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

 Café Chieu Tim killers flee the scene (courtesy

“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,” 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.