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By Michael in GA

I watched the video of Pinch, West Virginia pharmacist Don Radcliff who successfully thwarted an armed robbery. I watch a lot of defensive shooting videos for more than entertainment value. I agree that “the best plan is to have a plan,” but what we have to have are instincts. Instincts and training to back up what your instincts are telling you to do in any variety of situations. Instincts that are not inherent are learned. The best way for me to learn instinctive reaction is to dissect accounts of actual DGUs . . .

Force-on-force training is probably the best way to train because your instincts can be tested. The drawbacks being the cost and the fact that the actual DGU likely will not be a situation you practiced. I still recommend it because you need to experience the elevated heart rate from the stress that a sim can provide.

Videos of actual DGUs, however, allow us to experience, vicariously, a multitude of tactics from aggressors and the actions, reactions, or inaction by the victims. We are able to see slow motion and freeze-frame and replay it over and over, hopefully in a resolution above 240p. Whether the DGU was successful or if the bad guy got away leaving carnage in his wake, I am going to insert myself in the moment from the point of view of the victims and observe my options.

This Monday morning quarterbacking is not without criticism from those among us who claim to carry just for such situations. Most of this criticism contains true statements. ‘You don’t know how you would react in the same situation under stress.’ ‘You have the benefit of hindsight.’ ‘You have a view from six camera positions.’ ‘The guy stopped the bad guy so it’s all good.’ These and many other comments, although factual, say one thing to me: it is not constructive to second guess the actions of the victim. I disagree.

Over at another gun blog, the author was praising the actions of the pharmacist in the above video. His successful crime-stopping was, no doubt, praiseworthy. But the author, I’ll call Bob. went beyond that when he gave an overly positive play by play of the event. He stated that the pharmacist didn’t hesitate but I counted four seconds to draw and fire. He admired the two-handed grip used by the pharmacist, but the improper grip was the first thing I noticed. His hand came off the gun on the first shot. His grip is to blame. One of the things I pointed out in the comments there article was that he should have followed up his first shot and it almost got himself killed.

Some of the replies to my comment were in agreement that this looked like an untrained concealed carrier did the right thing but was successful in staying alive due to a lot of luck. Others, not so much. One person said I was just being “mouthy.” My reply to that was, I would rather be mouthy now than be giving my last words on my death bed.

My point was that we have been given a gift in this video and to let a learning opportunity go to waste is not in the best interest of the concealed carrier. I used the analogy of a football coach pointing out a missed blocking assignment on a game winning touchdown run. If we can’t make serious critical comments to videos like this, then we are not doing everything possible to improve our chances for success, or more importantly, our survival.


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  1. Improper grip? He was flinching from seeing the gun pointed at him or being shot at him. I’m not going to fault him for that. Not one bit.

    Monday morning quarterbacking can be instructive, to be sure, but you can get hypercritical too. I think you’re in that latter category.

    • He knew the gun was pointed at him and his coworkers before he decided to take action. Why would he flinch later? The support hand comes off only when he fires his own gun. It might be a flinch, but he caused it, not the bad guy. I am sure he rarely fired his gun at the range and I am sure he never took a pistol fighting course. He probably got scared at the noise. Either way, it is a good idea to try to eliminate these flaws. But before you can address them, you have to recognize them. Flinch or grip, it doesn’t matter. If his lucky shot hadn’t disabled the bad guy’s gun, he may have not lived through this fight. Call me hypercritical. I don’t mind. Say I nitpick. I only do it to strive to learn. What’s the harm in that?

      • The human brain is an amazing tool , able to analyze multiple situations all at an instant and make decisions based on past experiences and future outcomes . We can definitely enhance these capabilities by frequent training and preconceived outcomes . Imagining scenarios and determining their outcomes in advance , much like a professional athlete would , particularly those in the one on one sports i.e. MMA , boxing , tennis etc.. Practice defensive shooting regularly if you think you may encounter this situation , which is what most CC people should consider , practice drawing your weapon , with timers , on human silhouette targets , four in the torso two in the head . Know in advance , when you pull your gun in defense , you may be shot or shot at , picture it in your mind when your trailing , have someone , like a shrill voice women scream at you while your drilling , use blanks and train with another person blanks using your carry weapon if you can and know you will face scrutiny afterwards by the police , media and friends and neighbors . Know in advance how you will describer your encounter , certain words to avoid and certain words or phrases to use . Don’t use the word kill , describe the encounter as , in fear for your life . Remember , you weren’t protecting your materials but your life . Having a right to carry a weapon is a wonderful freedom that has ultimate responsibility with it . The better prepared you are in advance of any situation is crucial in all of life’s endeavors .

    • It’s really hard to tell from the angle and resolution of the video, but it did not look at all like a flinch to me. It looks like the slide struck the support hand thumb and broke his support grip. Twice. The third shot looked better. If that’s the case he’s lucky his gun continued to fire.

    • I’ve frequently read that people tend to aim at the threat in a high-stress situation, so it makes a lot of sense that one round hit the robber’s gun. Not something that could be easily repeated, but interesting indeed, thanks for sharing the local article.

      • I’ve read that too. Something about how you get good shooting at a square range so when you go to shoot in real life you focus on the threat, the gun, and that’s where your shots go instead of center mass

      • I participated in a class with our local Bureau of Criminal Investigation and one of the agents talked about sitting in on countless autopsies. He said every cadaver that’s the result of violence has one hand that’s beat to hell. He said any time they kicked in a door and where confronted with a weapon, the perp would have a chest and hand full of bullets. Even SWAT guys instinctively and unconsciously shoot the hand with the weapon in it.

      • Wow, it looks like the bullet pushed the slide back and the round came out of the chamber and got jammed. Talk about luck!

        • With that much luck I just have to say: it was the one man’s day to live and the other man’s day to die.

  2. I agree, this is an invaluable opportunity to learn from a situation that many of us will never be in…..until we are.

    I’m also a little leery about the way he delayed between shots. It seems like he could have been mortally wounded in those precious seconds.

  3. The only thing that would make these situations work out better is by walking around sauced after drinking 12 beers a day and denying a glaring alcohol addiction.

    • Ha ha I was waiting for that comment. Let it go man, you are too much. Go eat some broccoli, and run a 5k, you will feel better.

      • 5K, that’s for kids in the gym. Nah, this is going to be fun. This guy is a ticking time bomb, and TTAG giving him a voice means that TTAG will own his actions when that time bomb goes off. It’s only a matter of time, tick tock tick tock . Where you find excessive drinking, denial, and arrogance you will find the cops, Jerry Springer nonsense, and violence. Tick tock, tick tock.

        Better yet, since Farago likes to run simulations, TTAG should bring this guy to Texas and run some use of force simulation when he’s sober (if that ever happens) and when he’s been drinking all day. Now, that would make some interesting video and data. Come on TTAG, do it!

        • Dude, no one owns his actions but him. You sound like his jealous ex-wife. With all the ways to die in this world I find your diagnosis faulty and mis-guided at best, you are either one hell of a doctor, or just a guy trying to rationalize his own life style choices as superior. Imagining your whinning voice while instructing someone else on how to live makes me laugh.

        • “This guy” being the author? Or the pharmacist?

          Either way, you seem to be upset over nothing and you really don’t have much support for your childish ad hominem.

  4. The crucial part of the Monday Morning QB analogy is that most critics of football players will never be on the field of play. In contrast, we carry because there is the possibility that we WILL be in this man’s shoes and faced with an event like this. With that in mind, it’s more like watching game tape and scouting than the MMQB. We should criticize towards learning how to act better if we are ever confronted.

    • That’s correct. I see it as reviewing tapes for when/if I am in a similar situation. “Monday morning QBing” is what the keyboard commandos call it.

  5. Successful DGU is like airplane crash. If you walk away, High five yourself and call it good.

  6. Good: The pharmacist discretely unholstered behind the other people out of sight of the perp. (good reason to have a leather holster which is usually much quieter that most kydex/plastic holsters)

    Bad: The pharmacist fired once, then waited for a reaction from the perp before firing again. Giving your opponent a chance to react is a great way to get shot. Anything worth shooting is worth shooting more than once. Shoot as many rounds as it takes, as fast as your can, until the threat is over.

    • That is about how I summed it up. I now train to get five shots in a 6″ area from 5 yards in less than a second. I use a timer and draw from concealment and try to complete the process from beep to last shot in 2.5 seconds. My best time so far is 2.4 seconds with three hits. My best accuracy was all 5 shots within 3″ in 2.9 seconds. Those five shots were within 0.86 seconds.
      This video taught me that a single shot and even double tapping may not be enough and you don’t have time to figure it out in a fight.

      • I train in almost the same fashion , Try loading up with blanks and having shootouts with friends in mock adversary situations while on timer and , when working on timers , compete with someone for something , like a box of 22 magnum ammo , that stuff is so hard to come by it’s sure to get your adrenalin up . The adrenalin boost is what causes the tunnel vision that focuses your eyes on the perpetrators firearm .

      • That’s good training, but mix up the number of rounds fired so you don’t get in the habit of firing 5 rounds all the time. In reality, the shoot might need 1 or might need 12 so don’t get tied to one number of shot

        • I’m going with five as my minimum. I can get five shots off before they hit the floor, then I can evaluate if I need more. I carry 16 rounds in my GLOCK 19 so using 5 initially isn’t going to put me at a disadvantage. Besides, everybody knows the 9mm is under powered so I need a swarm of them to get the job done.

  7. My favorite has got to be the off duty CCSP deputy at the gas station on the south side of Chicago. 3 on 1 , he shot the one with the gun near point blank in the head before he could blink.

  8. Michael in GA, Good points and good recommendations. This is something I try to make a point of doing as well. Paying attention and maintaining good situational awareness is something that is reinforced by the non successful DGU occurrences, and sadly by the all too common victimizations (by both the criminal and the government) in the places folks are disarmed by law. My daughter’s college campus is one place I worry about her since she is disarmed by the State of Georgia.

  9. “One person said I was just being “mouthy.””

    No!!! (My shocked face…)

    Besides your brother? 🙂

    “F” ’em. They weren’t there.

    Use what works for you.

  10. I’ve been watching first person defender on gun talk media’s YouTube channel. I heard about it listening to Tom gresham on gun talk radio on the weekends. It’s not as good as doing the force on force training yourself, but doing as much as you get to see in the videos would be prohibitively expensive.

  11. General and President Dwight Eisenhower said, “I’ve found plans to be useless, and planning to be essential”, I don’t think you can put it better.

  12. I suppose it all depends on how you define the word plan. Following your training is a plan. Shooting with both hands is part of a plan. Deciding to carry a gun is a plan. Decided how and when you will escalate use of force to deadly force is a plan. See, you always have a plan. The details of how the plan comes together is a bit fuzzy.

    • That’s why I used the term instincts rather than following a plan. I plan to train so that my instincts take over.
      It’s like the guys that scan left, right and behind after every string of fire. A lot of people say that is stupid, that it is more of a dogma than useful training. I disagree. You are training for a DGU so you just fired your weapon in public. I think it is a good idea to take a look around before holstering your gun, not just because there might be other threats but what if a nearby cop responds to the gunfire? I would like to see him coming so I can drop the gun and put my hands up so he doesn’t shoot me. You may not think of this at the time so it is best to train that way so it is instinctive.

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