Episode 240 with Robyn Sandoval
Welcome to episode 240 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. How have you been, Robyn?
Robyn- Hi, Rob. Life at A Girl & A Gun is exciting as we are preparing for our Clays Extravaganza, where we’ll welcome women from around the country to Kansas City for three days of shotgun fun! The sporting clays events are always a good time to reset and enjoy shooting as a recreational sport, which is a complete departure from intense defensive training. As you know I just returned from Ohio where I took an emergency response class with FASTER Saves Lives.
It is such a valuable program for armed teachers and those who care about our schools and our children. The pistol training was incredible. And speaking of children, I’m excited that my son is accompanying me to a precision rifle class that we have coming up in two weeks! Some families go to DisneyWorld during summer vacation, but we’re going to shoot targets that are more than a 1.5 miles away!
Rob- You have been busy.
Robyn- I’m not the only one. 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. We give you the links back to the original news articles on our podcast webpage.
Our first story took place last week in Lewis County, West Virginia.
Rob- First story- Are you armed at home?
You’re arguing with your boyfriend. You didn’t see it coming when your boyfriend attacks you from behind and hits the back of your head. You fall to the ground. Now your attacker kicks you. You shout for him to stop and your attacker says he is going to kill you. He climbs on top of you and chokes you.
You’re armed. You roll to the side, pull your handgun from your pocket, and shoot your attacker in the chest one time. Now he lets go of you. You move to safety and call 911.
Emergency medical services said your attacker died at the scene. You give a statement to the police. You’re not charged.
Robyn- The attacker waited until the victim’s back was turned. Talk about a sucker punch. The good thing is that she was armed, and she was able to access her firearm and stop the threat. She called 911, stayed at the scene, and gave a statement to the police.
Rob- She didn’t see this attack coming, but how likely is it that she was attacked on prior occasions?
Robyn- Maybe she carries all of the time, or maybe she had some intuition or indication that she needed to protect herself. So often women find themselves in these situations because they didn’t want to seem dramatic or overreact, when in reality they needed to trust themselves more. Domestic abusers seldom stop themselves. The pattern continues until the victims stop it.
Rob- What do you tell your students to do if they are in an abusive situation?
Robyn- I encourage all of my students to read the book The Gift of Fear by Gavin deBecker. It is a must-read for anyone who wants to be able to identify the signs of potential violence.
Rob- Do you ever ask your students to seek mental health counseling before they seek training for armed defense?
Robyn- Yes, if a woman is in a crisis situation, it’s important that she seeks out resources that specialize in the help she needs. The first step is going to be for her to find a safe place to live and counselors to help her manage the wave of emotions that she will be experiencing. Learning self-defense is a journey that starts with situational awareness, and then training with nonlethal, less-than-lethal tools, and possibly lethal force, depending on the totality of the circumstances.
Rob- How common is it for a victim of domestic violence to fight back?
Robyn- We think there are about 5 million assaults and about a thousand deaths from domestic abuse each year.
Rob- When would your students learn to fight from the ground?
Robyn- When women are attacked, the most common places we find ourselves is pinned against a wall or pinned to the ground. Knowing basic moves to leverage your body to get out of these grabs is essential. It’s easy to incorporate these techniques with dry-fire practice using a bluegun or training pistol, and there are many classes that incorporate shooting from the ground and alternate positions as part of their live-fire instruction.
Those classes come after your firearms safety and concealed carry courses.
Rob- I took a class where Ben Branam was my wrestling partner. He is large strong man. All I can say is never give up.
Is there more you want to say about this story?
Robyn- That is enough for now. Our second story happened in Saint Louis, Missouri
Rob- Second Story- Are you armed at work?
You’re doing some modifications and cleanup at an Italian Restaurant. You come in after hours to do the work. It is three in the morning when a man forces his way through the front door of the restaurant. You shout that the place is closed. The man charges you.
You’re armed. You draw your firearm and shoot your attacker. Now the attacker stops, so you stop shooting. You back away and call 911.
Emergency medical services take your attacker to the hospital. He is expected to recover. You give a statement to the police. You’re not charged.
Robyn- Our defender worked in a situation where there were no other people around to help him. He recognized that danger and provided his own protection. It sounds like he carried on body. He stopped shooting when his attacker stopped advancing. He called 911 and got police and EMS on the way. He gave a statement to the police.
Rob- You just went through some training to simulate an attacker running toward you. What did you learn?
Robyn- It’s over in the blink of an eye, which is why the training is so important so you don’t spend seconds panicking or processing. You have to recognize the situation and respond instantaneously. In recent scenario training I was able to deliver accurate shots on target, which was a great confirmation of the times I’ve practiced at the range.
Rob- When do students learn to present from a holster, and then from a concealed holster? That isn’t taught in the NRA basic pistol class.
Robyn- Holster work is vital. Being able to have a fast and efficient drawstroke, place shots on target, manage your firearm from an appropriate ready position, and then safely return to the holster is a process that is essential for any concealed carrier. They learn that in their ??? class.
Rob- When do you tell your students about a “safe” distance so they can recognize a threat?
Robyn- In 1984 Sgt Dennis Tueller published his research stating that an assailant within seven yards had an advantage over an officer who still had his firearm holstered. Tueller labeled the “reactionary gap” as the time it took for an individual to recognize a threat, make the decision to employ a firearm, and use the firearm in self defense. His work emphasized the importance of taking proactive measures to identify a threat, create distance, utilize obstacles, and present on target from the holster more quickly — in less than 1.5 seconds to be exact. So it’s important for you to know your reactionary gap. If you are unable to identify and stop a threat in less than 1.5 seconds from concealment, then you know your personal perimeter of safety will be greater than 21 feet. Will it be 30 feet? 50? 70? When you train with a shot timer and can test your reaction time, this will make you view the world differently. It’s critical that you are situationally aware and able to identify situations at a distance so that you have the time you need to respond.
Rob- Do you go over making a 911 call with your students?
Robyn- Yes we do, and remember location location location. This is the first bit of information you need to convey to a dispatcher so that you can get help. Then, identify yourself and what you are wearing. Let 911 know briefly what the attacker did, and the state of the situation presently, so that medical personnel and police are prepared.
Save the details until you have some quiet time to process your thoughts and speak with your attorney.
Rob- When do your students learn that?
Our third story happened in Carmichael, California.
Rob- First this message from Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership.
Rob- Third story- Are you armed at home?
You’re sitting in your trailer when you and your friend hear a noise outside. You are parked in a store parking lot and it is 9 in the morning when your friend goes outside to investigate. You hear shouts and gunshots a second later. You step outside to see your friend fighting with an armed man.
You’re armed. You present your firearm and shoot the attacker. Now the stranger lets go of your friend. You check on your friend and call 911.
The police were already on the way. Your attacker had driven his car on the sidewalk and deliberately run over two pedestrians. The attacker then crashed his car into another vehicle before he attacked your friend. EMS takes your attacker to the hospital for treatment. They also transport your friend.
You’re not charged.
Robyn- When I first heard the story, I assumed that it was a homeless individual. In my home city we have been dealing with a major crisis with homeless overpopulation, so I frequently see tweakers and drunk individuals walking through parking lots and even stopping traffic on busy streets, so it’s not hard to imagine a scenario like this. But we later learned that this attacker arrived in a vehicle after running over pedestrians, ramming his truck into another car and pushing it over a hundred yards. The toxicology report would be fascinating.
Rob- What did our defender do correctly?
Robyn- He was armed. A gun is a rescue tool, and when you need it, you need it right now. The defender recognized an armed and dangerous threat. He stopped shooting when the threat stopped. He took care of his friend and called the police.
Rob- What does it look like if the threat goes away? If the bad guy still has a gun in his hand is he still a threat?
Robyn- Yes! And not just a gun, but he was a threat with his truck. This attacker had already used lethal force before he even gripped his firearm. So, he used lethal force with his truck, and lethal force with his firearm. And the news story says he also had a crowbar! Even if shots took him down to the ground, the defenders need to stay vigilant about watching him. Even if he’s down, he’s still a threat.
Rob- When do you talk to your students about those legal issues?
Robyn- Part of being a responsibly armed citizen is knowing the laws of your state. This applies to carry laws, storage laws, all the way up to use-of-force laws. Ignorance of the law is no excuse.
Rob- What else do you see in this story?
Robyn- We think of California as being antagonistic to gun owners, but ordinary citizens are able to get a carry permit in Sacramento County, California. It sounds like this one did, and it saved lives.
Rob- Texas just passed constitutional carry. You’re going to be very busy.
Robyn- I’m very proud of this! Permitless carry will remove obstacles for people to be their own first responders and hopefully free up their budget for good training classes.
Our fourth story took place in Dallas Texas.
Rob- Fourth story- Are you armed as you ride as a passenger in a car?
It is a little after sunset when you and your friend pull into a convenience store. You’re in the passenger seat and you see a man walk up to your friend who is driving. The stranger pulls a gun and tells your driver to hand over his wallet and keys.
You’re armed. The story doesn’t say if the gun was in the glove compartment or on the seat, but you grab the gun and shoot your attacker. The attacker shoots back before he steps away. You’re injured. Your friend calls 911 and asks for Emergency Medical Services.
The police arrive and disarm your attacker. You leave your gun in the car. EMS transports you to the hospital for treatment.
Your friend talks to the police. Police review the security video from the gas station, and you’re not charged. Doctors say you’ll get better. Your attacker died in the hospital.
Robyn- 19 year olds are not allowed to carry concealed in Texas, at least not yet, unless they are in the armed forces or the reserves. This young defender recognized a threat. He stopped the attack, and then stopped shooting.
Rob- When do you talk to your students about defending themselves when their attacker has a gun in his hands?
Robyn- By pointing a gun into the car, the attacker demonstrated intent to use deadly force against those in the vehicle. The threat was clear and immediate.
Rob- How many people have their concealed carry permits?
Robyn- There are about 20 million of us now, but constitutional carry may increase that.
Rob- What do you think about carrying a gun in the glovebox of your car?
Robyn- Your car itself is not a gun safe. If you’re going to keep a firearm in your vehicle make sure that it is secured from anyone who may break into your car, and secure from curious children. There have been times when I was traveling alone when I kept my firearm in the center console, but it was always in a holster so that the trigger guard was covered, and I was the only one with access. There are a number of quality vehicle safes available that have features for temporary storage or quick access, depending on your needs. And the laws on transporting a firearm in your vehicle vary from state to state.
Rob- When would your students get a chance to draw from a seated position while an instructor gives them feedback?
Robyn- There are a number of classes that teach defensive shooting from alternate positions, including seated. The best practice may be found in competitive shooting. During action pistol and 3-gun matches, we often have to shoot from these positions. In fact, at my last 3-gun match, there specifically was a stage where you engaged an array of pistol targets from the minivan passenger window while you had to remain seated. Competition is a great way to practice these skills for speed and accuracy, while under the simulated stress of the shot timer.
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 chapters and her articles, then leave us a message on the podcast facebook page.
Robyn- We share this podcast with you for free.
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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.