“Surveillance video from inside a Spanaway convenience store shows an armed robbery turned into a shootout when clerk Seul Lim fired at the man holding up her family’s store,” Tacoma, Washington’s mynorthwest.com reports. “The video shows Lim being held at gunpoint at the Pacific Quick Mart on Tuesday when she fires at the robber, missing him. He fires back striking Lim in the abdomen.” Ms. Lim is recovering. “She’s tough, she’s a tough cookie, yeah,” Lim’s husband Min Kim said. As TTAG tipster Mike points out . . .

I think it’s telling that this store is owned by immigrants. They’ve likely come from a poorer country with less opportunity, and so appreciate the freedoms here that reward hard work and give them the means to protect themselves and their business. I’m reminded of the Koreans during the L.A. riots who took up arms to defend their businesses.

To which I can only add that this incident shows how easy it is to miss someone with a gun, even when shooting at bad breath distance. It also illustrates why gun gurus say never draw on a drawn gun. And try to distract a gunman before counter-attacking. Also, the wisdom (for the robber) of standing side-on to a potential threat.

But anyway, result. Right?

64 Responses to Defensive Gun Use of the Day: Korean Store Owner Seul Lim’s Gunfight with Armed Robber

      • Facts are not racist. They’re just facts. According to FBI numbers, blacks comprise 50 percent of murders (Most are black on black crime) and 39 percent of prison population. Most black people are not criminals, but roughly half of criminals happen to be black.

        • Worked at a prison. A first offender white kid and a first offender black kid. Almost gaurantee the white kid gets probation and the black kid gets prison.

        • Facts aren’t racist, the fact that he said it is. What difference does it make to this story that the robber was black?
          It make a difference to poster’s story because his story has to have blacks as bad guys.
          When he finally realizes that we are people he will stop noticing that one is short, tall, Lithuanian or from Kansas.
          When you care about the differences well, if it smells like fish….

          It’s not even us against them about guns. It’s we. Some of us understand, some of us will understand.

    • What about the Uber driver spree killer? I believe he was white. And the crazy lady rousting an innocent couple from their car at gunpoint? White. You’ll give them a pass cause they’re white?

      • You gonna be continue to perceive racism where there is none? Don’t hurt your hand from slapping that race card down so hard.

        • You gonna continue pretending you’re not a racist? Man up and admit it and quit hiding behind word play.

          For the record. I’m an OFWG.

  1. I have heard some gun “gurus” say differently. It’s been shown in demos that a drop can be beat by a draw, pretty much every time, by someone who is well trained. It’s also been shown that it’s hard for someone to talk and shoot at the same time. It’s just the way the brain is wired. If the BG is yelling demands, his brain is in the talk mode and HE IS DISTRACTED by that. It also looks like the BG was looking away when the storekeeper made her move.

    I agree that for the average person, like this storekeeper, the draw against a drop is not a good play, but I wouldn’t make a blanket statement that it is never a good idea. In some circumstances, like if the BG was trying to herd you into a backroom, it may be your last chance to live.

    • As high as I like to think my universal SA is, I dread the situation where I’m staring down a muzzle and didn’t anticipate it.

      I sit in church and know that the only entrance us behind me, so I have a pew blocking my drawing motion from view. Some lunatic storms in, I pull my wife down below the pew for cover, and simultaneously draw to place the muzzle just above the waterline of the pew. I have options, depending on the actions of the aggressor.

      Walking about town on a daily basis, you can scan to detect potential threats or blind spots. You can position yourself to maintain distance or barriers between you and a potential threat. You can nonchalantly “slice the pie” even around a dumpster as you casually scan while walking the dog.

      I’d like to hear more about what to do in situations where “surprise!” there’s a BG drawn on you. Let’s say he’s farther away than your reach, or reasonable lunging distance, with no practical cover available, so you can’t resort to smacking away the muzzle or going UFC.

      Thoughts?

      • Move then shoot or move while shooting are probably your best options.

        Fortunately, I get to practice this regularly at the IDPA matches I shoot.

        • This reminds me of a YouTube video about how to react in a Teuhler drill – get off the X! Don’t be there when the guy with the knife reaches you.

          It seems that the BG with the gun has focused on a specific spot where he first saw his target and he probably assumes that the target will freeze to that spot. Assuming his original intent was not to shoot but to intimidate into compliance then moving from that spot should force him to recalculate, giving you some time to make your counter-move.

          In this video the lady did approximately that. The BG was momentarily distracted, she drew her pistol and fired before he could react. Her only major mistake was not actually hitting him with her first shot and perhaps not taking any immediate follow-up shots.

          Her second mistake was not handing over the cash rather than risk being shot dead. It is highly probable the cash is insured against robbery and she had a video and cash register tape to prove the loss.

      • This is why overhead projectors might be from the devil. Not only is 4 part singing a casualty of contemporary churches, but those grand old hymnals provided a)something to throw and b) improvised shield/body armor.

      • Online, I just discovered a shooting school. FPF, that is only about an hour and a half from me. They have some cleverly packaged courses.
        “Street Encounter Skills,” teaching criminal pre-assault behavior & tactics and how to counter
        “Two Person Skills” teaching how to work in concert with a spouse, even if she is not armed
        “Close Quarters Engagement,” for situations when the BG is right in your face.
        “Unthinkable,” dealing with extreme situations, being taken hostage, active shooter, etc.

        I am going to check these courses out. I like this reality based approach in contrast to the usual kind of courses, that over-focus on draw times and long-distance accuracy like you are preparing for IDPA. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but these courses seem more practical.

        • To expand on what I said earlier, I do not shoot IDPA as a competitive match. I shoot to maintain skills.

          I practice with my CCW rig, rather than using something that would allow me to draw faster and still be legal by IDPA standards.

          Bottom line, I avoid going in with a “shoot to win the competition” mindset. The two things I’m after from IDPA are:
          1. Anticipation plus the buzzer going off gives one a bit of an adrenalin rush, which are good things to learn to overcome.
          2. IDPA requires that one think while moving and shooting.

          I think the above two are invaluable training.

        • @Blake,

          By the sound of it, you’re the only one in those matches who takes “Defensive” seriously.

        • I’ve studied there.
          Realistic practice, non static.
          Real life lessons.
          Clearing a “7-11” cause there’s always one more perp outside.
          Learned how myopic the perps vision has become.
          Yeah draw and shoot.
          What’s the worst that can happen? It will anyway if you don’t step up.

    • This reminds me of the video posted on TTAG a while back shot at a gas station. The gunman had a his left arm around the neck of a hostage and a pistol in his right hand (mostly pointed at the hostages head to control him). The hostage’s companion was probably within 4 or 5 feet.

      Gesticulating with his right hand and turned sideways with his right sight towards the gunman, the hostage’s companion moved towards the gunman, drew and shot the gunman. It was a pretty incredible video.

    • “It’s just the way the brain is wired. If the BG is yelling demands, his brain is in the talk mode and HE IS DISTRACTED by that.”

      I wonder if there may be a way to use that *against* a BG.

      Say, have a memorized and rehearsed spiel of some sort while drawing and aiming *your* gun.

      It’s weird the way the brain does that. I first experienced it right after I got my first cellphone. I was in traffic and had to walk someone through a fairly complex procedure to reconfigure an instrument, and nearly wrecked. I can see now what they mean when they say conversing on a cellphone while driving impairs driving a similar way that alcohol impairs you.

      Point being, can we use that impairment against an attacker?

  2. Another lesson. The gun should have been on her, not stuffed on the other side of the register. She should have continued shooting until the threat stopped. Based on her movements, I suspect she has had minimal training and range time, which is a good lesson about the importance of training and practice. Yes, it is easy to Monday morning quarterback this, but these kinds of videos are wonderful training tools. We should analyze them, point out potential faults, and learn from it.

  3. I have not heard anyone say “never” draw on drawn gun. That would be stupid. If they are likely going to kill you, it may be your best option.

    • I have heard the statistic that given prompt medical attention your chance of surviving being shot by a pistol is about 80%. Excluding most head shots, that is. This lady survived the wound she received.

      That said, sucks to be shot, but if you believe you ARE going to be shot the choice of drawing on a drawn weapon seems a reasonable gamble, assuming you land your shots and keep going until your weapon is empty or the threat stops. Adrenaline is an amazing thing.

      • Cliff H.,

        Your odds are even better than that since an attacker’s gun is incapable of firing something like 45% of the time.*

        If you also move your feet in a big hurry as you proceed to draw and shoot at your attacker, your odds are that much better again.

        Thus, all things considered, if you move quickly while drawing and trying to shoot your attacker, I estimate your odds of dying from the attacker’s gunfire is about 1 in 20 (assuming that your attacker is using a handgun).

        * For reference attackers’ firearms are inoperable for many reasons. Some are simply realistic toys or replicas. Others are broken. Some are unloaded. Some have the wrong ammunition. And in some cases the attacker doesn’t know how to operate the firearm.

        • Lends credence to the theory that BGs assume that the presence of the gun will gain compliance, not that they expect to actually shoot anyone.

  4. Tired of the same old vibrant robbers?
    Can’t afford Roof Koreans?
    Now from ROK Supply, try Counter Koreans!

    Counter Koreans take up less space, don’t require headbands, or need proprietary Mini-14 magazines! Best of all, Counter Koreans come with 55% more pent up rage!
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    • Not to mention how good looking this model of Counter Korean was.
      On the other hand, I’ll take one that knows how to shoot no matter what she looks like.
      Draw with two hands shoot with one? No that’s supposed to be the other way around.
      It is only “easy to miss” when your presentation and trigger control suck.
      Yeah, “results”! Bla, bla, bla…… She is lucky to be alive. Same with the pharmacist from West Virginia. I am against mandated traning butI mandate it for myself and my wife. If I worked in a place prone to robberies, there is no way in hell I wouldn’t be an expert gunfighter.
      I don’t care so much that she did not hit the bad guy since he was captured, just that she got hit. That sucks.

  5. This incident is almost identical to one experienced by a Tom Givens student. The student was an Asian woman who owned the convenience store. Only the ending was different. The student sidestepped, pulled her pistol from beneath the counter and shot the armed robber in the chest. She wasn’t injured.

    No telling what, if any, training Seul Lim had. That’s a deficiency she and her husband need to correct.

    • Second deficiency – having to use two hands to unholster the pistol that was lying on the counter. That delay might have cost her life and might also have caused her first shot to miss.

  6. Did the perp rack the slide?? Looks like it to me. That was her window. PPK vs Glock?? You can also bet they will never see that glock again.

  7. Freedom Hating Liberal arguments:
    1) If she just complied with the robber instead of defending herself, she wouldn’t have been shot.

    2) If guns were banned the robber wouldn’t have a gun, and Ms. Lim wouldn’t need a gun.

    Counterarguments:
    1) She doesn’t know the motives of the robber. He may take the money and shoot her in the face anyways. He may take the money, and demand some illicit copulative activities as well. He may take her with him for these and other activities later.

    2) If guns were banned (cough cough 2asux), the robber could still probably get one if he searched hard enough or knew the right people, but also, in this case, he doesn’t really need one. The robber is twice her size. He can take whatever he wants by force with what he has. In this situation, actually, it is better for the robber that everyone didn’t have a gun. She wouldn’t have shot at him, and he could have forced his will on whatever he wanted.

  8. If she didn’t pull, chances are she wouldn’t have been recovering from a bullet hole right now. However, with the proper training and with a gun that is more naturally accessible while pulling money and handing it over, she would have won that battle. Having to draw it from her body in that situation would have instant got her shot though.

    • Statistics can be a squirrelly thing, especially at the extremes. If we were just talking straight probability, like flipping a coin, that’d be one thing. The probability is known, while the outcomes are both known and trivial.

      An event like this, however, introduces numerous random variables one on top of the other. The probabilities are unknown and incalculable, while the outcomes range from trivial to catastrophic. Attempting to assess the situation and act immediately is challenging to say the least. It’s why some people just freeze.

      It’s not at all clear what would have happened had she not drawn. We know for a fact the robber’s gun was loaded, operable, and that he was willing to fire. He fired at that moment because she had drawn, but we don’t know that he wouldn’t have fired eventually anyway just to eliminate the witness. From her perspective, the probability of being killed, even if known or knowable, even if known to be minute, can become irrelevant because the expected value is infinite.

      Think of it like this: let’s play a coin flipping game. You give me a dollar, I flip a coin. If heads, I pay you a dollar. If tails, I pay you nothing. You wouldn’t play this game because the expected value is only 50 cents. .50 probability times 1 dollar payoff = 50 cents. Not worth it for a $1 price to play. Now, with a $5 payoff, the expected value is $2.50, which is better than your $1 price to play. So it’s worth playing.

      Now consider the payoff is the loss of your life. That’s an infinite payoff, so no matter what probability is applied to it, the expected value is still infinite. That’s mathematically. Mentally, though, this woman perceived a non-trivial probability that she would die. She estimated that she had to act because the potential loss was infinite and outweighed the probability of the robber just taking the money without shooting.

      • Dude! That post was way to long just to add nothing to the fact that had this woman perfected her gun handling skills, she would have brought down this bad guy without receiving a scratch. In THIS situation.

        • Yep. With the predators head turned away, it gave her the opportunity to draw the firearm unobserved, with a fraction of a second of a steady two handed aim; two shots to the chest, one to the head, done deal and she would very likely be uninjured, and the predator likely would be on a slab.

        • You’re right but I am not a big fan of the Mozambique drill. Once I am scoring hits center mass, I continue, following the mass to the floor or out the door, which ever the case may be.
          People! If your range doesn’t allow mag dumps, you need to find another place to train.
          5 shots on 5 inch target from 5 yards in 1 second from ready or under 3 seconds drawing from concealment.

        • The value of the Mozambique drill, according to my former SEAL firearms instructor, is that if the two shots center mass are not having the desired effect it may be that your opponent is wearing body armor, so a shot between the eyes is called for.

          Unlikely that your average Quick Mart robber will be wearing armor, but what the hell, give him the third in the forehead, then go back to center mass until you are sure the threat is ended.

      • I have a medium case of clinical depression. Not sure if it is the depression or the drugs I take for it, but I suspect that I too would likely drawn on a drawn gun. My irritation with the criminal’s behavior would override what little fear I am capable of feeling lately. I am also usually wearing a vest and practice drawing every day. The criminal has unknown unknowns to contend with (even if he doesn’t know it) too:-)

      • The woman placed her fate in her own hands rather than guessing on the robbers intentions. I believe that is almost always the right call.
        She did not hit the guy, but she foiled the robbery, made him leave his mask, and raised his profile. Her actions probably contributed to the robber being caught sooner.

        • Her actions probably contributed to the robber being caught sooner.

          That sure appears to be the case. And that also plays into the calculus of whether or not to draw. Given my analysis above (estimating your chance of dying around 1 in 20) and adding the fact that your active defense greatly increases the odds of incapacitating the attacker or at least causing their arrest, I think the decision is a no-brainer.

          I have no “hero” complex and I certainly don’t want to die tomorrow at the hands of some douche bag trying to steal $70 from a cash register … and from that perspective I don’t want to get involved. Having said that, I also do not want that douche bag at his/her next robbery to kill a teenager, young mom, my family members, etc. — either as a direct result of the robbery itself or indirectly from speeding away and crashing or mowing down a pedestrian. From that perspective, I feel compelled to act.

          It sucks being the victim of an armed robbery or aggravated assault. No one would ever wish for that or choose that. Nevertheless, sometimes the attacker chooses you. If that is the case, you might as well go down swinging — and hopefully stop the attacker from harming anyone else. Remember, these violent criminals do NOT commit one crime and then stop. They continue harming people until someone stops them.

      • There are lies, damned lies and statistics. And then there are those that trot out statistics like they might actually make a point and then use them to not say a damned thing but instead merely to winge on for paragraph after paragraph with pointless inane chatter.

  9. It’s sad news but it normal in these days which is very sad part, i personally suggest every on must have to take gun shooting training before he own a gun also take some self defense training also as it’s very useful in these types of situations.

    • “must have”

      Nope.

      “Must Have” is the starting point to a whole lotta bad at some later time. Something about the road to Hell coming to mind..

    • “must have”

      Nope.

      I also seem to recall something I read somewhere – something about “…shall not be infringed.”

  10. Must have? No. Really… no. For all the reasons already given, but also because anything like this which is “mandatory” in any fashion is usually not effective. Do you learn anything, truthfully, if you are forced to listen to someone? About anything?

    I sincerely hope this woman will now seek out the training and arrange for the practice she needs. I’m glad she is alive and able to do that. But no way would I want her to be forced to do anything. Her choice… yes indeed.

    • To say nothing of the fact that if someone actually did come up with mandatory effective training (I know, I know, but work with me for the rest of this sentence), it’d be all too easy to render that training too expensive or unavailable except 3AM Tuesdays after the 30th of the month, or deny licenses to give the training, or…

  11. A lot of good remarks here. The racist remarks do nothing but prove a point to anti gun naysayers in their favor. Not only stupid but careless and insensitive.
    I am not a “mushy” person but those comments go way over the line.
    *** There will always be racism among all skin color that goes all directions***
    That does not change the wrongness of those racist remarks.

    • The racist locusts pretty much all lighted here after the thread about Ted Nugent’s ill-considered facebook post. Robert hasn’t kicked em out, so they think they’ve found a congenial environment.

  12. Take some training.

    Side stepping works. (See: myopia)

    If you buy a gun and imagine you’ll do this or that you are what the antis fear.

    Take more training.

  13. Chickie-poo needs to work on the fundamentals of marksmanship. She could have easily been the victor there. Also, it’s not always a good idea to draw on a drawn gun. That usually gets you killed.

  14. Just a note: Just because you give the robber what he wants, doesn’t mean he won’t shoot you anyways. There was a case some time ago in Phoenix when an illegal alien walked into a convenience store with a gun and demanded some cigarettes. The store teller complied but was still shot and killed by the robber.

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