Episode 299 with Ben Branam


Rob- Welcome to episode 299 of Self-Defense Gun Stories. We’re glad you found us if you’re well trained.. and if you’re still learning about armed defense. I’m Rob Morse and we’re joined this week by firearms instructor Ben Branam. What have you been doing?

Firearms Instructor Ben Branam

Ben- Hi, Rob.  I’ve been working on new carry guns.  It takes me a lot to change.  I’ve been carrying my current set up for 7 years or so and finally decided on something new.  So now I’m breaking them in, testing them, grouping them, and waiting on an optic I can’t get yet.

How about you?

Rob- I traveled overseas. It was good to get back home and carry again. As I was traveling, I met an Uber driver in Houston. A few episodes ago, we had a story where an Uber driver was being attacked and he needed to call 911. The driver I met showed me where his Uber navigation software has a 911-contact button that is always on the screen. It also shows the dispatcher where the driver is located. What a good idea.

We received three new ratings this week as well as some new comments (is 314,174). Robbie sent us an article where an armed bystander in Texas first stopped a violent robbery and then was arrested. The issue is if the physical assault by the male robber was a lethal and immediate threat to the two female store employees. Thank you Robbie.

Ben- We have constitutional carry in Texas, but you want to know what you can and cannot do to stay within the law.

Rob- There are a lot of pieces that come together for this podcast. We schedule the instructors, research and write the stories, record and edit the audio, then we publish and promote each episode. I’ve done that for 7 years. I’m looking for volunteers who will help. We’ve had a few people respond, but there is a lot to do. Please leave a message on our episode webpage.

A listener left us a message on iTunes. As a level 1 Trauma ICU registered nurse for 7 years, the mainstream media has no idea how often crime and self-defense happens. I’ve listened to your show for 3  years and been carrying concealed for 10. The podcast is helpful for both new and experienced firearms owners. I’ve introduced 10 people to the show. Thanks Rob and Crew.

Ben- That means we have at least a dozen listeners. We’re growing!  Glad to hear we are helping spread the word about good people protecting themselves.

Rob- Thank you to the trauma RN for leaving us a message and for telling your friends about our show. Please go to the iTunes store where you subscribe to podcasts and let new gun owners know why you listen.

Ben- As that listener said, we defend ourselves with a firearm thousands of times a day. We look at a few 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 Chicago, Illinois.

Rob- First story- Are you armed as you drive after midnight?

You are a 23 year old woman and the news articles are not clear about whether you are getting into your car or getting out of it. It is after midnight when a car pulls up next to your parked car. Four men get out. One of them points a gun at you. The armed man tries to get into your car. You present your legally carried firearm and shoot your attacker. You get out of your car and run down the street. One of the armed robbers shoot at you and wounds your arm. You call 911 and ask for help.

You put your gun away before the police arrive. You show them your carry permit and give them a statement. You are taken to the hospital to treat your arm. EMTs also take one of your attackers to the hospital with a gunshot wound to the head.

You are not charged with a crime.

Ben- She got the basics exactly right.  When it was time to act, she acted, when it was time to fight she fought, and when it was time to retreat, she retreated. 

Rob- When are we done shooting and it is time to run?

Ben- Be done shooting when the threat is gone.  Retreat is actually one of your best courses of action if you can do it safely.  Don’t run into the open. Use local cover. Put as much stuff between you and your attackers as you are getting away.

Rob- Where would I learn about being attacked by multiple attackers while I’m sitting in my car?

Ben-  Firearms courses.  Take some.  Sometimes your instincts are good, and sometimes they get you hurt of killed.  But a firearms class gives you a chance to practice and force on force classes let you see what you will really do and if your reaction will work.

Rob- How do I practice that?

Ben- Outside a class, you should work dry from your holster, unloaded gun, from any and every position. I don’t let people take a fighting stance in my class before they draw the gun. I think that makes bad habits.

Rob- You’ve been in more fights than I have. Do we run because we’re done defending ourselves, or because we’re overwhelmed and we don’t know what to do next?

Ben- Well, Yes. Taking classes gives you some answers to tap into when you don’t have time to think. Practice pre-loads some solutions into your reactions.
Rob- Is there anything else you want to cover in this story?

Ben- I’ll save it for our second story that also happened in Chicago, Illinois.

Rob- Second Story- Are you armed as you drive at dawn?

It is just before 6 in the morning when you get into your car. A car pulls up beside you and three young men get out. One of them points a gun at you and orders you to hand over all your belongings. You own a gun. You have your Illinois Concealed carry permit in your wallet. You’re carrying concealed today. You get out of your car and present your firearm. You shoot your attackers. The four men jump back into their car and drive away. You stay at the scene and call 911 for help. You put your gun away and give a statement to the police when they arrive.

Police find your attackers down the street. The driver is wounded with a head wound. Another attacker has a shoulder wound. The attacker in the back seat broke his leg when the car crashed. All four are taken to the hospital.

These teenage robbers are driving a stolen car and are part of a group that robbed 40 people over the weekend. You are not charged with a crime.

Ben- I like that our defender used violence of action.  When he acted by drawing his firearm and shooting it was so scary to the four bad buys they left.

He kept shooting as long as there was an immediate, lethal and unavoidable threat. He stopped..

Rob- When would you learn to defend yourself like that? You barely cover presentation in your concealed carry class. You certainly don’t have time to run many drills with those advanced skills like engaging multiple attackers and shooting on the move.

Ben- Go to a class!  I feal like I repeat that a lot on this podcast.

Rob- Walk me through the sorts of classes I might want to take after I have my carry permit? 

Ben-  I’d love for you to take two or three 1 or 2 day basic courses from different instructors and then take an advanced course from the one you like the best.

Rob-  Different instructors?

Ben-  Every instructor is different in how they teach, act, and who they are.  Plus most of us have different fighting styles.  Some better than the other, but the instructor that you click with will be the bast one for you.  And after you have 2 different instructors it will be easy to see who is actually a good instructor and knows what they are talking about and who is full of BS.

Rob- How do I tell the instructor that is best for me, or is it simply a matter of salesmanship?

Ben- Sometimes it’s theory vs practice and sometimes what a 22 year old Navy SEAL does won’t work for an 82 year old lawyer, which happened to be the oldest person I’ve had at one of my classes.

Our third story happened in Atlanta, Georgia.

Rob- First this message from the crime prevention research center.



Rob- Third story- Are you armed at work?

You manage a food pantry. It is around 5pm when one of your volunteers runs up to you and asks if you have your gun. They say a young man with a gun just ran through the store and into the backlot. You run to the backlot and see a stranger with a gun in his back pocket. You tell him to stop and to get on the ground. He reaches for his gun.

“Don’t make me kill you,” you say. He continues to slowly reach for his gun. You are about to shoot the armed stranger when a police officer runs up next to you and presents his taser. It isn’t clear from the news articles if the officer had to tase the armed intruder. You put your gun away.

Police arrest the armed man as a fugitive in a nearby crash of a stolen car. You are not charged with a crime.

Tag- No shots fired.

Ben- I love that this store manager respected the lives of his staff and wanted to protect them. Gun owner. Carried at work. Relationship with his staff so they came to him.

Rob- His employees did more than hide and pull out their cell phones.

Ben- One hard part of self defense is knowing when a lethal threat is immediate.

Rob- Explain that for our listeners.

Ben- That it is going to happen right now.  The hard part is trying to get people to understand what right now is.  Times are different when we add reaction time to things.  Being trained, I know that it would take me about 1.5 seconds to turn, draw, and fire my gun and hit a target out 10 yards.  The average police officer can do it in about 2 seconds.  The average reaction time to the movement when I put people at my class under the test is that they fire at the same time.  I generally do the test with gun at low ready and finger off the trigger.  It takes longer than we think.  So when someone goes for their gun, and that someone is good, they will probably fire a round before you can get a shot off.  So you are in immediate danger.

Rob- You talked before about how hard it is to hold someone for the police.

Ben- I did. That part of a class takes me at least a half hour to demonstrate and drill. Now you might have to shoot someone in the back when they slowly reach for their gun.

Rob- Where are we going for our last story?
Ben- Our fourth story took place in Saint Charles, Michigan.

Rob- Fourth story- Are you armed at home?

It is Friday morning after Thanksgiving. You hear a man scream and yell outside. You leave your home to see what is happening. You recognize another of your neighbors who came outside to investigate the disturbance. The two of you see a man jumping on a car and shouting. He sees you and runs to a home across the street. He breaks into the home. You know the neighbor that lives there. She is a 41 year old woman with two children aged 9 and 13. You follow the intruder into your neighbor’s home. You’re armed and you present your firearm. It isn’t clear which of the adults called 911.

You put your gun away when the police arrive. Police arrest the intruder. The 32 year old intruder appeared to be on drugs. He was charged with first-degree home invasion and malicious destruction of property costing more than $1,000 but less than $20,000.

You and your neighbor are not charged with a crime.

Tag- No shots fired.

Ben- He had his gun with him! 

Recognized that the homeowner could use lethal force, but that the intruder was not yet an immediate threat. Having a partner makes your job so much easier.

Rob- What would you do in that situation?

Ben-  Same thing our good guy did hear.  Go see what is going on and then go to help my neighbor.  Because I know them, and they know me.  Do you know your neighbors?  Or will your neighbor not recognize you and think you are part of the problem?  Know your neighbors.

Rob- Lots of us live with a roommate or a spouse. Do you teach any classes that cover working together and team tactics?

Ben- Sometimes.  It has been a while.  But it is all about communication and cover and move.  When you work together to solve the problem, with a plan, and a mission, you become way more formidable.  If you don’t work as a team you will get out manuvered and it becomes a liability to have two of you. 

Rob-  A Liability? 

Ben-  If one person goes one way with their gun and is thinking search and destroy and the other person goes the other way and is thinking get to the exit or other in the house and they meet again, it won’t be pretty.

Rob- Any suggested plans? 

Ben- Just talk about it because you know your skills and have an idea about your significant other or roommate.  It might be as simple as one of you stays put and calls 911 while the other does the work.  My plan is that simple.  My wife stays put and I go get my kid and come back to our bedroom and wait for help.


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

Ben- I teach armed self-defense and church security. I live in San Antonio, and most of my classes are in central Texas. Sign up for my classes at Modern Self Protection.com, and subscribe to my weekly podcast called Modern Self-Protection.

Rob- After you read Ben’s articles and subscribe to his podcast, after you look at his videos and sign up for his classes. When all that is done and you’re giving your credit card a rest, then please leave us a message on the podcast episode webpage. It doesn’t cost you a thing.

Ben- 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.
We’re also available on
Amazon, Google Podcasts, Tunein, Spotify, Podbean and iHeart Radio.

Rob- LIke Ben’s podcast, 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.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.