Self-Defense Tip: Don’t Draw on a Drawn Gun. Unless You Have To.

 Café Chieu Tim killers flee the scene (courtesy guidrynews.com)

“Two men went inside the Café Chieu Tim in the 8200 block of Antoine, north of West Gulf Bank, about 3 p.m., staying there for 30 to 40 minutes. They spoke with the owner and other patrons,” chron.com reports. “As they began to leave, one pulled a handgun and demanded cash from the owner. The owner, who was in his late 40s, instead drew his own pistol and began firing, but was struck by gunfire and fell dead.” Oh dear. In case you hadn’t figured it out, bringing your weapon to bear on someone pointing a gun at you is strategically inadvisable . . .

It takes a fraction of an instant for a bad guy to squeeze the trigger. It takes a lot more than a fraction of a second to get your gun out of its holster and bring it to bear on your target and squeeze the trigger. That’s best case. Worse case, you’ll fumble while entire seconds expire. And then, you.

There’s not a lot you can do in this situation. If you feel you have to do something—other than just stand there, hand over the money and get shot—MOVE! Get off the X and then draw your weapon. Better yet, if possible, depending on the situation and your moral code, continue moving and leave.

Some gun gurus suggest throwing the money (or whatever) at the bad guy and then moving and drawing. I’m not so sure. A bad guy holding a gun will instantly perceive any object moving towards him as an immediate threat and respond accordingly.

All that said, there are times when an armed self-defender has no choice. For example, if one of the two robbers had begun assassinating customers, well, what would the owner have to lose? By the same token, if the bad guys are about to assassinate people (e.g., herding people into a back room), it’s chocks away.

By the way, this tragic event is not an argument against armed self-defense. The unnamed cafe owner had the right to keep and bear arms and the right to decide when, where and how to use his firearm to defend his life, the lives of innocent bystanders and (in some states) his property—within the confines of the law.

As did the cafe’s other patrons. OMG! A Wild West shootout! Yes, well, robberies can and do lead to summary executions. It’s better to have a gun and not need it than to need a gun and not have it. Yes, even if you can’t use it. Because you may have to, anyway. If you know what I mean.

 

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

28 Responses to Self-Defense Tip: Don’t Draw on a Drawn Gun. Unless You Have To.

  1. avatarg says:

    Tragic for the owner… my prayers go out to his family. From the article:

    “They told investigators the gunmen had accents common to people who come from the northern areas of Vietnam, authorities said.”

    It makes me angry to no end, but organized Asian crime syndicates tend to prey upon members of their own community. My guess is that these gunman came to collect “protection cash” and the owner told them to FOAD. If they spoke with “northern accents”, they’re probably recent immigrants, maybe hired as local muscle.

    Here in Seattle, there’s been some similar problems:

    http://q13fox.com/local-news/stories/armed-robbers-target-vietnamese-businesses/#axzz2KXMXtH6D

    It’s not a popular thing to talk about, but SE Asian communities (Vietnamese, Hmong, Khmer) have higher rates of poverty and crime than East Asian (Chinese, Japanese, Korean) or South Asian (Indian, Pakistani). Terrible legacy of America’s involvement in Vietnam and the “Secret War” in Laos.

    • avatarRopingdown says:

      Or perhaps a terrible legacy of coming to the US both penniless and sans education, without a merchant or professional culture in any language. If the poorest Koreans had arrived in mass in 1920 they’d be mostly recent ex-slaves or serfs, illiterate and bone-poor. Boy, do circumstances and timing matter.

    • avatarWA_2A says:

      South Asians (Indians in particular) tend to not be as involved in crime, and live in nicer neighborhoods due to a higher income job (Doctor/Engineer/IT/programmer); this is especially true in Washington, where most Indians work for Microsoft.

      This coming from an Indian living in Seattle.

  2. avatarBeninMA says:

    Makes me think of this guy:

  3. avatarHAVE GUN says:

    That is one of the things I think about most.

    BG has gun out, try to draw or not, that is the question.

    It all comes down to circumstances.

  4. avatarLance says:

    True you must have some tactical knowledge of fire fights to be a good cop security guard or gun owner read a bit before you pack heat!

  5. avatarBob says:

    I guess giving them what they want and then shooting them in the back to get your wallet back is frowned upon? My thought is once you turn criminal your inalienable human rights are forfeit. Like terrorists.

    Makes me want one of those sleeve derringers…or better yet two.

    • avatarLongBeach says:

      I applaud your vision, sir. Double sleeve derringers would kick ass, and would surely be memorable!

      • avatarJake says:

        Would you go spring loaded or inertial? It’s hard to figure out which would have a higher ratio of successful deployments to failures, because it would suck mightily to have to a thug draw down on you and the sucker jams up on the end of a sleeve or a burr on the track.

        The rig Donald Sutherland used in the film The Assignment seemed a bit bulky, but decently foolproof, if it is actually a mechanically sound design. Strong spring, offhand release trigger. If you live in a cold area that kind of deal could work under such as a greatcoat. Also need to make sure you never shoot yourself in the hand because your inner arm bumps up against the wrong shaped solid object and just so happens to depress the trigger in your sleeve, maybe a sort of integrated trigger cover while it’s retracted? I’m gonna have to try and draw this up.

        The most important problem by far is accidental deployment, how do you make it easy enough to deploy when you need it without leaving the possibility it might pop out on its own and give someone a heart attack. Something akin to a compound bow release, maybe?

  6. avatarOK S. says:

    What makes anyone think complying with armed robbers will be better than resisting.

    Sirloin Stockade Murders

    By the way, the whole state of Oklahoma was a Gun Free Zone in 1968.

  7. avatarFred says:

    In some cases the thugs will up and run with just the sight of a firearm, but my guess is these guys were somewhat professional and most likely had bullets coming and going before. They obviously knew the owner and some of the patrons, sounds like typical organized crime. Some situations simply can’t end well.

    This is not an argument against being armed but an argument for additional training and awareness. There is little you can do when you are drawn on, but if a patron were to step in it might have had a different ending, but they’re probably just as afraid of retribution from the organization.

    Recently it seems crooks in random crime have taken to eliminating witnesses as well to leave no evidence behind.

  8. avatarBdk NH says:

    This is a tragic story. Dont think or read about it- practice! Anyone one who is ccw’ing can & should practice this scenario. At the range with a partner and mirror practice all of the scenarios. Use your regular carry holster and gun. High noon draw down, straight up duel, bg has gun drawn, random draw, etc. Ive done it in classes, where you need to score a center mass or head shot to win. I don’t believe in this personally, first hit wins in my book. You will win some, lose some, but will definitely get faster and get better. You will also stop carrying a gun with a safety, ditch slow holsters and learn how to move while shooting.

    • avatarGyufygy says:

      Just be using snap caps when practicing speed draws or some kind of practice round or set up, and pay even MORE attention to the Four Laws! Too easy too shoot yourself when trying to do fast draws.

    • avatarSoccerchainsaw says:

      Easier said than done? The range I go to doesn’t allow quick draws or rapid fire. I personally don’t know of any places nearby that are open to the public where you can go set up a target and do these kind of practice exercises. I guess I’m limited to dry fire exercises.

      • avatarBdk NH says:

        Yes, easier said then done. Sig Sauer Academy runs a CCW course for responsible citizens where this situation is ‘skilled & drilled’ with live fire with excellent instruction in moving, drawing, shooting, and using cover. Is it dangerous to practice with live fire? I suppose. Can you afford not to? No.

      • avatarbp968 says:

        This is an old thread but I felt I could add to this line of thought here. If you want to practice quick drawing or other things your range doesn’t allow or that could be dangerous if a mistake is made just buy yourself a quality airsoft replica of your CCW gun of choice. I carry a G19 and picked up a nice gas powered G19 with recoil and everything. It is nearly identical to the real thing and even gets close to having similar recoil. You can practice with it all day long in your living room or basement or backyard and not worry about shooting yourself. You can even get a couple of them and some paintball masks and practice force on force shooting with a friend (just don’t do it in a public place where you will cause panic, etc). Also realize that there is a limit to what you can simulate. What provides cover from a 6mm pellet is only concealment from a 9mm, 40, 45acp round.

  9. avatarAaronW says:

    Owner of a Harlem meat-supply place was held up by four gun-wielding thugs a few years back. When it became clear that these guys were about to start executing employees, he brought a long-hidden shotgun to bear, and killed two out of four. Apparently the weapon was “unregistered” but given the magniture of what could have happened, I think the charges were quietly tabled.

  10. avatarWyatt says:

    It will be cited as an example of why arming yourself is pointless and only gets people killed. Also you.

  11. avatarensitu says:

    When I was in the army we trained to beat an opponent holding a cocked 1911 on us. Because the opponent had to react after the fact the person held at gunpoint actually had an advantage. Of course this is a very risky maneuver and so I will not describe it here

    • avatarJAS says:

      That was taught to me in a self defense class by a Sheriff’s swat team trainer, it works very well and it is very easy to do. It has to do with how fingers work while holding a gun. The person will not be able to fire. Then again, it only works if there is just one attacker. The big problem is that you have to be at arms length from the attacker with nothing between you and the gun. It is a very special circumstance…

      He went further to explain and show that you never extend your arms fully with a gun in hand in a close encounter, lest it will be taken from you. He stressed holding the gun with both hands close to your chest. Forget the sights.

      If there is a gun in your face with no cover instantly nearby, be cool and hope for the best. Sad but true.

  12. So what you are saying is we need more guns on the street?

    • avataruncommon_sense says:

      Close but no cigar Dave. We need more good guys with guns on the streets.

      Had I been eating in that cafe when the criminal pointed his gun at the owner, the criminal pointing the gun would be nursing a headshot, his partner would be nursing body shots, and the owner would have survived. If both my wife and I were eating in that cafe, both criminals would be nursing headshots and the owner would have survived.

      Do you see how that works?

    • avatarJake says:

      No, we simply need to allow Americans to exercise their freedom to choose to defend themselves or not to defend themselves. Nobody is talking about conscription into gun ownership, the only folks that want to force someone else to do something they normally would not are the grabbers.

  13. avatarJim says:

    In old west parliance, pulling on someone who is already holding a gun on you was called “beating the drop”, and unless you’re Bob Lundeen reincarnated, it’s not the best idea…..but occasionally it may be a necessary evil.

  14. avataruncommon_sense says:

    If a bad guy already has a gun drawn, you are in an extremely dangerous situation. The best course of action in that scenario is if another armed citizen, who the bad guy cannot see, can draw and shoot the bad guy with total and complete surprise.

    Otherwise, the best an armed citizen can do is practice ahead of time. And they need to practice: while moving, drawing and shooting. This is not easy. But it increases your chances of survival immensely.

    Aside from practice, in practical application, an armed citizen would also have to choose the time carefully to move, draw, and shoot. Waiting for a moment when the bad guy looks away is ideal. If you believe you cannot wait until the bad guy looks away, then try to wait until something diverts the bad guy’s concentration. For example place an item of value in as awkward a position for the bad guy as possible. When the bad guy focuses on retrieving the item of value and reaches for it, that would be the time to move.

  15. avatarAgentX says:

    Decide what you are going to do now if you are facing an armed attacker. Work it out in your mind and commit. Ten, if you decide you will act, move to cover and shoot. Practice it both live and with snap caps. Because most people shoot on a range, they muscle memory themselves into a static weaver or isocoles stance and never move. We all know a stationary target is easier to shoot.

    If you decide to flee, commit to it. Practice finding cover and a safe exit.

    If you decide to comply, comply and be done with it. If you signal with your body language that you are a threat, you risk being hurt.

    We had an agent who was robbed at gun point a few years back. We are trained to draw and fire, while moving to cover in less than two seconds from the concealed carry. For the record, he used his wallet to distract the BG then shot him 11 times with a 9mm (yes, cue the inevitable remarks about shot placement and the inadequacy of the 9mm, if you can do better while the BG is returning fire at you, while moving in a cramped hallway to cover, good for you.)

    Sorry for the link to an LEO forum, most of the article links are dead.
    http://www.911jobforums.com/f66/fed-agent-involved-off-duty-shooting-28985/

  16. avatarRoBiT says:

    Scenario: You’re on a bike and ambushed at the corner of a quiet intersection. Two robbers, each with drawn guns.

    What if you WERE carrying concealed? What are the “outs”? Are there any that don’t leave you with a toe-tag and further arming junior hood rats?

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