Episode 337 with David Cole


Rob- Welcome to episode 337 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’ve been doing a little hunting (not enough), testing out my new chronograph of the range, and a bit of dry fire practice.

How about you?

Rob- I’ve been dry practicing. I also want to thank Roger for his help this week. We received some messages from people who will write for us, so that was my Christmas present.

David- 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 Denver, Colorado.

Rob- First story- Are you armed in public?

You and your girlfriend are taking your kids to the museum. It is the middle of the weekday afternoon when you park your car and start to unload your kids. You see two young men run toward you. They are armed and have guns in their hands. One of them hits you in the back of the head. You’re armed as well. You present your firearm and shoot at your attackers. They run. They also shoot at you as they run across the parking lot. You stop shooting and check on your family. No one is wounded. You call 911 and ask for help. You stay at the scene. You and your girlfriend give statements to the police. You describe your attackers, their clothing, and their get-away car.

Police arrest your attacker when he is dropped off at the hospital. Unfortunately, the officers don’t stop the car that drops him off. Your attacker is charged with four counts of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of felony menacing, and attempted aggravated robbery.

David-  I’m glad that our defender recognized that we all face risks when we’re out in public. It sounds like he put together a plan that included carrying a firearm when he was out with his family. He recognized a threat. He defended himself. He stopped shooting when the bad guys stopped shooting. He checked on his family. They stayed at the scene and called for help. They couple met the police officers with empty hands. They both gave statements to the police.

Rob- That is a lot to get right. What else do you see that wasn’t mentioned in the news reports?

David- A plan begins with your family. What can they contribute? Have you walked through the plan with them and taken their ideas? Have you sought out first aid training? How about firearms safety training? Do all the adults have their carry permits? Have they trained together? Have they taken an armed defense class together, and a legal use of lethal force class together?

I bring up those issues because going to the store and buying a gun is the easy part. You can buy a gun in a half hour. Becoming skilled in its use as a tool of armed defense takes some effort.

I want the couple to pay attention so they have an opportunity to avoid an attack. I’m glad that the robbers missed, but I want the defender to be better at hitting his target and stopping the threat. This was probably a busy area given the location and time of day, so the risk of hitting innocent bystanders would be high. All shots hit something! Rule 4 applies in gunfights as well as the range.

The parking lot is a transition area where you’re changing your activities. Work as a team so that one of you is looking around as the other is getting a child ready for the museum. Once your partner is ready, then they become the lookout as you work on your side of the car.

If you see a threat and shout stop, then the kids have to know to get down and your partner has to know to draw their gun and get behind cover. Most criminals will turn and run rather than walk into a gunfight.

Rob- I noticed that both bad guys were armed and had their guns out.

David- I saw that too. While it is essential to carry at least one spare magazine or speed loader, having an armed partner who knows how to work with you can be a great force multiplier.

Rob- I noticed that the bad guys were shooting at the family as the bad guys ran away. That means the defender might shoot the bad guy in the back as he runs.

David- That could happen. The important point is that you know the law and can articulate why innocent people were at an immediate risk and that shooting the fleeing robber was the safest thing to do. Both of you need that knowledge so that you are both acting consistently and within the law.

More to the point, you want a lawyer available to advise you before you give a formal statement to the police.

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

David- It’s a good start. Our second story happened in Reeds Spring, Missouri.

What did our defender do correctly?

(Bullet points by Roger T.)

  • The defender wanted to protect his family so he chose to carry a gun when he took his family to a museum. In some states, carrying a gun in a museum or even in the parking lot of a museum is a crime since that area is considered a “sensitive place.” Know the laws in your area. If you can’t carry your gun with you, should you take your family there? Do a risk assessment. 
  • The defender held his fire until he was struck. Perhaps he should have fired sooner like when he first saw the two men running at him with guns in their hands. Watch the hands- they’re what kills. Know the laws about the Use of Deadly Force. You don’t have to wait to be shot or stabbed in order to defend yourself or others.
  • The defender shot at the fleeing bad guys who were shooting at him as they fled. As long as the fleeing bad guys were presenting a threat he is allowed to keep shooting. When the threat stops, the shooting stops.
  • The defender stayed at the scene, checked on his family and gave descriptions and a statement to the police. 

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

(Bullet points by Roger T.)

  • The attackers got close enough to the defender in order to hit him in the head. Could the defender have drawn his gun as he moved to cover? Did the defender know how to shoot from a retention position?
  • Did the defender know to move away from his family while he engaged in a gunfight? The bad guys are going to shoot at the guy with the gun and if the unarmed family members are near the defender they may get shot. 
  • How many rounds of ammo did the defender have? The news article stated that the attackers had extended magazines which are illegal in Colorado. They were ready and willing to get into a gunfight. Was the defender sufficiently prepared? Colorado limits the ammo capacity to 15 rounds per magazine but it doesn’t limit carrying additional mags or a back-up gun. Attackers are like wolves- they come in packs.  

Rob- Second Story- Are you armed at home?


You and your family are at home on a Saturday evening. It is about 10:30 when you hear someone outside. Your wife calls 911 and asks for help. You go out on your front porch to see if someone needs help. A stranger crawls through the woods and shouts at you. You tell him that help is on the way and to stay away. The stranger rushes you and grabs you. You present your firearm and shoot your attacker. He lets go of you so you stop shooting.

You and your wife give statements to the police when they arrive. The 911 recording includes your shouts for the attacker to stop and move away. A toxicology report shows that the attacker was on methamphetamine at the time of the attack. Several of his prior criminal convictions involve drug use. You are not charged with a crime.

David- I like that the couple worked as a team. They paid attention to an unusual situation and got law enforcement on the way immediately. The male homeowner grabbed a gun for self defense. He stayed on his porch rather than go exploring in the woods in the middle of the night.

The defender also gave clear verbal commands as he tried to de-escalate the situation. The defender stopped the attacker from taking his gun. He stopped shooting when the attacker moved away. The defenders stayed at the scene. The defender put his gun away and met the officers with empty hands. They also gave preliminary statements to the officers.

Rob- Why was it so important that the defender said something before he was attacked?

David- Verbal commands can accomplish several things. They can potentially de-escalate a situation or discourage an attacker. They keep us breathing during a stressful event. And they can contribute to our self defense justification by creating witnesses and evidence which aid our case. We have a 911 recording where the defender says he has help on the way and to not come any closer. Your lawyer is going to point out that If the attacker had taken that advice, then the situation would never have escalated to a violent encounter.

Rob- What do you see as best practice for us if we hear something outside at night?

David- You want a plan so you and your family know what to do and are not making life and death decisions when you’re half asleep. Plan to have the doors and windows locked. I honestly would have preferred that the family had stayed inside the house and called the police. Turn on the outside lights. Plan for both of you to be armed. Make the bad guys break their way into your house. You might be out the cost of a door, but you’re going to save tens of thousands of dollars in legal bills, not to mention possibly avoid having to take a life.

You also want a lawyer to call so they get your defense started.

Rob- I need a lawyer even though a druggie attacked me?  

David- Yes you do. We’ve all seen cases of self defense where, even if there’s no criminal charges, the family pursues a civil case against the defender. His ex wife might now see you as a way to pay her bills for the next ten years.

Rob- Where are we going for our next story?

David- Our third story happened in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.

What did our defender do correctly?

(Bullet points by Roger T.)

  • The defender and his wife recognized a potentially dangerous situation. 
  • The defender grabbed his gun while his wife called 911.
  • The defender shouted to the stranger that help was on their way while the phone was recording the 911 call. 
  • The defender stopped shooting as soon as the threat was over.
  • The defender gave a brief statement to the police. 

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

(Bullet points by Roger T.)

  • It was 10:30 at night. Did the defender turn on any exterior flood lights or use a flashlight? Many times just the use of bright lights  can stop an attack.
  • Why did the defender leave the relative safety of his home? Distance and cover are your best friends. Don’t give strangers the opportunity to attack. 
  • Did the defender know how to shoot from a retention position?
  • Always make the attacker come to you. This is both tactically and legally sound. 
  • Call 911 as soon as you can and leave the phone line open so they can record what’s going on. The 911 dispatcher is not a cop and you don’t have to do what the dispatcher says. Their job is to gain information and relay it to the responders for THEIR SAFETY, not yours. The 911 dispatchers aren’t on the scene. You are your own first responder until professional help arrives. That means that you have to know how to put out a fire, stop a wound from bleeding and defend yourself from attackers. The more you learn, the better your chances of survival.
  • Being attacked is a traumatic event and in this case the attacker died from his wounds. The defender is not only going to need a good lawyer but probably also a good therapist. The aftermath of a shooting event can last for years. 

Rob- First this message from 


JPFO http://jpfo.org/

Rob- Third story- Are You Armed at Home?


You are home alone on a Monday night. You hear your ex-boyfriend at the back door of the apartment. Fortunately, your doors and windows are locked. You arm yourself and shout for him to go away. He kicks down your back door and then your front door as he is looking for you. You stay inside the apartment and shoot him when he comes inside. You stop shooting when he runs. You stay inside and wait. After a minute, you call 911 and ask for the police. You put your gun away and give a statement to the officers when they arrive.

Police arrest your attacker at the hospital. He is treated for a gunshot wound to the abdomen. He is also arrested for an outstanding warrant. You are not charged with a crime.

David- I like that our defender chose to own a firearm for self-defense. She recognized that her ex boyfriend put her at an increased risk of violent attack. I love that she locked her doors and windows. That forced her boyfriend to break into her home. I looked at the area on Google Street View, and it is full of small homes and duplexes, so it probably created a number of ear witnesses who heard him break down your doors. I like that she stayed inside her home. She shot her attacker rather than let him get close to her, and she stayed inside as her attacker ran away. She called for help. She put her gun away when the police arrived, and she gave the police a statement.

Rob- Are there other things you want your students to do if they have a domestic abuse situation?

David- Let’s add some motion lights on our front and back door. Let’s add some security cameras and an alarm system. Let’s also get a restraining order so it is clear that your ex was supposed to stay away from you. The process will vary from state to state, but in Pennsylvania it appears to be as simple as going to the county courthouse, completing a petition, and possibly speaking to a judge. If you can afford an attorney to advise you, that makes it even easier, and most police officers can also advise you on how the process works.

Rob- What should a defender do if an ex breaks down her door?

David- In most cases, the best practice would be to seek another location in your home where you can barricade yourself while waiting for police. I’d like a defender to have all the lights in the house on if possible, and to issue verbal commands. Let them know you’re armed and that police are on the way. If you have 911 on the line, everything is recorded and this will be evidence that you did everything possible to avoid confrontation. If that confrontation comes, try to be positioned behind as much cover as possible and shoot to stop the threat.

Rob- In the earlier story you said it was an advantage that we shouted for the bad guy to go away. Wouldn’t it be better to stay quiet and try to avoid being found?

David- That’s a valid point, and it may be. You can certainly make that case, and I wouldn’t say you are wrong. I tend to lean towards being clear and vocal, but the situation may call for silence and hiding. I think it is very much a judgment call by the defender, considering the layout of their home and the nature of the attack. I’d just consider how likely it is that hiding will enable us to avoid the attack altogether. For example, if the house is small, it may be unrealistic to expect to be able to hide for long. A larger or more complex floor plan might make hiding a better option. But if attack is likely unavoidable, barricading with verbal commands may be better.

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

What did our defender do correctly?

(Bullet points by Roger T.)

  • The defender recognized that her ex-boyfriend was “hunting” her after he broke down her front and back doors.
  • She armed herself and shouted for him to leave. Then she hid.
  • The defender shot the ex-boyfriend before she let him get close to her. 
  • The defender stopped shooting when the attacker ran away. 
  • The defender called 911 and gave a statement to the police.

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

(Bullet points by Roger T.)

  • The defender had prepared for her ex-boyfriend’s attack. 
  • The defender had purchased a gun and locked the doors and windows.
  • The defender should have obtained a restraining order as well. It won’t stop an attack but it lays the legal foundation for a self-defense claim. 
  • The defender should have called 911 as soon as the first door was broken down. The sooner you call for help the sooner it arrives. Also, the 911 call records what’s going on. This provides evidence of your self-defense claim.
  • The defender wisely hid and made the ex-boyfriend come to her.
  • The defender shot the attacker before he was able to get close enough to take her gun from her. 

Rob- Fourth story- Are You Armed at Work?

You’re working behind the counter at a fastfood restaurant. It is late Monday night when another pair of customers comes inside. One of the customers draws a gun and demands the money from the cash register. It isn’t clear from the news story which employee handed over the money. After he received the cash, the robber started shooting. You’re armed. You present your handgun and shoot back. Your attackers run. You stop shooting when they are gone. You stay inside the store. It isn’t clear who checks on the other employees and who calls 911. You put your gun away when the police arrive.

You and the other employees give statements to the officers. You also show them your identification.

Police identify the two robbers when they arrive at the hospital. One is treated for a gunshot wound to the upper body. Both are arrested for armed robbery.

David- Note that the bad guys started shooting after they got the money. I’m glad the defender was armed at work. He recognized an immediate, lethal, and unavoidable threat to innocent victims. He waited his turn and then used his legally carried firearm to stop the threats. He did not chase the bad guys down the street but stayed inside the store. He also put his firearm away before the police arrived.

Rob- The news story doesn’t explain what happened. What should we do?

David- You and your co-workers need a safety plan. You want everyone who is not at the cash register to get to a secure position at the back of the store. You want a panic button so the police know you’re being robbed. You want to be behind cover and to protect your colleagues from the attacker. If possible, you don’t want to draw your firearm while the bad guys can see you. You want to put several shots on each attacker, starting with the closest and immediate threat first.

Rob- That is only the beginning of the story.

David- Check on your co-workers and customers. Get them to safety. Turn off the lights in the front of the store and lock the doors. See if anyone needs to be treated for cuts from flying glass. Ask all of them to call 911 so the police have a record of who was in the store.

All of that goes a lot smoother if you practice it with your co-workers ahead of time.

Rob- When would your students learn about a safety plan at work?

David- Beyond concealed carry. 

Rob- Cover and concealment.

What did our defender do correctly?

(Bullet points by Roger T.)

  • The defender recognized that working in a fast food place can be dangerous. Any place with a cash register is a potential target.
  • The defender had a gun with him at work when the attackers opened fire after they got the money. He was able to shoot back and probably saved lives.
  • The defender “waited his turn” and fired back at the attackers.
  • The defender stopped shooting after the attackers ran off.
  • The defender did not pursue the attackers.
  • The defender gave a statement to the police.

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

(Bullet points by Roger T.)

  • The more employees that are armed, the safer it is for all of them- especially if they have a plan.
  • Every employee needs to know what to do if someone attempts a robbery: move to cover, call 911, turn off the lights, lock the doors, check to see if anyone is bleeding. 


Rob- That wraps up this episode. David, 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 changes in the NRA management, and another article about a chronograph that works every time.

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


2 Replies to “Episode 337 with David Cole”

  1. Dave Zick

    Hi, Rob. I have been an avid listener of your podcast for years, and I look forward to each new episode.
    I have noticed a reoccurring theme in some of your stories where the victim is at home, or is a business owner at his own business. Getting a carry license is always a good idea, but not a legal necessity in either of these two places, protected by the constitution. Laws like castle doctrine and duty to retreat vary from state to state, but I think you and your guest experts leave an impression that a carry permit is required by mentioning the victim’s permit status. I know. It’s confusing. My state (MN) requires a permit to purchase a handgun,(first background check), and most rifles and shotguns. (As long as the rifle or shotgun isn’t semi-auto, doesn’t have a pistol grip, flash hider, threaded barrel, extended stock, you can walk out with it pending the background check.) Like you say, I encourage every gun owner to pursue their permit to carry which helps educate gun owners on their own states laws.
    Thanks for hearing me out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.