Episode 218 with Robyn Sandoval
Rob- Introduction- Welcome to episode 218 of Self-Defense Gun Stories. We’re glad you found us if you’re well trained and also if you’re new to self defense. I’m Rob Morse and we’re joined this week by firearms instructor Robyn Sandoval.
Robyn- Hi, Rob. I’ve been teaching a lot of new shooters online and at the range!
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Robyn- Only one?
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Robyn- We talk about recent examples where gun owners were in a life threatening situation. Were they lucky, or did they have a plan? We also have links back to the original news article in our show notes. Our first story took place last week in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Rob- First story- Are you armed as you stop at a convenience store?
You and your friend are driving at about 10:30 at night. You pull over to use a convenience store. You go inside and your passenger stays in the car. You’re heading back outside when you see two men in a dark SUV pull up next to your car. They pound on the window and door and tell your friend to get out of the car. They point guns at your passenger.
You own a firearm. You have your Pennsylvania concealed carry permit. Tonight, you’re armed. You draw your firearm and shoot the carjackers. You hit one of the attackers in the chest. The other attacker dives back into his car and drives away.
You stay at the scene and call 911. EMTs transport your attacker to a local hospital where he died. Your passenger is unhurt.
Robyn- In this situation, our defender saw that the attackers had firearms pointed at the friend in the vehicle. They were showing aggression and there was no gray area about the imminent threat. The defender used a firearm to stop the threat. When the other attacker left and the threat was over, the defender stopped shooting and called 911.
Rob- That is such a difficult situation. Is the bad guy running away, or is he moving behind your car to shoot at you some more? What would you like us to do if we were in a situation like this one?
Robyn- Training is valuable in these situations to be able to accurately put shots on a target. Here our defender had to engage two threats in a close proximity to the friend in the vehicle. Perhaps there were other bystanders. With the attackers being armed, the defender understood the possibility of returned fire. Were they moving? Was there cover nearby that the defender could use for protection? Was a trauma kit on their person or in their car?
Rob- Are convenience stores robbed very often?
Robyn- We have about 20 thousand gas station/convenience store robberies each year.
Rob- Do your students get to shoot on the move or in low light?
Robyn- Yes, in fact last night at our A Girl & A Gun Virtual Girls Night Out we focused on how to move while shooting. There are techniques to isolate the lower half of your body from the top half, so that you maintain a sturdy base that allows you to keep your sights steady on the target.
Rob- At first, it is an accomplishment to look in one direction while your gun points in another direction.
Tell me about defending a third person.
Robyn- Stranger, friend, family or spouse. The story says that the person in the vehicle was a friend, and the person was in the defender’s car, so obviously there was a relationship of some kind. It’s important to understand that any time you choose to defend someone else with your firearm, you’re going “all in” with everything you own. Make sure that you’re operating within the laws and that you’re prepared.
Rob- Anything else?
Robyn- That is enough for now. Our second story happened in Lacombe, Louisiana.
Rob- Second Story- Are you armed at home?
You are at home on a Tuesday morning taking care of your four year old daughter. You hear shouts and suddenly four armed men rush into your house. They attack you and hit you in the head with their guns.
You’re armed. The news story doesn’t say how, but you shoot all four of your attackers without getting shot. Now you scoop up your daughter and call 911. Your daughter is injured. EMTs take her to the hospital for treatment of a bullet wound. Police find two of your attackers dead at the scene. Two more of them were wounded and ran into the front yard. EMTs also take them to the hospital.
Robyn, you carry at home to protect your family, so you know how this dad felt.
Robyn- I do. I wish we had more information about how the defender was able to address four threats! Talk about things escalating quickly! It’s good that the defender was armed, addressed the threats, and called 911.
When we’re at home, we often think that we’re in a safe bubble, but it can be life-saving to be armed while you’re home on a Tuesday morning with your kids. Some things to think about are possibly reinforcing entries to give you a few more seconds to respond.
When you’re at home, think about where you can find cover vs. concealment. Where are there reinforced walls? Could your daughter have a “safety spot” to go to? Have you had age-appropriate conversations and drills about such a scenario?
Rob- How often do we see a crime like this?
Robyn- We have over a million home robberies each year, but fortunately, only a few of them include four armed attackers.
Rob- Do your students get to shoot at multiple targets?
Robyn- Yes, we often work on target transitions. I’ve also found that competition is a valuable part of training for these kinds of scenarios. While it’s a game, it still gives you the ability to practice engaging targets over various distances from behind props and walls. It’s on the clock, so it does induce an element of stress, and gives the shooter a lot of practice in moving, working from behind cover, managing reloads, and other skills that come into play in real-world situations.
Rob- Talk to me about shooting from cover, from behind a wall, a bed, a kitchen counter and cabinet.
Robyn- New gun owners have to learn a few things before they learn that.
Rob- So what skills do they need before you have them work around a barrier?
Robyn- Our third story happened in Rosedale, Maryland.
You’re selling an expensive pair of shoes. You find a buyer online. You agree to meet at a parking lot during the daytime and make the exchange. The buyer looks over the shoes. Instead of reaching for his wallet, the buyer pulls out a gun and points his gun at you. He demands the shoes and your wallet.
You own a handgun. You have your Maryland concealed carry permit. You’re armed today. You shoot your robber one time in the chest and your attacker drops his gun. You run across the parking lot and call 911.
Police arrive and take the gun away from your attacker. EMTs take your attacker to a hospital where he later died. You stay at the scene and make a statement to the police. The article doesn’t say what happened to your shoes.
Robyn- It’s good our defender was armed when meeting this stranger. The defender reacted promptly, ran to safety, and called 911.
Rob- Is this sort of crime unusual?
Robyn- Over a hundred thousand armed robberies are reported each year.
Rob- What would you like us to do when we sell our property?
Robyn- The best way to win a gunfight is to not be in a gunfight. So, perhaps this exchange could have happened at a police station or in a less isolated place. Perhaps bring a friend with you. This might have deterred the attacker from showing up.
Rob- It would be better to lose a sale and avoid a gunfight.
You are a firearms instructor. You have to make sure your students are not injured and that they don’t injure other students during training. How do you teach students to back up, draw their gun, and then shoot as they step backward or to the side? They can’t do that at most indoor shooting ranges.
Robyn- Dryfire practice is invaluable. You can really work on your moving techniques in your own home! With ammo being in short supply these days, we’re all looking for ways to dryfire more. Position some chairs in your living room and move from chair to chair. Maybe use red solo cups or paper plates to mark places to stop. Make sure you have a solid stance, pristine trigger finger discipline with your trigger finger high on the frame outside of the trigger guard, and then look to where you want to move, get there quickly, establish your grip, and dryfire. Repeat this drill and use snap caps to simulate malfunctions, work reloads, there are so many skills you can practice away from the range with an empty gun. You can also record yourself, so you can really evaluate your techniques to make sure that you’re reinforcing good habits and skills.
Rob- This is where you talk with your family and roommates BEFORE you practice in the home.
What should we say to the police when we call?
Robyn- When you call 911, let the dispatcher know that there is an injured suspect that needs medical attention. Give a description of yourself, what you’re wearing, and let them know where you will be when police officers arrive. You can say that your life was in danger and you defended yourself. Keep additional details to yourself until your attorney is present.
Robyn- Our forth story took place in New Caney, Texas.
Attacked with hammer in backyard
Your friend is out of town and you’re house sitting for him. It is about 10 at night when you hear loud banging coming from the back of the house. You open the back door and look outside. You see a stranger and ask him what he wants? The man has a hammer in his hand and he charges you.
You’re armed. You back up and shoot your attacker several times. Now your attacker stops. You set the gun down and call 911. You give a statement to the police. EMTs say your attacker died at the scene.
Robyn- The defender was armed and accurate. Called 911 and cooperated with the police.
Robyn- Perhaps there was a way to view the back yard without going outside. Were there outside lights and our defender could look through a window to see who was there, without opening the door? Light is usually a game changer — it gives more information and can disorient an attacker, if not just surprise them, briefly to give you a few more seconds of information and time to seek cover or respond.
Rob- We already talked about shooting while you move. When would you students learn to shoot at night and at close quarters? When do you get to practice those skills?
Robyn- Seek training. There are specialized training courses available at many local ranges, although some skills are advanced and so I encourage students to travel to academies that offer these classes. Some classes require shoot houses and facilities that accommodate this type of training. Look for instructors that are known for their curriculum in these specialties.
Rob- The news story says the defender “got his gun.” That didn’t happen by magic. With so many new gun owners this year, talk to me about storage and concealed carry in your home.
Robyn- With firearm storage there is always the balance between security and accessibility. Where is it secured away from unauthorized people and children, and how quickly can I get to it when I need it. If you choose to train to carry onbody, then having a good holster is key. Your holster will need to completely cover the trigger, provide a safe and efficient drawstroke, and be comfortable for you to wear all day. At the end of the day, make sure your holster it returned to a safe. There are three places for your self-defense pistol: your hand, your holster, or your safe.
Robyn- Let me ask you, Rob. What was wrong with this guy so that he was breaking into a house with a hammer?
Rob- Drugs. Most assailants are intoxicated when they attack.
Robyn- Well that doesn’t make me feel any better. Now I’m dealing with a crazy man with a hammer.
Rob- Crazy people don’t see crazy behavior as crazy. They can’t hear us.
Robyn- Lock your doors. Call the police. Stay inside if you can, then let the police deal with the crazy druggies.
Rob- that wraps up this episode. Robyn, thank you for helping us today. Where can we learn more about you?
Robyn- Look for me at https://www.agirlandagun.org/ and A Girl & A Gun on all of the social media pages. We have events coming up after Christmas.
Rob- After you look at the many resources on Robyn’s site, then please leave us a message on the podcast facebook page.
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I’m Rob Morse. Christmas and new years are coming up. We’ll be back with more Self-Defense Gun Stories.