Episode 233 with Robyn Sandoval

Rob- Introduction-

Welcome to episode 233 of Self-Defense Gun Stories. We’re glad you found us if you’re well trained.. and also if you are new to self defense. I’m Rob Morse and we’re joined this week by firearms instructor Robyn Sandoval. I know you’ve been busy.

Robyn- Hi, Rob.  I’ve been preparing for the 9th Annual A Girl & A Gun National Conference Presented by GLOCK that is taking place in just two weeks! So excited to see 450 AG & AG members, 100 instructors and staff, and a ton of sponsors in Colorado. I’ve also been working with local instructors to manage the surge of new women shooters coming into our community. I’ve opened six new chapters of A Girl & A Gun in the past week.

Robyn at the Range

Rob- That is both amazing and great news. We had some more good news when a listener thanked Tony Simon for the wisdom he brings to the podcast. I agree. Please go to the iTunes store where you subscribe to podcasts and share your wisdom with us. (Total 226 ratings, 130 comments.)

Robyn- We defend ourselves with a firearm tens of thousands of times each week. We’ll see what we can learn from a few recent examples. We give you the links back to the original news articles on our podcast webpage.

Our first story took place last week in Lexington, Kentucky.

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

You’re asleep in bed. It is 3 in the morning when you hear a noise downstairs. You are a woman living alone, so it isn’t a housemate. You grab your gun and go see what is happening in your apartment. You see a stranger in your home. The news story doesn’t give us any details, but you shoot your intruder. He runs away and you stop shooting. You call 911.

15 minutes later the police arrest your intruder at the local hospital. He is treated and then arrested for burglary and terroristic threats.

Robyn- This is one of those scenarios where our homeowner had some options. She could have locked her bedroom door, positioned herself with her firearm behind cover, and called 911 to wait for police. Or she could have advanced to the threat to get more information. Depending on the situation, either is a viable option. In this case, the woman went downstairs, put eyes on a stranger, identified this threat in her home, and used her firearm to stop the threat. When he left, she stopped shooting and called 911. She was unharmed and properly defended herself.

Rob- In Kentucky, an intruder is assumed to be there to do harm and there is no duty to retreat.

Robyn- Yes, we don’t know what this stranger wanted, but he had no business being in her home at 3am. Our defender was armed. She set a mental limit of how close she was willing to let an attacker get to her. She was accurate, and when he fled she didn’t chase him. She called 911 and gave a statement to the police.

Rob- Are there things you’d like us to do that aren’t mentioned in the news article? 

Robyn- Every home is different and every family’s emergency action plan is unique to your family and your home’s layout. Where are your loved ones located? Do you have options to barricade yourself in a room or leave through a door or window? Must you confront the threat? It helps to be prepared for any scenario by having your firearm accessible, as well as a phone. Be prepared mentally, too, by knowing your plan and being ready to defend yourself if someone gets too close to you.

Rob- What would be a position of advantage?

Robyn- Transitional spaces always leave us vulnerable, such as hallways, open rooms. Identify places where you can remain behind cover where someone can’t see you, but you can see them. Consider your angles and lighting sources in your home, too. If you’re at the top of the stairs with light behind you, and the room below is dark you will be spotlighted and your view will be limited. 

Rob- What do we tell the 911 operator?

Robyn- Typical 911 should be succinct and include only the most important details: your location, that you are a victim of a crime, and if there is an injured person who needs medical treatment.

Rob- The robber was arrested for terroristic threats, so he either threatened the victim in her home or when he was being arrested. Talk to me about abusers who threaten us if we defend ourselves.

Robyn- This robber already had a mugshot on file, so this was not his first encounter with the law. For some people this is a normal way of life and they don’t live by society’s rules. In fact, abusers think they get to dictate the rules. They expect to beat you and assume that you won’t be able to defend yourself. They believe it and expect you to believe it, too. It’s important to catch him by surprise; we call this disrupting his OODA loop. When you can disrupt his thought process or plan,  you win. Be prepared with the right tools and mindset to protect yourself from an attacker. 

Rob- The criminal thinks we’re a coward or we cheated because we used a gun while he uses his fists.

Robyn- What is that quote, “If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck.” You have every right to legally use all of the tools in your toolbox to defend your life. It’s about hugging your loved ones at the end of the day.

Rob- This episode has homeowners present during a home invasion. That happens more than a million times a year. Where is our second story?

Robyn- We’re going to Caroline County, Virginia.

Rob- Second Story- Are you armed when you visit grandma?

You got the call that no one wants to hear. One of the kids hit Grandma in the head and stole her car. The rest of the family is trying to get grandma to a doctor. They want your help if the grandchild comes back. That makes sense since her attacker is a large 29 year old male with a history of problems and a criminal record. You go to grandma’s house.

It is 10 pm when the attacker comes back with grandma’s car. You get between grandma and the door. You tell her attacker to drop the keys and leave. He moves toward you. You’re armed. You present your firearm and shoot him. He falls down. You call 911 and ask for police and EMS.

Your attacker is arrested, taken to the hospital to treat his wounded leg, and then taken to jail. He is charged with malicious assault, assault and battery, auto theft, and driving on a revoked license.

Robyn- This is a tough situation. But let’s just look at the facts: Our defender was armed, and had a mental decision point where he was going to use force to defend himself and others if the attacker came too close. He called 911, asked for medical assistance, stayed at the scene, and cooperated with the police.

Rob- What else should we do. I can think of a few things.

Robyn- It would probably be better if the police were called when the crime was first committed. In other words, call 911 when when the grandson hit grandma and stole her car. Let the police apprehend the criminal, so you aren’t forced into an escalated situation, especially with a relative. Make sure Grandma receives medical treatment because it makes sure that she’s ok and documents the injury.

This is why training is so important and lets us know our options to de-escalate a situation or avoid a situation. Grandma also should have had a plan. If there was a family member who is showing signs of violence, perhaps stealing for drug money, then make sure everyone in the family is prepared for this scenario.

This doesn’t just happen with parents and grandparents; we’ve seen this happen with couples who are going through a divorce. It’s important that you are aware of other’s behavior and triggers. It’s important that you’re trained and armed and not caught off guard. You must have the mindset necessary to do what needs to be done to protect yourself, and it’s especially hard when it’s someone you love or someone you want to trust.

Rob- What would you tell the police?

Robyn- Inform the police that you’re the one that called them. Show them your ID and your carry permit. Keep your firearm holstered at your side. Ask them what to do next. 

The earlier attack is a separate incident and by itself is not sufficient justification for using lethal force now, but you can make a statement that the attacker entered without permission. You told him to stop. You knew he was violent only a few hours ago and you had reason to believe that he’d be violent again. You had to defend yourself and defend your Grandma who was behind you. You shot the attacker when he closed the distance to you. You stopped shooting when he stopped advancing.

Make a statement that you want him charged. Sign a complaint and testify in court. You’ll also cooperate with the investigation and give a complete statement after you talk to your attorney. 

Rob- The grandson might lie and say he didn’t do anything. A lot of people are going to tell grandma that the attacker is sorry, or that the attack was her fault.

Robyn- Yes, this is going to be really hard on Grandma, so make sure she has a counselor to talk to. She needs reassurance that it wasn’t her fault and her grandson was a violent criminal.

Our third story happened in Colorado Springs, Colorado. 

Rob- First this message from Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership.

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

Your girlfriend comes over and she is worried. Her ex-boyfriend is contacting her even though she took out a restraining order. She is afraid she is being followed. It is about 9 at night when a stranger enters your home and attacks you. You own a gun. You’re carrying concealed. You present your firearm and shoot at your attacker. He runs away, but you’re not sure if you hit him or not. You stay at the scene and both of you and your girlfriend call the police.

That was your girlfriend’s ex who attacked you. He has a history of domestic violence. He broke the restraining order by calling her, and by following her here. 

Police take your statements. They search the area but don’t find your attacker. The next morning, someone reports a body laying face down in the snow a few blocks away.

Robyn- Our defenders did a lot of things correctly. She had a restraining order. She sought help rather than going home unarmed and alone. Our defender was armed with a firearm on his body. They defended themselves and didn’t chase the stalker. They gave a statement.

Rob- I know there is more you want us to do.

Robyn- Make sure the doors are locked so that someone can’t too easily enter. Maybe motion lights outside would have alerted them to his presence. 

Perhaps she could have called the police as soon as she arrived to let them know that the ex violated his restraining order. If the stalker follows you, then do not open a door to him. If he breaks down a door to get to you it will be documented. Get to a secure location and call the police. If you have to defend yourself, then have a lawyer to call. If the police say you need medical attention, then take their advice to document your injuries.

Rob- These two men were hand to hand. When do your students learn close-quarters combat with a handgun?

Robyn- Close-quarters is an advanced skill that comes after you have learned and become proficient with the foundations of marksmanship. First you need to be skilled at manipulating your firearm, then you can work on holster methods and  presentation of your pistol from a holster, as well as a clear understanding of the laws of lethal force. Then we’ll get into shooting and moving, the use of cover and concealment. And then we’ll talk about shooting from unusual positions, including close quarters shooting from retention, and retaining your firearm when someone grabs it. Each subject builds on the previous building blocks.

Rob- So shooting someone while you’re fighting with them isn’t in your first class.

Robyn- It isn’t safe to do that when our students haven’t formed the habits of basic of firearms safety.

Rob- What do your tell your students who want to learn everything in a day?

Robyn- I can show it to you in a day, but you can’t retain that much material. You certainly can’t learn it all. This is a physical skill that takes time and practice. Physical attributes, such as muscle strength, vision, and coordination, are necessary for firearms training and shooting sports – and they don’t magically appear overnight. With consistency – daily habits — you will become strong, stable, and accurate. You will also hone your mindset and mental processing skills.

Rob- Amen. If you want to learn to perform with a firearm, then give yourself time to master the basics before you move on.

Robyn- Our forth story took place in Monticello, New York.

Rob- Fourth story- Are you armed at home?

You hear a crashing sound and screams. You come out of your bedroom and see two strangers attacking your roommate. You have your New York firearms license. You’re armed. You present your firearm and shoot the attacker closest to you. Both men turn and run. You stop shooting.

You check on your roommate. Both of you call 911 at a few minutes after nine in the morning.

The police arrive and you give them a brief statement. You fired more than once, but you don’t know if you hit your attacker. Police find your attackers when they arrive at the local hospital. Your attackers are arrested and held in jail for felony burglary. 

Robyn- Our defender had an emergency action plan. There were attackers in his home, and he did what he had trained to do. This wasn’t an impromptu decision: Our defender took the several months required to get his firearms license in New York State. It isn’t clear if he had his premises permit or if he also had his carry permit. The defender recognized an immediate and lethal threat to an innocent person. He acted to stop the threat, and stopped shooting once the threat was no longer present. Both occupants of the house called 911.

His statement to the police led them to capture his attackers at the hospital.

Rob- Is there anything else you’d your students to do in a similar situation?

Robyn- Make sure that your firearm is accessible and loaded so that you can react quickly. When it is legal to do so, have your gun on your person.

Also, what happened to the defender’s gun before the police arrived? Where did it go? What did he do with it?

Rob- Why is that important, and where is a good place to put your firearm?

Robyn- Safely re-holster your firearm when the threat is stopped, before or as the police arrive.

Rob- What else do you see in this story?

Robyn- The close proximity is something to notice. The defender shot people who were within arms reach of his roommate. New York has a duty to retreat, but he couldn’t retreat because the roommate would have been at a greater risk if you did so. Sometimes, the situation calls for us to move closer to the attacker so that we can ensure an accurate shot and miss your roommate as the three of them fight.

Rob- The target dictates how accurate you need to be, and in this case, the target is changing every instant.

Robyn- There is more to self-defense than standing 7 yards from a static target and taking a shot every few seconds.

Take the advice from the police and get checked for injuries. Get a ride to the doctor’s office and call your lawyer.


Rob- that wraps up this episode. Robyn, thank you for helping us again. 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 all across the country.

Rob- After you look at Robyn’s articles, then leave her a message on the podcast facebook page.

Robyn- We share this podcast with you for free.
Please share the podcast with a friend and give us a rating on I-Tunes and Stitcher.
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Rob- This show is part of the Self-defense radio network. Find more pro-freedom podcasts at sdrn.us

I’m Rob Morse.  We’ll be back in a few weeks with more Self-Defense Gun Stories.

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