Episode 181 with David Cole
Rob- Introduction- Welcome to episode 181 of Self-Defense Gun Stories. I’m glad you found us if you’re well trained.. and if you’re curious about self defense. I’m Rob Morse, and we’re joined this week by self-defense instructor David Cole.
David- Hi, Rob. I’ve been (working/hunting/training/teaching…)
Rob- We received two more comments and ratings on iTunes this week (124/79). Please go to the iTunes store where you subscribe to podcasts and let new listeners know this show is worth their time.
David- We talk about gun owners who were in a life threatening situation. What should we do if we were in their place? We give the links to the original news article in our show notes. Our first story took place last week in Warren, Michigan.
You’re going home after a concert. It is after midnight when you finally park your car. You’re walking to your apartment when a stranger walks up to you. He pulls a gun from his pocket and tells you to hand everything over. You have your Michigan concealed pistol license. You’re armed. You present your firearm and shoot your attacker two times. The attacker runs away, and so do you. The police come and take both your gun and the gun from the attacker. They take your attacker to the hospital
David- Our defender had gone through the process to get his carry permit, and had found a firearm and carry system. He managed to have his firearm with him, even though he was at a concert. He didn’t get into a gunfight, but found a time to draw and not get shot. He also hit his attacker with his first shots, and then didn’t chase the bad guy.
Rob- David, how do you take a gun to a concert?
David- This is tricky, as most music venues do not allow firearms. If this is the case, you can either leave your gun in your car, or choose to violate the “gun free zone.” I don’t advise breaking the law if the gun free zone is legally enforceable, but I if it is not, you may decide to ignore the signs. Although carrying in “non-permissive environments” is a complex topic on its own, there are techniques.
If you do carry into the venue, another issue is alcohol. It is not a good idea to drink while carrying, and illegal in some states, so even if you do carry into the show you’ll want to skip the drinks. You might consider attending with a group and having a “designated shooter.”
Rob- A designated driver and designated defender. What else would you like us to do in a situation like this?
David- This happened at night in January, so I bet the defender was wearing a heavy coat. That heavy coat makes it easier to conceal a full sized handgun, but it can make accessibility difficult. Larger firearms are easier to shoot well because the larger grip surface and greater mass provide greater control, and a longer sight radius helps with accuracy. Still, it is important to practice drawing from concealment while wearing the type of clothes you normally wear. Heavy winter clothing can present challenges in accessing the gun, so you want to work out those issues in advance.
In any case, you will need to be sure that you can quickly clear your cover garment, obtain a firing grip, clear the gun from the holster, and rotate the elbow down to position the gun muzzle forward. From there, you can bring in the support hand for a two-handed grip and drive the gun out and into your eyeline and acquire the sights. It is also usually a good idea to move as you draw. Fire if necessary until the threat is over, and then move to safety and call police.
Rob- That is a lot to learn.
David- Take it one step at a time. Dry practice is your friend!
Rob- What are those steps?
David- One step at a time, Rob. Well talk about that in one of our later examples.
Rob- Well listen to you. Is there anything else you want to add about this story?
David- That is enough for now. Our second story happened just south of Atlanta, Georgia.
You stopped to get some snacks for your kids. It is after dark. Three men are arguing with the clerk and with other customers. They pick a fight with you. You retreat to your car and pull out your rifle. That ends the fight and they run away. Now you go back inside the store and help the clerk clean up the mess caused by the fight. When you get home, your wife notices that your coat is torn. You take off your coat and your wife notices that you’re bleeding from a stab wound to the abdomen. Your wife drives you to the hospital and you call the police to report the assault. You work as an EMT/firefighter for the city.
Tag- No shots fired
David- First of all, this fight probably shouldn’t have happened at all. A better option than getting into a fight over words would have been to leave, and call police if warranted. Instead, our “good guy” appears to have escalated what was up to that point a non-violent situation. Then, when a verbal assault turned physical, he found himself unarmed in a 3 on 1 fight. Then, in what I consider another bad decision, he went to his vehicle and pulled a rifle to, as he put it, “scare them.” Once you have successfully disengaged from a fight, and then choose to re-enter it, you may not legally be viewed as defending yourself. He even stated that he didn’t even realize he was injured at that point.
Avoidance issues and legal questions aside, he was unarmed when trouble arose. Not a good place to be. He had to run to his car to get his defensive tools. That worked to end the attack, but he was already injured. He called the police once he knew he was injured.
Rob- Can you really be stabbed and not know it?
David- Fortunately, I’ve never been stabbed, but victims of knife attacks often report that they simply thought that they had been punched, when instead they had been stabbed or cut.
Rob- What would you like us to do in a situation like this.
David- First and foremost, don’t escalate a verbal situation. Look for ways to de-escalate and disengage. It simply isn’t worth risking injury or worse to yourself or someone else over words and hurt feelings. Still, be armed and prepared to fight if necessary. We call it POGO. Pants on, gun on. I also want you to walk away from a fight if you can. Every fight you are in will involve a lethal weapon because you brought it. I also want you to have pepper spray.
Rob- I recommend Saber Red that dispenses in a stream. You have to practice with it.
David- This EMT is used to assessing patients for injuries, but in the excitement of the attack, he forgot to do that for himself. First aid training and equipment are also important, and even more likely to be used than a gun.
Rob- So you step back, and act as a witness. The three guys move toward you, what should you do?
David- Utilize the environment to physically move away and create separation. Maintain a wide view, avoiding tunnel vision, so that you can see all the aggressors and work to move to a safe location. If you can successfully disengage, then call police.
Our third story happened Tucson, Arizona.
Rob- First this message from the Buckeye Firearms Foundation
You’re done shopping. You walk out of the mall carrying your cup of coffee. It is after dark as you get into your car. You put your cup into the cup holder, set down your purse and reach for your keys to start the car. A stranger opens the passenger door and gets into your car. He hits you in the face. You reach for your purse and he hits you again. You pull your gun from your purse and your attacker runs away. You call the police and give a description of your attacker.
Tag- No shots fired
In the first story you mentioned having a gun with you. Now, our defender had a gun with her, but her defensive tool is in her purse.
David- First, let’s give our defender some credit. She bought a gun and was carrying it with her. She took several blows and stayed in the fight. She presented her firearm in a very restricted space while she was being attacked. She contacted police and made a report and she also gave a pretty good description of her attacker.
Rob- She did a lot of things right, and taking a punch to the head is really serious.
David- She did, and it is. I want her to practice getting into her car with her purse where she can reach her firearm. That is the disadvantage of purse carry because the gun is attached to you by two straps, and you need one arm to hold the purse as you reach inside to get your gun. I don’t know how to do that when I’m holding a cup of coffee, holding my car keys, and opening and closing a car door. There’s a lot going on in that transition, and it can be difficult to manage. Juggling all that stuff can also interfere with your awareness, when you should be scanning the area near your vehicle. Criminals know this and choose these transition areas to attack for a reason.
Also, I’d want her to only unlock her driver’s side door (if possible) to get in, and then lock her doors as soon as she sits down. My first action as soon as I get in my vehicle is to lock the doors immediately, specifically with this type of attack in mind.
I teach martial arts, and if you’re hit in the head, then you should get checked out by a doctor. You’re going to be sore the next few days.
Rob- What else did you notice?
David- This man punched the female driver and pulled a knife. That is an immediate, serious, and unavoidable threat. Don’t point a gun at him and hope he will run away. In those close quarters he could have stabbed her or disarmed her. Even if she had been able to shoot him, she still might have been killed. At knifepoint inside a vehicle is almost always going to mean that it is necessary to shoot now to stop that threat.
Rob- Suppose I bought a gun. I bought a purse that has a dedicated pocket and holster built into it to both cover the trigger guard and to hold the gun in place so I can grab the gun when I reach into the holster pocket. Where do i learn to present from a purse and to shoot someone who is close enough to grab me?
David- The great news is that this took place in Arizona where they have constitutional carry. You can go to the store and have a gun and a few holsters in an hour. You need to find a gun that fits you, and holsters that work with the clothes you wear and that fit the shape of your body. There are no training requirements to carry concealed in public. You need to learn firearms safety, marksmanship, presentation, concealed presentation and shooting on the move. Those are the steps we talked about.
Rob- You’re sending me back to school.
David- You’re never too old to learn. Our fourth story took place in Charlotte, North Carolina
You drive into the parking lot of a gated apartment complex. You’re delivering pizza, and you call the customer to set a meeting point. Four young men approach you as you’re walking back to your car. They shout for you to stop, and one of them points a rifle at you. You have your concealed handgun permit. You’re armed. You move and shoot the armed man, and two of his accomplices. The fourth attacker runs away. You run to the apartments and call the police. The police take your statement. They find three of your attackers nearby. Two of them are wounded. They find the fourth attacker when he goes to the hospital for a chest wound. Later the police discover that the rifle the teenagers used is a large plastic toy. Your attackers are 15,16, 18 and 20 years old. They have previous charges for motor vehicle theft, possession of a stolen vehicle, larceny from motor vehicle and a “history” of resisting police.
David- I mentioned it before, so I won’t repeat everything our defender did correctly, but I notice his mindset. It is easy to say, I can’t believe that four guys would rob me. I can’t believe that they would use a rifle to attack me. Our good guy believed what he saw, and he acted to defend himself.
Rob- We only get a few words describing what happened in the news report, so we don’t know everything our defender did.
David- He clearly took decisive action. Here is what I hope happened. I hope he was aware of the bad guys approaching him. I hope he moved to put a car or other obstacles between them so they couldn’t get to him. When they committed to the attack, he presented his firearm and defended himself.
Run to safety, or drive to safety if you have to. Holster your firearm, and call the police.
Rob- That is a lot to do. It is more than, here is a gun, and now you’re safe.
David- A piano doesn’t make me a musician. A gun doesn’t make you a competent defender. This is also a good example of why we might consider whether our choice of carry gun is appropriate. A 5-shot snubnose revolver might be convenient to carry, but what about in a scenario like this? Five shots versus four attackers is a really tough problem.
Rob- It is a tool. How do I learn to use it?
David- Take lessons! You wouldn’t go buy a guitar and then book yourself to play a concert at the Fillmore!
Rob- You teach self defense with open hands and with a firearm. What are the common mistakes your students make when they decide they want to protect themselves?
David- Buy a gun that fits, but the gun is only a tool.
Exit- Rob- that wraps up this episode. David, thank you for helping us again. Where can we learn more about you?
David- Look for me at deltabravocharlie.com
Rob- After you look at David articles, then leave us a message on the podcast facebook page.
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Rob- This podcast is part of the Self-defense radio network. Find more great shows at sdrn.us I’m Rob Morse. We’ll be back next week with more Self-Defense Gun Stories.