Episode 321 with Heather Reeves


Rob- Welcome to episode 321 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 Heather Reeves.  What has been keeping you so busy?

Heather- Hi, Rob.  I’ve been working on getting a new podcast started with a friend of mine who is also a shooter. We’re calling it Every Day Carry Chicks.

How about you?

Rob- I observed an advanced class for armed school staff. I volunteered to be one of the bad guys and I got shot with an airsoft gun.. A lot. I’m writing about it on my Slowfacts blog.

Jesse left us a message. She said, “I love this podcast! Very informative and I listen every week. Can’t wait for the next one.”

Dan wrote in and said, “Your show is one of my favorites. I listen to every episode and post the links on my social media. Keep up to good work. You are helping save lives.”

Randy said, “Love the podcast. Thanks!!”

Heather- We’re getting a lot of love this week. Our listeners are saving lives, but maybe we help a little.

Please help us by going to the iTunes store where you subscribe to podcasts and tell new gun owners why you listen.

Rob- We defend ourselves with a firearm several thousand of times a day. We look at a few recent examples to see what we can learn. As always, the links back to the original news articles are on our podcast webpage.

Heather- Thanks to Mel for writing some of our stories, and to Roger for posting his ideas.

Our first story took place last week in San Antonio, Texas.

Rob- First story- Are you armed at work?

It is Friday morning a half hour after midnight. You’re working at the counter of a 7-11 store. A customer comes in and walks up to the counter. The customer pulls a gun from his pants and points his gun at you. He demands the money from the cash register. You’re armed tonight. You present your firearm and shoot your attacker. He runs from the store and shoots back. You stop shooting. A customer at the back of the store says he is hurt. You put your gun away and check on the injured customer. Then you call 911 and ask for help.

You identify yourself to the police. EMTs treat the customer’s leg. It isn’t clear if the customer was grazed by the attacker’s bullet, or cut by broken glass. The news reports also don’t show video of the attack. The customer walks out of the store and you are not charged by police.

What did our defender do correctly?

Heather- I like that our defender was armed. He recognized an immediate, lethal, and unavoidable threat. That means he was justified in using lethal force to defend himself. He shot the bad guy until the bad guy ran away. He stopped shooting and didn’t chase the robber down the street. Our defender checked on the injured customer. I bet that is when he put his gun away and called 911 for help. He gave the police a statement, and he probably gave them security video as well.

Rob- Those are a lot of details that probably happened in less time than it took to describe them. What was left out of the news story?

Heather- The average person off the street will freeze if you point a gun at them because they don’t know how to react. Our defender didn’t freeze, so I think he had a plan-

Ah, you’re my robber tonight and I’ve been expecting you. Here, take this bag, and this bag, and this stack of receipts, and this roll of coupons and tickets. Would you like a bottle or two and a bunch of bananas to go with that?

Now that the robber’s hands are full, I want you to be able to quickly move and smoothly present your firearm and shoot. I want you to practice so well that you’re sure you’ll hit your target inside of 10 yards.

Also, it should be automatic that you know in what direction you can shoot and where you can’t shoot because bullets might be headed across the street.

Lock the door after the bad guy runs away. Have a medical kit nearby. If a customer dives to the floor and drops their jar of pickles, then I want you to be able to treat the injured until EMTs get there. Once you know what kind of help you need, then call 911 and ask for help.

This happened in Texas, so you don’t need a carry permit, but I want you to have one because you need to know the laws. You probably want a pre-paid legal plan so you have a lawyer to help you.

Rob- That is great advice. Besides listening to this show, where will your students learn what they need?


How to carry concealed-

How to present from the holster-

Legal use of lethal force-

Self-defense at work and close-quarters tactics-

Study the crimes in your area.

Rob- That doesn’t happen overnight.

Heather- Or in a day or in a week. Take a few classes a year and you’ll become an expert. Then, dry practice at home.


  •       The defender was armed and probably had a plan. Working in a convenience store is one of the most dangerous jobs in the US.
  •       The defender didn’t freeze. He recognized an immediate, lethal and unavoidable threat.
  •       The defender stopped shooting after the suspect left the store.
  •       The defender stayed at the scene and did not pursue the suspect.
  •       The defender checked on the injured customer then called 911.
  •       The defender identified himself to the police.


  •       The defender worked in a very dangerous situation. He took the precaution to be armed and hopefully he had a plan. Did he wear a Kevlar vest? They are expensive but they can save your life if you are shot with a pistol round.
  •       Did the defender know how to move and shoot? There’s no cover at the counter but there is concealment. Also, being able to move while you are shooting makes you a difficult target to hit.
  •       Did the defender actually hit the suspect or did he just “throw lead”? When the adrenaline kicks in it’s hard to hit your target even at close range. Remember, only good hits count. You need to hit the 9 inch Critical Circle on the upper chest in order to physically stop a threat. And it usually takes 2.4 hits there with a pistol round to neutralize the threat.
  •       The defender stopped shooting when the suspect left and he did not pursue him further. A victim pursuing a suspect can instantly change the victim into the aggressor.
  •       The story says the defender put his gun away when he stopped shooting. He should have locked the door and looked outside to see if the suspect had friends that might come back in. He also should have kept his gun on him until the police arrived. Until the cops get there, you have to handle the situation including suspects coming back. Don’t be quick to re-holster your gun but don’t present a threat to the police when they do arrive.
  •       The defender checked on the injured customer. Did he have the training and the equipment to stop the bleeding? Knowing how to stop the bleed in the first critical minutes can mean the difference between life and death.
  •       The story doesn’t say but was the customer struck by the suspect’s bullet, the defender’s bullet or broken glass? As a defender, you must make sure that you have a clear line of fire. Every bullet you fire has a lawyer’s name on it. 

Rob- Where are we headed for our next story?

Heather- We’re going to Las Vegas, Nevada.

Rob- Second Story- Are you armed at home?

It is one in the afternoon when you hear a strange sound coming from the front of your home. You walk toward the noise and see a stranger standing in your home. You don’t recognize him and tell him to leave. He walks toward you. You draw your firearm and shout for him to stop. He keeps coming and you shoot him. Now he stops. You back up and call 911 for help.

You put your gun away when the police arrive. You identify yourself to the police. You give them a brief statement. EMTs declare your attacker dead at the scene.

Your attacker entered your home through the unlocked front door. Police interviewed neighbors and asked for surveillance video. The stranger was going door to door and trying to get into homes. One neighbor ran into her home and locked her door.

You are not charged with a crime.

Heather- I’m glad our defender was armed at home in the middle of the day. He paid attention to what was happening and investigated the strange sound. He tried verbal commands. He defended himself and then stopped shooting when the threat was over. He backed away to be safe, but stayed at the scene and called for help. He gave a brief statement to the police.

Rob- What else should we do?

Heather- It is good that you’re armed so you can defend yourself. Please lock your doors and windows so you don’t have to use your gun. I’m saying that because I’m worried about your physical safety and worried about the weight on your heart if you have to take someone’s life.

How about buying a motion detector connected to a security light and a chime. The camera doorbells are cheap. Also, put in long screws and extended strike plates in the door.

How about taking some non-lethal or hand-to-hand classes so you have options other than going to the gun.

When you say stop, I want you to shout it so loud that a hundred neighbors can hear you. This typically doesn’t happen by nature, so practice using your loud commanding voice. Talk to your neighbors so that you’ll call 911 if someone tries to open your locked door. Finally, have a lawyer who will answer your calls and take your case.

Rob- Is that covered in the NRA self-defense in the home classes, or do you make your own curriculum?

Heather-  We use our own curriculum, so that we can add information like this because it’s so important and yet overlooked.

Rob- Where are we headed next?

Heather- Our third story happened in San Antonio, Texas.

What did our defender do correctly?


  • The defender heard noises and did not ignore them. Situational awareness.
  • The defender had his gun on him when he went to investigate the noise. Pants on, gun on. Being prepared is not being paranoid. 
  • The defender tried using verbal commands twice before using his gun. He attempted to avoid using his gun but he decided to do so when the intruder did not stop. The defender shot to defend himself from someone inside his home. Castle Doctrine says you do not have to retreat when inside your home but there still has to be a lethal threat in order for the homeowner to use deadly force. 
  • He stopped shooting when the threat was over. 
  • The defender stepped back (gaining distance) and called 911.
  • The defender put his gun away when the police arrived and did not present a threat to the cops.
  • He gave the police a brief statement. 
  • Did the defender have a self-defense legal plan?

What would you tell your students to do (that the defender should have done)?


  • The defender should have locked his door. Always locking doors can sometimes help you avoid a dangerous situation whether in your home or in your car. It will also help you with your legal defense if you have to go to court. 
  • Did the neighbor call 911? Did that neighbor encounter the suspect before or after the defender was attacked? Could the neighbor have given the defender some warning?
  • Could the defender have used pepper spray instead? Just because the intruder was inside the defender’s home doesn’t necessarily mean that he was presenting a lethal threat.

Rob- First this message from the Crime Prevention Research Center



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

It is just before noon when you drive up to your bank’s drive through teller machine. You’ve put your card into the machine when two men jump out of a car and run up to you. They tell you to hand over the money. You’re armed. You present your firearm and shoot your attackers. They run away so you stop shooting. You check to see if your passenger is hurt. You call 911 for help and stay at the scene.

You put your gun away when the dispatcher says the police are nearby. You give the police a brief statement. So does your passenger. Police find your two attackers nearby. EMTs declare them dead. The police look at the ATM security video. You are not charged with a crime.

The San Antonio police chief says that this attack was part of a trend where criminals followed people as they got cash.

Heather- Our defender was driving his car, in the middle of the day, with a passenger. He decided that bad things might happen even then, so he was armed. He recognized that two people running up to your car when you’re at the ATM was a problem. He shifted his attention to the threat. He defended himself and his passenger. He or his passenger called for help. He put his gun away, and stayed at the scene. They gave a statement to the police.

Rob- Is there more you’d like us to do as we drive?

Heather- I want you to make the decision when you can drive away and when you have to stay and fight. As a practical matter, it is almost always cheaper to drive away, even if you lose your ATM card and have to get your front suspension re-aligned because you drove over a curb to escape. If you need cash, go inside the bank, or get cash when you shop for groceries.

I want you to understand how hard it is to fight your way out of your car even if you have a gun. Try it yourself by putting a toy gun in your holster.


  • The defender was armed when he went to get cash at the bank’s ATM.
  • The defender drew his gun and shot two attackers while he was inside his car. It’s not easy to get good hits on two attackers from inside your car. Did he shoot through glass that can deflect the bullets?
  • The defender did not pursue the attackers.
  • The defender checked on his passenger to see if they were injured.
  • The defender called 911 for help.
  • The defender put his gun away when he thought it was safe to do so.
  • The defender stayed at the scene and gave police a statement. 

What would you tell your students to do (that the defender should have done)?


  • Don’t get cash from a bank ATM anytime- day or night! Use debit cards or credit cards if possible. If you have to have cash, get it from a well-lit store with video cameras like WalMart. 
  • Since the defender was in his car and the attackers were on foot could he have just driven off? He should have hit the gas the moment he saw the two suspects start running towards him. The best solution is to solve a problem without using a gun if possible. Using your gun is the last resort not the first. 
  • Drawing your gun from an IWB or OWB holster while sitting in your car with a seatbelt on is very difficult. Try practicing this with a blue gun or airsoft gun. A shoulder holster or even a small, light semi-auto 380 with a pocket holster in your shirt pocket is easier to use in this situation. Sewing a pocket holster to the inside of your coat at chest level works well when wearing a coat. 

Rob- Where are we going for our last story?
Heather- Our fourth story took place in Waco, Texas.

Rob- Fourth story- Do you have a gun nearby at night?

Defense of a third person in a hotel room at 3am.

You are asleep in your hotel room. It is 3 in the morning when you hear a woman scream in the hallway outside your room. You hear the sound of a fight and several women scream for help. You get out of bed and grab your gun. You open the door and enter the hallway. You ask what is going on and a large male tells you to go away. You stand there and he attacks you. You step back and then shoot your attacker before he reaches you. Now he stops advancing so you stop shooting.

It isn’t clear who called 911. You stay at the scene. You put your gun away and identify yourself to the police. EMTs transport your attacker to the hospital. One of the women is injured and treated at the scene. You give a statement to the police. So do the three women who were attacked.

Your attacker later died at the hospital. You are not charged.

What did our defender do correctly?


  • The defender paid attention when he heard a fight outside of his room.
  • The defender took a gun with him when he investigated the fight.
  • The defender tried verbal commands and stood his ground and was ready to defend himself and others.
  • The defender took a step back and fired when the suspect charged him.
  • The defender stopped shooting when the threat was over.
  • The defender put his gun away and did not present a threat to the police.
  • The defender stayed at the scene and gave police a statement. 

Heather- The defender decided to get up and find out why someone was screaming for help. Thank you. He recognized the tone of voice that this could be a serious if not lethal problem, so he brought his self-defense tool. The defender did not close the distance with the attacker, but let the attacker come to him. That is important because it establishes who was the aggressor. The defender stopped shooting when the threat stopped. He stayed at the scene, put his gun away, and identified himself to the police.

Rob- Why is defense of a third party so dangerous, even if they are screaming for help?

Heather- You are depending on these three women to tell the truth, that they screamed for help and established themselves as innocent victims. If they weren’t innocent, or if they change their story, then you’re going to jail.

Rob- Is there more you’d like us to do?

Heather- Call the front desk or 911 first to get help on the way. You need to establish for yourself that this is a fight where the victim is legally justified in using lethal force. The attacker may have been a lethal threat to a female victim, but he may have been a comparable threat to you. That means you do not have the justification to use lethal force against him. Even if he starts it, you have to go hand to hand with him. 

Rob- Explain that another way so I understand it.

Heather- An average size woman is attacking your child. That is a lethal threat to the child so it justifies lethal force until you can get your hands on her. Once you’ve stopped her attack on your child, then she is not a lethal threat to you so you can no longer shoot her. All that changes if she grabs a knife.

This is the perfect time to have pepper spray in the pocket of your shorts.

Rob- When do your students learn about those important issues of armed defense?

Heather- Legal seminars. Image based decision making. Concealed carry class.

What would you tell your students to do (that the defender should have done)?


  • Intervening in a third party fight can be very dangerous since you don’t have enough pertinent information in order to make a good decision. Maybe the guy was a cop arresting shoplifters, car thieves or escorts. 
  • The defender should have called 911 at the beginning. The sooner the cops are called the sooner they arrive. It’s their job to respond to these situations. 
  • Just because someone yells “Help! Help!” doesn’t mean that you should jump in. You need complete information first and then you have to decide if you are willing to risk your life, health, wealth and freedom to do so. You need to think about this long before it ever happens to you. 
  • Using deadly force requires that the threat is immediate, lethal and unavoidable. Was the threat to the women lethal? Was the threat to the defender lethal? Did the attacker have the ability, opportunity and was he putting the women or the defender in jeopardy (AOJ)? It depends on the totality of the circumstances. Since no one else was armed, was the defender justified in using his gun- deadly force? Three women fighting one man does not show a disparity of force. 
  • Could the defender have used pepper spray, stun gun, baton or a taser to stop the threat? Did he have a non-lethal tool available to him like a fire extinguisher or a bucket of water? Could he have used a linen cart as a ram, a broom or a ladder to separate them? 
  • There are many objects around us that can be used as lethal and non-lethal weapons. Learn to recognize them and understand what they can do.


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

Heather- Look at my gun store website, Wolverinedefenseacademy.com.

I list more classes at agirlandagun.org under the Portage, Michigan chapter.

Rob- After you look at Heather classes, then please leave her a message on the episode webpage.

Heather- 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,  or leave a comment on Listen Notes.

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.




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