nowarningshots

I often hear good legal advice about armed, non-lethal responses when faced by a lethal threat to yourself or others. Some of these options include displaying your firearm prior to firing, or yelling “Stop or I will shoot!” or something similar prior to shooting. You could fire a warning shot or even a wounding shot rather than aiming center mass. I’ve read this advice in literature by quality instructors, and I’ve been in reputable classes, primarily aimed at civilians, that taught many of these tactics. When I think about those tactics, they seem like good, sound legal advice that may help keep you out of jail, and may even keep you from firing upon a threat that was perceived, but not real. But I reject those tactics . . .

I have tried them, and after having tried them repeatedly, with coaching, I have completely removed them from my training.

Instead, I focus all of my time on:

1. Accurately identifying a threat, and

2. Immediately aggressing on that threat, then

3. Reassessing the threat

Yes, I realize there is a whole lot that goes into those three things. I’m not mentioning how to positively ID a threat, moving to cover, or appropriate marksmanship, but it’s all in there.

What’s not in there is all of the other non-lethal tactics mentioned above. Most people assume that’s because much of my weapons training and weapons use has been in a combat environment in the military. But that’s not why.

I’m just not good enough to perform those tactics under stress. Attempting to perform those kinds of non-lethal responses when faced with a lethal threat has made me less effective in stopping those threats, and much more likely to injure other non-threatening individuals. Or allow them to be injured.

While in the US Army, I received some assignments that allowed me to spend a good amount of time in quality, scenario-based firearms training with an untrained civilian population. This included simulated force-on-force training with lots of great instructors watching and recording my movements.

What I learned is that shooting while I move and verbally communicating at the same time is incredibly difficult. Think it’s easy? You’ve been watching too many movies. Go out and do it. Repeatedly attempt rapid strikes on a six inch target while you’re moving and yelling at that target. Master that and then get a little more realistic and have that target move.

Now get real and have that target move while shooting at closer targets, while you are moving, shooting, and yelling appropriate, comprehensible commands at the target. Now make it so they get to shoot first. Success? Not very likely. The very best shooters in the world have difficulty with this task, and they train constantly. Not that they can’t do it, but it’s incredibly difficult. Think Olympic athlete difficult.

Why is it so hard? It’s not just the fine and gross motor functions necessary for those tasks are difficult, though they are. It’s that in reality, I have to actually think while I am doing all of that. I have to really think fast to identify a target. That takes smarts and time. I have to identify appropriate cover and choose an appropriate route to that cover, or choose to ignore that cover. And that takes more smarts and more time. The actual weapons manipulation takes just a little smarts, and eats up a little more time. Verbal communication — appropriate and comprehensible verbal communication — takes a lot of smarts and a whole lot of time.

With every option I am presented, my decision time compounds. So do my opportunities for mistakes. With every bit of time that ticks away, my opponent has time to aggress on me or other targets. And in my experience, especially in the civilian world where the target has probably already presented a threat and attacked prior to me drawing my weapon, I just don’t have that kind of smarts or that kind of time.

So the smartest, safest thing for myself and for all of those non-threatening actors around me is to remove as many tasks and options I can, allowing me to perform the truly mission-essential task of stopping the threat and minimizing any risk to others and myself.

The first thing out of the window is talking. Effective verbal communication takes up a whole lot of brain time. But most people teaching these methods train people to give a simple statement as part of their draw procedure. Something like “Stop, or I will shoot” or “Stop, I don’t want to shoot you.” But simply saying that, no matter what, as something I drill, is not effective communication. It’s just something I would say to provide me with an affirmative defense in court. And that only works if it’s 1) understood at all, 2) understood in context, and 3) understood in context by the person I want to understand it.

For instance, if I were to yell, “Stop, I don’t want to shoot you” and a victim stops running and is shot by the attacker because they didn’t identify my role accurately and feared I would shoot them, that’s not likely going to be an effective affirmative defense. In fact, just the opposite. By not effectively communicating, I can make a bad situation worse. Doing it right takes real brain power, and real time, right when I don’t have it.

The next big set of non-lethal techniques to take out of my training regimen is any shot that’s not intended to stop the target. In other words, I focus on one thing — the threat — and do my best to only shoot that threat. I have to be mindful and aware of my target, as well as what’s in front of and behind my target. Bullets travel in one direction — a straight line — and (eventually) arcing downward. No shot is a warning shot to whatever my bullet strikes, and I will strike something. So that becomes my new target. Warning shots effectively force me to engage multiple targets, even if I only have one threat. And again, that eats up smarts and time, right when I don’t have it.

Other than the fact that I am just not good enough to actually do it, there are also significant tactical disadvantages to verbally responding in a threatening manner, or displaying my weapon, or attempting warning or wounding shots. The simplest is that it gives the attacker(s) time to adjust to a new target. That one is obvious. But the biggest reason that these non-lethal techniques are tactical mistakes is that they scare people. And scaring people, even scaring the actual threat, is bad.

I am not there to scare the threat. I am there to stop the threat. Logical, rational people are fairly predictable. Frightened people are not. If I am to engage a lethal threat, I would prefer that lethal threat not know I am there at all. I have a lot more control of the situation that way, since the threat is probably not reacting to me. But if my threat knows I am there, it’s far safer for everyone that I am not recognized as a threat to him.

Maybe displaying my firearm frightens the threat and they run away. But maybe it frightens the threat and they become even more aggressive. Maybe it frightens someone else and they attempt something that gets them injured or killed by the aggressor. Maybe it frightens someone else and they attack me. That’s way too many variables for me to introduce and then have to account for. And it’s not what I am there for. I am not there to frighten anyone. I am there to stop the threat.

Finally, many people think I’m being bloodthirsty because my first motion after presenting the weapon and getting off the line of attack is to immediately aggress. That is, to move forward and to keep moving toward the threat until the gun stops firing, even if I am making contact shots. But that tactic isn’t based on anger or the desire to really kill the hell out of them, or something equally childish. It’s actually a lot simpler than that.

I find it much easier to hit a target that’s closer than farther away. In fact, at contact distance, I almost never miss my target. The fact that I am more likely to hit my target means that I’m far less likely to strike something that’s not my target. And that makes me and anyone else around me much safer.

Where I am willing to spend my time and my smarts is on that initial threat identification and assessment. I have been, and will continue to be, willing to take whatever time it takes, even if that puts me at greater risk, to accurately identify the threat. But after a threat is identified, once I begin to bring my weapon to bear against the threat, the weapon will fire. Once a deadly threat is identified, the engagement of that threat with my weapon is inevitable. Then I will spend whatever time and smarts it takes to reassess the situation.

This is how I train, without all of the other non-lethal, but probably very legally helpful, techniques and tactics. I train that way, and have performed that way under stress in real combat, because it’s what I have found I can do to actually stop a threat and reduce the likelihood of injuries to others.

Since I have told you what I am unable to do and the few things I can do, understand that I engage in regular firearms training, probably a lot more than most people. I take at least one (and often more) professional course per year. I have access to several law enforcement and military ranges in Texas. But I have my own range and my own targets at home out to about 800 yards. I reload my own rounds and I have more than a couple decent guns. I shoot, on average about 400 rounds per week, all guns combined. I dry-fire train every day. I have access to good coaches and I use them. I have years of military experience, including some shooting schools, and multiple combat deployments. And those few things I can do, I can do acceptably well. But only those few things.

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42 Responses to Non-Lethal Threat Responses…And Why They Don’t Work

  1. The post is interesting and what I write is completely off point. On 12/30/14 RF posted about a Texas man and his wife that saved a woman from a brutal beating by some idiot. There was considerable keyboard quaterbacking at various sites and here. Concealed Nation landed an interview with the man who did the good deed and it is an interesting read.

  2. Interesting. The only verbiage I would contemplate after reading this would be “I fired a warning shot, but I missed.” To the investigating officer.

    • No, you don’t want to lie to an officer. Ever. If you are unsure how to communicate clearly and honestly be quiet. And you also don’t want to sell your self as incompetent to the officer judge or jury. Be confident in your actions, shoot well and know if you do something wrong you will likely and rightly suffer consequences.

      • I would agree with this. Don’t “talk” to the investigating officer. This should be your statement:

        “Officer, I will cooperate fully after I have consulted my attorney regarding this matter. I’m a little shaken up, and not in a condition currently to answer any questions.”

        Expect to be arrested. But again, don’t exchange your future freedom for the consequences of blabbering something that can presently incriminate you on the basis of trying to avoid from being “arrested.”

        I don’t think a warning shot is a good idea at all. It is debatable, depending on if the threat believes your firearm is “not real.” Other than that – not a good idea.

        Wounding shots depend on the situation, the attacker/threat, etc. It’s use is debatable on a case by case basis. Example: Teenager broke into your house and has something that can be construed as a weapon. Wounding shots depend on the situation. Police typically don’t fire wounding shots. They fire a barrage of hundreds of rounds into the threat because it is best tactically and for the assignment of accountability (for them). The use of wounding shots depend on the weight of your future remorse against the weight of the risk the attacker poses to you. If a person shot and killed an armed intruder in the house, etc. I would not blame them for their actions, it is more difficult for some people and I don’t blame them for their actions either.

        My story for a wounding shot would be: I was in fear of my life, I fired in self defense – after wounding – he was no longer a threat.

        Again – I wouldn’t say the above to any arresting or investigating officer. Perform a TTAG STFU and survive any oncoming progressivist making of examples.

        • “I’m a little shaken up, and not in a condition currently to answer any questions.” Um, no, don’t say that either. Your first sentence is fine and sufficient: “Officer, I will cooperate fully after I have consulted my attorney regarding this matter.” That’s enough. If officer expects you to say more, just repeat that same single sentence.

  3. My favorite piece of advice from those not in the know is, “why do you have to kill him/her for? You could just shoot them in the leg!” Real life isn’t affected by the same laws of physics as Hollywood is. You could shoot someone in the leg, yes. It could possibly be enough to render them ineffective as a threat. What’s more likely to happen is you’re going to hit the femoral artery. If that happens and no effective immediate action is done to stop the bleeding, that person has minutes until they’re incapacitated. If that person identified his or herself as a threat and they’ve been shot in the leg, they’re still so until they expire. This applies to the arms as well. Sever the brachial artery and that person has minutes until they’re done. Granted, in either instance, that persons vitals and LOC are going to start tanking fast, they are still a threat until they reach the event horizon. If a person is a threat and your life or someone else’s life is in danger , you shoot until they aren’t one anymore.

    • Yep. Notwithstanding the difficulty of making such a shot, I get a kick out of the idea that a wound completely removes the threat. People have been conditioned by too many movies and TV shows (where a single center-mass shot from a 9mm handgun is immediately fatal), and thus, they attribute guns with magical powers that they don’t have, thinking that a bullet wound is somehow instantly incapacitating and removes any threat, never mind the simple fact that a man with a working nervous system and one hand can still return fire, no matter how many holes are in him.

    • I was one of the first Paramedics in Indiana back in the early 70’s.

      On December 20, 1975 I attended to an IPD officer who was shot, Warren Greene.

      He was shot once in the left shoulder (the bullet entered directly from his left side not straight on as if he was facing the shooter).

      Officer Greene was in complete cardiac arrest. The defibrillator showed him to be “straight lined”. IOW, dead.

      We couldn’t figure out why officer Greene was dead from a shoulder wound.

      After his autopsy we learned that the bullet had passed through his shoulder and blew out BOTH top chambers of his heart. His survival chances were zero after the bullet was fired.

      My point is that a shot fired as a “wound-to-disable” can often be lethal.

  4. The cop who jumped out of his car and shot the kid with the toy gun appeared to have the same philosophy. Except he failed to meet the goal of step one… accurately identifying the threat.

      • Specialk

        Thanks for the link. It appears that the 12 year old was adult size, and therefore could be conceived as a legit threat. However, I still feel that the officer could have used better judgement before shooting… such as remaining behind his vehicle and starting a conversation. See number one again. The cop was a rookie. One with more experience and better training should have handled the situation without violence.

        • “Remaining behind his vehicle and starting a conversation.” You sir, have obviously never been in mortal combat.

        • How many shots were fired before the cops showed up in this case and the Walmart BB gun case? It was not a combat zone until the cops arrived and made it such.

        • No, I have never been in deadly combat. And I suspect the officer who shot the teen with the toy gun had not either, until he included the young boy in deadly combat. Police work is not the same as war, Joseph. And the kid with the fake gun was not a deadly combatant. He was a kid doing stupid kid things, and lost his life for it.

      • The man who placed the 911 call described the toy gun as “probably fake.” Indeed, if you listen to the 911 call, the caller assessed the threat level much better than the police.

        • Problem is that the dispatcher left out the words “probably fake” when sending the officer.

        • That is because the police didn’t take the time to assess the threat or the situation. They blazed in – hollywood action movie style – and almost hit the perp with the car.

          Exactly like the BB gun in the department store incident.

  5. There are times when someone is a *perceived* threat but not yet an imminent deadly threat. Drawing a gun is preparation for force and will often stop a threat. Anyone who buys into the idea that a gun is like some samurai sword that must be quenched with blood after being drawn is going to end up in trouble because they’ll either wait too long to ready the weapon or they’ll shoot someone and end up arrested. Yes, it’s better to be judged by 12 than carried by six, but it’s better to do neither.

    • Hannibal, I think you’ve hit on a key point about drawing your gun in preparation for force for a threat that is not yet deadly, but may become so. And that “may become so” is one of the reasons I don’t do it. Drawing a gun is a threat. That’s why you are doing it. It is threatening. Yes, sometimes that may deter an attacker. But sometimes it may make something that you perceived as maybe threatening, into an actual lethal threat. Or, as I stated above, others, maybe law enforcement, may not recognize your threat, and instead see you as a threat. For me, I have found I am safer, and so is everyone around me, if I do my best to not threaten people. Yes, I totally agree that I may be slower to draw my weapon because of this, and I have had a good amount of direct experience with this, but the benefits to my safety and those around me has been greater than drawing my weapon before being absolutely sure I would need to use it.

  6. Maybe I’m missing something, but who have you read or studied under that ever suggested moving while shooting WHILE yelling at the target? Because I’ve read and studied and taken a lot of training too, and nobody ever suggested I deliver a spoken-word performance while shooting.

    Warning shots? Aside from Joe Biden, never had this recommended.

    Shoot to wound? Never come up except as “don’t do this”

    If I had “immediately aggressed” every time I cleared leather, I would have shot a lot more people than I have (which by this point is “none”), so, sorry, but I reject THAT advice more or less out of hand.

    • Shandower, I’ll clarify. Quite a few courses teach their students to create distance while verbally warning their attacker and drawing and firing their weapon. I’ve heard it myself in introductory concealed carry permit courses. In addition, when I have reviewed other comments on this site and others, it seems that quite a few people have been given this advice, and expect to perform well while doing it. Finally, I shoot with people regularly, and in drills I sometimes see people trying to accomplish this.
      When it comes to warning shots, I have been, as part of my escalation of force for my rules of engagement, instructed to shoot a warning shot at a perceived threat. Many of my fellow modern veterans have had the same experience. I have also heard this particular tactic parroted on this site by commentators, as well as others, as well as in first time concealed carry classes.
      As far as wounding shots, in this very comment section right now, there is at least one person saying that is their practice. I have not heard this particular tactic ever taught myself, but people learn it somewhere, or maybe they are just winging it. Either way, success with that tactic has not been my experience.
      As far as your last comment, am a little unclear. Are you saying that you make it a regular practice to draw your weapon at a perceived lethal threat, but you hold your fire, or that you draw it regularly, even if the threat is not yet determined to be lethal, and things work out somehow?

  7. Train how you want. Everyone has to follow their own strategy on self-defense. I recently took a “Shoot-No-Shoot” class at the NRA Range and while I acknowledge it was a class, the video scenarios were pretty realistic and I had to get hits on target with my actual firearm. I agree, step one is the key. That was part where I, and most of my classmates fell apart. And it’s not just assessing someone is a threat, but what kind of a threat are they? Crazy? Robber? Close? Far? Gun? Knife?

    But frankly, I did not feel step two was as challenging as you describe assuming step one is done effectively. I think there is more room for decision making there and I feel it’s necessary. How many times have we heard, “The mere presence of a gun can deter a crime, or as Sun Tzu said, “The highest skill is to not fight.” I DO want to scare the attacker if there is time. I don’t want to shoot if I don’t have to. It’s a fine line, I admit, but if I can walk away without shooting, it is far preferable to having shot for so many reasons.

    I have a loud and commanding voice and I know that one-syllable words, yelled clearly, can be understood in a stress situation. “Stop. Gun – shoot – you.” The issue you describe I think is more about trying to get sentences to hang together under stress. Also, if the person is crazy and close, I won’t waste my time. But if the person is a robber, even an aggressive one, like all predators, he has a risk/reward calculation and shooting it out with me is not in his game plan. Step three I totally agree with.

    I think it’s a different equation for cops and military. If someone wants to take them on, they need to be taking them out. But I am just Joe Average (at best) Concealed Carrier and that’s my thought process.

    • JohnF, that’s awesome. It sounds like you are getting some good training. Keep at it. I would like to hear more about how military and law enforcement should deal with threat’s differently than others. I’m especially interested in why, in the context of this discussion, you would put military and law enforcement together. Thanks.

      • I only put military and law enforcement together as two examples of groups who probably need to follow different strategies that the average defensive shooter, not that soldiers’ and cops’ strategies would be the same. I think in the military “step one” is different because you are evaluating targets, not threats. Unless you are in a purely defensive “repel boarders” mode, you are the threat. So step one is “target or no target.” Step two is “take target out.” Step three is “find next target – repeat as necessary.” My step three is a quick scan for more threats, call 911 and then call my lawyer.

        Cops are different in multiple ways. First they have a duty to act, which I don’t. A cop has to seek out and face down BGs, any one of which could be a threat. If I see a rough character, I can turn and walk or even run. A cop can’t do that. Also, I hope I never have to do any of these steps. Cops have to do step one all shift long, every day. Second, drawing on a cop is a higher level of crazy than drawing on me. Someone drawing on me probably just wants my wallet, which I will give him if I feel he has truly got the drop on me. Someone drawing on a cop is up for some serious mayhem which will not end well and the cop has a duty to try to stop him for public safety as well as his own. Third, we all know cops have more legal leeway in a shooting which gives them more tactical options. Apparently from some police shootings I’ve read about, they can just empty a mag, not hit a thing and it’s a good shoot! Just kidding, sort of.

        All three strategies have similarities, all are life and death, and at the moment of pulling the trigger they are basically the same. But I think the evaluations at each step have important differences that may (or may not) lead to different courses of action.

  8. Warning shots are never needed. I want the threat to “go away” with the least amount of force needed without endangering myself or those around me. Depending on the situation if the aggressor continues to be a threat after drawing and commanding them to “go away” then he/she has already made the decision for you.

  9. Hmmm… we-el, your arguments are duly noted, but unless someone is holding a weapon he’s getting a couple at the feet or in the lower gut; further, if he’s more than five paces away I’ll choose non-lethal if the weapon is a knife.

    I’ve several reasons for taking this position, not the least important of which is that out here noone’s going to hassle me about a warning shot or four, and another of which is that it’s worked for me in the past.

    ‘Course, if I’m not at home, my response’ll likely differ from the above.

    This is a matter of personal preference, and should not be construed as advice; hell, it’s usually less paperwork to kill the bastard.

    Be safe, people, and best wishes.

  10. Not one of us knows how we would react to a need to defend ones self in a life threatening situation.

    Every set of circumstances is different.

    Mindset and contiguous training might keep you alive….or not.

    The ability to continuously evaluate a situation and the response is worthy of many books.

    I read and train….nuff said!…will supplant that in that there are some very excellent vids these days.

    • Tominator, yes, some of us know exactly how we would react, because we know how we reacted. Some of us had the opportunity to know how we would react a whole lot of times, and the ones that lived generally remember all of them.

  11. Unless the law in Oregon has changed, according to my handgun safety course trainer we have to give some sort of warning. His advice, which I’ve heard also from two other NRA instructors, was to yell, “Armed citizen!” and basically let the bad guy draw his own conclusions.

    As for getting distance from the bad guy, two things I was taught make that seem unsafe: never turn away from your target, and never move backwards (because unless you’re an anal neat freak like detective Monk, you don’t know what’s behind you on the floor). So unless you can move within your solid peripheral vision, how are you supposed to gain distance?

    At any rate, after that warning yell, if the bad guy has not immediately shown a clear intent of standing down, my training was to assume he means me harm, and stop the threat. My original trainer, and later ones, all agreed that stopping the threat means no warning shots, no disabling shots, and no single shots, because any wound that is not immediately effective in putting the bad guy down is going to result in an adrenaline dump, at which point he will act from the reptilian brain stem which doesn’t care about pain or wounds, just about killing what hurt it.

    Of course this was also tied in with things like closing distance, weapon reach, and the like, but the basics were simple.

    • And what does the law say about a mute trying to defend himself?
      All this “you must verbalize a warning to make use of lethal force legal” is a crock of BS.
      Actions demand actions and if no words are spoken, it has no bearing on whether the threat was real or your response was justified.
      If you have time to make a comprehensible command to a threat, then you should have used that time to more accurately assess the situation. Once all doubt that deadly force is warranted, that force needs to be put to action without hesitation.
      Anything done beyond what the author suggests merely swings the advantage in favor of the threat.

  12. ANYTHING that you can do to end or alter a dangerous situation without firing a gun is a GOOD THING.
    Because unless you are LEO or .mil IN A HOT ZONE you will ALWAYS have a DA playing Monday morning
    quarterback regarding your actions looking at them with a microscope hoping to find ANY reason to lock your
    ass in prison forever. Yes…..alternative actions and methodology’s might possibly be distracting however
    going straight from zero to flinging lead is mighty difficult to justify unless your target has already fired a round
    at you. Remember….YOU are NOT an ‘only one’. You do not get the benefit of the doubt and YOU must prove proactively that your actions were justified. This country was founded on the innocent till proven guilty
    belief but very few DA’s work on that metric. To them you are guilty and they just need to be able to con a jury
    into agreeing with them. What works best in the cold hard light of reality is irrelevant to what happens in a court room a year later.

    • Then you need to elect better DAs. In the mean time, my life is more important to me than to let some scumbag get the drop on me because I am afraid of going to trial.
      Change the laws to protect your rights. Don’t change your tactics to protect you from conviction at the risk of your life.
      You put faith in a justice system where you “did everything to avoid a shot” but were forced to do so, yet distrust that system when you correctly identified a threat and dealt with it accordingly.
      You also put faith in the chance that doing everything to avoid shooting, will get you out unharmed.
      I put faith in one thing. I carry a gun for the unfortunate time when I have to shoot to stop a threat. End of story.
      If you want to give bad guys a warning, they can watch all the videos of DGU that I have and there is your warning. Don’t mess with law abiding citizens unless you want to get shot.
      After Travon was killed, black men were asking “As a father, what am I supposed to tell my boy?” Uhh…how about don’t beat up people because 1) it’s wrong and 2) you most likely will get shot). It’s the same thing white fathers should teach their sons. Your conscience is your warning. If you lack a conscience to keep you moral, you may end up on the wrong end of a bullet.

  13. What I teach and train for takes all this at least one or two steps further. First, training to observe one’s surroundings constantly to spot potential threats and having loose, readily adapted plans to deal with them if noted.

    The first plan involves avoidance of the actions, places and people most likely representing a threat. Not always possible, of course, but many folks seem to discount this altogether. This includes the refusal to be distracted by anything. Just think about how vulnerable you are when you answer your little telephone, or stand at a strange ATM trying to read the microscopic text. Why would you do those things surrounded by strangers? Or alone on a dark street?

    Second is understanding and assessing any disparity of force and the actions that would be appropriate in different circumstances. A small dog might be even more apt to bite me than a large one, but they do not represent the same level of threat. Once the attack is in progress, the intent of the attacker is not easily mistaken, but there might be a lot of clues available before that point if you are paying attention and have given some real thought to the potentials before hand.

    And I agree very much with JWT that in the heat of the action, the fewer tasks the better. Adrenalin is crazy stuff, so keeping things simple is more likely to result in appropriate action. I learned a lot of that as a nurse, especially during my time working in the ER. I also had to shoot a man to save my life. http://www.thepriceofliberty.org/?page_id=846 I had no training at that point, and did just about everything wrong, but I was able to keep my head and pull the trigger. I survived.

  14. Wow! I am speechless about this read. The streets of everyday America is not like the streets of Mogadishu. (Well, except perhaps Chicago, New York, and Detroit. 🙂 ). Every incident is different, but it is your responsibility to use the appropriate level of force to stop the threat. If, for example, a 300 pound walking refrigerator threatens to beat you to death with his bare hands, do you automatically aerate his cranial cavity with a double-tap? Disparity of force concept implies it could be a justified shooting. Perhaps instead you buy him a beer. It could work. Perhaps as you draw, he realizes his mistake and backs away. Train with escalating use of force. Use shoot/don’t shoot scenarios in your training. Train to stop the threat not to simply kill a target. There is a huge difference between the two both legally and morally. Access your environment every moment you are in yellow or orange, so that you know what to do if pushed to red. Train with these techniques every day, because how you train is how you will act if something bad happens.

  15. Yes, verbal commands can be difficult under stress. How many times have we seen where a perp–or rather alleged perp–is surrounded by officers issuing conflicting commands. Don’t move! Says one. Get on the ground, yells another, while a third yells Hands up! All at the same time, at the top of their lungs. Doing the wrong thing will get the guy shot.

  16. thats alot of words for just: intent to kill follows the bullet.

    i had always heard that non lethals are a bad idea because a good lawyer could say ” if you did not intend to kill him, then why did you shoot him” and they could get your for torture or some BS like that.

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