Self-Defense Issues

Self Defense Shooting on Video

Self Defense Shooting

You may have seen a 71-year-old Florida resident shoot two armed robbers in this self defense shooting video.  But it is not likely you have read anything like my thoughts on what happened.

In the above video, two armed men enter an internet cafe in an obvious robbery attempt.  One man is armed with a bat, while the second is armed with a handgun.

As the felons are trying to move the patrons, one of the customers draws his concealed pistol, closes the gap with one of the subjects and begins firing.  The two criminals, both shot in this encounter, stumble over themselves fleeing from the business.

Robb does a pretty good job of hitting some of the points I was going to make, so please check out his post.  However, I have a few more.

Shot placement matters…

Shooting someone in self defense will cause bleeding, which will lead to incapacitation…eventually.  Both felons were shot:  one in the arm, the other in the hip and butt.  Both subjects might have bled to the point of incapacitation eventually, but not nearly fast enough to stop this fight.

Only when you hit vital organs are you likely to take someone out of the fight quick enough to reduce their ability to harm you and others.

Bring the biggest bang possible…

According to reports, our hero in this incident was carrying a .380 ACP handgun.  I agree that a .380 ACP in the pocket is better than a .50 BMG in the safe.  However, that doesn’t transform the .380 into a legendary manstopper. It just means you have something more effective than a stick.

I don’t care what theory of stopping power you might subscribe to because all of them show the .380 ACP as significantly weaker than other cartridges including the 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP.  Shot placement is more important than cartridge selection.  All other things being equal though, shooting a felon with a more powerful cartridge in a vital area is more likely to rapidly incapacitate them.

Responding to multiple shootings in my “day job” has shown me that a .380 ACP is very spotty on its ability to penetrate deep enough to hit something that matters.  Other cartridges, including the ones mentioned above, are significantly more reliable.  Probably to most devastating handgun wounds I have come across are from the .357 Magnum.

Even when shot multiple times, the fight isn’t over…

There are a lot of sayings the make this point:  anything worth shooting once is worth shooting twice, for example.   Another is from the movie Zombieland:

In those moments when you’re not sure the undead are really “dead” dead, don’t get all stingy with your bullets.

Good advice when dealing with a walking corpse or with a felon intent on doing you harm.  Unless the first shot you make hits the felon’s brain stem, it is unlikely that it will incapacitate him or her.  That means you need to cause more bleeding to more rapidly induce incapacitation.

In this incident, both subjects were shot, but both were able to rapidly move and make their escape.  They would have just as likely been able to point a gun and rapidly stroke the trigger.  Just because you have shot an armed felon doesn’t mean the fight is over!

One of my favorite gunfighting quotes comes from Evan Marshall.  Someone once asked Marshall how many times they should shoot in a gunfight.  Marshall’s response:

Continue shooting until your sight picture is degraded by a lack of target.  

Well said.

Having enough ammunition is important…

Going hand-in-hand with shooting until the threat is stopped is have enough ammo to get the job done.  A lot of people carry a five-shot revolver or a six-shot pistol and figure that is “good enough.”  In many cases it may be.  But, it would not have been in this incident had either of these subjects decided to stay and fight.

Do you carry an extra magazine or a speed strip of additional ammo?  If not, why not?  Convenience?

Neither subject was incapacitated in this incident, but the hero either ran dry or was about to when the encounter ended.  Had the perps attacked instead of running off, I’m not sure the citizen had enough ammo to continue the battle.  He may have had a second magazine, but the odds are he did not.

I most frequently carry a Glock 19 with a spare magazine or a second gun.  Having a second mag or second gun allows me to stay in the fight should the first gun run dry.  Does that make me paranoid?  I don’t think so.  I just want to make sure I have enough felon repellant to go around.

This ain’t Hollywood…

Does this encounter look anything like a Hollywood movie?  Nope.

Combat, whether military or self-defense, is rarely ever accurately portrayed in the movies.  Yet, many of us have watched so many movies that those unrealistic situations have become part of what we think we know.

Realistic training is the key to success.  Spending a week with Massad Ayoob or at the Safety Solutions Academy will really open your eyes to the realities of combat.  Learning “on the job” has a poor success rate.  It is much better to prepare.

Don’t do stupid things…

As others have said you can avoid most problems by following this simple mantra:

Don’t do stupid things, in stupid places, with stupid people.

That sentiment is absolutely right.  I’ve seen in replay daily in my career as a police officer.  Most people would never need the police if they merely followed Bane’s advice.  And, I think this whole thing could have been avoided had the rule been followed.

Obviously, had the suspects not done stupid things, they would have avoided being shot.  But, I think the hero in this could have avoided the problem as well.

These internet cafes in Florida are quasi-legal gambling operations that deal mainly in cash.  They operate in the gray areas of the law, which can mean they are located in less-respectable, higher-crime areas and might be a little slower than other businesses to report suspicious people and activities.  Everyone knows they deal in cash, which would seem to be the preferred booty of the common street thug.

The internet cafe would seem to qualify as a stupid place.  I would argue that gambling, generally, is a stupid activity.  However, it is something you can stay at home and do if you so desired.  Sure, he had a “right” to be there, just as he has a “right” to hang out on a sidewalk in Crip territory wearing Klan a robe.

Or, if you must go out to gamble, there are a number of places to legally do so in Florida.  Sure, they are less convenient, but at least they are above board and not likely to require your use of a firearm.  Problem avoidance is the best method of winning a fight.

By Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson is a gun writer, amateur historian and - most importantly - a dad. He's done a lot of silly things in his life, but quitting police work to follow his passion of writing about guns was one of the smartest things he ever did. He founded this site and continues to manage its operation.

7 replies on “Self Defense Shooting on Video”

I most often carry a .32 – any one who says it’s not enough gun is welcome to take a mozambique from me at the distance of their choice up to 30′ away, then we can continue the discussion.

Any takers?

Didn’t think so.

Given the numbers of dead at German hands – hands that were holding a .32 – I’m confident it will do what I need so long as *I* do what I need…

Would I PREFER a .45? Of course! – and as soon as they make a 13-shot package (7-shot and spare 6-shot mag) .45 that will disappear in a front-pants-pocket like my Seecamp, I’ll carry one!

Until then, I’ll just have to make do…

My second most common carry is a KT P3AT, and the same applies to it as well.

As to accuracy, I can chase golf-balls around the yard by “snap-shooting” with either gun, so I’m really not worried about my ability to do what I need to do if I’m ever forced to do it.

All these “caliber wars” discussions do is lead to folks not carrying at all — they’ve been told “that’s not a real gun” so many times they figure they’re better off unarmed.

Not me.

A .32 in the head will do the job just as well as a 20mm, though a lot less messy.

I’ve ALWAYS got the tools I may need – and I’m one of a few that can say that without real exception.

Signs can also get stuffed – since nobody will ever know what’s in my pocket, I don’t see a need to worry about what any sign may say….

I simply cannot get over the reactions of the people in this place. They act like they’re in a daze, unable to comprehend what’s happening or identify an appropriate response.

There’s Oversized-Polo-Boy, who’s only thought seems to be to make himself as large and in-the-way as possible. He puts his hands up and wanders aimlessly, turning his back to his armed assailant. Then he feels the need to half-follow the robbers out the door, but stop and hop away when the old man turns to him.

Then there’s Sheep-Woman, who doesn’t seem to understand that there’s a robbery and a gunfight going on in the space she’s decided to wander into. Yes, that guy you’re getting in the way of and bumping into, he’s engaged in a gunfight right now. You might want to go someplace else.

The guy at the counter is literally attempting to hide his head like an ostrich. Seriously? Once the shooting starts, Sheep-Woman’s tie-dyed twin wanders out from the counter area, wringing her hands and completely oblivious to the correct behavior appropriate to this situation.

Everyone else here is acting like they were just walked-in-on by their parents while looking at internet porn. Most of them don’t even move from their chairs, it’s not like anything dicey is going on. My favorite is the woman at the top-middle of the screen who can’t decide if she should sit, stand-up, or swivel around in her chair. So, at the 00:38 mark she just flops over and falls with the chair on top of her. Brilliant!

There’s only one person in this entire video who has a clue what’s going on: Pops. I don’t know what his background is but here’s what I saw: he assessed the situation, seized the opportunity and initiative, closed with and defeated his enemy with aggression and audacity. These two thugs were cowards seeking to prey on the weak and scared, and they fled for their lives when someone stood up to them with force to back it up.

There’s only two main mistakes I saw here: caliber choice and shot placement. I carry a .45 or a 9mm loaded with +P hollowpoints and I aim for center of mass; I don’t think these attackers would have been moving so fast had Pops done the same, but he accomplished his mission. Patton said “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”

Moral of the story, though, is that when the sh*t hits the fan, you will find yourselves surrounded by people gripped with fear, inaction, incompetence, or most likely all three. You will only be able to rely on yourself to do the right thing. There’s no 911 to save you, there’s no crying for mommy. Your ass may be in the sling and the only one who’s going to save you is you. Plan for the worst now. When it happens, seize the initiative. Close with and destroy your enemy with as much violence and speed as you can muster. Go home and live your life free from fear or shame.

I’ve enjoyed the comments here. It clearly shows that there are sheep, wolves, and “sheepdogs” out there, and the sheepdogs are watching and ready.

As far as the caliber debate I don’t think anyone would argue that getting struck with a .32 or .380 would be a bad day. However, with all the “sheep” in danger close proximity, a CCW sheepdog must consider if their firearm is going to have the stopping power needed to end the fight quickly. Even if hit with a smaller caliber, the suspect’s could return fire with a room full of “sheep” targets, especially if the sheepdog goes down. The larger caliber handguns have a much greater potential for stopping the fight by incapacitating the wolves.

This becomes even more critically important in a dynamic shootout like this one, as opposed to a static day at the range. Shot placement is likely not be great because of movement and adrenaline on both sides. In the shootout a shot to the leg with a smaller caliber bullet may not even be noticed by the wolf until adrenaline wears off at the end of the shootout. Whereas, a larger caliber bullet is more likely to cause motor dysfunction by shredding muscle, breaking bone, and through a higher fluid shock wave to the target.

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