Image courtesy Uncle Tony's Italian Cuisine

“Nobody needs weapons of war on America’s streets. Nobody needs more than fifteen (ten? eight? seven? six? two?) rounds for self-defense.” Bullsh*t. A California restaurant employee is alive today because he had enough rounds in his gun when two men stormed his Vista eatery with bandanas over their faces and guns in their hands. If he’d only been armed with a revolver or mouse gun, he’d have been outgunned . . .

The employee, who hasn’t been named by police, was holding down the fort at Uncle Tony’s Italian Cuisine on the night of January 3rd. When the two gunmen tried to rob the restaurant, the employee drew his own pistol and opened fire. His combat shooting was better than that of most police officers: he fired eight times and managed to hit each of the gunmen at least once.

Police were dispatched to the scene at about 9:40 p.m., but the gunmen had already fled. The employee gave police a good description of the two robbers, including the crucial detail that both of them had gunshot wounds to the upper body. Less than three hours later, two men matching the description were located at a nearby hospital with similar gunshot wounds and very fishy stories. The unnamed suspects were arrested as soon as the doctors were finished stitching them up. They’re being held on suspicion of robbery, conspiracy, weapons charges, and probation violations.

This story illustrates some very important truths about armed self-defense.

The first truth is that if the chips ever go down, you can never have too many rounds in your gun. California is far from the Promised Land when it comes to rational gun laws, but if this employee had been living in SAFE-act New York and restricted to a total of eight rounds this gunfight would have run his gun completely empty. He would have been helpless or overwhelmed if there had been just one more bandito, or if he’d missed just one more time.

The second truth is that criminals don’t give a damn what gun-control laws might be on the books. The perps in this case were already hardened career criminals, already on probation for previous crimes. Who knows? They might have even been trying to knock over this restaurant so they could pay their court fines and probation fees.

In anti-gun California, armed robberies like this are usually described as “It Should Have Been A DGU” incidents. This one has a surprisingly happy ending, thanks to the employee’s preparedness and quick responses. It also hits close to home for me, because Tony’s is less than a mile from my mother-in-law’s house. I’ve walked and driven past it several times, because it’s just down the street from the grocery store we shop at when we’re there.

Full story: San Diego Union-Tribune.

121 Responses to Defensive Gun Use Of The Day: Seven Isn’t Heaven Edition

    • Sadly, a lot of places would fire him for not handing over the money. It would be argued that by not complying, he was endangering lives.

      • There was another robbery here in my hometown where the robber did give any warning but just came in the store and shot the clerk right in the face. No warning. No “Give me all the money in the cash register”. Just BANG. What does an employer do to provide preventative measures for security in cases where they do not allow the employees to defend themselves? Do they accept any responsibility? Are they financially (fiducially ?) responsible? In other words, can an employee sue their employer for not allowing them to exercise the primarily fundamental human right? The right of self-defense?

    • Depends where you live. In the central valley (Fresno, Stockton) there have been a significant number, as well as some nearer Sacramento. We’ve had at least a couple in my town up north, including a LOL who shot a junkie trying to break into her house, and a couple of grow house invasions with shootouts.

  1. I agree with the author completely. Although, the NY SAFE Act restricts round count to a total of 7 not 8.

    • 7 in the mag. The 8th can be in the chamber.

      “living in SAFE-act New York and restricted to a total of eight rounds “

      • There are 8 round .357 magnum revolvers out there, are they legal or do you have to get a 7 rounder?

        • That particular restriction only applies to removable mags, so any revolver is fine.

        • Hmmm… I’m envisioning a 10 round revolver in .327 Federal. That might be cool enough to own outside of NY.

      • Yes but when chambering the +1; make sure you do it from a magazine loaded with only 7 rounds. Then drop the mag, add another round and reseat. Don’t dare charge your weapon with a 10 round magazine loaded to the reduced capacity of 8, lest you become an instant criminal.

  2. If you know what you are doing eight is enough. If you are the average street cop 80 might not do the trick. We also don’t if action took such a short time that they did not have time to begin their retreat before the shooting stopped. How many times did they fire?

    • Eight is enough? Against ten would-be assailants? Would you wait for some of them to line up? A horde of ravenous zombies? Magazine limits are insane. Magazine limits KILL!

      • “Eight is enough? Against ten would-be assailants?”

        .45. Take out your target and anyone within 3 feet….

    • “If you know what you are doing eight is enough.” Really? Seriously? Are you being sarcastic? You’re being funny, right? Sure, if you’re a totally badass HSLDTCMNO (high speed low drag tacti-cool mall ninja operator). But for the rest of us mere mortals, no one ever walked away from a gun fight regretting that they had too much ammo. Nobody. Ever. In the entire history of the world.

    • What did they d0 undergo mitosis and replicate themselves. Ten armed guys walk in you better have a least BAR.

      Let’s think about the scenario. Two armed guys walk in waving around pistols. Do you think they expected armed resistance? If they did then they either would have decided to go elsewhere or come in guns blazing. Since they didn’t do either we can safely assume that they thought nobody would resist. Right away that puts them at disadvantage. I imagine they were frozen in tracks for a moment or two with mouths hanging open when the good guy opened up on them. Do you also think he went miss, miss, miss, miss, miss, miss, hit, hit and then the bad guys thought it was time to leave. It probably happened so fast that they were just beginning exist after the first four or five shots. I don’t think they offered any armed resistance..Sounds to me that they were attempting to flee at the first sign that hey faced an armed man. He just happened to be a good shot.

        • …and the bartender said “It’s your lucky day. Everybody gets a free round on the house!”

        • “…and the bartender said “It’s your lucky day. Everybody gets a free round on the house!””

          I was just recovering from the LAST coffee burns in my nose…..

      • It sounds like you’re the one watching movies if you think DGU shootings usually involve more than 8 shots. Doesn’t mean you should be allowed only X rounds, but it’s the truth.

        • In court it’s called a Brandeis Brief. Brandeis, though, is dead, and nobody else can read the things carefully. Give it five years and the Right to Free Speech will be inviolate, but only if you keep your speech to Twitter length. That’s all you need if you’re concise. Laugh.

        • Statistics are nice. But they aren’t an individual instance of DGU. Your life, you can gamble it any way you choose from a 30 round mag to carrying/owning no weapon at all. You can prepare based on the statistical norm (although an attack already places you outside the norm). As Groucho Marx said, “I could go on talking to you kids forever, but it’s time to play ‘You Bet Your Life’!”

          My philosophy based on the above is more in line with the one-armed deputy in the Unforgiven when asked why he was loading up multiple firearms.

          ‘Well I just don’t want to be killed for lack of shootin’ back.’

      • I know what will happen if 10 armed thugs walk in on me — die BAR or no BAR, the same as anybody else in here.

        Now as for my actual experience I have been under indirect fire for grand total of about 90 seconds. All I can say is that I kept my head and did what I was supposed to do. Not bad for a rookie.

    • Holy crap, it is? I’m gonna down load all my mags to 8 rounds. Thanks. I’ve been spending way too much time with 11, 13, 15, 20, and 30 round mags. Plus, you’be just helped me lighten my load.

      / end sarc.

      Listen, I’m gonna carry as much ammo as is feasible and I recommend everyone else do the same.

    • One more assailant and he’s out of luck. Eight was just barely enough for two. Everyone is free to make their own choices, but I don’t feel comfortable relying on “barely sufficient” when my life is on the line.

        • Without any axe to grind, I note that William Fairbairn, after a career that involved him in more than 600 street fights of various sorts, said he never saw a single one of his Shanghai Metropolitan Police reload during a fight. What they did instead is unknown to me. (-as an irrelevancy I note that for the first time in my lifetime there was a drive-by shooting in my township yesterday. Granted it was on the absolute poorest street, but this does not bode well. We haven’t had a homicide in many years.)

        • Well, tdinva, I think WF was the first (Deputy) Superintendent to equip the entire force, in the 1930’s, with 1911’s. I actually think the encounters were usually up close, like melees, and the guys simply reverted to fist-fighting. Not sure. He ran the first decent shoot house as well, it seems.

          If the round count is about “what is usually sufficient?” it is trivial. Do what works for you. Some people live in gang-infested slums. Some live in highly policed neighborhoods with low crime. If the question is what should be legal, I favor the LEO standard, which was, and very publlcly, “as much as the bad guys often have.” Perhaps than means 19 rounds.

          I prefer to own larger-capacity pistols for field carry. When we camp or hike I carry a 10mm with hunting loads. I prefer to carry 6, 8, or 10 round semi-autos if I carry in suburbia. Cuomo obviously would confiscate my 15 round 10mm. I don’t think much less is prudent for forest carry. Who knows?

          In any case the magazine issue has nothing to do with the crime issues. The ghetto will vote dem no matter what. Liberal suburbia will think Cuomo’s done something for their safety. I use “think” loosely.

        • Its always nice to see a bunch of guys safely surrounded by heavily armed people make laws saying we only need 2 or 7 rounds. Nowadays 7 direct hits may not be enough. People loaded up on one of many drugs easily available and they can latterly be dead men walking and still come at you.
          I used to know a guy that shot an armed robber who was about to execute his wife (3 guys were robbing their jewelry store and he had left to get some coffee). The perp (who was later determined to be amped up on PCP) turned to shoot him and got a left side of the chest full of buckshot from about 15 feet. The guy just stood there and shot him in the face before running out the door. The responding cops passed the perp running down the highway. He made it about a mile before dying. Another friend almost died in Afghanistan after shooting an insurgent 6 times center mass chest and is only alive because his battle buddy was able to get of a snap burst that caught the guy in the head.
          Controlling access to the means of law abiding citizens to protect themselves is stupid. Criminals don’t follow the law anyway.

      • There are a lot of factors that go into the choice of weapons besides magazine capacity. Personal ergonomics are the most important factor. I will put more rounds on target with JMB design or an M-9 then with my blocky XDs. That is a very important factor for a non-LEO in a DGU. Each stray round is a potential negation of your self defense claim. We don’t get a break on collateral casualties. The math for me is that I have more confidence that I will get the same or greater number hits with my 1911 as my XD 45. And I do carry a double stack 9mm on many occasions.

      • DBM:

        Re: “Another friend almost died in Afghanistan after shooting an insurgent 6 times center mass chest and is only alive because his battle buddy was able to get of a snap burst that caught the guy in the head.”

        I hear you. That’s why the Army should be using a 7.62×51 cartridge instead of a varmint round.

        Nobody here is suggesting magazine limits, at least I’m not.

        • or soft nose but thats illegal.

          With JHP you can defend yourself but not your country,
          You can defend your country with 30 Rnd mags but not yourself
          What a world, what a world.

    • Yep. NY can FOAD, and California, too. I’m glad I live in the real West, where in Springfield XDm I can trust: 13+1 in compact configuration, and 19+1 with the full-size magazines.

      Still, good job by the clerk.

      Pray that you never have to shoot someone, but be ready to unleash hell in case God doesn’t answer. Whether because God answered no or stayed silent (or more likely doesn’t exist), this guy was ready when it was time to do or die. I only hope I can do as well if my turn comes.

    • In all seriousness, if I lived in NY I’d get either a semi-concealable .44 mag (my Blackhawk is a touch large for carry) or maybe a 1911 in 10mm. If the state limits your capacity, it makes the “one shot stop” much more crucial. When you’ve got 17 in the mag and one in the pipe you can afford to pull the trigger 3 or 4 times. That said I don’t live in NY and I’d rather be shot once with a .44 than be shot 4 times with 9mm +P Gold Dots. Not that I’d much appreciate either.

  3. “The first truth is that if the chips ever go down, you can never have too many rounds in your gun.”

    But wait….we just had a conversation here where 1911 lovers were arguing, passionately, that eight is enough. And besides, the .45ACP puts a man down with one shot and he does NOT get up again.

    Now I’m just so terribly, terribly confused!

    • The point at issue is what restriction on the right to bear arms is constitutionally permissible. We do not need to criticize each other’s opinions. One is often enough. Three is usually enough. That isn’t the issue. Fortunately we have legislative and media records of the various police organizations testifying throughout the eighties and early nineties that 6 rounds was not enough, ten was not enough, that frankly they needed nineteen round Glocks and 30 round AR magazines because…hold onto your seats….”that’s what the bad guys have. We are outgunned by the gangsters.” No further argument is needed. I’m sure the Supreme Court can read, and can reason that people defending their homes need to match the thugs who break into them.

      Carry what you think is appropriate for your circumstances. Legislate only what is necessary and bears up under strict scrutiny.

  4. I have a different opinion on “round count”. Man does NOT live by round count alone. There could be a time when I want a high round count,,, but it’s not an absolute & round count offers NO guarantees. Some say high round count leads to spray & pray mentality. Much of the data I have researched points to an average of 2.3 rounds used per defensive shooting.

    In a gun fight there are only three things that count;

    SHOT PLACEMENT
    SHOT PLACEMENT
    SHOT PLACEMENT

    YMMV

    • “Some say high round count leads to spray & pray mentality.” And some are wrong, now aren’t they?

      Shot placement? Absolutely.

      But I can not fathom how anyone would insist that “eight is enough” when they have other options.

      My EDC is now, by the way, my Walther PPQ M2 with 18+1 capacity. I carry Federal Hyrdrashock 147 grain JHPs.

      And I carry an extra mag, or two if conditions permit.

      I’d rather have the ammo and never need it, than need it and not have it.

      But go right ahead and bet your life on:

      (1) Never needing more than eight rounds.
      (2) Time to reload.
      (3) Ability under intense life/death stress to get enough rounds on target to stop the threat.

      Hope it works out.

    • More ammo doesn’t affect SHOT PLACEMENT… Unless your mag is so large that you can’t raise the gun to the threat.

  5. As a regular and fairly long-time reader of TTAG I can now predict which stories will ALWAYS get at least 100 and probably many more comments:

    (1) Billy Joe walks into a shopping mall with his AR 15 slung over his back, open carrying.

    (2) The 1911 is an American classic and a superb choice for EDC (or any variant on that theme by way of a 1911 handgun review or any pro/con variant on any of the above).

    (3) Glocks are the AKs of handguns because they just work (or any variation pro/con on this theme).

    (4) Defensive gun use … how many rounds do you need?

    Am I missing anything?

  6. Hell for all we know he might have hit them both with the first shot he fired and missed with all the rest.

    • That is very likely, which brings the question, why did he continue to shoot? If they were retreating, he had a duty to cease fire, and would have been arrested. Since both bad guys ultimately fled, its more likely they did not stop their attack immediately, and needed additional convincing. Nothing like a few rounds whizzing past your ears to make you think that there are better places to be, friendlier eateries to rob, or jobs with less lethal hazards.
      Besides, anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Clearly, he needed more ammo.

      • “…why did he continue to shoot?”

        They didn’t fall down dead and lifeless, which probably wouldn’t have happened until they bled out or took a head shot.

      • Not true, a local man shot and killed his assailant in the back of the neck as he fled and it was a legit shoot. A fleeing armed assailant is still dangerous and it is reasonable to continue your counter offensive til the threat is over.

  7. People arguing about how many rounds is enough is silly. It’s like saying how tall is tall? One person says, “enough” and the other says “taller”. How about people carry as much as they want and one way or the other, they’ll live with the consequences. Same with caliber selection, weapon type (pistol vs. revolver), etc.

    For God’s sake people, there are more important things to discuss, such as Cthulhu rising from a cornfield in Kansas. I’m not saying it’s happening, but no one has confirmed to me it hasn’t.

  8. “probation violations” what do you know firearms prohibited persons with guns those new gun laws are really working great i feel safer already

  9. the 8 round .357 Magnum revolver is sweet, if you can get your hands on one. for deeper sh*% than that, carry 2 guns.

    • After reading the Rabbi’s exhortation I’m reconsidering always relying on one sidearm plus spare mags. Under some circumstances, a back-up would be prudent.

    • My father said that he’d treated a patient who, after losing a foot race with two of Chicago’s finest, was shot nine times at point blank range (they actually fired all twelve of the rounds in their revolvers, but even at point blank range, standing over they guy, missed three times). They walked him in in handcuffs. He had no serious injury, just a bunch of holes.

      • Your father may have founded the Holeistic Medicine field.

        Seriously, though, how is it possible? It boggles the mind.

        • Ropingdown.
          Go to the woods and run a 100 yard sprint, immediately raise your weapon and start firing. No pausing just immediate rapid fire and see how well you do.

        • This is what Biathlon is all about. Watch. Next month. Cross-country ski a few miles. Stop. Fire weapon at targets. Skate penalty laps on a track for each miss. Continue down the course. Rinse. Repeat.

        • DBM, I get the “it’s very difficult to shoot well after heavy exertion.” That’s what makes Biathalon a good sport. What amazes is me is how people survive with nine holes in them. I understand the explanations (freak hits missing arteries or vital organs) but still, it amazes me.

        • Sometimes its the drugs shutting down the cental nervous system and sometimes its a head scratcher or act of God or something. 9mm’s tend to punch small straight holes in people so if you dont hit them in a vital area its a good chance all that happens is they get a bunch of scars for street cred. A little over 20 years ago 2 Balitmore Narcotics cops shot a guy 17 times at a range of less than 15′ with 9mm Hydrashocks after the perp had just put a 9mm into the back of the head of a project cop from a distance of 1 foot. Both the cop and the perp survived.
          Only other thing I can think of is way to many people think ammo is good forever. You handle the ammo or carry it close to your body (concealed carry) your ammo is on a downward spiral. The first ammo to go down range on the firing line should be what you have been carrying in your pistol no matter how expensive it was.

      • I remember reading an article, it might have been by Ayoob but it was 20 years ago so I’m not sure, about a NYPD shooting. Domestic disturbance. Two cops show up, the disturbance is a large man under the influence of recreational pharmaceuticals who had hacked his wife up with a large knife. He came at the cops. This was back in the .38 revolver days. They shot him a total of twelve times. He kept coming. Luckily another cop had by now shown up with the shot gun. Shot him once with the shot gun and as he was racking the slide the guy sat up and said, “This hurts, stop shooting me.” They cuffed him and walked him down to an ambulance. He died enroute to the hospital.

        Unless you shut down the central nervous system or let all the blood out, there is no such thing as “one shot stop”.

        • “Unless you shut down the central nervous system”

          Thats why the Army went with the .45 ACP and got away from .38’s, .41’s and .44’s (those were in the pre magnum days). Shooting someone amped up opium with any of the above multiple times was useless. The .45 ended the dead man walking syndrome problem.

  10. Great story that will never make CNN or any other mainstream media cause the”good guy with a gun” is simply NRA propaganda,Right?
    Now the civil lawsuit will begin because it’s Stupid California. The criminals will own the restaurant by next year.
    The employee needed a bigger gun !

    • I grew up in Rhode Island. Miscreants were taught at an early age to never rob an Italian restaurant or break into a house if the last name on the mailbox ended in a vowel. I grew up in a nice semi rural, low crime area, but there are only two houses on my parents street that have never been broken into in the 50 years they’ve lived there. My parents house (we’re Portuguese, but the last name still ends in a vowel) and the folks across the street…the Ortoliva’s. Coincidence?

  11. Six rounds is enough for me. I dont really give a shit what anybody else thinks. I’m not delusional, I just like revolvers and thats what I choose to carry.

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