Personal Defense Tip: Know Your Gun’s Limitations…And Prepare For The Worst

By Salvatore DeGennaro

Every so often we hear about one of those incidents that makes us, as concealed carriers, cringe. Usually they happen to law enforcement officers. Such incidents tend to happen when some lunatic decides to go rodeo on a poor patrol officer during a traffic stop or other routine interaction. The scary part: when the officer barley survives to tell the tale after pelting the assailant with staggering amounts of gunfire to bring an end to the rampage . . .

The Peter Soulis event comes to mind. In 1997 Jacksonville Florida, police officer Soulis faced an adversary who took 22 rounds of .40 Smith & Wesson before ceasing hostilities. This is just one of a surprising number of such incidents. Another that comes to mind happened long before the Soulis ordeal, the Grand Concourse shootout in the Bronx in 1986, in which a drug dealer took 18 rounds of handgun fire and did not stop until hit with a shotgun slug though the chest. And a third, also taking place in 1986, the infamous Miami shootout in which bank robber Michael Platt killed two FBI agents and wounded several others after taking numerous rounds himself.

So, as history shows us, these incidents happen. They may be rare compared to the norm, but they happen. The reality remains that handguns are very limited in power. You don’t have to witness one of these horrible failures to stop to accept that.

Think about it. Many of you reading this probably hunt. Consider how many white tail deer you have shot with high powered rifles. How many of them were difficult to find because you pulled that shot just a bit and didn’t get a perfect hit through the vitals? That 150-pound deer may have run hundreds of yards after taking that shot.

Granted, deer are typically more resilient than humans, but the point is that, unless we place a perfect shot with a hunting rifle, that 150-pound organism won’t come down, at least not quickly. That rifle, which may be generating eight times the ballistic energy of a service caliber handgun, is no guarantee.

How can we expect our handguns to end hostilities quickly? We can’t, unless we hit something extremely vital within the body, which is much easier said than done under the dynamic circumstances of a deadly encounter.

Most of the time, in most lethal force incidents, the way in which an adversary stops attacking has more to do with that individual’s mental state than anything else. The horror stories of failures to stop such as those mentioned above occur more often with law enforcement-involved shootings than civilian self-defense scenarios. This isn’t really surprising if you think about it. Why? Because the way a bad guy reacts to gunfire is primarily a result of that person’s mindset at the time of the incident.

One of the most valuable things an individual concerned with self-defense can do is to become acquainted with how criminal attacks tend to transpire. If you watch surveillance footage of actual incidents, you’ll notice that things happen fast, they happen violently, and they usually take the victim by surprise. Another thing you will notice is this: when the intended victim retaliates with gunfire, the perpetrator(s) most often haul ass for the nearest exit. They usually run like the Devil himself is chasing them with a whip of fire.   Why is that? It is simply an issue of the criminal mindset.

In these scenarios (where armed people defend themselves), the predators stumbled upon the exact opposite of what they are expecting. They are anticipated compliant victims. After all, if they are career criminals, and that’s probably the only thing they’ve ever seen. They are used to victims freezing in terror and following commands. They aren’t used to seeing an intended victim pull a gun and start shooting.

Most criminals, despite our perception of them, actually value their own lives, at least to some extent. When they look down the barrel of a gun, their primary instinct is to save their own ass and get out the door with the same number of holes as when they walked in. Many — if not most — civilian self-defense incidents end with this news bulletin: “The perpetrator was later arrested after checking into the hospital for treatment of a gunshot wound.”

There’s something else of note with a lot of these incidents. Notice that, despite the gunshot wound(s) the perpetrator often drives himself, or even runs on foot, to the hospital. So, ask yourself, what if that criminal — the one who was obviously still capable of great physical activity like running out the door and getting to the hospital after being shot — decided to keep fighting? If that was the decision made, we might end up with another incident like those mentioned above. As we can see, these super-threats that occasionally materialize are mainly the result of a mental state, an attitude…not unusual physical resilience.

So, if we look at the odds, we are more likely to encounter the guy who is going to take off and check himself into the hospital after encountering armed resistance. However, should we bank on that? After all, as students of self-defense we don’t worry about the odds, we worry about what’s at stake.

What if we are the exceedingly unfortunate citizen who encounters the exceedingly rare criminal with that different mindset? We need to train for that. We need to accept the ballistic limitations of our handgun and program ourselves to be able to neutralize the threat regardless of what it takes to do so.

I have seen several surveillance tapes of actual incidents that show an armed citizen take a single shot at their attacker, then lower the gun and gawk to see the effect. This is the result of a lack of training combined with a misunderstanding of the actual ballistic capabilities of handguns. Naturally, we can blame Hollywood in part for this, as people who do not educate themselves believe that handguns send bodies flying through the air and result in instantaneous death. As any hunter knows, even high powered rifles don’t do that. So expecting instant results with a single handgun round? Not likely.

The reason law enforcement officers encounter these seemingly super-human threats more often than civilians is due to the potential mental state of the criminals they are forced to deal with. The average criminal threat that preys on civilian victims is conditioned to dealing with compliant people who offer no resistance. As mentioned, when there is resistance they are taken by surprise and their instinct is to save themselves.

The anomalies that we see of very determined attackers show up more often when a criminal is essentially trapped in a situation where they flip a mental switch in which they decide to fight with everything they have. They make the decision that they have nothing left to lose.

The classic example of this lethal mentality would be the previously mentioned bank robber Michael Platt. This particular nutjob took many handgun rounds during the fight including a non-survivable wound that he received early in the encounter. The problem: despite the fact that he was bleeding to death on his feet, bleeding out takes too long when facing a man like Michael Platt. He obviously had no intention of being taken into custody. He was in an all-or-nothing position and he knew it.

Platt may have made the conscious decision to take as many of those FBI agents as possible with him and he acted with deadly determination. Would a criminal like Michael Platt run for the door under different circumstances, such as a robbery gone wrong with a resisting armed citizen? Possibly, but we’ll never know for sure. And we shouldn’t base our defensive training on that hope.

So, in conclusion, I promote that all citizens with a carry permit educate themselves about the criminal element and come to terms with what you may have to face should the worst come to pass. We should hope for the best. Hopefully we’re never in a position where we face violence of any kind. And if we are unfortunate, we can hope to face the kind that runs out the door as soon as we offer any resistance.

But in case we face the unthinkable, we need to train to keep shooting until we hit the off switch. That resolve on your part may be the only thing that saves your life and possibly the lives of others.

comments

  1. avatar pod says:

    And this, ladies and gents, is why mag cap restrictions are insane. If your pistol is designed for 15 + 1, you should be able to carry 15-round magazines without the government meddling in that decision. If a 30-round extended mag suits your task, you should be able to do that too.

    I explained to my S/O, who recently acquired a S&W M&P 40 (that’s a lot of ampersands) to call her own, that even the snappy (to her) .40 S&W cartridge is scant guarantee of one-shot-and-the-guy-goes down. Aim center mass and keep firing until the bad guy is incapacitated.

  2. avatar BigBoy says:

    SHOT PLACEMENT. The cure for this problem is multiple CENTER MASS hits or cranial hits. The reason most of these criminals keep going is that the officer filled them with peripheral hits or misses. In the Illinois State Police incident where the criminal took 33 hits before the back up took him out with a 12 gauge slug, all 33 were peripheral hits. In the FBI’s Miami disaster, Platt only received 1 non-peripheral wound. If he’d taken 5 center mass hits the fight would have been over. Note, it was ended by a solid hit by a 158 gr LSWCHP round from a “obsolete” S&W model 13 revolver (six shooter). When you’ve only got 6 rounds, you AIM before you fire.

    1. avatar Jim Barrett says:

      Easier said than done under the stress of combat if you have not trained for it.. There are only two ways to train for something like this – get in a lot of real gunfights (effective, but the consequences of failure are dire) or participate in force on force training. This sort of training is the only thing that’s going to help you develop the skills to make effective shots while under fire yourself.

    2. avatar JR_in_NC says:

      I think you need to double check your data. Autopsy showed THE VERY FIRST SHOT Platt received was a mortal wound.

      It just was not a FAST mortal wound.

      That was Dan’s point, and it’s a good one. Even a death-blow from a handgun can leave the guy in the fight long enough to deliver damage of his own.

      1. avatar BigBoy says:

        I know this. Careful reading of my post will that I never spoke about the order of shots. I spoke about the need for 3 or more center mass or cranial shots on a still fjghting criminal. Misses and peripheral hits don’t stop the threat. Surely FBI agents have always been taught and practiced this.

        1. avatar Hannibal says:

          Yes but it’s not an easy thing to hit the heart or head of someone actively trying not to get shot. And even if you hit one or the other, it might not work fast enough to stop them before they can retaliate.

          I know of one case where two police officers were fighting a man who ended up taking about a half-dozen shots to the center mass- several of which hit major blood vessels- but he still managed to kill on of the officers. I seem to remember he was also hit in the head with a round, but it didn’t do its job either. Eventually the other officer finally went with a contact shot to the head that dropped him.

          So, yeah, shot placement is important; but even with good shot placement you still might end up dead.

        2. avatar JR_in_NC says:

          ” I spoke about the need for 3 or more center mass or cranial shots on a still fjghting criminal.”

          You don’t think that’s exactly what they were trying to do?

          You state this as if typing it on a keyboard makes it happen in a real-life, fight-for-your-life gunfight.

          “Misses and peripheral hits don’t stop the threat. Surely FBI agents have always been taught and practiced this.”

          Thus showing they ludicrousness of your comment.

          Of course they have been taught and practiced this. But, what actually HAPPENED in the real world? The very first shot on Platt was a fatal wound, but he stayed in the fight long enough to kill several people.

          Everyone knows misses and peripheral hits don’t stop threats. What you need to ALSO remember is CoM cranial shots…even multiples…often don’t stop the threat immediately either.

          You ALSO need to remember that in a real gunfight, “Shot Placement” is pretty hard. It ain’t a Hollywood movie following a script.

          I offer Jared Restin’s first gunfight as a very good example: three CONTACT shots to the head and autopsy showed only one was a mortal wound. These were not misses; these were not peripheral hits. These were contact shots after both Restin and his opponent EACH had sustained multiple gunshot wounds in CQB (Restin getting shot in the jaw, for example, opened the gunfight).

          Bottom line: handguns cannot be relied upon as “instant stoppers” no matter WHERE you shoot someone or how many shots you put there. Sometimes it ends quickly; sometimes it doesn’t. That’s the key take-away from study of real gunfights involving handguns.

        3. avatar GayGunOwner says:

          Thanks JR – particularly for the examples. I learn a lot from well-supported comments like yours and others on this site.

      2. avatar SurfGW says:

        But it was not a hammer pair… Many instructors will tell you that one single hole will close up, but two will never close up

        1. avatar BigBoy says:

          Dr. Marty Flackner of the Army Wound Ballistics Lab used to say that deep, wide wounds by high velocity projectiles about 2-3 inches apart created the most tissue damage (stopping power).

    3. avatar neiowa says:

      I can’t find the link at the moment. Study that found “untrained” defensive handgun users tend to aim at the face (where one normally looks at a person) and at normal handgun distance they do pretty well at hitting and stopping the threat. “Trained” user (cop or other) normally shoot center of mass and hit or miss have a lower % of success at stopping the threat.

      I don’t recall if the study included any stacked Israeli supermodel perps such might change the natural point of aim.

      1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

        It might be instructive to note that many real world gunfight shot placements are in the hands and arms.

        The working theory is that “attention” is focused at the gun as the key threat so that’s where the shots go.

        Interestingly, I’ve seen this play out at IDPA matches quite a bit, too. A painted silhouette of a gun on the threat targets gets hammered even if more at the beltline than the “Zero Down” CM region. I’ve seen seasoned military shooters do this as well as new shooters.

        One has to train specifically in this scenario to shoot CM and NOT shoot at the gun.

    4. avatar Joel says:

      On shot placement. The author of “hipowers and handguns” has shot and killed many a deer with a 9mm.

      There are probably millions of people with a “I know a guy that killed a _______ with a .22” story.

      Above all else, accuracy matters folks.

  3. avatar Gunr says:

    I carry to protect myself and my S/O.
    If I was in a bank, and I had my 38 special, then I only have 5 rounds. If I had my Sig 9, then I only have 7, or 8. With the Sig, there is more chance of a failure of some kind.
    If there are two or more perps, and they are not aggressive against the other patrons in the bank, I wouldn’t draw. Not unless they turned towards me in a threatening manner.
    Most bank robbers don’t want to shoot someone, they just want the money, and to get the hell out of there.
    Besides, to open up in a place with other patrons around, you stand the chance of hitting, or maybe killing someone else.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Gunr,

      Tactics would be key if you are one of the unfortunate people in a bank while someone robs it — especially if there are multiple robbers.

      First tactic, scan the people outside before entering the bank. If you see one or more people scoping the place out, leave and do your banking another time.

      Second tactic, scan the people as you enter the bank. If you see one or more people scoping the place out, leave and do your banking another time.

      If you fail the first and second tactics and find yourself in the middle of a robbery anyway, moving to cover might be your best bet. Drawing and engaging a robber is dicey because you have no idea if the robber has accomplices that have not yet revealed themselves. You may find that you have a clear shot only to discover (too late) that the undisclosed accomplice has a clear shot on you. If you do find yourself compelled to shoot, make that first shot count and at least try to incapacitate one robber.

      No matter how you slice it, it sucks to be in a bank during a robbery. The robbers could outnumber you. The robbers could have long guns. And it might not even be obvious who all of the robbers are if some of them are blending into the crowd for emergency backup to their partners in crime.

      1. avatar Gunr says:

        So, I guess what’s your saying is, If there’s a car in front of the bank, with it’s motor running, and some dude sitting in the drivers seat, with his hat pulled down over his eyes, and the muzzle of a shotgun, barely showing above the dash, That it’s time to get my ass on down the road, and call the Po Po.
        Good advice.

      2. avatar Gunr says:

        U-S
        Just thought of something else. The robber, or robbers might be wearing armor!

        1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          They absolutely could be wearing ballistic vests. Yet another reason that bank robberies suck.

          A two-bit thug trying to rob a convenience store is one thing. A robber hoping to score several thousand dollars knowing that multiple state and federal agencies will be on their tail is a different matter entirely. Those guys tend to be a LOT more serious and put a LOT more thought into their tactics.

          I would not put my life on the line to stop a robber from taking a bank’s money.

        2. avatar GayGunOwner says:

          uncommon, When I worked at a Chicago bank. The lobby guards’ guns were unloaded – strictly for show. Far better, the logic went, was to give away some embedded dye-pack and tracking technology cash and be done with it. We were told bank robbers were not very smart (due to all the security precautions) along with some FBI claims that among criminals, bank robbers were among the dumbest. Willie Sutton’s comment was often cited.

          So initially I was going to dismiss the body armor question, but a quick Google search turned up quite a lot. One description reminded me of a LA heist that seemed to spawn the Swordfish (2001) movie. Turns out body armor is a real consideration.

        3. avatar BigBoy says:

          If your job requires you to wear a badge, you ARE a target. If you aren’t armed you are just bait for the bad guys.

          When I was a city paramedic in the ghetto area of one of the top 20 largest cities, I always carried concealed. The cops I worked with all said I was smart and they’d cover for me at the precinct. Often we waited around the corner for the PoPo before we arrived on scene. But their presence was no guarantee of safety and they knew it.

        4. avatar Gunr says:

          Gay Gun Owner,
          That really sucks! Armed with an UNLOADED gun! You couldn’t pay me enough to take a job like that!

        5. avatar GayGunOwner says:

          Not sure if still the practice. Only time I saw guards react was when Muhammad Ali entered. Hell of a nice guy – always willing to sign autographs, shake hands or pose for a photo in the pre-cellphone days. The guards would direct him to a private banking area to give him some space.

          I don’t see uniformed guards at Wells-Fargo or my credit union except during an armored car delivery. Depending on branch, may see someone in a blue blazer, gray slacks, and tie – typically better dressed than customers. Will ask next time I see one.

          BTW, appreciate your astute observations; always look forward to your comments.

      3. avatar twency says:

        “scan the people as you enter the bank. If you see one or more people scoping the place out, leave and do your banking another time.”

        So what you’re saying is: scope out the place, and leave if you see anyone else scoping out the place. If everyone followed your advice the bank wouldn’t have many customers.

        1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          Um, no. Look around as you walk in. If you see some dude standing off to the side wearing a trench coat and not doing anything related to banking, that might be a cue to exit. Someone who looks around as they walk toward a teller window with a check in hand is probably not casing a bank.

          Saying it another way, crank up your situational awareness a couple notches when you enter a bank.

  4. avatar GayGunOwner says:

    Good article. In the video, the shooter customer keeps firing at the fleeing bad guys. My understanding is that’s a no-no (at least in CA). Will appreciate guidance and understand mileage may vary depending on the state.

    Thanks.

    1. avatar LongPurple says:

      There were two perps. One is still in the video after that amusing scramble out the door, but the other one is not in sight when the “victim” fires towards them. I would assume that the unseen perp turned threateningly back toward the “victim”, who fired again to prevent any serious bodily harm from that attacker.

  5. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

    ‘…as students of self-defense we don’t worry about the odds…’

    Any ‘student of self-defense’ should know that they are not assured of anything, especially not survival, but can only increase the odds of surviving such an incident. If someone just won’t quit you’ll have to hit the off switch. If they’re equipped with a firearm, you’re going to have to shut down the central nervous system. You can blow a .44 magnum sized hole in a man’s heart and he’ll still have time to pull the trigger one last time before he leaves this earth.

  6. avatar TFred says:

    “So, in conclusion, I promote that all citizens with a carry permit educate themselves…”

    OR, for those citizens who live in the MAJORITY of states where you may openly carry or even in some, carry concealed WITHOUT a permit, YOU should educate yourselves too…

    Good grief, this is something people who write about gun rights should KNOW.

    http://www.opencarry.org/?page_id=103
    http://www.opencarry.org/?page_id=164

  7. avatar Galtha58 says:

    6 second rule basically says that an average person who has taken a fatal gunshot can still be a threat and cause harm for 6 seconds or more after taking that shot. That is off the top but the general idea is there. As someone else said “They don’t just fall over dead after one shot like in the movies”. Everyone should be aware of the possibility that whoever you shoot may very well still be able to harm you and others. Head shots are the exception, as I recall, but ONLY if placed correctly into the area in and around the eyes. Hard area to hit until the Perp is right on you though. Probably at that point VERY hard to hit as he/she may have their hands or weapon on you.

  8. avatar BLAMMO says:

    This is why a knife is not a good defensive weapon. Even a non-survivable wound is often not immediately disabling.

    1. You’re not correct. At least not entirely. As evidenced by many interesting videos and cops shooting guys with knives that refuse to drop them: Knives make amazingly effective offensive weapons and the difference between offense and defense is motivation. TTAG just posted a stereotypical example of it. Fast forward to about 4 minutes in for the action to start. Looks to me like the knife user ended the day at 3:1 and the knifer is probably going to be the one to live despite being shot. BTW, from experience, a penetrating knife wound does an amazing job of partially or completely disabling the part of the body it hit. The muscle and tendons being cut stops them from working. Slice wounds hurt like sin and bleed a bit but they don’t disable jack squat.

  9. avatar Accur81 says:

    Handguns *can* cause virtually instantaneous stops on deer, a moose on a snowmobile trail, or against a human being. However, a single shot from the 9mm – .45 ACP class cannot be expected to do so. Except perhaps a head shot. Or if the bad guy immediately runs at the sight of a gun. There’s not a lot of guarantees in life.

    So shoot the biggest gun in the biggest caliber with the most rounds you can carry. Firepower is your friend. At the end of the day, 17 rounds of 9mm, 15 rounds of .40, or 13 rounds of .45 doesn’t make much difference. Either way, a 5.56 AR or 12 gauge stoked with buckshot provides more firepower.

    As is pretty much the gist of the article shoot until the deer is down and stays down. Ditto for a bad guy. I expect a .45-70 round to keep a deer shot through the heart down for good. Instantaneously. But I’m ready for follow up shots if the need requires it. That Hornady LeverEvolution 325 grain round is over 3,000 foot pounds at the muzzle. Typical handgun 9mm – .45 self defense rounds run 300-550 foot pounds. Self defense ammo from 5.56 or 12 gauge achieves from 16-18″ barrels achieves roughly 1100-2500 foot pounds of energy (some 3 1/2″ 12 gauge slugs run over 3,500 foot pounds but that is more for bear defense).

    So basically, energy and firepower in a timely and accurate manner. If I could conceal an M134 I’d be inclined to. My short range firepower solution is a Mossberg 930. But I may have to use a handgun to fight my way to it first.

    1. avatar FlamencoD says:

      I don’t think many people are carrying their ARs everywhere with them. Of course if given the choice and enough heads up to have the opportunity to pull it from my safe I’m going with my S&W M&P 15 Sport with soft points or ballistic tips. But when I’m out or just around the house, it’s my XDs 9mm with +P JHP that I have holstered on my hip that will be used if needed.

    2. avatar Gabe says:

      So what you are saying is my BFR 45-70 pistol should be my concealed carry pistol rather than my XDs .45. lol

  10. avatar gsnyder says:

    The human body is made to survive. Systems change in an instant to keep the motor running. This great if you want to live but not so good if you want the person coming at you to fall down. Brings to mind why a self-defense firearm needs to be a semi-auto with a standard magazine which carries many rounds. Once you fire one there is little reason to stop. Don’t stop until they drop?

  11. avatar FlamencoD says:

    That good guy with a gun in the video sure played it perfectly. He waited patiently until the perp was not paying attention to him before even swiveling his chair out of position. Then he waited until the perp turned his back, walked up within 6 or so feet, and shot the perp without him even seeing it coming and chased them out of there. Nice work.

  12. avatar Paul53 says:

    Thinking of carrying a spare 13 round mag. Can’t imagine having to hit an opponent with only 9 rounds and the have to wait for a wound infection to disable him/her/it.

  13. avatar Bob109 says:

    I remember a training class while in the USAF where they described several confrontations between police and assailants on PCP. It scared the crap out of me. In the stories, officers would mag dump on these guys, and the assailant would still keep coming. These guys would be so hyped up, they would be legally dead, but still in the fight. Luckily, the only time I had to deal with drug crazed lunatics was during airshows, and these incidents were all handled with less than lethal force.

  14. avatar mike oregon says:

    Keep shooting till the threat stops, my EDC is 57rds I don’t feel as over prepared today.

  15. avatar Paelorian says:

    Sun Tzu advised never completely surrounding the enemy, leaving them an apparent means of escape. Completely surrounded, knowing with certainty that all attempts to flee are doomed to failure, a man is “on deadly ground”, and becomes a determined fighter when he knows that fighting offers the only possibility of survival. Leaving your enemy an opportunity to rout, to cease fighting and turn tail, is usually tactically advantageous, rather than trapping a savage beast in the corner to fight with the ultimate motivation for it’s life.

  16. avatar Chris says:

    That’s why in some training they teach you to shoot until the threat is on the ground, AR’s have 30 round mags and most pistols around 15-20 for a reason. Pull the trigger until they are on the ground or you run out, don’t do the one shot and look thing.

    Seems like good advice for the 99.9999% of us who are not Delta Operators.

    Drugs especially bath salts have an amazing affect on people, they can absorb bullets and not feel them or care.

  17. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

    There have been times, I’ve put 150gr .30-06 rounds through vitals (heart, lungs, and liver) at <50 yards and still hand deer run a good 50ft before dropping.

    Other times, that same shot dropped them on the spot. I process my own game too as well, and I always inspection the damge done by the rounds. Shooting and processing game with truely enlighten you as to real performance of a given round.

    Animals do not know they're supposed to fall down after being shot.

  18. avatar David says:

    There is a partial solution that has enjoyed some success in combat: close the gap a.k.a. charge.
    Easier said than done but it is easier to deliver an incapacitating shot at 10 ten inches verse 10 yards. Great tactic if you got more balls than skill.

    War to the knife; knife to the hilt.

    From a guy who killed a gun-toting guy w/ a knife in addition to killing many other dudes w/ guns. If you have to bash some guy’s head into a tile floor in order to stop an attack then that is what you do.

    Melee attack worked for this super-stud about 5 years ago:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bishnu_Shrestha

    Good guys too can adopt “an attitude”.

    1. avatar Bill Kohnke says:

      “If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or is a Gurkha.” – Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, former chief of the Indian Army

  19. avatar Jeff C says:

    Maybe I should carry my Ruger .454 Alaskan instead of my Sig P229 .40 Scorpion. 500ish ft lbs compared to 1900 ft lbs. now that’s system shock!

  20. avatar kap says:

    What is your back up plan if your weapon runs dry and guy you were using weapon on is coming at you!
    My Opinion is attack with everything and any thing available! make it up close and personnel! Most individuals think they would be up too the task in a shoot out with a one shot one stop hit ,
    Wanna bee’s go to a bigger caliber or more bullets when the real test is shot placement, and attitude, never quit, improvise,adapt, overcome get the job done!
    A question for serious thought as not all criminals will flee!

  21. avatar JohnF says:

    Carrying a gun does not confer invincibility. People argue for bigger calibers and more rounds as if that will make them closer to invincible than people who carry lesser guns. The truth is you can’t prepare for everything no matter what you carry. What we are all doing by carrying is reducing risk by degrees.

    There is a trope saying in cowboy movies, “There will always be a faster gun.” Today’s version is “There will always be a more bullet resistant bad guy.” Some of them are hopped up on adrenaline or drugs, some have body armor, etc. We have to have options, like using our gun for covering fire to get the hell away from the fight.

    The good news for civilian carriers is that if you handle yourself well and have good SA, your chance of ever needing your gun are slim. If you do need your gun, chances are that just showing it will solve the situation. If you have to shoot and you have a decent amount of coolness under fire and you’ve trained and practiced with the gun, 2-3 shots will likely do it. Beyond that, you are in “Highly Unlikely Land.” How far you want to go into those tiny percentages is up to each individual, but at some point it becomes a hobby and not effective risk reduction.

  22. avatar Dan says:

    Yes….training, skill and mindset are all important factors in who lives, who dies and who goes home at the end of a violent encounter. But NEVER forget that lady luck ALWAYS
    get’s to sit in and deal her cards in these instances. “All skill is in vain when an Angel pisses in the flintlock of your musket.”

  23. avatar Aaron says:

    Here’s the reality: criminals sometimes fight tenaciously against coos because they don’t want to be apprehended. Given an avenue of exit, the vast majority of criminals don’t want a gunfight with a victim.

    the requirements for a police officer entail apprehending someone who doesn’t want to be apprehended. The requirements for self defense don’t include apprehension, and as has been demonstrated countles times, the criminal usually flees a gunfight froman armed citizen.

    the only exception to the rule is the extremely rare case in which a citizen has been targeted for professional assasination. Unless you are a prosecutor, drug dealer, or target of ISIS, that’s unlikely to apply to you.

    IMO, if you are not a cop, prosecutor, or target of ISIS, carry a gun you are willing and able to carry all the time. Don’t get too concerned about capacity and caliber.

    1. avatar Aaron says:

      Let me add something important to the discussion. The author posits the hypothetical “what if” Platt attacked some random victim with the tenacity with which he tried to fight his way out of apprehension by the FBI.

      What if the author actually showed some statistics on this topic, instead of making up a threat scenario that seems to be vurtually non-existent?

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