CCW Scenario: A Stranger Approaches In Parking Lot…What Do You Do?

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By James England via concealednation.org

Reviewing a lot of the news articles this week, I ran into a surprising number of concealed carry cases that revolved around parking lots. Whether it’s a potential robber attempting to stick up a person leaving a shopping plaza or just a confrontation that took place, concealed carriers have a lot to consider when dealing with parking lots. In this week’s CCW Scenario, we’re going to discuss different ways you can assess a potentially dangerous situation in a parking lot including things to look for, and instant red flags . . .

Not everyone approaching you in a parking lot is a bad guy. Sometimes it’s legitimately someone asking for directions or just a person down on their luck asking for five bucks. Neither of these are necessarily threats. That’s why we spend so much time on situational awareness and trying to maintain the proper mindset when interacting with people we don’t know, in a place that’s potentially vulnerable.

Shopping Plaza Considerations

Environmental Factors:

  • Number of cars in the parking lot

In an empty parking lot, your lone car definitely stands out like a sore thumb. If a stranger approaches you in this situation, you don’t have much in terms of cover or concealment other than your own personal vehicle.

  • Your vehicle’s location in relation to the store

Whenever possible, park closest to the store you’re visiting. Stores tend to have surveillance systems and — even worse for criminals — witnesses. The further out of sight you are (i.e. in the back of the parking lot), the more vulnerable you are to attack.

  • Your closest point of cover or concealment

Whenever walking out in the open, always keep in the back of your mind various places you can go if something sudden or unexpected happens.

  • Whether or not you have shelter inside the building

A common theme for armed robberies in shopping plazas is when a store closes up for the night. Employees and last minute shoppers are all trickling out one or two at a time. Because the store is closed, there’s no where to retreat to if violence is threatened.

  • Time of day

We always think of night time as the right time for criminal pursuits but, in this day, that’s not necessarily the case. Some criminals are dumb and will approach you in broad daylight. That said, the greater the visibility, the greater the chance someone will see a bad guy doing something he shouldn’t be doing.

  • Weather conditions

Walking across a frozen parking lot in February, we all understand that slippery conditions slow us down. We can’t run (effectively or safely), maneuvering is difficult, and escape in short order is way more of an obstacle. Rain, also, provides a great opportunity for bad guys because you may be holding an umbrella. An umbrella in one hand and bags in the next? That’s too easy.

Personal Factors:

  • Appearance of the approaching party

Appearances can be deceiving. That said, if someone wants to advertise that he or she is a gangster or potentially a threat to your well-being, accept it as a gift. However, bad guys come in all shapes and sizes and it’s important to not let the appearance dictate too much. When in doubt, ask a person to stop advancing towards you. Give them a simple command. Their response will likely act as a first taste of what’s to come.

  • Location of other occupied vehicles in vicinity to you

We’ve all seen people hang out in parking lots. There’s the dude waiting for his wife to finish trying on a new dress and then there’s the dude who’s face down in his phone waiting for his girlfriend to get off work. It’s not uncommon to see people hanging out in their vehicles in the parking lot. That said, try to keep aware of who’s waiting and where. Many times, in a robbery situation, the robber will run and make his escape with the aid of a driver. Just having a mental picture of which vehicles are occupied can help reduce down the options if you end up having to give a description to police later on.

  • Idling vehicles with a driver obviously awaiting a passenger

Just like the last topic, idling vehicles deserve a bit more scrutiny. A parked vehicle with an occupant inside isn’t instantaneously ready to spring into action. An idling car is.

  • Lone stranger versus group of strangers

When approached in the middle of a semi-public place by a third party, numbers matter. A group of two or three is definitely much more imposing than a lone person. Whenever in doubt of another party’s intentions, always ask they stay back. It doesn’t matter if it’s one or more, but whatever they need to say can be done at a distance. If they fail to, you have your immediate response and feel free to switch into a defensive posture.

Tricks Of The Trade

Criminals know that not all their marks are fools. That’s why they sometimes use elaborate ruses to draw you, the outsider, into their personal circle. First, it drops your safeguards that are in place, and second, it moves you closer to them so they can take advantage of that.

  • False altercation as a lure

Criminals will play off of a person’s sense of social responsibility. Sometimes what you see taking place before you is more nuanced than you give it credit for. For instance, if you see two men in the parking lot getting into a loud verbal disagreement beside your vehicle, pay attention to their verbal and physical cues. IF it appears they’re trying to draw you in by either pointing a finger at you, waving, or otherwise making a scene, avoid this at all costs.

Even if those guys are just having a verbal disagreement, that’s their business. If you feel threatened, call the police. Otherwise, wait and observe from a distance. Pay attention to the other people around you, as well. Watch to see if anyone is observing you while you’re observing the party that’s clogged up next to your car.

Don’t attempt to defuse this situation one-on-one — because it’s really not a one-on-one scenario. Call the police, maintain your distance, go back inside the store and wait things out.

  • Request for assistance

Human beings naturally respond to requests for help. It’s something innately driven into just about everyone that when there is someone in desperate need of immediate assistance, we all tend to at the very least look over. Now, unfortunately, this trick has been out in use for some time. But, if you’re unfamiliar, people can and will attempt to use an emergency to draw your attention and draw you to them.

If someone runs up to you and asks you to help them immediately and you’re out in the middle of a parking lot, be on your guard. We would never want to say never to help a stranger in need because that’s something that one is morally drawn to do or not. However, please do consider the position you’re being placed into and the potential pitfall of responding to a request for assistance.

  • Always offer to call the police or emergency services.
  • Offer to get a manager from inside the store.

Do any number of things but please, please, please do not go running off into a random part of a parking lot without having backup and assistance.

comments

  1. avatar Matt in Oklahoma says:

    Whole lot more to carrying a gun than just carrying a gun

    1. avatar Ryan says:

      100% agree, when ever someone asked me about getting their permit or getting a gun for personal protection at home I try to explain to them that having a gun is only one minor step in the whole scheme of things. Not to mention all the legalities and gun laws that they really need to know.

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        The legalities part is the big one. Most people understand that the first thing they need to do after they buy a gun is take it out to the range and try it out. It doesn’t take a whole lot of training for having a gun in a dark parking lot to be an advantage over not having one. Very few people have a clue about the legal landmine field they’re walking into.

    2. avatar Indiana Tom says:

      That is why only professional operators should have guns like the military and police. Subjects are too feeble minded.

      1. avatar notalima says:

        Yep, I agree wholeheartedly. I mean if a operationally challenged operator like this guy gets it wrong, how can I ever expect to manage myself?

        http://www.ammoland.com/2013/03/ny-swat-cop-ridiculed-after-hes-pictured-with-eotech-rifle-sight-on-backwards/

        I’d probably shoot my eye out.

        😀
        😀

        1. avatar Coltman says:

          Don’t matter much which way the eotech is mounted. You can see through it fine. And the battery will be dead always.

    3. avatar mark s. says:

      I carry appendix a full frame pistol everywhere I go , when inside a store I will conceal behind a long XXL tea shirt and often when I’m on the parking lot I will pull my shirt up and park it behind my grip and reveal so if approached for nefarious reasons the perp. or perps. should know where I stand on defending myself . I have had guys walk right towards me and as soon as they see I’m armed , turn away and approach someone else . After all , our position to carry should be as much about deterrence as defense .
      My opinion only , of coarse .

  2. avatar Omer Baker says:

    As far as bad guys coming in all shapes and sizes, I’ve related this way: I’ll spend many years convincing my daughters there’s no such things as monsters only to turn around and tell them there are most definitely monsters, but that they look like everyone else.

    1. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

      Something to consider. Sometimes the fairer sex also take the job to bait you in. Pretty young thing at Zero Dark Thirty, asking for help with her car, might have 2 dudes hiding and waiting for you to be distracted.

      1. avatar Dale says:

        Been there, fell for that. The instant I realized what was happening I knocked a guy over with a shopping cart and RAN!

      2. avatar JKATX says:

        There’s an internet video somewhere of a guy walking through a crowded street, closed for the weekend night bar crowds. Of course he had his face buried in his shiny new iPhone. A girl runs up, snatches it out of his hands and runs into the crowd. He chases after her, only to find her in the middle of four big dudes, one of whom promptly pops him in the face when he requests his phone back. They disappeared into the crowd, shortly after.

  3. avatar FormerWaterWalker says:

    Just some situational awareness folks. Yep it’s difficult to tell-especially in “iffy” hoods. I tend to keep my hand on a weapon no matter what. I also don’t go out late at night much anymore. Nuttin’ good happens at 2am…

  4. avatar Ken Hobbs says:

    I prepare to draw, loudly tell them to stop, and pray they do.

  5. avatar anaxis says:

    On one occasion, a girl I knew was robbed in a Target parking lot by two guys and a female. They waited until she unlocked her car with her remote key, and before she could get in and the couple approached with a sob-story about being broke down. While she was distracted and talking to the woman and her boyfriend, another guy opened her car from the passenger side and took her purse (along with the pistol inside). The couple stalled until their accomplice got away, and then abruptly changed their mind about needing help.
    My friend didn’t realize her purse was gone until she was down the road about a mile, and returned to the store after calling the cops. The parking lot video showed what happened, but the perps were never caught.

    But what she said was even more upsetting, was that the cops angrily lectured her about carrying a pistol and letting it get stolen. Never mind that the reason she left it in her car was because the Target has a no-guns policy. She told me that she was afraid a cashier would spot her pistol while checking out, and call the cops on her. And it wouldn’t fit in the tiny glovebox of her Mazda, so she stashed it in her purse. The people that robbed her were fairly clean-cut, and she said they were very convincing.

    1. avatar Vhyrus says:

      Not sure where your friend lives, but if no guns signs have no teeth there, ignore them. Even if the punishment is a low grade misdemeanor and a fine, it might be worth the risk.

    2. avatar tdiinva (Now in Wisconsin) says:

      Target does not have a no gun policy. They expressed a preference that they don’t want you to carry in their stores. What they really meant is keep your gun concealed. Out of sight is out of mind. Way too many permit holders failed to read what Target and other establishments actually said,

      1. avatar anaxis says:

        Yeah, that’s what I had to impress on her after the fact; prior to, she heard some local news stories make it sound like carrying into a Target was a horrible crime, to the point that anybody spotted carrying would (and should) be treated like a potential active-shooter.

        And the lecture she received from the responding cops was something that helped solidify her assumptions, to the point where she was not planning on ever replacing the stolen pistol. :rolleyes:

        But I helped with her education, and she now lives in a free-state, and the last time I visited we went out shooting her new S&W; along with her Ruger, Taurii, and a lone Rossi (she’s a wheelgun girl).

    3. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

      I carried a gun into Target last week. No signage, so no worries, no troubles.

      1. avatar Vhyrus says:

        I’ve open carried into several targets recently. No issues.

        1. avatar Rokurota says:

          It’s called Target for a reason.

  6. avatar Scottlac says:

    Hence why I don’t want to leave my carry gun out in the car in the parking lot. The lot itself is the reason to carry inside and back out.

  7. avatar JoshFormerlyinGA says:

    I think the best point made in this article is the one about keeping strangers at a distance. Distance is your friend if the person approaching you has less than peachy aspirations, whether you’re armed or not. Pretty much everything else boils down to situational awareness, and not doing stupid things (like trying to break up an altercation).

    1. Also consider changing directions whike loozing them right in the eye. A slow move off the X is unsettling to predators that think you have no clue because they know you know. Breaks their ooda.

  8. avatar CALVIN L NIKONT says:

    I always have my S&W model 640 concealed hammer .357 revolver in my jacket pocket. Concealed hammer revolvers are the only guns that can shoot all 5 shots in your pocket without having to take it out of your packet. In addition, I put my gun in a black sock so that no stainless steel metal shows if someone can look inside my pocket from the rear. The rest of the sock is wrapped around the barrel so that bumping against things does not wear a hole in the outside of my jacket.

    Years ago, there were many articles in gun magazines where this was tested and found to work really well. If you hear a noise in your back yard and it’s just the kid next door retrieving his football and you just had your right hand in your pocket, no problem. If it is suddenly a bad guy in your face, you just start squeezing the trigger.

    1. avatar Vhyrus says:

      Before I decided to OC I was a big proponent of pocket carry. If someone or something tingles your spidey sense you can put your hand on your gun ready to draw and it will just look like you have your hand in your pocket.

      1. avatar CALVIN L NIKONT says:

        Absolutely!

        But with the right type of gun, you don’t even need to waste a few precious seconds drawing the gun.

    2. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

      If you ever have to fire that snubby .357 from your jacket pocket… Stop, drop, and roll is your friend.

      1. avatar CALVIN L NIKONT says:

        Right!!!

        The gun magazines said that after the first shot, the pocket seams will probably rip out and your hand will be outside your smoking jacket but be ready to stop, drop, and roll.

      2. avatar Matt says:

        I’ve done it to test it with a jacket and a purse just for giggles. Go to Goodwill and buy a few half off jackets and purses to test for yourself, you’ll have a good laugh. I recommend gloves.

        I fired 5 shots no problem but accuracy was bad breath distance. I mean legitimately 2 feet tops. After shot 2 or 3 the jacket split open. I was pushing the gun forward in the pocket making the jacket into a quasi sling to get some semblance of accuracy, that caused my hand and arm to go through the new hole in the jacket. Accuracy improved but you do need to extricate your hand and arm now.

        Discomfort wise it didn’t burn per say but it singed all the hair off of my knuckles and was quite hot. Hand smelled terrible after but was fully functional. I tested this with my S&W 649 2″ barrel with 357 mag 125gr Hornady Critical Defense.

        1. avatar CALVIN L NIKONT says:

          Thanks for doing the test.

          Since I place my concealed hammer revolver in a cotton sock to keep anyone from seeing the stainless steel in my pocket, the fire and heat shouldn’t bother me at all.

    3. avatar Clay-in-UT says:

      Bingo! Mine’s a 340pd, and my hands are always in my pocket. However 357 is a beast, but I will let the adrenaline handle that.

      1. avatar CALVIN L NIKONT says:

        If I were a cop, I would have my right hand in my pocket every time I stopped a car. Never give the bad guy an even break!

    4. avatar jwtaylor says:

      I’ve tried this out with an airweight J frame .38SPL+P. Scorched my hand pretty good. Expect to get just one shot off with that .357 magnum snubby, as your hand may very well be useless for a while after that.

  9. avatar NIBIRU says:

    One huge advantage of pocket carry. You can just put your hands in your pockets and be ready to party.

  10. avatar James in AZ says:

    Back the f off

    If they wont stop, draw and run the f away

    Not worth the cop trouble

  11. avatar JohnF says:

    Two things I do in parking lots: First, I don’t go directly to my car. I walk down an adjacent row. I check to see if anyone is following. When I get even with my car (in the next row over), I quickly cut through the parked cars over to my row. Second, I do a full 360 scan before I hit the remote, get immediately into the car and lock the door. If I have to put something in the back of the car, I do a 360 first. If I have a lot of stuff to load, I repeat the 360 with each armful. I try to be discrete about it, but I do feel that is a vulnerable situation.

    If I see anything hinky, like some of the stuff mentioned above, the threat level goes up and I respond accordingly. In that case, I do not go to my car. I take evasive/defensive action as the situation calls for. I am very suspicious of sob stories about anything. I always assume it’s a setup. Everyone today has a cell phone and ways to get help. I think about the tables being turned. I wouldn’t go running up to some stranger for help.

    One exception: I did have a guy come up to me in the parking lot of my condo recently, saying his motor scooter had broken down. He said he also forgot his cell phone and was asking to use my cell phone to call the motorcycle shop to come get it. My spidey sense was in full alert. Two reasons I didn’t blow him off: 1) He looked like the kind of guy who would ride a motor scooter and would forget his cell phone, 2) It was a wide open area, so he could not have had any close accomplices, and 3) The shop he wanted to call is it’s the same shop I use for my motorcycle. So I had them on speed dial. I did not hand him the phone. I called them and when it was obvious they knew him, I relaxed. But until then, I used my cell with my left hand, kept an eye on him at all times and had my right hand on the snubby in my pocket.

    1. avatar Fury says:

      ” Everyone today has a cell phone and ways to get help. I think about the tables being turned. I wouldn’t go running up to some stranger for help.”

      ^^^ This.

      I have always told Mrs. Fury to consider the situation and the people in that situation. If you see an elderly person knocking on the door and another elderly person in the car, nicely inquire what they want through the door first.

      But younger folks? If one or two younger folks knock on the door and are asking for directions – it’s ok to be suspicious. Most young people have cell phones. I am immediately suspicious of the “can you give us some directions” question.

    2. avatar tdiinva (Now in Wisconsin) says:

      This is the correct way to check for surveillance. One of easest things to do if you think someone who is approaching you is a possible threat is to change directions. If they follow then there is a good chance that they are targeting you. At that point you should keep moving away from them towards a place of safety. Bad guys generally break off the chase when someone appears to know what they are doing. In any case buying more time allows you to get ready to defend yourself.

    3. avatar Garrison Hall says:

      “I am very suspicious of sob stories about anything.”

      They usually are. My standard response is “sorry, but I don’t give money away”. Works every time.

      1. avatar CALVIN L NIKONT says:

        My standard response is, “Oh, no thanks” as if they were giving me something. It confuses them long enough for me to walk away..

  12. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

    Vomit, faint, piss myself, cry, and tell the BG I have a scorching herpes flare-up… But not necessarily in that order.

    1. avatar fred says:

      And if those fail, two in the chest and one in the head, just to be sure.

      1. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

        Ohhhh… The person is trying to hurt me. Yeah, then most definitely a two plus one tap.

        The first strategy was how I deal with panhandlers.

    2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      I believe that self defense strategy goes like this;

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4j_GffcGsQ

      Of course 3 karate kicks to the face beforehand doesn’t hurt either.

      1. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

        That was so 80’s. It’s called the Colorado defense, now.

        No guns. Just bodily fluids and STDs.

        1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Pretty sure she was bluffing about the gun.

  13. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    ‘Lone stranger versus group of strangers’

    Make sure you’re actually dealing with a lone stranger, his 2 buddies might be sneaking up behind you.

    1. avatar Teddy36 says:

      Clever girl

      1. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

        Sam Neil you still owe me money!

  14. avatar Hannibal says:

    Ran into one of these situations when I was at a rest stop in NJ on a motorcycle- an additional difficulty since there’s no way to just get in and drive away easily. The guy was probably just down on his luck and really did need $5 for gas but I am not a friendly guy when you approach me in a corner of a rest stop after midnight.

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      And there you were without your New Jersey carry permit…

      1. avatar Rick the Bear says:

        If I recall, Hannibal is LEO so he doesn’t need an NJ permit.

  15. avatar the ruester says:

    This is like the death of Ennis Cosby. He stopped to help some guys (both white) with a flat and they killed him for his rims. Turns out they were russian gangsters.

  16. avatar Nedd Ludd says:


    “Rain, also, provides a great opportunity for bad guys because you may be holding an umbrella.
    An umbrella in one hand and bags in the next? That’s too easy.”

    If you have to carry an umbrella, carry this one:
    The Unbreakable® Umbrella
    http://unbreakableumbrella.com/
    It’s pretty good for rain also.

  17. avatar Raoul Duke says:

    I used to live by that Target in the article photo. Glad I left that socialist hellhole though.

  18. avatar Bruce Webb says:

    A few weeks ago I was leaving the grocery store I usually use. I was thinking of the four rules and realized that there was absolutely no direction I could fire without someone maybe being in the line of fire, or at least a car. The roads were several hundred feet away, so the bullet would probably drop enough to hit the ground before it reached the road, unless it decided to bounce off the parking lot. Still haven’t decided what I should do if I ever need a gun at that location. Almost as bad as being in a shopping mall.

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      Fortunately, modern hollow point defensive ammunition has a horrendous ballistic coefficient once they’ve expanded and passed through the body of a bad guy. Just make sure you hit where you’re aiming.

      1. avatar Bruce Webb says:

        William, I have been in the military and no one can “make sure” of hitting a target, even the best snipers. And when you are under stress, good luck. Also, if you can “make sure” of hitting a target you surely don’t need more than 10 rounds?

        1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Well, full disclosure here, I’ve never actually been in a gun fight. I’m guessing at halitosis range accuracy is not a major issue. You certainly have a point when it comes to longer distances, but I’m pretty sure that if it’s shoot or die you can probably fudge the 4 safety rules of firearms just a bit. A lot of people are concerned about their bullets passing through the bad guy and hurting someone else, and that’s certainly a possibility. However those bullets aren’t nearly as deadly once they’ve expanded and slowed down to 100fps.

          Anyway, I carry a revolver. But if you count the speed strip I’ve got 12 rounds.

  19. avatar Aaron says:

    even poor people have “sail fones” these days, provided by those of us who actually pay for their own phones who get chargd a “subscriber access fee” (which means “sail fone welfare tax”).

    and even if a person in need didn’t have a phone, why wouldn’t they just go into target and ask the manager to call the po-po?

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      ‘universal service fund’

      Started under Reagan when our overlords in Washington decided that the ability to dial 911 was so important that paying customers should pay for non paying customers to have phone service. O’Bama decided that wasn’t good enough, so now every lazy, deadbeat, derelict gets a free smart phone, complete with internet service, thanks to the rest of us paying customers. Coerced charity is the best charity when you’re a statist.

      1. avatar FedUp says:

        I hate when people make stuff up and other people spread it around without checking its veracity.
        USF was created by the Communications Act of 1934.

        1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          I stand corrected; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Service_Fund

          ‘The FCC established the fund in 1997 in compliance with the Telecommunications Act of 1996.’

          Clinton, not Reagan. The FCC was created by the Communications Act of 1934.

  20. avatar Badwolf says:

    Make it a habit to have the car key ready in your hand before leaving the store, so that when you reach your car you can get in quickly. You don’t waste time fumbling for the key outside your car, which I think is the spot you are most vulnerable. Also if you don’t have a ccw, in an emergency you can use your key as a tool for defense.

    And after you get in the car, don’t forget to quickly lock your doors, then start the car. That’s the only time I can relax a little bit.

  21. avatar Mudshark says:

    What do I do? I give them the money I have and my car if they want it.I can allways get another car.

    1. avatar FedUp says:

      I hope you’re not assuming that cooperating with carjackers gives you immunity from harm.

  22. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    Walking across a frozen parking lot in February, we all understand that slippery conditions slow us down. We can’t run (effectively or safely), maneuvering is difficult, and escape in short order is way more of an obstacle. Rain, also, provides a great opportunity for bad guys because you may be holding an umbrella. An umbrella in one hand and bags in the next? That’s too easy.
    Actually, I welcome adverse weather as thugs are lazy and wimpy and do not like being in the crap. Look at the crime records of the cute little thugs of cold months versus warm months for the big cities. The warmer it gets, the more people get shot.

  23. avatar Kevin says:

    I call it the size-up. Every confrontation I’ve seen begins with an innocent question: “what time is it?” Or “do you know where Taco Bell is?” “Do you have any spare change?”

    This give the bg a chance to size you up and proceed, or retreat, while keeping plausible deniability. After all, he’s not doing anything wrong at this point. It’s real purpose, of course, to distract you and see what kind of threat you are. My response is always the same- I make eye contact, firmly say “no,” (regardless of the question, because I’m not answering his question, but basically giving him an order) and hold eye contact until he breaks off. It’s unfriendly, but it’s supposed to be. And now he knows that I’m on to him and I’m sizing him up too. Every time I’ve done this, the other guy backs off.

    If it’s not a size up, you’ll know it.

    And watch your back. If someone else appears at any time, especially from a different direction, it’s not a size-up anymore.

  24. avatar Docduracoat says:

    It’s funny you should have this article as my wife and kids tell me I am paranoid after an incident in the gas station.
    I was wearing surgical scrubs as I was coming home at 9 pm and stopped for gas.
    A man was gassing his car with a woman in the back seat.
    When he saw me in scrubs, he asked if I was a doctor and I answered “yes”
    He then started walking toward me saying he wanted to shake my hand as a doctor had saved his life.
    I hung the gas hose up, backed away saying I dont want to shake your hand, and circled the car with my hand on my gun, still concealed.
    He starting getting all angry about my not wanting to shake his hand as I got in and drove off.
    My family says I should had just shaken his hand.
    When I say he might have used that excuse to get close and to punch me, they just laugh at me.
    What do the potg say?

    1. avatar MamaLiberty says:

      Trust your gut reaction, doc. EVERY time. It’s no crime to be suspicious or unfriendly. You are under NO obligation to satisfy the requests of others in that case, nor to worry about hurting someone’s feelings. It’s too bad, maybe, if you feel the need to be “nice,” but being rude is a hell of a lot better than being robbed… or dead.

      I remember one time when I’d only been carrying (OC) for a few months. I was in line at the grocery store and a man got very close behind me. I turned and told him rather sternly that he was too close. Turning had put the gun into his line of sight, and he backed off promptly. A week later, I saw him in the grocery store again, this time in his city police uniform. We said hello, and he gave me a knowing wink.

      I’m an older, disabled woman, only five feet tall. Situational awareness, following gut instinct, and taking rational measures to avoid conflict are things anyone can do to improve their own safety, and that of others.

  25. avatar Mister Fleas says:

    If you haven’t read this posting by a detective who pursued armed robbery suspects, then you really need to. It pertains to the subject at hand.

    http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_1_5/1285487_Street_robberies_and_you___The_Basics.html

  26. avatar Dale says:

    A bright flashlight does wonders. Not only does it provide better visibility, it can provide concealment. When shined in someone’s eyes, it can convey a slightly false location for yourself. BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, it can conceal YOUR actions. By shining in their eyes, it can allow you to place your hand on your gun (or even draw it) without the other person being able to see it. Once you have your answers as to their intentions, you can either draw it, or go back to a passive stance, without them knowing either way.

  27. avatar Hellguard says:

    I had a situation like this, I was in front of a local store having just picked up some 5.56 for $0.29 a round, was getting ready to get into my truck after securing the few boxes I’d had on the passenger seat. Clearing tailgate of my truck I saw a large Hispanic muscled man approaching me. Eyes locked specifically on me. he was wearing a white tank top, and had full sleeve tattoos like some serious cholo stuff. This guy’s attire and mannerisms screamed ex-convict. I expected trouble I bladed my stance, checked my escape routes and just as he got into talking distance he asked me a very distinct question in broken English. Specifically if I had jumper cables handy. He then pointed over his shoulder to a car with the hood up, and a distraught looking woman managing five kids. I helped him start his car and sent him on his way with the advice to pay the kindness forward. Not everyone is out to get you, if that situation had been a little different it could have gone south very quickly.

    Thankfully not everyone is as bad as we prepare ourselves to meet.

    1. avatar gp says:

      I’ve got jumper cables, but I’m not jumping a stranger. Why would I? What’s the possible upside? There is none. What’s the possible downside? Get assaulted, or robbed, or maybe f up my car’s electrical system. People should maintain their cars so they won’t need jumps, and if they don’t, they can call a pro for help.

  28. avatar ash says:

    Thats the Target I shop at. Nice little shoot out there a few months ago.

  29. avatar gp says:

    “We would never want to say never to help a stranger in need” Wrong. Somebody approaches me in a parking lot, I order them to stay back. I tell them to ask store security for help. That suggestion usually panics the panhandlers and they split.

    Maybe if I saw somebody seriously injured, I’d call 911 for them. That’s about as helpful as anyone can safely be in this sick society.

  30. avatar joatmon says:

    Condition yellow all the time. If I see someone approaching, still yellow but I’m wary.
    Going to orange requires a feeling or worse yet, something the person does or says that is threatening. By that time, you may have to go to red quickly and have no plan other than a verbal command and drawing your weapon.
    One incident in a parking lot was all it took for me to look at what I had been doing and change.

  31. avatar jlp says:

    Two glaring facts to watch out for at convenience stores. Watch out for a car backed into a parking place rather than the usual engine towards the store. Its often a dead giveaway that someone plans on leaving in a hurry and doubly so if the engine is running.

    Watch out for Moron store Managers that have the window blocked up with sale signs as this prevents someone one the outside from observing what is going on inside such as a robbery. Be extra cautious on entering such stores.

    Lastly try to avoid shopping at convenience stores after hours especially towards closing time. And when entering a convenience store be aware of the customers in the store and their behavior, watch out for nervous or suspicious persons looking around and not engaged in the usual shopping behavior.

    When pumping gas at convenience stores this is a very vunerable spot to be in as the person next to you is very close and a robbery and or killing can take place in seconds. Stopping for gas late at night should be put off till daylight hours unless their is no other choice. Watch your gas supply and keep the tank filled during daylight hours. Remember the tank should always be no lower than half full in the winter time and filling up sooner is no more expensive than waiting until the tank is empty its just more inconvenient to fill up all the time at half tank level but it always gives you the advantage of putting off filling up during the night time hours.

    And remember as the population increases (in my short life the U.S. population has increased by 100 million people from 200 to 300 plus million people) the increase of mental illness multiplies much faster in relation to the actual per cent age of actual population increase. This coupled with the very low wages U.S. workers get in relation to more advanced industrialized civilizations has contributed to the rising crime rates. So nut cases and people desperate for money (especially those on drugs) are more plentiful now than ever before making the U.S. an extremely dangerous place to live and work.

    Until the U.S. de-criminalizes drugs and has state sponsored free open drug treatment centers that would put the majority of drug dealers out of business the U.S. will continue to be an extremely violent place to exist in. Lets face cold hard facts the current system is an expensive failure and its way more expensive to hire an army of law enforcement drug cops as well as the tremendous loss of property through break ins than it would be to just legalize drugs. States are already finding out the millions they are raking in from legal marijuana sales that the money for drug treatment centers now exists only right now its not being put to good use.

  32. avatar PlinkerB says:

    Nice info. Thank you!

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