Episode 317 with Amanda Suffecool

Rob- Introduction- Welcome to episode 317 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 Amanda Suffecool. What has been keeping you away from us?

Amanda Suffecool

Amanda- Rob, I have been so busy. I’ve been traveling to the Atlanta area to train with Brian Hill and the Complete Combatant crew, to DC to advocate for safer schools and to Virginia for NRA BOD training… 

And when I’m home in Ohio, I’ve been working on several DC Project events, planning a trip to Michigan to help Rick Ector train thousands of women on firearms safety and working to keep my skills up…

How about you?

Rob- I’m recovering from my FASTER training in Arizona. I’ve written six articles after training with volunteer defenders at schools and churches. Those articles are at the SlowFacts blog and on Opslens. There are still a few more articles to come.

I also took my wife to a range so she could shoot some new firearms. Rick Ector convinced me to help him in Detroit at the end of July.

Amanda- Rick does get around, I was just with him in Virginia. We received ratings and a new comment on iTunes (is 348,190). Disappointed in Colorado said that this podcast should be a TV show.

Rob- Disappointed, I’m glad you want more of us, but at this point in my life, I’m glad to be a podcast. May I recommend for you John Corea’s Armed Self Protection Youtube channel where he looks at videos of armed defense from all over the world. That is closer to a TV show.

Amanda- for now, you have to use your imagination to see our stories.

We have some help this week by Roger Temple who added parts of the question and answer discussion after each story. It is nice to have a new perspective on our stories. And for those of you who read the show notes – there will be some bonus content. Thank you, Roger.

Rob- Please go to the iTunes store where you subscribe to podcasts and let new gun owners know why you listen.

Amanda- Here in the US, we defend ourselves with a firearm about seven 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 always on our podcast webpage.

Our first story took place last week in Chicago, Illinois.

Rob- First story- Are you armed in public?

It is about 7 on a Sunday evening when you’re walking to your car in a shopping mall parking lot. Two men approach you. One of them pulls a gun. He shoots his gun, but he misses you. You have a gun too. You’re carrying concealed and you have your Illinois concealed carry permit. You shoot your attacker in the thigh, and both men run away.

You stay at the scene and call the police. You reholster your firearm. You give the police a statement and describe your attackers.

Police arrest your attackers nearby. Your wounded robber is 21 years old and his accomplice is 18. Both are charged with aggravated attempted carjacking.


Rob- What did our defender do to save his life?

Amanda- I’m not sure what happened here. Maybe the carjackers shot their gun by accident, and maybe they intended to shoot our defender and then rob him when he was wounded, and our defender was simply lucky that the robbers missed him. Either way, I”m glad our good guy was armed.

I’m not sure why the robbers weren’ t charged with attempted murder since they fired their gun during the attempted robbery.

Our defender also had his state permits, because that is a big deal and you will be prosecuted if you don’t have those in Chicago. Our defender recognized a threat. Defended himself. Our good guy stopped shooting when the bad guys ran away so he did not chase the bad guys across the parking lot shooting at them. He stayed at the scene and called 911 for help. He put his gun away and gave a statement to the police.


Rob- Is there anything else you’d like us to do when we walk to our car at night?

Amanda- I wish he’d see the bad guys coming so he could have moved around them. If you see a group in front of you, change your path so you keep cars or vehicles between you and the bad guys. If they shift to follow you, then that is called a clue that you’re being hunted.

That might be a good time to pull your flashlight out of your pocket. You want to see the threat when they are 50 feet away rather than figuring it out when they are 5 feet away.

I’m not sure when I’d feel safe putting my gun away. Should I run back into the store with a gun in my hand? That doesn’t seem like a good idea either. I have to think about it.

Also, you want to be very brief in your police statement. If the police catch them, the bad guys will lie about you.   Especially of they were shot – its your word against theirs.   And based on their choice of careers, they are not moral upstanding (non lying) folks. 

Officer, at least two guys followed me. At least one of them had a gun. They shot a gun near me and pointed their gun at me. I shot the armed attacker until he broke off the attack. I stopped shooting and moved back to a safer position. I put my gun away and called you. They were about this big and dressed this way. They ran in that direction.

I’m willing to give testimony against them and to appear in court as a cooperative witness. I’ll give a full report after I’ve talked with my lawyer.

  • Transitional spaces- parking lots. We are very vulnerable in these areas and we have to use situational awareness to keep from being surprised and to give us time to react. 
  • Distance is your friend. The sooner you sense someone else’s presence the more time you have to make a threat assessment. 
  • Two men approaching you means you may have to deal with two targets. 
  • Move to cover or concealment as soon as you feel threatened. 
  • Do you have a flashlight in your hand when you approach your car? You can use your flashlight to blind the attacker and give you a few seconds. 
  • Do you know how to draw and shoot your gun while you are moving? If you can’t practice this with a real gun and ammo you can use an airsoft gun.
  • Move to put the two attackers in a line so you only have to deal with one at a time. Or put your back to a wall so you only have to defend yourself from 180 degrees of attack instead of 360 degrees. 
  •  Don’t stop fighting if you get shot. If you quit, you may die. Keep scanning, fighting, shooting and reloading until the threat stops. 
  • Tunnel vision- Scan your area for other suspects, witnesses and the police. You want to avoid shooting witnesses or the police while searching for other suspects that may be a threat.. Under the influence of adrenalin you’re going to get “tunnel vision” and you won’t be able to focus on anything closer than 6 feet including your sights. You break the tunnel vision by moving your head side-to-side a few times. You may also become temporarily deaf as well. You won’t hear the police telling you to drop your gun. 
  • Check yourself for injuries- Under adrenalin, you may get shot or other injuries and not feel them immediately. A person can lose consciousness from bleed-out in about a minute even with a non-lethal shot to an artery if not treated immediately. 
  • Most states include carjacking under their Castle Doctrine laws. This means you don’t have to retreat while defending your life if attacked in your car. It does not allow you to shoot someone trying to steal your car without you in it.
  • Good guys don’t always win. Even if you are well-trained, the odds are about 50/50 that you will survive a gunfight. Unusually, you are outnumbered, outgunned and surprised by the attack. The attacker(s) chose the time, the place and the conditions of the attack. That puts you behind the reaction curve. Your best bet is to not get into a gunfight in the first place. Use the “D.E.A.D” principle: “D” is for de-escalate. “E” is for evade and escape. “A” is for avoid and situational awareness. The last “D” is for DEFEND!
  • When you talk to the police at the scene only give them the basic information without details. The adrenaline rush causes memory gaps and mistakes. Your body and mind need time to process. You need to talk to a self-defense lawyer and have him/her make your statement to the police later

Amanda-  The other thing i would like to say – is for our good guy to get to the range, get some training.   DO NOT shoot to wound, it gives them more time to be a threat to your life.  If you need to shoot, shoot to stop the threat.  STOP IT, not wound it, not ‘i imagine that will scare him’   STOP IT.  

Rob- Do you see anything else you want to cover?

Amanda- That is enough for now. Our second story happened in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Rob- Second Story- Are you armed at home?

It is almost midnight. Your dad is asleep, but the dogs are happy to see you. They want to go out into the backyard. You go out with them. By the time they are ready to go back inside, you hear sounds from inside your house. You step back inside and hear strangers in your basement. You hear sounds from upstairs, so you grab your gun. You see a stranger with a shotgun come down the stairs. You shout and you shoot him. He runs, and you stop shooting. The two other men run away too.

You go upstairs and check on your dad. He is confused, upset, and worried about you. You put your gun away and one of you calls 911 and asks for the police.

Police find evidence that you hit your attacker. The officers ask the local hospitals to look for your attacker.

You, your dad, and the dogs are fine. You’re not charged by the authorities.


Rob- What did our defender do correctly that night?

Amanda- She kept her wits. She recognized a threat to her family. She presented her gun. She moved toward her father because he might be in danger or need protection. She recognized a lethal threat when she  saw an armed intruder in her home. She shot until the threat stopped. She stayed at the scene, and someone called 911.


Rob- Is there something else you’d want your students to know about a situation like this one?

Amanda- Some dogs are guard dogs, and some dogs are lap dogs. Unless they’ve been trained and tested, we can’t count on them as alarms or as protection.  But we know our dogs,   when they tell you something is going on – pay attention.  Do not tell them to stop, shut up, go lay down.  They are dogging their little tails off, protecting their family.   Believe them. 

In the news report, it says the defender grabbed her gun. Hopefully it meant that she had it on her person and at the  ready.   They say Pants on- Gun on.  As you see here, it happened IN your home.  You may, as many of our stories point out, need a gun at home.   Plan for it, dress for it, prepare for it.  

If you’re at home and see a stranger inside, you should shout for him to get out. You want a moment to determine if it’s someone unexpected but known.  Or it’s a badguy.  Please- do it from behind cover so he can’t see you or present his gun and shoot you. If he has a gun in his hands I suggest you stop him right now because he is an immediate lethal and unavoidable threat.

And since we have a dog in this story,  what’s your plan for containing the dog while the police are there?   Mine is a runner, so he would run free.  Others are jumpers, barkers, biters of strangers. Have a plan.

Rob- Home invasion happens every day.

Amanda- We’ll talk about that in a later story.

Rob- Where are we heading next?

Amanda- Our third story happened in Little Rock, Arkansas.

  • Why didn’t the dogs give a warning? Unless your dog is highly trained for guard duty or your dog is very territorial, they won’t give you a warning about intruders. And even if they do, you still don’t know how many there are or where they are. At best, most dogs may bark and give you a 30 second warning but they can’t tell you if the intruder is a guy with a shotgun or a raccoon. 
  • Fortunately, the defender was able to “grab their gun”. If they only had one gun in the house and if it was upstairs with the dad, the defender would have been unarmed and unable to get to the gun when needed. POGO
  • Shouting at the guy with the shotgun was risky. It took time to do that and it gave away the defender’s position. If an intruder has a gun in his hand(s) he’s most likely to use it.
  • Since the defender’s dad was upstairs, the defender correctly chose to investigate there first. If no one else was home the best course of action would have been to get out of the house and call the police. The only time a defender should confront intruders on purpose is if someone in the house is in danger. Otherwise retreat and defend or leave the house. Let the cops handle it.
  • The defender put the gun away too soon. Sometimes the suspects return or another suspect may have remained in the house. Don’t disarm because the 911 dispatcher tells you to do so. Wait until the cops arrive and take over but make sure you don’t appear to be a threat to the cops.  

Rob- First this message from the Second Amendment Foundation.

Second Amendment Foundation


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

It is your seven-year-old daughter’s birthday. You’re visiting the city to go to the zoo and the waterpark. It has been a great day for her, but you’re tired. You’re also pregnant. Your husband helps load your two girls into the car. You’re sitting in the driver’s seat when you hear shouts. A stranger tackles your husband and slams him to the ground. Before you can get out of the car, a second stranger punches you in the head.

You’re armed. You present your firearm and shoot your attacker as he goes to hit you again. Now he stops. You stop shooting. Your husband’s attacker runs away. Your attacker falls down.

You check on your husband and your girls. You look around and have to put your gun away so you can call 911 to get help. The news isn’t clear if your attacker tried to run, but he doesn’t go far. Police apply first aid and your attacker is taken to the hospital in critical condition with a gunshot to the neck and head. Your husband’s attacker ran away.

Both of you give statements to the police. The news reports don’t mention if you have your carry license, but Arkansas has constitutional carry. Your husband talks to the police too, but he is hurting. You and your husband get medical examinations. You have some swollen knots on your head. Your husband has a broken rib. Your daughters are fine, and police are looking for your other attacker.

You are not charged with a crime.


Ananda- The dad said in the news reports that they didn’t know if this was a robbery, a carjacking, or a kidnapping. I don’t know either, and I’m so glad this mom was armed. 

As she was being hit, she fought back. She protected her family, checked on her family, and then contacted 911 to get help on the way.

It is hard to present your gun when you’re belted into the driver’s seat. It is harder when you’re pregnant and getting punched in the head. What a great job she did.

We’re at risk when we get in and out of our car, when we get in and out of a store, and when we get in and out of our home. We lose awareness of what’s around us.

You’re frightened and flooded with adrenaline. So are the rest of your family. Take a few minutes to see if they’re injured because they may be too frightened to notice smaller wounds. Check for bleeding and then call 911.

The story doesn’t mention a carry permit, and Arkansas is a constitutional carry state. This family lived about two hours away in Tennessee. You might not need the permit, but you do need to know the gun laws where you’re traveling.

Rob- Hey, Amanda. I just got my first gun. I want to take a class with you. When will I learn about not breaking the law as I travel with my gun?

Amanda-  There are some really good online resources for laws traveling from state to state.   Research them, know them and look them up prior to each trip.   These laws change fast, and the news does not tell us about these changes. 

  • Transitional spaces- areas between streets and homes or businesses, parking lots and parking garages are places where we are most vulnerable. Our situational awareness skills should be kicked into high gear. Listen for unusual sounds. Scan your immediate area. Be on alert. Keep you gun hand free.
  • The woman was armed and able to defend her family. POGO. Armed defense can be required of anyone, anywhere, anytime. 
  • Being pregnant makes concealing a handgun on her person difficult. Alternative carry methods such as carrying in a purse may be required.
  • She had to shoot her attacker while seated in the car- not easy and takes training.
  • She stopped shooting once both attackers ran away- DO NOT PURSUE.
  • Did she scan the area for other attackers before putting her gun away? Many times one or two suspects do the attacking while another suspect or two stand back to observe and assist if the attack goes bad.
  • She checked herself and her family for injuries before calling 911. Under the influence of adrenaline a person can be shot and not feel it immediately. Look for signs of blood loss.  


  • Did she have first aid or Stop the Bleed training and the equipment to stop a bleed-out? Every home and car should have a first aid kit with a tourniquet and blood clot gauze.
  • She was legally allowed to carry in Arkansas without a permit because they have permitless carry. More than half of the United States allows some form of permitless carry. Check handgunlaw.us for details. 
  • Travelers need to verify where they can carry and where they can’t while traveling. Every state has different laws. If a state doesn’t have preemption, each city and county can have different laws. Check with handgunlaw.us or the attorney general’s website for the states you want to visit. 
  • Since she was not alone she had to carefully choose when and where to shoot to prevent hitting her family. Did she and her family have a distress word or other plan in the event she needed to use her gun? The non-gun carrying family members need to know to drop, move away from the gun carrier and towards cover. If bullets start to fly they are going to be aimed at the gun-carrier. 
  • She did a lot right. 
  • Did she do anything wrong?

Rob- Where are we going for our last story?
Amanda- Our fourth story took place in Towns County, Georgia.

Rob- Fourth story- Are you armed at home?

You drive home a few minutes after midnight. You open your front door and there is a stranger walking across the room towards you. The young man is wearing your husband’s clothes. You present your firearm and order him to stop. He complies so you don’t shoot him. You call 911 and ask for the police. The police are in the area searching for two young burglars. You wait until the police arrive to lower your firearm. They grab your burglar, but he runs and they have to tackle him to get the cuffs on him. You reholster your firearm. You tell the police what happened to you. They tell you that your burglar is one of two young men who’ve been very busy tonight.

Your intruder is charged with burglary and 20 counts of felony entering an automobile. His partner is captured and charged with felony burglary and 20 counts of felony entering an automobile. Your intruder is 21 years old and his accomplice is 18.

The sheriff said you did a good job holding your intruder for the police. You are not charged. The news reports don’t say if you got your husband’s clothes back, but the burglar’s mugshots show him wearing a robe.

Tag- No shots fired.

Amanda- Well that was a surprise. Our late night homeowner arrived to find a threat, but she realized it was not yet a lethal and immediate threat. She tried verbal commands and they worked.

Castle doctrine says that an intruder in our home is assumed to be a threat to us and our family. Stand-your-ground laws say that we don’t have to run away. From a moral point of view, I don’t want to shoot an unarmed man when I’m standing outside my front door and he is standing inside my home. I have lots of room to escape, and he is not an immediate lethal threat.

That said, it is hard to hold someone at gunpoint. It sounds like this woman was home alone, but if you don’t know that the rest of your family are safe, then you might want the intruder to run away so you can take care of your family.  Do you know that this is the only intruder in your home?

There is a juggling act when the police get there and take over control of the scene. Do what they tell you, if that is to step back, lower your gun, or to holster your firearm.

Rob- What else do you see in this story?

Amanda- You need to be far enough from the intruder that you can raise the gun and shoot them before they can reach you. How about you put most of a wall, doorway, or a sofa in the way. Do not let them come directly at you – put something between you and them, and that something shall not impact your view.   Do that before you take out your phone. When you’re calling the police, give them your address, you need police, and this is what you look like.

You’re angry that someone broke into your home. Don’t let that anger put you at greater risk.   Do not take any action based on “the principle of the thing”  use your gun only when your life is in immediate jeopardy. 


  • Arriving home and finding an intruder can be quite a shock. She identified that this was an immediate and possibly lethal self-defense situation.
  • She presented her gun and used voice commands to get compliance from the intruder instead of shooting him immediately. Make sure the suspect is not faking compliance. Keep your distance and put objects or cover between you and him. Maybe he is also armed. 
  • Did she know how to properly hold someone at gunpoint?  That takes training and proper procedures to keep from being attacked.
  • Did she scan the area for additional suspects? Was she prepared for another suspect to enter the house or come down the stairs? You have to force yourself to focus on the 360 degree area around you and not just on the suspect in front of you.


  • Did she describe herself and tell the 911 dispatcher that she was holding a suspect at gunpoint? The police need to know that the good guy or gal is the one holding the gun.
  • She lowered her gun when the police arrived and took over. Your actions have to show the arriving police that you are not a threat. 
  • She holstered her gun once the suspect was handcuffed. 
  • Criminals don’t fear guns since they are part of their trade but they do fear a resolute defender with a gun. Statistics show that criminals are six times more likely to be shot by a gun owner than police. 

Exit- Rob- That’s the end of episode. Amanda, thank you for helping us again. Where can we learn more about you?

Amanda- My eye on the target radio show is syndicated coast to coast on Sunday nights from 5 to 7 eastern time. I instruct on the weekends in Northeastern Ohio. I’m part of the DCProject that you can find at DCProject.info, and  I’m on TV at the OpsLens channel with Eye on the Target on Sundays. 

Rob- After you listen to Amanda podcasts and watch her TV show, then please leave her a message on our podcast episode webpage.

Amanda- 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- 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.


Bonus Story- Phoenix, Arizona.

Are you armed at home?

You’re at home on a Sunday morning. It is a few minutes before 8 when you hear the sound of snapping wood and breaking glass. You grab your gun and go investigate. You see someone in your home. The stranger moves toward you. You shoot him until he stops. You step back and call 911 for help. The news doesn’t say what you did with your gun.

Police arrive and your attacker is still lying in your home. They secure your attacker and declare him dead. They ask you questions. They ask you to go to the police station and talk to the detectives. You give them a statement. You don’t know your attacker.

You are not charged with a crime, but you have to get your house fixed.

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