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“Police were called to a home in the 4400 block of NW Hayes Road just before 3 a.m. for a disturbance,” reports. “Officials say a homeowner had armed himself with a shotgun and was outside his house looking for a suspicious person . . .

The suspicious person then grabbed the shotgun from the homeowner and used it as a striking weapon, hitting the homeowner in the face and head several times. Officials say the suspect then fired several rounds into the air and went to a nearby home. A SWAT team surrounded the home and later took the suspect into custody.

I present this story because it’s true: a bad guy can take your gun and use it against you. It’s a fear that keeps many Americans from keeping and bearing arms. Again, it’s not impossible. But it is improbable. And, I argue, irrelevant.

While reliable statistics are unavailable, it’s generally accepted that the vast majority of defensive gun uses end without a shot fired. The bad guy sees your gun and stops his or her attack. (Which is why I constantly stress the importance of home carry and an efficient carry system.)

If you end up firing your gun at an assailant, the chances are pretty good that you’ll stop the attack — despite the fact that most gun owners receive little to no armed self-defense training. TTAG and other sites routinely carry stories of successful DGU’s by average Americans. Take strength — and courage — in that.

Something else to keep in mind: anyone who’s willing to take your gun and shoot your with it is exactly the sort of person against whom you should be armed. In other words, if a bad guy’s willing to shoot you with your own gun, you should be ready, willing and able to shoot them.

Bad guys can stab, club, strangle, or beat you to death. They may want your gun, but they don’t need it. That’s setting aside the fact that many if not most potential perps are already armed. And all of them are potentially armed.

A firearm is the most effective tool for personal self-defense. It gives you the best possible fighting chance against a lethal threat.

Truth be told, you may lose that fight. But there’s no reason to surrender your chances of a successful outcome in the vague hopes that an attacker will be less lethal without your gun. Or the fear that you won’t be able to use your gun to stop an imminent, credible threat of grievous bodily harm or death.

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  1. Why are these people leaving their homes and going on a search and destroy mission? Talk about a tactical and legal nightmare. Let the criminals come to you and then destroy them in your home. Much easier to claim self defense if you aren’t on the prowl.

    • Agreed. They can’t wait to go tactical and head outside to look around, but once they get out there, they aren’t willing to use the weapon and it gets taken off them.

    • Exactly my thoughts. I’ve seen suspicious people in my driveway before at night. I watch them from inside. They always leave in a minute. Wrong house on a cell phone or for whatever reason. I would never approach just stay diligent inside. I’ve got flood lights on motion sensors so my yard lights up when someone pulls in or approaches the house. And they work well a raccoon will set them off. If someone comes to the door my dog goes nuts.

    • 9 times out of 10, a bump in the night turns out to be nothing. A raccoon getting in your trash, a neighbor’s kid fucking around or a branch blown down by the wind. If I hear a noise, my first thought isn’t that someone is coming to murder me. I arm myself then investigate. I may have to clean trash up from my yard or scare off an animal, usually I can just go back to bed.

      • Exactly, just because someone investigates a noise does not mean they are expecting danger. Sometimes it is just an animal, or every once in a while a drunk guy or a teen cutting through backyards or at the wrong house in the dark. I generally am at windows first with a flashlight, but some spots are hard to see…

  2. I would like to stress that good dog and a gun are the best combo for home defense and can prevent this from happening.

    • Once an AT&T salesman asked me about my home security needs. I said “I have a dog and gun.” He smiled awkwardly and didn’t bring that up again.

    • Is that commander-sized .45 really a good choice for a Yorkie? I was thinking he’d be better served with a .357 snubbie but that might just be my revolver bias talking…

      • My dachshund was pestering me to get a Walther and I threw back, “oh and who won that that little argument back in 1945? And if I did it’s coming out of the beer an brat budget.” He gave up after that

        • I thank my lucky stars it’s Wilson Combat, not Johnson Combat. However, if it were, it would be excellent for a t-shirt countering UT’s recent campaign: “You use your dildo, I’ll stick to my Johnson.”

    • Maybe so, except barking at f*cking EVERYTHING really means barking at nothing. Ask me how I know. Or rather ask my next door neighbor and his little sh*theel dog how I know.

  3. “Again, it’s not impossible. But it is improbable…”

    I’m not sure the improbability argument is all that useful in this case. The chances of someone needing a gun for self-defense outside of Chicago et al are also very improbable, but I bet most people here carry.

    • At current rates, an American has about a 40% chance of being a victim of a “serious violent crime” during his or her lifetime, as defined by the DoJ. I think that’s a pretty good argument for having a gun.

  4. I note that reading stories such as the one above reminds me of that wonderful book, “Into Thin Air,” by Krakauer. It’s not a shooting book, but the next best thing:

    The climax of the non-fiction story takes place atop Mt. Everest in the killing zone. A crowd of climbers reached the top too late in the day and beset by a storm, among other problems. Worst of all, most of the climbers ran out of non-empty oxygen canisters. Many died.

    In brief, it seems that all too often people (those with and without firearms) appear to be staggering around desperately short of oxygen.

  5. Mark Twain said, I believe in “Roughing It,” that if you pull a gun, you had better be prepared to use it instantly.

  6. “Something else to keep in mind: anyone who’s willing to take your gun and shoot your with it is exactly the sort of person against whom you should be armed”

    This is, honestly, something that has always worried me about carrying. If someone robs me, mugs me, attacks me, etc., and I’m armed, they’ve got a pretty decent shot of finding my gun, even if I give up the wallet, tv, whatever. If the criminal finds the gun, they’re certainly going to take it from me- common sense, right?

    And if they take it from me, what’s the chance that they would then eliminate the witness as a free CYA?

    Home invasion is one thing. Active shooter/terrorist is another. But for any up-close-and-personal “public” crimes, it seems like the presence of the firearm would drastically increase the chances that either involved party go home in a box, and probably somewhat increase the chances that the carrier does.

    • Yes, carrying a firearm does up the ante a bit. “Escalates the situation,” as the anti-gun ninnies would say.

      But I’m fine with that. I figure if someone is able to take my gun off me, I’m probably either dead or unconscious and won’t have any say in the matter anyway. I’m not waving it around to impress people or pulling it out for some trivial reason. I’ll make every effort to avoid, vacate, and de-escalate. If someone insists on divesting me of my valuables by force (or threat thereof) after all that, they’re probably also enough of a threat that they will see my gun — when I shoot it at them.

      If a gun-wielding troglodyte has the drop on me, well, that sucks…and if exposure of my gun becomes inevitable, I’ll do my best to shoot it at them before they get a chance to reach for it. I do worry about the potential for a “nobody had to die today” scenario, but it doesn’t outweigh all the much more likely benefits.

      • That’s why I keep my wallet in that pretty leather box on my belt! So I can surrender it instantly! OOoops! My mistake! That seems to be this 9mm instead. Kill or die.

  7. “TTAG and other sites routinely carry stories of successful DGU’s by average Americans.”

    The fact of the matter is that while it would not be a BAD thing to be an operator, or to be able to impersonate an operator, using a pistol effectively at house or apartment room distances is not rocket science or Olympic-level gymnastics. Most people can do it reasonably well after a few minutes figuring out which end of the pistol is the dangerous end. Couple that with the fact that the vast majority of the Bad Guys you might encounter on the street or in your home have very likely even less training and it becomes apparent that the playing field is slanted in favor of whichever person HAS a firearm and is willing to use it, training level be damned.

    That said, training is a good thing. Get as much of it as you can physically or financially tolerate. TTAG is a good place to start since thinking about scenarios has significant value in improving your situational awareness.

  8. Some of us gots to go outside armed to chase every noise. It’s part of the Zimmerman Life!!

    • George Zimmerman was in the right and found not guilty.
      Neighborhood watch programs keep people safe where they live.

    • Except Zimmerman was on public property, and was jumped by a thug who then got exactly what he deserved.

  9. We read and hear in the news all the time about “un-armed” folks getting shot by the Police. The problem with this mentality is that within the totality of the particular circumstance a weapon is present. It is not unheard of that even LEOs have their weapon taken from them and used against them. I am sure this was what was about to happen to Officer Darren Wilson in the MB case. The mere presence of a weapon, regardless of who(m) is in possession of it, escalates confrontations to a potentially deadly level. It seems to me that someone who intends harm and is unarmed is more dangerous than the one who brings a deadly weapon. Their weapon of choice is brutality as opposed to intimidation. This is the person I fear the most and the scenario which places those of us who carry in the most legal jeopardy in the aftermath. It is this myth of the “un-armed” bad guy shooting that really scares me.

  10. If a bad guy takes my gun and uses it against me, he will need gloves and he will have to beat me to death with it because it will be empty and hot.

  11. The only way this can happen is if when in a life or death confrontation you do not have the capacity to pull the trigger. This should be thought about, long and hard, before getting involved in a firearm for protection situation.

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