"Clockwise from top left, Basim Henry, Karif Ford, Hanif Thompson and Kevin Roberts" (text and photo courtesy nytimes.com)

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.”

200 Responses to Self-Defense Tip: Boarding House Rules

  1. Shooting the closest person is always the best solution regardless of their weapons. If you have an unarmed guy up close and an armed guy farther away, the closer guy can disarm you while you’re taking out the other guy, but if you drop the closer guy first, the farther guy has to figure out what happened and get his gun on you before you can hit him. Unless he already had you drawn down that puts you at an advantage.

  2. Group of thugs approaches. Man pulls 1911. Thug 1 says, “that gun only holds 7 bullets and there are 9 of us.” Man says, “which 7 of you wanna die to save the other 2?”

        • The smart man would also realizes that statement is stupid because 6 of 7 people shot with handguns survive, even from the venerable, death ray that is the 1911.

        • Surely the really smart man is adequately armed for the environment but more importantly situationally aware of and planning how to avoid or manage potential risks at all times and therefore rarely surprised and has time to quickly make the choices required to survive. Transitions are always dangerous, go thro a door without looking first, get in a car distracted while arguing with your wife? You should at least be as situationally alert as when you buy a car!

      • The really, really smart man doesn’t stop to ask any questions. He’s too busy driving home safely because his situational awareness kept him out of a violent confrontation.

    • You shoot the boss of course. Dude that spoke gets it first, preferably before he finishes the sentence. Then you take out middle management. At that point there probably isn’t anyone left who is counting.

    • First I avoid the neighborhoods and places where gangs of thugs roam. Second, these scenarios are WAY TOO DRAMATIC and extremely unlikely… This is right out the movies (which influences all of us consciously or sub-consciously ):

      Harry Callahan: “I know what you’re thinking. “Did he fire six shots or only five?” Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do Ya, punk?” (This is the MOVIES, not real life.)

      Thugs don’t have conversations and analyze your weapon. (BTW your guns should be hidden for tactical advantage. Open carry will get you shot in the back.) I’m pretty sure if there were 9 of “them”, none of them would want to be one of the seven (9 assailants? ha ha!) Thugs are coward and look for weak people & opportunity. This is not a cowboy movie at OK corral time. These are criminals, some with sociopathic or psychopathic personalities. JUST ONE OF THEM IS DANGERIOUS. If they target you, you are in gave danger, so forget the 9 against 1 scenario and having magazines with 16 rounds.

      Please let’s deal with REAL STATS: 3, 3 ,3, is an actual FBI fact… 3 seconds, 3 rounds at 3 yards…. That is a typical gunfight. If +7 people with homicidal intent are against you and your 1911 pistol, you’re screwed…. If I was in the circumstance, had cover, I wouldn’t want one puny little handgun. Even a 45 with 9 rounds is weak compared to any rifle or 12 gauge shotgun with ’00’ at short range. BTW the bigger the caliber the less rounds you carry, My G26 with a G19 Mag-X-sleeve carries 15 rounds + 1. For home defense that is fine. However for carry that is way too much weight (and grip length); even with belt and suspenders it pulls my pants off. I carry what is comfortable so I have it on me most of the time. Guns that are too big and too heavy get left in the gun safe (you have a gun safe right).

      • PS watch the Youtube video “Security Guard Shoots Would-Be Robbers in Internet Cafe.” This the key having a gun on your hip you can draw fast. This is a master class in how to do it…. he draws, AIMS, shoots, MOVES, Aims again… shoots, moves, takes cover. It does not matter if you have 7 or 9 or more rounds. The fact is I carry less rounds in my G26 because of weight. I can put a G19 magazine in my G26 with X-sleeve and carry 15+1. That is fine for home defense, but it is too heavy and grip too long to carry concealed. Big guns get left in the gun safe.

      • Just as the “typical” gunfight is 3,3,3, the “typical” trip to the parking garage doesn’t require self defense. I still carry concealed because it is a minor inconvenience versus the non-typical trip. “Typical” to me means “median,” which means that there as many instances below the “typical” amount as there are above it. Therefore, your odds that you will need more that 3,3,3 are equal to the odds that you will need less. Also, the vast majority of failures in a semi-automatic pistol are magazine related. That extra magazine that you thought was too much trouble to carry could be the one that keeps your firearm from being a single shot weapon.

  3. The thing I can’t figure is why they shot him. They had at least one gun, he was unarmed. did he fight back, or did they just cap him to make sure there was no resistance? And why was the car dumped and not chopped? As I understand it, it was found reasonably near by. Nothing about this incident makes sense–but that of course may simply be because of a lack of details.
    But more to the subject of the post, I am not sure I agree with the premise that more rounds are needed. Many DGus have been posted here, and in most, the BGs flee the moment the lead begins to fly in their direction. Statistics suggest that most DGUs do not involve gun fire, just “brandishing” (with the exception of home invasions), and that is true irrespective of the estimated number of DGUs you use as the denominator. Therefore, the postulate that one gun is good, many guns with lots and lots of bullets is needful for adequate defense outside the home, is unproved.

      • Funny thing about the NYC cops. When the NY state law first went into effect banning “high” capacity magazines and setting the limit, almost every single law enforcement officer in the state was in immediate violation of the law. I believe they adjusted the law not long afterwards.

        As far as why the scum in NJ shot the guy, there’s no reason. Newark is seeing a rash of carjackings lately, rivaling the 90s when the city was one of the most dangerous places in the entire world. There are senseless shootings there every day, like a few days ago when two teens were murdered for no reason other than misidentification. New Jersey has incredibly restrictive gun laws and yet the criminals have no problem getting guns.

        If ANY of these pro-confiscation, er, sorry I mean pro-control idiots had ANY sort of clue, they would realize that making gun ownership and possession illegal would have ABSOLUTELY ZERO EFFECT on guns being available to criminals. Let’s look at how well this failed “war” on drugs is working, ok?

    • Yep, you don’t need more than a few rounds for self-defense.

      Until you do.

      I don’t get it…why do people decry the “hey, you might want to be prepared for more than a couple attackers…”? If someone wants to carry a gun with 17+1, and a backup, that doesn’t mean YOU have to. But if YOU choose not to, it doesn’t make someone else stupid for doing it.

      • Agreed: everyone has to decide their own best carry method, and go from there. You want to carry 50 rounds? Go for it. Just because someone may only carry 5 doesn’t make them stupid, just as carrying 50 doesn’t make you paranoid.

    • Bad guys just do sh!tty things. From my experience, you’re better off stopping them then trying to understand them.

    • Poor impulse control is pretty much the main defining characteristic of a criminal individual. Almost by definition the actions of a criminal must defy sense at some level.

    • It’s a “hate” crime, although it is unlikely to ever be prosecuted as such.

      As for why they would dump the SUV, it was probably so that someone who was not at the scene of the murder could pick it up later. A neighbor had their car stolen a few weeks back. The car was tracked by GPS for a couple days, along with the credit cards in the purse that was in the stolen car (neighbor is an idiot). In the end, what happened was the original thieves drove it to another city where they sold the car, and the purse. Then the buyer of the car drove it to another city and sold it to a group of crack addicts who lived in it until it was picked up. The purse and credit cards went with a different person who sold it to a professional ID theft ring who ran up several thousands dollars worth of resellable goods within a few hours of the original theft. Who stole the car originally is unknown as they did not use the credit cards and the crack heads had obliterated any evidence in the van.

      Where the van was stolen is a very nice, affluent city. But, within 50 miles are the ghettos of Oakland, South-East San Francisco, Richmond, etc. Nowhere in the US are you completely safe from professional scumbags.

    • I carried an S&W Airweight (5 rounds) for years under the assumption that the probability of needing it was slight and the possibility of needing to shoot more than 5 people at a time was also slight. Optimist.

      I bought a Ruger SR9c to replace the S&W as my EDC when I started reading more and more about gangs of thugs, but I still only carried the compact 10 round mag and one in the tube and no spare mag. (Easier to conceal)

      With my recently increased awareness of the impossibility to predict what sort of threat may be encountered, or when (Aurora, Sandy Hook, etc.) I bought a magazine carrier and I now schlep the standard 17 round mag in addition to the ten in the pistol. I used to tell people that any pistol I carry is better than the one I leave on the nightstand, but now I believe that the best pistol I own is the one I should carry. As the Rabbi says, I shall not complain if the fight is over and I still have 25 rounds of unexpended ammunition, but I would feel damn silly pointing an empty pistol at the last bad guy standing.

  4. No sale.

    Here’s why.The odds of being in a defensive incident period are low.The odds of having to actually shoot someone, even lower.The odds of engaging multiple bad guys , yet lower then that.The odds of engaging multiple bad guys willing to die for your stuff or their idiot homeboys….you get the point.

    Preparing for remote events is why we all carry a gun.But there’s preparedness, and then there is calculated foolishness.Carry one gun-but what if it fails?
    Carry two guns-but they’re both handguns, a statistically poor fight stopping tool.
    So we carry an AR pistol, but they’re not very easy to fire under stress.
    So we stuff a slung 12 gauge shotgun, but we need more capacity no?

    Time to whip out the credit card for a full auto Beretta 93R and tax stamp.But again, a pistol round is a poor fight stopper…..

    We can either justify greater equipment for a better sense of psychological well being, or we can just accept that life has risks.See the case of the SWAT officer whose Sig P226 takedown lever was hit in the holster during an exchange of gunfire with a suspect.The officer transitioned to his P226 and pointed a stripped frame at a deadly threat. ………had his buddy not been there, that story would have had a VErY BaD ending.

    Sometimes, you’re just boned.Accept that , or carry an M249.

    • +1

      “I will be the first boot on the ground and the last boot to leave. I will leave no man behind.”

      The US Army code as spoken by LCOL Hal Moore before going into combat in Ia Drang Valley. Not the code followed by your local thugs.

    • Yep.

      I keep coming back to this: I’d rather have a .22 I can conceal and carry with me than my Gold Team Witness in 9×21, which holds 21 rounds in the mag, but is about as concealable as a coffee table.

      The first rule of getting into a gunfight is to avoid it, where possible. Rule #2 is “have a gun.”

      The gun that holds five to eight rounds that you can conceal and do carry all the time will beat the gun that holds eleventy-billion freakin’ rounds of .50 Rabid Buffalo Stomper in a double-stack that you left in your safe at home because your lack of yeti-coat attire on a warm day meant you couldn’t conceal it.

      Lastly: The stats are pretty clear: Most criminals like unarmed victims. We’ve discussed that to death here on TTAG. Criminals loooooove gun-free zones. We know this. They loooove anti-CCW laws. Love, love, love ’em. We know this here at TTAG. Discuss it all the time. RF and DZ are completely incessant about the matter. If this issue were a dead whale, RF and DZ would be found kicking it up and down the beach for the sheer bloody-minding point of making sure people knew it was dead.

      What’s the contrapositive of this? Criminals hate armed victims. A victim who whips out a heater, no matter how small, has just completely changed the foundational assumptions of the bad guys. Are the thugs going to be getting into a discussion about whether or not you’re packing a double-stack 9 or a 1911 in .45? No. First, they’re not that smart. Second, the moment they see a muzzle pointed in their general direction, their brains are moving in a whole different direction than “cool analysis of the situation.” These clowns are opportunistic predators, not men trained to keep their cool under fire.

      Rangers, Marines, operators these guys are simply not.

      • But what is your recommendation? One each? Two to the guy with the gun? I agree with all the rest. If they had brains and balls they’d be peddling penny stocks, stealing credit cards, or hawking fake mining claims in Wyoming.

        • From all the training and legal advice I’ve paid real money for from lawyers on this topic, I shoot for the “reasonable threat of death or great bodily harm.” That’s the guy with the gun.

          Anyone else who touches the gun if the first guy drops it? They’re now covered by “reasonable fear” as well. Three other guys who have no visible gun? Well, this gets difficult to justify.

          Shooting each one of them when there is only one gun visible… that might fly here in Wyoming, because a jury is going to look at any survivors as criminals and pronounce them worthy of being shot again.

          In New Jersey, I’m pretty sure that some left-wing judge is going to get her panties in a bunch over “four stiffs and only one gun” and you’re going to have a hard time justifying ventilating all of them. And you’ll also have to deal with The Justice Brothers, Al and Jesse, being that the NYC media is basically the local media there in northeast NJ.

          Memorize these two words: “Reasonable fear.” They will play a huge role in any legal defense you have to mount to either criminal or civil claims against you.

          BTW, apropos of fake mining claims: Wyoming isn’t the state for that. Nevada is. If you want to read a very interesting book, find “My Adventures With Your Money,” by George Graham Rice from the 1930’s. Everything you read in there about Nevada mining scams of 80 to 100 years ago still happens on Wall Street every year. Nevada is, after all, where Sam Clemens called a mine “a hole in the ground with a liar standing next to it.” Clemens was editor of a paper in Virginia City, but some of the most outlandish scams were done on mines literally “just over the hill” to the east, in a town called “Goldfield.” If you’re driving east of Carson City, look for “Six Mile Canyon Road” which turns off the left side of US-50 and goes due north. Six miles up the road, you’ll find Goldfield…

        • Yes, Dyspeptic, I agree with your analysis. And the closer to the coasts you go, the more important it is to not shoot everybody. I’d definitely give the guy with the gun, weapon, a pair. My younger more active acquaintances say “three at the hips, three at the shoulders.” I’m probably not that fast or accurate.

          Sorry to say Wyoming, but that was just to make it personal. Gold mine scams have been run on Easterners based on claims in Montana, Wyoming, and elsewhere. Easy marks.

          Thanks for the Nevada detail. The only Twain volumes I own today are the two in the American Library edition, I love his writing, and his house in Hartford for that matter, especially the porch, deck, at the top.

          It strikes me that the imagination often holds sway, despite the extensive experience recorded by people who have been attacked. The FBI says “the guy with his hand on his gun first usually wins” vis a vis cop shootings. My somewhat old experience is that the second a real threat is present, it isn’t about me, it’s about them. It isn’t a game, and it happens fast. Things go gray. The color disappears. I am often disconcerted when I hear of people (RF, particularly) changing sidearms so frequently. That just doesn’t improve the odds. The same goes for defensive long guns.

          I have a mailbox with the same name at Google. If I’m ever out your way, I’ll try to stop by. It might be five years. I’m often in Utah or Idaho. Only a few times in Wyoming, Jackson Hole. I don’t know squat comparatively about the hardware.

        • Knowing the gun laws of your state is extremely helpful. Do some research on stand your ground / castle doctrine / recent DGUs, etc. In CA, the reasonable threat and fear of death or serious bodily injury are the perquisites to justifiable homicide or defensive shooting, and there are some protections for shootings occurring in the home as well. CA LEOs are allowed warning shots. In most cases, you are better off calling those as a miss instead.

          When in doubt, or in a new state, only react with lethal force in resonse to stopping a lethal threat.

          The NYC motorcycle chase with the Range Rover comes to mind. The a$$hole who bashed in the driver side window clearly showed a willingness to use violence against the driver, and a helmet capable of smashing a window is indeed a deadly weapon. I would’ve shot that guy. In the face. Shooting one of the gang bangers who was an “observer” would put one on very tenuous legal ground. Shooting the attacker(s) would be the only way to avoid being beaten or killed.

          I understand that NYC virtually outlaws all carry, but you get the idea. Although many police officers suck at hitting the correct target, we do train in target identification. Respond to the closest deadly first and move quickly from there. Separating threats is optimal. Use cover, concealment, and movement. Anyone who has played paintball or force in force training should be familiar with those concepts.

          I sincerely advise against shooting anyone who cannot be identified as a deadly threat based only upon their proximity. In the academy, we use a wheel of force, not a continuum. Police officers use the next higher threat level than the one with which they are faced. Baton against fists, gun against knife, etc. If I’m man to unarmed man, I’m going to try fighting first unless I’m facing a giant. I’m essentially for required to do that based upon my fitness level and martial arts training. Someone who is elderly or handicapped would not be. If I’m attacked by several men I’ll use a firearm to even the odds. I’m not Jason Bourne.

          Know and realize your day in court before the shooting ever happens. Think about your options, and how you would react to a particular threat level with what you typically carry. Ask a police officer or trainer who is knowledgeable in regards to carry laws and self defense. I deeply appreciate Simuntion training with realistic scenarios. Packing heat (and a good knife, etc.) tends to vastly increase situational awareness and preparedness. As the Boy Scoouts would say “Be prepared.” The fastest decision you’ll make under stress is the one you’ve already made in training.

        • “Police officers use the next higher threat level than the one with which they are faced. Baton against fists, gun against knife, etc.”
          All well and good for you, but most of us don’t have those options. Unless you include getting the crap kicked out of you as an option,.there three:
          Running away
          Brandishing
          Firing

        • If I’m protecting my wife and/or family as this guy was doing, I am not going to think twice about the law. That’s a pause long enough to get you dead.

          Paraphrasing stripes:
          If you touch my wife…I’ll kill you
          If you touch me…I’ll kill you
          If you touch my stuff…I’ll kill you

        • @Jus Bill,

          You probably have many of the same options I do – I carry on duty and off. Read what I said: if a knife, baton, or helmet constitutes deadly intent than shooting in defense is justified.

          @Mack

          Someone touches your stuff and you’ll kill them? I’ll send you a bar of soap when you go to prison.

      • I must have missed this post before I said almost the same thing just not as well as you did further down the thread.

      • When Jawan puts his hand in the goo that was his best friends face he’ll know what to do — puke his guts out and run like hell in the other direction.

        These guys aren’t coming heavy and giving their lives for your goods and maybe a little fast sex with your wife/girlfriend.

        • This interwebz thing is exactly why the .9mm is no longer good enough for us. We hear about things like the .50RBS in real time and have to have it. the .9mm was good enough for those that came before us, but you pups and your fast ways have to have more horsepower.

      • Back in my old stomping grounds, the Sheriff passes out CCWs like they’re Halloween candy. Anyone who can pass a quick background will get a CCW.

        Shootings, murders, carjackings, home invasion robberies, burglaries, etc. etc. occur very Very VERY frequently. Rather shockingly as the local PD shoots first and asks questions later and the Sheriff hands out CCWs as party favors.

      • While I am sure that “shit happens” but if you are shopping with your family in area where this is a real threat to consider, your priority should not be the guns you carry.

      • High on cocaine , amphetamines, or speed balling, they may not stop and be almost invulnerable until the blood leaves their brain . Rational calculating robbers will split if they see a gun…the really high, paranoid or stupid wont.

    • Words of sense. And “3, 3, 3” covers almost all the situations where a gun is useful. That said, if I am in one of those incredibly rare situations where I need a gun I’d rather have a little extra ammunition than not enough.

    • “Sometimes, you’re just boned…”

      Amen. Anyone who is carrying multiple guns and magazines for all of them with a couple of knives… there’s a transition from “prepared” to “tacticool,” and they’ve gone over it.

      In fact, if you’re carrying more than one gun I have to wonder why you’re not wearing a kevlar vest. Probably because it’s not as cool as a gun.

      • I still go back to my assertions that too few people packing guns get real training on how to read the street.

        These four hood rats didn’t look like choir boys before the assault started, and they didn’t appear out of nowhere like a bunch of magic elves.

        • Yep, because tacticool training that you will never use is more fun the learning how to do surveillance/countersurveillance that you can use everyday.

        • Dyspeptic,

          You’d probably appreciate SouthNarc’s courses, including his module on MUC (managing unknown contacts). I’m planning on taking at least one class from him this coming year, hopefully ECQC if I can make the scheduling work.

        • Watch hands and shoulders. Some people can hide what they are thinking, but their hands are moving to ready without them knowing. A clenched fist, stiff shoulders, moving to behind their back, walking in a line to intercept you. More likely you see it coming, it will be screaming at you, and its in your best interest to listen to that voice.

        • Very simple, the victim was probably a “progressive” who didn’t want to profile/Trayvon/insult the four finely dressed gentlemen who just happened to be standing around in a parking garage.

    • Where do you want to set the “boned” threshold? Like you said, these are all unlikely events. Needing to defend yourself at all is unlikely, so you could set the threshold there. 85% of DGUs involve no shots fired, with merely the presentation of the gun sufficing to end the threat. So why not set the threshold at carrying an empty gun? That covers a large majority of even those unlikely cases. Or if not totally empty, then three rounds in a J – frame. You know they’ll fire and that covers 95% of DGUs you could ever expect to face.

      If it turns out the threat was something else, then just accept you’re boned. Because otherwise you’re obviously trying too hard to be cool.

  5. Minnesota Fats of pool fame said take the easy shots first. Most of us don’t regularly engage in gunfights so we can Monday morning quarterback all week long. But Robs advice to shoot the most threatening person first and then the next and return to the first is probably excellent advice.

    A few decades back a guy told me “one round in the center mass area. People always pause when shot. Second shot to the face if you can. If not another to the chest. ” I always wondered how he knew that.

    • With a wife in the vicinity i’m going to do my best to kill all of them until i run out of bullets at which point I will begin to chew my way through them…. can’t treat attackers in a reasonable touchy feel y save the whales kind of way…

  6. When you move, think of the Spartans. I sugest moving into the ‘lee’ of one thug if you are cuaght in the open with no options. Make them come through eachother. They will shoot their friends or hold their fire. Either way, you are better off than you were before. Any of your rounds that over penetrate are still incoming fire to the next thug.

  7. Given that crime in the US isn’t the same as bumping into a patrol in VietRaqIstan, and we have laws and all, I’ll take the under.

    A fast pair to the guy with the gun, if only one is visible, then a pair to the guy with a knife or coming at you fast. Even with a revolver you’ve got two shots left, and you’re moving fast, like a good tennis player covering a lob. If your splits are good, a pair is the way to go. There won’t be four guys with guns in a group of four punks. Stopping the one or two lead punks is the need.

    You can’t just shoot everybody, and you don’t need to. Take out the mother of all Hyenas and the rest will back off. Every lion knows that. The best thing to learn is to go stone cold, not all NYC cop. The minute an attack begins, visually, the guy is a target, not a fellow congregation member. Perhaps it takes time, experience, to get that feeling? Everybody’s human, until they pull a gun or knife or move into your body fast. At that point you have a job to do.

    It might be optimal to go through that bit when you’re young? It might help to have with you the gun you are extremely familiar with, no changes, no new grip angle, no new trigger. It might be good that you are carrying it exactly as you have trained for a few years, else have it in your hand early (pocket carry).

    You won’t need 15 shots unless you just sold some dope in the other guy’s territory.

    • Man, I need to train more to make sure it is impossible for me miss, and that all shots are guaranteed immediate threat stoppers.

      • A pair is, actually, some assurance in case your first shot isn’t effective. I know many carry revolvers, and I don’t abuse them, but I never said having 14 rounds of .45ACP or 16 of 10mm wasn’t a good idea, did I? The law actually forbids me, maybe you, from giving every guy of four a shot automatically. It may charge the other three under the felony murder rule if I kill the guy with a visible gun, but it may also simultaneously charge me with negligent homicide for the others. You too. You choose.

        • Not trying to argue, but you did say “You won’t need 15 shots…”

          And my point wasn’t that each person should be shot. But that it’s possible you might need all 6/8/10/15/whatever rounds for just one attacker. And even if the initial situation is stopped with only 1 shot, I’d rather have plenty left in reserve. But that’s me.

          I have no problem with someone carrying a 1 shot, 2 shot, 17 shot, or bajillion shot firearm…it’s their choice. But I find it interesting when people say “You will/won’t need X number of shots”…every situation is the same…but different. 🙂

        • Read it this way, then: I don’t believe someone with 10 rounds, or 6 + 6, will find themselves undergunned. As for the “you won’t nee…” bit, I believe it. But I may be wrong. Still, the advice not to sell in someone else’s territory stands. Laugh.

        • RD:

          I wasn’t disrespecting my father, although he often was dismissive of himself. I posted this as reaction to the Rabbi’s argument by authority, a very rabbinical mode of teaching.

          The reason that my posts have a “military” theme is my belief that too many “experts” and “couch commandos” use the wrong model for citizen self defense. The predation model.fits crime better than the military and police model that most tactical trainers push. Predators make swift, violent attacks that they break off at the first sign of resistance. They don’t want to get into a death fight where any victory will be Pyrrhic. The threats that the average citizen faces aren’t interested in a fight and if it looks like one will develop they choose a easier victim, especially when their chosen “victim” looks like he will inflict serious damage on them. I have yet to see a DGU of the day posting that found the victim confronted by multiple attackers who persisted in their attack when they encounter armed resistance,

          I think the popularity of subcompact and micro pistols indicates that most people instinctively understand that the presence of a gun is generally all that is needed to stop an attack and if you are confronted with multiple attackers when the first guy takes a bullet the rest scatter. A tactical trainer who has been involved in the kind of DGU that we will face will not be pushing military and police tactics to the average citizen.

        • tdiinva, having survived a childhood in the tenements of New York and thinking about the way I instinctively conduct myself in public as a result, I can verify that you speak the truth. YMMV.

        • tdinva, I definitely agree that the model for street crime is predation, not military conflicts, a pack of hyenas not a disciplined patrol.

    • RD, I stick with the revolver and pump shotgun for the simple reason that I’ve used them all my life. In the stress of the moment not having to worry about the manual of arms for the particular gun you decided to go with that day is one less moment that Murphy can enter the scene.

      Pick one. Train with it. Make it a part of your body. You won’t embarrass it or let it down when that bad moment comes.

  8. According to the FBI, almost half of violent crimes are committed by more than one assailant. Stats also show that that percentage is rising.

    Shoot the attackers in the order of most likely danger to you. John Farnam’s Boarding House Rules states: “Everybody gets firsts before anyone gets seconds.” In other words, donate one piece of lead to each attacker then go back and give more accordingly.

      • Farnam has been one of this country’s top trainers for decades. Much of what is common technique today was developed by him. Look him up.

        • RD:

          I can say my father was one of the top trainers of airborne troops in WWII. He was a plank holder in the 505th Parachute Infantry and trained elements of every airborne formation that fought in WWII. He made exactly zero combat jumps because he spent the entire war in Georgia. He knew exactly how much credibility he had. That’s why he left the Army after his enlistment was up at the end of October 1945,

        • tdinva: I’m not dissing Farnham. I have nothing but admiration for your father’s work. I’m a little bit touchy about training that doesn’t involve doing, it’s true. I enjoyed Cooper for a few years, though I thought he’d borrowed a lot from Fairbairn without attribution. I got the feeling in contact that he’d fought in the Pacific. Boy, was I wrong. There is something about actually having to shoot people that makes the over-technical or ‘reasoned’ stuff a little thin. So I ask. I suppose it is obvious, but I’m a fan of the idea that a gun and carry method you are long drilled with is important, and that increasing the odds of getting off the first four or five shots are more important than having another ten. I’m just one person. I may be wrong. A man’s got to place his bets. My only hot confrontation in the last fifteen years was with a pheasant gun in hand. I just turned 62. It went well. I don’t think I have the ‘right’ answers. I just have my answers. I like to inquire.

          But parachuting is parachuting, whereever you do it!

  9. A .22 derringer in your pocket beats a “20+ round wonder” that you left at home because it’s a pain to carry.

    • I carry a full size Xd plus two SP101s all day, plus a spare mag, light, pepper spray, knife and cell phone. A.22 is nothing more than a false sense of security.

        • Yupper. How many of us (myself included) are 20?, 50? lbs overweight, but complain about carrying a 2-lb gun?

        • Well, yeah, that’s a cute oft-used phrase, but it’s a bit disingenuous. I don’t need to make sure I have a special reinforced belt and good holster(s) and (possibly) 5.11 pants to carry around my extra 25 pounds of body mass.

        • That’s focus and devotion, Rabbi. Admirable. I couldn’t do it in a suit, given local laws. But if I could…..

        • “Well, yeah, that’s a cute oft-used phrase, but it’s a bit disingenuous. I don’t need to make sure I have a special reinforced belt and good holster(s) and (possibly) 5.11 pants to carry around my extra 25 pounds of body mass.”

          As a demonstration in my Armed Response class, I carry concealed 10 loaded handguns. All are full-size autos or j-frame revolvers, save two which are 380s for my back pockets. I put them on at 7am when I leave the house and wear them until 7pm when I return. I tell the class: “If I can wear 10 all day long, you can wear one. Carry your gun, always.” On day two of the class, I only carry 3 🙂

        • And some people drive a Volvo, some drive a Smart Car. Regrets will depend on the seriousness of the accident you get into.

      • Sounds to me like Rabbi is adequately prepared. For the North Koreans. More power to you Rabbi, I’d go crazy trying to wrangle all that hardware.

      • I appreciate that you’re probably better prepared than me (or most anyone else). That doesn’t change the fact that you, with a 15-or-so-round semi and two revolvers, scare me a little. Do you clank when you walk?

    • Or, carry a decent sized handgun. I carried a Glock 23 in Texas for several years, and they have a strict “no printing” rule. I had to wear extra clothing; It wasn’t always comfortable. But it was 13+1 rounds of .40. And I was never outed once. And I’m just 5′ 11″, 175lbs. Pretty average. If I can do it, just about anyone can.

  10. ” it’s boarding house rules: everyone gets firsts before anyone gets seconds”

    Hilarious. Never heard that one before. Very clever piece about a very tragic incident.

  11. “No one ever ended a gunfight wishing they had less bullets.”

    That sounds right. Then again, Jeff Cooper said that nobody should ever need more than eight. Which also sounds right.

    What’s the upshot (so to speak)? Whether you carry a pistol with 17 or a revolver with 5, make them count and you will survive.

    • Will all due respect to Cooper, assailants back then were not as well trained, not as well armed, not as organized and did not operate as much in gangs as they do today.

        • If I tried shooting 18 shots in 4 seconds from about 12 feet while moving continuously, I’d be lucky to hit the Earth. Tip o’ the hat to you…

        • Movement is overrated in a DGU. Just do the math. If your target is 30′ away, which is about as far away as your attacker can be before the local DA starts second guessing you, and the lateral movement is a very robust 10mph perpendicular to your line of sight, the maximum target displacement for a slow round like a 45 ACP with a flight time of .035 secs is about 6″. You are very unlikely to be moving laterally at a 6 minute per mile pace and you certainly aren’t instantaneously accelerating to that speed. Not much need to lead the target at close range and all you are doing by moving is complicating your own shot. Movement is important at medium to long range. Another case of trying to apply military and police [SWAT] tactics to a close range,swift and violent attack.

        • “Movement is overrated in a DGU” INCORRECT.

          Most gun fights happened at less than 7 feet. Movement has been PROVEN to be vital in both real-life gun fights and in simulation. It is estimated to increase your odds of not getting shot by approx. 50%

          Not only are you not where the bad guy is shooting, he needs to: 1. see that you have moved 2. decide what this means tp him. 3. decide to change his direction of attack. 4. then actually change his direction. All this takes time. Regardless of how short a period it takes, the advantage is yours. Its called an OODA loop-attributed to fighter pilot, John Boyd. Disrupting your adversary’s OODA loop is very beneficial.

        • “If your target is 30′ away, which is about as far away as your attacker can be before the local DA starts second guessing you”

          A study of the principles of self-defense would be worth your while.
          Start with my DVD: Responsible use of Lethal Force
          http://www.armedresponsetraining.com/product-p/arvts004.htm

          The defense of a lethal threat is not predicated on distance, it is predicated on threat. If your attacker has the means to kill you at any distance, you are justified in using lethal force to defend yourself.

          PS: if you every try actually shooting at moving targets, you will realize that they are MUCH harder to hit than a stationary one.

        • I am pretty good friends with the local Commonwealth Attorney. I’ll take her word for it over your DVD. What constitutes a legitimate threat to your life under the law is very much distance related even in a stand your ground state.

          Moving target; How about this. Coyote at a trot at 200 yards with a Winchester Model 70/243 using Hornady 58 grain V-Max superperformance ammo.

          I am sure you can out move a bullet traveling at 1000fps at 7′ aimed at center mass. /sarc There are many other factors that go into a miss at 7′ that are more important than movement. You are confusing cause and effect.

        • tdiinva,

          Your “advice” is wrong. It is obvious that you know nothing about “fighting.”–Human reaction, emotion and physiology are not math based.

          Please refrain from offering your opinions online as some poor sole may get himself killing thinking you are correct. Also, please learn something about a topic before giving advice to others.

          You are a perfect example of why people should not take advise on the internet, rather only from respected experts.

          PS Just because someone is an attorney, does not mean they are right. I know lots of stupid attorneys. Unless they specialize in the field, most know nothing about self-defense law.

        • Well Bob. Having passed military, DoD civilian and IC qualifications I might know a bit more than you think. I haven’t giving any advice on “fighting.” I only point out that a physics based problem has physics based solutions. I am always skeptical of conventional wisdom because conventional wisdom is invariably wrong.

        • tdiinva,

          Telling people that moving during a gunfight is useless and that you can’t shoot anyone beyond 30 feet for fear of prosecution IS talking about gun fighting. I don’t care what classes you took and what test you passed, your comments prove your knowledge on gun fighting is severely lacking.

          Gun fighting is NOT about math, nor physics.

          You sound like an academic who never worked in the field. Your “theories” sound good, but have nothing to do with reality.

        • And Bob, in Virginia the Commonwealth Attorney is the chief county prosecutor. So before taking legal advice from a DVD find out what the person who will be making the decision to prosecute you has to say.

        • “What constitutes a legitimate threat to your life under the law is very much distance related….’

          Please explain to me how someone shooting at me from 10 feet is a lethal threat, but someone shooting me at beyond your magic 30 foot limit is not.

          I’d say your prosecutor is a baffoon. Titles don’t impress me, incoming lead does.

        • Well Bob, I never said it was useless, I said it was overrated. You apparently don’t know how read. There is also a difference between fighting and a DGU. Let see if you can figure out the difference.

          Sammy: There is no magic number but the farther you away you are when you initiate lethal force the less likely a prosecutor will buy self defense. I base 30′ as a good rule of thumb on discussions with an actual prosecutor not from what somebody put out on a DVD. Inside of ten yards the threat is fairly obvious. As you move outside that 30′ circle your ability to justify self defense declines rapidly. The threat to your life, even in most stand your ground states has to be real and imminent. Do you think someone waving a handgun at you from 50 yards away is real and imminent? How about 25 yards? If you do I hope you have a lot of money for your defense because you are going to be indicted for at least manslaughter.

        • Lets see tdiinva, I can easily hit a man-sized target at 50yrds with my snubby, at 100 yards with my primary handgun and several hundred yards with my rifle. With your logic, none are legitimate threats.

          A good lawyer, even a poor lawyer, would eat that “prosecutor’s” lunch.

        • Sure Sammy, especially about hitting a target at 50 yards with snubbie. Not even the fictional Leroy Jethro Gibbs could do that. Try using something real next time. You fail to impress me.

          If a clear cut case of self defense by George Zimmerman gets prosecuted. Your fictional 50 yard shot gets you convicted.

        • tdiinva,

          Just because you are incompetent with a firearm does not mean others are as well.

          Zimmerman would be dead if he didn’t shoot. Your examples are as bad as your knowledge.

      • I’m in a mildly (if friendly) contentious mood:

        Cooper once said, in reply to a challenge about “merely eight bullets,” “just how many armed criminals do you think you can outshoot?”

        Put another way, if they come in gangs, if there are three or four with pistols, if they are better trained, and if you are one person, how on earth do you think you can out shoot them all, or get off more than eight rounds and get lucky?

        • In that situation, you are right. However, you may not face multiple attackers simultaneosly, also, with druged up attackers, multiple hits will be needed.

        • I agree with you, Rabbi. Extra bullets is not a bad idea. I made my point, you made yours. Many heads are better than one.

      • “There is also a difference between fighting and a DGU.”

        You have just proven my point about you and you don’t even know it LOL

    • Another aphorism that has little meaning. If you are a cop or an infantryman then yes you never have enough ammo. If you are Joe Citizen defending your life or property against a thug or two you aren’t going to use all the ammo you have. Just ask George Zimmerman.

      If an armed gang is coming for you and they don’t care if they survive then anything short of a real assault rifle and 200 rounds of ammo will not be enough. You either live in a combat zone, are a member of an organized crime family or fantasy world.

      • I agree that there are limits. Personally I feel better with a mere seven-shot G36 in each pocket than with a massive magazine. I suppose I figure that if one arm/hand is taken out early, or grabbed, the other one will still function. And, if they took out one arm early, my chances of getting off more than six or seven shots are remote, because they clearly have the jump on me. I’m happier, of course with a G36 plus a G30S in a holster. Everybody thinks through things a different way. Frankly nobody gets shot where I live. Burglars flee when noticed. Larger groups in the city have to be seen and avoided, if you don’t have a shotgun. I like hearing other points of view.

    • “No one ever ended a gunfight wishing they had less bullets.”

      This is a little confusing. Perhaps it would be better to say, “No one ended a gunfight wishing they had brought fewer bullets.” Since I, for one, would certainly hope that after the gunfight I had fewer bullets than when I arrived.

      As for how much to carry, at what point do you become uncomfortable or inconvenienced by the additional ammo? I carry the ten round mag in my EDC because it is easier to conceal than the 17 round mag (@ 1.5 inches shorter). If it is not unreasonable due to concealment options I also carry the 17 round mag as a spare. With any luck I will never need it.

      When I plan a road trip I fill up the tank on my car giving me a 300 mile capability, even if I’m only planning to drive 200 miles. So far I have never completed a trip wishing I had brought less fuel at the start.

  12. All these couch tacticians….Obviously he was in condition white..surprised. New Jersey sucks for gun owners and self defense CCW laws ie unarmed victim citizens. The criminals will get treated better in the system than the victims of this tragedy. Gov Christie should sit on the purps face’s and fart until they suffocate …

  13. “Nobody should ever need more than eight”

    No one should ever have to shoot some one in defense either, but shit happens.

    That being said, I bought my wife an xds instead of the m&p 45 she thought she wanted because i subscribe to the “won’t do you any good if you leave it at home theory” (thankfully she loves the gun!)

  14. ”While that adage seems to back up the argument that a relatively low-capacity mouse gun or 1911 is sufficient for self-defense…”

    I understand carrying the pocket gun, small, lightweight, concealable, something you can easily carry. The odds you’re going to get into a gun fight are low, so, it’s a minimalist gun.

    However, I don’t understand carrying the 1911, if I’m to going to carry 2lbs + of pistol on my body, it’s going to have more than 7 or 8 rounds in it. Even if the 7 or 8 rounds are the fists of death known as the 45 acp.

    • That’s exactly what drove me from my 1911’s to the G36 and G30SF/G30S. It was a set back in training, just before it was a step forward in practicality.

    • That is is mistake that most people make when thinking about weight. You are only carrying around 2+lbs of extra weight with a 1911 if you carry nothing. It’s slightly less than pound over a Glock 17. If you can’t carry a pound of extra weight then you have have other problems.

      • I’m carrying a G17 with one extra mag right now, literally as I write this, so, I obviously have no problem with carrying extra weight.

        But, I do have a problem with carrying non-useful, extra weight, the added weight of the 1911, as I see it, is just that, non-useful weight.

        Extra rounds, like I get from the G17, is useful weight, I don’t mind lugging that added weight around all day.

        It’s not a mistake, it’s a calculated decision.

  15. Before you strap on your carry gun, you should have an answer to this basic question.

    “What are you trying to accomplish by carrying Gun(s) ‘x’?”

    Are you carrying a defensive tool for your person and family?….Or are you fulfilling a mental fallacy posing as reason?
    Hauling around 40 rounds of ammo for a trip to Wal-Mart is like hitting up the Taco Bell drive thru in a Lamborghini.It might be fun , but don’t tell me you need a 650HP V12 motor to order a Mexican Pizza.

    Much like that Italian sportscar, all those extra mags, professional class time, tactical holsters, ammunition and range expenses (because omigawd,the Tactical Politburo will be SO pissed if you don’t shoot 1000 rounds a week )adds up to a large bill fast. And for what?

    If three guys with guns and even a modicum of skill and comittment pay you a visit, don’t plan on walking away.If one guy with a rifle REALLY doesn’t like you, your first warning will be a bullet hole materializing on your person.Tell me what kind of “Tactical Threat Management” could those poor souls shot by the DC sniper have used to respond, even if they were armed?

    • Taco Bell in a Lambo would be fun. I bet RF did that at least once in a Ferrari. (Maybe McDonalds…) I wouldn’t blame a Ford dealer for saying I need two Fords for various circumstances. I wouldn’t agree, but I wouldn’t blame him. Life.

  16. RF,

    This scenario may be one where that blade training you mentioned earlier MIGHT come into play. If you are taking on 3 or more attackers, and you have already unloaded your mag or cylinder – fixing bayonets does not seem far fetched.

    If things have already gone so bad that you are sticking and moving and choosing targets then you are already in a world of feces. Like you mentioned how in World War Z it was incumbent that some man play a form of devil’s advocate (think outside the box) when there is a unanimous vote by the Sanhedrin – let me be that guy. For anyone who carries a 5 shot wheel gun this most definitely applies. If you have a nasty jam or mechanical malfunction (murphy’s law) this may come into play as well. If here @TTAG you advocate a quick transition to pistol if your rifle fails to fire, then transitioning to a blade, if you run out of ammo or experience a hellacious jam, is a proportional (and faster) step down.

    Highly speculative & theoretical I know. Most people will never experience any kind of DGU let alone the scenario mentioned above. But hey this is what TTAG is for.

    P.S. Wouldn’t you be glad if you were wearing some body armor and you found yourself in the above situation (passive protection)?

    • Recently suffered an ammunition failure that completely locked my j frame up. Had it been a dgu I would have been down to my Kershaw.

    • He was shot in the head….. Body armor would do nothing. You all have to come to grips with reality, you may get killed no matter what. There are ways of reducing risk in shopping mall parking lots…..

      • “There are ways of reducing risk in shopping mall parking lots…”

        It’s called “Amazon Prime”. Shopping malls are the worst places on Earth.

    • You aren’t going to have time to pull out your knife in the middle of a fight but if you have a revolver or a steel framed handgun like a 1911 you have a bludgeon ready for use. If you are in that kind of a fight you don’t want to have a piece of plastic in your hands.

      • I would choose to bludgeon with the firearm as well provided it continued to be an option but I would not disregard the usefulness of a knife as back up to a firearm. Just like the dynamics of a violent encounter not all knives and methods of deployment are created equal. There are unobtrusive blade options that are not only fast to deploy but can be done so with either hand even when grappled as long as you have movement with that elbow. Like a firearm most will not ever use it to defend their life so doubling as a non-violent useful tool is a nice bonus.

  17. NEWS FLASH – All you Rambo’s who dream of “Make My Day” moments… you may DIE even if you are packing a weapon, pistol, revolver, no matter what caliber or rounds you have or multi target training you have. You all do know LEO’s (Cops) get shot and die all the time in the line of service, even with ballistic vests; heck sometimes Cops shoot each other by accident, and of course shoot dozens of rounds and hit nothing. Remember the group of armed LEO’s at a table in a Washington State Starbuck having coffee, all shot down by one crazy dude….. Please stop with all these scenarios. BTW I carry 7 rounds in my G26. Aim and make it count; don’t shoot wildly. As far as parking garages, very dangerous; be aware of your surroundings, park near the entrance or exit…. Guns are not death rays making you invincible and impervious of harm and giving you immortality. If someone gets the drop on you, has their gun pointed at you, you’re screwed. I have heard of the “good guy” pulling a gun out and returning fire with a gun pointed at them, and they were lucky the violent felon missed with the first shots…. Very lucky…. If someone shoots you in the back, also not a good thing (that is why OPEN carry eliminates your tactical advantage).

    • “Aim and make it count; don’t shoot wildly.”

      “Get a shot off fast. This upsets the guy long enough to let you make your second shot perfect.” – Robert A. Heinlein, The Notebooks of Lazarus Long, 1973.

      • I don’t care what Robert A. Heinlein says…. Who the heck is he…. the king of all gun tactics or science fiction writer… The topic of Guns and using them is a topic full of OPINIONS and a lot of machismo. Yes I am familiar with a shoot from the hip just out of holster, GET THE (BLANK) OFF OF ME shot…… I watched a lot of Cowboy movies to as a kid as apparently you did as well….. What is your point. You quote people that don’t even Google or come up as SiFi writers. That is a LOGICAL FALACY…. an appeal to authority. I disagree with Bob A.H. Also just discharging your gun “FAST” could get you into more trouble: 1) You might hit something you don’t want (you are always responsible for where the bullet goes), 2) There is no “warning shots” in self protection gun carry laws. If they are NOT an imminent threat with intent and means to do you harm, enough to shoot them legally, pulling a gun out and firing it “FAST” might make you a felon real fast. A fast ‘get off me’ shot only works with wood-be criminals without a gun. Remember brandishing your gun is also illegal.

  18. 3 guns.

    is there even enough time in a defensive firefight to draw all three? if you have the opportunity to draw a second one, dont you probably have an opportunity to get away? isnt that the objective, if you can avoid a firefight, avoid one?

    • Many reasons to have 3 guns. To list just a few: May not be able to reach my primary gun, may need to reach one with my support hand. may run out of ammo, primary gun may jam, may need to give a gun to another person, May need to have another if my primary is taken.

  19. There’s nothing “average” about a self-defense incident. It is a terrifying, traumatic event in one’s life, should they survive it.

    I don’t care how many FBI studies or think-tank surveys are done to show a “baseline” expectation of the “typical” SD shooting. I carry a sidearm because I have absolutely no idea when or if I’ll even run into such a situation, or how badly outmatched I’ll be if that day comes.. It could be one guy who folds and flees at the sight of a peashooter, or it could be five hardened criminals high on narcotics who wouldn’t stop at the sound of a 12-gauge pump racking a shell into the chamber. I never walk more than four seconds without at least a quick look around me in every direction, and I stay away from places I have no business or desire to be in. When I do find myself out in the world, I park in the rear of a lot, away from the congested front–it’s not covered by cameras, but I find it a lot easier to pick out things that don’t belong near my truck when it’s not surrounded by SUVs and situationally-blind pedestrians glued to their “smartphones”, and there are far fewer hiding places for any potential miscreants to hide without being seen from at least thirty feet off. I shop light, try to keep to a couple of bags at most, and keep the key out and ready to unlock the door or be employed as a last-ditch weapon if necessary (though my SureFire E2D LED would be the better option in low-light conditions).

    I also expect that there massive holes in how I conduct myself despite these habits, opportunities or openings that can be easily exploited (like having one hand clutching groceries and the other hand holding the key to my vehicle). It’s virtually impossible to do everything “right” 100% of the time, at some point in your day you’ll end up doing something that creates an opportunity for a predator to take advantage of. We can sit here until World War III breaks, read post after post of other SD instances and read every “takeaway lesson” that the bloggers think we should learn, and still end up in hot water ourselves later on. Learning to accept that you cannot control every factor that could conspire to bring harm your way will go a long way in preparing you for the things that you can control.

    Prepare for it, watch for it, do all you can reasonably do to stay out of harm’s way, but accept that sometimes you can do everything right and still lose. That’s not a flaw in your “defensive gun use” plan, that’s life.

    • I like your attitude and approach, PT. Your brain should be first defense. All of the available tools are useless if you don’t use situational awareness first.

  20. Thank God, another article protecting us from our magnum revolvers and 1911s.

    Like the wise NYPD has also taught us – it takes two full Schlock 19 mags to protect us from any one bad guy.

    How much is enough when we stumble blindly into a parking garage

    • george,

      I did not get the sense that this article was condemning 1911s or Magnum revolvers. Rather, I think this article was speaking to the reality that a majority of people carry meager calibers. Given that reality, the article is a discussion of the best tactics when you armed with a meager caliber.

      Disclaimer: in some respects all handguns are “meager” calibers. We all know the adage, “You don’t get something for nothing.” We get the small size/convenience of handguns at the expense of “stopping power” as compared to long guns.

  21. And around and around we go. Yes, sometimes there are more than one or two assailants. But the 3/3/3 rule is not broken by the upside of average. And people who gab on about how THEIR pistol is more powerful/has more rounds/w/e crack me the fuck up. A pistol is somewhere between a rock and a slingshot in combat effectiveness. If you knew you were going to be in a gunfight, you’d carry a rifle, three combat loads of ammo, a shotgun backup and a pistol to shoot yourself with if all that failed. You carry a pistol because actually being prepared for a gunfight isn’t feasible on a daily basis. I get that this is guys comparing barbie dolls, but give it a rest, it just doesn’t matter that much. You’re arguing the relative merits of weapons that precisely no military uses as a primary weapon, ever. It’s like watching two guys argue the relative merits of the 10-22 versus the 77-22 for bear hunting.

    • You have a point but here here is a minor historical note. The last US cavalry charge was carried out in 1942 in the Philippines against the Japanese. The Weapon used by the troopers was their trusty 1911s and not their Springfields. They routed the Japanese.

  22. Skip the guns — all you need are two beautiful knives each with at least 6″ of cold sharpened steel; they never need to have a safety removed, never jam, never need reloading, and you don’t have to be concerned with spent shells laying on the ground harming the environment. You know, I think it’s time for breakfast.

    • I will assume that you trying your hand at sarcasm because taking on four attackers with nothing but two knives is not promising for the victim.

      • Yup, sarcasm it was. Personally, I’d prefer two Ruger LCR’s loaded with .38+P HP rounds. They can each be fired one handed and you don’t need to be concerned with FTFs, racking slides, etc.

    • Rocky

      The last several months have certainly brought in some new characters making rebuttal comments who really lack a sense of humor.

  23. This type of scenario (three or more attackers) makes a good case to carry .45 ACP with 230 grain controlled expansion hollow points. In all but the rarest of instances would you need to shoot any of the attackers more than once to drop them.

    Keep in mind that as long you hit the attacker anywhere near the middle of a leg or their torso, they should go down pretty much every time.

    • More than once? No way, not with the 45!

      Because after the attacker is dropped where he stands from one mere round, the venerable 45 acp will then travel across time and space to kill every male in the recipients linage, all the way back to the beginning of time, erasing the entire family’s name from the every pages of history.

  24. Food for thought: over & over in certain less than desirable neighborhoods, the residents respond to gunfire or the sounds of altercation by swarming in. Police find themselves requiring substantial backup to complete an arrest, escort paramedics or fire, or have to abandon the area.
    Being involved in a shooting in such an area makes me think there is no amount of preparedness that will cope with the escalation.

    As for the individual killed at the NJ mall – that an upscale mall, previously free of trouble.
    So we avoid bad areas, & the bad seeks us out? No easy answers. No one knows how they will react when push comes….

  25. I could afford a luxery ride like a Range Rover, but drive an Explorer and a Yukon. Why make yourself a juicy target for violent fellons? Check your Ego and save your life instead.

  26. “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”

    I’m a bit of a training junkie who spends a substantial amount of time and money pursuing training, often with nationally-known instructors, and I’d say that there’s nothing approaching a consensus on this issue.

    A lot of reputable instructors take the “one problem at a time” approach, engage the most immediate threat and solve that problem before moving on to others. Others are more flexible with the idea of putting rounds on a target and moving on to the next, before you’ve verified that the first is out of the fight.

    Though I can’t say any of them have ever argued for one bullet per assailant. Virtually all instruction I’ve ever received has involved tons of controlled-pairs, except when doing bullseye accuracy drills it’s actually uncommon to shoot just once. You even see this codified in rules for games like IDPA, where standard rules are two shots per target.

    What’s the right answer? I don’t know. If you’ve only taken one class it’s easy to take the instructor’s word as gospel. When you take a lot of training, you begin to get a feel for the fact that you’re just not sure anymore.

    A lot of people have walked away from gun fights using a variety of competing techniques, and some guys do everything right and still end up in a body bag.

  27. These comments are a fun read but to the rabbi carrying three handguns. You do understand that the odds of you needing any of those guns is just about zero right? On the other hand the odds of you having a heart attack are at least 50 /50. Do you spend as much time in the gym as training with your guns? I guarantee the gym will help you live longer than all that iron you are swinging around. I carry an easily concealable SD9 on the rare occasions I feel I might be traveling someplace less than safe. But you need to have a realistic understanding of risk. If you are 20 40 or more pounds overweight a better risk reduction plan is hitting the gym but for those of us who like guns that isn’t as fun is it? Say you are worried about your life all you want but I call BS on out of shape and obese guys saying they need to carry an arsenal to protect their life. I like my guns and I like shooting but have no doubt putting down the second slice of pie is more important than if I have a 9mm or 45 acp.

  28. “You do understand that the odds of you needing any of those guns is just about zero right?”

    Actually, the odds are 1 in 100 that someone will face a violent attack.

    I am willing to bet that you are a big lottery player. Odds of winning that big payoff are 50 million to 1 but you still play don’t you?

    Of course fat people face heart attacks. So do skinny people, as well as lots of other causes of death. Life is terminal.

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