Carolann Miracle was open carrying in the early morning hours of August 1. The 4-feet, 11-inch, 85-pound Arizonan was leaving a gas station with a drink in her hand and a GLOCK on her hip.

From abc15.com:

Miracle said she was leaving the Circle K near 59th Avenue and Camelback Road with her family early Monday morning when the suspect, Frank Taylor, tried to bum a cigarette. She told him that she didn’t have one, and then seconds later, Miracle said, she could feel the barrel of the gun against her skin.

“He put the gun up to my neck and said, ‘It’s loaded, don’t move,’” Miracle said. ”I think he thought, ‘She’s a little girl. Maybe she doesn’t know how to use her weapon.’”

Miracle said, “I dropped my soda, released my gun from my holster and cocked it. I shot him and ran in the opposite direction.”

Miracle’s father was a Marine. He apparently taught her well. The pistol appears to be a GLOCK model 17 or 22, with night sights.

Open Carry Woman Glock 17?

There are several things to note about this encounter; elements of her story are often found in accounts of armed robberies/muggings.

The Approach

Robbers/muggers use a pretext to close the distance and distract their victim. Asking for a cigarette is a common pretext. So is asking for the time. Even if you choose to answer a question from a stranger, it’s always best to maintain distance. Answer while walking away.

Targeting weak prey

Like their animal cousins, human predators tend to pick on weaker prey. Perhaps the perp didn’t see the GLOCK on Ms. Miracle’s hip. It was dark. She was holding a drink from the gas station, possibly in her right hand. If she was wearing a dark top, as she was in the video, the GLOCK wouldn’t have presented much contrast. While open carriers tend to be more aware of their defensive firearm, many people never notice it.

Recognize the threat

Ms. Miracle did many things right. She instantly recognized the threat. Many people become mired in the thought that “this cannot be happening” and “this isn’t real.” People who carry are much less likely to remain in “condition white.” They have considered the possibility of attack and tend to be prepared for it.

Ms. Miracle dropped her drink. Dropping things to access your weapon or to fight better is not an instinctive reaction. Many people instinctively hang on to useless things even if they impede their ability to fight. I taught my students to practice dropping things at the beginning of a fight so that they could draw their firearm and fight more effectively.

Ms. Miracle fled the area in the opposite direction from her attacker. Many attacks, perhaps as many as 50 percent, involve an accomplice. She purposefully made the decision, moved to safety, then called the police.

Prepare to fight

Miracle says she “cocked it,” referring to her GLOCK.  We can only conclude she was carrying “Israeli style,” with an empty chamber. While that’s not ideal, if you practice pulling and releasing the slide as you draw, preparing your firearm can be done fairly quickly.

Open carry

Miracle was openly carrying when she was accosted by a violent, armed felon. He didn’t simply “shoot her first” — as many who oppose open carry claim will happen. Even though the bad guy “had the drop” on her, she won the gun fight.

Action beats reaction. Dropping the drink likely gave her another second, as the felon probably thought “dropping drink” not “drawing a gun.” Not having to remove her cover garment gave her an additional advantage.

Carolann Miracle; small woman, Marine’s daughter, open carrier, mother, and now undesired gunfighter. She survived and lived to see her daughter’s third birthday. Result.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch

79 Responses to Defensive Gun Use of the Day: AZ Open Carrier Shoots, Kills Armed Felon

  1. Those of you who use Facebook should bookmark stories like this for use in conversations when some anti uses the “If it saves just one life” mantra. It’s fun watching them fumble when their emotion based “arguments” get turned on them.

    On topic, good on Carolann. She probably put lots of practice into her Israeli carry technique, but I get the feeling she’ll start carrying one in the pipe from now on.

    • But, he never said he would kill her. He might have just robbed and raped her. And now, because of guns, she decided to be Judge Judy and executioner. Getting rid of guns would have saved one life.

      And that, my Utz-country friend, is the response I’m sure you’ll get from Shannon and friends.

      • Good she did the right thing and saved her life. If a thug pulls a gun on you are going to be a victim or a citizen. I’d rather be a live citizen than a dead or abused victim.

      • Liberals are such fools! If a guy pulls a gun on you, the threat is he will shoot you, possibly kill you. Maybe or maybe not she could have overpowered him if she used martial arts. Maybe he knew martial arts. We don’t know, she didn’t know. You meet the level of violence with same. He knew he had a kid and wife when HE put that gun against her neck! I’ve never had to even show my gun, and it would really bother me, too, if I had so shoot someone. A lot. HE put himself and her in that position! You people do it your way, and good luck. As to rape, if that was his intention…..rape affects a person the rest of their lives. Some never heal. It happened in my family, and the girl, now a woman, is still messed up. In essence, he took her life by killing her spirit!

      • So wait, what you’re saying is that she should have waited to see what he was going to do to her before defending herself? He pulled a gun on her! OH wait, maybe he just wanted to take her out for a cup of coffee?!?! Because it’s totally reasonable to think that people who pull guns on others don’t intend to harm them. She had to think fast and react to protect her life which is her right. Because maybe he wasnt going to kill her, only rape her, she shouldn’t have defended herself? Had she waited to see what his intentions were, he would have disarmed her and she may very well be dead. It is his fault and his fault alone that he is dead. I am sure the last thing she wanted was for anyone to die, but she did what she had to do to protect herself and because she did, she’s alive and her children have their mommy.

      • Are you Serious..REALLY you evidently don’t have any concept of having a gun pointed at you. Per your response…He was only going to Rape or Rob you. Damn you are a Lost Cause if this is your opinion of her defending herself. Just don’t walk any dark alleys..If you do they may only Rape or Rob you. Pathetic…

      • So being robbed and raped is a preference? What guarantee do you have that he won’t pull the trigger?
        I will never be subject to a beating or being robbed or raped again without a fight and hopefully a clear shot.
        I am a legal gun owner, a felon is NOT. I have no tears for a bully who will pull a gun on anyone. A convicted felon who has not changed lifestyle. Perhaps she should have asked while his gun wa at her neck..”is your gun loaded”?
        Miss Katy your perfect, judgemental, Liberal point of view has no impact with me. I do feel you need a reality check, and a firmer grip on reality. Have a safe day.

        • You idiots that can’t read an entire post and note the tongue-in-cheek, satirical attribution, are pathetic.

    • I agree with you in spirit, but I think you overestimate a lot of people on FB. Here’s me: facts, facts, facts, examples, proper grammar, spelling, etc. Here’s your typical FB moron: opinions, CNN article, racism accusation, FOX news is bad, blah, I can’t accept your facts because they hurt my feelings, blah, blah, blah. And then their idiot friends pile on with more of the same.

      I actually “won” an argument with sarcasm. I was arguing that BLM are thugs and that the movement isn’t legitimate – particularly after the riots and property destruction following the Milwaukee, WI shooting. I posted facts regarding black on black crime and the typical media blackout unless a police officer (black or white) “dares” to shoot a black man. God forbid the shooting was justified, or to wait until any facts come in.

      Anyways, I got to the point where I posted the demands of the BLM movement, which include reparations. Finally I said they had “won” their argument, and that I was ready to write a reparation check. I just wondered who to make the check out to, since I don’t know any black slaves, and I’ve never owned any slaves or murdered any black people. Then I wondered how much to make the check out for, and how much they were going to write. Lastly I wondered if I should even be writing a check, since my American ancestors are white Republicans from the north, who actually fought to free slaves. Maybe the southern Democrats owe me a reparation check?

      So far the commentors on TTAG represent the highest standard on any of my social media outlets.

    • I like that tip about dropping something.

      Since I commonly get a big-ass refreshing beverage while out driving, a huge splash on the thug’s leg from a dropped big gulp sounds like just the ticket…

  2. Good analysis however Israeli style carry is a bad idea:

    -its slower

    -requires two hands or an object to push the sights against. Second hand may not be available. It may be injured, striking, blocking, being held, holding a child etc.

    -easy to mess up under stress

    • Everyone has a style that works for them, and every situation is a crap shoot. The best trained and prepared can still lose to dumb luck. I agree personally with all your points to increase the odds but let’s review the facts:
      – it was fast enough
      – she had the presence of mind to drop the drink and focus on deploying her weapon
      – she didn’t mess up
      She did everything right as far as I am concerned. She has a three year old and may have made the calculation that she didn’t want the possibility of her kid somehow getting a hand on a Glock with no safety and one in the pipe. It seems obvious to me that she trained herself enough to take all the right actions when necessary and didn’t screw up. There is more than one way to win a gunfight and I can’t be critical of her successful choices.

      • I agree with most of your points, but just because it worked this time does not mean it will work the next.

        Gunfights are hard enough to win, there is no benefit to reducing your odds further.

        If children are the issue, the gun should never be available to them. My son is alive and well and my guns were, and are, always chambered.

        Defensive shooters, by definition, are behind in the time curve. Fractions of a second can mean the difference between life and death.

        • Well, she had guts. And guts is enough. Survivors and winners of fights tend to get even better.

    • Rabbi,

      At 1:27 in the news video, you can see that Ms. Miracle apparently just wears her handgun inside her pants’ elastic waistband without any holster. And since she carries a Glock which has no safety mechanism to prevent foreign objects from actuating the trigger in her waistband, carrying without a round in the chamber is absolutely the right choice.

      Perhaps we can start a funding account for Ms. Miracle so that she can purchase an appropriate holster which would enable her to safely carry her pistol with a round in the chamber.

        • Probably something without a clip like a Sticky holster, Remora, Desantis, etc. I use one fairly often when outside doing yard work, mowing the lawn, etc.

      • Let me see if I got the facts right here. She was mexican carrying an austrian handgun in the israeli style in a good old fashioned American shootout at the circle k corral?

        Who says diversity don’t work.

  3. I am immensely sorry for the crap that is now flowing into the life of Ms. Miracle.

    On the other hand…
    ? Boom, boom, out go the lights ?

    HooRay for Carolann

  4. I remember a training film from years ago. One of Imelda Marcos’ secret service types attempting to stop a sword wielding attacker while holding on to some papers.
    Yeah, dropping anything except your gat is good advice.

  5. It doesn’t take a genius to stop an armed robbery. All it takes…

    (•_•) / ( •_•)>⌐■-■ / (⌐■_■)

    Is a miracle.

  6. Let me get this straight about the victim:

    (1) a woman
    (2) she was tiny (4 ft., 11 inches tall)
    (3) she was armed
    (3a) she was carrying with an empty chamber
    (4) she was carrying openly
    (5) her attacker had the drop on her
    (6) she fought back rather than comply
    (7) she prevailed
    (8) her handgun was .40 S&W which is “anemic”
    (9) and her last name is “Miracle”

    You just cannot make this stuff up!

    She should go buy a lottery ticket.

  7. She drew her gun, racked the slide and shot her attacker after there is a gun barrel pressed against her skin? Was she held up by a sloth on painkillers? Holy reaction time Batman, something is not adding up.

    • Any number of things could have held the attacker up.

      Perhaps he didn’t even notice she was armed?

      Perhaps he hadn’t even considered the possibility she would resist – the bad guy’s version of Condition White? – and when she did, he froze for a moment?

  8. I ain’t doin no cocking. I clear leather and pull trigger. No chambering a round, no flipping safeties off, clear leather aim, pull trigger.
    I know a guy who got shot because his .45 wasn’t chambered. Bad guy shoots him in the gut with a 9, he chambers a round with his .45 and killed the guy in his kitchen. I saw the bullet wound on his belly. It didn’t do him any good at all and I’ll never make that mistake.
    It was an attempted robbery. It didn’t go so well.

  9. Why does she feel bad for killing the man who attempted to kill her? I’d feel profound rage and anger at the SOB for daring to take my life.

    • Have you ever killed someone in a situation like this? Ever had someone die in your arms?

      Things like this change your outlook on this kind of thing. Trust me on that.

    • Nope. While I’ll not shed a single salty tear for the perforated perp, I can fully understand her sadness over her needing to shoot him. It means she’s human, sir. And I hope you never need to learn that lesson first hand.

    • Because she is not analysing it from a distance as an equation that takes one murderous criminal away, she is viscerally reacting to the actual trauma of being attacked and victimized, and ending another human life.

      It means she is a good person, and for all our talk, most of us would truly feel the same, even if along side other conflicting emotions.

    • Even bad guys have families; mothers, kids (often more than one). Maybe he wasn’t even an awful father. Maybe all he did was pick up his kid once a month and go to the movies, but still, now that kid has to learn about death in a personal way at a young age. Or maybe the bad guy just had a dog he took good care of. I dunno, but killing someone isn’t like running over a chipmunk. Justified? Sure. Necessary? Maybe. But it’s not just a simple “welp, had to be done, on to the next item on my shopping list’ kind of thing for most people who are not sociopaths.

  10. I highly doubt the gun in the video is the one she shot him with. I’d be pretty well shocked the cops let her keep the pistol she used after it was determined that she killed a guy with it. In fact in any case where you discharge during a DGU I’d be completely shocked if you were allowed to keep the gun. The gun is very likely to be evidence in an investigation until it’s determined she did no wrong. That’s what happened to a friend of mine. No one died, he actually missed shooting from the hip and the BG ran off. He didn’t get his gun back for six months.

    Therefore the Glock is likely a backup piece. Ergo, she may not have been carrying with an empty chamber she could have been carrying a revolver or something like a 1911 in Condition II.

  11. I’m surprised nobody makes Spetsnaz holsters for Glocks and other safetyless striker-fired guns. You know the ones where it secures the slide of a Makarov and you yank down and it racks the gun as it comes out? That would seem to be the best solution for people who carry a Glock in Condition 3 instead of the optimal Condition 0, which is more common than a lot of people realize.

  12. How do you “open carry” from the inside of your waistband? I thought open carry would be the weapon holstered on your hip visible in plain site. Isn’t inside the waistband concealed carry?? I’m confused here…

    • If memory serves, Arizona defines open carry as in a holster or scabbard, at least partially visible or in a holster in the glovebox or other container of a car.

    • Open carry just means that the gun is visible to others, i.e., not concealed. It doesn’t mean you can’t still use an IWB holster.

    • She could have easily carried IWB, and been open carrying. If her shirt (blouse, whatever) wasn’t covering it, she was open carrying.

  13. Lesson learned. If you are going to be a criminal you should expect death or injury as occupational hazards. If you can’t accept those risks, then don’t be a criminal.

  14. She should have just learned boxing or martial arts! (I see crap like this on my facebook feed often with people saying nobody needs to carry a gun)

    • I do, too. I get proponents of BJJ (Brazilian Jujitsu) telling tales of how they have 90lb female students who can take down a 210lb man in a blink of an eye, etc. I’m a firm believer in martial arts training & BJJ is excellent, but the truth is that not every 85 or 90 pound woman can train to that level. In fact, having taught martial arts for a decade, I can tell you that most people will not be able to achieve the level of skills needed to make an outcome in their favor a certainty. Carolann made the right choice by choosing to carry a firearm.

      • I’ve never met any BJJ player who’s against guns. They see defense as circles of protection with hand to hand being the last resort.

        “…but the truth is that not every 85 or 90 pound woman can train to that level”

        This is true. Not everyone can. However against an unskilled opponent who’s just a “street fighter” that girl has a huge advantage with just six months of BJJ training.

        “…I can tell you that most people will not be able to achieve the level of skills needed to make an outcome in their favor a certainty.”

        This is a specious argument. No one can ever do anything that makes it a certainty that the outcome is in their favor. You and be 190 pounds of solid muscle, black belt in BJJ, Judo and five other arts, be carrying six guns and wearing a vest. If you’re unlucky none of it matters. Many very, very skilled people in this world have died at the hands of an untrained asshole. One of the top guys in Judo in Costa Rica back in ’03 or ’04 got his ticket punched by a scrawny drunk with a .38 Special. He was a top contender for their Olympic team until he took five in the chest.

  15. TALE OF THE TAPE
    Carolann Miracle: Amateur gunfighter
    ht: 4′ 11″
    wt: 85 lbs
    reach: 85 yards
    record: 1-0

  16. Rabbi,
    I carry every day and I am a strong proponent of empty chamber carry
    In the analysis of non l e o gunfights based on the American Rifleman data a lot of people had time to access their weapon from other rooms
    The usual defensive gun use has the victim alerted
    Even when ambushed, you can rack a slide in one second
    It is both the military and Israeli policy to carry empty chamber
    And lots of Israeli civilians have stopped terrorist attacks with empty chamber carry

  17. Ms. Miracle probably dropped her soda because she needed two hands to rack the slide.

    If somebody approaches me that I do not know, I always say “That’s close enough” when they are about to enter my defensive perimeter. Perhaps I lose the opportunity to make friends on the street this way. Who knows?

    Maybe it’s just me, but if somebody had a gun held against my neck, I would probably just have surrendered my wallet. I never carry cash anymore, and cards can be cancelled quickly.

  18. If she had an opportunity to rack her slide before engaging when he had the barrel of his gun against her neck, I’d almost bet his gun wasn’t real. Maybe airsoft. Or maybe it was empty.

    She’s lucky.

    Lucky Darwin was busy somewhere else.

    John

    • i would suggest that just maybe she was smart enough to drop the soda with a big splash to distract the perp enough that he likely pulled the gun away from her neck for the two seconds she needed to swing into action.

  19. I was buying gas. The credit card reader was broke so I had to go in the store. Upon exiting I was met half way to the pump by a disheveled man asking me for 5 dollars.
    I told him I had no cash (true) and did 4 things.
    1. Kept an eye on his hands
    2. Made a larger circle around him keeping 10 or more feet between us.
    3. Placed my hand near my .380 under cover.
    4. Used peripheral vision for any movement as I made the circle.

    It was an open area so I did not have the potential for a second person to sneak up on me. He turned to face me as I walked around him to the pumps. As I started to refill I kept him in sight while looking for anyone else with him.

    He was just a beggar. But that’s the approach used by bad people and it’s a shame we have to get ready for battle at a moment notice.

  20. I hate how at the end of these broadcasts they always say the attorney general is reviewing the case and a decision to press charges has not been made yet.

  21. Well, this has been a measured, fact-wrangling discussion; exactly the kind of thing you’d expect from lawful, peaceful, reasonable people grappling with the sometime need for self defense with a gun. No snark, no wailing, no nonsense, just variations of: “I am happy and sad for her.” (For the trolls, happy she’s alive, sad it came to protecting herself with a gun; happy she was able, sad she had to. And it’s in that order for the movie reference.)

    That’s enough grown-up behavior. To the politics!

    I’ll note that candidate Clinton has said that the 2nd Amendment is wrong, and that nobody needs a gun.
    Apparently, she, her backers & advocates, and the “disarm the proles” agenda mongers in general … would rather Ms. Miracle were unarmed when this event began. (Or maybe they just don’t want our hero to have a gun with a folding thing that goes up, which by some miracle will get redefined later to mean every Glock, Sig, H & K, & in every farm house, road house, dog house and outhouse in the U S.)

    These people don’t want Ms. Miracle to have a gun, although the large men who guard their children can. They’d rather she were helpless when some thug put a gun to her neck; rather she find it harder to protect herself (being lawful) with no effect on the criminals (as in Mexico, or … parts of the US, like where Ms. Miracle found herself). These people would rather Ms. Miracle get beaten, robbed, raped, killed, or any combination than have the means to influence what happens to her when there’s someone unconstrained by the law in the mix.

    In contests of force, a 4 foot 11 inch woman with a gun is in general a match to anyone else, without regard to gender or size. Disarm Ms. Miracle, she’s at risk in a way larger people and men aren’t. I met this morning with a colleague, a tiny, young Chinese-American woman who’d be nearly everybody’s victim of nearly every damn thing if we weren’t a culture constrained by mutual respect, backed up by laws, backed up by enforcement using equalizers when people don’t want to play fair. It’s not OK with me for her to be a victim, neither for her to be forbidden the option to even her odds if she wants to. It’s her choice. I hate the fact that Ms. Miracle had to make several difficult choices, and love that she was able to make them, still, barely.

    One can only conclude that the anti-gun folks are sexist. Relentlessly (They are relentless, are they not?), violently (Disarmed people are at greater risk of violence, so …), sexist. Like, drooling, twitching, eyes-bugging / can’t see straight sexist. (And perhaps biased against little people, th old and infirm.) They’ll do anything to get laws (Or regulations when they can’t get a law.) that will leave smaller people, generally women, at greater risk because of their size.

    When some thug (or predator, terrorist, or crazy) comes along, they don’t want Ms. Miracle to have anything to say about what happens next. I’d rather she had a choice.

    Yeah, I went there.

  22. Going for your gun- which may be unchambered- while someone has a gun already pressed against you? File that under “don’t try this at home.”

  23. The gun in the picture is probably not the gun she was carrying the night she shot the punk. That gun is most likely in an evidence locker.

    • Arizona. No charge, Police have no right to take her pistol. She has to carry a round in the chamber. Always fire at least twice.

      The DA charges her? He would be laughed out of Court! And not reelected!

  24. You people who are defending the thug are a very special kind of stupid. Good for you young lady. He threatened you with a gun and you shot him first. Well done.

  25. Her own testimony, “Oh my God, am I really being robbed?” not “am going to be killed?”

    So, how many $ did she have?
    How much is a human life worth?
    He was a fool to value his life, and risk it, for a few dollars more.
    By firing on him, she valued his life at less than a fistful of dollars.

    NB: She was definitely the victim and he was the perpetrator. I do no blame her at all.

    On the evidence presented there was no intention to kill from either side. Was his gun actually loaded or was he bluffing?

    Just tragic all round, that USA has come to this – that a person’s life is worthle$$.
    Too much fear, too much pride.

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