Monday, June 13, 2011


This was originally posted as a comment to the "DANGERS OF INTERVENTION" post. As it wasn't so much an intervention incident as a "this happened to me" incident I thought it deserved its own post. What can we learn from this incident? How did the author do? What would you have done differently, if anything? Part of the Thinking Gunfighter philosophy is learning from the experiences of others. The author at this time has preferred to remain anonymous.
In the last three years, thanks to about 80 hrs of combat handgun, carbine, and shotgun, I have walked away unscathed from an attempted carjacking where I exited quickly and got behind the engine block as it's all that stops a bullet, as well as an attempted robbery by getting inside their loop (look up OODA LOOP)and having them reacting to me, which is a clearly critical part of preventing/winning a gun fight.

I had just exited a convenience store in a NC city at 10 PM on a 30 degree night and a small guy, with a curiously clear voice, asked me if I had a few extra bucks. I had the hair on the back of my neck rising as well as a screaming in my head that this was not a panhandler but rather a deadly situation. I did not yet know why and never had this feeling before. What happened, IMO, is that my subconscious had picked up a 2nd bad guy coming quietly behind me. When the smaller guy in front of me got about 10 feet away as his pace exceeded mine despite my having my hand on by gun under my coat and issuing stern and loud commands to back-off or we were going to have a big problem, I saw his eyes divert to my left for just a moment. A quick look revealed a guy about 3" taller than my 6'2" frame and 75 pounds heavier approaching from about 20 feet away.

Bringing my eyes back to the smaller guy in front of me he was putting one, and only one, hand in his right jacket pocket. At that point my weapon was aimed immediately right at his chest, time became non-existent, and I had tunnel vision begin as I screamed, "Show me your &^%$ hands". I had learned in a class with a Federal trainer that one hand only goes into a coat to come out with car keys, a knife, or a gun. As we were not near any car but mine and he had just changed to demanding money, it almost assuredly was a gun. Had my hand seen a weapon emerging I had already angled him to have empty stores behind him and I had determined I would break the trigger that I had 1/2 pressure on.

There was no question in my mind. If he came out with a gun I was shooting right in his chest until he fell. I can only say that I know now I can drop the hammer because I am going home to my wife and kids and will do what I have to. I probably could have shot, but I would have needed a good attorney and a lot of money to have done so. Cops I know who I have described the situation to have said I could have been shot through the coat and should have shot. Well, they have their legal fees paid for and I don't for shooting, "Father of the year", as the media will say. Plus, it would have been made a racial incident. I called the Federal Agent the next day and he said to never report such things. If I ever have to shoot someone, which I prefer not to, they are going to bring up any previous involvement and a DA who wants to prosecute is going to claim I am trigger happy. Their job, if they prosecute, is not to find the truth, but to put me in jail for a long time.

I cannot stress enough to those guys carrying a gun out there with a CCW/CHP that if you have not taken at least one 10 hour combat handgun class from a very, very qualified LEI, or former LEO, YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO DO. You have no idea because, "In a crisis situation you default to your lowest level of training competence". And if you have no training you have no real idea of how, in split seconds, to formulate a game plan. You are reacting to your assailant and will likely be the loser. You will not be practicing a different type of shooting nor will you be screaming, as I did, in the event of witnesses. I have read discussions where the guy who was not the aggressor yelled, "Back off or I'll blow your &^%$ brains out". That's a great thing for a Grand Jury to hear. There's a way for a civilian to likely stay out of jail. If you have taken no classes and not practiced what you have learned, then you don't know them.

If anyone is offended by my words then good. Maybe it will give you pause to get some training from qualified (not everyone really is) training for in both my situations I would have been guessing as opposed to assessing the situation and going into a combat mindset to win. Just a non-LEO citizen's experience on how I went from being the mark to THEIR THREAT, at which point they decided to go find another mark.

Train often, train hard, and carry always, as you are not smart enough to know when evil decides you are an easy score. BTW, I know half-a dozen guys who carry most of the time. My experience has fallen on ears that tell me what they would do to the guys who dared tried to do that to them. Talk is cheap. Tough talk is stupid talk.

Training hard in NC

P.S. I got behind the engine block in the carjacking attempt as I pulled into a spot against a wall and they pinned me in at the rear. I know now to always back into a spot as they will pass you buy when they see that you are aware of their actions.


  1. Outside looking in....this guy is lucky he's not in jail.

    He had no specific threat, he pulled a gun, and then didn't report it to the police, and then wrote a boasting post on the internet. He describes it as an attempted carjacking...maybe. Or maybe it was a panhandler. How we get from "Do you have a few bucks?" to "Show me your hands!" is beyond me.

  2. When a man asking for money is overtaking you in the dark as you tell him to back off, and has a larger partner aggressively moving towards you from behind, you have entered a hostile situation.

    If during that hostile situation he makes a move that you feel is threatening, that would be further escalation of the situation which necessitated the OP drawing their weapon. At all times the OP was declaring their actions and allowing the aggressor to disengage, so I believe he was well within his rights.

  3. The only issue I have with the whole scenario is his finger was on the trigger too early. The assailant still had his hand in his pocket, if my reading comprehension is correct. Different teachers teach differing approaches, but the LEO trainer I've used says to cover him early, but leave your finger off the trigger until you plan to shoot.

  4. Hi David,

    Here's a link to my latest article on why you can't use the sights in CQB:

    Comment is welcome.

    Best regards, John

  5. Dude saw a black man and panicked. I missed the part where he said "Break yourself fool! Give me your wallet!" Maybe he really did need some spare change to catch the bus home? The second guy could have been just some random guy walking down the sidewalk.
    Also, keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to shoot. All your training should have taught you that.

  6. Let's go down the 5 rules of concealed carry: 1) Your concealed handgun is for protection of life only. Was his life in danger? Highly questionable. I'm still not convinced this wasn't a panhandler. 2) A criminal adversary must have, or reasonably appear to have ability, opportunity , and intent. Hells to the no on all three. Ability? There was no display of aggression. Opportunity? It was just some dude in the alley. Intent? Other than the word of this braggart who's had "80 hours of combat training"? Give me a break. 3) If you can run away -- RUN! I think this one speaks for itself. 4) Display your gun, go to jail. You would think he learned this the first time he flashed his piece. But hey! He got behind the engine block of his car during that "carjacking" event. 5) Don't let your emotions get the best of you. The corollary is "Don't let your wish to be Batman get the best of you, no matter how much training you've had."


  7. First of all, I live a very long ways from NC, so I will defer to the OP regarding what the DA, cops, etc... would do in his jurisdiction. I read alot of these sort of things from people all over the Country, and I have come to realize regionally, this Country handles this sort of thing very differently... That said, I disagree with not reporting the incident to police (although, I can see a Fed from some Fed agencies telling you not to, but that is a completely different issue).

    I am a cop (and firearms instructor), and I say, based on the limited info in the post (which I probably wouldn't have wrote, but oh well), he absolutely was good to smoke his would be attackers.... Where I'm from absent some blatantly left out fact or misrepresentation, the DA wouldn't bat an eye at this incident....

    as for the comment about touching the trigger and LE trainer X. remember, cops/LE, etc.., like everyone else exist in essentially a bell curve. Meaning, given a specific group (agency), there will be highly skilled officers/deputies/trooper (whatever)who are 100% with their handgun and/or rifle, there will be a much larger portion who are less than 100% but still proficient and/or better with a handgun than the average Joe, then there will be a small group who only ever shoot their handgun at mandatory range qualification (2-4 times a year depending on mandate), which is a ridiculously simple course that most any 10 year old could do... So, that said, remember most LE firarms training is geared to lowest common denominator (the group who don't know trigger control from nose picking). It is super frustrating, but it is the way of the world. You take nearly any profession and you will see the employees of a particular group fall into the same/similar curve... Anyway, because of this curve, much of LE firarms training is training to lowest common denominator... So, unless you know (really know) the particular LE instructor, take what they hand out as advice to folks they don't really know, with a grain of salt.. I recently attended some LE training where the guy teaching (highly credentialed & respected) was teaching to prep the trigger in situation similar to the one the OP laid out.

    just my .02 cents, in situations such as described the by OP, things are not black and white.... remember, if he was in imminent fear for his safety, under circumstances which would put a reasonable person in the same frame of mine, he is good to deffend himself. I think his reaction was reasonable, but that is just my opinion, I wasn't there....

  8. Most attackers want to seem harmless until the last second.
    This guy did well for the situation he was in...��