Episode 343 with David Cole


Rob- Welcome to episode 343 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 getting ready for match season with some dry fire and reloading. I’m also planning to attend a new instructor course soon.

How about you?

Rob- Just the usual, but I missed a chance to shoot at the range.

We didn’t get a new message this week. I do want to thank Roger for his continued help. We’re still looking for listeners who want to write or edit this podcast.

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. As alway, the links to our news sources are at the episode webpage.

Our first story took place last week in Chicago, Illinois.

Rob- First story- Are you armed in public?

You’re sixty years old. You are out before dawn to get some money from an ATM in your neighborhood. You turn to a noise behind you. A man throws his bike on the ground and walks toward you. He pulls a gun from his pocket and tells you to give it up.

You have your firearms owners ID card and your carry permit in your wallet. You have your firearm on your hip. You shoot at your attacker and he shoots at you. You’re wounded on your back and on your arm. You run to a local gas station and ask for help. They call 911 while you put pressure on your arm.

You give a statement to the police. They take your firearm from your pocket. EMS transports you to the hospital. You are listed in stable condition. Your attacker was declared dead. You are not charged with a crime.

David- I like that our defender recognized that Chicago is a dangerous place to live. I like that he got his permits and owned a firearm. Thank goodness he went armed this morning. He had his head up. He recognized a threat. He defended himself. He ran to safety and asked for help. He tried to treat his own wounds and then gave a statement to the police.

Rob- I had a question about going out before dawn. Was our defender on his way to work, or did he think that fewer people were on the street so he was safer?

David- We don’t know, but there are no safe times of day when you can go out unprotected. It has long been the conventional wisdom that crime occurs mostly at night, but that isn’t necessarily so. The bottom line is that none of us have a crystal ball to know in advance when we will need to be armed…so safest choice is to go armed at all times.

Rob- Is there anything else you’d like your students to do if they needed cash?

David-  Try to avoid open-air or stand alone ATMs. Indoor ATMs are usually available in convenience stores and markets. Also consider getting cash when you check out at the grocery store. An easy “life hack” is to just buy a pack of gum or other small item, and then use the self checkout to get your cash. That might be harder, as grocery stores have closed in big cities like Chicago, but it is a safer option if available. At any rate, try to find an indoor ATM if at all possible. If you must use an outdoor ATM, try to have a friend with you to watch your back while you conduct your transaction.

Rob- This bad guy expected a shooting and found into a gunfight. How should we get our gun out when the bad guy already has a gun in his hands?

David- That’s always going to be a high risk move, but if you feel you have no choice, consider ways to distract your attacker, and be prepared to move.

Dropping or throwing an item can serve as a distraction for a moment, giving you an opportunity to draw your defensive firearm. One self defense instructor I trained under years ago taught a strategy he called the “survival rap.” This is really little more than using speech to engage the attacker’s brain, hopefully creating enough lag to create an opportunity to fight back or to escape. (And escape is the best option if available)

But once you draw, move so that you’re not where the attacker expects you to be. Now the attacker has to track you with his eyes, and then with his firearm. That is hard to do. Another option would be a surreptitious draw, by positioning your body where the attacker cannot see you draw, though this type draw is usually done more slowly when you have more time. Carrying in a coat or jacket pocket can also provide an opportunity to have your hand on your gun without the attacker seeing it. As always, you should practice these sorts of draws and presentation first under the eyes of an instructor, and then stay sharp by continuing practice with a blue training gun, or an unloaded firearm following the rules of gun safety.

Rob- When do your students learn about those defensive moves?

David- This is more advanced training which occurs after the initial concealed carry class.

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

David- It’s a good start. Our second story happened in Reading, Pennsylvania.

What did our defender do correctly?

(Bullet points by Roger T.)

    • The defender was very smart to get his FOID card, carry license and to carry a gun with him while walking the streets. It doesn’t matter whether he was in Chicago or Anytown USA. 
  • All elderly people are targets because they can’t move as fast and they aren’t as stable on their feet as a younger robber. Anyone who looks and acts like “prey” is going to be “eaten”!
  • This defender was alert. He reacted when he heard a noise and saw he was going to get robbed. He knew he was in an immediate, lethal and unavoidable situation.
  • The defender drew his gun and fired multiple shots and he neutralized the bad guy even though he got shot himself.
  • The defender not only stayed in the gunfight and won, he was determined enough to live that he walked a block to get help even though he was wounded. If he had just stopped where he was and sat down he may have bled out before help arrived.
  • 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.)

    • Walking the empty streets in the dark of the early morning makes you a target. If you have to go out at that time to get cash or go to work, take your gun as well as a friend with you, take a flashlight, get your cash from a store not an ATM.
  • Getting and using cash is very dangerous. Criminals see someone flashing a roll of cash and they pounce. Use debit cards or credit cards because they are safer and usually you can get your money back if there are fraudulent charges or they are lost. 
  • The defender should have also had a cell phone with him. If he had a phone he could have stayed at the scene and called for help to come to him. 
  • According to the news report, he left his gun at the scene. This left him defenseless while he was seeking help and some kid could have picked it up too. 
  • The defender was very lucky that the robber on the bike didn’t bring another bad guy with him. Did he know how to engage multiple bad guys?
  • Did the defender know how to draw his gun while he moved to avoid being shot? Did he know how to use distractions to give himself a few moments to draw his gun? Did he know how to shoot from a retention position since the robber was probably close enough to him in order to grab his gun?
  • Did the defender carry his gun in a hip holster or in his pocket? Wearing a coat makes drawing your concealed gun harder and definitely slower to draw. Some good guys carry a small revolver in their coat pocket as well as a larger handgun under their coat. They walk with their hand on the gun in their pocket and they fire the small pocket gun while it’s still in the pocket. This gives them time to access their larger gun with greater capacity on their hip. 

Rob- Second Story- Are you armed at home?

You and your roommates are at home. It is six in the evening when you’re surprised to see a stranger enter your apartment. You don’t know him. Your roommates don’t know him. You ask him to leave. He gets offended and attacks you and your roommates. You grab your gun and shoot your attacker. Now he runs from your apartment. You and your roommates call the police. You put your gun away before they arrive.

Everyone stays at the scene and gives the police a statement. They find your attacker. They transport him to the hospital to treat his wounded leg. Your attacker is charged with criminal trespass and several counts of assault. You are not charged with a crime. It looks like your attacker was looking for a drug dealer and got the wrong address.

David- I like that someone was armed. I like that they tried to use words before they went to guns. They attempted to defend themselves without using deadly force before eventually resorting to using their firearm. The defenders stayed at the scene and called 911 for help. The victims met the police with empty hands. They also gave a statement to the police.

Rob- I know there is more you want us to do. 

David- And you can guess what it is. I want you armed even when you’re at home. I want your doors and windows locked. Ideally, I want all of the adults to be armed. I also want you to have a lawyer to call before you fill out the police report. Pennsylvania has a castle doctrine law, which helps these defenders justify deadly force. You need to know if you have castle doctrine in your state, and what that means when it comes to using deadly force in self defense in your home.

Rob- This defense is harder than it sounds.

David- This situation is way harder than it sounds. Let me lay it out for you. A guy shows up unannounced and won’t leave. He attacks one of your roommates. A second roommate joins in to try and push the guy outside. You’re armed and you’re afraid the guy might have a weapon, or perhaps he is simply stronger and is overpowering you or your roommate. You have to be careful to position yourself so that you don’t shoot your roommate in the process, so it is a very difficult situation.

Another consideration is OC, or pepper spray. This can be an option in confrontations which don’t justify deadly force, but exceed your ability to counter with empty hand skills.

Rob- When do you learn not to shoot at the bad guy from 7 yards away like you’re at the shooting range hitting a paper target?

David- We start that with marksmanship and the four safety rules. We reinforce it during the concealed carry class. We focus on those issues with a combat handgun class. It is also called beyond concealed carry.

Rob- Where are we heading next?

David- Our third story happened in Atlanta, Georgia.

What did our defender do correctly?

(Bullet points by Roger T.)

    • The defender asked the intruder to leave.
    • The defender recognized that he was in an immediate, lethal and unavoidable situation when the intruder attacked him and his roommate.
  • The defender had a gun that was nearby and he was able to shoot the attacking intruder.
  • The defender stayed at the scene and did not chase the intruder.
  • The defender called 911 and put his gun away. 
  • The defender and the roommates gave statements to the police. 

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

(Bullet points by Roger T.)

    • Were the doors and windows locked? How was the intruder able to surprise the defender and his roommates?
    • The defender asked the intruder to leave but the intruder attacked instead.
  • Pennsylvania is a Castle Doctrine state where the occupants do not have a duty to retreat. There has to be a threat of major bodily harm, death, kidnapping or rape in order to use deadly force. Consult a lawyer or take a class on the use of deadly force. 
  • Fortunately, the defender had a gun and it was either on his body or nearby.
  • The defender shot the intruder but only hit him in the leg. If you are justified to shoot, you need to neutralize the bad guy, not wound him. If you don’t neutralize him he might continue his attack. Best practices is to get two hits to the upper, center chest.
  • Could all of the occupants have and carry their own guns?

Rob- First this message from Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership



Rob- Third story- Are you armed in public?

It is just after midnight. You’ve asked your daughter’s ex-boyfriend to leave. He continues to shout and to threaten your family outside your home. The ex-boyfriend threatens you again and draws a gun from his pocket. He shoots it into the air. You present your own firearm and shoot him until he runs. You and your family retreat inside the home and call the police.

Police arrest your attacker and he is now in the local jail. You are not charged with a crime.

David- I’m glad that mom was armed. I’m glad she tried to diffuse the situation by asking the daughters ex-boyfriend to leave. She recognized an immediate, lethal, and unavoidable threat when the attacker drew his gun and shot it into the air. She defended her family from that threat. She stopped shooting when the defender ran. She and her family retreated to a safe place and then called the police. They met the police with empty hands and then gave the officers their statements. That is a good start. 

Rob- You called it a good start. What else do you want your students to do that wasn’t mentioned in the news report?

David- We win every fight we avoid. While she did well by retreating to a safe place after the shooting…why not do that before the shooting starts? Let’s file a restraining order the first time the boyfriend issues a threat. Then you can stay inside behind a locked door, and then call police and let them deal with it. I also want any adult who can be legally armed to do so. I also want you to have a lawyer to call so you have help filling out your police report.

Rob- Where do gun owners learn that? It isn’t in basic marksmanship. It isn’t in their concealed carry class.

David- We talk about avoiding a gunfight in our concealed carry class. We mention restraining orders. We talk about the legal use of lethal force, but we certainly can’t cover all of it in one class. This is where having a lawyer who is educated in self defense law comes in handy. Ideally, your family learned all that, and then how to defend each other in a class on team tactics.

Rob- Defending a group of people in the dark or the dim isn’t easy.

David- I’m concerned that your family is running away from the attacker and they might run into your line of fire. It is your responsibility to not injure innocent people as you defend your family.

Rob- Where are we going for our last story?
David- Our fourth story took place in Española, New Mexico.

What did our defender do correctly?

(Bullet points by Roger T.)

    • The defender was armed when she was engaged in an argument with her daughter’s ex-boyfriend.
  • She tried using verbal commands multiple times.
  • She only fired after the ex-boyfriend pulled a gun and fired into the air.
  • She shot the ex-boyfriend until he retreated.
  • She and the family retreated to inside the home and called 911.
  • She put her gun away 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.)

    • Instead of continuing an argument, try de-escalating the situation. Tell the ex-boyfriend to leave and come back later when everyone has cooled down.
    • If you don’t already have a restraining order, get one. It won’t stop an attack but it establishes a legal papertrail.  
  • If you can’t de-escalate, avoid. Walk away. Retreat to the house and call 911 from behind locked doors before the situation turns into a gunfight. Stand away from the door and any windows so you can’t be seen from the outside or harmed if he breaks down the door. Go to a defensible position behind cover/concealment. 
  • If it’s dark outside, turn on exterior lights and turn off the interior lights.
  • If the argument or attack continues, make the bad guy come to you.

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

You and your wife are at home in bed. It is just after four in the morning when you both hear something in your garage. Given that you’re both in your seventies, it was quite a noise to wake you up. You grab your gun and both go to see what is happening. You see an intruder in your garage. You tell him to leave. He attacks your wife and knocks her over. You shoot the attacker. You both retreat into the home and your wife calls 911.

You put your gun away before police arrive. You both tell the police where you saw the attacker. EMS declares your attacker dead at the scene. Police know your attacker. He has over 11 prior arrests for burglary and drug charges.

You are not charged with a crime.

David- This couple decided that they needed a gun for armed defense. It sounds like both homeowners paid attention to the bump in the night. Good for them. They worked together. They shouted that they were at home and that they were armed. The armed defender shot the attacker when his wife was attacked. He stopped shooting when the attack ended. They retreated into the home, but stayed near the scene and called for help. They also told some of their story to the police.

Rob- Again, now you’re shooting near your partner to stop an attack.

David- Don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m glad that the homeowner fell down. That may have gotten her out of the way so the defender could shoot.

Rob- Was this a lethal threat that justified using lethal force?

David- Given that the defenders were in their 70s, anyone who starts throwing punches at them is bringing lethal force, and an elderly defender is unlikely to be able to physically overpower a 28-year old career burglar.

The news story says their garage and their home were damaged by the break in. That sounds like they locked their doors and windows. Good for them. If you have a garage that is connected to your home, make sure that the interior door is locked as well. That is another barrier that a home invader has to overcome. I’m more worried about you being hurt than I am about the thief taking your lawn mower. Grab your gun and your flashlight. Turn on the lights and call 911. I’d be even happier if you were both armed. I’d also prefer that you not go looking if you believe someone is in your home, if you can avoid doing so. It’s better to barricade yourself in a defensible room and call police.

For bonus points, have a motion activated light in your garage and at your doorway.

Rob- Is there anything else you want to add?

David- I want you to call your lawyer so you win both the criminal defense and the civil defense. I noticed that the civil suit laws in Louisiana where you live, Rob, just got better.

Rob- Give us four years and we might catch up with Georgia.

David- I hope so.

What did our defender do correctly?

(Bullet points by Roger T.)

    • The defenders paid attention when they heard a noise at night. Don’t ignore warnings.
  • The defender grabbed his gun when he and his wife went to investigate.
  • The defender tried using verbal commands but they failed. 
  • The defender shot the intruder when he attacked his wife.
  • The defender and his wife retreated back into the house and called 911.
  • They put the gun away and gave statements to the police. 

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

(Bullet points by Roger T.)

    • New Mexico has Castile Doctrine law. That means that there is no duty to retreat in the event of a home invasion.
    • How did the intruder get into the garage? Were the doors and windows locked. 
    • Motion-detecting lights and cameras are a very good deterrent. 
  • Unless you and your partner are both very well trained and armed, “clearing a house” is very dangerous. You don’t know how many intruders there are, where they are and if they are armed. In this case, the defender’s unarmed wife tried to help investigate the noise and ended up getting attacked and knocked over. She could have become a hostage. 
  • If there are no other family members elsewhere in the house, best practices says: retreat to a defensible room, lock and barricade the door, call 911, turn off the lights and take a defensive position from behind cover or concealment. If the intruder breaks through the door then shoot multiple shots. The door becomes a “fatal funnel”. 


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 articles cover changes in the NRA management, the Uvalde report, and gun rights under attack in Virginia…and the insanity of gun control in general. I’m also planning to attend the NRA Annual Meeting in Dallas this year, for the first time in a few years. Come find me and say hello.

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.


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