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A reader who wishes to remain anonymous writes:

It’s early morning in Dallas. I’ve just begun to continue my rounds at one of the posts where I work security. I can feel my upper gum burning from the Odens ice snus I popped to stay alert and awake. I sip my water to stave off the burn when I catch headlights out of the corner of my eye. Nothing unusual, it’s a fairly busy street even at this hour. As I walk to the large iron gate to continue my rounds I stop and look at my watch to mark the time, 0545 on the money. The first shot rings out, loud and far too close for comfort. My head snaps up, I yell my favorite word (MOTHER#%+&ER) and I begin to move to the side fast. The vehicle I had seen a split second ago . . .

is now in the middle of the intersection stopped about 40 yards away. My hand has shot to the Sig P227 in my holster, I’ve thrown my water down and I can hear the hood on my holster snap down before the bottle hits the ground. It’s been about a half second when the second shot is fired. I see the muzzle flash from somewhere in the vehicle, a controlled pair rings in the back of my mind.

I’ve moved a few yards and put my vehicle and a golf cart between myself and the shooter. As I begin to punch out, a pair of headlights appears perpendicular to the vehicle with the shooter(s) and it drives off fast enough to make a getaway before I put rounds on target, but slow enough not to arouse suspicion from the approaching vehicle. Start to finish: around 2-3 seconds.

I submitted this situation to illustrate a few points. I’ve seen in many forums, and even in comments from the Armed Intelligentsia that the vast majority of gunfights are three yards, three shots, three seconds. Practicing for that situation alone, isn’t enough. Not even close. We carry firearms because we know that at any point our day can go from normal to tits up fast and without warning.

The law of averages says most of us will never need to draw our firearms. But if you need your gun, the law of averages just got hit in the face with a Louisville Slugger anyway, so why only be prepared and practiced for the average?

The second and third points are movement and reaction. The next time you do your drills, do them while moving. It has to be instinctive, the last thing you want as a reaction to bullets flying is freezing like a deer in headlights.

In a shooting that happened at a previous post I worked, about half the bystanders froze and stood upright while people were shooting around them. Don’t be that guy. Had I froze I may have eaten a bullet that morning. I can see the comments now: “Well random internet d-bag, your shooter was 40 yards away, no way they could have hit you.” My response is they were a good enough to put their rounds through the three-inch gaps in the bars of the gate from 20 yards and a lucky round on target is still a round on target.

The fourth and final point: you may have to react under fire, possibly while injured. Practice with your off hand or from a compromised position. While I was standing there, admiring my fine timepiece, I could have easily been hit. I’m guilty of this myself. I don’t practice with my offhand nearly enough. That changes now. As for the compromised position, I know most ranges won’t let you do this. Find a place that will. I know I will.

That night could have turned into a gunfight fast. I’m sure in my mind the only reason he/she/they didn’t continue to fire were the potential witnesses approaching. Had it gone that way I would have been in a fight at 40 yards with a handgun where both of us had concealment and hard cover. Not ideal to say the least.

If you’re going to be prepared, be prepared for everything. Me, I’m glad I wore my body armor and apparently brought my inner Travis Haley to work that day. While I would’ve preferred not to be in the line of fire at all, I know now when/if it happens again, I’ll react as I’d always hoped I would.

76 Responses to Training Tip: Practice for All the Situations You Can Think Of. And Some You Can’t

  1. I stopped reading at tits up fast.
    Sorry…I’m not tacticool enough to understand all these hip terms.
    It’s too far above my pay grade.
    Gods speed and eye of the tiger and all that captain.
    Other than that, it made me put my pop corn down…had to use the latrine.
    Sorry….sorry….I’m just a jack ass sometimes.who am i to judge?

    • Spot on!

      Furthermore; bringing your inner Travis Haley to work includes shooting women and children in between giggle fits.

      So leave that shit at home…

    • From my recollection “tits up” is an Army Aviation term that refers to one the status indicators on the control panel of a UH-1 Iroquois (“Huey”) helicopter. In the event of engine trouble the indicator would display an inverted “W”, resembling a woman’s breasts pointing up. When this happened it was likely the flying boxcar you were in just turned into an express elevator to a world of hurt. The resemblance to “tits up” was coincidence; not an intended function.

      At least that’s what I was told by a UH-1 driver. To check the validity of my definition of “tits up” you’re going to have to find a former Army Aviation UH-1 pilot.

      There, now you can feel a little more tacticoolerer.

      • To me, tits up meant kaput, done for, finished.

        As a former UH-1H driver, I don’t know this indicator. Your first sign of loss of power is when the needles split on the engine/rotor tach. Then you bottom the collective to save your rotor rpm & establish an autorotative descent at 60 kts while you figure out your next move.

        Anyway, guess I’m not tacticool, either.

        • Forgot to add (been 30 years) that your initial warning of engine failure is low rpm audio, like a siren in your helmet, and a warning light.

          Most of the time it happens while you’re taking a checkride and your IP decides to roll throttle off. If you execute emergency procedure properly, he tells you to roll throttle back on, and you continue flying.

      • Snus, is a moist powder tobacco product originating from a variant of dry snuff in early 18th-century Sweden. It is placed under the upper lip for extended periods. Snus is not fermented and contains no added sugar. Although used similarly to American dipping tobacco, snus does not typically result in the need for spitting and, unlike naswar, snus is steam-pasteurized.

    • It probably should have been punctuated “tits up, fast and without warning.”

      I’ve heard “tits up” by itself (and I thought it referred to being flat on one’s back in a coffin, dead, but this usage, for a situation gone bad, suggests the Huey derivation is the right one).

      But I’ve never heard the term “tits up fast” so, I’m going to guess the missing comma explains it.

    • The first time I heard “tits up” it was part of “tits up and taking on water”, so I had always assumed it was a naval term for a ship that had already rolled over and was sinking.

  2. Hell I can’t even figure out from reading it who was shooting at who and why the writer started shooting.

    Last week I was told to have/not have a favorite gun….I will take substance over quantity quantity articles any time…

    • I cant even tell if he actually fired, or what he did afterwards. I guess that’s not important…just that he is operating operationally, on his golfcart.

    • I don’t think he ever started shooting, because the car with the muzzle flash inside it drove off before he could shoot at it.

      I’m also pretty sure he never knew who they were or who they were shooting at or why, but he was eager to try to kill them for it.

  3. For those of us who are not operators, LEOs, or security, we have lives to live that generally include only a general chance that we will be in mortal danger from an attack, much less an ambush. There is a reasonable limit to the amount of time and expense for training based on the possibility that it will ever be needed.

    I believe that the estimated number of successful DGUs by relatively untrained individuals bears this out.

    • Cliff H,

      I commented about this recently in another thread. I believe people who write-off any significant probability that we will ever face a life-threatening situation in our lifetimes are woefully misinformed.

      Going strictly by the number of violent crimes reported to police departments, and in turn to the FBI, criminals attacked more than 1 million times in the U.S. last year. In the general case that means you had something like a 1 in 330 chance of being the victim of a violent crime last year. Now, consider that probability over your lifespan between the ages of 21 and 71 where most people would be physically/mentally able to be responsibly armed: your general chance of being the victim of a violent crime increases to something like 1 in 7, about the same as playing Russian Roulette with a revolver. I don’t know about you, I think anyone who would willingly play Russian Roulette even one time is a fool. And yet that is exactly what people do when they don’t train and they don’t carry an effective defensive tool like a firearm.

      If you really want to make matters more interesting, try to account for the large number of violent crimes that victims never report to police agencies for various reasons. These additional violent crimes that victims never report means that your probability of being the victim of a violent crime over your lifetime is definitely higher than 1 in 7. At the same time, certain lifestyle choices can certainly reduce your probability of being the victim of a violent crime over your lifetime as well.

      However the exact numbers work out, I suspect the probability that you will be the victim of a violent crime over your lifetime is WAY higher than you realize. Is the probability high enough to warrant a minimal amount of conditioning and at least a few hours of training every few years … and to prioritize that minimal conditioning and training above most everything else in your life? I believe it is.

      • Whatever that statistical probability is (and I agree it’s probably higher than the naïve calculation would indicate, due to underreporting), it’s certainly an average over many different types of circumstances and environments. If one were somehow able to determine the chances by individual neighborhoods, I’m sure in some the chance of a violent encounter during a lifetime would be near certainty, while in others, it would be quite low.

        Of course, I’ve already HAD my violent incident, so I must be home free now… (yeah, right!)

  4. I just read more…couldn’t help it.
    I can hear it in my head being narrated by the cartoon voice of Sylvester the cat….sorry….really trying not to be a complete random internet d-bag….flol.

  5. Great article but there is the great error in your training… You should have brought your inner chuck Norris. Then, you could have caused their car to explode, melting their faces off 😉

    • Ok i read it again, ignoring the pull gun, water drops, other car came…

      The author was behind an iron gate

      A car came, stopped 40yd away

      Occupants fired 2 rounds

      Drove away

      Meanwhile

      The author ducked, found cover/concealment, didnt fire cuz there was no time

      Right?

      You sure the guy was shooting at you?

  6. Twenty dollars says a car backfired and ninja man dove behind the Cinnabon kiosk in front of Hot Topic.

    IN SLOW MOTION!

  7. You guys remember that story a week or two ago written by Mrs. Bubba about lil Bubba Jr. getting prosecuted for shooting old Bubba Sr. who was shooting at big Bubba Jr. because big Bubba Jr. was a convicted felon trying to take a shotgun from old Bubba Sr? Yeah, this story is written a little better. I think.

    • I’m disappointed that story got pulled. I’m curious to know how it all plays out in the end.

      Also, I thought old Bubba Sr. would not give up the gun because bib Bubba Jr. owed some money, not that he was a prohibited person. Wish I could go back and check.

      • If memory serves old bubba was mad cause young bubba already had one of his guns and he wanted it back before young bubba got another one.

  8. Definitely a cool story, bro.

    Hey, holiday weekends are slow. I don’t blame you a bit.

    Reminds me of the time a cop let me off with an illegally concealed pistol. In California, no less!

  9. I’m going to say this plainly:

    None of that happened.

    I’ve read truer stories in Penthouse. You are embarrassing yourself and your chosen profession. If there is an actual police report about this, you’re guilty of submitting a false report.

    Why would The TRUTH about guns post this?

  10. What I really want to know is why the link in the word “gate” leads to this a “wildlife feeder”.

    When I clicked the link, expecting to see an iron or steel gate, possibly with tell-tale impact marks from bullets I got this: http://www.cabelas.com/product/ForEverlast-Tail-Gate-Feeder/2186698.uts?productVariantId=4403970&WT.mc_id=ir27795&utm_source=VigLink&WT.tsrc=AFF&utm_medium=AFF&rid=10&irgwc=1

    Also, can someone tell me WTF was going on here and why it led this guy to think he needs offhand pistol skills while driving a golf cart?

    • Well, I was prepared to tell you that the link was a result of malware on your computer, and not this site, because there used to be adware that would do that (i.e. pick a random word and link a sorta-related ad to it). So I turned off my adblocker, and holy shit, it’s not you, it’s the site…

      What the actual fuck? Does TTAG now have an ad provider that just picks random words and assigns ads that may be sorta-kinda tangentially related to that word?

      Sigh. TTAG…

      • Yeah, the ad words stuff really annoys me because so much of good blog writing includes links to old articles, mfgr. pages, YouTube videos etc.

        The ad words really hamper readability and means I don’t bother clicking on the real links either.

    • @Matt: I run all the anti-malware and anti-ad stuff available.

      I’m still confused as to why that cabelas link came up. If it was link trying to sell me a gate… that would make at least some sense. But this… it’s just mysterious.

  11. The story is meant to be ironic, written by someone who has never needed either manned security or a gun, right?

    Although, it is actually a fair point that one should practice a good all-round reaction to hostile events.

  12. I think he’s trying to say “train for everything, including stuff you don’t know you need to train for”… I think?

    There was a little too much tacticool in there, I’ll agree.

    That said, those of you reading “his golf car”t, clearly need to work on your reading skills. It said “my vehicle AND a golf cart”. As in he used it for cover because it was there, not because it was his.

  13. There is an AWFUL lot of hate for what amounts to a fairly well written article.

    1) “tits up” is an aviation term, but not from a huey as someone mentioned. At least as old as WWII, and likely British in origin. All it did was make me read the rest in a bit of an accent.

    2) “my vehicle and A golf cart”. Not MY golf cart.

    3) Why would so many assume a drive up, drive by, or whatever it actually was is so improbable in Dallas in the wee hours?

    I’m all for a good fisking, and I’m as big a smart ass as the next guy. Ok, I’m a bigger smart ass than the next several guys. But really, there’s nothing deserving here.

    Except, maybe, if he HAD fired it would have cleared the entire street. He did say P227 after all…

    • You and I have widely disparate definitions of the phrase “fairly well written”.

      Doesn’t matter, though, because as soon as the TTAG staff see how much mockery it’s taking, this article will get memory-holed like the one a couple weeks ago with the family of hillbillies shooting at each other. Editorial mistakes like this tend to disappear without a trace around here.

    • I don’t think being the victim of a random drive by is entirely far-fetched, but with only the facts that the perceived victim has chosen to share with us, I’d have to say that it isn’t evident from the facts that anybody was shooting at him.

    • I made a comment elsewhere about this guy needing to shoot offhand while driving a golf cart, that was sarcasm that some people apparently got hurt by.

      Here’s the thing for me: he’s actually thinking about firing his .45ACP pistol into/at a vehicle that contains an unknown number of unknown occupants armed with unknown weapons. The vehicle is sitting in what is likely a public intersection, 40 yards away from him AND he already thinks that at least one of them is a complete ninja with a gun. Yeah, nothing could possibly go wrong with this scenario. Oh, and they’ve stopped shooting too which means he has no legal right to use deadly force at this point. Then he thinks they stop and this doesn’t turn into the OK Corral because witnesses….

      To quote Winston from Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels “Alarm bells are ringing, Willie.”

    • Being the devils advocate, I can see why some would perceive that the story is a bit of a fabrication or exaggeration. Perhaps it is the fact the story is from a rent-a-cop that makes people assume that. For me, I am jaded by a personal experience. I took a security job while in college after being a military cop for nearly a decade. I quit after a few months because I had a supervisor that thought he was TJ Hooker.

    • Probably because he is over using simile and metaphors like some of the writers for this blog but doesn’t have a pass to do so.

        • If by “being mean to” you mean “mocking his post,” then yes, yes it is.

        • It was more the accusations of lying and or being an imbecile that I was thinking of. To tell you the truth I found it hard to follow and and didn’t think it made any point but I have little idea of it’s veracity or his intelligence in general.

        • I think the underlying issue is that many people in the gun community, all of whom have some level of training and proficiency, object to unsolicited disquisitions on tactics, etc., from people with no established expertise. The fact that the writing in this one was so goofy just made it an easy target.

    • I don’t know when the gun community became such a snide collection of elitist douchebags.
      Nowhere in this did I see any kind of “mall ninja” actions taken. I saw responsible movement and proper judgement. I like how all these internet warriors are shitting on an armed security guard when these dudes probably aren’t even allowed to carry when they work the gun bar at the local Academy Sports & Outdoors.

    • I don’t think so since he didn’t blade at 45 degrees, or shoot 400 practice rounds per day on average.

    • The Mall Ninja saga is infamous on this site, and if you’ll read the comments, you’ll see that few if any here were led on by by this post.

    • You have to admit it, Gecko and SPECOPS might be two of the best trolls in the history of trolling.

  14. I had no idea that this article would garner this much negative attention. So as the writer allow me to clear up some things.
    1. There’s been people saying that i was gonna light up a vehicle that was in the process of driving off.
    That was not going to happen. As soon as the vehicle began to drive away I reholstered. I have no plans on going to prison now or ever.
    2. People saying nothing in this article happened. It did happen I was there, I wrote the !&/^ing thing. Shit like this is not uncommon in the metroplex. An SO for another company was killed in a shooting the night after these events.
    3. I wrote it not to be preachy, but in the hopes people might realize the shortcomings in their regimen and work on it as I’m in the process of doing.
    4. People saying i mistook a car backfiring. Once again armchair commandos I was there, I saw the flash and I saw the behavior of the driver in the way they moved that vehicle.
    5. People criticizing me for being overtly tacticool in the language I chose. A. Some of those comments like the Travis Haley thing were jokes for crying out loud. B. I added language and tried to inject some humor in this thing so I didn’t feel like i was writing another incident report.

    • I’m one of those people who took you to task but I will give you kudos for your reply post.

      In future you might want to seriously review a story like this before posting it. You say here in your reply “As soon as the vehicle began to drive away I reholstered.” but that didn’t come up in the original story. It should have. Is that poor editing on TTAG’s part? If so it’s forgivable.

      My point is that, to me and me alone as I speak for no one else, this story points out that you have not seriously considered a number of factors or that your consideration of those factors didn’t come out in the story as posted. You can see my previous post in reply to peirsonb to see what I’m talking about. Perhaps you did consider all these factors and perhaps you took actions you didn’t mention or were edited out.

      To me, taking cover and considering your options was smart, but why are you not calling for some type of backup? Why does the focus of the story seem to be your worry about engaging a car full of unknowns at 40 yards with a pistol? If you’re behind cover and they’re just gonna shoot blindly, you let them and wait for the cavalry, you don’t shoot back and give them an actual target to focus on when you could be outnumbered, outgunned and these guys could be a much higher skill level than you. What is the actual danger of being overrun here? What type of facility is it that you’re working at and what type of threats can you reasonably expect? Working armed security at a self-storage place is a bit different than doing the same at a nuke plant.

      Forgive me, but it seemed to me that the emphasis of this story was all in the wrong places. Perhaps that’s editing?

      • “SO”

        Please to explain.

        Sheriff’s officer?

        Security officer?

        Significant other?

        R-A-C?

        Stop with he lingo already.

        Still calling bull on this. Maybe Zimmerman will chime in and back you up. Still smells rotten.

        • I’m trying to give him the chance to explain himself or enough rope to hang himself.

          Don’t ruin it. This could be epic!

        • I don’t particularly care what you think you know. As for lingo, since you correctly guessed Security Officer I’m guessing you can use context to figure it out just like anyone with a reading comprehension above the 3rd grade level.
          I’ve got nothing to prove to anyone beyond myself.
          I submitted this hoping maybe a few people might look at the way they shoot and go “maybe I should practice beyond the 7 yard line with perfect stance.”
          I joined in the comments to clarify things for people who had an interest beyond trash talking.

      • The editing is my fault, I apologize to the readership of TTAG for that I wrote this in the middle of a 70 hour week.
        When I reread it again i realized that I had left somethings out i shouldn’t have and how it could be misinterpreted as me being trigger-happy. For me running would not have been an option the only cover available was that rickety ass cart and my car.
        Assuming i get even further without taking a bullet, I’m in the open they’d have been free to come in and I’d have been really really screwed. The backstop of the area was buildings that are closed and one inhabited area a significant distance off.
        Please understand I’m having to be intentionally vague about the environment so that someone does not recognize where I’m talking about.
        As for backup I’m by myself at that time.
        I’m happy to clarify anything else.

        • OK… what’s the timeline on backup? What methods do you have to call for it? Radio? Phone?

          You say there’s a gate and make it sound as if it’s a vertical bar gate. Is that the case? If so, what other fencing exists… ie… chances they can overrun your position before backup arrives?

        • Timeline is whenever Police show up, which Dallas response time can be atrocious, or if one of our patrol guys happens to be close but usually around the time in question they’re on the opposite side of the metroplex checking on posts that don’t have 24/7 coverage. There is fencing but it can be climbed or the gate opened if I were to back off it is a vertical barred gate. And while it’s monstrously heavy I move it by myself all the time to get in and out, wouldn’t be hard for someone else to get in if I bailed.

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