I recently drew my gun in self defense. I wasn’t sure if it was the best thing to do, but I felt like I could definitely be in a very bad situation if I didn’t. Why would I share this? I think my actions, inactions and gear shortfalls are relevant to anyone with a self protection mindset.
I have recently taken to exercising in the late evenings. This started small with a mile and a half walk around the neighborhood with my wife and our puppy. Over time, this has turned into 5 mile a night treks.
So on the evening at hand I ended up leaving for my walk a bit later than usual as I had forgotten to charge my smart phone which also acts as my MP3 player. So by the time it was ready to go it was about 1:30 AMish.
My neighborhood isn’t particularly crimey, and my 5 mile trek actually runs me from my pretty decent lower middle class neighborhood, to an even less crimey upper middle class neighborhood. So generally speaking the carrying of my firearm is more about my life choice to be armed whenever I legally may be than about a perceived need.
Before I had walked four blocks I saw something out of place. I have seen a few odd wildlife situation during my late night romps as suburban sprawl has turned quite a bit of woodland into homes, but this was out of the ordinary even for that. I saw a 120 pound Rottweiler (not pictured above) saunter around the corner.
Now I seriously love puppies, and I inhabit a mental fairy land world where a 120lb Rottweiler is a puppy. Unfortunately for both myself and this puppy, neither one of us was expecting to see the other so we both stopped dead in our tracks.
Now fortunately I am a total gear junkie. I recently dropped some cash and bought myself a dedicated get home bag so I have added some items to my utility belt, as it were. Really, though, none of those items were at all useful to me in this situation. My standard Every Day Carry has long been 1 or 2 handguns, usually 1 extra mag, and a high powered “tactical” flashlight. These items served me marginally well, but back to the story at hand.
Upon the realization that he had been caught, our puppy friend decided that he was unhappy with the appearance of a human type animal ruining his evening of turning neighbors yards into his own personal restroom. That’s when he revealed a decidedly less puppy-ish side. His lip curled back revealing some serious chompers and he started a low growl.
As I mentioned, my mindset is puppies are sweet and awesome and generally nothing to worry about. I have not generally been wrong as most puppies at least tolerate – if not love – people. This interaction was clearly different. It was pretty apparent that this puppy had just gotten away (chewed through his leash or his master’s arm etc.) and saw me as someone who might ruin his fun. Granted, this is all conjecture because I’m actually not a puppy psychic…but it fits the script of what happened.
I figured I had a couple seconds to react and chose to use my flashlight first (mostly because when I walk it is already in hand). My flashlight is roughly equivalent to 100-1000 suns in brightness. The maker claims it is only to be 60 lumens on low and 250 lumens on high, but anyone who has had the misfortune of looking directly into the beam knows better.
Then I unsnapped the thumb break on my holster (because you always need a backup plan, and also as they say, “be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone in the room”). I got a good grip on my pistol, and I activated my beam right into dog’s eyes.
This pup was obviously not expecting 100 suns (yeah it was in low mode…failure #1 is me trying to save batteries). He momentarily disembarked (no pun intended) from his low growl and aggressive Elvis lip curl.
I made the unfortunate mistake immediately after disengaging my beam, however, of blinking. Upon seeing that, the Rottie decided it was just about time he taught me a lesson. He resumed growling this time much louder.
I immediately reacted with a bit of verbal judo yelling “GET, GO” about as loud and as angrily as ever a man has yelled those two words.
SPF was confused by this, as he again paused for a moment. I believe the look on his face indicated “doesn’t this dumb shite know that I’m a hundred and twenty pounds of bad-ass Rottweiler?” A moment later he began to charge.
I’ve heard of Tachypsychia (the perception of time slowing down due to an extreme situation) and I’ve experienced it a couple of times. This wasn’t as intense, but looking back at the situation I processed way more info than normally possible in the milliseconds where the dog began moving toward me.
I thought to myself, “If this dog keeps coming at me things are going to get bad fast” I thought “I really don’t want to hurt this dog.” Then I thought, “I’ve gotta give this one more try, because I don’t want to discharge a firearm eight feet from someone’s front door.”
While I was thinking all of that I was tracking exactly where the dog was and approximately how long I could wait before pulling the trigger. I also drew my firearm and I think I began bringing my flashlight back up (but did not turn it back on). Finally, I took a step forward and again screamed “GEEET, GOOOO!!!” breaking my own record for how loud and angrily those sounds have come from any living being.
Fortunately for me, for the dog and for the suburb dwellers whose yard happened to be under said dog at the time, our friend decided that I was f-ing insane and he wasn’t going to wait around to see what the big blocky thing was in the hands of the crazy f-er who was moving toward him and screaming. He turned and began moving away.
Ahh sweet success…but no not completely because I was still standing in a suburban street in the middle of the night about one step off of someones front lawn screaming and brandishing a firearm…sometimes even when you win you lose.
That’s when I decided I was not going to walk around with a gun in my hand and quickly re-holstered. I also decided that if this dog decided I wasn’t nuts after all, he was going to turn around and make a snack out of my throat. So immediately after re-holstering I continued after the Rott (at a relatively safe distance) screaming, “GET, GO” over and over again. Fortunately, as I rounded the corner behind the dog, it’s owner was standing in his yard about half a block away calling for him.
That’s when I realized I had a new problem. While my drawing down on the dog was concealed by the house we had just walked around, my gun was not completely concealed (as I had very hastily holstered). I also had a flashlight in my hand, and my bag with a giant survival knife sticking out of it. I looked like a nut armed to the teeth screaming and chasing this guy’s dog.
Fortunately I think the dog’s owner was about as thrown off by the whole situation as the dog so he came over and eventually secured his animal and thanked me for corralling him and we parted ways. (There is a bit more to that story…but that’s for another day.)
So why write a long story that makes me look a bit silly? Three reasons:
1. If you are going to be anywhere after dark carry a flashlight 60 lumens or brighter…more flashlight doesn’t usually translate to more weight, so carry as much flashlight as you can afford
2. Always be aware of your surroundings. If I hadn’t noticed that dog for even one second, I think this would have ended in shots fired and me explaining myself, first to an angry owner and then to the police.
3. Get some pepper spray. I really would have liked to have had something in my hand other than a firearm at 0’dark thirty on that suburban street. Especially when the dog was moving away. While I was very fortune to have a tool to deal with the situation, I wish I’d had more than that one tool. I know that a lot of concealed carriers don’t carry their guns, but even if it’s just for dogs, carry some pepper spray.