Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight. Do bring a gun to knife fight. No matter what happens, you still have to deal with the one rule of a knife fight: you’re going to get cut. And here’s the thing: you stand a pretty good chance of after-the-fact exsanguination. Thanks to the psychological effects of adrenalin, you could suffer a lethal injury and be bleeding to death without feeling a thing. Until you don’t feel a thing ever again. We’re not talking about arterial spray. We’re talking about invisible internal bleeding which can take 20 minutes or longer to kill you dead. In fact, after any defensive gun use . . .

have someone else check you for injuries, from head to toe, looking for bruises, knife wounds and/or bullet holes. The best person to do that: a medical professional. In most situations, calling an ambulance is the fastest way to get access to competent medical attention. Of course, it’s not either or. Have someone else check you out for injuries AND call an ambulance.

Bonus! Medical attention gives you a chance to take a break from police attention/interrogation. [NB: Assert your right to silence and STFU.] Being passive in front of medical personnel also promotes the idea amongst law enforcement officers that you’re a victim of violence, rather than an instigator.

In short, you can win a fight and lose your life. Don’t be that guy.

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47 Responses to Pro Tip: Call an Ambulance After a Defensive Gun Use

    • Another bonus is that you have called for AID for the scrote and a jury will hear that if the case gets that far.

      Ray

    • +1. As a medical professional I can tell you that this happens a lot. You wouldn’t believe how many times we have people come into the ER a hour after a car accident, after they refused treatment at the scence because they felt fine, and ended up in the OR or ICU.

  1. I’ve been thinking about similar circumstances. As a n emt if I was involved in a dgu would/ should I help the bg? A breach of duty to act could cost a medical professional thier lisence.

    • I believe from a legal perspective there are few jurisdictions that require you to aid another if off-duty, when you do not have a professional duty to act. In addition, you may want to assist a wounded “bad guy” in a DGU but doing so exposes you to close contact with the person that you just moments before deemed to be enough of a threat that you used deadly force against that person. It would be one thing to assist in a medical situation after law-enforcement has already secured the scene and the individual, quite another to do it without any professional assistance. Regardless, I can think of few circumstances where you would have a duty to act in a situation like that.

    • Depends on your state & state of mind. You could also be showing clear thought and presence of mind by performing basic first aid. Theoretically that could be used against you. Check with a criminal lawyer for advice. Having been in that posistion I can say that it’s close to trying to perform drunk from the adrenalin.

    • I’m not a medical professional, but I’d be loathe to assist. As others mentioned, you are putting yourself in close proximity to someone who just was a lethal threat and who might be again if he/she gets a rush of adrenaline. What if they are playing possum? I’d also be more worried than normal about contamination, as I would think that the population of those who attack others and are wounded in a gun fight have a greater statistical likelihood of being diseased.

    • EMT here! In Texas were required by law to offer medical aid to anyone who needs it on duty or off SO LONG AS IT DOESN’T PUT OUR LIVES IN DANGER. We can run into the burning building, but we don’t have to. Offering medical help to the robber you just put leaks in could quite potentially put your life in danger. Can. Don’t have to.

      • Thanks for the input. In fl it’s similar and should I help I can’t release the patient to a less qualified responder like Leo or an emtr.

    • I’m a RN and have asked the question about providing first aid to the bad guy while in my ccw class. The lawyer and police officer teaching the legal portion of the class told me as of 2012 I had no legal obligation to provide aid in MI, but they did say it wouldn’t hurt my case in the courts if I had someone else to watch my back while providing aid.

    • I think at that point you aren’t in the right state of mind and you are possibly injured. You therefore might be incapable of providing care. So it’s not an issue of not providing it when you were able. In fact, like others are saying, you probably put yourself at more risk.

      This is taking it to it’s logical extremes, but I doubt a doctor would be considered breaking his oath if he didn’t jump up from his own hospital bed while recovering from open heart surgery to attend to someone who collapsed in the hallway.

    • Most jursidiction will view what you do afterwards as a sign of what distress you were under. So if you claim a DGU but you didn’t feel your life was in danger enough to reach a safe place then a lawyer will say “appearently you weren’t that scarred for your life, you must have been the aggressor”. Standing over a bleeding guy, with a gun on your belt, when the police show up will not make a great first impression.

      Not to mention it’s not uncommon for these types to move in multiples. Just because the second guy didn’t come out of the shadows during the first part doesn’t mean his not going to circle back around and nail you in the head when you distracted.

      Get to safe place, call for help, and keep your head on a swivel the whole time.

      • Band-aid? Truthfully I’m going to be busy making sure his buddies are not coming up behind me, securing my family & self and waiting on PD to show up. I’m trained to secure the bg, and let on duty medics deal with them once scene secure.

        Something more important is when calling 911 tell them what you are wearing & when PD arrives put your weapon the hell down before you get a few 185gr gold-dots in you.
        BTW you can be shot w/o knowing I had 2 9mm rounds in my vest with blunt trauma didn’t even feel them until partner pointed out my shirt. A day in the I.C.U. w/cracked ribs beats the other option.
        Better advice buy a good vest & be able to toss it on in the dark if you decide to search your house, for the source of that 3am noise.

    • You quite possibly should, but only after the BG is secured by LE, otherwise I would remain outside arms reach with my firearm in my hand. Keep yourself safe first.

  2. I wonder if calling the ambulance for the BG too might also help you demonstrate that you shot to stop, not to kill?

      • If you end up shooting someone, one of the first steps should be calling 911. If you call 911 and say you just shot someone, believe me, they’re also going to send an ambulance. While they’re there have them check you out as well.

  3. I can’t speak for being shot or stabbed but I did get my leg crushed in a motorcycle accident once and I can attest that you probably won’t feel a thing for a full minute.

  4. Always tell the first person who speaks at 911 that you need an ambulance IMMEDIATELY. A cop will show up 10-20 minutes after the real responders arrive, no problem.

    • Actually, it is the policy for all EMS departments I have encountered to stage nearby while police secure the scene and tell them it’s ok to enter.

      That’s not meant as a dig against EMS, but they are unarmed and if they get shot they won’t be able to render assistance.

      That’s why the first rule of CLS is fight the fight.

      Check your facts before you make a claim like that dude.

      • Tell 911 operator you need an ambulance immediately first. You already fired and they are down, its a medical situation, not an active shooter. If BG is still shooting and you are on phone you have your priorities screwed up.

        • I seem to recall comments here by EMT’s stating that they won’t go in until police have cleared the scene. In other words, someone has to make sure it’s not an active situation first before the medical folks go in.

          Was it Nick Leghorn that’s mentioned that? Can you confirm or deny?

        • Again, out here in flyover country, ya know, America’s great rural wasteland, ambulance and fire usually show up first. In sh*thole cities? Guess not quite so much.

        • CHL classes in TX have instructed that EMS will not show, even at your home, for a confrontation unless cleared by LE first. If what you report is a fall, a fire, a heart attack, fine. A shooting? Domestic violence? Home invasion? They will NOT arrive until cleared by police. Which makes perfect sense, dunno why you would think otherwise. Are you thinking that the injured in the attack in Paris would have EMS arriving while the bad guys were still shooting?

        • Because here in rural PA fire and EMT arrive before cops on a routine basis, being as they are in the local community and cops are far away. In cities cops are right there, shaking down businesses, harassing the elderly and children, picking up off the books pay for “security” work, all those things we don’t have in the “sticks” where we are so deprived and whatnot.

  5. Call an Ambulance After a Defensive Gun Use

    I’ve written the same thing time and again right here on TTAG. Anyone involved in a DGU should ask to be taken to the hospital. The defender could be injured and not know it. It’s happened to me. The defender could be having a heart attack and not know it. That happened to a friend, although the context wasn’t a DGU. The defender is certainly jacked up on adrenalin and may not even know what he’s saying.

    Tell the cops that you had to defend your life. Unless there’s something hinky going on — and innocent can still be hinkey — the cops will figure it out in ten minutes. Then ask to be transported to the hospital. No more questions. Get checked out. Call your lawyer from the ambi.

  6. EMT here.

    Your chief complaint/mechanism of injury will be recorded by us no matter what, and we will have to testify should we be asked. However, our testimony goes beyond our treatments into our evaluation of the scene and events as we understand them. We’re going to be very useful if you’re in the right.

    That, and it’s better to hitch a ride in our box than the cop car.

  7. Lot of tough guys on here sometimes. As someone who has provided first aid to the enemy after several firefights in Iraq I think you would have to be a sadist not to provide assistance once the threat has been stopped. if you have a guy in front of you bleeding out and screaming to his mother after you have been the one to put him down, your priorities change slightly.

    Excellent information in this article. Bravo.

    • I have done both in the past. Working a sucking chest wound or tourniquet on a high leg hit on someone you were just shooting at is a bit surreal. Staying in cover and watching a guy bleed out because you can’t get to them without being hit is the very definition of “f*cked up”, and it don’t make it any easier just because you can’t understand the language he is screaming in.

  8. Anyone who thinks an ambulance will pull up before the police arrive and secure the scene has no idea how these situations work.

    You can request an ambulance all you want, but they are not going to want to drive into a situation where they could get shot.

    • Out here in flyover country the ambulance is 5 minutes away, cops 25 minutes away. Simple math. EMT and Fire show up first, hell, plenty of instances they have to tell LEOs how to get where they are. Rural has its challenges.

  9. The first line reminded me of something I read, don’t remember where.

    Bring a knife to a stick fight,
    Bring a gun to a knife fight,
    Bring a tank to a gun fight…
    Don’t go to tank fights.

    • Bring a knife to a stick fight,
      Bring a gun to a knife fight,
      Bring a tank to a gun fight,
      Bring a Javelin to a tank fight.

  10. I am a professional Emergency Medical Technician. I am that whether I am on or off duty. Have been for a lot of years. I also conceal carry. If I had to shoot I would. I would render aid to my attacker after I am sure the scene has become safe enough for me to do so. To do otherwise would be contrary to what I am as a person and as a professional. I can assure all that what I do for a living would play a big part in the decision matrix of the prosecuting attorney who would decide my fate. I would rather be the guy who had to shoot to stop a threat and then did all I could to keep the air going in and out and the blood going around and around in the guy I just shot. To be the guy who would do otherwise is not in me. I have to live with my decisions and actions. Also know that with any mention of a shooting when calling 911 that Fire and EMS will be told to hold back until the Police have secured the scene. I can tell you that as an EMT in a metro area that it is frustrating to not be able to get in quick and treat the victim while you wait for the scene to be rendered safe. Also know that it is important that the scene be made safe before we go in because we can do no good if we are shot or assaulted. All of us in the medical field have had the thoughts of what we would do if we had to shoot. I only hope that they would treat the victim without hesitation if it was safe enough to do so. That is who we are.

  11. Guy who taught my CCW class, a long time cop, told us not to approach a person we just shot. He has had them pretend to be dead or very injured to get you in close. And, he said that they usually use two trained officers to disarm anyone on the ground. Your job (if you are not a first responder – LEO or paramedic) is to get to a safe place, and then call 911 (if you can).

    Do like the idea of calling for an ambulance for yourself, even if there isn’t anyone else injured. At least if they shot at you, hit you, etc. Will keep it in mind.

  12. Comment deleted. To be posted on the main page.

    If you want to write for us again, please ping me on the phone number on the main page.

    RF

  13. I think the lesson learned from the video for me was to not let a sketchy guy with a big knife behind me. The whole thing just screams lack of SA.

  14. That is the worst self defense demonstration I have ever seen. It proves nothing, it teaches nothing. If a BG comes up behind you with a knife, he can stab you in the back. Anyone here didn’t know that before? Here’s your sign…

    The shot behind the back was ludicrous. Most people are going to miss that shot and still get stabbed. Evenif they hit and it’s not a CNS hit, they still get stabbed. And Who goes to the range and practices that shot? I don’t even know ranges that allow it. It’s not safe! And if you don’t practice it, you shouldn’t rely on it.

    I am not saying this is an easy situation at all or that I could handle it easily. But I think there are better strategies. You deal with the knife first, then get your gun. You’ll get stabbed trying to get your gun out. But there are H2H disarms for knives and if you are good at one, I would go to that first. Just a for instance, an attacker coming straight on for a stab, with momentum, is vulnerable to the defender turning quickly at the right moment (think an Aikido turn), leaving the attacker vulnerable for an instant. I would be more worried if the attacker was doing a slashing attack.

  15. In our state, we are required to assist and are covered by a Good Samaritan law. But as everyone knows this is a litigious society. Save a life as a Good Samaritan and you can expect to be sued.

    Sadly, we now resort to saying we are impaired (sorry, I had a beer after work) and couldn’t help.

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