Episode 329 with David Cole


Rob- Welcome to episode 329 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 David Cole. What has been keeping you so busy?

David- Hi, Rob. I took a training course near you in Robert, Louisiana. Chris Cerino was one of the instructors, and I know you’ve trained with him.

How about you?

Rob- I’ve been traveling for the last few weeks. I went to a second amendment fundraising event in San Diego, and then to the Gun Rights Policy Conference in Phoenix. Thank you to everyone who attended. I came back with a cold so we missed a podcast. In the meantime, we received three new comments and several new ratings on iTunes(361,197)

Custer likes the short format for the news and that we include both comments and recommendations of best practice.

Jacob says we help with his mental preparations, and in making a home defense plan.

Another listener called our podcast an important part of self-defense education. We add to his “library of responses” so he won’t freeze. He pointed out that we now have over 100 hours of content. He called the podcast both informative and entertaining.

David- Thank you for the comments. It is nice to know that someone is listening, and to know what you like and dislike. We also want to say thank you to Roger and Michael who helped us again this week.

Rob- Please help us connect with new listeners. Go to the iTunes store where you subscribe to podcasts and tell new gun owners why you listen.

David- Here in the US, we defend ourselves with a firearm thousands of times a day. The links back to the original news articles are on our podcast webpage.

Our first story took place last week in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Rob- First story- Are you armed at home?

You’re at home with your 70 year old dad. It is about 9 in the morning when you both hear a crashing sound at the back door. You grab your gun. You see two men wearing masks, gloves, and dark clothing. They are slamming themselves against your back door. You fire through the door and the two men run away. You stop shooting. Your dad calls the police. You both stay inside.

You put your gun away when the police are nearby. You let the officers into your house and show them the back door. You describe your attackers. EMS declares one of your attackers dead in your backyard. Police get reports of a wounded man in a car nearby. The car matches the security videos taken from the neighborhood. The man is dressed like your attackers and he has a wounded leg. He is taken to the hospital for treatment and is in police custody. You are not charged with a crime.

Police report that there were similar break ins in the same neighborhood that morning.

What did our defender do correctly?


  • Fortunately, the defender’s doors were locked so the intruders had to make noise while breaking down the door. This gave the defender a warning and a small amount of time to act.
  • The defender realized that he and his dad may be in a dangerous situation and he grabbed his gun as a precaution. 
  • The defender verified that the intruders were trying to force their way in through the door so he fired on them until the bad guys ran away. He then stopped shooting and did not chase the bad guys.
  • The defender’s dad called 911. 
  • The defender put his gun away when the police arrived.
  • The defender showed the police the broken door as evidence and gave the police a description of the intruders. His descriptions helped the police find the intruders.

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


  • Could the father and son have retreated to a defensible room, barricaded the door and prepared to ambush the intruders if they came looking for them?
  • The defender had a gun close at hand and he did not hesitate to grab it in case he needed it when he went to investigate the noise.
  • Hopefully, the defender sought concealment or cover before engaging the intruders. The first goal of self-defense is not to get shot. 
  • Nevada is a “Castle Doctrine” state but how that law applies varies state by state. You have to learn the laws for your own state or consult a lawyer. In some states, the “Castle Doctrine” only applies to the homeowner which was the 70 year old, not the son in this case. Also, some states require that an intruder has to penetrate one of the four exterior walls of the home in order for a shooting to be justified. In this case, the defender shot the intruders through the door while they were still outside. This area is called “curtilage”. Curtilage includes the area immediately surrounding a dwelling, and it counts as part of the home for many legal purposes but only in some states.  
  • The attack took place at 9:00 in the morning. Bad guys don’t make appointments. They attack anyone, anywhere and at any time.
  • Hopefully, the 70 year old dad will keep a firearm very close at hand in case his son isn’t home when intruders arrive.  

David- The defenders decided that the world wasn’t a safe place so he bought a firearm for self-defense. They had their doors and windows locked. That forced the robbers to make noise and take extra time to break into their home. Our defender either had his gun on his person, or nearby, so he could use it immediately even on a weekday morning. If we’re going to go investigate a strange noise in our home then we need to be able to respond to what we find.

The defender recognized that two masked men breaking into his home was an immediate threat to him and his elderly father. He stopped the attack and then stopped shooting. I note that his shots hit both attackers. The homeowners stayed at the scene and didn’t chase the bad guys across the yard and over the fences. The defenders were working together so dad called 911 for help and got the police on their way. They made sure their hands were empty when the police arrived. They both gave a brief statement to the officers and told them what happened.

Rob- Are there other important details that weren’t mentioned in the news report?

David- I’d like all the adults in the home to be armed. We also need a plan and to walk through that plan a number of times. We want habits in place so we know what to do when we’re surprised.

Distance is to our advantage, so we don’t have to be in the same room as the attackers. We can be in the next room and behind concealment as we watch the back door. Shooting through the door is very risky. It is best practice to wait until they break in before you defend yourself, both for reasons of positive target ID and better marksmanship. Rule 4 applies all the time…be sure of your target and what lies it beyond it.

These defenders have to explain why two men who were outside the house posed an immediate and lethal threat. We want to have a lawyer to call because he knows how to present the critical points of our case. He will do an infinitely better job than you will.

Rob- When do your students learn about the legal limits in our use of lethal force?

David- That is talked about in our concealed carry classes, and in more advanced classes.

Rob- Is there more you want to cover in this story, or should we go on?

David- We covered the important points. We’re staying out west and going to Mesa, Arizona.

Rob- Second Story- Are you armed as you return home?

It is Tuesday night when you arrive back home. You live with two women. As you arrive home you’re attacked by four strangers who are inside your home. You present your firearm and shoot at them until they run away. You find your roommates tied up in the bathroom. They have been pepper sprayed and beaten for over an hour while the intruders ransacked your home. You call the police and ask for help. The three of you give statements to the police.

Police find the two women who attacked you at the hospital. They are seeking treatment for gunshot wounds. You recognize one of the men who attacked you. He was inside your home a few hours ago asking for work. He made sure the back door was unlocked and that you’d left home before he and his three accomplices broke into your apartment.

Your roommates will recover. Your attackers are charged with kidnapping, aggravated robbery, and burglary.

What did our defender do correctly?


  • The defender was attacked by four intruders as soon as he arrived home.
  • He didn’t freeze. He recognized that he was in immediate, lethal and unavoidable danger. He drew his gun and fired, hitting two of the assailants.
  • The defender stopped shooting when the attackers turned and ran. He did not pursue them.
  • The defender checked on his roommates and then called 911 for help.
  • The victims and the defender all gave statements to the police.

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


  • The victims thought that their sliding glass door was locked but one of the attackers had unlocked it when he was in the apartment previously. A sliding door safety bar can be purchased for about $15 and easily installed. This type of safety bar not only stops the door from being forced open, it also provides a visual verification that the sliding patio door is secure even at a distance. 
  • The female victims may have saved themselves if they too were armed and trained in self-defense. Each person needs to be their own First Responder. 
  • The defender was facing four intruders. Did he have sufficient ammunition to stop all four of them if they had decided to continue their attack or if they had been armed? Even trained police officers usually only get hits about 30% of the time and it usually takes two good, upper-chest hits to stop an attacker no matter which pistol caliber is used. Did the defender have a 5 or 6 shot revolver or a single-stack semi-automatic? Would that have been enough? 
  • This was a case of “psychological stop” not a “physical stop”. The defender fired one shot and the four intruders decided to turn and run. That’s not always the case. We have to train to fire multiple shots and hit multiple attackers while we are moving to cover/concealment so we don’t get shot.
  • What kind of ammunition did the defender use? The one shot that the defender fired went through the first female intruder then continued on and wounded the second female intruder. Usually, jacketed hollow point bullets used for self-defense don’t do that. Maybe he was using full metal jacket training ammo (FMJ). New Jersey is the only state that forbids the use of jacketed hollow point ammo (JHP). Another consideration when buying self-defense ammo is that you want to buy ”low muzzle flash” ammo. Using the “regular, bright muzzle flash” ammo can temporarily blind you if you fire in dim light conditions. Speer Gold Dot ammo has low muzzle flash.    

David- The defender recognized that being attacked by four people was an immediate, unavoidable and lethal threat. Being outnumbered was a clear disparity of force that justified the use of lethal force in self-defense. He shot his attackers until they ran away. He did not chase them down the street, but found his roommates and then called for police and medical help. The defender made sure his hands were empty when the officers arrived. The victims stayed at the scene and gave brief statements to the police. It doesn’t say if they needed medical help, but I’d guess that the women did. I also bet they offered to testify against their attackers.

Rob- What is best practice to keep us safe in our homes?

David- Please be very careful of who you allow access to your home. Don’t let strangers wander unsupervised through your home. Put a bar in the track of the sliding glass door.

 I want all of the adults armed at home so all of you can defend yourself. Practice at the range so you can engage multiple targets quickly. It isn’t unusual to be able to put two shots into each of three targets in under four seconds.

When we go to the range, we often take our time and shoot a single target. That is fine for marksmanship training, but that isn’t enough for armed defense. There are more advanced classes on armed defense that you take after you have your carry permit.

Rob- What are those advanced classes called?

David- They might be beyond concealed carry, firearms presentation and self-defense, or combat handgun.

Rob- What else did you notice in this story?

David- We’ve touched on this before. A small 5 shot revolver is an expert’s gun. When we look at police shootings, they only hit with one out of five of their shots. It is a one attacker gun in a two attacker world. In this case there were four attackers. Even if they only have fists, then you face a very serious threat. I know you can shoot them, but can you stop them with five shots? Then you have to go hand-to-hand with that many attackers because you’re out of ammunition. If you have a revolver then I hope that all of you are armed.

Rob- And we know the attackers had pepper spray because they used it on the two women they tied up.

David- Right. The attackers had a plan. We need to have a defensive plan too so we don’t freeze while we sort out what to do.

Rob- Where are we going for our next story? 

David- Our third story happened in Fall City, Washington.

Rob- First this message from Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership


DRGO https://drgo.us/

Rob- Third story- Do you have a firearm nearby in the middle of the night?

It is four in the morning on Monday. You are sleeping in the back room of your gun shop. You are woken up by a horrible crashing sound and the entire building shakes. You roll out of bed and grab your gun. You turn on the lights and shout that you’re armed. You see several men run away from the front of your store. You call the police and tell them what happened.

You give a statement to the police when they arrive. Robbers drove a stolen car through the front door of your store. You have someone at the store every night. You have to replace your front door and put stone and steel columns in front of your store. There are about 28 gun stores robbed each year in Washington State.

Tag- No Shots Fired

David- I’ve worked in a gun shop and everyone goes armed during the day. The reason the criminals had to use a car to crash through the front door was because the door was secure. Good for the defenders. The security bars were in place and it would take too long to break in by hand. All that physical security did what it was supposed to do. It bought the defender time.

Our defender had a plan and he’d rehearsed it so that he could respond in the middle of the night. He rolled out of bed. He grabbed his gun. He moved to a defensible position and gave a verbal warning. That solved the immediate problem.

Let’s add bollards outside the store. Let’s add motion detectors and automatic lights all around the store and at the front of the store. Let’s add video cameras and alarms that tell the police there has been a break in. Maybe it is time to replace the front windows with solid walls. I prefer precast concrete to cinder block. Since we’re trying to keep people safe, let’s have the store employees armed before they arrive at work and also armed as they leave.

What did our defender do correctly?


  • The gun shop owner realized that his guns were a highly prized target for theft. He had a security plan.
  • He responded immediately when the thieves drove through the shop’s door. He grabbed his gun, turned on the lights and gave verbal warnings which worked in this case.
  • He gave a statement to the police. 
  • His plan to provide stone and steel columns at the front door is a good start.  

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


  • While many of us in the gun community and even in the retail sales community applaud the gun shop owner’s efforts, this security method is quite risky in a number of ways. First of all, whoever sleeps in the closed store could very easily be out-gunned and killed. If an employee gets killed while trying to stop a robbery by himself, his heirs would probably sue the shop owner. Gun thieves are very determined and usually ruthless. There have been cases where thieves have used bulldozers and cranes with wrecking balls to break into gun shops and jewelry stores. Also, legally, there have been cases of district attorneys filing criminal charges of voluntary manslaughter and criminal negligence against store owners who sleep in their stores because they killed a thief who was “enticed” to steal. Check with your lawyer before using this type of security method. 
  • Adding bollards (stone and steel columns) to the front of the store is a good start but he also needs to add them all the way around the building depending on what the exterior walls are made of. 
  • Reinforcing the walls/windows is good but he also needs to keep the thieves from cutting into the roof, entering via the ventilation system or tunneling under the walls too.
  • Many gun shops and jewelry stores move the merchandise to a metal vault instead of trying to make the entire building theft proof.    

Rob- Where are we going for our last story?
David- Our fourth story took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Rob- Fourth story- Are you armed at work?

People are lined up across the counter, out the door, and around the corner. Customers stand under a shade tent outside as they wait to order cheesesteak sandwiches. Jimmy’s Cheesesteaks is open from noon until midnight. You stand outside wearing an armored plate carrier and with an AR rifle slung across your chest. You are a licensed security guard. You walk back and forth along the line so that the customers aren’t robbed. You talk to the customers and they talk to you. The work has been easy so far. Across Philadelphia, dozens of customers were robbed this year, but not here. Several dozen stores were looted this week, but not at Jimmy’s. The gas station on the corner has an armed guard too.

The work is mostly outdoors. The shifts will get harder this winter when the weather changes, but at least the food is good.

David- We have to get a little philosophical to talk about this. The politicians in Philadelphia worked hard to eliminate a culture of armed defense. That said, you can get a carry permit in Philadelphia, and you should. Unfortunately, crime and violence are out of control with frequent carjackings, robberies, and open looting of stores. People don’t feel safe on the streets, particularly at night. I say that so we understand the environment where this store owner made this decision to provide openly armored and armed guards.

Most customers will feel safer with the uniformed guards protecting them. Some customers will feel threatened. Those customers may not visit the store as often. Even though the armed guards cost money, the owners think they will make more money by defending their customers than if they let their customers be robbed.

The gas station on the corner faced the same problem and they reached the same conclusion.

This is the same sort of balancing decision we all make when we decide to protect ourselves. Should we carry or should we not? Should we carry openly or concealed? With your carry permit, you can open carry in Philadelphia, so you don’t need to be a security guard.

Rob- You’ve been paid to carry a gun openly in public. Talk to me about the liability of using a gun as a security guard.

David- Each of us is responsible for every action we take. If I see a pair of criminals robbing a customer, then I have the choice of defending her or not. I’m allowed to use lethal force as long as she has the right to use lethal force. An interesting fact is that the law holds the surviving criminal responsible for murder if I kill his partner. (What does the law say about you injuring a bystander or the murderers injuring a bystander?)

Rob- I noticed that the store owners were conducting an experiment. They are open a few days a week where there are no armed guards. We’ll find out if they get more customers then, or on the day the customers are protected.

David- They can tell if the protection was worth the costs. It is true that a private guard and a private security company will often have more liability insurance, but a security guard is treated the same way as a civilian in the eyes of the law. We will be asked to explain how our actions were the safest thing we could do.

The decisions are not that complicated; I shot the robber who had a gun pointed at a customer because I thought it was safer than waiting for her or others to be shot. Here is what I studied that made me reach that conclusion, and this is where I was trained so that I could safely take those actions. Perfect solutions are not part of the equations.

There are better solutions and worse ones. I want you to be armed rather than to depend on an armed security guard. And did you think of this; just like the police, that security guard has no obligation to protect you and your family.

What did our defender do correctly?


  • Like many other situations, the best approach to analyze this is to make a list of pros and cons. Ben Franklin, who was from Philadelphia, was famous for his lists: 
  • PROS: Many customers feel safer seeing an armed guard that they believe will protect them from being robbed. Will the armed guards actually do that or are they just for show? The steak shop sells more steak sandwiches because their customers are not afraid of standing in line with money.  
  • CONS: Some customers are going to be turned away when they see armed security. Some people are so adverse to seeing AR-15s that they will refuse to buy anything from that shop. The steak shop has to charge more than the usual price for each sandwich in order to cover the costs of having armed security. The armed security is only going to be present from Thursday to Sunday. No security from Monday to Wednesday? What legal liabilities is the steak shop going to incur if one of the armed guards misses his target and hits an innocent by-stander? If the lines to buy sandwiches are around the block, how many armed security guards are needed? Are the armed guards going to be there if it rains? If it snows? 
  • CONCLUSION: As long as a person is over 21, lives in Pennsylvania and doesn’t have a criminal record, they can obtain their License to Carry a Firearm from Pennsylvania for $20. The license is good for 5 years and does not require any training (although it is highly recommended.) Getting the license to carry, obtaining a gun and getting some training provides each person with 24/7/365 armed security wherever they go- not just at this steak shop. If you want to “FEEL SAFE” go ahead and outsource your personal security to someone else. If you truly want to “BE SAFE”, get the tools and the training to do it yourself.  


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

David- Look for my articles at deltabravocharlie.com My latest article is about training at Range Ready in Robert, Louisiana.

Rob- After you look at Dave articles and his videos, then please leave us a message on the podcast episode webpage.

David- We share this podcast with you for free.
Please share the podcast with a friend and give us a rating on I-Tunes and Listen Notes.
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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.



3 Replies to “Episode 329 with David Cole”

  1. Chris B Thayer

    Re: Mesa, AZ ~ Are You Armed as You Return Home

    A point should be made that at least two of the attackers were women.

    Don’t let preconceived images of the “bad GUY” cause hesitation ~~ such a delay could have been deadly for the defender.

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