View Full Version : Too soon or too late?

08-18-2004, 07:34 AM
I keep thinking about this scenario, and to be honest, it's bugging me.

Due to CCW legalities, I am prohibited from drawing or using my handgun until I can completely justify it by defending against a known threat.

This removes speculation, assumption, and even common sense from the defense factor, it seems.

So here's another situation:

I'm outdoors (anywhere) with my wife, and we see a group of unsavory looking dudes, (say 3 or 4), headed in our direction.
We get the immediate feeling these are not Mormons coming to give us the Good News.

They have no weapons of any kind visable, and they really wouldn't NEED any to beat you to death, etc.

So, my first inclination, as I've been told, is to RUN AWAY, if possible.

Not fun but can save on court costs and a lot of misery...

But say:

A. You can't run and they still have no weapons displayed?


B. They begin to run after you with no weapons displayed?

At what point is "fearing for your life" an acceptable defense??

Do you take a beating, or worse?

If you are getting throttled, does that justify deadly force?

Does it matter how many there are, say ONE throttler??

When is it GO TIME?

Man, this confuses me.

I'm a big ol' boy but not a great fighter or John Wayne.

Heck, even John Wayne got his butt kicked...

Gabriel Suarez
08-18-2004, 07:45 AM

In the real world, people do not get their butts kicked. Men get hurt to the point being hospitalized and their lives are forever altered. Look at Reginald Denny in the Race Riots of '92. He was never the same again. I'll bet he wished later he'd driven over or away from the thugs.

In the real world, women who are at events such as you describe are gang raped. Sooooo.

IF - You can't run and they still have no weapons displayed?
OR - They begin to run after you with no weapons displayed?

What else are they doing? What are they saying? Are they "profile-types"? What is the entire event? The backstory? It is not rocket science and you can tell what is comning before it arrives. That will give you the answer to "
At what point is "fearing for your life" an acceptable defense??"

Your other questions - "Do you take a beating, or worse?" No. I'd rather go to prison and save myself the beating and my family the "worse" than fail to act because of fear of the so-called legal system.

But remember that those are NOT THE ONLY OPTIONS. I suggest that this topic is a rather large one and that you need to study it further. Specifically the issues of disparity of force. You can't shoot a man of equal size and ability that wants to punch you in the nose. Nor can you shoot the man who disrespects your wife. But its a different case when there is a great disparity in numbers, age, size, etc.

Finally, come to my Close Range Gunfight class and listen in on the Three Phases of a Gunfight lecture. That will answer your questions, or at least tell you where to look.

08-18-2004, 09:36 AM
The laws vary by state on exactly what one can do, but they agree you must be reasonably in fear of great bodily harm or death. In a lot of states the same test can be applied to the defense of second parties... though one does so at great peril if the person being defended isn't a family member.

So, if you avoid contact... retreat etc. and they follow you, are you given the facts and circumstances you have laid out reasonably in fear of suffering great bodily harm or death? Would a reasonable man be in such fear under those circumstances? If the answer to those questions is "yes", they you are justified in using deadly force (recogizning deadly force does not neccessarily involve actually shooting.)

You can have a few options short of actually shooting... you can, after you are sure you can not reasonably escape otherwise, still face the EDs and prepare to draw while commanding them to "STOP!!" Most goblins understand a draw stance... you can also draw without actually pointing at them (but this is a last resort as most states say you can only threaten deadly force if you are actually justified in using deadly force.)

I tell my classes that everyone I know who has been in a real use of deadly force situation tells me they knew when they werer justified in using deadly force... though sometimes they didn't do it when they should have done so.

One of my CHL class students had to use their sidearm in self defense. He said there was no question in his mind when he HAD to act... and he did. For the most part people who have had even a little training will KNOW when they need to act...

The hard part seems not to be people using deadly force too soon... but too late and being hurt or worse as a result.



08-18-2004, 11:36 AM
I am not qualified to answer your question, but have found myself in situations where the hair on the back of my neck stood up. When this happens, I put my hand on the butt of the model 49 j frame in my pocket and point it at the groin of my antagontist. If nothing happens they do not get shot, nor do they even know it was possible. If they try to attack me they get shot right through my pants pocket or jacket pocket.

Dockers work well for this with all the room in them or a jacket pocket in colder weather. I have practiced on targets at contact to 3 yards and can hit the target. The hammerless j-frame is the best for this as they have no hammer to snag.

08-18-2004, 12:18 PM

How do you find your pain tolerances with the powder burns on your thigh when shooting from the pocket with a revolver? I ask as I found this out the hard way that it isn't something I care to do again unless absolutely necessary to persevere.

Whats been your experience with firing through jacket pockets as well? What materials were the jackets made of?


Robin Brown

08-18-2004, 12:23 PM
Thanks for the input.
I didn't know about "disparity of force".
I'm still thinking a good can of OC is the best first line of defense...

Cold War Scout
08-18-2004, 01:52 PM
My recollection is that multiple opponents by their very existence can be construed as deadly physical force being used against you. Suggest you read Massad Ayoob's In the Gravest Extreme.

08-19-2004, 04:22 AM
Personaly (some may say this is bad advice, but this is what I would do)

When the bad feeling comes DO NOT shake off your instinct.

DRAW your weapon. To END the danger. (these probably aren't the type of guys to go snitch to the police, if they do, displaying a firearm in public is a misdemandor in some places)

from then on, the ball is in thier court, weather they wanna see if they Matrix thier way out of lead catching or not.

Al Lipscomb
08-19-2004, 07:11 AM
There are a number of things you can do to help prepare things to handle this situation. The first is for you and your wife to get up to speed on personal protection. She should be working with you in a situation like this. S

he should have her CCW and be armed as well. My wife carries a handgun and a small knife for defensive use. We have worked out simple steps to take in the event of a problem. If my wife is "hiding behind me" the idea is for her to be prepared to deploy her weapon without the potential BGs knowing that they will be fighting two people, not just me defending the helpless little lady.

Gabe is giving you good advice on training as well. I have attended his Close Range Gunfighting course and it is much more than how to shoot a gun at someone near you. He covers what happens before, durring and after an event. What are the rules and how do you act to have the advantage when the police arrive. Knowing the rules and knowing your ablity gives you the confidence you need to avoid a hesitation at the wrong time.

Low Drag
08-21-2004, 07:43 PM
IMHO, my very first move upon seeing them and checking them off as a possible threat would be to do something unexpected. Vector off, change direction between cars or get in a store, anything. WATCH what they do. If they counter move Iím moving to dark orange. I get away if I can.

Give them a look that Iím aware of them and not food, WATCH for response.

If they still move like predators I start to ďpick my groundĒ, move hand to or near gun etc.

Continue the dance until I have no way out, prep the wife to have cell phone in hand etc and wait for overtly aggressive move.

08-21-2004, 08:17 PM
I wouldn't be using OC, especially against 3-4 aggressors. If I started to run and they ran after me/us, I would send my wife on her way to a safe place and I would stand my ground and draw to low ready. The rest is up to them....
If I couldn't run and they were advancing, I guess it depends on their style of dress, age, look on their faces etc. Depending on those and other factors would determine if I draw my weapon or at the least put my hand on it for a quick draw.(which is an oxymoron if you've seen me on the range!)

Lou Costello
08-22-2004, 07:59 AM
You said that you had the "immediate feeling these are not Mormons coming to give us the Good News." I assume that something in their actions tipped you off ...... their pre-assault behavior? Can you articulate their behavior if need be? Is your response reasonable?

Would it be possible to discreetly draw your firearm and hold it in such a way as only they could see it? Drawing a weapon to ward off a threat sounds reasonable to me. It is a minor problem compared to seeing yourself and/or your wife on life support.

Can you make some attempt to retreat, create distance? (Heck, I can't run anymore but I sure can shuffle quickly if need be. Even if they catch me I can claim that I tried to retreat.)

"Against a gang, any member of the mob shares the general jeopardy of illegal acts." So yes, you can shoot all of the attackers even if only 1 is armed.

There are a whole bunch of things that need to be considered. Your wife and yourself should take advantage of training opportunities.