Episode 253 with Heather Reeves
Rob- Welcome to episode 253 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 Heather Reeves. What have you been doing since the last time we talked?
Heather- Hi, Rob. I recently spent a weekend with LouAnn Hamblin of LouKa tactical hosting her for a women’s only class as part of my chapter of A Girl & A Gun. It was amazing to watch ladies that I have been working with and training with grow yet again, and see their excitement for taking advanced classes with amazing trainers! Here in Michigan at least, we are experiencing another wave of first time handgun owners and concealed carry students. It still floors me how many new gun owners there are, and I’m excited to see the expansion of the belief in the second amendment and what it stands for.
Rob- We received another rating on iTunes (is 256,142), however no one left a comment. Please go to the iTunes store where you subscribe to podcasts and tell new gun owners why you listen.
Heather- Here in the United States, we defend ourselves with a firearm tens of thousands of times each week. We’ll look at a few recent examples and see what we can learn. We have the links back to the original news articles on our podcast webpage.
Our first story took place last week in Dozier, Alabama.
Rob- First story- Are you armed at home in the evening?
You are a 95 year old man. It is Friday evening and you fall asleep in your living room chair. You’re startled awake by a crashing sound as someone kicks in your back door. You grab your gun and see a stranger going through your kitchen drawers. You shout for him to leave. He starts toward you until he sees your firearm. Now the intruder runs back the way he came through your broken back door. You call 911 and report the incident to the police.
Police find your robber in a nearby home that he also broke into. They arrest him. He is charged with second-degree and third-degree burglary, as well as second-degree and third-degree criminal mischief. He is held in jail without bond for violating his parole.
The local sheriff said, “The victim protected himself from a career criminal. The victim was at a disadvantage physically, but his weapon enabled him to protect himself. The.. criminal fled the residence because the homeowner had armed himself.”
Tag- no shots fired
Heather- What a great example of how a force multiplier can help even the odds in an otherwise uneven situation.
Our defender owned a firearm and was prepared to use it.
He kept it in a condition so it could be used quickly. That usually means loaded (with one in the chamber) and holstered.
Positioned it on his body or nearby and he was mentally prepared to use it if needed, but had the capacity to restrain himself when he saw that the perpetrator was fleeing.
Other positives to this story were that the victim had his doors locked in an attempt to dissuade bad actors from entering in the first place, he attempted use of verbal commands, and recognized quickly that it wasn’t enough, so he transitioned to his firearm.
He stayed at the scene, called 9-1-1, followed directions to put the gun away when the police arrived, and made a statement. Overall, a great example of how we don’t always need to use the force multiplier and how to move through a potentially life threatening situation.
Rob- Is there anything else you’d like us to do if we were in a similar situation?
Heather- I assume the lights were on, but we want to make it clear to any intruder that we’re there. We also want to identify our attacker. Mistaken identity late at night can lead to regrets on all sides. It’s too important to get it right when it comes to use of force. No mistakes.
Rob- When do you teach your students about self-defense in their home?
Heather- We go step by step. We start with a firearms safety class. From there we work through marksmanship, concealed carry, presentation, and then to home security.
Rob- How should people carry their firearm at home?
Heather- On their body. I heard a statistic at one point that because of the amount of time we spend in our bathrooms we have a 5% chance of being there if we are attacked. The more time we have our firearm accessible and ready, the better prepared we are. Whether IWB, OWB, use of a specialty holster, having your firearm on you or with you as much as possible increases the chances that you will have it on your when you need it.
Research your holster choices and experiment with different carry types and styles. Many times, you won’t find it comfortable or you won’t feel it hides well, but if you keep at it and learn how your body shape influences hidability, you’ll find success.
Rob- When would your students learn that?
Heather- Take a class with a certified instructor. While YouTube can be great, it can’t catch your mistakes and suggest alternatives. Learning under the watchful eye of an instructor will make sure that you are holstering and drawing safely. Your training should also provide a place for you to ask questions and get advice about types of holsters, carry locations, materials that holsters are made out of, and attachment options.
Rob- Anything else?
Heather- That is enough for now. Our second story happened in Sumter, South Carolina.
Rob- Second Story- Do you have your firearm nearby at night?
You’re a 43 year old woman. It is a little after 4 in the morning when a stranger in your home wakes you up. You get out of bed and tell the stranger to get out. The stranger hits you. You run to where you keep your firearm and grab your gun. Now, the stranger attacks you again. You shoot your attacker until he moves away from you. You step back and call 911. You stay inside your home until the police arrive. You give the officers a brief statement.
Police find your attacker outside your home. EMS takes you to the hospital to treat your injuries. EMS also takes your attacker to the hospital where he died. You are not charged with a crime.
A 28 year old male also lived in the home.
Heather- I sense a trend this week with night time attacks. I’m glad the defender owned a gun. She kept it nearby and again, she kept it in a condition so she could use it. She recognized a threat and she didn’t give up after she was injured. She fought her way to her gun and then she defended herself.
She didn’t chase her attacker after he ran away.
She sought medical attention. She gave the police a brief statement.
Rob– I know what you’re going to say.
Heather- Please lock your doors and windows. They give you a physical barrier between you and the bad guys.
Rob- Talk to me about storing a firearm so we can use it quickly.
Heather- While part of me wishes it were comfortable to sleep with my gun on, we also have to face practical limitations. Ultimately, we want to have it accessible enough that we don’t have to think too much. I know when I wake up (especially unexpectedly)
I’m super disoriented, trying to do too much of a cognitive load can cause major issues for gun retrieval during times like that. Because of that please stay away from complicated locks such as combination locks, and keyed locks. I am a big fan of RFID, or biometric locks. While they are not great storage when installed improperly, if you follow the manufacturer instructions, they are a great solution.
Rob- You’ve just been beaten up. What do you say to the police?
Heather- I would like my injuries to be treated. Anytime we are in a situation where physical harm has been done, or is suspected, you should allow yourself to be treated. It provides documentation of injuries and can potentially save your life.
Rob- Is there anything else we could do to make our home more secure?
Heather- Please lock your doors so you wake up alone rather than with an unexpected visitor.
Defense in the home- Recently I have seen the articles making the rounds again reminding individuals that longer screws through the kick plates of your doors is HUGE in helping prevent people from accessing your home.
Motion lights on the exterior of the home can provide information to you about where individuals potentially are, and it can make your home less appealing to break into as the perpetrators can’t hide in the shadows.
Ultimately, an alarm system can provide information to you sooner if it is properly set up and used regularly. It may also act as a deterrent if the criminal can see that there is an alarm system.
I think I’m done, so let’s go to our third story Clarkesville, Georgia.
Rob- First this message from the Second Amendment Foundation
Rob- Third story- Are you armed at home?
You hear your daughter and her boyfriend yelling at each other. You hear your daughter cry out in pain. You move closer and see her boyfriend hit your daughter. You shout for him to stop. You try to get between your daughter and her attacker, but the boyfriend attacks you too.
You’re armed. You shoot your attacker and now the boyfriend moves away from you. You get your daughter and her child to safety, then you call 911.
You put your gun away before the police arrive. They arrest you and transport your attacker to the hospital. The police interview both you and your daughter. Now you’re released from custody. Police hold your attacker under guard at the hospital. He is charged with aggravated assault, domestic false imprisonment, domestic violence and cruelty to a child.
Heather- Our defender Carried on his body.
He tried verbal commands with the boyfriend and when they didn’t work he worked up the ladder of managing the situation, he tried to physically move himself between the attacker and victim, and it was only when that didn’t work that he resorted to his tool of last resort and shot to stop the threat.
When it worked and the assailant stopped his threatening behavior, the victim stopped shooting.
I appreciate that he stayed at the scene, he called the police, and he put his gun away.
While many of the stories that we talk about end without charges being pursued against the victim we can see here that it doesn’t always happen right away. As armed citizens we should be prepared for the possibility that we might be arrested or detained for further questioning. Fortunately our defender kept himself under control when he was arrested during what was an emotional time.
He gave a brief statement when investigators asked him what happened.
Rob- Is there anything else you’d like us to do?
Heather- Make a paper trail if there is a problem of violence. Intoxication and domestic violence won’t go away on their own. More than likely, this wasn’t the first time something like this had occurred. Set the standard so that behavior isn’t tolerated. If it happens, then you call the police and the offender has to move out. The paper trail of reports can establish a pattern and help the defender with their legal case.
Rob- The defender carried on his body. How hard is it to get a concealed carry permit in your state?
Heather- Michigan’s process requires that you take a state recognized course from a certified instructor. The course must be 8 hours in length and includes 3 hours of instruction on firearm use and range time. After successful completion of the course, you must be able to pass the legal statutes which are included in the application and pass a state background check. When you submit the background check, you are required to get fingerprinted as well before the check will be submitted to the state. Overall, it’s not a terribly difficult process if you already are able to own a firearm, but it can be lengthy depending on the county you live in.
Rob- When do students learn to present efficiently from a holster?
Heather- All too often, holster use is seen as an “advanced” skill. We have been trying to demonstrate that it is an essential skill that must be done as soon as possible for individuals to be able to carry safely and understand the safety aspects of carrying concealed. With my chapter of A Girl & A Gun, and with our classes, we encourage and expect presentation right after passing a concealed carry course. Efficiency comes with exposure and repetition. Once you’ve mastered the essentials of safety without a holster, it’s time to think about starting to work with a holster!
Heather- Our fourth story took place in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Rob- Fourth story- Are you armed at home?
You’re trying to raise some money by selling an Xbox. You find a buyer on a social media marketplace.The buyer comes to your apartment after work. You show him the gaming console. But instead of handing you some cash, the buyer pulls a gun from his pocket. The robber points his gun at your head. You scream and run from your apartment. Your attacker shoots at you as you run to your car. You get your gun from your car. The robber shoots at you, so you shoot back. Now, the robber runs away. You drive away and call the police. You agree to meet the police back at your apartment. You give them a statement. They see the cartridge casings on the floor from your attacker’s gun.
Police take a photograph of a man at a local hospital who is suffering from a gunshot wound. You identify your attacker. He is arrested and charged with attempted murder and armed robbery.
Heather- Our defender owned a gun.
She recognized a threat.
Ran to safety.
Stopped shooting when the attack stopped.
Moved to safety by driving away. Called the police. Returned to her apartment. Gave a statement and identified her attacker.
Rob- What do you want your students to do?
Heather- Don’t store your gun in your car. Your car is not a holster. I can’t help but wonder if our victim would have been safer sooner if they had their firearm on them. While there’s no guarantees when looking at a situation that has unfolded, it may have allowed for a few of the steps to safety to have been eliminated.
Rob- Then where and how should we keep our gun?
Heather- Loaded on your body, or loaded, in a rapid access safe near your bed at night, or unloaded and stored inside a locked storage safe where you live. Those are really the only three options that keep our guns out of the hands of strangers.
Also, make exchanges with strangers at the police station.
Rob- Our defender was being shot at while she was near her car in the parking lot.
Heather- Shooting at someone from the parking lot is dangerous to people who are standing behind your attacker. Brick walls will stop most handgun bullets, but siding and stucco won’t. Also, she was shooting at night.
Rob- When do your students learn about things like that?
Heather- We use our simulator to run students through decision making scenarios such as this. We debrief after each simulation and discuss aspects of being in public with a gun, and what is or is not a safe backstop and what can happen if we miss when we are in public. There’s so much responsibility when we carry a gun on our persons for safety.
Rob- That wraps up this episode. Where can we learn more about what you’re doing?
Heather- Find me at by gun store website- http://tacticaladvantageguns.net/about/
I also list classes at A girl and a gun shooting league in Portage, Michigan. https://www.agirlandagun.org/cat/mi-portage/
Rob- After you look at Heather’s classes, then please leave her a message on the podcast website.
Heather- 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. We’ll be back in a few weeks with more Self-Defense Gun Stories.