In Youngstown, Ohio last month, a couple of teenage criminals attempted to rob a Sami Quick Stop a little after midnight. The armed confrontation that ensued resulted in one robber wounded, both captured, and minimal damage to the store. One of the suspects is reported to have dropped a rifle as he fled. There are several lessons to be learned here:

The first lesson is that you don’t have to be a perfect gunfighter to be effective. You simply have to be more effective than the opposition. Most criminals aren’t well trained in either shooting or tactics. They tend to believe that everything will go according to plan.  When the victim(s) refuse to cooperate, they often are left without a contingency plan and are unable to react until they go through a decision process. If the victim acts during this period of mental downtime, the criminal has to repeat the process. In the military, this is called getting inside the opponents OODA (Observe, Orient,Decide,Act) loop.

A simple way to look at this is situation: action beats reaction. It takes time to react. The clerk’s action beat the robber’s reaction. It’s hard to argue with success, and the defender in this situation was clearly successful. For purposes of discussion, though, there are a few things he might have done differently.

First, cover and fake compliance to gain advantage. In the video, the defender in the checked shirt, a clerk at the store, never complied with the robber’s commands. He stood his ground, drew his semi-auto pistol in a fairly slow draw, racked the slide and fired his shot. The process took about four seconds, from about the 2 1/2 seconds mark on the video to the 6 1/2 seconds mark. The robber is repeatedly shouting “Get in the back, get in the back!”

The clerk could have faked compliance by backing up around the shelves to his right, thus putting concealment and possibly cover between himself and the robber. Once around the corner, he could have drawn unseen, racked the slide, perhaps moved forward to flank the robber and engaged him from behind cover. It would have taken about the same amount of time.

By moving and faking compliance, he might have reduced the chances of being shot, because the robber would not have seen the draw and would not have been alarmed when he seemed to comply.

From the viewpoint of the robber, he had plenty of time to shoot the clerk while the clerk was drawing his pistol and racking the slide. As the aggressor in the incident, he had significant incentives to refrain from shooting, all of which worked to the advantage of the defender. Most robbers do not want to shoot anyone. It’s a much more serious crime that brings more attention from the authorities. Most robbers do not include shooting the victim in their plans. They simply believe that everything will happen as they envision it.

We don’t know if the robber even could have shot the clerk. Many armed robberies are committed with unloaded guns, guns that do not work, fake guns, toy guns, or air guns.

The robber did not appear to watch the clerks hands, and he never ordered the clerk to show his hands.

The video illustrates one of the problems with carrying in condition three — no loaded round in the chamber.  If the clerk had made use of fake compliance and cover, the sound of his racking the slide could well have alerted the robber to the fact that he was armed, even if he didn’t see the clerk draw.

It looks like the clerk used proper technique to rack and release the slide. Under stress, people tend to do what they’re trained to do.   After releasing the slide, he let his left hand fall to his side and shot one-handed. Most instructors believe that two-handed shooting is more effective, but it appears that the clerk wasn’t trained to shoot with both hands.

The video also illustrates how criminals avoid carrying guns openly and find ways to conceal even full-sized rifles or shotguns. In this case it appears that a book bag and the shooter’s clothing were used to conceal the long gun until it was brought out for use inside of the store.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Gun Watch

49 Responses to Video Tip: Watch the Hands

  1. That dude is a pretty cool cucumber. I’m glad everything worked out for him because he’s damned lucky it played out the way it did. That his gun wasn’t in condition one, working in a convenience store late at night, is pretty stunning, putting himself well behind the curve.

    • Yeah, that was what really caught my attention. No panic apparent at all. He should have immediately called 911 after holstering his weapon, but other than that and, of course, stupidly carrying in condition 3, his response was impressively swift and decisive. No wasted time on warnings, no fumbling with his weapon, no screaming or histrionics. There is always room for improvement, but overall a damn good DGU. I hope I never have to use my gun, but if I do, I sure hope I can manage the same level of calm the clerk seemed to have.

      • I’m pretty sure he picks up the phone, black blur on the counter, just after holstering. The fact that he takes more than 10s before dialing (when the video ends) seems norther here nor there, since there is no immeadiate threat and the cops are minutes away.

        Besides he should make the coworker that saw nothing make the 911 call, STFU and all.

        • I’m not one of them, personally. Condition 1 if single-action, condition 1 or 2 if double.

        • @Jim R; glad to hear it. Same here: condition 1 with the 1911, condition 0 (0.5?) with the Glock 23.

    • That was what I heard, as well. Makes more sense, too, with the way the perp tossed down the bag and backed away from it, as if he wanted the cleck to pick it up and fill it with cash.

  2. This dude seems like ex military and from the looks of it he has been shot at before. He didn’t even flinch when the gun was pointed at him and seemed very calm when he replied “me shooting someone”. That being said had the robber been quicker to realize what was happening he could have easily shot the dude as his draw was very slow and he had to take time to rack a round.

    • This was obviously not the clerk’s first time having a gun pointed at him. He was cool, methodical and never backed up.

  3. Other than the condition 3, that guy had excellent tactics. He switched the shop item to his weak side and drew his concealed handgun hidden from view on his strong side. It looks like his continued to conceal his drawn his gun from view behind his right leg while he decided what he wanted to try to do. The BG only saw it simultaneously with hearing and feeling it. This is why I carry concealed and in condition 1.

    -D

    • I’m surprised that our resident Israeli Draw commandos have yet to chime in and praise the Condition 3 carry. They’ll probably find validation in this case of it (luckily) working for this guy.

  4. I think someone in the back of the store said “what was that” and the clerk, who sounds understandably pissed says “Me shooting someone.” at the end of the video.

    -D

  5. Oh Ytown!
    I spent 10 years there in and after college. I don’t mean this to sound ‘puffed-up’ at all, but it takes a lot to faze people in Youngstown. Poverty, violence, and struggling are the norm.
    A kid in one of my classes was murdered about thee weeks into my second semester of college….and the attitude was just, “Well, that’s what happens when you try to buy drugs.”

  6. The clerk survived the encounter without sustaining any injuries. So Monday morning quarterbacking, as the author does, is a waste of time, IMO.

    We also have the advantage of watching the encounter from a high angle. If we were stupid enough to be the robber, we may not have seen what the clerk was doing until the gun was in our face. As the author said, a lot of robbers don’t want to either shoot someone, or participate in a gun fight where the other side actually shoots back. So when Hom Slice saw the clerk’s gun in his face and the slide being racked, he suddenly realized he forgot to bathe the cat and beat feet outta there…

    And still got shot for his stupidity. The damn fool.

    • This isn’t MNQ’ing. This is post game review. Its about looking at what worked and what could have perhaps been done differently so that we can improve our own training and mindset should we ever find ourselves in a similar situation (knock on wood).

    • Um…..you know who else engages in Monday morning quarterbacking? Sunday afternoon, Pro Bowl, MVP, Super Bowl winning quarterbacks, that’s who.

      I know, the thrust of your remark is that we, who weren’t there, supposedly have no right to criticize the guy who was there and survived. Well.

      This isn’t an exercise in moral superiority or in bashing someone whose performance we could never rival, let alone surpass. In fact, many here have been in split second life or death situtions before and they’re still alive. Some here have even been in gun fights, either as a private citizens, as cops, or in the miliary, and survived. So they’re not necessarily far removed from such a circumstance as depicted in the video.

      The purpose of reviewing the video here and offering feedback is to help improve our own preparation for and perhaps performance in a DGU. It’s about imparting with illustration the benefits of condition one, situational awareness and concealment and cover. The is to identify what worked and perhaps avoid what increased risks. I don’t see it either as disrespectful of the clerk nor a waste of our time.

      • My bad. I should have been more specific. This is the section where I think it was more MMQ than objective analysis, and thus, a waste of time within the article:

        “The clerk could have faked compliance by backing up around the shelves to his right, thus putting concealment and possibly cover between himself and the robber. Once around the corner, he could have drawn unseen, racked the slide, perhaps moved forward to flank the robber and engaged him from behind cover. It would have taken about the same amount of time.

        “By moving and faking compliance, he might have reduced the chances of being shot, because the robber would not have seen the draw and would not have been alarmed when he seemed to comply.”

        The clerk had to assess the situation, instantly. He may have thought the same thing as the writer wrote. But he also had to factor in how to keep the other employee in the store safe. And to be fair, the clerk was, indeed, cool as a cucumber. This probably wasn’t his first rodeo. He decided a counter attack from where he stood was the best response. He was right. This time. Next time, it may not be the correct response.

        After all – it depends…

    • While it’s good that it worked out, it could have gone pear-shaped: he could have had a failure to feed, or just the time he took to chamber a round could have been too long.

      There’s nothing wrong with people pointing that out.

  7. I must admit, though, that I prefer condition 1 to condition 3. But, hey. Different strokes for different folks.

  8. The clerk didn’t seem surprised at all. I have nothing to add…except if you point a shotgun at someone you better be prepared to use it.

  9. Revealing quote, or unfortunate choice of words? From the WKBN article: “In the right situation, someone who is responsible and very knowledgeable with a weapon, they have the right to protect themselves,” said [Police Chief] Roddy.

    So, you have to meet those criteria in order to have the right to protect yourself? I thought the right simply existed, rather than being bestowed on those who are deemed ‘qualified’ by some so-called authority. I’m not advocating irresponsibility, and weapons knowledge is invaluable, but nobody gets to decide who can protect themselves and who can’t.

    • Agreed. Note also that the article makes mention that the clerk had a permit to carry. No such permit is needed or required in a business or home in Ohio. In SC the list includes boats, kayaks, horses, mules, tents, cars, trucks, toy wagons, bicycle, tricycles, and so forth.

    • I’m just glad and astonished to see a media outlet (I guess it happens sometimes with local ones, never national) and a cop acknowledge that it’s a good thing for responsible citizens to be armed and defend themselves.

  10. Depending on jurisdiction and the DA, some would make the argument that the assailant had backed off and was turning to run, and got shot in the back.

    If he had one chambered, there would have been a bullet sent into the perps face in the time it took him to rack the slide.

    Nonetheless, admirable performance and happy outcome.

    • From what I saw the assailant was backing off, but still had his firearm raised and pointed at the store clerk. The clerk could make the argument that the assailant still displayed hostile intent.

  11. Only thing wrong in that video is that the clerk did not already have a round in the chamber. Then we could have seen Mr. Get-in-the-back say “Aaaaaah” on Camera!

  12. Two more things:

    Where can I find the news report of this attempted robbery? A couple of you spoke about it.

    I just now realized what this video reminds me of – Denny Crane shooting the mugger in the garage on the show, Boston Legal.

  13. Looked like the clerk was practiced, Starting at :02-:03 turned his left shoulder toward the attacker, right side shielded from view, and had his hand on his gun before see the hand move and while the attacker was still taking steps toward him….Good stuff.

    • Well if you were standing there for eight hours a day, 40 hours a week, I’m sure boredom would force you to simulate various scenarios and responses all day every day.

  14. I would consider the possibility that the robber’s gun was not loaded or shootable.
    A very similar thing occurred at a sporting goods store in Indiana some years back, except that there were three bad guys and more potential good guys involved.
    The first guy shook a sawed-off Richardson single-shot 12 gauge out of his baggy pants and pointed it at the wife/owner, screaming “Everybody on the floor!”
    The husband/owner to the right came up shooting with his condition 1 STI .40 and got two hits. The guy dropped the gun and staggered back. All three baddies retreated immediately to the stolen Escalade outside the shop door where the local gendarmes collected them shortly thereafter. (The local PD HQ was across the street and a couple blocks down.)
    The hammer wasn’t back (cocked) on the H&R, the owner noticed later. Conclusion- the baddies thought the sight of the thing would be enough and may not have planned to shoot.
    However, a lot of drugs were involved so it’s also possible pharmaceutical interference is involved.
    Another item: there were three B-or-higher class USPSA shooters at a further counter, all with 1911s and Glocks, and all were drawing while the owner was bringing up his 1911.
    Wow, it was going to be very loud in that place if the front baddie didn’t drop the H&R.

  15. Many criminals don’t load the gun so they don’t actually kill someone and ride the lightning. These are the real gems of the criminal world, the ones with family who sue because the shop owner dropped their angel and all that.

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