gun control industry, it’s also true that you might miss the madman and hit an innocent bystander. Or that another armed citizen might mistake you for the active shooter, or the active shooter’s accomplice. Or you might get shot by the accomplice. Or accomplices.

Yes, there is that. The public’s begun to assume that active shooters work alone. Cho, Loughner, Hasan, Holmes—one sicko per incident. T’ain’t necessarily so. One word: Columbine. And another: terrorists. While you can never know the whole story, a decision to shoot or not to shoot is only as good as the information it’s based on.

Bottom line: don’t rush in where angels fear to tread. Again, anyone with a gun in an active shooter scenario is a threat. You, another armed citizen, the bad guy, an undercover cop—anyone. And everyone involved is a little . . . stressed.

2. Be fast and move

If you’re going to engage an active shooter, whatever you do, don’t forget the “speed” part of “speed, surprise and violence of action” recipe for winning a gunfight.

With cops on their way, you have a small window of opportunity. Adrenalin will make it seem like an eternity between the onset of horror and the cops’ arrival, but the time available to bring your weapon to bear is measured in seconds.

Less if you’re not engaging at the very start of the incident. Less if an armed officer is already on scene.

It may seem obvious, but the closer you get to the threat the greater your chances of hitting your target. If the situation is desperate, consider moving towards the shooter. Call it commitment or craziness. Either way, you need to act decisively.

Seek cover but don’t get married to it. Odds are you’re facing a long gun of some kind. Those odds suck and the bullets coming out of the business end do so at warp speed; enough to prove that what you thought was cover was only concealment.

[NB: When the S is done H’ing the F, reholster and cover your gun soon as humanly possible. Or put the firearm down and move away (recognizing the possibility of multiple threats).]

I write this as an armchair warrior. I don’t know what I’d do if faced with an active shooter. I hope I never find out. But there’s one thing beyond dispute: it’s better to have a gun and decide not use it than to not have a gun. Period.

 

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116 Responses to Why You Shouldn’t Engage an Active Shooter And What to Do If You Do

  1. I would think in that situation in the mall and I was with my family the very first thing would be to get them and myself to safety as soon as possible….the only way I would think to engage a threat is if it tried to engage me at a distance that I didn’t have time to get to cover….now those are things I would HOPE I would do….never being in any type of situation like that I can’t say for certain what would happen for the exception of a major adrenaline overload and my heart rate jumping to about 180bpm and having nightmares for weeks !!!

  2. By engaging the active shooter YOU become an “active shooter”. And absent a white hat, a badge and an heroic theme song, no one else will probably be able to tell you apart from the real perp. That includes the cops.

      • They’re going to react to the firearm in your hand before they see the little badge around your neck/belt.

        There’s no “Forward Line of Own Troops” in an active shooter scenario – it’s a 360 degree engagement. There may be friendlies or hostiles to your rear or flank at any given time.

        • I was being facetious. Those badges are a joke.

          I think Robert’s article is spot on. Protect you and yours if necessary, but you inherit great risk in an Active Shooter situation when you draw your own weapon.

      • i would only carry one of those if the police issued them with my CHL. which wouldn’t be a bad idea actually; it might help ease the tension between CC/OCers and LE, as well as help provide visual confirmation that you’re a goodguy during a dangerous situation.

        • Now that is a good idea. The owner of the gun shop where I do all my business is a reserve LEO and a member of the SWAT Team so I am going to bring that up to him this afternoon!!
          Thanks for the idea!!

        • @speedracer – NO, that is a horrible idea. you are multiplying confusion by deception. There is no reason to think that a madman with a gun wouldn’t also have a little badge – so a uniformed officer is going to shoot first, sort later. Even undercover cops/detectives risk being shot at the scene of an active shooter. Even with their less-little badge.

        • That doesn’t mean a Perp cant have a CCP and a “badge”as well. Leave it to the cops unless you have no options.

    • If time permits, call 911 and put your phone on speaker in your shirt pocket. With all the mayhem, you probably won’t hurt your tactical situation by having an open line. Tell dispatch what you look like, what you are doing and where you are, and any intel you have on the shooter. If you are going to engage the shooter, tell the dispatcher to hold the line and and shut up.

    • I’m with you 100% on this, and quite frankly a little surprised at the passive stance of the article.

      I agree with the “people don’t like people who shoot at them” statement, but you’re missing the point, and the facts. Why do these cowards almost always off themselves OR lay down their arms when police arrive at the scene? At the risk of sounding redundant, why do they always choose no-guns-allowed public places for their insanity? Because they’re cowards and control super-freaks. The primed response of cowardice is retreat/evasion, they just need a good reason!

      My wife and kids know my code and acknowledged response if I deem it necessary to be involved in a mess. Once I hear the response word, I know she’s getting as far away from me as possible without looking back. IF this ever happens I realize the possibility of seeing my family again is slim, so we don’t take it lightly.

      The public’s best case scenario in a nightmare like this? Enough armed people that care about the lives these cowards are destroying enough to get involved. What do hijackings teach us? Don’t sit and do nothing be part of the solution.

      Here’s clarity on the issue: I’m willing to take the chance that I might (in some slim percentage chance) get shot by a cop if it means saving dozens of lives of unarmed families.

      • I admire your hero complexes. Just don’t expect everyone else to feel the same way. My kids growing up without the presence of their Dad outweighs my need to engage active shooters in shopping malls shooting at strangers.

        • I think it is sad that your family is trained to run away from you and not be able to rely on you for protection in a crisis.

        • …shooting at strangers who chose not to carry… Their safety is their responsibility, and they chose not to equip themselves.

      • Well, I would hope that the other thing your wife would do is meet the first arriving police and tell them you are there, full description and a code word or something they can use to ID you.

      • Very well said Tod Chapin, My philosophy is that all people are my spiritual family; I’d no more leave my blood family to the bullet of a mad man than I would any other human being.

        • Heraclitus
          “Out of every one hundred men, ten shouldn’t even be there, eighty are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back.”

    • Actually if you return fire then you become a target. Otherwise you should keep yourself and your loved ones out of the shooter’s line of sight and then get the hell out of the area as soon as possible. Get to your car, leave, then call the cops. No sense in staying there any longer than you have to and risk the gunman moving into your area.

    • I’m stunned to read so many whose first reaction is the ever-so-valiant Monty Pythonesque RUN AWAY!! Where does this “me first” garbage come from anyway? Consider for one second that someone you care about is in the line of fire and you’re not with them. We’re talking women and children here. Now somehow it’s OK to run away?

      There is no part of me that thinks its OK to run away while someone else’s mother or child is being slaughtered. Armed or not the question isn’t about good tactics, it’s about regard for your fellow human being. Good God, what have we as a country come to?

      • Some of us would rather die heroes than live knowing we could have done something, anything, to try and resolve the situation.

        For all those who do choose fight versus flight, I would hope you’ve made your peace with God, and everybody else.

        And, for the folks with the “I’ve got to raise my kids” thought, not saying it’s wrong necessarily, but hypothetically, what if you did die protecting others, what kind of example would that set for your own kids? Might they think: wow my dad cared so much for other innocent people that he gave his life for them? Indeed John 15:13 says “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

        I don’t know, most of my philosophy only makes sense if you base it on a belief in Jesus’ salvation. I usually plan on living one day at a time because in this world there are no guarantees, not even death and taxes.

        And just a note: I also carry and know how to use a small package of emergency extreme trauma (gun shots, knife wounds) supplies for myself that may or may not make a difference in this type of situation. If you train for a gunfight, you best prepare to be shot. Shot happens.

        • There is nothing wrong with deciding to retreat if the situation permits.

          This is not government sanctioned combat or an actual declared war zone. Every bad guy is not wearing black and every good guy is not wearing white.

          100% positive identification of the bad guy may not be possible, especially if you did not witness said bad guy when the shooting/violence took place.

          You shoot a guy with a gun and it turns out to be another concealed carrier or vice-versa. (I’m not going to discuss missing the bad guy and shooting an innocent) Now you or someone else is dead for no reason at all. Now what? If you’re dead, all your problems are solved. If you shot an innocent…

          Want a snapshot of what that’s like? Zimmerman/Trayvon. It isn’t even the same thing but, I’d wager Zimmerman would give anything to have stayed in that night.

          “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

          The right training is invaluable. Unless someone is a terrorist, there is no training that prepares you for killing an innocent. Most offensive handgun training assumes “THREAT” and then bang, bang, bang.

          More power to you if you’re comfortable with that scenario.

          In this tragedy, I know I would not escalate to that level of violence of action if “me and mine” are not directly threatened and I have an opportunity to get us to safety. This is my ONLY obligation during a horrific event like this.

          If your actions do not 100% positively effect the outcome of the situation, then you’re wrong. If you’re not 100% sure of who you’re pulling the trigger on, you’re wrong. etc.

          I carry for what’s important to me, not someone else’s ideal. I would hope this would be true for the vast majority of concealed carry folks. The numbers certainly point in that direction.

      • Tod,

        You are no good to anyone when you are dead. While I do not disagree with how you feel, being in a one on one against a bad guy in your home or car is much different than a VERY crowded, VERY public place.

        Now you have hundreds of people running around scared that are easy collateral damage to the gunman AND you. Do not forget others who are carrying may come in and mistake you for the gunman. This is not to mention the arriving officers doing the same. If you and the gunman exchange fire and he is dressed normal and dosnt have anything more than a handgun (nothing that makes him stand out) then WHO is the target/threat to a newcomer?

        Malls and public areas have multiple exits, its the law for fire code. If you engage when you could have escaped, that is your choice. Some states have laws against that. In Tennessee we are not required to flee (stand your ground applies to any place we occupy) but I will not put myself in harms way when I have a chance to survive.

        Consider Columbine for a moment. Initial reports were stating at least four gunman. This was because both boys took off their coats and this lead to the beleif. So you engage and now there are two gunman. More recourses are now needed and it could possibly hinder the search and investigation.

        • I just don’t get it. You’re telling me that while being armed yourself, you would watch a gunman shoot women and children, or knowing full well what’s happening you’d turn & run?!

          Again, I’m specifically not talking tactics – you have no idea what level of training I have. Leave all that behind, heck toss your gun aside for the sake of argument if you like. What kind of man watches or runs while anyone shoots an unarmed woman or child?

          Go ahead and run away, and pray to God your kids weren’t the ones getting shot. I’m not that kind of man, and I trust God 100% with the care of my family should my life be necessary trade for dozens more innocent.

          What has happened to America? We used to care about each other.

      • The problem is that your statements smack of hubris. It sounds like you are saying that if you were there you would rush in and save all the women and children because you are armed and righteous. What most of us here recognize is that an active shooter scenario in a crowded area is almost unfathomably complicated. You seem to think it is as simple as you running in to save the day.
        What you think of as noble self sacrifice sounds to others as martyr wish-fulfillment.

        • Tod, I most certainly do care about other people. I have worked in Emrgency Medical Services for ten years and my safety comes first. Period. I can not save lives if I am dead

          I do not disagree with how you feel, I just dont agree with the act of pursuing and neutralizing someone in a building crowded with panicked people.

          Youre right, I dont know what kind of training you have had but after you epmhasized that you also said this is not about tactics. You also do not know about my training to be fare.

          Would I give my life to save another? Yes, I would. But I am not going to risk lives in the process. Unless you are up close and without a doubt have a clean shot (again in a building crowded with paniced people) then all youbare doing is risking lives.

          Speaking of panic, have you ever been surrounded by people who were truley paniced? There is not much room for rational thought. So if you want to go hunting for a gunman, I commend your bravery but I will protect the people around me amd make sure they get to safety.

          By the way, did you think of that? You speak of a duty to protect others. How about getting the crowd around you to safety? Will you abandon them to uncertainty and go find the gunman?

        • Hanover, best comment on the whole post. here is the problem some folks have with the “arm everyone” strategy: it adds untold additional risk of accidental shootings, either upon the armed interventionist or bystanders amidst the chaos. imagine a situation in a school with unknown numbers of shooters and several CCW heroes going in after them. I’m not belittling the instinct to help and save lives, but we need to recognize that more actively involved gunmen – both good guys and bad guys – elevates the risk of tragic consequences. it may be that ultimately lives are saved or the encounter ends up worse but let’s not pretend these issues are black and white.

      • Women have been complaining about equality since I was born. If it’s not my wife or child, I feel no obligation to any of them. If I had a gun, and I was close enough to engage, I would but not because of some outdated notion of chivalry that women only seem to miss when it benefits them.

  3. This would be the one time I would consider “the finisher”, primarily because I need to get my gun out of my hand and my hands in the air and I don’t need someone flailing around on the ground who is still a danger. You can assume that Mr. Mass Public Shooter is as fully adrenalized as Michael Platt and can function for a long (enough) time with a lethal wound to kill you and many more. Platt was mortally wounded before he fired his first shots, he went on to kill or wound nearly half a dozen FBI agents who were all trying to kill him. He took a 9mm Silvertip through his right lung and right pulmonary artery, if he was standing in a trauma ER when he was shot it’s doubtful he would have survived.

    So let’s say I get the drop on someone with a semi-automatic rifle and manage to get some center-mass hits with my G26 and he’s down. I don’t know if he was just knocked down by the shock of the rounds hitting the vest I can’t see, or if he’s actually mortally wounded, or non-mortally wounded and just fell for balance reasons. In the middle of a mall, with an individual who has been shooting indiscriminately, you bet your ass I’m going to put one in the grape, or more likely two, because I believe the rules are different for Mass Public Shootings. It needs to STOP. NOW. The best way to do that is with a dead shooter. It’s possible that a DA will want to try me for murder, but it’s highly unlikely that public opinion will allow that or that my defense team cannot convince a jury that under duress in the most stressful of situations I made the decision to definitively save the lives of others. Home invaders are one stripe of lowlife, but mass public shooters are another entirely.

    Afterward? Change the mag and put the pistol away. Find cover, kneel down hands behind head and wait. Threat? Me? No way.

    Opinions?

    • +1

      I am not going to seek out the active shooter if for instance I hear shots on the opposite side of the mall. But if the S hits the F right near me, I am going to engage and I am going to make damn sure he is not getting back up. Seems to be a trend of bad guys using body armor so a body shot even with a 40 or 45 might have done nothing, unless you are Mr. Marksman and hit him in the open spot around the armpits your only real options are a headshot(difficult) or a shot at or around the pelvis. Long gun vs handgun is bad enough; but long-gun + body armor vs handgun is almost no contest.

      Surprise is really your only option, odds are unless this guy had some good training he has tunnel vision and is not regularly checking behind him. Not to arm chair quarter back but your only chance is probably to circle around behind the shooter and take them down.

      Face to face with someone, who has an AR type rifle and body armor vs you with a compact handgun is a losing situation.

      The advice given in this article is actually some of the best I have read.
      IF you down the active shooter, it is probably best to just drop your gun. The cops are going to take it anyways and it lowers your chances of being lit up by the incoming swat team.

      • I would not drop my gun unless I can see law enforcement approaching. After stopping the attacker, visually scan the area for accomplices. If you see no further threats, change magazines, reholster your firearm as quickly as possible and move away to cover / concealment as quickly as possible. For all you know you could encounter an accomplice on the way out and might need your handgun again.

        Once outside you can approach law enforcement officers in a non-threatening manner (e.g. with your handgun holstered, concealed, and with your hands plainly visible). Feel free to explain where you last saw the attacker and his condition. Beyond that, keep your mouth shut!

      • FWIW, a body shot against body armor isn’t worthless, it’s just not ideal. Remember stopping a bullet means stopping a whole lot of force. Most of the time soft armor is used meaning while no the bullet doesn’t penetrate, it has been known to knock someone down and crack ribs. Again hardly ideal but definitely a start to interrupting their unholy rampage.

        • Look at those guys during the north hollywood shootout. They were jacked up on drugs of all sorts. I can’t seem to find the info I am looking for but each of the shooters was hit at least 10 times according to the sources I could find. You cannot rely on a 9MM to even “knock down” someone in a vest. Your only bet is going to be aiming for an open area like the head, pelvis/legs or if you are lucky a shot from the side, just below the shoulder.

    • Agree that surprise is the only option, and still a bad one given that it is compact pistol vs. rifle. There was an incident in Tyler, Texas just an hour away from where I live. A dude with an AK opened up outside a courthouse after a divorce proceeding that he apparently felt went badly. A CHL instructor who lived in an apartment downtown heard the shooting, grabbed his 1911 and went to help (the shooter had already killed his wife, shot his son in the leg and downed him and wounded police officers). The CHL instructor was able to approach unseen from behind the shooter and fired from 50 feet, knocking the shooter off-balance as the shooter was about to kill his downed son. The CHL instructor made solid hits to the back and chest but as the shooter was wearing a vest, these were ineffectual. The shooter eventually shot the CHL instructor, knocking him to the ground, and then finished him with three more shots.

      Eventually the shooter left the scene, was caught in pursuit and killed by a SWAT officer who fired five shots from an AR-15, one of them a fatal head shot.

      The CHL instructor did save a life, the son recovered and the shooter left the downtown area to a place where it was less inappropriate to fire rifles at him. He got solid hits center-mass but this doesn’t matter so much when you’re shooting someone with body armor. The takeaway lessons (for me) are mostly Clint Smith talking points and Marine Corps Rules of Gunfighting:

      1. If you know there’s going to be a gun fight, bring a rifle. Bring friends with rifles.
      2. Use your pistol to get to your rifle.
      3. The Mozambique drill still applies. If you have fired center-mass without effect, shoot something else. Smith recommends shooting at the pelvis, below the vest. This is a mobility kill and often a mortal wound as well, though not immediately incapacitating (other than movement). Someone with their pelvis shot out who has a weapon is still a threat, but a lot less so. You have at least determined where the gunfight will end.

      My wife and I have discussed the Active Shooter situation. Her job is to get away and get the kids away. My job is to see that they are able to do that, by whatever means necessary. If something erupts directly in front of me then I am in the situation whether I want to be or not. My choice of whether to respond is really not up to me at that point, the options are fight or flight. My choice is fight for myself (if I can) and flight for my family, if I can make it to where their flight is more likely to succeed then I must engage.

    • Darren wrote, “This would be the one time I would consider “the finisher”, primarily because I need to get my gun out of my hand and my hands in the air and I don’t need someone flailing around on the ground who is still a danger.”

      The attacker is a threat until they are unable to function (e.g. unconscious) or have thrown their gun away and are laying face down and spread eagle. You are legally able to continue shooting until the attacker is no longer a threat.

    • Mortally shooting someone and that person then focusing on doing the same to you is known as the Gunfighters Dilemma.

      Two gunman facing each other on Main Street at High Noon… happened only in the movies. Real gunfighters knew that if you shoot someone, they get real motivated to do the same to you. So you shoot from cover; preferably with overwhelming numbers.

  4. Great article Robert. Solid food for thought here in the S.F. Bay Area where crime is on the up tick. I do not go to malls or theaters naked anymore. I am always carrying….

  5. And this is exactly WHY I carry – to protect myself and those whom I love and care about. The only way I would engage a shooter is if he were between me and the exit and that were the only option. Once I get out, I’m not going back in. And if someone I don’t know benefits from me engaging him to protect myself and/or someone I care about, then it’s their lucky day.

  6. If there is any way out, and if the active shooter isn’t trained my direction, I’m going to be out of there and fast. I have no issue using other people’s misfortune as a tool to my escape. I am not responsible for their safety. I’m responsible for mine and my loved ones. the end.

    If there is no good way out, I’m getting far from my loved ones and going in towards the shooter. At that point my job is to end the threat to me and to buy time for the lived ones to get to safety.

  7. In general I do not disagree by YMMV depending on where you are in relation to the shooter and your surroundings.

    For example, if you are in a food court when the active shooter opens up and your within 25ft and he is shooting in your direction, besides duck and cover you may consider shooting back if possible and you do not have hoards of people running in the line of fire. If your around the corner, it makes no sense to run towards the shooter.

    I know both examples are over simplistic but I believe where you are in relation to the shooter matters. Once the threat is gone, reholster and keep your head down.

    • They are simplistic but how much detail can you get into?

      Bottom line is: Compact or Semi-Compact handgun, MAYBE an extra mag VS. AR-Armed shooter with multiple mags and body armor. That is a losing situation head to head. Your only chance is surprise and to make your first couple of shots count. They are going to be tough shots too; head shot or pelvis area shots.

  8. Dam well written article Robert. Solid and insightful resource for any CCW citizen and Off Duty LE for that matter.

    PS: Can’t believe I just said that!

    • I have a CHL for one reason, self defense. (By self I mean me and my family, not my neighbors, not my fellow citizen, not LEOs. Just me and mine.) If I find myself in an active shooter situation where it is safer for me an mine to beat feet, I will. If it improves my family’s odds of survival to engage, I will. If I’m in Sears and the shooter is at the food court, I’m not going to try to hunt him down, there are people who get paid to do that. I’m not one of them.

      If I do end up having to engage with a shooter in a crowded place, I hope its over and I have time to put my gun down and my hands up before the cops get there, because they are going to shoot everyone who isn’t wearing a badge and is waving a gun, and frankly, rightfully so.

      Since on my last deployment I was an advisor who lived and worked with our gallant “allies” I was considered at “High Risk of Isolation” and therefore had to take some higher level SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape) training. One thing the “special” folks beat into us was when they come to rescue you, don’t try to help, don’t try to disarm any bad guys and join the fight, hit the floor, be ready to be blindfolded, flex cuffed, and tossed in the bird like cargo and we’ll sort it out when we get back to civilization. Everyone with a gun who isn’t on the “special” people’s team is going to get shot.
      Active shooter isn’t much different. I expect even if I don’t use my weapon, just having it is going to cause me to get cuffed and taken down town until things are sorted out, and I can live with that. It beats the hell out of getting shot.

      • Agree with the expect to get arrested thing, as well as treated badly, etc. On the other hand, the police shooting at you, at least initially, are likely to be beat cops who happen to be first-available before SWAT can be assembled. Your odds of being hit are a lot lower than having special ops guys on the other ends of the firearms. In New York City, it’s probably single-digit percentages per shot. So there’s that.

        • AGreed to some degree, but as for your example of NYPD, they hit alot of innocents, but did in fact take out the badguy….so I’m not so sure about your final conclusion about single digits.

        • 16 rounds fired. Gunman down but I cannot find a listing of how many hit the gunman. At least nine people on the street were wounded, three by whole bullets and the rest by fragments. While it is possible that more than one person caught fragments from a single bullet, at best the NYPD shooters hit with 7 out of 16, which would be under 50% at conversational distances. The statistical average of police officers hitting their targets in gunfight scenarios is typically 20%, at a range of 7 feet.

          Single digits at beyond conversational range is a reasonable approximation. I would also hope I would have the presence of mind to say “HELP! POLICE! CALL AN AMBULANCE!” and otherwise announce both my presence and my benign intent. Absent a second shooter this would seem to be a good idea.

        • I think your counting rounds a bit much and looking past the fact that the badguy was taken out. Yes, it would have been oh-way so much better to have zero innocents injured, but the position from above about the cops not being able to take the badguy out and using the nypd shooting as an example does not hold water. They took him out and in a timely fashion….. albeit sloppy fashion.

        • My point was that gunfire from the police is inaccurate and your chances of being shot by accident by the police, even when they are shooting at you, is still pretty low. When a couple of guys can fire 16 rounds, injure nine bystanders and take down the gunman, I don’t consider that much of a win. Especially considering that there was likely a suicide-by-cop motivation in the Empire State shooter’s case. I mean, yeah, four guys managed to take down Amadou Diallo with 41 shots, but of those only 19 were hits on his body at all. Comparatively that’s excellent police shooting when the long-established average hit rate is 20% at 7 feet. Considering that they were standing on opposite sides of a doorway, hitting with 45% of rounds fired at bad breath distance is kind of un-awesome.

          In summary, yes, you might get shot at by police. While worrisome and an eventuality to be avoided, this is not the statistical certainty of being hit that Hollywood would have you believe.

  9. It is a terrible situation and like you stated I hope I never have to face that. You are also correct that anyone with a firearm in hand is a shooter. I tell all my students that society looks at anyone in civilian clothing with a gun in their hand as the bad guy. That may not be correct but that is the way it is and you will be shot. That is why Police Officers wear Uniforms. Society sees a Uniform and thinks good guy.

    I had worked years as a volunteer EMT on the local squad. I took a blue shirt and pants and sewed a few EMT patches on them and wore a Hat that had EMT on it. It looked like a Uniform. At the scene of any MVA or whatever no matter what I told the bystanders to do they did. It made it nice because if I needed them to do anything they would do it because they saw what they believed was a Uniform. I have stopped at MVA’s in civilian cloths and my authority was no where in sight as I was not in a Uniform. I was just one of the bystanders.

  10. A consideration that comes to mind is the behavior of an active shooter versus (let’s call it) a defensive shooter. Most of the active shooter incidents are drawn out suicides by a person who goes out humping a long gun wearing tactical gear. In some videos I’ve seen of such incidents the shooter walks from place to place, unconcerned with cover or concealment, and shooting at targets of opportunity. If I saw a guy doing that and the opportunity presents itself I am gonna try to give him some high velocity lead poisoning.
    Compare to a defensive shooter, usually handgun armed and no apparent tactical gear, moving from cover to cover and paying careful attention to surroundings. That guy I would not immediately assume was a crazed killer.
    I understand that LEOs might not make that consideration, but that is my 2¢

    • This is not law and order, cops do not always say “Police Freeze”. Often “Police Freeze” is followed in a split second by a hail of gunfire in the real world. If I ever had to engage an active shooter once I was sure he went down my gun would be hitting the floor. That way if god forbid I got lit up by the cops at least my family has half a chance of winning a wrongful death lawsuit.

  11. Robert, thanks for reminding us that context is everything when it comes to anything. Massad Ayoob adresses much of this “active shooter in a public place” in LFI I(now MAG 40). Too many gun owners have thought through too little of what could happen in various scenarios(tactically or legally), fewer still(myself included) don’t get enough professional training. Of course, I exempt from this generalization most of the TTAG commentators, who are clearly a cut above the norm when it comes to thinking things through.
    Not only does our local Police Dept. double uniformed presence at malls during Christmas, but they also have plainclothes teams as well. Our halos are not visible to them. Multiple shooters should be expected, so training to break tunnel vision is a must. Families should have code words that trigger immediate escape from the area while daddy moves the other way with the expectation he will become a bullet magnet. Moms and older kids should be trained to contact 911 as they flee while precisely describing daddy as the good guy for ID by responding LEOs.
    Once the shooter is stopped. We can signal to non-combatants that we’re the good guy by telling others to call 911, check and aid the wounded,etc. Then store managers should be sent out to ID us to LEOs and report that the bad guy is down.
    Fianally, as you said, have our gun holstered(if possible) when the cops arrive and OBEY ALL THEIR COMMANDS INSTANTLY AND PRECISELY!
    There’s a lot of other stuff to consider, but I would say these are at least the basics.
    Thanks again,Robert, for reminding us that real life isn’t as easy as it might seem.

  12. Good article, but based on TV shows, not reality. Remember the Va Tech massacre? The unarmed sheep in the building with the shooter, while the cops, armed with Ar15s, were HIDING behind their cars. Gives me a warm fuzzy feeling knowing the cops arrived……

    • Actually, at least one professor at Virginia Tech attempted to engage the shooter hand-to-hand, with predictable results. This is even worse, the unarmed person involved in the shooting had more guts than the armed folks outside. Very brave on his part, his name was Kevin Granata.

  13. I’m single and have different perspective. I would move towards the scene very slowly to evaluate the situation with goal of providing information to the 911 operator I’m gonna call. If I perceive an advantage I may attempt to engage the shooter. Or I might herd some people to safety in a back room if that is the wisest course of action. It would depend on what I can see from a covered position if I can get to a covered position. Gun or no gun I’m not just gonna run. YMMV.

  14. Of course I don’t truly know what I’d do with an active shooter nearby, but my theory is that I would try to facilitate the escape of my family and any other bystanders for as long as possible or until we were all out. In the last, worst case I’d try to hold off the shooter as best I could and hope not to be the only visible target from wherever SA Horiuchi is holed up.

    For me, this kind of thing is where “a gun is just a tool” comes into play. The job is “help people get away”, not “engage the bad guy”, and you may or may not need any particular tool, including your gun, to accomplish it.

    And I’m not judging the folks who say they’ll get them and theirs out of harm’s way and not worry about others. Everyone has their own comfort level, I just happen to be the kind of guy who gets out the garden hose while the Fire Dept is on the way.

  15. Perfect sense in the article but not just because of the first responders. A semi-automatic rifle vs. any handgun is not a very fair fight, except in the movies, where the heroes never miss….

    A rifle has much higher firepower and accuracy than a handgun. The old saying: “I use my handgun to get to my rifle” very much says it all. In the face of those odds, a discrete retreat becomes the better part of valor. Covering fire while you and your loved ones retreat should be a last recourse, as in if bullets start flying your way. Just don’t expect any heroic results. More likely, expect to get shot.

    That said, if you are not close to the perp or not in the line of fire, running for cover and distance is the best alternative. Rifles are THAT much better than handguns….

  16. “I repeat: the threat [for law enforcement officers arriving on scene] is anyone with a gun.”

    I have a huge problem with this for two reasons that should be obvious:
    (a) armed citizens
    (b) undercover or off-duty law enforcement officers.

    I don’t care who you are, the fundamental rule, “Know your target.” applies in all situations including active shooter situations … armed citizens and undercover or off-duty law enforcement officers are not targets.

    • I believe law enforcement officers responding to an active shooter situation MUST yell “freeze” to an unknown armed person no matter what. Even if they see the armed person shooting at innocents (which means they are no longer unknown but obviously a violent criminal), yelling freeze might be all it takes for the criminal to stop and lay his gun down. Shooting the criminal by default is never safer than walking up to a criminal who voluntarily stopped their attack.

      This is also a safeguard for armed citizens acting as good Samaritans, undercover law enforcement officers, and off-duty law enforcement officers.

      • This is totally incorrect. The word freeze comes from the movies or god knows where else. And there is no law that requires any law enforcement agency in the US to do such a thing or even to verbally shout a challenge, especially to a person as your describe, in the act of shooting innocents.

    • An undercover, plain clothes or off duty cop have just a slightly better chance of surviving the police as you do. why do you thing there are so many blue-on-blue engagements in shooting situations?

    • In many combat situations, an officer/civilian ccw will “know” that the target is hostile to them, when their gun gets pointed at them and a fraction of a second later comes the bang. So, NO, in most active shooter situations, LE will shoot a person with a gun in hand. It would be nice to think that some form of a challenge will take place and there was a time when that was the default option. But since the series of school shootings, LE has learned that for ever second wasted, every shot you here when running up to an active shooter is likely another life lost….so as soon as they turn the corner, see an armed person….its go time. Much study had been done from the Columbine shooting and changes made, then more changes after the following school shootings. Now. in an active shooter situation, especially in a school…its pretty much “Find shooter…kill shooter”. Negotiating, talking, surveillance…etc, all cost lives.

      • Rydak,

        I agree with your assessments of the current mindset and tactics of law enforcement. What I am saying is that mindset and those tactics are wrong — whether they are responding to a motor vehicle accident or an active shooter situation.

        As everyone knows, the sooner an armed citizen or law enforcement officer starts shooting at an active shooter, the sooner they usually kill themselves — or at least stop shooting indiscriminately at the masses. Well the last thing we want is a situation where armed citizens would rather take their chances with the active shooter out of fear the police will wrongfully shoot them.

        The problem is that everyone automatically assumes “person with gun who is not wearing a blue costume” is a criminal. That MUST change.

        Speaking of “blue costume”, all an active shooter has to do is rent a police uniform before going out on their shooting spree to wildly increase their mobility and body count. Another reason to retrain police officers’ threat assessment skills.

  17. “I write this as an armchair warrior. I don’t know what I’d do if faced with an active shooter.”

    Yeah, but pre-planned responses tend to be better than spur of the moment actions. Thinking through ramifications, tactical, moral and legal prior to an incident generates a well thought out plan taking more things into account than might occur in the spur of the moment, when you’re gambling your life. When you can’t talk to others, research, practice, or train. Or in the words of Groucho Marx,

    ” I could go on talking to you kids forever, but it’s time to play ‘You Bet Your Life’.”

    Which summarizes my philosophy for engaging in high-risk activities.

  18. Our overly militarized small town SWAT teams are trained, paid, over-geared and come in numbers to deal with this. My only concern is my families’ and my own safety. Everyone else who doesn’t take their own safety seriously will have to rely on aforementioned paramilitary force.

  19. My better half and I have discussed this numerous times. We occasionally go to the mall or the movie theater and I am always carrying with at least two extra mags. I have told her over and over if we ever are in an area where an active shooter is to take her little girl and get the hell out of the area in the opposite direction if at all possible.
    My thought is and has been if we are involved with an active shooter they get to safety and I will try to distract and engage the shooter.
    If my girls were in an incident like that and I wasn’t there then I would hope that someone would want to engage the shooter so others would hopefully go home safe and sound at the end of the day. And in all good faith and caring for those unable to defend themselves(kids,elderly,disabled), I can only do the same and be willing to make the necessary sacrifices myself.

    • “And in all good faith and caring for those unable to defend themselves(kids,elderly,disabled) …”

      Thank you for pointing that out Speedracer5050; I was going to mention the same thing. I fully understand and appreciate other commenter’s sentiments: that they are only interested in protecting themselves (and their families) and will not run across a mall to engage an active shooter. I agree that an armed citizen should not run across a mall to engage an active shooter. On the other hand, if an active shooter starts up close to an armed citizen, I would hope that the armed citizen would engage the active shooter. Not only would that improve the chances that that citizen’s family escapes successfully, they just might save a few lives that are unable to defend themselves (children, elderly, disabled) in the process.

      • If you’re not directly threatened, your job is to get out fast. It’s the right thing to do. You’re helping by not being another target.

  20. Although some of you disagree with this article, this is the reality you will have to live with. Honestly it is not smart to pull your firearm when the shooting is in another area. Now if you feel heroic and head to the shooter’s area and can get the surprise on your side to make the shot, that is your decision.

    During my 40 years of self defense as a pupil and later intsructor, the first thing we tell them and practice is, it is better to walk away then get into a fight. That may sound cowardly to many people but it is simply smart. If myself or family is in life threatening danger then you have no choice. Having said that we are not here to stalk into a fight with a shooter not even in our area. For that matter when doing hand to hand if they are not in my personal space there is no need to hit anyone using self defense. Smart people usually know when they are going to have to defend themself. There will always be those situations where you will be surprised.

    For me in my humble opinion my CC is to be used to defend me and my family, not stalk down the hall to stop a shooter if there is an exit. Defending ones self, people, or family is all about situational awareness.

    If one does not practice with their firearm on a routine basis pulling that pistol to stop a shooter, when your not in danger will get innocent people killed.

    If you do ever defend yourself and other people and take out a shooter, first lay down the firearm and second call a good lawyer.

  21. A major consideration is the prevalence of soft body armor. Your 45 jhp has very little chance of doing any good in that situation.

    This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try, but lose the bravado. Be smart about it and assess the situation. Don’t run in guns blazing, and don’t needlessly draw attention to yourself.

  22. If I’m close when a psychopath starts unleashing hell, I’ll shoot back. If I’m a moderate or far enough distance away from him I’m running.

    Odds are I’ll never be in that situation so I don’t think much about it beyond that. And I doubt a cop will be on scene to interrupt a crazy’s mass shooting, let alone shoot a normally dressed white guy firing a semiautomatic handgun in self-defense at some vicious little loser with a long gun.

    If they’re trained to just kill everybody with a gun that’s the dumbest goddamn thing I’ve ever heard of.

  23. The title of this article should be: Make the Most of a Bad Situation. It’s all about survival.

    A good guy with a handgun against a bad guy with a rifle and maybe body armor is what gamblers call an overlay. The odds of winning a shootout with a pistol against a rifle are remote, to say the least. Bet the house on the rifle.

    In the unlikely (and really sh!tty) event that I was caught in such an unwinnable situation, it would be better not to engage if I could avoid it. I’d to try to get out of Dodge as stealthily as I could and use my pocket protector only to cover my retreat if need be.

    If I had a perfect head shot, would I take it? Oh, yeah. It’s all about survival, right? The odds of me and mine getting out of Dodge with my skin unpunctured improve dramatically when the bad guy is rendered inoperable, and a head shot would do that. A word of warning, though: don’t f^cking miss. Okay, that’s three words.

    • Exactly my sentiment Ralph. To all you would-be-heroes out there who will probably be the first to get shot down; don’t miss that head shot or you’ll end up as “there was that one guy who tried to take on the shooter who had an AK and an M4 and several handguns and explosives on him and covered in body armor, with only his Glock 27”.

    • While the armed citizen against a rifled shooter makes bad odds, they can hopefully be turned closer to 50/50 if you consider the skill and determination of the citizen versus the shooter’s assumption that he is either in a turkey shoot or waiting for a cop to ‘suicide’ him.

  24. “1. Don’t engage the shooter”?

    That’s nice.

    So, Robert, let me make this personal for you as a student did for me many years ago.

    What if that was your daughters there? You don’t want me to engage an active shooter if your little girls are present, soon to be slaughtered, and I’m in a position where I can take a shot? You’re telling me to be a selfish son-of-a-bitch and to save my own skin while fleeing like a good yellow-bellied coward because I *might* get shot by a cop who is a little quick on the trigger?

    While the armed citizen has no legal obligation to take action, I submit that the armed citizen likely has a conscience and certainly has to go to bed with himself or herself each and every night.

    Failing to take action to save innocent life will probably not expose the armed citizen to legal action. It will however probably leave an armed citizen with some very unpleasant nightmares and dreams for the rest of his or her life after learning of the casualties inflicted after he or she fled the scene.

    Yes, there are a ton of variables. If I was carrying my toddler, for instance, the other innocents are on their own. If I’m right around the corner without loved ones with me, and I can take a shot, I may well do just that. Probably will, in fact.

    But a blanket “do not engage” from SIG Academy doesn’t reflect well upon what they are teaching if that’s an accurate re-telling of their recommendations.

    I haven’t been to SIG Arms Academy, and if this is the latest, greatest from there, probably won’t.

    I have been to plenty of other schools by folks including Ayoob, Farnam, Rogers, Sullivan, Tarani and lots of others. The consistent message from them is to be very cautious in a situations such as this, but I’ve never heard a blanket “do not engage”. Far from it, in fact.

    I also know that in many instances, active shooters often self-terminate when faced with meaningful resistance (people shooting back).

    John

    • Did you stop reading at the section title? It sounds like it because for all your rant, it seems you missed the sentence:

      “But give the opting-out option serious consideration.”

      The whole point of the section was noting that it is often not the best choice to choose violence over avoidance, even if you are armed. It isn’t a blanket statement and had you read the post, that would be clear.

        • And you didn’t pick up that this was not a blanket statement, but a suggestion for caution? Effectively summarized by, “But give the opting-out option serious consideration.”

  25. I like this. I can think of a specific gun forum, post Aurora, where you would be a coward to say you would not engage an active shooter. In Tennessee we have the right to protect the lives of others, sorry but in a crowded public place to hell with that. Just like working in Fire/EMS my life, the people with me and then everyone else. If I have a clean shot and it is the best or only option, maybe.

  26. I have to say that this is a fantastic article. And shows the thought the antis would never dream goes into a DGU. I ntheir minds we’re all drooling all over ourselves in anticipation of shooting someone and claiming self defense, while the reality is far different.

    (Assuming I could get a CCW, which I can’t where I live) I know that my first priority would be the safety of my wife and kid. The only way I’d engage before taking them to safety would be if the only way out was through the shooter. Realistically, even then, I’d make sure they were in as safe a spot as possible before doing so.

    Assuming I was solo, I would only engage, again, if the person were between me and the exit or if an engagement with them was imminent – IE they are so close that exiting is going to draw their attention/fire. If the threat was not imminent, I’d be on the horn with 911 providing as much detail as possible re the shooter and their location, description, etc.

    And of course, if it was necessary to engage, once the shooter is down for good I’d definintely be putting away / dropping the heater and raising the hands.

  27. I try to keep it simple.
    Is my family and loved ones safe? If not make it so.
    Assess the situation
    Can I stop said madman or bad guys?
    Act Yeah it could be running away, or hiding, or attacking, but until my kids and friends, wifey too are safe, I am not thinking about much else.
    Now there is a key point where drawing and firing is the first thing you do. that is when you are directly in the line of fire of the active shooter. Let’s face it regardless of type of gun, if they are aiming and shooting chances are minus knocking you kids to the ground, they won’t have much else to do. Running just makes them a target, so of you push them to the ground, and return fire, that might be the only option.
    I think it is strange, I remember the bus and hotel bombings in Israel. We would run toward the explosion to help even though we knew there could be other bombs. We felt the need to help and act, not just hide.

    • The OODA loop.

      Orient (where is my family, where is the bad guy, where is cover/concealment, where are the exits)
      Observe (what is he doing, what is my family doing, what is the crowd doing, is anyone else returning fire?)
      Decide (move?, shoot?, hide?)
      Act

      Repeat as necessary. Preferably with some alacrity.

  28. I carry to protect my two girls, my wife and me. In that order. No doubt that snap decisions would be needed in this scenario. But….I am not engaging an active shooter unless there is no other way out of the madness. If we can safely get out of dodge than that is the best scenario in my view. In this type of event you have to assume you are out gunned anyway. He apparently had an AR (mixed reports) and at least looked to have body armor. You dont know how many mags or other side arms he may have. I carry a Glock 27. Sorry, I don’t like those odds. I hightail and leave it up to the LEOs.

  29. I don’t see that this can have an answer such as we should all do “X”. It depends on who is with you, what their chances of running away safely without you, how close is the shooter, is he in front of you or behind you, do you and your family have cover, is there a clean shot available to you, and all of this and much more has to be accessed in a second or two at most. And re-accessed as things change moment by moment. All I know is the safety of my family is my first and my primary responsibility. So I would have to make a decision on if I can get them out safely, can I get them to a defendable place of cover, or in the worst case scenerio, do I stand infront of my family and provide cover for them as I try and shoot the bad guy. My wife (whom I truly love) is one of those that when she hears a noise or commotion, wants to go towards it to see what is happening. I’ve grabbed her twice now and pulled her in the opposite direction, when out in public because I saw the potential of bad things developing. Both times, the situation peacefully resolved itself, no one hurt, no police involved. Am I a coward to want to escape with my family unharmed? Maybe, but I have NOT sworn an oath to defend strangers that stand like deer in the headlights of a car while massive amounts of ventilated poop flies at and around them. I will do what I can, but not at any risk to my family if they are with me. If I am alone, then the decisions I would have to make are different.

  30. This appears to prove two things:

    1)
    Maybe anti gun folks ARE right: Maybe a gun IS useless when you REALLY need it…:-((

    2)
    Cops have to think less than an armed private citizen, and, therefore, the cops are allowed to shoot YOU because they do not have to differentiate between the good guy (YOU) and the bad guy holding a gun (which makes life and the legal aftermath quite easy)
    WHEREAS
    YOU have to think TWICE (or even more) before even shooting the BAD guy, AND it is understood that YOU are NOT allowed to shoot a cop in “self defense” even when the cop is mistaken and assumes that YOU are ALSO a bad guy and therefore begins to shoot YOU.

    Which means that ANYBODY who is shooting a gun is a BAD guy.
    Isn´t this what the anti gun folks always tried to tell us???

    OMG…

  31. This article lays out critical differences between the sheep, the wolf, and the sheepdog.

    If you’re a sheep who happens to have a CCW, this article will resonate with you. You do not carry so that you are prepared to defend yourself and others. You carry to make yourself feel better (I’ve got no issue with that, but I do have one piece of advice: don’t present your gun in a defensive situation unless you’re ready to pull the trigger).

    If you’re a sheepdog, you’ll be somewhere between mildly annoyed and really upset with this article.

    Sure, deciding to step up in a life-or-death situation and do the right thing carries risks. If there are a lot of people around, you analyze the situation, you make your move and you take responsibility for your actions.

    If you engaged the next mall shooter, and you succeed in killing said shooter without getting killed:
    1) Your life was at risk from the moment the shooter became aware of you (may have happened very early on).
    2) Your life is at risk if the gun is still in your hand when the police roll in.
    3) Expect to be detained and to lose your carry piece to the police bureaucracy.
    4) You should sleep well knowing that you almost certainly saved lives.

  32. If a person ever attempts to stop an active shooter and doesn’t shoot the first person they see with a gun (like the cops will do), then you are setting up to loose and die. The cops and anyone else whose ever been in battle knows that simple truth. Yeah, the person you shoot may be an undercover or CCW holder…THAT’s why you need to just leave the area and shoot only if set upon by the bad guy.

  33. What anyone does should be based on the totality of the circumstances they find themselves in. This isn’t black and white.

    How close are you when the active shooter starts? In your immediate area or do you hear gun fire coming from the other end of the mall? If you don’t see what’s hapenning clearly you’re dealing with the same problem arriving officers have.

    What is your skill level? How far can you make hits and how fast under stress/physical duress? People should not act outside the course of their own skill level or training.

    Did you bring enough gun and ammo to win the fight and make a difference? The sub compact in your pocket gives you much fewer options relative to your skill level than a full size service pistol.

    If you decide to engage you need to be able to make a definitive difference in a very short period of time. If you dont have the skill or equipment to make a difference escaping and helping other people escape isn’t a bad thing.

  34. From various emergency situations over the years, though thankfully no DGUs, I know how I’m wired and how I’ll react: if the threat is immediate and present, I’m going to move towards it with strong aggressive intent. My family will be taking cover or going prone, but we don’t rehearse that because (IMHO) that just seems a little too far to go in preparing. (Home DGUs are a different situation, so we have had discussions about what to do if one or more bad guys forces entry into the house.) At least my kids are well-trained to respond to “command voice” in an urgent situation, so I’m 99% sure I could count on them to follow orders.

    If the threat is NOT immediate (i.e. I can’t see any shooters) then GTFO is the order of the day, with only enough pause for orientation to ensure that we are retreating AWAY from the threat. In that case my duty extends to securing my family, grabbing my medical kits, and aiding the wounded once it’s clear that the shooting is over.

    Without either a rifle or a shotgun with combat-effective loads (buckshot or slugs) there’s no way in hell I’m running towards the sound of gunfire unless I’m already in imminent danger.

  35. Two things from LCOL Grossman “Bulletproof Mind” seminar

    Beslan school shooting- get away from the herd and breakout of encirclement by multiple attackers. What you might assume to be one gunman, could be part of a larger group.

    Secure your family FIRST. IF, you are going BACK into the fray, then consider moving with hand on holster, gun not drawn until needed, to avoid blue on blue.

  36. “Reholster and cover”
    Hide evidence? People under stress and shock after being involved in a shooting typically cannot do simple functions, such as reholster.
    Or…
    “Put your weapon down and back away”
    Are you insane? NEVER EVER leave your weapon unattended. Better option: after confirming threats has been eliminated and are awaiting police, put it on the ground in front of you pointed in a safe direction, put your foot on top of it so no one can take it and raise your hands so police know you are now posing a lesser threat and will comply.

  37. Curious how you attended the Active Shooter Instructor Course as it’s restricted to law enforcement… Second, you shouldn’t be discussing anything from this course including response tactics as you could endanger the lives of officers…

  38. As a law enforcment officer all we do now is train for active shooters. During several MILO virtual interactive scenarios 80% + of police officers shot people who were undercover cops or off duty cops that had guns at the scene and WEREN’T in uniform. They see you with a gun there going to shoot you dead! Be prepared for that if you are willing to engage a shooter.

  39. There are many good and valid points being made here for both sides of the “engage” or not scenerio.
    Many of us, myself included, have never had to face that situation and quite frankly do not know how we would really react when we hear the un-earmuffed booms of real life and death situation.
    I hope, as a CCW holder, I would act valiantly and wisely, but to say I would engage or not, I will never truly know about myself until I’m faced with it.

  40. While there is definite merit in escaping without getting shot, or having your loved ones shot, I think articles like this aim to rationalize cowardice. Often, such warnings as “you never know how you will react” or “what if you shoot a bystander” are pre-emptive justifications by the authors to succumb to inaction. Most people would do nothing. if you have to fight, you should fight like a rabid wolverine. Go all in. Gun, knife, rock, hands, stick, etc. better yet, get your lived ones to safety. But if that’s not possible, make the aggressor more afraid of you than you are of him…and stop him by whatever horrible awful means necessary. Nope, not a “hero complex”….not a “John Wayne” … No fantasies of being an action hero…Just being a man. It can be done. Detractors are most often untrained, unfit or cowards. No harm in that. Just don’t try to dissuade men willing to do what needs to be done to protect themselves and loved ones. Verbally or otherwise.

  41. Having been in a situation FOR REAL…

    Chaos is what is happening. Identify target…Rush Target…DO NOT FIRE UNTIL YOU ARE WITHIN 7 FEET! KILL SHOTS.

    In reality you can take a few hits…if lucky…you will not get hit in a vital spot! The reality is you must shoot for the throat or nose area of the agressor! You must fire till the other is down and you can remove threat. You will get hit!!! If very lucky you will survive…If you are not lucky…you will die. But you did your very best. That is what life is all about!

    Chaos and adrenaline will be motivation for you to act and move. But you must be ready to die!!! It really all comes down to having balls and LUCK.

    You do not know anything about the shooters level of expertise. All you have is yourself and the 4 to 5 seconds of engagement time. Are you training to move fast? Are you training to close ground? The reality is you will be distracted when the situation occurs. The only one knowing what is going down is the shooter.

    Everyone will panic and run away from the sound. In a mall or a school or any large complex the sounds are muffled and deflected. Chaos ensues due to there not being any definition of the location. So running towards the sounds can take some figuring out. But once you find the source you have to not wait for cover but close ground immediately.

    The reality is that the shooter is in an induced trance state and many times they have a sort of tunnel vision. They do not have the ability to focus well. Your chances are good if you move swiftly and as soon as you close the ground you fire.

    This type of target aquisition comes only from training as you move. To sit at a pistol range and stand and shoot is not going to be the reality. How fast can you sprint? The idea of cover in this situation is absurd…The reason being is YOU ARE THE SHOW STOPPER and you must get the job done NOW! Every second you waste means life taken.

    When you armed yourself you chose to die defending yourself…yes…but true honor is defending the defenseless. If you are not willing to lay it on the line….get rid of the gun!

    Our gun culture is made up of movies!!! Anyone who has been in an active fire fight “close quarters kind” knows it is all or nothing. None of this shit behind a shingle bull! Popping off rounds. That will draw fire to you and others around you.., and will help the shooter focus. That is not what you want.

    You want surprise and fear to rise up in the shooter and the way to do this is to close quarter and be decisive and when the pussy comes to the surface as it faces a real threat…chances are it will faulter…that is when you must act!

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