Episode 332 with Candy Petticord


Rob- Welcome to episode 332 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 Candy Petticord. What has been keeping you so busy?

Candy Petticord

Candy- Hi, Rob.  I’ve just returned from joining Women For Gun Rights in Washington D.C. It was an awesome opportunity to meet with and talk to our legislators and share our concerns about attacks on the 2nd Amendment and our 2A rights. 

How about you?

Rob- I’m waiting for my new gun to come back from the shop. I’ve been dry practicing with my old Glock, and dry practicing the FBI qualification test. 

Candy – I just completed that qual with my kids for AG&AG. It’s a tough course of fire but very awesome to complete from time to time as it tests so many basic firearm skills. 

Rob- Dwayne sent in a story. Robin suggested a new female co-host we could use. Thank you, Dwayne and Robin. I also want to thank Roger and Mel for their help this week. We’re still looking for listeners who want to write or edit this podcast. Someday, all this can be yours.

Candy- Please go to the iTunes store where you subscribe to podcasts and tell new gun owners why you listen.

Here in the US, 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 Kokomo, Indiana.

Rob- First story- Do you have a firearm nearby when you’re asleep in bed?

You’ve barely gone to sleep when you hear a strange sound. Someone is in your home. You grab your gun and go investigate. You see someone near the front door. You shout for him to get out. The man charges you and you push him back. You try to push him back outside your home. You hit each other a few times. Finally, you step back and shoot your attacker. Now he stops attacking you. You stop shooting and retreat. Your attacker falls down. You call 911 and ask for help.

You stay on the call with the police dispatchers. You put your gun down before the police arrive. You call to the officers when they knock on your door. They see your attacker on the floor and render aid. Emergency medical services take your attacker to the hospital. You are treated at the scene for cuts, scrapes, and bruises. You give the police a statement about what happened.

News reports don’t say how your attacker entered your home. Your attacker died in the hospital a few hours later. You are not charged with a crime.

Candy- At some point our defender decided that bad things happen to good people and he bought a firearm. They kept their firearm in a condition so it could be used immediately and they kept it in a position where they could reach it quickly in the middle of the night.

The homeowner heard something that didn’t sound right. We’re not told how long it took for the defender to decide, “Hmmm, there is a guy wandering around inside my home rearranging my furniture in the middle of the night – Yeah, that ain’t right” before he decided to do something but the key is – He got up and did something. 

Our defender grabbed his firearm and went to investigate. He gave a verbal warning, probably something along the lines of, “Hey, get out of my house.” When that didn’t work, he tried going hand to hand to push the intruder outside. When that didn’t work, he used his firearm. The defender stopped shooting when the attacker backed away, called for help, and stayed on the line with the police dispatcher.

Our homeowner had empty hands when he met the police. He told them what happened, and he was treated by Emergency Medical Personnel for his injuries.

Rob- That sounds like a lot to do when you were asleep only a few seconds ago. Is there more you’d tell your students to do that wasn’t covered in the news story?

Candy- I would love it if our listeners would understand that the days of Mayberry are gone, probably forever, and so our doors and windows MUST BE LOCKED, especially at night and/or when we are not home, so hopefully the bad guy will decide that breaking into their home would be too much trouble, walk away, and look for an open door at someone else’s home. With your home properly secured, if the bad guy gets impatient, he then needs to make a lot of noise breaking down your door, which will wake you and buy you time to decide your next move. 

If you’re living alone like this defender, male or female, I would ask you to grab your gun and your flashlight, lock your bedroom door, take a place of concealment behind your bed or a dresser, and call 911. Let the guys who get paid to deal with the crazy, middle-of-the-night furniture rearranger deal with him so you don’t have to.

Rob- Was it a good idea to go hand to hand with an intruder?

Candy- That depends. If a small person walks into your open carport, then you, Rob, can shout at them and push them out – maybe. There are times where I think it can be a fatal mistake to underestimate the “little guy” and, with that being said, I am not going to go hand to hand with anyone if I can help it, particularly if they have broken into my home. I don’t care what size you are, if you break into my bedroom or my children’s bedroom, you are going to get shot.

Rob- When do you talk to your students about how to protect their family in their home?

Candy- This is discussed after basic handgun safety. Most people who come to my classes are there out of a desire to protect themselves and their loved ones, so the discussion of home security occurs pretty early.

Rob- We have millions of new gun owners in the last month. A lot of those guns are sitting in the box they came in on the top shelf of the bedroom closet. How should these new gun owners store a firearm in their home?

Candy- Take a class on firearm safety. Buy a small bedside safe. They cost about $100. Take a marksmanship class so you learn how to shoot accurately. Now, take your gun and your family to the range twice a month so you and your family make friends with your gun.

What did our defender do correctly?

(Bullet points by Roger T. Please do not change these notes.)

  • The defender got out of bed to investigate a strange noise rather than ignoring it and going back to sleep.
  • He took his gun with him.
  • The defender tried using verbal commands to get the intruder to leave but that failed.
  • The defender recognized that he was in an immediate, lethal and unavoidable situation when the intruder charged him. 
  • He was able to break free from the intruder, stepped back and shot him until the threat stopped.
  • The defender called 911, put his gun away when the police arrived and then gave a statement. 
  • The defender also got EMS to check him out and document his injuries. 

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

(Bullet points by Roger T. Please do not change these notes.)

  • Since the defender appeared to be alone in the home, best practices says that he should have stayed in his bedroom, barricaded the door, called 911 and prepared to defend himself if the intruder broke in. That’s better than walking into an unknown number of intruders and not knowing where they are and if they are armed. A survey of convicted home invaders found that most of them bring a friend with them and almost all of them (98%) bring weapons.
  • The defender allowed the intruder to get so close to him that they ended up getting into hand-to-hand combat. Could the defender have engaged the intruder from a distance or from behind cover/concealment?
  • Did the defender have any close quarter fighting skills and did he know how to shoot from a retention position?
  • Did the defender have a flashlight with him? A bright flashlight or a weapon-mounted light can be critical in identifying whether an intruder is a threat or not. It can also act as a deterrent. Shining a light on an intruder while the defender stays in the dark is a big tactical advantage too.  

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

Candy- Let’s move on. Our second story happened in Bellefontaine Neighbors, Missouri.

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

You and your wife just arrived back home. You are still sitting in the back seat of the car. Your wife says she forgot something and will only be a minute. She left the driver’s-side door open.

You look up and see a teenager jump into the car and start it. You present your firearm from your concealed holster and shoot your carjacker. He runs back to the car that dropped him in front of your house. Your attackers shoot at your car and you’re injured.

News reports don’t say if you or your wife called 911 and asked for help. Police arrest your attacker. He has a gunshot wound to his arm. He is a juvenile. You are taken to the hospital for treatment of your wounds. They are described as non-life threatening and you are in stable condition. The police say that your attackers followed your car home after you dropped your kids off at school.

You are not charged with a crime.

Candy- Our good guy recognized that he could be at risk even though he lives in a nice part of town so he purchased a firearm and had it on his person. That day when someone jumped into his car to carjack him, he reacted immediately, which tells me our good guy probably has some training under his belt or, at the very least, a lot of dry-practice time, which is great!! He shot his attempted carjacker and stopped shooting when the criminal was no longer a threat. According to the news reports, he didn’t chase the bad guy down the street – Great job!! He called for help and gave a report to the police. Some stories say he was wounded and taken to the hospital.

Rob- What else would you like us to do in a similar situation?

Candy- The bad guys showed up at a nice school, cased the parking lot, and went “car shopping” as unsuspecting parents dropped off their children. In this environment you want to make sure you are not a potential victim – Keep your head out of your phone. Close and lock your car doors. If you need to defend yourself with your firearm, try to move to a position of cover so you don’t get shot while defending yourself. Better yet, both parents should be armed so that if you should happen to be “selected” you can evacuate the car, if possible, and defend each other from places of cover.

Have a plan that includes your daily routine. That might include practicing to draw your rubber gun or your empty gun when you’re sitting in your car in your garage. DO NOT PRACTICE WITH A LOADED FIREARM!!

When practicing vehicle defense, it is strongly advised that you attend a training covering this topic so you are not practicing incorrect and/or dangerous skills. Once you have gone through this training, have a training partner watch you in your car so they can see if you accidentally point your gun at (muzzle) people or things you don’t want to shoot. For example, if you were in the back seat and a bad guy jumps into the driver’s seat, can you defend yourself without pointing your gun at the other passengers who are in the car with you? YouTube is great but nothing replaces hands-on training with a qualified instructor. This provides you with the proper techniques to make your practice efficient, effective, and correct.

Does your family know how to stop the bleeding on a wounded limb? Again, here is a great opportunity to take training from a qualified instructor and then practice what you have learned with your trained practice buddy. Even better, have your family attend a medical class and then have family medical practice evenings with your medical kit practicing the skills you’ve learned. Remember, medical knowledge is like anything else – If you don’t use it (practice), you’ll lose it.

Rob- When do you tell your students about defense in a car, and about medical care?

Candy- I consider these to be intermediate topics, so they are discussed in my intermediate courses. New shooters have enough on their minds without trying to be both John Wick and Marcus Welby at the same time. However, my basic pistol students are taught the importance of always having a tourniquet with them and why their next class should be a “Stop The Bleed” class or an equivalent. 

What did our defender do correctly?

(Bullet points by Roger T. Please do not change these notes.)

  • The defender immediately responded to being carjacked/kidnapped when the thief jumped into his car and started it. The teenage thief probably didn’t even realize that the husband was in the back seat.
  • The defender was able to draw his gun while seated in the car and shot the thief in the arm.
  • Either the defender or his wife called 911 and they gave statements to the police. 

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

(Bullet points by Roger T. Please do not change these notes.)

  • Best practices says that your car doors should always be closed, locked and have the windows up- whether you are in the car or not. The open driver’s door was a great temptation to the thief and his friends.
  • The wife needs to learn how to be more situationally aware. She should have realized that they were being followed from the school. She could have verified that they were being followed by driving around the block making multiple turns and confirming that the thief’s car made the same turns that they did. Once she verified that they were indeed being followed, the husband should have called 911 while the wife drove to the police station. 
  • Carjackers ALWAYS travel in teams. Once the defender shot the thief who was able to run away, the defender should have bailed out of his car and moved to cover behind one of the wheels or the engine compartment. Neither the car’s body nor the car’s glass would have stopped bullets and he was a “sitting duck” staying inside of the stationary car. That’s why he got shot. 
  • Did the defender’s wife know how to continue the gunfight after her husband was shot? Could the wife have also been armed? 
  • Did either of them know how to stop the bleeding from the gunshot until help arrived?

Rob- Where are we headed for our next story?

Candy- Our third story happened in Auburn, Washington.

Rob- First this message from the Buckeye Firearms Foundation.

Buckeye Firearms Foundation


Rob- Third story- Do you have a firearm nearby at night?

You and your wife are at home. You’re both asleep in bed at 2 in the morning. You’re woken up by someone banging on your front door. It sounds like several people, and they shout that they are the Seattle Police. That is strange because the police usually don’t try to kick down your front door. You grab your gun and your phone. You check your security cameras and see three men in hoodies, ski masks, gloves, and with guns in their hands. None of that looks like the police to you.

You move so you can see the front door. The robbers take turns kicking your door, and finally, the door fails. You shoot at them in the doorway. The robbers turn and run. They shoot at your house and the house next door as they run away.

It isn’t clear if you or your wife call 911 and ask for help. You put your gun away before the police arrive. You both give statements to the police and show the police your security video. The police are angry that the robbers pretended to be cops. You and your wife are not hurt, but you have to call an emergency locksmith to repair your front door.

You are not charged with a crime.

Candy- I like it when the defender has his doors and windows locked so the bad guys sound like a herd of horses on a dance floor. I love it that the defender had a video security system that told him, naw, you ain’t the police. The homeowner defended himself and his wife and didn’t get shot. Win, win!! 

The news story is somewhat ambiguous if the robbers broke down his door before he started shooting. We’re sure he stayed inside, and called for help. He put his gun away so his hands were empty when the police arrived.

Rob- That was a good performance. What should your students do for extra credit?

Candy- Oooh. How about both of you being armed?? Have a plan so you know what to do even though you’re half-awake ditzy in the middle of the night. Practice your plan with your family so you respond as a team. Who will check the security video? Who will grab their gun and flashlight and lock the bedroom door? Who will call 911? Where will everyone be in the bedroom while this is happening

If the two of you had rehearsed that plan, it would take a dozen bad guys to get to you and your family. That is a lot of insurance for only a small investment of time and attention on your part.

Rob- When do your students get to move to cover and shoot at bad guys as they become visible through a doorway?

Candy- We’ve run video simulations at some training schools, but the closest thing that most of my students can access are International Defensive Pistol Association or IDPA competitions.

What did our defender do correctly?

(Bullet points by Roger T. Please do not change these notes.)

  • The defender’s doors were locked and he had security cameras with good lighting. 
  • The defender wisely suspected that the people with masks who were trying to break down his door at 2:00 in the morning were not the Seattle police. Especially since his house was 17 miles from Seattle and out of their jurisdiction. 
  • He checked his security cameras and decided not to open the door.
  • He also brought his gun and his phone with him when he investigated.
  • The defender did not wait until the intruders broke down his door before he started shooting at them through the closed door. Even though the defender could see the intruders on the other side of the door on the security cameras, shooting through a door where you don’t have direct line of sight may be considered reckless endangerment. 
  • Even though Washington has Castile Doctrine and does not require the defender to retreat if attacked in his home, he may have had to wait until the intruders actually come inside before shooting. This depends on which state you live in. Know the use of deadly force laws for your own state because they vary. 
  • Either the defender or his wife called 911 and put the gun away before the police arrived. Be careful not to reholster your gun or put it down too soon. Sometimes the bad guys return before the police get there. 
  • The defender and his wife gave statements to the police.
  • The defender showed the security camera video to the police. Remember to give the police a copy of the files. Digital files get lost or damaged so keep the original files as a back-up.

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

(Bullet points by Roger T. Please do not change these notes.)

  • From the news report and the story, it sounds like the defender and his wife were the only ones in the house at the time of the attack. Check the notes for the first story above. Could they have stayed in a defensible room, barricaded the door, called 911 and prepared to ambush the intruders?
  • Did the defender move to cover before or after he shot at the intruders who shot back as they ran away? The first goal of self-defense is not to get shot. 
  • Could the wife also have been armed? Two people working as a team are six times more effective than a single defender. 
  • The defender fired several rounds at the intruders but the story doesn’t say if any of them were hit. Hopefully, the defender just missed and was not firing warning shots which are illegal in all but one state. Did he have any ammo left if the intruders had decided to return?

Rob- That stands for International Defensive Pistol Association. Where are we going for our last story?

Candy- Our fourth story took place in Hollywood Hills, California.

Rob- Fourth story- Are you armed at home?

It has been dark for a few hours. The news reports aren’t clear if you saw something in your backyard or if you heard something first. Now you clearly see a stranger in your backyard. You call 911 to report the intruder. You arm yourself. Around a half hour later, you notice the same man trying to enter one of the doors at the back of your home. You yell for him to leave. The man quickly reaches for something in his pocket or inside his belt. You think he has a gun and you shoot. He steps away. You call 911 and ask for help again.

You stay on the line with the dispatcher. You remind them that you are the same woman who called before. You put your gun away when the officers arrive. You show them to the back door. Officers call EMS for help. They take your attacker to the hospital in critical condition. You give a statement to the officers. They take you to the police station for questioning. You are released without being charged.

Candy- I love it that this homeowner decided that the world isn’t safe even though she lives in a very well-to-do neighborhood. She bought a gun for self-defense. Here is another victory for locked doors. She armed herself and called the police when she first noticed the problem – An excellent response!!

She tried verbal commands. She reacted when she saw a furtive movement. That means the intruder didn’t move with clear intentions, like moving slowly with his hands open.

Rob- What would you want your students to do?

Candy- Turn on the outside lights and call 911. It is ok to look outside, but please do so from behind cover and away from the doors and windows so you’re a hard target to shoot. Did our defender have a security plan so she knew what to do, or was she depending on luck and instinct?? I’m leaning towards her at least having considered this possibility because she called 911 twice and had the wherewithal to inform 911 that she had called before with the same problem, possibly escalating herself in the police response queue. Walk through your security plan with everyone in your home. Best yet, have all of them armed, trained, and taking an active role in that defense plan.

Rob- When do they learn those details about armed defense, home defense, and staying inside the law?

Candy- These topics are alluded to and are lightly touched upon during my Basic Pistol classes, but they are greatly expounded upon during my CCW, intermediate, and advanced classes. 

What did our defender do correctly?

(Bullet points by Roger T. Please do not change these notes.)

  • The defender noticed a stranger in her yard. She kept an eye out for him after she called 911 for help. She also armed herself in case.
  • The defender attempted to use verbal commands when the stranger tried to force open her back door. The verbal commands failed. 
  • The defender only fired after the stranger made a “furtive movement” which she thought would produce a weapon. 
  • The defender called 911 again for help and reminded them that she had called them just ½ hour before. 
  • The defender put her gun away before the police arrived and she gave a statement. 

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

(Bullet points by Roger T. Please do not change these notes.)

  • The defender was both attentive and armed. She called 911 to report the problem but kept an eye on the stranger’s movements.
  • Did she turn on exterior lights? Did she have motion-activated lights?
  • Go back to the first story again. She probably would have been better off if she had retreated and barricaded while she waited for the police. 
  • Self-defense students need to learn the meaning of: “totality of the circumstances”, “AOJ”, “immediate, lethal and unavoidable situations”  and “furtive movements” before using deadly force. They also need to study the use of deadly force laws for their particular state because they vary. Even if you do everything right, Andrew Branka says you have a 10% chance of getting convicted, especially in Los Angeles. 
  • This defender would benefit from some self-defense classes where she would learn to develop a plan for just such an occasion. 


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

Candy-  Look for me at the Akron & Northcoast Ohio Chapters of A Girl and a Gun. I also teach at Northpointe Training, (and here> Northpointe Training) in Parma, Ohio.

Rob- After you look at Candy articles, then leave us a message on the podcast episode webpage.

Candy- 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 in a few weeks with more Self-Defense Gun Stories.


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