Episode 228 with Ben Branam

Rob- Introduction-

Rob- Welcome to episode 228 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 my friend and firearms instructor Ben Branam. Ben, this podcast is starting its sixth year. Thank you, but your podcast, Modern Self Protection, is older than that.

Ben- Hi, Rob.  Congratulations. We’ve been doing this for a while now.

Rob- What have you been doing lately?

Ben- I’ve been teaching and …

Rob- Prices for 9mm training ammunition have gone up by a factor of four over the last year. How has that changed the way you train and the way you teach? https://ammopricesnow.com/9mm/

Rob- We received two comments last week. (218/128). Someone with the screen name Polite-Kansas-Family said they listened to our podcast and then changed the way they think about self-defense. Listener Brandy is a firearms instructor in Southern California and she shares our podcast with her students. Please go to the iTunes store where you subscribe to podcasts. Let us know how we can help you or your class.

Ben- We defend ourselves with a firearm tens of thousands of times each week. Today, we’ll look at a few recent examples. Were these gun owners lucky, or were they prepared? We give you the links back to the original news article on our podcast webpage.

Our first story took place last week in Niles, Ohio.

Rob- First story- Do you have a firearm nearby at night?

You’re having troubles with your ex-boyfriend. You and he have a child together. It is after midnight and he calls again. He is threatening you. He has attacked you before and was charged with domestic violence. You and your daughter hide upstairs. You hear him kick in the back door. You hear him come upstairs. He has a gun in his hands. You shoot him. Now, he runs back downstairs and you call 911.

Police find your attacker downstairs. They disarm him, and he says he was shot in a local bar. Police see the broken door and the shell casing upstairs. Your attacker is arrested and taken to the hospital for treatment of a gunshot wound to his chest. He is charged with violating his parole and felony aggravated burglary.

Ben- This story is confusing. On the 911 tape, she called him “my boyfriend”.

Rob- What did our defender do correctly?

Ben- She locked her doors. Armed herself, Stayed upstairs, defended her child, called 911.

Rob- Is there anything else you’d like us to do if we’re defending our family?

Ben- Restraining order, or order of domestic protection.

Use the bedroom door or stairway as a chokepoint. (What is a Chokepoint?)

If breaking one door is good evidence, then breaking two doors is more than twice as good.

Some of the neighbors didn’t know there was a breakin until the ambulance arrived. Scream loud and long so you have lots of ear-witnesses.

Rob- Why is that important? How does that help us?

Ben- Criminals lie. He said he was shot in a bar. They’ll say she invited me over, and asked me to come in and then she shot me. You want your neighbors to hear you said, “Go away. Don’t come up here. I’m armed and I’ll shoot.” It’s also the moral thing to do, and the legal thing to do. It saves you thousands of dollars in legal bills and may keep you out of jail.

But there is a time to close your mouth and use your firearm.

Rob- I remember you saying that before, that there is a time to talk and a time to act. Why do you say that?

Ben- You can’t act if you are talking. I’ve asked my students to run a drill, and then to run through it again while they recite their phone number. We can’t talk and shoot at the same time. Decide how close you will let the attacker get to you and then shut up and defend your family.

Rob- Why would you attack your ex-wife/ex-girlfriend with a gun? That sounds crazy to me.

Ben- Maybe he was a druggie and she had money. Maybe he was intoxicated. Maybe he was crazy. Defend first. Analize later. 

Rob- We’ll talk about crazy in another story. How often do we see crimes of domestic abuse?

Ben- The US crime victimization survey said there were over a million teenage or adult victims of domestic violence in 2019. 

Rob- That is a lot. Now I appreciate my peaceful family. What do you recommend for your students who’ve been, or who fear that they will become, victims of domestic violence?

Ben- Tell people and ask for help.

Rob- Do you see anything else?

Ben- That is enough for now. Our second story happened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Rob- Second Story- Do you have a firearm nearby as you sleep?

It is three in the morning. You are startled awake by a crashing sound and you feel the house shudder. You’re a 27 year old woman and your roommate is a 26 year old woman. You shout to ask if she is OK. You leave your bedrooms and see a man inside your home. You both shout for him to leave. He pushes you and then hits you. You run back to your bedroom to get your handgun. When you return, your attacker is fighting with your roommate. You shoot the attacker in the leg and now he stops. Your roommate calls 911 while you stand there holding your gun.

You and your roommate tell the police what happened. You explain that you own the gun legally and have a permit for it. EMS takes your attacker to the hospital. You go down stairs and look at the broken door. Your attacker is listed in critical condition.

Ben- Checked on her room mate, retreated to get the gun, called 911, waited for the police.

Rob- What else would you want your students to do in a situation like this?

Ben- Avoid going hand to hand. You can get hurt very badly if your attacker knows how to fight. Armed roommate, team plan, center of chest, lethal leg shot.

Rob- Are home invasion robberies unusual?

Ben- About 300 thousand a year. Lots of druggies need cash. Criminals rob people for a living. Sometimes they do it two or three times a day.

Rob- Talk to me about a team defense.

Ben- Once you have the tools and the practice, then you need a plan. Tactics. Both sides of a hallway, both sides of a stairway.

Rob- When do you talk to your students about making a defensive plan with their family?


Our third story happened in Ottumwa, (Autumn-wa) Iowa.

Rob- First this message from the Second Amendment Foundation.

Rob- Third story- Are you armed at home in the evening?

You are home alone on a Thursday evening. You hear someone screaming outside. Several seconds later you hear someone hitting your front door. You ask what is wrong, but their answer doesn’t make sense. The stranger keeps kicking your door. You go to your room and grab your gun. You call 911. A deputy is on his way when the intruder kicks through your front door. You shout for him to leave. He attacks you and you shoot him. Now, he stops. You back away and wait for the police.

Police arrive and arrest your attacker. EMS flys him to the university hospital where he died. EMS also treats you at the scene. The police said your attacker crashed his car nearby and was screaming as he ran through the neighborhood.

Mental health and drugs

Ben- Done right? Armed, called, defended, statement, took medical attention 

Rob- Is there anything else you see that our defender could have done?

Ben- Our defender got into a physical fight with a stranger. I weigh 300 pounds and I’m a fighter, and I don’t want to get in a fight. Lock yourself in your back room and wait for the police. You don’t want to kill someone who is off his meds even if you’re legally justified to do so. Lock your bedroom door and hope the police tackle him before you have to shoot him.

That is why I reinforced my bedroom door. That is where I’ll protect my family. A better door, long screws, and a dead bolt is a good investment so my family doesn’t have to watch someone dying.

Rob- I see more stories of attacks by crazy people.

Ben- Yes and no. You and I have sympathy for people with mental illness. Criminals see crazy people as easy victims. Lots of criminals also have a drug habit, and illegal drugs usually make mental health problems worse. Also, there are segments of our society where children grow up with violence. 

Rob- Again, I’m counting my blessings for my family. What you said is a lot of wisdom. When do you tell your students about protecting their family by reinforcing their home?

Ben- ALL THE TIME! Do things so you don’t have to shoot someone in your home.  We are looking for the best possible outcome, delay your intruder until the police can get there and arrest him and no one gets hurt.  The intruder gets the help he needs to be back in society and doesn’t victimize anyone else. 

Ben- Our last story took place in Virginia.

Rob- Fourth story- Are you armed when you drive at work?

(watch the video at the link)

Your rental car company stores cars outside. You drive around to check on the cars and make sure they and the customers are safe. As you drive through the storage lot at night, a stranger runs up to your car and tries to open the passenger side door. Of course, your door is locked, but you quickly stop your car. That man tried to carjack you.

You are a gun owner. You have your Virginia resident concealed handgun permit. You’re armed tonight. You step out of your car and present your firearm. You shout for the carjacker to put his hands up and to sit down on the ground. Two police cars roll into your lot just as the carjacker’s bottom hits the asphalt.

The officers are chasing your carjacker through the neighborhood. The officers get out of their car with guns drawn. You holster your firearm, stand next to your car, and hold your hands and arms away from your body. The police arrest your carjacker and handcuff him. A third officer arrives a minute later. You show the officers the video from the parking lot security system.

Tag- No shots fired.

Ben- Great outcome…. The best defensive gun use

Ben- Done better. Maybe drive away… 

Ben- How to react to responding officers.

Ben- Video

Rob- Should we hold a criminal or let them run away? 

Ben- Let them go, and that may be preferable to holding them at gun point

Rob- When do you tell your students about that? They have to un-learn what they saw on TV.

Ben- As soon as I start talking about tactics, let them go is a good tactic for you

Rob- People can get sued for anything. How do we protect ourselves legally after we’ve protected ourselves physically?

Ben- Call 911 and ask for help from everyone there. Continue training, keep a training log, don’t publicly say stupid things, get a form of insurance if it does happen.


Rob- that wraps up this episode. Ben, thank you for helping us for the last five years. Where can we learn more about you and what you’re doing?

Ben- I live in San Antonio, and most of my classes are in central Texas where I teach armed self-defense and church security. Check my schedule and sign up for my classes at Modern Self Protection.com. You can also subscribe to my weekly podcast called Modern Self-Protection.

Rob- After you listen to Ben’s podcast, then leave us a message on the Self-Defense Gun Stories podcast facebook page .. or on Me We.

Ben- Or at the podcast webpage.

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Rob- Ben and I are both part of the Self-defense radio network. Find more pro-freedom podcasts at sdrn.us

I’m Rob Morse.  We’ll be back next week with more Self-Defense Gun Stories.

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