Previous Post
Next Post

We don’t recommend firing warning shots in personal defense situations. As our own John Boch recently noted, they’re a bad way to go for a variey of very good reasons. Depending on your location and the firearm-friendliness (or not) or your local prosecutor, you could be charged with a crime. Most consider warning shots use of deadly force and felonious assault.

Fortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case in an incident this week in Bloomfield, Connecticut.

Michael Ferrigon, 43, who has a history with the Bloomfield police department involving mental health issues and drug abuse,was reported to be involved in a disturbance Thursday midday. The investigation revealed that the individuals involved were longtime neighbors.

According to the police, this incident stemmed around Ferrigon approaching a 30-year-old female neighbor who was sitting in in her car. Ferrigon proceeded to open the unlocked car door and sat in the front passenger’s seat. Once inside he proceeded to tell the female that he “loved her, wanted to have her (sexually), and wanted to marry her”.

The woman honked the car’s horn and eventually got out of the car, attracting members of her family.

Ferrigon followed and was confronted by the female’s father and a fight ensued. Police say that during the scuffle, Ferrigon stated that he wanted to rape the female. As Ferrigon and the father of the victim wrestled, the father shouted to his wife to get his gun.

Reports say the father was then handed a .44 caliber revolver and he fired two shots into the air. Ferrigon then stopped his aggressions and returned to his own yard.

Ferrigon was arrested and the local state’s attorney declined to charge the father for discharging the weapon. So all’s well that ends well.

However, think twice before launching a warning shot into the air or ground. You could very well find that you’re the one who ends up in handcuffs.

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. “he fired two shots into the air”

    Huh. With a .44.
    I wouldn’t want one of those bullets coming down on my head at terminal velocity.

    • Terminal velocity for bullets that go vertical isn’t really dangerous. In a vacuum, impact velocity would be similar to muzzle velocity. In our atmosphere, terminal velocity for a bullet is only around 150 fps. You’d get a bump on the head, but no serious injuries.

      The serious danger is firing a warning shot at a less than vertical angle. Those bullets can travel miles and still be lethal.

      • The Mythbusters did a segment that was enlightening showing rounds fired straight up buried up to 10 inches in the ground.

        • The link I provided is to that episode on Annotated Mythbusters. They found that bullets dropped from a balloon 400′ up produced similar holes to bullets fired out of a vertical gun.
          Once a bullet reaches the peak of its arc, it has a V[y] of 0. It then heads back down and reaches terminal velocity after a few hundred feet. Gravity just isn’t strong enough to accelerate a bullet to lethal velocities in the atmosphere, especially once it tumbles.

        • 1. I bet he didn’t fire it straight up.
          2. Even if he got it perfectly vertical, and if you’re right in your estimate of terminal velocity, do you really think a 240gr bullet at 150fps feels like a tap on the head?

          I suspect the bullets which were supposedly measured at 150fps were pretty light ones, maybe .22LR?
          A man in free fall, face down trying to slow himself, does about 180fps.

      • Anything in free fall will accelerate at 32 feet per second per second until terminal velocity is reached but only in a vacuum, not a floor cleaner but in the absence of air.
        Air resistance, the BC of the object, wind and rain will affect this.
        This is why a penny dropped from the top of the Empire State Building will not split someone in two but a building building brick dropped from a low overpass will go through a windshield and kill someone.
        The other commenter was correct, after a bullet reached apogee and starts to tumble and free fall many factors are at work to give you only a bump on the head.
        Degree in Science, minor in Mathamatics and Organic Chemistry and proud owner of 51 fully transferable NFA items.

        • Ok Mr. smart guy. Why don’t you go ahead and calculate the terminal velocity of a penny (a 39 grain flat piece of copper plated zinc), and that of a .44 Magnum bullet (a 270 grain hunk of lead). Assume STP conditions. Get back to me ASAP.

          Until then, I STILL don’t want to be hit on the head with one.

        • Does the bullet really start tumbling when it reaches apogee, or does it run out of forward momentum long before it loses rotational momentum? The two are not connected to each other, right?

  2. a well aimed shot ,ONE ,right between the legs will stop this kind of action in the future. the police and court system will not help.all they will do is take the report of a rape and then loose the evidence and report..

    • Normally I tell folks to always aim for the chest buuuuut in this case I think you may be right. Cheers! Hope they lock that scumbag up for a long time but I won’t hold my breath.

  3. Of course he won’t be charged. He’s exactly the right color. If he was white, the guy would never be seen again!

  4. Warning shots (when authentic) are victimless crimes and should not be prosecuted.

    I would shoot into the ground though – not in the air.

    • I agree. It is absurd that from a legality standpoint it is safer to kill someone than warn them off. Warning shots are oft used to scare off four legged predators, why not two?

      • Gman,

        As I mention below, if you fire a warning shot, that is a threat to the other person’s life. If you are legally justified to use deadly force, I would say (on a jury) that a warning shot is okay. If you are not legally justified to use deadly force, I would say (on a jury) that a warning shot is not okay.

    • Anonymous,

      I am not convinced that warning shots are victimless. Suppose your neighbor’s dog poops in your yard for the 20th time and you just stepped in it for the 20th time. You yell out an obscenity and start marching toward your neighbor’s front door. When you are still 30 feet away, the neighbor steps out, yells “back off!”, and shoots a handgun into the ground two times.

      In that very realistic scenario, your neighbor’s two “warning shots” could quite literally damage your hearing. That makes you a victim on that fact alone. And most people would interpret that event as a threat on your life. That makes you a victim on that count as well.

      If that doesn’t convince you, look at it another way. You are simply marching over to tell your neighbor to keep his blankety-blank dog out of your yard. Well before you get to your neighbor’s door, your neighbor hops out the door, yells at you, holds a firearm in hand, and starts shooting the ground. Would that justify you using deadly force (with or without a firearm) at that point? It probably does. And if that is the case, that means you were a victim.

      Now, if you are legally justified to use deadly force and choose to shoot the ground rather than shoot your attacker (hoping to drive him/her away), I would say that is legally okay if I was on a jury.

  5. Well, if you do fire a warning shot, fire it into the ground, not the air. Who knows? You could strike oil.

    Swimmin’ pools, movie stars.

  6. If the threat seems enough to fire a warning shot, it’s enough to fire at the threat.

    And that’s the way most laws and AG’s look at it. YMMV

  7. All the fear of falling bullets aside.

    Warning shots should be perfectly legal as long as they are aimed with educated thought.
    Look, its either a dead man or a scared one.

    You pick.

  8. You do not fire warning shots, ever. What if the round fell to the earth and impacted
    the head of an infant or young baby?

  9. The father knew the neighbor to some extent. Most likely knew he had a mental deficiency of some degree. Perhaps he just could not bring himself to shot a person whom he knew was not able minded.

    The Art of the drawn weapon is when drawn on another person (or predatory animal), use the weapon. All talking ceases when a weapon has to be drawn on another person.

  10. I don’t know anybody with a crystal ball, do you? Warning shots are a signal that you really didn’t fear for you life. Unless you or an innocent third party are at risk of being killed you have no business/legal standing in firing to warn. When you are in bare fear of being killed, you empty the damn thing into your target and keep pulling the trigger until you realize it’s starting to click. Listen to a few accurate, good guy shooting survivors. You don’t know anybody like that? Wonder why? They are the only ones what really know, and, no, they don’t like to talk about it. Their accounts are not like anything you’ll ever read on the internet boards. In every shooting, even those with no physically traumatic damage, everybody looses something. Very few get any of it back.-30-

Comments are closed.