Episode 339 with Robyn Sandoval


Rob- Welcome to episode 339 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 Robyn Sandoval. What have you been doing since we talked?

Robyn at the Range

Robyn- Hi, Rob.  I just returned from SHOT Show. I had 2 range days, 2 podcasts, and 30 meetings in just five days, but it was great to get some facetime with A Girl & A Gun sponsors and friends. Now I’m back in the office planning events for 2024. How about you?

Rob- I’m good and I’ve been doing some dry practice at home and with students in their homes.

We received a comment on the podcast webpage. Dave said he has been listening for years. He points out that Minnesota citizens need a permit simply to purchase a handgun. He also notes that a carry permit isn’t required to defend yourself at home or at work. He still recommends getting one because the carry class helps gun owners learn their state laws.

In addition to Dave, I also want to thank Roger for his help this week.

Robyn- You can go to the iTunes store and subscribe to our podcast 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 Edgewater, Illinois.

Rob- First story- Are you armed in public?

You are walking down the street before dawn on a weekday. Two cars stop in the street in front of you. Men get out of the cars and one man walks toward you. He is armed. He demands your possessions. You move to cover and present your firearm. Your attacker shoots at you and you shoot at him. He runs to the car and your attackers drive away. You stay at the scene and call 911 for help.

You stay on the line with the dispatcher. You put your gun away as the police arrive. You give them a brief statement and then show them your ID. You also show them your Illinois concealed carry card. Police find blood on the street.

Later, you find out that robbers using similar vehicles robbed two other victims on the street that morning. You are not charged with a crime.

Robyn- Good for our defender for paying attention, and being prepared by already having a concealed carry card and a firearm. This means that he wasn’t just equipped with the tools, he had taken some training classes and really put some consideration into his personal safety. Plus, he was carrying on the street that morning when he was attacked.

I love that our good guy had his head out of his earphones and was paying attention to what was happening around him. He saw his attack unfold. He presented his gun and moved. He defended himself and stopped shooting when the bad guys took off. He called for help. He met the police with empty hands. He gave a statement to the officers.

Rob- Besides not being in Chicago, or not being there alone in the dark, what else would you like your students to do to be safer in a similar situation?

Robyn- Maybe our defender could have done more to avoid being selected that morning. How was his walking gate or pace and his posture? Could he have had a flashlight in his support hand? Having one tool could have been a tell to the attackers that he also had other tools on board. He could also use the light to temporarily blind or distract the attacker, and to gain more information so that he can articulate his defensive actions and mindset. Also, I would like him to consider his preparedness and efficiency. Was he wearing gloves? Did he dry practice with the gloves on? Be sure that you practice how you live… make sure your finger fits into the trigger guard, or maybe choose to wear thin gloves when you carry.

Rob- What classes usually come after you get your carry permit?

Robyn-  Take a class where we use movement and cover as we shoot. Take a class where you get to shoot from new positions, like crouching, kneeling, sitting, or lying down. I also want you to take a class where you shoot in low light conditions. There were probably street lights, but it can be hard to see your sights, especially when you’re target focused

Rob- Are there pre paid insurance plans that you like?

Robyn-  Yes, given that this is Chicago, have a lawyer to call. There are a number of great options in the market these days. The Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, US Law Shield, USCCA, Right to Bear. Do your research and select one (or more) that meet your needs.

Rob-  Before we move on, I noticed that there are a couple of stories each week where licensed concealed carriers defend themselves in Chicago. Where is our next story?

Robyn- Our second story happened in Houston, Texas

What did our defender do correctly?

(Bullet points by Roger T.)

    • This defender had a plan. He wasn’t lucky, he was prepared for a possible attack. He had a gun, a permit and some training. 
  • When he recognized that he was in an immediate, lethal and unavoidable situation his training kicked in. He moved (hopefully to cover) as he pulled his gun and defended himself against multiple attackers. 
  • He stayed at the scene, called the police and met them with empty hands.
  • He survived this attack because he was trained and equipped. Good job.

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

(Bullet points by Roger T.)

  • Carrying and using a flashlight properly can be just as important as carrying and using a gun. Sometimes it can be a deterrent and it can always help to identity your target. 

Rob- Second Story- Do you have a firearm nearby at night?

It is just after midnight on a weekday. You’re expecting one of your family members to arrive home. You hear them arrive, and then you hear shouts outside. You look outside and see three men robbing your family member.

You grab your gun and go outside. You shoot at your attackers. They shoot back as they run. Two of them drive away while the third one falls down. You check on your family and then call 911 for help.

You put your gun away when the police arrive. They use a police dog to find your wounded attacker. You and your family give the police brief statements. EMTs take your attacker to the hospital. Your attacker is charged with aggravated robbery. You are not charged with a crime.

Robyn- This is similar to the first story, but it happened late at night, at home, and there were more armed attackers.

I love that a family member was looking out for someone arriving home. They saw a problem and then reacted to it. They had a firearm nearby so that they could help effectively. They also had a firearm that gave them enough rounds to be able to address multiple armed assailants. The good guys stopped shooting when the bad guys drove away.

Rob- What else would you want us to do?

Robyn- They story says that the victim was attacked as he was getting out of his car. The pictures of the home show a strong fence as if the home had livestock in the yard. That often means there is a gate, so make sure  you close the gate immediately so that strangers cannot approach our house.

This makes me wonder if he was followed or if he could have made some different decisions. If he was going followed, could he have kept driving and not gone home? If a car was parked in front of the house with attackers planning an ambush, could he have kept driving and called the police? Maybe he called home or a neighbor and asked for more information.

Another good option would be to add motion lights that light up the driveway and the side of the house when we arrive home. Let’s light up the porch as we get out of our car. And be mindful of HOW we get out of the car. Know areas of hard cover using your vehicle, how to bail out and get to cover, or when to stay in the vehicle, drive, or shoot from inside. We cover all of these techniques in our A Girl & A Gun DRIFT Academy course.

And suppose you or your family member was wounded. Do you have first aid or trauma supplies and do you know how to use them? 

All of that is way too much to figure out at midnight, so you and your family need a safety plan. Although these two stories were similar, think about how different their safety plans would be. 

And, if nothing else, all responsible adults should have their permits, and be armed and trained. Did I say that?

  Rob- You did now. Where are we going for our third news story? 

Robyn- We’re headed to Salem, Indiana.

Rob- First this message from the Crime Prevention Research Center.

What did our defender do correctly?

(Bullet points by Roger T.)

    • The defender was situationally aware and responded when the family was in danger.
  • The defender had a gun and it was nearby. A gun in a safe is useless when you need it for self-defense. 
  • The defender stopped shooting when the attackers left.
  • The defender checked on her family, called 911 and gave the police a statement.

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

(Bullet points by Roger T.)

    • Lights and cameras! Turn on lights. Add motion-activated lights and video cameras. 
  • Transitional spaces- going from your car to a building puts you in a vulnerable position- be aware. 
  • Use cover and concealment to your advantage. 
  • Get the training and equipment to stop the bleeding from a gunshot wound to yourself and/or others.


Rob- Third story- Are you armed at home?

You let a friend sleep on your couch because he had problems with his girlfriend. Now your friend starts an argument in your home. He attacks your two female roommates. He attacks you and shatters a glass cabinet. You get your gun. The next time he attacks you, you shoot him. Now he stops so you stop shooting. You call 911 and ask for help. Your roommates apply first aid.

Police and EMTs arrive. You put your gun away. You and your roommates meet the officers with empty hands. All of you give statements to the police about what happened. EMTs declare your attacker dead at the scene. Police also interview your neighbors to find out what they heard.

You’re taken to the police station as detectives go over the reports. Your attacker was convicted of domestic violence. Your attacker had to leave his home after again attacking a domestic partner. You are released and not charged with a crime. The news reports don’t mention if you and your roommates needed medical attention.

Robyn- With friends like this, who needs enemies? So I like that our defender had a gun to defend himself and his roommates. He stopped the repeated assaults in his home. He called for help and the roommates applied first aid. There were lots of witnesses and they each gave a statement to the officers.

Rob- What else do you see in this story?

Robyn- Don’t bring a person with a history of violence into your home. It isn’t safe for you or the other people you live with. Reading the story, we can’t tell if the attacker had a history of psychological problems or addiction, but what might have happened if the defender was not home when the attacker assaulted the roommates.

If you know people like this in your life, make sure that your a safety plan addresses who we invite home. Think about how intoxicated or emotional someone can be before they are not allowed inside. Do you call the police? Do you put them up at a hotel? Do you lock the doors and don’t respond? Think through your options, what is realistic for your life, and how you can manage those relationships in a way that doesn’t put you or your roommates in danger.

I said it before that I’d like all responsible adults to be armed so they can defend themselves and innocent people. This means that if you have irresponsible people or strangers in your home, then you need to have a secure place to store your firearm when it isn’t in a holster on your body.

Rob- Was this a gun problem?

Robyn- This is a lethal force problem that is primarily a disparity of force issue. A young adult man was beating up the women who lived in the home. As an adult male, you might stop him by going hand to hand, but maybe not if he is much larger or more skilled than you, and probably not if you are female. You have to be able to determine if you are faced with a lethal, immediate, and unavoidable threat, and you have to be able to articulate that what you did was the safest option.

Rob- Should we treat an injured attacker?

Robyn- Your heart may say yes, your lawyer might say maybe, and your firearms instructor says absolutely not. Your safety is your priority. The police won’t let the EMTs near the attacker until he is disarmed and handcuffed.

Rob- Where are we going for our last story?

Robyn- Our fourth story took place in Dothan, Alabama. 

What did our defender do correctly?

(Bullet points by Roger T.)

    • The defender was trying to help his so-called friend but that person turned out to be an attacker.
  • The defender recognized that he and his roomates were in an immediate, lethal and unavoidable situation.
  • The defender grabbed his gun and shot the attacker until the attack stopped.
  • The defender called 911 and put his gun away when the police arrived. 
  • The defender and the roomates all gave the police statements. 

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

(Bullet points by Roger T.)

  • The roommates trying to stop the attacker’s bleeding wound put all of them in danger. Don’t approach an attacker until they are restrained and someone is covering them. 
  • Did the defender know that his “friend” was convicted of domestic abuse? Be careful who you invite into your home. 
  • Hopefully, the defender had his gun on his body or in a quick-access safe. If you own a gun, it must be under your control at all times. 
  • Did the defender have another gun available? Most likely, his gun would be confiscated by the police as evidence for quite some time. The defender may need another gun in case of retaliation from the attacker’s friends or family.  “Two is one and one is none.”

Rob- Fourth story- Are you armed in public?

It is Saturday and you’re walking down the street. A man walks up beside you and asks you for help with his phone. Then he draws a gun and demands your purse. He grabs your purse and pulls on it. You present your firearm and shoot  at your attacker. He drops your purse and runs. You call 911 and ask for the police.

You put your gun away when the police arrive. You give the officers a brief statement and point out witnesses. Other people called 911 when they heard shots. Police find your attacker nearby. They also find his gun. He was using a bb-gun to rob people.

Your attacker is charged with first degree robbery and held on a 60-thousand dollar cash bail. You are not charged with a crime.

Robyn- These situations happen in just an instant. She was looking down the barrel of a gun and kept her mind focused. The robber grabbed her purse, so that makes me think the armed defender had her firearm on her body so she could still reach it. She identified an immediate, lethal, and unavoidable threat so she was justified to use lethal force in her defense. The defender stopped shooting when the attacker was not a threat any longer.

Rob- Is there anything else you’d like your students to do?

Robyn- Practice your MUC and de-escalation skills. MUC is M-U-C, which is an acronym that stands for Managing Unknown Contacts. Craig Douglas from ShivWorks coined these techniques and Chuck Haggard from Agil Tactical also teaches this at our A Girl & A Gun National Conference. Have situational awareness and use your words as someone approaches you. This can help with the victim de-selection process and at best, the bad guy will just move on to the next person. At worst, it articulates your mindset and actions, and it creates good witnesses. Speak clearly, “No. I can’t help you.” and if he doesn’t leave, increase your intensity and volume. “Get away now!”

Anyone who comes closer after you say that isn’t asking for help. They are a threat who is trying to get closer to you. That is when you prepare to defend yourself and potentially draw your gun and move to cover if necessary. 

As you’re moving down the street, keep your head up so you see threats as they are approaching. That way you can escape before they are so close that they could grab you or your purse.

Practice presenting your pistol from concealment while we’re wearing your work clothes, winter coat, winter gloves, and purse. Practice this at home without ammunition in the gun and no ammunition in the room at all. 

It will take you about 15 minutes a night over several evenings for you to become consistent. Then, you can go to the range and practice live fire. 

I’d like you to practice presentation where you bring the gun all the way up and use the sights. Bring the sights into your line of sights; don’t peek over the pistol. You want good, high center hits, not in the belly. You may also practice shooting from retention, but take a close-quarter class so you learn the proper technique.

Our defender made one shot and missed her attacker. Then she stopped shooting. Shoot until the attacker is no longer a threat.

Rob- When do your students learn to defend themselves from someone who is so close that the attacker can grab them or their gun?

What did our defender do correctly?

(Bullet points by Roger T.)

    • The defender had a gun with her and it was not in her purse. If the gun was in the purse, the defender would not have been able to get to it in time since the attacker yanked the purse off the defender’s shoulder.
  • The defender fired one shot but missed. Fortunately, the attacker decided to run off rather than stay and fight.
  • The called 911, gave police a brief statement and pointed out witnesses. 

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

(Bullet points by Roger T.)

  • Situational Awareness: How big is your sphere of influence? The more you pay attention, the better armed and trained you are the larger your sphere becomes and the better your chances are of surviving an attack. Distance gives you time to react.
  • It’s OK to be rude in public. The answer to every unsolicited question on the streets is “NO!” and walk away quickly. Criminals use innocent questions in order to get within your sphere of influence and to get you to lower your guard. That’s part of their “victim interview process”. You want to fail that interview. Do something unexpected so as to break their OODA (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) loop.
  • On the body carry: Carrying a gun and/or pepper spray on your body is the best way to insure that your self-defense tool(s) are readily available and under your control. 
  • The defender probably missed because she didn’t know how to shoot from a retention position. Knowing how to shoot from a retention position and also how to shoot while moving to cover are more important than knowing how to get tight groups at a square range. You can practice these techniques using a “dry” gun, a laser gun or an airsoft gun.
  • The attacker used a BB gun instead of a real gun but legally that doesn’t matter. A defender must assume that an imitation gun is real or even a “finger gun” in a pocket is real and act accordingly. 


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

Robyn- Look for me at A Girl and a Gun dot org, and at and A Girl & A Gun on all of the social media pages. We have chapters all across the country.

Rob- After you find a chapter of a girl and a gun near you, then leave us a message on the podcast episode webpage.

Robyn- 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.


3 Replies to “Episode 339 with Robyn Sandoval”

  1. Nathan Gallie

    Thank you so much for all the time and effort you and your guest hosts put in to each show! Hearing these stories (so many of them from my home state) and your analysis is eye-opening and thought-provoking. Keep up the great work!

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