gun in holster hip IWB
Image by Oleg Volk. Used with permission.
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Any firearms instructor worth his or her salt will try to teach their charges to break tunnel vision during a criminal attack. Heaven knows police officer trainees have “scan and assess the scene” drilled into their them too, and for good reason. It’s far too easy to concentrate on a perceived threat in front of you and miss other equally dangerous threats that might arise.

For example, a good guy with a gun in Phoenix recently decided he wanted to make contact with a pair of shoplifters. He (foolishly) put them at gunpoint. A cop nearby heard the commotion and approached. He shouted for the armed man to drop the gun. However, the armed man was concentrating so hard on his interaction with the shoplifters, he didn’t hear the police officer or the woman with him who was yelling at him that the police had arrived.

When the man holding the gun failed to comply with the officer’s command, the cop shot him. He died five or six days later in the hospital from his wounds.

Here’s the bodycam video of the incident.

Good guys and gals who carry every day also need to be thinking something else after a situation stabilizes following a defensive use their gun, even if they don’t have to fire a shot.

Put the gun away as soon as possible!

Every moment your gun (or other defensive tool such as a blade) is exposed to plain view, your life is in potential danger.

Take the man who shot a cop-killer in a suburb outside Denver. After putting the murderer down, the good guy with a gun – for whatever reason – picked up the bad guy’s AR-15.  A responding officer saw “a man holding an AR-15” near where his fellow officer was mortally wounded. The responding officer fired and killed the hero. Yes, it was a tragic mistake, but the good guy is still dead.

We all know the threat criminals present, but we also face potentially mortal danger from responding cops as well as fellow concealed carry license holders. Or, for those who live in one of the twenty-one Constitutional Carry states, any another everyday good guy with a gun.

The “put the gun away ASAP” doctrine even applies to off-duty cops or plainclothes security. That badge in your pocket or on the other side of your body won’t stop incoming rounds. And in low light conditions, absent an easily recognized uniform, a badge may not convey one’s good guy status no matter its location.

With the ever-increasing number of good guys carrying guns in public, you never know who is nearby. Gun handling and tactics skills run the gamut from highly trained to well-meaning but utterly clueless. As a trainer (and a trainee) for almost 25 years, I’ve seen them all.

No matter what, if at all possible, you absolutely don’t want to be standing over a downed individual holding a “smoking gun.” Or even a not-so-smoking gun or knife.

If the immediate threat has ended, scan and asses for other potential threats and then put the gun away as soon as feasible.

Your inner ring of protection (at least from the responding good guys of every flavor) is your own non-threatening behavior and demeanor.

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  1. Hmm…just sold my old car to a junkyard for cash. Since I didn’t know him I had my subcompact gat in a Nemesis holster. All went well. I’m not pulling my gat on a shoplifter Duh🙁

    • ^This^ plus no way anyone with a bit of understanding is gonna snatch up bad guys AR or AK. Battlefield pickups are a very post SHTF concept.

  2. This is very upsetting. The officer did not have reasonable cause to believe that a crime was being committed. He had absolutely no idea of the situation he stepped into. There are many valid reasons to hold someone at gunpoint. Were those people in the process of committing a felony? Was the gunman an off-duty cop (doesn’t change anything, but helps people to see the error that the cop committed)? And do you really think you could comply fast enough before being shot by this cop? We should definitely be second guessing his actions. He really served and protected the heck out of this community.

    When a police officer does this he usually gets paid vacation. When a concealed carrier does this he gets life in prison. Why?

    I suppose we shouldn’t question him because he has the most dangerous job in world, ranked 22nd most dangerous job by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Being a crossing guard and landscaping supervisor are actually more dangerous, so maybe those professions should be able to shoot people that don’t instantly comply, so they can go home safely at night too.

    This is a problem of police training and a public willing to tolerate this behavior.

    • A “public willing to tolerate this behavior”? I’m not perceiving that anyone “tolerated” the officer’s action. He chose to assume instead of assess, and it cost an innocent person his life. That officer will be haunted by it for the rest of his, and it will undoubtedly affect his psyche, his marriage, his employment, etc. For example, rolling up on a scene with your adrenaline pumping and erroneously killing a Good Samaritan will **at the very least** adversely affect your ability to be considered for a promotion or specialized detail such as S.W.A.T. or crash team.

      You don’t know if it’s a problem with the officer’s training. For all we know, he was counseled against making assumptions so as to avoid collateral damage, yet when the balloon went up and his moment came, he chose to rush in and make poor assumptions. I highly doubt his department neglects training their recruits to properly O.O.D.A. and assess before pulling a trigger and risking both innocent lives and the reputation/treasury of the department.

      All that being said, there is the remote possibility that you’re correct, but doubtful.

      • Yes but SWAT and crash teams are more then happy to blaze away.
        You just took a cop with regrets and put him in a SWAT team. If he regrets killing SWAT is no place for him

      • “That officer will be haunted by it for the rest of his, and it will undoubtedly affect his psyche, his marriage, his employment, etc.”

        Well, shit man, that’s punishment enough! I honestly don’t know why we even bothered with the Nuremberg Trials; can you imagine the emotional trauma those SS officers must have gone through roasting Jews day in and day out for years?

        Are you listening to yourself? The emotional issues you cause yourself by your own actions are not worth even mentioning when we are talking about concerns of accountability and punishment.

    • Cop: excuse me gun holding person, but by chance are you a fine fellow or the dastardly duck?

    • First responders: You may, in-fact, be a second responder so use some in-situ jurisprudence FFS.

  3. I think people should bookmark this and read it every day.

    To paraphrase Massad Ayoob, when police come on a scene they have no idea who is who, and most likely don’t care until the scene is secure.

    If your gun is out the scene is not secure. The police wont wait to have a philosophical discussion with you before they secure the scene.

    • “When police come on a scene they have no idea who is who, and most likely don’t care until the scene is secure”

      Which is a problem with training and the fundamental concept of American policing. The idea that personal safety is the primary function of a police officer is ludicrous on its face- if you’re mostly concerned with protecting yourself why the fuck are you here?

      Putting yourself in danger to protect others is part of the whole point of a police force (and yes, this includes risking the bad guy getting the drop on you while to take a beat to figure out what the hell is going on before you start shooting). If cops don’t like it, they’re free to quit. Last I checked there was no police draft, and they can quit anytime- unlike people in the military who have to finish their enlistment. Those would be the people who actually put themselves in harm’s way without self preservation being their primary job.

      It’s pretty fucked up when the military kicking in doors in a hostile country have more restrictive ROE than police when dealing with American citizens.

  4. DON’T put your gun away asap. Watch your surroundings asap!
    Are there any more threats? Any victims needing medical aid? Police coming?
    Life isn’t binary. Think before you act.

  5. Only draw to protect you and yours. Confront a shoplifter? Is it really worth it? (Hint: No) In situations like this, it doesn’t pay to be a hero. Every good deed has its punishment.

  6. The guy that shot the guy through the check out window did it right. No need to wait around for a ” Thank you mask man.” ( Lenny Bruce does the Lone Ranger)

  7. It doesn’t matter whether you put your gun away or not — the cops are going to shoot you anyway.

    Adam Toledo was shot with his hands up. It’s on the video. He was 13.

    Adam Cano was lying face down on the ground when officer friendly executed him with two shots in the back seconds apart. Cano was 17.

    Both followed orders by tossing their guns. It didn’t matter. It also won’t matter when Officer Friendly guns you down.

    Here’s a pro tip: If you’re carrying and Officer Friendly needs help, call 911. Then put you phone away fast before Officer Friendly’s pals come along and kill you because they thought it was a gun. Like they did to Amadou Diallo. He took 41 rounds before the cops stopped killing him and took a cigarette break.

    • “Both followed orders by tossing their guns”

      Eh, that’s quite a stretch for Toledo. He was trying to ditch the gun after leading the police on a foot chase but the gun *was* still in his hand when the cop reacted to the furtive gesture. Sad that someone had already gone violently bad at 13, but there it is.

      • A “furtive gesture” is not a threat and the government employee had no business firing his weapon.

      • @Eric, as you correctly noted, Toledo ditched the gun and was then shot dead while his hands were in the air. The video doesn’t lie. He was murdered by a cop.

        • Nah, the kid played a stupid game and lost. You’re right that the video doesn’t lie – the cop didn’t have enough time to react between seeing the gun moving and it being dropped.

      • “The video doesn’t lie”

        That was a literally a split second decision. ShotSpotter goes off, cops show up on next block and watch two perps shooting gun. It’s 2:30AM. Cops come down gangway and the two perps run, Toledo with Ruger in hand. Fastest cop knocks down 21 year old as he’s chasing perp with gun. (Toledo) Other cops grab 21 year old and some continue to chase Toledo.

        Cops gets close enough to Toledo and in REAL TIME it appears he has Ruger still in hand. Yells drop it! and Toledo brings hands up with what definitely looks like gun in hand. Cops shoots ONCE hitting Toledo in chest. Toledo dies. It’s 3AM.

        It’s very easy to watch this in slow motion frame by frame. The problem is this went down in REAL TIME. In slow motion “there were 838 milliseconds (0.838 or 5⁄6 of a second) “between gun shown in hand and single shot”. The Ruger very well could have flown out of the kids hand when he was shot. It appeared to me that the gun was in Toledos hand in real time and slow motion.

        Answer these questions for me. Why is a 13 year old out at 2-3AM ? What kind of parent allows this? The random bullets that were flying when these two were shooting in the street, where did they go? What if they were shooting in front of your house? How would you react? You’re the cop and in 5⁄6 of a second the kid has a gun in hand and when he goes down he doesn’t, the gun is about 4 feet away.

        This is the game of life and not a sporting event where every close call is challenged or under review because it comes down to 838 milliseconds.
        If Toledo drops the gun and then stops running he doesn’t get shot.
        Play stupid games and sometimes you die.

        This why there is a mass exodus of CPD, David Brown is busy scoring brownie points with Lightfoot and not standing behind his officers.
        2021 looks like an all time high for CPD LEOs retiring or going to different departments.

        If this was a CCW shoot, you would still be sitting in Cook County, Tom Dart would make sure of that. It took you 5⁄6 of a second to get to the first 5⁄6 in this sentence.

        This is John Boch just beating a dead and decomposing horse again.
        There have been about 5 variations of this on TTAG just hoping for an argument to break out. Even Miner49er hasn’t chimed in because this is repetitive nonsense.

    • I wouldn’t even call 911. Police unions have succeeded in making it official policy everywhere that cops are allowed to hurt/kill anyone and anything that they feel “threatens” them.

      Self preservation is their primary mission objective. Well, guess what? Me too. I won’t get involved in their lives and hope they won’t get involved in mine.

    • If we do that then who responds to this breaking story?
      “10 shot, including 3 teens, at 2 scenes in North Lawndale”
      This is 5 minutes old, disarming the police is NOT the solution.
      How about we support them instead?
      This is Chicago, not Kentucky.

      • “Who responds to this breaking story”

        Gee, I don’t know, maybe armed private citizens (who, by all counts, demonstrate on average far better marksmanship and far more restraint when discharging weapons under stress than cops do) who would be free to respond by not having to worry about responding officers either murdering them or throwing them into a concrete box for doing everything right. A lot more people would be willing to defend the life of a stranger against unprovoked attack if doing so didn’t carry such astronomical consequences

        We only “need” cops to protect us because they directly and indirectly hamper/prevent us from protecting ourselves

        • So basically change that to 11 shot, including some snowflake from CO who thinks he’s Doc Holiday but is really a Johnny Ringo with shit in his pants.

          There were no CPD at these shootings and as the Toledo case shows the CPD LEO shot ONCE scoring a center mass hit to the chest.
          That kind of throws out the whole “who, by all counts, demonstrate on average far better marksmanship and far more restraint when discharging weapons under stress than cops do.”

          Red you would be dead laying in the street still bleeding out, this isn’t some of the Looney Tunes BS that goes on in Colorado, this pretty much a daily or weekly occurrence in big cities like Chicago or Baltimore.
          You aren’t nearly as good as you THINK you are.

          Go have a talk with some gangs slinging dope on a corner and see how long you live. The answer is not long unless you are buying dope and if not well the gangs have another gun, your wallet and perhaps your car.

          Smoke some more pot and for your sake stay in Colorado and respond to the next school, movie theater or King Soopers shooting. I’m sure the PD will appreciate your help.

  8. Disarm the hicks in Kentucky, they are too stupid to have guns.
    Percent of ADs in USA .0003%, Kentucky 61%.

  9. Chris T in KY is another left wing troll on here.
    Read some of her stupid comments, she voted for Biden/Harris.
    It’s Christy and not Chris T.
    I picked up my Corvette in Bowling Green by paying for the Museum Delivery program.
    The people seemed very pro second amendment.
    Christy probably runs a puppy mill in the sticks.

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