Self-Defense Tip: Watch for Your Opportunity to Attack

Shells Restaurant (courtesy bizjournals.com)

“A couple who had just eaten dinner at Shells off Fowler Avenue were walking to their truck parked nearby, when two teens confronted them,” myfoxtampabay.com reports. “‘They literally sprinted up to the bushes to him, closing that distance very rapidly, pointing that firearm right at him,’ said Tampa Police Lt. Michael Stout.'” This is an excellent example of a concealed carrier who suddenly finds himself SOL. He’s ambushed by two bad guys, one armed. They’re pointing a gun at him. He’s got a companion’s safety to consider. The odds of retrieving a concealed firearm and successfully bringing it to bear on the bad guys are very, very low. And yet . . .

Police said Reginald Smith and Jeremiah Walker, both 17, demanded cash and their phones.

They said Smith had a gun, but he didn’t know his male victim was also armed.

“He had a concealed weapons permit and a pistol in his pocket,” said Lt. Stout.

The male victim drew his gun once. Officers said he felt their lives were in danger.

“Our female victim began to flee back towards the restaurant. As she did that, the suspect that had a firearm began to point it at her. That made her significant other believe he was going to fire,” said Lt. Stout.

Police said the man fired a shot and the victims scattered.

“The suspects fled with their money and phones, but dropped all of that and the firearm,” he said.

Smith couldn’t run and was arrested at the scene. Walker turned himself in later that night.

We don’t know the exact sequence of events. Clearly, the armed self-defender didn’t draw his gun at the onset of the attack. He waited for an opportunity to draw his firearm, perhaps a moment when the perps were distracted by the process of organizing their haul. Result!

Should you do the same: look for a chance to draw your gun in self-defense? Yes. Absolutely. There’s no guarantee that an armed robber will be satisfied with your valuables. There are thousands of cases where armed robbers shot their victims after they secured their ill-gotten gains, whether to eliminate witnesses or just because.

Whether or not you actually counter-attack during a violent altercation is another matter. Each incident is different. What if you’re with a child or several children? What if both attackers in the scenario above had been armed? What if you’re pistol-whipped, dazed and bleeding? Your odds of success will vary according to the circumstances.

Sorry tough guys, but there’s no shame in complying if that’s your best maybe even only option. Still, always plan on attacking. If you’re behind the curve, remember that things change. Quickly. Look for your chance. You just might get it. Oh, and the armed robber in this case was holding a replica gun with the orange tip removed. Wonder if our guy saw that . . . [h/t SS]

comments

  1. avatar Jeremy in AL says:

    Good thing he wasn’t empty chamber. Yes wait for the moment. Always plan to attack, never know what they’ll want next.

  2. avatar Sean in Tampa says:

    Something to take into consideration: this is right next to the University of South Florida, where ” there’s no reason to have a gun on campus”. Not the best area.

    1. avatar Sian says:

      Yeah. Fowler between at least 50th and Bruce B is smack dab in ‘the hood’.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        It’s right across the street from University Mall.

        I’ve eaten there. That was an early date with the one who gave me a face full of glass.

        *sigh*

  3. avatar TTACer says:

    One of my contingency plans is feigning compliance while going for the weapon.

    1. avatar pod says:

      Originally to me, that sort of move seemed to only work in movies, but one of my instructors told that it can be pulled off, with practice.

      Just like all other self-defense techniques.

    2. For over 30 years, I carried my wallet in my left hip pocket. Once I started carrying a gun, I moved my wallet to my right hip pocket so it is just inches from my GLOCK 19. How does the robber know what I am reaching for? He will never know until he wakes up in the hospital, if he’s lucky.

      1. avatar Logan says:

        He’ll never know until he sees a long bright tunnel with a disappointed Jesus standing at the other end.

        I wonder if any criminal planning an attack wakes up with the thought that it might be their last time to ever do so.

        1. avatar DJ9 says:

          I chuckled quite a bit at the “disappointed Jesus” line.
          Thanks, I needed that today.

  4. avatar Bob108 says:

    In a bad neighborhood, try carrying a money clip with a wad of one’s. Many armed robbers become distracted by a wad of money tossed a short distance. It will give you that 3 seconds to draw and fire.

    1. avatar Delta2actual says:

      Better yet, don’t effing go to a bad neighborhood – avoid one of the three “stupids”.

      1. avatar Stinkeye says:

        Not everybody who lives in “bad neighborhoods” are criminal shitheels. The good people who live there can’t exactly just choose to not ever go home.

        1. avatar JWM says:

          Yep, lived in a bad neighberhood for 10 years in CA. Carried my gun everywhere regardless of stupid CA law.

          Moved to a better neighberhood and got busted for carrying without a license. Cop let me walk.

        2. avatar Richard Hawkins says:

          Hey JWM how’d you get caught?

        3. avatar JWM says:

          Stuck on stupid. Exactly how I got caught. Had a series of violent home invasions in my “nicer” hood. Started carrying a j frame every where. Went for a walk to a starbucks down the street. Wearing a very worn out pair of khaki cargo shorts that were very thin and faded nearly white(I don’t give up on a garment easily). A black, or very dark blue j frame without a pocket holster swinging loose in the cargo pocket of the paper thin shorts.

          And a larger police presence because of the recent violence. In my old, “bad” hood the cops tended to get scarce when bad things haqppen.

          After a brief talking too he let me go, gun and all. At most it was a misdemeaner and an ofwg probably didn’t warrent the paper work and hassle for a wrist slap. I gave him my word and have kept it to not bring my gun outside again.

      2. avatar ThomasR says:

        As a single young guy just starting a new business, all I could afford was an “efficiency apartment” in the hood. So I always carried and I avoided walking my dog down the blocks where the drug gangs dealt.

      3. avatar JR_in_NC says:

        “Better yet, don’t effing go to a bad neighborhood – avoid one of the three “stupids”.

        This is such colossally ridiculous remark.

        Good grief. Do you actually believe that bad stuff ONLY happens in crap neighborhoods?

        The Petits would disagree with you. So would the victims of the Tate LaBianca murders. So would thousands of victims of violent attacks in non-‘crap’ neighborhoods.

        The First Rule…”Have a Gun”…does not have a secondary clause that says “if you are in a bad neighborhood.”

        1. avatar AMOK! says:

          +10

  5. avatar LJM says:

    RF,

    Could this be a case for “pocket carry”? Scenario, ambushed by armed robber, demands wallet, person reaches in pocket for “wallet” and comes out hot.

    Just saying that that process of going to your pocket and retreiving your pocket 9 may not alarm the assailant as much as lifting the back of you shirt and drawing from your IWB from the 4 o’clock position.

    Perhaps someone can comment on this thought process as to a very real positive of pocket carry.

    1. avatar Bob L says:

      LJM – that’s why I carry an LCP in my back pocket. If they have the drop on me and request my wallet, i can go for it without looking like I’m doing anything but complying. The LCP will be coming out and firing right away .

    2. avatar Garrison Hall says:

      Levis watch pockets make perfect holsters for an LCP, still one of the absolute best hidden carry guns made. Access is both unobtrusive and damn near instantaneous. The time differential favoring watch pocket mode over back pocket mode may be just what you need in a tight situation.

  6. avatar Dave Stevens says:

    Waiting would go against Rule #1 of Sanford Strong’s book “Strong on Defense”, which is to react immediately. Remember, you don’t want to be taken to crime scene #2. Your chances of survival go down drastically the longer you wait.

    1. avatar TTACer says:

      To quote the great philosopher/rapist Mike Tyson, “everyone has a plan until they get hit in the face.” Rule #1 may be “react immediately” but rule #0 is “survive” which they did.

    2. avatar Garrison Hall says:

      So, if a couple of teenagers break from some bushes and run towards you the best thing to do is draw down on ’em and, if they don’t stop, then open fire? I’m not sure many concealed carriers would think that was legal.

      1. avatar GreatPlainsSower says:

        If I saw two black teenagers running at me from bushes I would not hesitate to engage them in conversation by telling them not to run at me and mine, and simultaneously drawing one of my .45s to my side so it is concealed from them or behind my back. Political correctness by not responding appropriately to the most violent segment of society will not cost me extra seconds, and legally I was open carrying or all I was doing was unholstering my gun to place in the car holster.

        If they did not respond to me being polite my next sentence to them will allow them to understand that whatever they are thinking about causing there will be an effect.

  7. avatar Wiregrass says:

    “The male victim drew his gun once. Officers said he felt their lives were in danger.”

    This sentence and what follows, with all the pronouns, has to be one of the worst written pieces of newspaper writing I’ve seen in sometime. Don’t these journalists ever take a writing class? This is awful. I have no idea what actually happened from this report.

    1. avatar Sean in Tampa says:

      And this is how the majority of their articles read. It’s painful.

    2. avatar Richard Hawkins says:

      Yeah I was wincing throughout. I know 12 year olds with better English skills.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        Yes, but the author was only eleven.

    3. avatar Stinkeye says:

      Well, at least we know for sure that he didn’t draw and re-holster the weapon multiple times…

      I agree, that is some god-awful writing.

    4. avatar Silver says:

      The only real requirement for a “journalist” these days is to be a good leftist stooge. Pesky things like writing skills and integrity don’t matter so much.

  8. avatar BDub says:

    “Police said the man fired a shot and the victims scattered.”

    This copy is horribly written, but going on the notion that the perpetrators had been named while this victims weren’t I can only conclude that the above quote is either wrong or reporter decided that the robbers were the victims here. WTF, media?

  9. avatar Jack Clancy says:

    General Patton said; Attack, Attack, Attack, let the enemy defend.

  10. avatar JR_in_NC says:

    When to draw and fire when confronted is a thorny question.

    Justin Schnieders’ story is an excellent case study. Justin has been criticized for ‘waiting too long,’ but he gives good reasons for what he did. Bottom line…it’s easier to second guess than to live through it.

    Transcript of Justin’s interview on Ballistic Radio:

    http://dsbscience.com/ballisticradio/BR20131117_JustinSchniedersWasShot.php

    (Link to actual podcast in the transcript).

  11. avatar C.Rogers says:

    Patton had more than one guy on his side, and they generally already had their guns out.

  12. avatar Gordon Wagner says:

    Park closer to the restaurant. Back in the space if need be. If you were able to produce a weapon in the face of a threatening (but no doubt college-bound) yout, be prepared for lawyers to gussy up the standard-issue “HE DIN DO NUFFIN” accusation. And if you’re not a cop, then the “I felt threatened” rationale seems to lose its armor.

    Something or someone emerging quickly from the landscaping is not a good sign.

    1. avatar GreatPlainsSower says:

      “Back in the space if need be”
      Most people don’t understand the bonus of being able to leave in a hurry if needed with the least amount of effort.

  13. avatar Felix says:

    I’ve often wondered about the sensibility of throwing the wallet and phone in the air over their heads so their instinct is to look elsewhere. Or take everything out of the wallet and scatter everything up in the air.

    The idea is that amateurs, as compared to, say, movie professional hit men, are not disciplined and focused enough to keep from being momentarily distracted.

    Any real world experience with such distractions, personal or anecdotal?

    1. avatar Chuck in IL says:

      Distraction is the goal, however doing so in a manner that pisses of the bad guy is not a good idea. Feign compliance if you have to, make the distraction seem natural and accidental, THEN go full Patton on them. Be fully cognizant of the fact that once the fight is joined, it must be finished.

      1. avatar Felix says:

        Yes, good point. Fumble and drop everything. Of course, if the robber is nervous too, then being nervous could touch him off.

        I doubt if I ever were mugged that I’d be cool and calm enough to figure all that out in a split second…. but who knows.

        1. avatar GreatPlainsSower says:

          Felix–“I doubt if I ever were mugged that I’d be cool and calm enough to figure all that out in a split second…. but who knows.” Build some confidence in yourself for the Lord’s sake.

          “but who knows” You should know, and should have known before you ever started to carry a gun for defense. Depending on luck in a gunfight is a bonus but it should not be your only strategy.

          In a robbery you need to be able to transition into being the threat eventually to end the encounter on your terms, not some savages. A nervous bad guy should have caught your attention before a gun being leveled in your face, and now you are in a situation of waiting to be able to unleash the hammer of God in the instant the opportunity arises.
          If they try to pat you down that is your best opportunity and use your EDC before they find out you are armed and they have possession of your gun. Watch the bad guys muzzle direction and then try to gain control of that direction until you can administer a close contact GSW or until a knife blade occupies where the savages cardioid was. Don’t get target fixated on only drawing your gun, especially when shattering a guys nose, larynx, or jaw can allow control of the gun just as easily.

          It is a fight for life that you did not start but you better be willing to finish it faster and harder than your opponent.

        2. avatar Felix says:

          This idea that I need to build self-confidence irks me no end. Until someone has been in a stressful situation, they do not know how they will behave. My instincts sometimes come through brilliantly, and other times I get caught up in in details and waste precious seconds.

          Do not lecture me or anyone else on building self-confidence. You are not my God.

        3. avatar GreatPlainsSower says:

          “This idea that I need to build self-confidence irks me no end.”

          That is because you exhibit a defeatist attitude and maybe the problem is within yourself and not others, as you suggest.
          A gun is not a magic talisman and confidence to be the danger in a dangerous situation, which is coupled with the confidence to accurately place rounds on target is how to survive when violence is thrust upon you.

          Pull a gun with no confidence on a seasoned criminal, who is not nervous or a drug addict, and you will be one of the statistics MDA use for a gun owner who was killed with their own gun.

  14. avatar Accur81 says:

    Force on force training, with Redman suits and Simunition guns, gets you about as close as can realistically be achieved to a real assault. Our scenarios are typically set up where good aim and quick shots on target result in scenario success.

    Then again, maybe this fellow did just fine, and maybe didn’t have any fancy training or critiques by instructors of questionable tactical expertise.

  15. avatar MoveableDo says:

    I always carry my wallet weak side, back pocket, but front pocket weak side would work, too. While pulling a wallet out, or right after, holding the wallet away from your body on the weak side, use your strong hand to draw and fire. Immediately fire. Not wait to see if they run away. Fire…immediately.

    1. avatar BigBoy says:

      Action beats reaction every time.

  16. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    Um teens with guns-yep I bet the majority would flee with a gun out and especially a fired gun. The victim did fine and other than a SLIGHT lack of situational awareness I can’t fault him…

  17. avatar kap says:

    First rule is to survive! How you do that is by any way you can! Weapons blazing or Snake in the grass! Each situation is different! if you attack accomplish this with Malice afore thought, as vicious and damaging as possible! Do not stop until bad guys are down or you are! if hit keep on trucking until down and out at least take one with you!

    1. avatar Stinkeye says:

      Exclamation points are not the only form of punctuation available!

      1. avatar SwampDaddy says:

        Punctuation Bigot…….

    2. avatar xsdcaller says:

      “Malice of forethought” is the correct terminology. It means planning in advance to commit a hostile act. It serves as a measure of the seriousness of a crime. It would not be used to describe an act of self defense. “Malice afore thought” would mean to do something stupid without thinking about it first. Even some attorneys do not get this right.

  18. avatar Jimmyjames says:

    “Be polite. Be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet”…coming out of the bushes.

  19. avatar David says:

    Thinking out loud here but many times it seems easier and faster to just attack and not go for your piece – at first anyway. It takes less/fewer fine motor skills to charge than to draw. Also, you are not presenting your weapon to be taken away. I always thought that the first instinct of cops to go for gun is one of the main reasons why so many cops have had their sidearms used against them.

    You can always go for your gun while grappling. If the attacker is weaker physically yanking a gun (after thoroughly beating his posterior) might have a better chance of success than getting into a quick draw match w/ an already drawn handgun.

    1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

      “You can always go for your gun while grappling.”

      Really? You think so?

  20. avatar Garrison Hall says:

    Some of the scariest encounters I’ve ever had have been when some guy comes up behind me and starts asking for money, the time, food, etc. This has always happened when I WAS NOT PAYING ATTENTION!! You’d think I’d learn to be more observant but complacency is the enemy of vigilance. After some thought I finally realized that middle-class politeness doesn’t belong in parking lots. There’s not a thing wrong with a firm “what-the-f**k-do-you-want-get-your-a**-away-from-me-right-now” all said in a very loud voice. Doing this stops people cold. If they don’t stop they are definitely not your friend . . .

  21. avatar Jeff Hunt says:

    Thankfully they made it out ssfely. This guy, from my city, did not:
    http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/detroit/2015/06/07/detroit-shooting-father-dead/28647779/

  22. avatar daniel l says:

    This story and comments bring up alot of cc tactics and strategies. For me:

    Carry all your edc gear in the same place everyday, designated pockets for your wallet, phone, car keys, handgun. Practice drawing over and over, repition increases your speed. Always be looking for threats. With cc the element of surprise is probably your best card. Think about situations, lots of different ones, about when and how you will start your lethal defense of your life. Know the laws in your state and think about how far towards the judged by 12 versus carried by 6 spectrum you are prepared to go in order to protect yourself and loved ones. If u ever have to flip that switch go all out, give them zero chance to harm you or others. Overwelming sustained accurate fire towards the lethal threat, dont stop till the threat(s) is out of the fight permanently.

    Thats my 2 cents on cc self defense, and finally never stop practicing, learning, researching, and thinking about it. TTAG is one of my favorite websites for hearing other real life cc uses and hopefully learning something that might increase my survival chances.

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