More than a few members of our Armed Intelligentsia reckon they don’t need many bullets in their carry gun. “The average gunfight is three, three, three,” the Rabbi (a.k.a., David Kenik) opines. “Three yards, three seconds, three rounds.” While that adage seems to back up the argument that a relatively low-capacity mouse gun or 1911 is sufficient for self-defense, the Rabbi carries a 16+1 round Springfield XD-9. And a backup revolver. Here’s why . . .
The victim, Dustin J. Friedland, and his wife, Jamie Schare Friedland, were getting into their Range Rover in a parking garage at the Mall at Short Hills, in Millburn, N.J., around 9 p.m. last Sunday. Mr. Friedland, 30, had just closed the passenger-side door for his wife when two armed men attacked him. Mr. Friedland was shot in the head, and his wife forced out of the vehicle.
You may recall this story of a car-jacking-turned-deadly, recounted here by nytimes.com. We covered it in a recent It Should Have Been a Defensive Gun Use post, pointing out that New Jersey’s de facto concealed carry ban leaves millions of innocent citizens defenseless and, thus, emboldens vicious thugs. This time I’d like to point out that if Mr. Friedland had a gun, and the time and situational awareness needed to deploy it, he would have had some serious shooting to do.
Question: two attackers…whom do you shoot first?
It’s not much of a choice, really. In the midst of The Mother of All Adrenalin Dumps, the word “choice” doesn’t usually come into it. Unless you’ve done force-on-force training or survived a previous life-threatening assault from multiple attackers—and maybe even if you have—you’re probably going to react instinctively. Instinct tells you to shoot the closest target first. That’s probably sensible (thank you, Charles Darwin). In theory . . .
You should decide which attacker poses the most immediate, credible and deadly danger. If the bad guy who’s closest to you doesn’t have a gun and the one further away does, shoot the one furthest away first. Not forgetting to shoot the one closest one next (gore can be transfixing). Again, that’s some fancy figurin’. Trying to get your OODA loop (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) spooled-up enough to make those kind of judgements is unlikely. Desirable. But unlikely.
Besides, it’s a tough call. Plug the bad guy closest wielding a knife or aerate the bad guy with the gun two steps behind? Shoot to stop the guy with a knife standing still or ballistically discourage the 300-pound gorilla charging straight at you? Take the obvious leader or target the one who looks like he’s been nominated to send you to oblivion? Decisions, decisions.
No matter which person you target, it’s boarding house rules: everyone gets firsts before anyone gets seconds. Shoot each bad guy once before you shoot any bad guy twice, remembering (mouse gunners and JMB devotees) that it can always get worse . . .
Two men sped away in the Range Rover and two others left in a Chevrolet Suburban, the S.U.V. that all four men had arrived in, Ms. Murray said.
If Mr. Friedland had repelled one or two of the armed attackers boosting his Rover, what are the odds the two guys in the Suburban would have entered the fray? Sure, we’d like to think they would have fled the scene. But what if they hadn’t? Mr. Friedland might have had four bad guys heading his way. Two, three, four, ten. Doesn’t matter. Boarding house rules. Shoot each attacker once then go back and shoot the ones who need shooting again, again.
This strategy optimizes your chances of survival by inflicting the greatest possible damage on the largest possible number of attackers. Like wild dogs, thugs are pack animals. If a pack or gang member sees that the entire pack is in danger—rather than a single individual—they know (instinctively) that they, personally, are in harm’s way. This provides an immediate (though not fool-proof) disincentive for them to continue the assault. At the very least, it messes up their rhythm.
Implementing the boarding house rules when the s hits the f requires training. To avoid the tendency to fixate on a single target, stay away from Sam Peckinpah movies and limit standard-issue square range training (i.e. shooting the same target over and over again). Train yourself to transition from target to target. If you have to shoot at a square range, use targets with multiple bull’s-eyes.
And don’t forget to train yourself to MOVE. The harder you are to hurt and the more you attack everyone coming to hurt you, the better your odds. As for which gun to carry, the Rabbi says it best: “No one ever ended a gunfight wishing they had less bullets.”