In Youngstown, Ohio last month, a couple of teenage criminals attempted to rob a Sami Quick Stop a little after midnight. The armed confrontation that ensued resulted in one robber wounded, both captured, and minimal damage to the store. One of the suspects is reported to have dropped a rifle as he fled. There are several lessons to be learned here:
The first lesson is that you don’t have to be a perfect gunfighter to be effective. You simply have to be more effective than the opposition. Most criminals aren’t well trained in either shooting or tactics. They tend to believe that everything will go according to plan. When the victim(s) refuse to cooperate, they often are left without a contingency plan and are unable to react until they go through a decision process. If the victim acts during this period of mental downtime, the criminal has to repeat the process. In the military, this is called getting inside the opponents OODA (Observe, Orient,Decide,Act) loop.
A simple way to look at this is situation: action beats reaction. It takes time to react. The clerk’s action beat the robber’s reaction. It’s hard to argue with success, and the defender in this situation was clearly successful. For purposes of discussion, though, there are a few things he might have done differently.
First, cover and fake compliance to gain advantage. In the video, the defender in the checked shirt, a clerk at the store, never complied with the robber’s commands. He stood his ground, drew his semi-auto pistol in a fairly slow draw, racked the slide and fired his shot. The process took about four seconds, from about the 2 1/2 seconds mark on the video to the 6 1/2 seconds mark. The robber is repeatedly shouting “Get in the back, get in the back!”
The clerk could have faked compliance by backing up around the shelves to his right, thus putting concealment and possibly cover between himself and the robber. Once around the corner, he could have drawn unseen, racked the slide, perhaps moved forward to flank the robber and engaged him from behind cover. It would have taken about the same amount of time.
By moving and faking compliance, he might have reduced the chances of being shot, because the robber would not have seen the draw and would not have been alarmed when he seemed to comply.
From the viewpoint of the robber, he had plenty of time to shoot the clerk while the clerk was drawing his pistol and racking the slide. As the aggressor in the incident, he had significant incentives to refrain from shooting, all of which worked to the advantage of the defender. Most robbers do not want to shoot anyone. It’s a much more serious crime that brings more attention from the authorities. Most robbers do not include shooting the victim in their plans. They simply believe that everything will happen as they envision it.
We don’t know if the robber even could have shot the clerk. Many armed robberies are committed with unloaded guns, guns that do not work, fake guns, toy guns, or air guns.
The robber did not appear to watch the clerks hands, and he never ordered the clerk to show his hands.
The video illustrates one of the problems with carrying in condition three — no loaded round in the chamber. If the clerk had made use of fake compliance and cover, the sound of his racking the slide could well have alerted the robber to the fact that he was armed, even if he didn’t see the clerk draw.
It looks like the clerk used proper technique to rack and release the slide. Under stress, people tend to do what they’re trained to do. After releasing the slide, he let his left hand fall to his side and shot one-handed. Most instructors believe that two-handed shooting is more effective, but it appears that the clerk wasn’t trained to shoot with both hands.
The video also illustrates how criminals avoid carrying guns openly and find ways to conceal even full-sized rifles or shotguns. In this case it appears that a book bag and the shooter’s clothing were used to conceal the long gun until it was brought out for use inside of the store.
©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.