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I often hear good legal advice about armed, non-lethal responses when faced by a lethal threat to yourself or others. Some of these options include displaying your firearm prior to firing, or yelling “Stop or I will shoot!” or something similar prior to shooting. You could fire a warning shot or even a wounding shot — as some people advise — rather than aiming for center mass.

I’ve read this advice in literature written by quality instructors, and I’ve been in reputable classes, primarily aimed at civilians, that taught many of these tactics. Quite a few courses teach their students to create distance while verbally warning their attacker and drawing and firing their weapon. I’ve heard it myself in introductory concealed carry permit courses.

When I think about those tactics, they seem like good, sound legal advice that may help keep you out of jail, and may even keep you from firing upon a threat that was perceived, but not real. But I reject those tactics.

I have tried them, and after having tried them repeatedly, with coaching, I have completely removed them from my training.

Instead, I focus all of my time on:

1. Accurately identifying a threat, and

2. Immediately aggressing on that threat, then

3. Reassessing the threat

Yes, I realize there is a whole lot that goes into those three things. I’m not mentioning how to positively ID a threat, moving to cover, or appropriate marksmanship, but it’s all in there.

What’s not in there is all of the other non-lethal tactics mentioned above. Most people assume that’s because much of my weapons training and weapons use has been in a combat environment in the military. But that’s not why.

I’m just not good enough to perform those tactics under stress. Attempting to perform those kinds of non-lethal responses when faced with a lethal threat has made me less effective in stopping those threats, and much more likely to injure other non-threatening individuals. Or allow them to be injured.

While in the US Army, I received some assignments that allowed me to spend a good amount of time in quality, scenario-based firearms training with an untrained civilian population. This included simulated force-on-force training with lots of great instructors watching and recording my movements.

What I learned is that shooting while I move and verbally communicating at the same time is incredibly difficult. Think it’s easy? You’ve been watching too many movies.

firearms training range

Go out and do it. Repeatedly attempt rapid strikes on a six inch target while you’re moving and yelling at that target. Master that and then get a little more realistic and have that target move, too.

Now get real and have that target move while shooting at closer targets, while you are moving, shooting, and yelling appropriate, comprehensible commands at the target. Now make it so they get to shoot first.

Success? Not very likely. The very best shooters in the world have difficulty with this task, and they train constantly. Not that they can’t do it, but it’s incredibly difficult. Think Olympic athlete difficult.

Why is it so hard? It’s not just the fine and gross motor functions necessary for those tasks are difficult, though they are. It’s that in reality, I have to actually think while I am doing all of that. I have to really think fast to identify a target. That takes both smarts and time.

I have to identify appropriate cover and choose an appropriate route to that cover, or choose to ignore that cover. And that takes more smarts and more time. The actual weapons manipulation takes just a little smarts, and eats up a little more time. Verbal communication — appropriate and comprehensible verbal communication — takes a lot of smarts and a whole lot of time.

With every option I am presented, my decision time compounds. So do the opportunities for mistakes. With every bit of time that ticks away, my opponent has time to aggress on me or other targets. And in my experience, especially in the civilian world where the target has probably already presented a threat and attacked prior to me drawing my weapon, I just don’t have that kind of smarts or that kind of time.

So the smartest, safest thing for myself and for all of those non-threatening actors around me is to remove as many tasks and options I can, allowing me to perform the truly mission-essential task of stopping the threat and minimizing any risk to others and myself.

The first thing out of the window is talking. Effective verbal communication takes up a whole lot of brain time. But most people teaching these methods train people to give a simple statement as part of their draw procedure. Something like “Stop, or I will shoot” or “Stop, I don’t want to shoot you.”

But simply saying that, no matter what, as something I drill, is not effective communication. It’s just something I would say to provide me with an affirmative defense in court. And that only works if it’s 1) understood at all, 2) understood in context, and 3) understood in context by the person I want to understand it.

For instance, if I were to yell, “Stop, I don’t want to shoot you” and a victim stops running and is shot by the attacker because they didn’t identify my role accurately and feared I would shoot them, that’s not likely going to be an effective affirmative defense. In fact, just the opposite. By not effectively communicating, I can make a bad situation worse. Doing it right takes real brain power, and real time, right when I don’t have it.

The next big set of non-lethal techniques to take out of my training regimen is any shot that’s not intended to stop the target. In other words, I focus on one thing — the threat — and do my best to only shoot that threat.


firearms training shooting range indoor

I have to be mindful and aware of my target, as well as what’s in front of and behind my target. Bullets travel in one direction — a straight line — and (eventually) arcing downward. No shot is a warning shot to whatever my bullet strikes, and I will strike something. So that becomes my new target. Warning shots effectively force me to engage multiple targets, even if I only have one threat. And again, that eats up smarts and time, right when I don’t have it.

Other than the fact that I am just not good enough to actually do it, there are also significant tactical disadvantages to verbally responding in a threatening manner, or displaying my weapon, or attempting warning or wounding shots. The simplest is that it gives the attacker(s) time to adjust to a new target. That one is obvious. But the biggest reason that these non-lethal techniques are tactical mistakes is that they scare people. And scaring people, even scaring the actual threat, is bad.

I am not there to scare the threat. I am there to stop the threat. Logical, rational people are fairly predictable. Frightened people are not. If I am to engage a lethal threat, I would prefer that lethal threat not know I am there at all. I have a lot more control of the situation that way, since the threat is probably not reacting to me. But if my threat knows I am there, it’s far safer for everyone that I am not recognized as a threat to him.

Maybe displaying my firearm frightens the threat and they run away. But maybe it frightens the threat and they become even more aggressive. Maybe it frightens someone else and they attempt something that gets them injured or killed by the aggressor. Maybe it frightens someone else and they attack me. That’s way too many variables for me to introduce and then have to account for. And it’s not what I am there for. I am not there to frighten anyone. I am there to stop the threat.

Finally, many people think I’m being bloodthirsty because my first motion after presenting the weapon and getting off the line of attack is to immediately aggress. That is, to move forward and to keep moving toward the threat until the gun stops firing, even if I am making contact shots. But that tactic isn’t based on anger or the desire to really kill the hell out of them, or something equally childish. It’s actually a lot simpler than that.

Like most people, I find it much easier to hit a target that’s closer than farther away. In fact, at contact distance, I almost never miss my target. The fact that I am more likely to hit my target means that I’m far less likely to strike something that’s not my target. And that makes me — and anyone else around me — much safer.

Where I am willing to spend my time and my smarts is on that initial threat identification and assessment. I have been, and will continue to be, willing to take whatever time it takes — even if that puts me at greater risk — to accurately identify the threat.

shooting range training target practice pistol outdoors

But after a threat is identified, once I begin to bring my weapon to bear against the threat, the weapon will fire. Once a deadly threat is identified, the engagement of that threat with my weapon is inevitable. Then I will spend whatever time and smarts it takes to reassess the situation.

This is how I train, without all of the other non-lethal, but probably very legally helpful, techniques and tactics. I train that way, and have performed that way under stress in real combat, because it’s what I have found I can do to actually stop a threat and reduce the likelihood of injuries to others.

Since I have told you what I am unable to do and the few things I can do, understand that I engage in regular firearms training, probably a lot more than most people. I take at least one (and often more) professional course per year. I have access to several law enforcement and military ranges in Texas. but I have my own range and my own targets at home out to about 800 yards.

I reload my own rounds and I have more than a couple decent guns. I shoot, on average about 400 rounds per week, all guns combined. I dry-fire train every day. I have access to good coaches and I use them. I have years of military experience, including some shooting schools, and multiple combat deployments. Those few things I can do, I can do acceptably well. But only those few things.

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    • If you shoot someone to wound them – you will get arrested right away. Even in a self defense situation.

      P.S. Biden is a moron, detached from reality, detached from the common man, living in a hunger games district 1 pink hair bubble, and hasn’t had a real job in 50 years! That’s right. He has been in government for 50 years! An entire lifetime. That is the quintessential example of a political swamp infection that needs draining. He literally had a private job 50 years ago and is not qualified for any questions regarding “economy.” The entire time in government – what has he done? Other than continually do what it takes to get re-elected and to enrich his own family by means of putting up US foreign policy for sale, in exchange for bribes directed towards his coke sniffing son?

      • There is an Old Saying:

        “Dead Men Can Tell No Tales” ! They also cannot Get Even!

        In my opinion, It is Better to “Shoot to Kill” and Answer Questions Later!

        • No, you don’t “shoot to kill!”, you shoot to hit your target so he/she stops the aggressive moves they were making.
          You do not shoot to maim someone, you shoot to stop them from hurting you or yours.
          It is hard enough to hit something that is moving, your target is not going to sit still so you can aim for their leg. Hitting in the lower extremities can cause death, can also cause permanent lifelong pain and damage – crippling them so they can not earn a living even after rehabilitation.
          This is just BS, if you are trying to stop a threat, you need to hit them. Most hits will stop a person, so you have to hit them. All shots can cause bad damage, we have to think before taking the shot, so just be sure that taking that shot is for the best.

        • Contrary to Hollywood, most people do not die when shot. The chances of death may increase dramatically.

        • Recall if you will, the opening scenes from “Romancing the Stone”…

          After killing the Bad Guy the hero sees riders on the hilltop –

          “…the man who killed my father, raped and murdered my sister, burned my ranch, shot my dog, and stole my Bible! But if there was one law of the west: Bastards had brothers, who seemed to ride forever.”

          Taking care of the threat does not eliminate every threat. That’s why people form gangs.

        • Cliff, the opening of Romancing the Stone is one of my favorites! Especially where Jesse fires three times and the camera shows three riderless horses.

        • My favorite scene is that badazz bronco jumping the creek. “Lupe’s Escape”

          I still want a late 60’s bronco.

      • Not unless you would have been arrested anyway.

        There is zero legal distinction between shooting ‘to wound’ or shooting center-mass. You are employing deadly force. If you shoot the gun out of someone’s hand, you are in no more legal trouble than if you headshot them. But there is nothing that says you can’t shoot someone in the leg, arm, etc. You just must have been justified to use deadly force (because that’s what it counts as!).

        The reason one should generally not shoot to wound is just that reason- there is no legal distinction between it and deadly force. But one is less effective than the other. So why would you make a less effective shot (say, to the leg) that is just as legally perilous as a more effective center-mass aimpoint?

        Generally you wouldn’t. There have been some exceptions, though… including one excellent sniper shot I remember by a police marksman against a man threatening people with a handgun. Blew it right out of his hand.

    • Today I heard a guy refer to Trump as President Bone Spurs.

      But – did you know – Biden received a deferment 5 times as a student followed by a medical exemption for Asthma (from when he was a child). Yep – that’s right. High school life guard and football player “Biden” got a medical exemption for his childhood asthma.

      Guess it’s only fair I refer to him as “Chest phlegm Biden.” If elected – President Chest Phlegm.

      • yup, both draft dodgers.

        The last commander in chief that was willing to actually risk his ass in combat was Bush Sr.

        • W flew a century series interceptor (F102), not exactly danger free. Accident rates for all the century series would be totally unacceptable today.

        • “Accident rates for all the century series would be totally unacceptable today.”

          I bet WW2 fatal accident rates were even higher.

          One statistic I came across claimed over 30 percent of WW2 aircraft production never made it out of the US. Training and ferry losses were that high…

        • To give you an idea how expansive and empty parts of this great country are, they found a crashed bomber from the 40’s in the desert here a dozen or so years ago. It was being ferried.
          Remains were finally recovered.

      • I would doubt it. The amount of blood work they do on people like this, and how often they do it, they’ll see any problems and head them off before they become a problem.

        Hospital borne infection is always my concern. Except when I was in the hospital because at that point I was too fucked up to care if I even survived, nevermind got sick.

        • no kiddin’. my childhood pal successfully received the pig valve; aceneto bacter took him out before he left the horsepistol.

    • No, this is a repost of an article that was written quite a few years ago. The scopolamine in me means I can’t even read it well.

      • Hopefully the article made more sense when it was written than it does today.

        In general I agree with most of what you are preaching, but I shudder at the complete nonsense that you refer to as “good legal advice.” Even though you reject that advice, simply calling it good legal advice (or even legal) is totally wrong.

        I cannot think of anywhere in the US where a warning shot is legal. The very fact that you thought you had time and space to fire a warning shot is proof that you did not believe you were in imminent danger.

  1. I have been to the mountain…

    Kudos and thanks for a clear, precise, and well thought out “rules of engagement”.
    I no longer have to feel shamed for thinking the same.
    (And yes, I have been shamed by others in the POTG demographic.)
    I stopped trying to convince others of this same reasoning a while back.
    Now when an instructor, a peer, or other POTG waxes eloquently about why everyone should act/react in such a convoluted, time consuming, less efficient way, I smile and just let it pass thru.

  2. JWT,

    Thanks for this; have read it twice. I run scenarios in my head everyday about just such matters. Example, an Antifa crowd threatening my home and family because we had a Trump sign. I keep coming to the same conclusion; if I have to raise/draw my weapon, the time for conversation is over. The complexity is determining when the real threat to life and property begins.

  3. My one problem with law enforcement (in general, not pointing to any particular instance) is they don’t seem to reassess. One cop screams “gun”, and fifteen cops do a mag dump. There is no measured response.

    I watch Youtube videos from time to time, and yes, I watch some police shootings. You can find exemplary examples of cops forced to shoot, who fire once or twice, and pause to assess the situation. But, those examples are far too rare. The more common situation involves a mag dump.

    Bonny and Clyde style executions are cool in a movie, but FFS, a peace officer’s goal should be that EVERYONE lives to see tomorrow’s sunrise. Yeah, that includes the suspect, guys.

    • “…but FFS, a peace officer’s goal should be that EVERYONE lives to see tomorrow’s sunrise…”

      This won’t be a philosophy class in the field. If deadly force is legitimately called for, then do what needs to be done. The “goal” is to stop the threat. In the moment nobody got time for waxing poetic on “sunrise”.

      • Sorry, that’s a rather flippant response. The suspect shows a weapon, and you decide you need to fire on him – that’s understandable. Suspect is apparently hit once, twice, three times, and falls to the ground. His weapon may or may not go skittering across the pavement. You continue to shoot – why? Because you lack discipline? Because you lack courage?

        Dude, that shooting has just turned into a manslaughter if you continue shooting. Or worse. If you cannot reassess the situation as it develops, maybe you shouldn’t be wearing a uniform at all.

    • Yes. This is a problem and is indicative of a significant lack of practical training like that of simunitions.

      But training is expensive in many ways. Most urban departments (where firearms training is lowest to begin with) are throwing overtime limits out the window because they can’t get enough warm bodies to fill manpower quotas. Cops in Chicago are working 6 days a week, 12 hour shifts, sometimes more. There’s no time for training. And if there was, there’s no money for it. “Defund the police” because that’ll get you better police.

  4. I’m ONLY shooting to stop a threat to life. Shooting in the leg doesn’t stop the threat, it just pisses them off. When I worked in a prison it was stressed that I shoot to stop the threat. The answer to many questions afterwards will be an unwavering “I aimed to stop the threat.” NEVER another answer. Where did I aim? “I aimed to stop the threat!”

  5. Excellent article! It doesn’t line up 100% with the training I’ve received, but every choice you make is factually supported and logically reasoned – and that’s what really matters.

  6. Remember, 47 years in the federal government made crazy, creepy Joe knowable about shooting a double barrel shotgun either thru a door or shooting into the air.

      • Slow Joe’s entire life has been a complete waste, it’s a wonder that he has survived this long without walking off the side of a cliff as he has always been braindead even before his more recent showing ..

  7. I recently attended a concealed carry law class conducted by an attorney who specializes in firearms law, and nothing he said would counter anything in this article. He made it pretty clear that if your assessment in step 1 led to the conclusion that you were being confronted with an imminent lethal threat, you don’t mess around. Stay gray as long as you can, and leave the situation if you can, but firearms are not negotiating tools. This is in the context of a civilian who finds himself in a self-defense situation, whose primary goal is to make it safely home to his family at the end of the day.

    Now, the 1% of me that is the cynic, says of course he’s gonna tell us to shoot. His income has more potential upside if we shoot. But the flip side of that is, at least I’ll be more likely to be alive to get a bill from him, instead of my wife getting one from the undertaker.

  8. Verbal communication — appropriate and comprehensible verbal communication — takes a lot of smarts and a whole lot of time.

    What no one ever mentions is that the same is true for your intended listener.

    In my experience the listener often takes upwards of five seconds — that’s right FIVE SECONDS — to process and react to what you commanded them. That result is so utterly dependable and consistent that I decided years ago that I will simply go “hands on” when someone is approaching danger rather than yelling warnings/commands at them.

    The very same would apply to an attacker. An attacker may truly be bluffing — having ZERO intention of actually harming you and hoping that you comply with their demands. Nevertheless, it will almost always take that attacker more than five seconds to understand your verbal rebuke and begin breaking-off his/her attack. While that would be a good outcome, the problem is that you have no way of knowing if your attacker is only bluffing and will respond to your verbal rebuke. Committing yourself to waiting five or more seconds to see if your attacker will respect your verbal rebuke could easily lead to your demise. I am not willing to gamble with those five or more seconds to see whether or not my attacker is serious.

    Having said all that, yelling verbal commands could garner the attention of bystanders/witnesses who could potentially assist you — both in the moment as well as later in court.

    As we all know, there are no guarantees in life. There are risks and benefits in all strategies. Choose wisely.

  9. Trying to hit a small spot on the body, and a likely moving body at that, is about as ignorant and ill advised as “…if there’s ever a problem, just go out on the balcony and fire off two blasts…”.

    Highly trained and experienced special forces warriors will have a damned difficult time picking a spot to place a wound in an attacker. No way in hell anyone other than a movie or TV action hero will be able to pull that shot off, and it will take the special effects team to make it look good in post-production.

    Real world, aim for center mass of an attacker who has you in fear for your life or the life of another you are trying to save. Fire to stop the threat and then stop shooting. That’s the best you can hope for.

    And for goodness sakes buy yourself a balcony and a double barrel shotgun and a place with acres and acres of woods to absorb the rain of pellets. Write it off on your taxes as advice from the former Veep.

    Oh, and hire a good lawyer, you will need one following that balcony advice.

    Never Trump 2020

    • I see the Trump’s thugs were out attacking Jews in NYC yesterday. Oh wait a minute, those were Biden voters. If you aren’t voting Trump then you are voting Nazi.

      • Even more disturbing sending NYPD to the homes of Orthodox Jews!

        As if throwing rocks at Jews wasn’t enough.

        I am currently watching on Amazon the Nazi Death Squads: Einsatzgruppen.

        What happened to Never Again?

        • Most of the Ultra Orthodox and Hasidic Jews won’t fight back. They are probably better Christians in that sense than I am. The Jews inclined toward “Never Again” are from Russia and live in Brighton Beach but their “business interests” take precedents. In the days of Ben Siegel and Dutch Scultz some of these Antifa thugs would end up in the East River.

          There was this old Jewish gangster in my neighborhood in Chicago who used revel in telling us high school kids about the good old days. Among the things they did was beat up in Nazis the Columbus Park and after the Molotov-Ribbebtrop Pact got signed turned their wrath on Jewish communists who stayed loyal to the Party.

    • “…if there’s ever a problem, just go out on the balcony and fire off two blasts…”.

      Always thought it curious Joe thinks everyone lives in a house that includes a balcony.

      Guess I just don’t run in the right (vs. left) circles.

        • “I have a balcony inside my house.”

          That’s cool.

          Can you shoot off a coupla shotgun rounds to scare away home invaders, without collateral damage to the dwelling?

        • “…I do set up my iTarget near the door and take shots down into the entrance way.”

          Asking for a friend….

          Have you positioned yourself st the doorway to see how difficult it would be for an invader on the move to hit you if you are defending from the balcony? Tried the iTarget sitting on the balcony?

        • “No, but that’s a good idea. Will try that tonight.”

          Our house is all angles and ragged sight lines. The Colonel and I played hide and seek with a laser pointer to figure out the best defense positions, and the viewpoint of an intruder. Our longest “shot” is 31ft, and it fortunately allows hiding from view until an intruder passes a blind corner. Where we went off the rails was the budget restriction on how much we spend on guns and ammo. We have one pistol, and it is .22LR. With the range fees, and the ammo purchases, there is not enough left over to purchase a second firearm and be able to become proficient. Fixed incomes can be an adventure in prioritizing. I am a steady “lookey lou” at a local pawn shop.

        • “Ran the test. I better hit with the first shot if he is any good.”

          Maybe establish a defensive position, and funnel the invaders into a zone you control?

  10. Joe is on to something here.

    Shoot them in the Divk. Anything in the groin.

    Center of mass just drop point of aim.

    Come on, man……buy a shotgun

  11. I agree with the authors points.

    Having said that, I am reluctant to condone NEVER CHALLENGING VERBALLY or ALWAYS SHOOTING if you are legally justified to use deadly force.

    Attackers who were 1000% committed to maiming/murdering you may very well break-off their attack immediately at your verbal challenge. (The odds are low but who knows?) Similarly, attackers who were 1000% committed to maiming/murdering you may very well break off their attack when they see you commence drawing/presenting a firearm. In both cases you are able to stop your attacker without shooting.

    Since the goal of self-defense is stopping the threat, any strategy which may stop the threat and reduce your legal risk is a good strategy — as long as those strategies do not increase your risk of serious injury/death (which was the point of the author’s article). I believe that most people are capable of simply yelling “STOP!” while drawing/presenting a firearm without increasing any risk to themselves. Thus, if there is no downside and only an upside, why not try it?

    • Clarification:

      I agree with the author that attempting to engage in dialogue with an attacker (versus simply yelling, “STOP!”) has more downside than upside.

    • “Similarly, attackers who were 1000% committed to maiming/murdering you may very well break off their attack…”

      Operative, and too risky, word is “may”.

      If you are faced with a threat that gives you time to call out, and allow both attacker and victim to reassess, I would argue one is not faced with imminent lethal threat justifying the use of a firearm at all.

  12. I wrote this years ago, and because of the drugs I’m on from my kidney thing, I can’t read it or the comments very well. I’ll text to type this.
    From the first time I wrote it, I remember people missed a big part of the whole point.
    I will take whatever time it takes to determine if there is a lethal threat. This is an acceptable risk.
    That’s the most important part.

  13. My last class the instructor suggested a command voice shouted “BACKOFF!” I think this is excellent since it is short and unambigous and says to the bad guy and any potential witnesses that you don’t intend to allow them to continue. If they break off and exit stage left you save the cost of a few bullets and dealing with your insurance guys, though you should invest in a phone call to 911 since Mr. Bad Guy will likely move on to another target.

    • Assuming Mr. BG speakie english, of course. 😉 Not a wise assumption these days depending on what part of the country you call home.

  14. “….Finally, many people think I’m being bloodthirsty because my first motion after presenting the weapon and getting off the line of attack is to immediately aggress. That is, to move forward and to keep moving toward the threat until the gun stops firing…”

    I generally agree with most of the article, but have to question this a little. I can come up with a couple of ‘for instance’ situations where moving toward a attacker is not good in the eyes of a prosecutor and jury.

    Yes, end the threat! Win the fight! I’m just thinking about the fight after the fight in a courtroom is all. I think the article is well written. Hope the author is recovering well.

  15. Aiming for legs almost guarantees a miss. This is followed by the slug taking a hop off of the pavement and hitting some bystander in the gut or head. This means: a huge lawsuit for the city-county state, a serious “aw sh!t” for the police officer, topped off with a bad guy who gets away or even worse a bad guy that disregards Biden’s head/sigmoid advice and aims for A zones.
    The idiocy, the sheer idiocy of Biden’s comments are a sign of profound ignorance.

  16. Shooting for a small target (knee) and expecting a hit to wound is a rather dumb, uneducated and inexperienced response or action.
    Aim for center of mass, shoulder height center , aim to hit and sever the spine.

  17. It’s probably just me, but when I see “Wound” in a story regarding an injury, I flash back to the phrase, “Martly wounded”, as in “Maryly wownded”. Good ol’ Brother Dave.

  18. I think too many people are watching too many zombie movies, where the undead advance slowly staggering to the victim in 30 seconds or so. I know real people who can close a distance of more than 10 feet and make 4 lethal knife moves inside of 1 second. Many shooters can also empty a mag on target in the same time span. We can’t assume our attackers are as slow as zombies. Once we identify a deadly threat, our lives may not allow time for dialog or pinpoint nonlethal shots.

  19. “But after a threat is identified, once I begin to bring my weapon to bear against the threat, the weapon will fire. Once a deadly threat is identified, the engagement of that threat with my weapon is inevitable. Then I will spend whatever time and smarts it takes to reassess the situation…”

    This is such a ridiculous attitude.

    The guy sees you pulling a gun and drops his (maybe because he knows his isn’t loaded, real, etc). Now since your weapon “WILL FIRE” you just shot an unarmed man. I don’t care how much you rant at the jury about how many dry-fires you do a week, you’re screwed.

    This is not academic! I have been in this precise scenario where someone decided to throw down his gun the split second between my handgun clearing leather and when I had brought it to aim. No, I did not shoot him. Because I’m not some tactifool that thinks a gun is a samurai sword that must draw blood when drawn in anger.

    “Finally, many people think I’m being bloodthirsty because my first motion after presenting the weapon and getting off the line of attack is to immediately aggress. That is, to move forward and to keep moving toward the threat until the gun stops firing, even if I am making contact shots…”

    You can regale all the other prisoners about how high-speed and low-drag you are.

    • According to a representative of the DA at our self-defense course, if you remove a firearm from a holster, pocket or waistband, you are guilty of menacing, brandishing, reckless endangerment, and maybe even terrorism….unless you are facing an imminent lethal threat. essentially, according the th DA rep, if you “clear leather”, you are committed to fire, else you are using deadly force in a situation that does not warrant deadly force in defense.

      As noted earlier, taking time to back away and issue commands may not, in your jurisdiction, place you in a position of imminent lethal threat. Directly on point to your supposition that an attacker may disengage while you draw your pistol, the OODA loop takes time, and the action of disengagement may not be recognizable on the part of the defender. Masood has given much trial testimony about action/reaction regarding attackers supposedly shot in the back, and presumed to be disengaging.

    • Hannibal, I find the situation you have described yourself in incredibly, even fantastically unlikely.
      Someone was actively trying to kill you with a firearm, but instead of continuing to shoot you, the very moment you attempted to produce a firearm they stopped trying to kill you and threw down their firearm? Moreover, during your split second draw while someone was actively trying to kill you, you were able to recognize they were no longer a threat and then reholster your firearm?
      Again, I’m not saying that didn’t happen, but I have certainly never seen that happen, or ever heard of it somewhere else.
      What I do often hear of is people drawing a firearm prior to ensuring there is an active threat. That’s not something I’m willing to do. Perhaps you have.

  20. all i can add to this as a retired gunsmith and a combat vet is if you shootme you better kill me or once im out of the hospital im coming for you!
    if you need to shoot, you shoot to kill.
    as to the cops and mag dumps i have a huge problem with the technique. 5 cops draw down on some suspected criminal, the bad guy moves and someone screams gun. 5 cops dump 17 rounds each at the guy. when the coroner leaves there are 5 holes in the guy, where are the other 80 rounds in that busy urban or suburban strip mall, parking lot or housing development ?

  21. Amazing how some people are willing to waste so much of their short life absolutely consumed with Firearms training and the idea of shooting someone else. I mean, the author of this piece sounds like he spends most of his waking hours planning, scheming, calculating and dreaming about putting a few caps in someone’s ass. I consider it a serious personality defect and symptomatic of essentially a brain dead idiot.

    • “I consider it a serious personality defect and symptomatic of essentially a brain dead idiot.”

      Agree. A person of the proper lifestyle, values and world view is immune to deadly attacks. Good people don’t need guns because, well, they are good people.

  22. Generally speaking in the REAL world for those not pinned to a badge after being sprinkled with the magic fairy dust of .GOV authority you are generally not legally justified in drawing your handgun unless you can also legally justify USING said handgun. In the real world the bad guy shouldn’t even know you have a gun till a second or less before it goes BANG. If he manages to see, identify that you have a handgun and RUN AWAY before it goes BANG that’s fine. But you don’t pull it to use it as a threat. If you can’t justify shooting someone you can’t justify pointing a gun at them or threatening them with deadly force. And in the real world what to you legally AFTER the fact is FAR more dependent on the agendas and political ideology of the police and prosecutors involved afterwards than on the actual facts. Plan….and if possible by insurance……accordingly.

    • “And in the real world what to you legally AFTER the fact is FAR more dependent on the agendas and political ideology of the police and prosecutors involved afterwards than on the actual facts.”

      The cops and prosecutors and put you through the ride, but the result is totally dependent upon a jury comprised of people who think no one “needs” a gun, or that “a reasonable person” (themselves) would stop being an attacker if they were just slightly wounded by a single bullet.

  23. Too many movies? Perhaps, but allow me to recommend ‘To Live and Die in L.A.’, especially the final arrest scene. The take away? just because you achieve a solid kill shot that doesn’t necessarily mean Mr I Hate America is going to pass away in a timely (enough) fashion.


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