Undercover cops exist. That fact alone means you should regard any and all violent confrontations between strangers with extreme caution. Unless you’re completely sure who’s the good guy and who’s the bad guy, unless you’ve seen an entire threat scenario develop from the start, there’s a chance you will get it wrong.
For example, you walk into a Stop ‘N Rob. A bad guy’s pointing a gun at the owner, who’s standing by the cash register behind the counter. How do you know that the owner and the perp didn’t switch positions before you came in the store? Shoot the wrong person and you might pay for your mistake for the rest of your life. If you survive.
In the first scenario in the video above, our hero sees an entire violent episode, from the start of hostilities to the actual shooting. Two restaurant patrons get into it with a waitress. The bad guy shoots the waitress. Our “hero” immediately draws and fires, running towards them.
Smart move — if you don’t want to miss someone (accuracy increases with proximity). And don’t really care what happens to you. Or the people around or near you. Because nothing draws gunfire like gunfire. Do you really want to do that?
Our hero was alone. Single though I am, I rarely eat in a restaurant alone. I usually take my colleagues, my sullen teen or an age inappropriate date with me (never at the same time). If I was with my daughter or arm candy in that scenario, I’d be getting her — and me — the hell out of there. Period.
Even if I was alone, I don’t think I would have taken on TWO bad guys, one with a drawn gun. This was not a robbery or a spree killing. It was a beef between bad men and a waitress. I reckon I’d wait to see what happened after the summary execution before engaging.
In the real world. there’d be a number of people in that restaurant. They’re likely to be moving around, making a clear shot inherently difficult and dangerous. And making them potential targets for return fire.
Our hero shoots one of the two gentlemen involved four times before the exercise is called. Hello? What happens next?
Is bad guy number two out of the fight? Is he armed? He sure as hell isn’t going to be happy that you just shot his amigo, is he? By shooting the shooter, our hero has started a chain of events. A defensive gun use ain’t over ’til it’s over; until the cops show up and/or the defensive shooter and his peeps leave the scene.
As for the advice to draw while remaining seated, I don’t think so. Your best first reaction: get off the X. Otherwise you are a sitting duck. Move or die. It’s that simple.
In the second scenario, the decision to shoot seems a lot more sensible — provided the shooter isn’t an undercover cop. Anyway, for all intents and purposes the bad guy is shooting at our hero. So it’s chocks away.
After our hero shoots bad guy number one, our hero lingers, trying to keep two participants in his sights. How great is that? Not great at all. Action beats reaction. Remembering that handgun rounds are hardly one-stop shots, and that even a heart-shot perp has at least 30 seconds before incapacitation, either one of the bad guys could counter-attack and . . . lights out.
As always, distance is your friend. If you’ve downed a bad guy, never assume he’s out of the fight. Move away from the threat. Best answer? Leave. Immediately. You aren’t a police officer. You don’t need to “apprehend” anyone. You are under no legal obligation to remain at the scene. Equally, what do you think a responding cop will think when he sees you holding a gun on someone you’ve just shot?
Disclaimer: I was only a cop for a short time. I’m not a firearms instructor. I’m a gun blogger who’s had extensive self-defense training. I’ve been mugged twice while unarmed. That is all. So, here’s my view of the “decision tree” needed for armed self-defense.
Avoid stupid people in stupid places doing stupid things. If you can’t, or find yourself thrust into a defensive scenario, well, there you are.
Your goal is to survive. The only gunfight you’re guaranteed to win: the one you don’t have. So don’t have a gunfight if you can escape it. If you decide to shoot to prevent loss of life, that’s your choice. Respect. But always remember that a gunfight in public puts everyone at risk. (Carry a gun you can shoot accurately over a reasonable distance.)
Don’t make yourself an easy target. Get off the X — move — STAT. Distance equals time. Time to figure out what to do next (if you can). Practice drawing and moving at the same time using the clothes your normally wear.
If push comes to shove, remember that a defensive gun use is actually a counter attack. I repeat: it’s attack, not a defense. Use speed, surprise and [lots of] violence of action. Run up to the bad guy? Sure. No holds barred.
4. Wash, rinse repeat
After you’ve engaged, it’s the same formula again. Avoid, escape, evade, engage.
I hate to throw cold water on this beautifully produced self-defense video, but your life depends on seeing a defensive gun use as a continuum. And having a coherent plan to get you from start to finish.