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Open Carry (courtesy

In the aftermath of any high-profile shooting, the antis argue that guns sales and possession must be controlled in order to save lives. What you don’t hear in the mainstream media: guns save life. According to . . .

there are at least 55,000 defensive gun uses per year. Mind you, that stat comes from Harvard’s die-hard gun control “researcher” David Hemenway. Other more objective studies place the number of annual DGUs well above one million and as many as 2.5 million.

Either way, civilian gun ownership is a net positive for society: far more lives are saved by guns than are lost because of their use. But let’s steal a page from the antis’ playbook and make this personal. Have you ever used your gun to save/protect a life? If not, do you know anyone who has?

Tell us the story.

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  1. Yes.

    A friend of mine exchanged gunfire with two armed robbers. He was hit and still managed to permanently dispatch both of them. It’s not something he glorifies but he is here today because he was armed.

    It was around that time I also decided to purchase and carry a gun.

  2. Yes my father in about 1964. Some fool was breaking into out garage in the middle of the night. Met the wrong end of my dad’s 12 gauge double barrel. After some dispute the perp run off and received an ass full of bird shot. When the sheriff showed up the next day. He let my father know the guy was from down the road a piece and had showed up at the doctor’s office in our county seat 13 miles away. After some discussion. No reports in those days. No charges were filed on either party. Sort of let by gones be by gones. Never saw that guy around our farm again.

  3. I know a guy who shot an armed robber about 30 years ago. He said that he was in a Hardees, eating with his wife and kid. That’s when a man with a knife walked in and tried to rob the place. He pushed his wife and child under the table and approached the robber with his gun drawn. He told him to drop the knife and to get on the ground. The robber turned around and took a step towards him. He fired one shot from his 357 and dropped the guy. The robber was DOA. The case was sent to a grand jury, but no charges were filed.

  4. Yes. Many years ago, a friend and I were in the city late at night and we, um, had to make a pit stop.As nothing was open nearby, we stopped behind some bushes. A group of 4 – 5 guys approached us from the sidewalk, asking for a light, cigarettes, money. We had finished our “business” by that point and turned to face them. We were both carrying in shoulder holsters and, without saying anything, simultaneously opened our jackets. The gentlemen apparently had urgent appointments elsewhere because they walked away in a hurry. We just went home. No harm, no foul.

    • And according to our opponents on this issue: that wasn’t a defensive gun use, you didn’t even clear leather – let alone shoot them.
      We must never pass up an opportunity to beat the gun bigots over the head with this fact: legal self-defense does not mean anyone needs to get shot.

  5. Oh yeah… My myself, a family friend, and my mother… I was the only one that was able have one that didn’t involve actually shooting someone. My attackers ran when showed a gun.

    Memphis kinda sucks. I’d advise not living there if possible.

  6. Me and only once, but the anti-gun people would claim it doesn’t count since none of the bad guys were shot dead. Displaying the fact that I was well armed persuaded them that there were healthier pursuits that needed their attention.

    • This is what I’ve been telling anti-gun friends. Defensive gun uses don’t need to involve any shots fired, and from what I recall of the studies on the topic a lot of DGUs let everyone walk away unharmed due to the gun being available.

      • “DGUs let everyone walk away unharmed due to the gun being available.”

        As someone wrote here a few days back, even simply notifying the police can be perilous, when your home address is given to your assailant by the very police *you* called to report the non-discharge of your gun.

        *THAT* right there ought to scare the Hell out of anyone…

    • Displayed weapon, not brandishing, no shots fired. The two individuals immediately went from an encircling maneuver on my wife and I to a shared hand an armed single to break off the attack. They immediately switched into a “din-do’nuffin” mode and turned to walk back to their stalking perch in a dark doorway.

      Had many other DGUs with shots fired and targets neutralized; but combat probably doesn’t count.

  7. Yes –
    After an incident on a highway that resulted in the other party getting all road-ragey, a friend of mine had the guy follow him off the highway to a gas station. As my friend started to pump gas, the other guy got a baseball bat out of his truck and charged across the parking lot. My friend drew, and swept him across the face with the attached laser, whereupon the guy dropped the bat, screeched to a halt, and drove across a flower bed in his departure. Witnesses got the license of the truck (stolen, of course). My friend was interviewed on the scene, but no further action.

    There have been a couple other incidents as well, but that’s enough for now.

  8. A close family member defended herself from a group of young men who attacked her on the sidewalk near her house. When police arrived they interviewed her, and the assailants who remained at the site and were able to respond. Based on those descriptions they later apprehended the assailants who had fled. Some months and many petitions later she was able to recover the pistol she had used from police, where it had been defaced with evidence markings (a permanent white paint pen) and not cleaned for long-term storage.

  9. Yes, I had to shoot a man to save my life. I’ve shared this story at TTAG before, but here it is again if you missed it.

    I was really starting from almost zero then, but have learned a great deal since. There have also been a few incidents where I did not have to draw the gun I carry, and so wouldn’t be counted in any such study. But these actually represent the kind of defense situations most of us would ever face. Unreported – The Crime That Didn’t Happen

  10. My cousin’s friend had to draw on a disgruntled ex-employee who had stalked him to a grocery store parking lot. The muscle bound ex-employee and a muscle-bound accomplice approached the victim and stated how they were going to severely beat the victim. The victim drew his concealed handgun, aimed it at one of the men, and told them to leave him alone. The attackers ran away to their car and left the area.

    Unfortunately for the attackers, they grocery store’s video surveillance cameras aimed at the parking lot captured the entire event. The prosecutor exonerated the victim and the attackers are spending a couple years in prison for their assault.

  11. My wife’s elderly client returned home to find his house bring burglarized. As he walked up his driveway the burglars rushed out, got into a car and tried to run him over in his front yard. As they swerved towards him he drew his pistol and fired several shots into the car striking the driver in the face. The burglars ran over bushes in his yard and wildly sped away crashing into a parked car down the street and fled on foot being quickly apprehended by the police. The burglar who was shot in the face survived, but lost an eye. The burglars are both serving long sentences in Florida State Prison.

  12. My wife’s cousin shot and killed a guy who with a couple of other thugs attacked him and his girlfriend. The jury didn’t believe his claim of self defense and he got 90 days for invol manslaughter. Plus a felony and a dishonorable discharge.

    I was involved in a criminal case where a guy claimed self defense during a fight- he shot and killed a known gang member who confronted him empty handed. He claimed self defense and I believed him, but the fact was he left the fight briefly to a point of relative safety and returned with a gun. Not good enough for self defense, and he got 21 years.

    • Yes a person must be very careful, well a civilian anyway, the cops are getting a little trigger happy, can’t say as I blame them. But no, a person has to be very careful

  13. I was flying one of my drones in public- more accurately, I was walking home from the park with it 200 feet directly above my head, which apparently people dislike. I guess.

    One individual got particularly threatening, until he saw the pistol on my hip. Then he suddenly had other places to be.

    I wouldn’t say it saved my life that day, but just the presence of my H&K definitely spared us both some trouble.

  14. Yes, me.

    Back in ’83 a lunatic tried to run a friend and me off the interstate in the middle of the night as we drove from Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, MO to Ft. Knox.

    Apparently he’d never anticipated having an HK-93A3 pointed at him, causing him to depart the scene going probably in excess of 100mph.

    But of course anti-gun cultists tell me:
    * I can’t defend myself with a gun.
    * I haven’t REALLY defended myself with a gun unless somebody DIES.

    I’m pretty sure that we DIDN’T get carjacked and that barring a heart attack, our wouldbe carjacker at most needed a change of underwear and a new engine.

  15. My father, a retired NYPD Deputy Chief Inspector, was in his office building’s elevator when a young man bounced the door back, got on and announced “I’ve got a knife, give me your money”. Dad replied “I’ve got gun, what’s your next move?” When the elevator reached his floor, Dad marched the perp into the office and called the cops to come get him.

  16. Do we limit this to just civilian dgu’s or do we combine civilian and military events? I always felt like I was defending myself.

    • If you didn’t initiate hostilities, I’d say absolutely.
      Where we get into the gray area, is whether we’d consider being there under orders could be defined as “looking for trouble”. In either case, it wasn’t really up to you, was it?

  17. Yes, me last week, I was having breakfast at the house and heard a lady screaming for help she is 80 years old 5’3”, 80 pounds she was being attacked by a pitbull when I got to her she was unconscious in the street the pitbull was completely straddling her was not wearing a collar I kicked it off her it charged me I dumped 9 rounds into it killing it, called an ambulance for her and went back home to a cold breakfast.

  18. It hasn’t happened to me personally but in my city, metropolitan population about 3/4 million, an incident of armed self defense occurs once a year on average. The county attorney’s office is very supportive of self defense. There have been cases where the defender made decisions that left him legally vulnerable but still wasn’t charged. After an attempted armed robbery of a pawn shop that left one robber dead, the assistant county attorney publicly commiserated with the shop owners on their terrifying experience.

  19. Yea. Most important tip if you are involved in a DGU= KEEP YOUR BIG FAT MOUTH SHUT AND GET A LAWYER.

  20. Dad served with the 3d Marine division in the Pacific and was wounded on the island of Guam. He was very reticent about his wartime experiences.
    My uncle was an eyewitness and related this incident:
    It seems three veterans stationed at Pendleton after the War were in a Buick convertible on a road trip in ’48 or ’49. Owner was driving, Dad riding shotgun and my uncle was in the back seat with the provisions.
    Somewhere south of Tijuana, banditos had blocked the road with a pile of rocks. As the car came to a stop, several banditos approached to rob the turistas.
    Dad jumped up and blazed away with his 1911. Uncle says Dad dropped a couple of them, but they didn’t stick around for a body count. Driver hauled ass for the border, and they never went back.

    My Father and my Uncle are now resting at Arlington.
    RIP, gentlemen. And thank you.

  21. During an argument on Farcebook a couple years ago, I talleyed up the people I knew who had used guns to defend themselves. Total was 7.

  22. Yeah i did about 16 years ago.
    Dude followed my girl home from work. She was tending bar at her friends place in tampa fl. She was relaxing on the couch and i was sleeping in the bedroom. She screamed when the sliding glass door shattered. I woke up grabbed my s&w 357 and made my presence known. He was so intent on doing whatever he came to do he didnt notice me until i put the barrel up to the back of his head. He stopped immediately and got on the ground. Cops got there 5 min later. Neighbors called when they heard her scream.

  23. If on duty LE and military counts, I’ve had several

    Just one in a capacity as an armed non police/mil citizen, and no shots had to be fired

  24. Yes, little ole Me. 1984 Lawton,OK. Stationed at Ft.Sill lived off post, about 3 am some nimrod tried breaking into my apt. 2nd floor of a house steps outside and I lived upstairs. As he was trying to pry open the door I opened it an pointed my 1911 at him, he fell backwards over the railing and fall down go boom. Limped off. Then about 1 month later 2 Detectives showed up with the same guy in cuffs. He and his buddies robbed a Curtis Mathis Store. Says he put the stuff in my place. His buddies ditched him. Cop asked if he could look, said go ahead. Told them to story about him trying to break in. He went to jail.

  25. Me in 1992 – Rodney King riots. On the day the riots broke out, by blessed coincidence, I too to work an old Polish FIS pistol my father brought back from WWII. My boss at the time was a fellow historical gun nut and wanted to see it.

    So the Rodney King riots break out and our office on the southwest corner of Manhattan Beach closed early. Driving up Rosecrans on my way to the 405 (San Diego) Fwy in my old Chevy S-10 pickup truck. That’s the point at which Rosecrans leaves the boundaries of Manhattan Beach and crosses into Hawthorne or Crenshaw…it was a pretty dicey neighborhood in those days.

    As I come up to the onramp, I see a small crowd surrounding cars attempting to get on the freeway…pounding on cars, throwing rocks and bricks, and all sorts of fun stuff. A crowd forms around my truck and a guy with a baseball bat approaches the driver side door. I roll down the window. With the pistol in my right hand, I drape my left arm over the window opening and make an obvious move to lay the pistol over my arm…pointed directly at the guy with the bat. I thought I was going to be forced to shoot the guy…and maybe one or two others…to get out of that fix. But Bat Guy sees the gun and immediately backs up with hands up and wide eyes, yelling “let’s be friends!” at the top of his lungs. Someone in the crowd yells “gun” and the crowd scatters. I floor the gas pedal and zip up onto the freeway thanking my guardian angel for getting me the heck out of there in one piece.

    And that’s my defensive gun use story. Was I illegally brandishing my weapon? Probably. Were there better ways to handle the situation? In retrospect, probably. Would I do it again if faced with the same situation? Without a doubt.

    BTW, it would be illegal for me to possess that gun in California today. Which is why I’m so grateful I no longer live there!

    • The gun is probably legal in California today, but not the magazine IF it held more than ten rounds, otherwise that would be legal too. Old stuff like that gets sold all the time; being C&R, it is Roster exempt..

      • 2 of the mags were 12 rounds. I believe that would be the rub in Cali. And a California attorney, an old friend, recently told me the gun itself would be a no-no in that state. Could be he’s right and could be he’s wrong…but, having left the state some time ago, I don’t really have enough skin in the game to find out myself.

    • I know the area, I lived near there for a couple years, I got out right before the riots. I actually purchased my S&W .357 at a South Beach gun store around 1989-90, remains one of my favorites.

  26. My mother, 65 years ago.

    She ran a small diner on the road between Mountain Home, Arkansas, a dry county, and the nearest tavern just across the Missouri border. Lots of locals would take this trip, then stop at the Rock Castle for coffee and a burger on the way home.

    One night, after she had closed and gone home (next door) she heard a pounding on the door and one of the customers who had a crush on her had returned and was demanding that she come out for some fun. With four kids in the house and my father in Chicago she told him in no uncertain terms this wasn’t going to happen and to go away.

    She had a French or Belgian pistol someone had brought back from the war and sold to my father, who had given it to her. I forget what it was called, but looked a lot like a Colt Pocket Pistol and was probably a .380. After several minutes of this nonsense the guy came to the door again and began yanking on the knob trying to pull it open. She put one round through the door, high, and the disturbance ceased, followed by the roar of an engine and lots of gravel being thrown.

    He never returned to the Rock Castle, but she told me that many of her other regulars knew the story and told her that he had admitted to them that he had never been so scared in all of his life!

  27. I’ve known two people:

    1. A WW 1 veteran who stopped a man who was carrying off his neighbor’s TV in the 1970s. He stopped him using his WW1 pistol and dropped the hammer on him when the thief asked him what he thought he was going to do. Fortunately, at least for the thief, his WW1 ammo failed to fire and the police who were across the street eating lunch arrived in time to arrest the thief. (Rotate your ammo folks!)

    2. A friend of my dad’s was walking to his car from the store when he was followed by two young men. One slammed his car door shut while the other demanded money. He shot one in the leg. The unwounded one cleared out of the parking lot in near world record time. The wounded one ran off limping. He waited around for a few minutes, no one came out of the store, he didn’t hear any sirens, so he went home.

  28. Kenny: five sketchy guys show up at his front door at 3am (He lives near Newburgh, NY. A very bad place.) demanding to see a guy who doesn’t live there. When they try to force their way inside, he grabs a shotgun. The sight of it sends them fleeing.

    Amanda: Process server is trying to kick her front door down, screaming obscenities. She comes to the window next to the door, shows him her .357 mag. He goes away.

    Richard: Loading equipment in NYC with Bill. Two men with knives approach and demand money. RW and CI laugh and open their coats to display holstered pistols. Bad guys run.

    Bill (again). Red Hook Brooklyn. Again loading expensive camera equipment into a truck. He sees two guys coming down the block, looking past him Turns to see two other guys coming the other way. Knows something bad is going to happen. Walks to middle of street and pulls his .45 out of his briefcase, just holding it at his side. As one, the guys who are approaching turn and decide the other way is more interesting.

  29. Nope but I have friends and acquaintances who have. Including my son who was stationed in the Sinai(his birthday today). I’ve had my gun at the ready but it turned out to be Jehovah’s Witnesses😜😜😜

  30. Myself: was being stalked by a mountain lion in the northern Catalina mountains of Arizona. Drew my 1911, fired a single shot in its general direction to scare it off, and went on my way with heightened situational awareness.

    My fiancee: a good friend was having trouble with her father, who is mentally ill and has a history of threatening people with firearms. He decided to show up uninvited with intent to kidnap her. There was some advance notice, so my fiancee and two other friends barricaded the driveway with a pickup and set up with ARs, shotguns, and body armor to prevent him from succeeding. He showed up and acted threateningly, but was prevented from entering the home until police arrived and ordered him off the property. Given as there was a marksman on the second floor, the jackass would have been very dead if he had gone for a weapon. I was working a mining job in Arizona when this transpired.

  31. Kind of? My father in the 50s, was a wrestling promoter in Houston. He carried the nights receipts home. Driving North to Humble on US 59 a carload of teens started jacking with him. He got them to pull over and he walked to the driver’s side window and pointed a Webley at the driver and said, “If I ever see you again, I’ll kill you” The teens drove off and he never saw them again. His Webley was one of those that was converted to .45ACP.

  32. August 28th, 2005
    Hurricane Katrina is 12 hours from striking Louisiana…. I’m hurridly packing my most precious possessions in my tiny car prior to joining the tail-end of those able to evacuate. Fortunately, I packed my colt AR15 last, on top of the passenger seat which was otherwise holding several days worth of my finest clothing. I finished saying what I assumed were my finally goodbyes to my home and all possesions too large to fit in a two seat convertible and began to leave the garden district of New Orleans. I was just pulling away when a “gentleman” walks across the intersection, pulling a pistol from his waistband. The initial look on his face told me he didn’t mean to coordinate defense against looters. The look on his face, or rather the look of the back of his head as he ran away after I leveled my AR15 out the car window told me I was right to be a gun owner. One more never-reported, no-shots-fired DGU.

  33. I knew a fellow student in grad school in the ’90s who had previously shot and killed a home intruder with a 12-bore. The incident happened in Sioux Falls, SD.

  34. My mother-in-law: Decades ago she was newly arrived, as one of two teachers in a very small town in her home country. A man tried to break the front door down and it was clear he wasn’t going to stop until he was successful, so she leaned out the side window and fired a shot from her 22 towards the dark figure. The man ran away trailed by a dog. It turns out the dog was wounded in the foot. The town sheriff knew who the perp was and ran him out of town telling him never return. The dog was treated by what passed for a vet and went along with the perp to places unknown.

  35. Me, X 3

    Simplest one, lived in the county, 8pm, doorbell rang, Hispanic male said he had car trouble, I had a gun in my left hand, door partially closed, offered him a cordless phone I had tucked in right pocket, he demanded he come in to use it, I opened the door enough so he could see my gun, he ran to his truck and drove off, the truck seemed to run pretty well. I didn’t see his plates, the lights to illuminate the plates were out.

    Deputy showed up a half hour later (their average response time) they said they’d keep an eye out for the truck. Never heard back from them.

  36. Men, I came home one night to find a guy on top of my X wife, she was making funny noises, I didn’t know if it was rape or what? So I shot her ,,,,,NOT

  37. Guy I knew was drunk and tried pulling a shotgun out of his pickup muzzle first. The trigger caught on something and that was all she wrote. He was always his own worst enemy……..does that count?

  38. Probably 10 years ago I was followed home from school by two guys. One of them was not happy I had history with his girlfriend and she still spoke to me. By the time the boyfriend came through the front door he found a Mossberg 20 ga pointing a slug at his face.

    Once word spread of what happened, both were expelled and later arrested for other crimes within a year. One more zero shots fired, no police, defensive gun use.

  39. Myself, twice that I didn’t even have to draw, once I did but didn’t have to shoot.

    Friends, four I know of; only one actually shot — she popped a round into the ground which was enough to make her assailant decide he didn’t really want to be trying to wrestle her to the ground. One found an intruder halfway through the screen in his front window; he pumped a round into his twelve-gauge and the sound was enough that suddenly the only evidence of the intruder was a ruined screen… and a show caught in it. Another was delivering pizza when a guy with a knife came up and demanded both pizza and money; my friend said something about money and reached into his hip pack where he kept it, but into the back pocket instead and pulled out his 9mm… apparently the guy ddn’t really need the knife, either, as he left it behind.

  40. No, but my Uncle got the crap beat out of him in college in a mugging, and then got robbed at gun point much more recently. He carries whenever he can to avoid repetition.

  41. Yes. Back in the summer of 1992, I was on a double date in my Jeep. It was a nice night, so I had taken the top and doors off. I was driving and my then-girlfriend was in the front passenger seat. My friend and his girlfriend were in the back seat.

    We were driving through what was then the wealthy neighborhood of my small town, when we saw what looked like a homeless guy in an overcoat and watch cap standing on the sidewalk. As we drove by him at 25 mph, he started running, grabbed on to the Jeep and stepped up onto the nerf bars. I saw this out of the corner of my eye, and heard my girlfriend scream.

    I turned my head and saw my friend pointing his Beretta 92 at the guys face. The guy’s eyeballs got as big as softballs and he dropped off my Jeep.

    We later saw the police arrest him. He was both drunk and high. It almost ended very badly for him.

  42. My wife had a DGU when she was a teenager.

    My wife and her family lived out in the country back then. She had a long drive down a two lane US Highway to get home. She was coming home late one night after work on the US highway when she came on a vehicle going at least 20-30 mph less than the 55mph speed limit. When it was clear, she passed the slow moving vehicle.

    However, getting passed must have made the other driver livid because he sped up and was riding the bumper of my wife’s car. The other driver passed her, and she could see it was a man. He got in front of her and tried to brake hard to force her to stop. She was able to drive around him and keep going.

    This happened a couple more times, until she was able to get further away by going very fast, but the guy was still following her.

    My in-laws were not home, but my brother-in-law was. She called him on her old bag phone, told him what was going on, and asked him to meet her outside the house with her dad’s shotgun.

    She pulled up at her house and her brother was waiting outside, with the shotgun and all the outdoor lights on. The other driver slowed down and started to pull in their long driveway. But, when he saw my brother-in-law holding the shotgun, he got out of there very quickly and never came back!

  43. Had an Army buddy who had to go to the crummy part of Phoenix for a doctor’s appointment. As he was sitting in his parked truck, ready to go in, he noticed two individuals coming up behind his truck, one on his passenger’s side, the other on his driver’s side. He pulled out his handgun and both saw it, while promptly getting the hell out of there.


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