Episode 238 with David Cole

Rob- Introduction-

Welcome to episode 238 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 my friend and self defense instructor David Cole. How have you been, Dave?

Self defense instructor David Cole

David- Hi, Rob. I’ve been shooting a few matches, doing more dry practice, and planning my next African safari.

Rob- So even reloaders like you care about ammunition prices. Please go to the iTunes store where you subscribe to podcasts and let new listeners know what you like.

David- Here in the US, we defend ourselves with a firearm tens of thousands of times each week. We look at a few recent examples and see what we can learn. The links back to the original news articles are on our podcast webpage.

Our first story took place last week in Glynn County, Georgia.

Rob- First story- Are you armed as you drive at work?

You’re delivering food late at night. There is no house at the address you were given, so you call the customer for directions. The customer says he is in the trailer home down the street. You get out of your car and a stranger comes up to you. “You order the pizza?” you ask. The man draws a knife and tells you to give him your wallet and your phone.

You are a gun owner. You have your Georgia Weapons Carry License. You’re also armed tonight. You step back and your attacker moves toward you. You present your handgun and shoot your attacker. You keep backing up, and your attacker stops chasing you. You call 911.

You give a brief statement to the police. EMS declares your attacker dead at the scene. Police identify your attacker as a criminal with a long history of robbery who recently got out of prison after serving 15 years. Neither you nor the property owner know your attacker.

David- Did you ever play the game where you describe your job badly? I go to strange places at strange times to meet strange and hungry people. This is a dangerous job. We don’t know if he had the pizza in his hands, but it’s probably a safe assumption.

Our defender had a gun and was armed. He had his carry permit. Recognized the knife as a lethal threat. He retreated to create space to act and time to think. He shot until the threat went away. The attacker stopped closing the distance. Then he stopped shooting. Responsible for every shot. Called 911, stayed at the scene, gave a statement.

Rob- Our defender thought about his defense.

David- (anything else you’d do in this situation?) Low light, on the move, keep the car between you and the unknown stranger.

Rob- When do students learn to draw and shoot in low light and as they back up?

David- Usually later in their progression as a shooter. Shooting while moving in daylight, then static skills in low light must be practiced before combining the two.

Rob- What else do you see here?

David- If you don’t already, then please start paying attention to keeping your gun hand free whenever possible. If you must carry something in your gun hand, be mindful of the need to drop it immediately if a threat emerges.

Rob- Keep your strong hand free. What should the 911 call sound like?

David- Your location and the situation…that you were attacked and shot in self defense. Request police and an ambulance. My personal plan includes informing the call taker that I have a concealed carry license and a physical description of myself. I want responding police to know what I look like, and hopefully that I am the good guy.
Rob- Anything else?

David- Let me save some of what I know for later. Our second story happened in  Columbus, Ohio.

Rob- second Story- Are you armed at home?

You and your boyfriend are fighting. He hits you. You shout for him to stop. He hits your baby, that is when you draw your firearm and shoot your attacker. Now he leaves your child alone. You grab your child, back up, and call the police.

EMTs take you and your baby to a children’s hospital for treatment. They take your attacker to a separate hospital to treat a serious but not life threatening gunshot wound.

You give a statement to the police.

David-  Children are easily hurt by adults. An unrelated male in the home is the greatest danger to your children, both physically and sexually. What constitutes a deadly threat can vary!

The same punch delivered to you or me might not be a big deal, but to an infant it could be lethal. She was armed, recognized a lethal threat, stopped the threat, stopped shooting when the boyfriend ran away. Called the police and sought medical attention for herself and her child.

Rob- What do we want our students to do in a situation like this?

David- Try to keep strange men away from your children. Draw the line at the first threat of DV.

Tell your friends and call the police even if the threat isn’t actionable because it helps to establish a history of abuse which may be helpful later on. You want to be able to point to that evidence so it is clear that you were the victim rather than the aggressor in this case.

Rob- This is close quarters gun fighting again. How is that different from the skills we practice with slow fire marksmanship at 7 yards?

David- Of course, in any defensive shooting situation speed is of the essence, but we must be certain of our shot. While we need to go fast enough to stop the threat to life, a miss does not help. The precise combination of speed and accuracy will really be determined by the situation. At greater distances, we will need to go a little slower to ensure that we achieve the hits we need. Closer in, we can speed up, and may not even need to see our sights in order to get hits.

Rob- how hard is that to learn?

David-  This is where good training and practice come in. You must know how fast *you* can go at various distances with varying sight pictures and still get hits.

Rob- Is there a class for that? When and where can you practice CQC?

David- There are many defensive shooting schools which can help you develop the skills and knowledge to shoot quickly and accurately. I’m partial to Gunsite Academy, but there are others. I am also a firm believer that action pistol sports such as USPSA and IDPA are invaluable in learning where your personal “red line” is, and in getting the necessary practice to move that red line farther back.

Our third story happened in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Rob- First this message from the Crime Prevention Research Center.


Rob- Third story- Are you armed at home?

It is just after sunset when you hear someone banging on your front door. You open the door to see who it is. A stranger pushes his way inside. You fall backwards. You’re armed. You shoot your attacker, and now he stops pushing you. You back up and call 911. EMS declares our attacker dead at the scene.

Police say your attacker was a drunk tourist who couldn’t find his way back to his hotel. They say no charges will be filed against you.

David- Armed, stopped shooting, called 911.

Rob- Can we do better?

David- Don’t open the door to strangers. As students of self defense and responsible gun owners, we have to consider how decisions (good and bad) affected this outcome, and how other choices might have changed things. Offer to call 911 for them.

Rob- What else do you see here?

David- Again, close quarters. Less distance doesn’t just reduce the amount of time you have to physically perform the actions necessary to shoot, it also reduces the amount of time available to make a decision. Do you suppose that a decision made quickly has a greater chance of being a poor decision?

Rob- What is the castle doctrine?

David- Legal specifics will vary state to state, but generally speaking castle doctrine removes the “duty to retreat” requirement. If you are in your home, you are not expected to flee an intruder. And contrary to popular belief, it does not mean you can automatically shoot anyone in your home. In some places it does mean that you can assume that the intruder means to harm you and you may defend yourself, but your defense still must be reasonable. Again, these are generalities, and you are responsible for knowing the law in your state (or any state you’re visiting).
Rob- When do your students learn about those laws and how they affect their defense?

David- CCW class. 

David- Our fourth story took place in Midland, Washington.


Rob- Fourth story- Are you armed at home?

Your neighbor gives you a call in the middle of the morning. Your neighbor is away from home and his doorbell camera showed someone near, or in, his house. He asks you to have a look. You walk towards his house when you see a stranger coming out of your neighbor’s side door. You shout to the stranger.

The stranger is carrying a sack, and carrying your friend’s rifle. The stranger orders you inside and grabs your phone. You don’t want to be shot so you ask if he needs any help. The robber is sweating, nervous, and twitching like an addict. The robber picks up a small safe, his sack, and orders you outside at gunpoint. You suggest that he take the property and leave the gun behind. You’re walking outside when the robber drops the rifle.

You’re a gun owner. You have your concealed carry permit. You’re carrying concealed in public today. Now that you don’t have a rifle pointed at you, you draw your gun and tell your attacker to give you back your cell phone. The attacker drops your phone, then reaches back for the rifle. You shoot the ground in front of him, and your attacker runs away. You call the police and keep your attacker in sight. A block away the attacker drops the safe. He runs into some trees, but the police surround him and arrest him.

You give a statement to the police. Your 28 year old attacker is charged with kidnapping, burglary, and robbery.

David- Armed, carry permit, de-escalate with verbal commands, called 911 and gave a statement.

David- Good that he kept his head and didn’t draw when the attacker had a gun pointed at him. We lose a tie. (In Japanese swordsmanship, this is called “ai uchi” or mutual killing…you don’t want that.)

Needs to get better at reconnaissance at a distance. Let the police search a house.

Rob- When do you talk to your students about situations like this one?

David- In general terms, very early on. This is personal safety 101. We are always seeking to avoid confrontation, not to cause it. Create distance, maintain distance, avoid and escape when possible. As Steve Tarani says, if you have to go to guns, you’ve failed the first test.

Rob- Talk to me about warning shots.

David-  Although it worked out this time, that was due more to luck. They are almost never a good idea, and in many locales they are illegal. Generally speaking, we do not pull the trigger unless we have a reasonable fear of death or serious injury…so if that condition exists, why would you intentionally miss. Either you are legally justified in shooting someone or you are not, period. If you are not, don’t shoot. If you are, shoot to stop the threat. And if you are simply uncomfortable with the possibility that you may have to kill someone, then do not carry a gun.


Rob- That wraps up this episode. David, thank you for helping us again. Where can we learn more about you?

David- Look for my written articles at deltabravocharlie.com

Rob- After you look at David articles, then leave us a message on the podcast facebook page and tell us about Dave’s spelling and grammar mistakes.

David- 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.  I hope we’ll be back next week with more Self-Defense Gun Stories.

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