Tom Gresham’s new YouTube series—First Person Defender—is usually bang-on when it comes to defensive gun use tips and techniques. In this convenience store simunition simulation, not so much. When the deal finally goes down (5:15), the shooter immediately goes for her gun and pays the [pain] penalty. It’s a completely understandable reaction; Michelle’s in protective clothing with more cameras focused on her than a no-Israeli-supermodel-link-here.The scenario developed within seconds and the shooter crowded her cover and concealment-less space, triggering the fight part of her fight, flight or freeze response. And so Michelle was debriefed and instructed not go for her gun unless it’s a good idea to do so. Hang on. What’s this? The second time out the scenario (12:00) goes wrong again. Not to put too fine a point on it . . .
Why did Michelle shoot the robber in the back? Didn’t the instructor tell her to get out of Dodge if and when the getting’s good?
When the bad guy’s gun was focused on the clerk Michelle should have left, hidden or at least found cover (a problem with running a sim in a semi-sterile environment). Shooting a bad guy when the gun’s faced away from her, when his attention is on the clerk? That was a HUGE no-no.
OK, maybe not a HUGE no-no. Anytime you emerge from a gunfight alive is a win. Only . . . was this a gun fight? It looks like a robbery to me.
If the bad guy had escalated the situation, if he’d beaten the clerk or threatened to shoot, well then. If he’d fired off a shot, sure. If he started herding people into a back room, fine. But in this case he may have just taken the money and left. Which would have been the best possible outcome for all involved.
Also, Michelle seemed awfully relaxed after she shot the bad guy. She immediately tries (struggles) to reholster her gun. What about finding cover to allow for the possibility of bad guy number two or three or four? And I’m still not feeling off-body purse carry, given the difficulty of extracting a weapon and the possibility of losing control of the gun (i.e. losing it).
The most important lesson an armed self-defender should I glean from this sim: wait! When the adrenalin’s flowing in the real world, you have a lot more time than you think you have to weigh your options. Which is just as well. The situation is way more confusing than it is under controlled conditions. There’s a famous example (somewhere) where the bad guy and the good guy swap places: bad guy behind the counter robbing the ’til, good guy facing him with a gun. Know they enemy? Fo’ shizzle.
Things are not always what they seem, and shooting the wrong guy—or not enough guys—-can ruin your whole day. Equally, waiting is not freezing. It’s giving yourself the chance—usually a split second—to avoid making a mistake that could cost you your life and/or your livelihood.