Episode 261 with Robyn Sandoval

Rob- Introduction-

Welcome to episode 261 of Self-Defense Gun Stories. We’re glad you found us if you’re well trained.. and also if you are still learning about armed defense. I’m Rob Morse and we’re joined this week by firearms instructor Robyn Sandoval. How have you been, Robyn?

Robyn- Hi, Rob.  I’ve been going back and taking more self-defense training because there is so much to learn. And I’ve been teaching because so many people want to learn about armed defense. 

How about you?

Rob- We received two new ratings and a new comment on iTunes (is 268 152). A listener who calls himself Shadowsdoc said we were his favorite podcast. He likes our style and what he learns from each episode. Please go to the iTunes store where you subscribe to podcasts and let us know why you listen.

Robyn- US citizens defend themselves with a firearm thousands of times every day. We look at recent examples to 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 Abbottstown, Pennsylvania.

Rob- First story- Are you armed at home?

You are sitting in your living room with our wife on a weekday morning. A stranger opens your door and walks in. He is naked from the waist down. You tell him to leave and he attacks you. He punches you again and again. You shout for your wife to get your gun. She goes to the bedroom and the intruder follows her. You follow them both. The intruder attacks your wife in the bedroom. You grab your revolver and shoot the attacker until he stops attacking your wife. She’s badly hurt. You call 911 and beg for help. Police are already in the area because your neighbors reported the intruder trying to get into other homes.

Emergency medical services declare your attacker dead at the scene. Your wife is in critical condition so they fly her to the hospital by helicopter. They take you to the hospital by ambulance. You give the police a statement at the hospital. You are both in your late 70s, and your wife was too badly injured to talk to the police.

Robyn- The couple had a firearm accessible. They worked together. They fired until the threat was stopped. They called 911. 

Rob- What would you like us to do on a morning like this.

Robyn- The most obvious change that could have been made would have been to have locked their doors. This intruder tried multiple homes until he found an unlocked door. Their house may have been skipped with that one simple change. Fortifying the exterior of your home may also include a doorbell camera with motion alarms that can alert you to someone walking up to your front door.

Rob- What else do you see?

Robyn-  Another option may have been to have better team language that didn’t let the intruder know that one of them was going to retrieve a firearm. They could have had a code word to use so that they both could spring into action – her retrieving the firearm and him trying verbal de-escalation techniques. 

Walking through a defensive plan together as a family is a good way to get everyone on the same page before a dangerous incident like this one. 

Rob- When do your students learn about defending their home?

Robyn-  I would consider home defense an advanced skill because it includes a lot of variables. Everyone’s home is different and everyone’s family’s needs are different. A person has to evaluate what they can do, what they should do, and what they must do, for example if they can exit or retreat to a secured room or if they must advance because of children or other loved ones in the home. 

Rob- How do I practice home defense?

Robyn- Take a class that introduces you defensive skills with someone at a very close distance. Some ranges offer this kind of training with airsoft shoot houses, so you can learn some of the techniques of shooting and working behind cover. You can also work with an instructor on factors, such as caliber, platform, low light, concealment, and others. It encompasses a lot more than we can address here because there is so much to consider.

Rob- Anything else?

Robyn- Let’s save some for later. Our second story happened in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Rob- Second Story- Are you armed at work?

You’re working behind the counter at a discount store and the next customer walks up to the counter. He tells you to open the register and give him the money. You think he is joking until he reaches for his waist and you think he has a gun. You own a gun too. You are carrying concealed today. You present your firearm and shoot your armed attacker. He runs from the store. You call the police.

Police check on video cameras in the area. Officers arrive at your attacker’s house. He fights with officers and a police dog bites him. Now he is taken to the hospital for treatment of the dog bite on his arm and for treatment of a gunshot wound to his leg.

Your attacker is charged with robbery, assault, and resisting arrest. He is also arrested on an outstanding warrant for simple assault. You are not charged with a crime.

Robyn- In this situation, the defender took personal responsibility for his safety even though he was at work. He recognized an immediate, lethal, and unavoidable threat. He stopped the threat and then stopped shooting. He called the police and gave a statement.

Rob- What else would you like us to do in a situation like this?

Robyn- The news article says “workers at the store… fired multiple shots at the robber” so it sounds like more than one defender was involved. This is another example of having team training with a co-worker, good friend, or spouse can help people work efficiently together. Hopefully there was an emergency plan that the employees practiced beforehand. Security video, if available, will show how the well plan worked and provide additional information for investigators.

After the attacker ran from the store, employees should lock the door, ask if anyone is injured, call 911. 

Rob- The story doesn’t mention the police finding a gun. Am I in trouble if the attacker says he has a gun, but he lied to me?

Robyn- If the totality of the information you had led you to a reasonable conclusion that the person was making furtive movement to a gun and your life was in imminent danger, then you are acting lawfully regardless of the presence of a lethal tool.

Rob- That is important. When do your students learn about the legal use of lethal force?

Robyn- In their concealed carry class.

Rob- When do your students learn to draw from concealment?

Robyn-  With new shooters, we focus on the basics of marksmanship and honing skills for stance, grip, sight picture, and trigger control. We also focus on pistol manipulation, magazine changes, and managing malfunctions. Then the next step may be holster draw techniques, both from an outside holster and from concealment, depending on that person’s goals and carry preferences.

Rob- How should we practice armed defense at work?

Robyn- It’s important to review your company’s HR handbook before you carry at work. While it is lawful to carry in some places, it would be a violation of company policies and may put your employment at risk. Some people argue that saving your own life, and possibly other’s lives is the greater good; however, losing a job that provides income and healthcare for your family, a career you’ve dedicated your life to, and your professional reputation is a lot to put on the line. Be sure that you have weighed all of the factors when making your decision, with careful consideration of the applicable laws and company policies. Perhaps consider if that company is right for you prior to working there so that your ability to protect yourself is never compromised.

Our third story happened in Chicago, Illinois.

Rob- First this message from the Buckeye Firearms Foundation.


Rob- Third story- Are you armed as you drive?

You and your wife are driving home. An SUV pulls in front of you and forces you to the curb. Several armed men get out of the SUV and order you out of your car. You and your wife get out. They take your keys. You tell your wife to run. One of the robbers points his gun at her and you present your firearm and shoot at him. Now he dives into the SUV and drives away. You’re both shaken, but not hurt. You call 911. 

 You’re lucky you still have your wallet. You show the police your Illinois Firearms owners identification card and your firearms registration. Your wife is the majority leader of the Democrat controlled Illinois Senate.

Robyn- These individuals recognized that they wanted to have the means to protect themselves, and they went through the many steps necessary to carry in public in Illinois. The defender stopped shooting when the bad guy got in the car and drove away. He called and gave a report to the police. 

Rob- He is lucky he had his cellphone after the robbery. Is there anything else you’d like us to do?

Robyn- The gun may have been stored in the car rather than on body, so it’s fortunate that he had it with him. Perhaps she should have also had her permit and been carrying on-body. If they had trained together, then they would have had a significant advantage over their attackers.

Rob- Two armed defenders would have had an advantage over several armed robbers?

Robyn- Because they had a plan, were trained, and they practiced.

Rob- Where would couples go to learn to work together as they defend each other?

Robyn- There are team classes available at some ranges and many instructors can also offer this in a private lesson. Look for a course description that includes team tactics, cooperative movement, and communication techniques.

Rob- How hard is that to learn?

Robyn-  A good instructor will effectively present the material so that her students understand it. To learn any self-defense skill, the student needs to have an open mind and willingness to practice. Repetition and training is critical for learning any new skill. Firearms training is never a one-and-done situation. A good student will continuously practice, either dry fire or life fire, and take additional classes over time.

Rob- What else do you see?

Robyn- If it was possible, I wonder if the couple had to get out of the car. Could they have turned, even going up on a curb, to get away? Could they have recognized that they were being targeted and driven to a location that would have been populated to deter the criminals? There is a lot to unpack if we knew more.

Robyn- Our fourth story took place in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Rob- Fourth story- Are you armed as you go get groceries?

You look up when you hear shouts. You’re walking across the grocery store parking lot. You see a car with the driver’s side door open and the car is in motion. The driver runs over someone. A woman is also hanging out of the car and is being dragged across the parking lot. Someone is in the driver’s seat. You present your firearm and point it at the driver. He stops and runs to a waiting SUV. You holster your gun and check on the victims. All of you call 911 to report what you saw.

You give a statement to the police when they arrive. EMS takes the female driver and the injured bystander to the hospital. Police find the three teenagers who were on a carjacking spree. Combined, they are charged with seven counts of aggravated robbery.

The surge in carjackings started after the local DA said he won’t charge people for vehicle theft.

Tag- No Shots Fired

Robyn- The defender was aware of his surroundings as he was walking across a parking lot. He had a carry permit and was armed. He took action to stop the threat, but recognized that he did not have to fire.

Rob- Is there anything else you’d like us to do if we were in a similar situation?

Robyn- You need to be your own first responder because depending on a stranger to save you is depending on luck. If the woman was armed, she could have possibly taken action to defend herself. Also, take some hand to hand skills courses so you can fight your way out of your car. It’s important as the defender to be mindful of a situation that you don’t HAVE to be involved in. Legally, ethically, and morally, evaluate if you’re willing to get potentially run over or attacked for getting involved in someone else’s situation.

Rob- I know you’ve done that. I thought of you when I saw this story. If your child were in the car you wanted to be able to do more than beg a carjacker to stop.

Robyn-  Obviously that would be a worst-case scenario. When walking through a parking lot with my children, I’m on high alert. I’m scanning our perimeter, I’m watching around my vehicle to ensure no one is standing near it, there aren’t any cars or vans or big trucks blocking my view of the entire area of my car. My children also know to hop in quickly, and I lock the doors when we get inside. Every time. Just locking the doors can protect you, give you time, give you the chance to get away.

Rob- Where can I learn to present my firearm from inside my car?

Robyn-  Again, close quarters defense classes are helpful as well as vehicle defense classes that teach holster draw, ready positions (such as temple index) and pistol presentation techniques when you’re pinned in a car, with someone you love potentially very close to you.

Rob- You have instructors across the country. They guide students through getting their permit, don’t they.

Robyn- Ask your local instructors about getting a permit.


Rob- Robyn Sandoval, that wraps up this episode. Thank you for helping us again. Where can we learn more about you?

Robyn- If you’re an experienced gun owner, or simply interested in self-defense, then look for me at A Girl and a Gun dot org, and at and A Girl & A Gun on all of the social media pages.

Rob- Please look at Robyn articles and at their classes, then please leave her a message on the episode webpage.

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.  We’ll be back next week with more Self-Defense Gun Stories.




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