Self-Defense Tip: Never Say the Words “Warning Shot”


“Kay Ward recalls waking up late Saturday night to the sound of a bang at her bedroom window,” reports. “When she glanced out she saw the nearby fence shaking. ‘They were trying to break in. They were trying to break in,’ she said. ‘I was terrified. I was literally shaking like a leaf.’ Husband Terry Nye said he saw someone’s head so he reached for his gun and went out the back door. ‘I could see men through the fence and I told them they needed to leave my property and leave me alone,’ he said. He then fired a shot into the ground to scare them away . . .

A neighbor heard it and called police. Nye said he chased the men around his side gate and was out front to greet police.

But soon he was handcuffed and hauled off to jail. Police charged him with discharging his weapon in a metropolitan area.

These are the words you need to know and say: “I was in fear for my life. I wish to speak to my attorney. I do not agree to any search.” Never, never, ever allow the words “warning shot” to pass your lips. “I was in fear for my life. I wish to speak to my attorney. I do not agree to any search.”

And then STFU. As much as this website loves successful DGU stories, do NOT talk to the media. Anything you say can and will be used against you in court of law.


  1. avatar JS III says:

    Yep I tell my wife all the time , no warning shots, no shoot to wound. I was in fear for my life, I want to talk to my lawyer and stfu.

  2. avatar Aharon says:

    Thank you Bruce.

  3. avatar Chas says:

    Anyone who thinks warning shots are a good idea needs to turn the TV off.

  4. avatar Jason says:

    Amen. As one instructor told me, “The warning shot goes right between the eyes.”

  5. avatar Hawke says:

    I tell my wife “Squeeze the trigger till it clicks, then reach for the next weapon, then reassess the situation.”

    1. avatar bpante says:

      Same here Empty the gun

  6. avatar SD3 says:

    Lesson: “Missing” the first shot in defense of your life isn’t a crime. Making a deliberate “warning shot”, is.

    1. avatar HAVE GUN says:

      “Lesson: “Missing” the first shot in defense of your life isn’t a crime. Making a deliberate “warning shot”, is.”

      Yup, says it all.

  7. avatar JeffTheJeff says:

    Add to your list – do not EVER go outside of your home to speak to police. Do not invite them inside, but speak to them from inside your house with your door partially open. Don’t hang out the door, don’t put your hands outside your door, don’t rest your foot on the door frame.

    Why? They need a warrant to arrest you in your home (or some must justify the arrest with some other exceptions that do not apply here). They can arrest you just on probable cause when you’re outside.

    1. avatar Bob says:

      Good advice, however, I know of one case where someone was talking thru a partially open door and the cops put their foot in it and soon entered the house.

    2. avatar UnsubNiagara says:

      JeffJeff- you really should know what you are talking about before giving legal advice.
      You are wrong on almost everything you said.

  8. avatar Sanchanim says:

    Ok wait this is Texas right? I mean I thought it was ok to shoot a robber in the back if he had your stuff? Or somebody else’s stuff. So for a warning shot he goes to jail and probably looses his right to have firearms, nice…
    I agree if you are going to shoot your weapon make sure they are dead, and say the few things and stay in your house.
    Now if you allow them to come inside to talk can they arrest you?

    1. avatar Bob says:

      The law seems to say that, but it hasn’t been tested in court and you still have to convice a jury that it was justified to shoot a theif in the back no matter what the law says. I don’t think anyone will get protection from Texas law for that.

  9. avatar GS650G says:

    And the criminals will return as soon as he is locked up, count on it.

  10. avatar Totenglocke says:

    I love how our moronic police and “justice” system actually WANT you to kill people. Trying to do what you can to avoid killing while defending yourself is bad, you either kill them so there’s no witness to testify against you or your let them rape / murder you.

    Seriously people, we need to start voting in better politicians / judges / sheriffs.

  11. avatar Skyler says:

    The lesson to learn here is that you must have a reasonable fear of being in danger. Someone fiddling with your gate does not put you in danger to most reasonable juries.

    I think he has a weak case. There’s a responsibility to using firearms and that responsibility includes not shooting a firearm unless you have a reasonable fear for your safety.

    Clearly the police didn’t think his fear was reasonable. He now has to convince a jury and that will cost him a lot of money. From a distance, I’d say he has a tough row to hoe.

    1. avatar Michael says:


  12. avatar Joe Burge says:

    Printed on wallet card:
    Dear Officer: If I have given this to you, I have unfortunately had to do what was necessary to defend innocent life. I
    am willing to sign a criminal complaint against the perpetrators(s). I will point out witnesses and evidence.
    As you may have experienced yourself, this is a stressful and traumatic experience for me. Therefore, I wish to
    make no further statements until I have contacted an attorney and composed myself. I also do not consent to any
    searches. I will cooperate fully once I have consulted with an attorney and calmed down. As a lawfully armed
    citizen, I ask for the same courtesy that you would show a fellow officer who was involved in a similar situation.

  13. avatar C. L. says:

    1) A “warning shot” is irresponsible use of a firearm. Fired into the air the bullet will travel an unknown distance & strike unknown object(s). A .22 rimfire aimed up @ a 45 degree angle cant ravel 1 1/2 miles & strike with lethall force. If the “warning” is fired into the ground it can richochet & go any direction, striking unintended object(s). Warning shots are violation of any legimate law enforcement training.

    2) By law, if you have been involved in a life threatning situation you are not required to submit an official statement until you have had 2 uninterrupted 8 hour sleep times. your statement to law enforcement officers should be ” I will co-operate with your investigation, At this time I will submit a verbal statement, this statement is not final. After I have had 8 hours of restful sleep I will submit a rough draft written statement. Following a second 8 hour restful sleep period I will then, & only then, submit a full and official statement. If this is not acceptable I have nothing to say until I have conferred with my attorny. Or words to this affect.
    If the cops dont get it, ,they need more & proper training (this information is included in most POST training programs for law enforcement officers). If you find a lawyer that doesn’t get it, get a new lawyer.

  14. avatar 3D says:

    When a person says they wish to speak to their attorney, police interrogation is supposed to end. It won’t. They will press on with a variety of statements like, “who is your attorney” or “you need to call your attorney now.” Your response should be “when and if my attorney has anything to ask of you or say to you he will do so at his convenience, not yours.”

  15. avatar mikeb302000 says:

    Instead of counseling hidden criminals how to get away with their criminal behavior, why don’t you counsel them not to fire the god damned warning shot?

    You must be a lawyer because lying is one of the tools of the trade. Tell the police you were in fear of your life even if you weren’t. That’s sweet, Bruce.

    Do you guys wonder why I call law-abiding gun owners and criminal gun owners first cousins?

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      1. We do tell people not to fire a warning shot. We constantly remind our readers that they are morally and legally responsible for every round they send downrange.

      2. We also counsel readers not to use lethal force unless it is legally right to do so. And that means they (or innocent others) must be in imminent danger of losing their life or grievous bodily harm. So they should say they were in fear for their life and then STFU.

      1. avatar mikeb302000 says:

        Yes you do. And you also counsel those who deviate from those ideal norms.

        1. avatar Dan says:

          When has Robert ever said anything about it being a good idea to shoot someone who isn’t threatening you, your family, or someone else’s life.

          The reason we say to STFU after a shooting is because the physiological effects of adrenaline will render you incapable of explaining what happened in a coherent way that doesn’t implicate you in a crime you did not commit (as long as it was a good shoot, you didn’t commit a crime).

          LEOs get 24-48 hours to sleep, shower, talk to a lawyer and union rep, and recover from the physiological effects of the adrenaline. They can use that time to sort through their fractured memories an figure out what actually happened during the incident.

          Shutting the Fuck Up after a shooting gives you that time.

          An example that’s pretty famous: 2 police officers respond to a disturbance in an apartment building. On approach, a man begins shooting at them. They return fire and advance on him, ultimately stopping him. The LEO on the right says, Ok, now let’s get the assholes who were throwing beer cans at us from the balconies. They go back, look around and… no beer cans. The LEO had mistaken shell casings being ejected from his partner’s weapon for beer cans.

        2. avatar mikeb302000 says:

          Yes, and the STFU advice also helps you guys when you fuck up with the gun and want to get away with it. After all, the bad guy’s life is not worth as much as yours.

  16. avatar Jake Tallman says:

    Warning shots are a terrible idea. Not only because the bullet has to go somewhere (firing into the ground was a better choice, but a fairly rare one), but because it will actually encourage a hard core criminal. My best friend used to be a gangbanger (He had a nightmare of an upbringing), and we actually ended up discussing the issue of warning shots at one point. He said that it was terrible because it demonstrates to a criminal that you are hesitant to shoot them. And obviously, if they are more willing to kill you than you are to kill them, they win and you die. If you don’t want to shoot them right away, aim your weapon and tell them to get away. If you fire a warning shot, you are showing weakness that they will take full advantage of.

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