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.