Episode 312 with Ben Branam
Rob- Introduction- Welcome to episode 312 of Self-Defense Gun Stories. We’re glad you found us if you’re well trained.. and if you are still learning about armed defense. I’m Rob Morse and we’re joined this week by firearms instructor Ben Branam. What has been keeping you so busy?
Ben- Hi, Rob. I’ve been..
How about you?
Rob- We didn’t receive a rating or comment on iTunes, on Facebook, or on our webpage. (was 344,188) Please go to the iTunes store where you subscribe to podcasts and tell new gun owners why you listen.
Ben I thought of you as I prepared this episode. Three of the four stories come from Texas. The fourth story is from Florida.
Ben- Texas is a large state and there are a lot of gun owners here. That is true of Florida too. We defend ourselves with a firearm several thousand 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 Houston, Texas.
Rob- First story- Are you armed in public?
Customer stops four armed robbers in a Houston gas station
You are in a gas station just before 9 at night. So are other customers. Four young men rush into the store. All four of them are wearing masks. All of them have guns in their hands. They tell the clerk and all the customers to hand over their wallets and their cash.
You own a gun too. You’re carrying concealed. You present your firearm and shoot three of the four robbers. They run from the store and dive back into the getaway car waiting outside. The getaway driver heads down the road.
You stay inside and watch them drive away. You put your gun back in its holster. One of the customers is injured, but you don’t know if he was hit by your shots or by the robbers. You call 911 and ask for help. You identify yourself to the police when they arrive. Emergency Medical Services take the wounded customer to the hospital. You give a statement to the police. You are not charged.
Four of the attackers are arrested at the hospital. The police are looking for the fifty attacker. The wounded customer is expected to make a full recovery.
Ben- I am so glad this customer was armed in public. He recognized and immediate lethal threat when a gang of armed men entered the store and demanded money from everyone. He started shooting the bad guys and stopped when they ran away. He stayed at the scene and called for help. He gave a statement to the police.
Rob- Gas station robberies happen every day. Shooting four armed attackers sounds impossible. How did the good guy win?
Ben- A smaller group can always move faster than a bigger one. In this case one versus four. We use tactical patience to act when we, us good guys, have the most advantages.
Shooting multiple bad guys sounds hard until you practice it. You and I have practiced so we know we can present our firearm and put two shots on four targets in under 3 seconds. Better yet, move if you haven’t taken cover or can’t. Put the bad guys lined up one behind another so we only shoot the bad guy in front of us and the other bad guys can’t shoot us without first shooting their buddy. Fast is good tactics is better. Out maneuver the enemy.
Rob- When would your students learn about defeating multiple attackers?
Ben- First take your concealed carry class. Learn how to carry your firearm and how to present it efficiently. Dry practice at home. When you’re ready, take a class called beyond concealed carry, fighting with a handgun, or close quarters combat. We generally get to multiple badguys in our second class. Go to a class that makes you move while shooting at mulitple targets.
Rob- I need to take that course again so I remember what I can do. You think those skills are accessible?
Ben- Yes, they are. All you have to do is study and practice. Spend about 15 minutes a week dry practicing and you will get better and better every week.
Unfortunately, most people are more comfortable imagining what they might do than measuring what they can do. My attitude is that you are where you are. We measure performance so we know which direction to go to help you improve.
Rob- The news reporting on this story was horrible. They didn’t mention that the bad guys were shooting into the store from the parking lot. As a defender, would I be responsible if a good guy got shot?
Ben- I think that is the wrong way to think about the situation. The bad guys put everyone in that store at an immediate risk of losing their lives. You didn’t create that problem. You reduced the threat by shooting back. Unless you did something like deliberately shooting a customer who was lying on the ground then you’re not at fault. They are.
Also, the robbers were probably the ones who shot the unarmed customer. The store security video will probably show that, but since some of these robbers were under 18 years old, the police and the media won’t let us see the videos.
Before we leave this story I want to point out how crime changes. Gangs found out they could overwhelm a household and rob them in a minute. Then we had group smash and grab robberies in businesses. This gang thought they would overwhelm a single store clerk even if the clerk was armed. They were wrong.
Rob- Where are we going next?
Ben- Our second story takes us out of Texas to Gainesville, Florida.
Rob- Second Story- Are you armed in public?
Dad stops abuser
Your daughter gives you a call. She is frantic after her boyfriend beat her up again. You drive over to see her. She is injured and you both call the police to file a report. The officers arrive and takes your statements. The attacker isn’t there so the police leave. You stay with your daughter.
Her boyfriend comes back a half hour later. He searches the house looking for her. You shoot him and he turns and runs. You call the police again.
Police find your attacker in the parking lot. EMS declares him dead at the scene. You stay in the apartment and give a statement to the police.
You are not charged.
Ben- I’m glad the defender was armed. I’m glad he stopped shooting when the bad guy turned and ran. He did the right thing in calling the police the first time and in calling them again.
Rob- There are a lot of details that the news media left out. What is important about this story?
Ben- It isn’t clear if Dad had a carry permit or not. He was not carrying in public since he was in his daughter’s apartment. I checked, and the Florida constitutional carry law goes into effect on the first of July.
The bad guy was not an immediate threat because he beat your daughter a half hour ago. He was an immediate threat because he entered without permission and wouldn’t stop when he was confronted. The fact that he’d been violent before made him more of an immediate threat to you and your daughter. The story is thin on the lethal threat. Remember it isn’t just an immediate threat, it has to be lethal force to use lethal force. To use lethal force in most of America you have to be in immediate and imminent fear of death or great bodily injury.
Rob- That is important, and it is covered in classes on the law of self-defense.
What else would you want your students to do in a situation like this one?
Ben- Don’t wait until the significant other hits you. Get rid of the boyfriend or girlfriend the first time they threaten you. Get a restraining order against them. Learn to use a firearm in self-defense so you are armed when you are attacked. And, use and reinforce your doors locks so the bad guy has to break into your home.
Rob- But the bad guy said he was sorry after he hit me the last time?
Ben- Right. They are always sorry until you get hit again.. If you survive. It’s the circle of violence that will continue until it is broken, by you leaving or someone getting killed.
Rob- Where are we headed for our next story?
Ben- We are headed to Fort Worth, Texas.
Rob- First this message from Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership.
Rob- Third story- Are you armed as you drive?
You drive up to a store. Your friend is in the back seat of your truck so you leave your truck running in the parking lot. As you leave the store, you see someone sitting in the driver’s seat of your truck and it isn’t your friend. The stranger is trying to steal your truck with your friend inside. You run outside and pull open the driver’s door. The stranger fights with you. You present your firearm and shoot the kidnapper. Now he stops. He gets out of your truck and runs away. Fortunately, your friend isn’t hurt. You stay at the scene and call 911 for help.
Police find out that your attacker was thrown out of the store a few minutes before you arrived. They find your attacker at a nearby motel. Emergency Medical Services transports him to the hospital for treatment of a gunshot wound to his arm.
You are not charged with a crime.
Ben- We’ve seen people lock their car but leave it running. That might be to keep the car hot or cold, or because someone was inside.
In this case, I’m glad our defender was armed. She recognized a threat when someone tried to kidnap her friend. She acted immediately and violently to disrupt the attacker’s plans. She tried verbal commands, and then climbed the ladder of deterrence when she went hand to hand. Finally, shot him when he wouldn’t get out of her car. She stopped shooting when the attacker ran away. She stayed at the scene, and she and her passenger called for help and gave a statement to the police.
Rob- Are there other things you’d like us to do?
Ben- Lock your car doors. It sounds like the passenger was another adult, so I’d like them to be armed too.
If you’re a business owner, then call the police when you throw the crazy person out of your store. It doesn’t hurt at all to make a report and it makes a paper trail against that person in case something happens later.
Rob- I have to shoot into my car to get the bad guy out of the driver’s seat.
Ben- Yeah, that is harder than shooting at a paper target at the range. You want to be close so you won’t miss and hit your passenger, but not so close that your attacker can grab your gun. As you’d guess, there is a class for that.
Rob- New gun owners don’t know about things like shooting from the retention position. How will they find out what they don’t know?
Ben- Gun store, shooting range, taking a class. I sound like a broken record, but take a class. You don’t know what you don’t know.
Rob- Where are we going for our last story?
Ben- We are staying in Texas and going back to Houston.
Rob- Fourth story- Are you armed as you drive?
Drive by defender
You are driving down the street after dark. You drive past a small bank located in a shopping center parking lot. The drive through automatic-teller-machine is well lit. You see a man being pulled out of his car and being pistol whipped at the ATM. You are armed tonight and carrying concealed. You turn your truck around. You get out of your vehicle. The attacker notices you and points his gun at you. You shoot him several times until he drops his gun. He is wounded in the leg and foot so he can’t run very far or very fast.
You call 911 and ask for help. Police take your attacker’s gun. EMTs take your attacker to the hospital. The news stories don’t mention if the victim being pistol whipped needed hospitalization. You show the officers your identification. You give them a statement.
You are not charged with a crime. Later, you find out that your attacker was wanted for murder in Louisiana. The news reported that this was the 103rd robbery in the area in the last year.
Ben- I like that this defender was carrying at night as he drove down the street. He recognized an immediate and deadly threat to an innocent person. He acted to stop that threat. He stayed at the scene and called 911. He gave a statement to the police.
I love that a fugitive for murder was captured.
Rob- Talk us through the important parts that the news article left out.
Ben- Use tactical patience to create an advantage for yourself. If this bad guy wanted that other person dead, they would already be dead. The bad guy wants something else. This gives you a little time to make a getter approach and be ready for the situation.
Approach from behind or behind cover. Use your vehicle lights as cover and your vehicle to approach and cover. Your vehicle is an amazing tool, use it.
If this was a military operation I’d want to sneak up so the bad guy didn’t see me and then shoot him enough to stop him before he could stop or fight me. No this isn’t the movies, you don’t need to give a verbal warning and it sure as heck doesn’t have to be a fair fight. If it is a fair fight, your tactics suck. Do better.
Once the shooting stops, just remember there is a lot of work left to do.
Make sure the bad guy isn’t a threat anymore, if you have to disarm him.
Do a quick check on the victim, he isn’t going to die before the medics get here, is he? Do you know? Can you tell? Have you taken that training class?
Move the victim to safety if you have to.
Put your gun away if it is safe to do so.
Don’t have your gun in your hand when the police arrive.
Rob- How do you know what to do?
Ben- I’ve studied what to do and I’ve practiced it. You want to have an outline like that so you don’t make bad mistakes in the dark.
Rob- Did this defender have to intervene?
Ben- He didn’t. If there were too many bad guys then the best you can do sometimes is call 911 and get help on the way. If I had my son or wife with me, then that is probably all I would have done.
Rob- Because you thought about it and know it is important to not put your family at risk.
Ben- Rob, if you and I were riding together, then we have more options than I have alone. You and I with a little time in this situation the bad guy doesn’t really have a chance. But, if my son and one of his young friends were with me, all I can do is use my phone.
Rob- That wraps up this episode. Ben Branam, thank you for giving me more to think about. 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.
Rob- We share this podcast with you for free.
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Ben- We’re also available on
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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.
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