The world of civilian defensive firearms training is currently moving through a period of incredible evolution and progress. Through careful analysis of defensive shootings via video footage, interviews with gunfight survivors, research of violent criminal behavior, and new scientific findings on physical stress responses, we now have a better understanding of exactly what wins gunfights than ever before. We also have a plethora of experienced and dedicated instructors willing to pressure-test what we are learning. They are protecting the practices that need to remain, but also alerting of areas where we might need to start making changes for the edification of the community and our defensive craft.

This was not always the case. Not long ago, much of what passed for self-defense training was based on guesswork and anecdotal evidence. But despite the wealth of knowledge we’ve now accrued, certain flawed practices and beliefs are still widely accepted within the firearms culture. They just refuse die.

I recently spoke with 11 respected experts and instructors in the defensive firearms community to get their take on which of these ideas and myths they believe are the most damaging. Here’s what they had to say.

1. John Johnston

“Hold people to a high accuracy standard and don’t expect anything less than that, and that’s what they’ll do.”


Who: Rangemaster Advanced Handgun Instructor, writer, and host of Ballistic Radio.

Myth: Any hit on the body is better than no hit.

There’s a whole host of classes, blogs, and training schools that teach what is commonly referred to as “combat effective hits” — “combat accuracy” for short. It’s the idea that any hit with a handgun bullet, despite location on the body, is considered adequate for stopping an attacker in combat conditions.

Johnston doesn’t agree. “There’s a two-prong problem,” Johnston says. “One of them being that people don’t understand terminal ballistics or what bullets do to people. Number two, they don’t understand anatomy and physiology at all… They confuse psychological stops with physical stops, which are two very separate things.”

The human body is surprisingly resilient and when a violent attacker absorbs gunfire, they only stop attacking under very specific circumstances. Either they have suffered a hit to the central nervous system (CNS), lost enough blood from wounds to major blood vessels to lose consciousness, or the individual chooses to stop. Only two of those methods are physical, and the target areas on the body that produce those involuntary physical stops are small– rougly covering a 4″x6″ vertical rectangle high on the chest over the heart and major blood vessels, and a 3″x5″ horizontal rectangle over the eye and nose which sits in front of the brain and the seat of the CNS. Shots outside of those zones (and even some shots inside of those zones) cannot be counted on to stop a determined attacker.

There is a belief that it isn’t possible to achieve that kind of accuracy under stress, but Johnston disagrees with this, too. “Hold people to a high accuracy standard and don’t expect anything less than that, and that’s what they’ll do.” If the target areas needed for a physical stop aren’t exposed, Johnston also believes people need to have the accuracy skills to put rounds on whatever is available, be it a foot or arm.

“If we are involved in a shooting, we are in control of very few things about that incident,” he explains. “If we have to go to the gun, we’ve made several mistakes or been blindsided… If your plan is to hope to get lucky and someone decides to stop what they’re doing when you point a gun at them or when you put a round into their pinky finger, that doesn’t seem like such a bright idea when you’re already having the unluckiest day of your life so far.”

2. Massad Ayoob

“Everybody knows there’s such a thing as justifiable homicide and nobody ever hears the phrase ‘justifiable gunpoint.'”


Who: Author of several books and countless articles on self-defense and the legal aspects of deadly force. Lead instructor for the Massad Ayoob Group.

Myth: Don’t draw the firearm until you need to shoot.

It doesn’t matter where you go on the internet, or even in some classes — when it comes to discussions about when it’s time to draw your firearm in self-defense, a common quip is, “Never pull your firearm unless you intend to shoot.” Massad Ayoob believes that may be too late in select circumstances.

“History has shown the overwhelming majority of [defensive gun uses] end as soon as the good guy or gal points the gun at the bad guy or gal,” says Ayoob. “If we go on the assumption that we can never take them at gunpoint, you have to wait until you are justified in shooting them, that great saving grace of deterrence gets completely lost.”

You can’t pull your gun without being sure you’re more than likely in danger of death or great bodily harm, but Ayoob believes it’s better to take them at gunpoint than wait for the moment your life might actually be in jeopardy. He’s careful to point out, however, that justifiably pulling a weapon on someone might not mean you are justified in shooting them. “Do not shoot them,” explains Ayoob, “until you are certain, beyond a reasonable doubt, that there is no other way to stop their escalation.”

Ayoob believes the hesitation over preemptively drawing a firearm on someone comes from a misunderstanding of how the justice system works. “Everybody knows there’s such a thing as justifiable homicide,” he says, “and nobody ever hears the phrase ‘justifiable gunpoint.'” The standard Ayoob uses is that one should draw their firearm when they believe that another individual more than likely poses a deadly threat. “What we’re trying to do,” says Ayoob, “is preempt the violent act itself.”

However, Ayoob reminds us that drawing a firearm without justification will likely lead to being charged with felony aggravated assault with severe prison times. Even if you’re successful in deterring the escalation of violence with the presence of a firearm, Ayoob recommends immediately calling law enforcement and establishing yourself as the victim. Criminals often don’t appreciate the role reversal and want to paint themselves as the victims.

“Whoever makes the report,” says Ayoob, “becomes the victim complainant, and whoever does not make the report first becomes the suspect.”

3. Claude Werner

“It’s easy to become focused on [the gun] because it’s a tangible.”


Who: Research analyst, former Chief Instructor for Rogers Shooting School and author of The Tactical Professor.

Myth: Skill is more important than critical thinking.

When asked which practice he would like to see eradicated from the self-defense community, Werner spoke of instruction focused on producing skilled shooters rather than thoughtful shooters. As an example, teaching pistol manipulation above the fundamental level without introducing decision-making and context into the process. Striving to develop automaticity, or “muscle memory,” without considering the gravity of the Shoot/Don’t Shoot decision is a mistake, in his opinion.

When people buy a gun, or any other type of weapon, Werner explains, they are often thinking about the tool itself, something they can hold in their hand. “It’s easy to become focused on that because it’s a tangible,” he says. But the software – the knowledge and skills that enable safe, effective, and legal use of the tangible tool – is a lot harder to sell because they’re intangible.

“Self-defense is as much of an intellectual process as it is a physical process” according to Werner. Just as we provide weapons to people as tools, we also need to provide intellectual tools for their appropriate usage. “Having our training processes driven by the now discredited ‘Hick’s Law’ does a disservice to our students,” he says. Challenging students both philosophically in the classroom and in the Shoot/Don’t Shoot decision on the range should be incorporated in the training process early on. By asking students to think about what they are willing and able to do in a defensive situation gives them a better chance at arriving at the right decision for their circumstance.

4. John Hearne

“You can have someone who’s a barely acceptable shot but if they can deliver 100% of their performance under stress, that’s a scary person.”


Who: Law Enforcement Officer with a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice–Research Methods, and developer of the DVC target system.

Myth: High levels of performance are not possible under stress.

It’s no secret to anyone that high levels of firearms performance are obtainable. Even outside of the likes of Bob Vogel and Jerry Miculek, we often don’t have to go far to find someone we consider to be impressively skilled with a handgun.

Some, however, believe that such performance standards are impossible under the conditions of a life-threatening self-defense encounter. It’s commonly thought that the addition of life-threatening stress decreases the eyes’ ability to see handgun sights, eliminates fine motor skills that allow people to operate many of the controls on their firearm, and makes it impossible for people to perform at a high skill level. This leads to the assumption that when placed under the stress of a violent attack, humans all revert to gross motor skills and erratic, panicked, unsighted fire.

According to John Hearne, that’s not necessarily true.

He’s spent a good portion of the last few years researching performance under stress and points out that not only is it possible to maintain shooting skills under high-pressure scenarios, many people have already done it. “Once we can point to examples where that is possible, then we can bring it into the realm of achievable,” Hearne says. He rattles off a list of names like Lance Thomas, Jim Cirillo, and agencies like the metro division of the LAPD, who’s officers have a high hit rate per shooting incident and report using their sights.

“For the novice who looks to authority figures to derive their view of the world, once an expert tells them, ‘Well, that isn’t possible,’ then they believe they don’t have to hold themselves to a high standard,” he says. “But [believing performance under stress is possible] carries with it the nasty four-letter word of ‘work.’ If you do the work, you can deliver the results.”

That work, according to Hearne, starts with a baseline level of skill that demands accurate hits within a 4×6 rectangle on high- center chest of a target within seven yards and then melds speed with that accuracy. “You can’t separate speed from accuracy,” says Hearne, while stressing that the ability to deliver that skill under stress is far more important than the skill alone.

“You can have someone who’s a barely acceptable shot but if they can deliver 100% of their performance under stress, that’s a scary person.”

5. Kathy Jackson

“If you want to protect yourself, you actually have to learn how to protect yourself.”

Photo courtesy of Oleg Volk

Who: Editor and writer of several magazines and books, professional firearms instructor and author of Cornered Cat.

Myth: Choosing the right firearm can replace the need to learn how to use a firearm.

If you walked into any number of gun stores across the country and asked for advice on a self or home-defense firearm, you may get a kindly gentleman who points to a bunch of shotguns on the wall and claims you don’t have to learn how to use them in order to use them effectively. You might get the same advice about the ease of a revolver or Glock.

“The sentence, ‘You don’t have to learn,’ is the most pernicious in the firearms world,” says Kathy Jackson. “That’s not true about shotguns or about self-defense.”

“The idea that there is a gun that we can give somebody who has no interest in being prepared to protect themselves and magically transform them into someone who is ethically, emotionally, and practically prepared to protect themselves, just by handing them that tool–that’s a lie,” says Jackson, “And it’s a very stubborn lie.”

Jackson believes the advice is given and received out of a type of denial that self defense requires both work and skill. This is especially pervasive among people who buy firearms for family members that have shown no prior interest in shooting. The assumption is that not only will they not learn how to use that firearm, but that they will never want to learn how to use them.

Jackson’s desire is that we would replace that assumption with the idea that anyone looking for a gun would also be looking for instruction on how to use it, that guns would be sold along with training classes, and consumers would seek out instruction at the same rate they sought out firearms.

“If you want to protect yourself,” says Jackson, “you actually have to learn how to protect yourself.”

6. Grant Cunningham

“We need to look at skills we actually need and de-emphasize what we don’t need.”

grant-cWho: Author of several books on firearms and their defensive use, instructor and writer behind

Myth: The gun is all there is to self defense.

There often seems to be a sense of great relief when someone purchases their first firearm for self defense, like they have taken care of something important.  Unfortunately, for some people, their self-defense preparations end with the completion of their ATF form 4473 or the acquisition of a carry permit. The gun becomes the entirety of their self-defense plan. Grant Cunningham believes that’s a mistake.

“Everybody teaches self-defense from their own point of view, and they need to widen their point of view,” says Cunningham about trainers who focus primarily on gun training. The same is true of students who only ever seek out gun training and neglect other, more likely, areas of necessary preparation.

Cunningham believes this over-reliance on firearms is due, in part, to a misunderstanding and ill-defined distinction between what is fun and what is useful in self-defense. “Every year in this country, tens of thousands of people defend themselves without any firearms training whatsoever. If that’s the case, how much is really necessary?” Cunningham asks.

If self-defense is the true, intended goal, Cunningham believes skill development needs to be broadened beyond the use of a firearm. “If self-defense is about keeping ourselves alive and healthy,” Cunningham says, “We probably need more medical skills than gun skills.” He goes on to advocate avoidance skills, home security, and emergency planning, social skills, and changes in lifestyles and habits that may be confrontational or put one in harms way. He advocates learning how to use a flashlight, deal with contact fights, and manage distractions in public as great places to start.

“None of us has unlimited resources,” Cunningham reminds us, “We need to look at skills we actually need and de-emphasize what we don’t need.”

7. Tom Givens

“It’s not that we don’t have time to aim, it’s that we don’t have time to miss!”

tom-givensWho: Retired Law Enforcement Officer, owner and lead instructor of Rangemaster Firearms Training Services.

Myth: People cannot perform under stress.

Echoing John Hearne, Tom Givens also believes that high levels of performance under stress are possible, particularly where using sights is concerned. He points to the LAPD’s Metro Division as an example due to their high hit ratio in actual shootings. “They heavily stress sighted fire, and their officers use it in real fights, quite successfully,” Givens says.

Givens explains that early firearms had poor sights and that modern equipment and training has made it easier for individuals to train to the point where sighted fire is obtainable, even under stress. “At typical handgun engagement distances, it’s not that we don’t have time to aim, it’s that we don’t have time to miss!”

“Misses eat up our precious time,” says Givens. “They deplete our ammo, and they pose a huge risk to bystanders. We cannot afford to toss bullets out and hope for the best. We must learn to direct bullets from point A to point B, and that requires using the sights.”

8. Craig Douglas (aka SouthNarc)

“What I want is a conscious and accurate assessment of what is going on in the environment right now.”

craig-douglasWho: Retired undercover narcotics officer and lead instructor for Shivworks.

Myth: Reliance on automatic post-shooting responses

No instructor worth visiting will deny that one of the hardest parts of training defensive shooting is bridging the gap between a skill learned on a range and being able to apply that skill in a fight for one’s life. Many trainers attempt to bridge that gap with pre-programmed responses that students are asked to perform after every string of fire at the range as though they just fired their gun in a real event. These responses can take the form of extensive visual scans for additional threats or phrases people are to yell or other specific responses meant to get the student in the mindset of an actual deadly encounter.

“It’s not mindful or meaningful,” says Craig Douglas, who thinks those kind of responses need to go. If he sees a student doing a rote after-action response in one of his classes, he will stop him and ask him what he’s doing and why. “If they can tell me why, I’m fine with it,” says Douglas, “What I want is a conscious and accurate assessment of what is going on in the environment right now.”

However, many students will go through the motions without knowing why or can’t articulate why that movement applies to the situation immediately in front of them. They fail to demonstrate the real-world mindset that the rehearsed response was intended to facilitate in the first place.

Douglas isn’t sure skill application regarding physical and verbal interaction with an aggressor can be done on a range with paper targets and live fire. He believes skill application is found in scenario and live-action work where people are inoculated with real stress against real people and can’t be faked with a movement or scan. “That training is not accomplished on ranges,” says Douglas. “It doesn’t matter if you can shoot a sub 2-sec Bill Drill if you can’t raise your voice to someone who is encroaching into your space.”

9. Lynn Givens

“I have attended ‘Ladies Only’ courses in which the instructor literally spoke to the students as if they were third graders.”

lynn-givensWho: Advanced Handgun Instructor and assistant instructor for Rangemaster Firearms Training Services.

Myth: Women have to be treated like small children in defensive firearms training courses.

In order to cater to what is seen as a growing market of women coming into the training industry, ladies-only classes are on the rise. They are advertised as specifically addressing women’s needs, but these classes are seen by some, like Lynn Givens, as dumbing down their information, standards, and expectations. “I have attended ‘Ladies Only’ courses in which the instructor literally spoke to the students as if they were third graders,” says Givens.

The concepts of self-defense and use of a firearm are universal for men and women, with small adjustments for those with small features, be they men or women. Givens also believes the idea that women need classes tailored specifically to them sends the wrong message, one in which we undermine the seriousness of self-defense. “There is nothing more brutal than having to defend your life or the life of a loved one,” she says.

“What we, as trainers, should be doing,” explains Givens, “is preparing women to fight effectively in an actual crisis that will be stressful and demanding and most likely involve male adversaries.”

10. Rob Pincus

“Putting too much importance on… what is essentially a game.”

rob-pincusWho: Owner of I.C.E. Training Company, author and Developer of the Combat Focus Shooting Program. 

Myth: Emphasis on timed drills

One does not have to be in the shooting community for long before they start to get asked about their times. Timed drills are widely distributed, practiced, mastered, and sometimes even put forth in defensive shooting classes as tests or standards for completing the class. Rob Pincus believes that the emphasis must go. “[Timed drills] only measure skill performance, not skill application,” says Pincus.

Pincus goes on to describe a drill wherein the number of shots are given, the course is carefully laid out in front of the student, the student is allowed to memorize the pattern of movements he may take to complete the course, given a stand-by command, and is not forced to process any new information.

“Putting too much importance on student performance in choreographed, predictable, and repeated timed drills skews technique, training, and gear selection as well as training resource expenditure towards what is essentially a game,” says Pincus.

When asked about alternative methods of training, Pincus advocates drills with multiple variables that must be processed during the event, challenging shooters to apply their skills on demand.

11. Greg Ellifritz

“I developed my own style of what works for me, but I needed to be exposed to differing techniques to actually figure all that out.”

greg-eWho: Full-time police officer and lead instructor for Active Response Training.

Myth: A cult-like devotion to a single instructor or training school.

You don’t have to go far in the training industry before you run into a fanboy or two: an individual who identifies with a particular instructor or school and spends all his training time and efforts following them. Greg Ellifritz believes students aren’t reaching their full potential when they devote themselves to a single instructor or school.

“If the system is good, students will become perfectly adequate and adept tacticians and shooters,” Ellifritz explains, “But they won’t reach their individual potential without being exposed to some other stuff.”

Logistics, costs, and convenience can often dictate the training options for many people who otherwise don’t have the resources to travel or host classes. However, many times students choose not to train with other instructors by choice, and Greg isn’t sure exactly why that is. “I’ve been fortunate to train with most of the best out there,” Ellifritz says, “and I developed my own style of what works for me, but I needed to be exposed to differing techniques to actually figure all that out.”

Despite the fierce sense of loyalty some students have, Greg has not seen many quality instructors attempting to foster that in their students. On the contrary, he advocates cross-training with others in the industry in other branches of self-defense and sees other instructors doing the same. He believes that builds a more comprehensive picture of self-defense and encourages business.

Ellifritz goes on to say, “When I teach techniques I’ve blatantly ripped off from other people, I recommend that my students train with those people. That might make the students a little less concerned about potentially offending an instructor or being disloyal.”

Leave a Comment Below

156 thoughts on “Self-Defense Myths That Just Won’t Die: 11 Experts Weigh-In

  1. Some very useful information here. For me, the advice from Mr Ayoob rings most true. Here in South Africa we are faced with the possibility of (extremely) violent crime on a daily basis. I quickly gave up the notion of not drawing ‘until I have to’. As a result, I believe my weapon has saved my life (and my wife) on three different occasions. And not once did I have to fire. The simple act of staring down the barrel of a .357 convinced the suspects to find another victim. And in each instance when I drew my weapon, the only possible follow-up step would have been to fire should the suspects have pressed home their attack.
    That said, one should never rely solely on your gun skills. Practice unarmed routines as well.

    1. It’s a tactical counter and checkmate. By placing the gun at a chokepoint, it demands that the other side escalate psychologically to the Death level of commitment. Many do not have this strength or fanaticism. Some do, but many do not. So by presenting them a fait accompli, their own weakness breaks their will to fight. However, if there’s a chance for them to disable your gun or your gun arm, then they might take it, so the tactical counter has to be complete, rather than incompetent. A checkmate in chess is not a checkmate eif the other side can kill off the pieces maintaining the check.

      In other situations, a similar tactical edge happens. Say an enemy group plans to ambush you with 2-3 pincer forces. Instead of allowing them to converge on their own time and dime, you charge through the closest and weakest pincer force, disrupting their timing. That is the same tactical counter as pulling a gun on them before they get in range to disable your arm. It sets up a situation where it pre empts them and forces them to choose tactically inferior options. So long as they can retreat in good order and not lose much of their forces/resources, withdrawing often is much more appealing to an enemy attacking force that has had to deal with tactical counters they don’t know how to negate.

      The more ruthless the actions of a defender, efficient, and advantageous the defender’s situation, the more the attacker must devote risk and resources to overcoming. At a certain point, it’s not worth it. Most humans have enough intelligence to figure this out before they decide to attack, which is why criminals seek to interview a target for susceptibility and qualifications. The qualifications of a victim are very specific. Wars happen precisely because two factions under or over estimated the other faction. In such cases, it’s better to pull out the mega weapons and use them, just so people are clear what the actual situation is.

      1. Thanks for the reply, you raise several rather pertinent points here. In all three of my instances, I had me weapon out with a bit of distance between the potential attackers and myself. I think in the closest encounter, the two suspects were about 4 metres (roughly 13 feet) away from me. This was also the most dangerous of my encounters (in my opinion). One suspect was unarmed but the other had a pick-axe. (Digging implement, sharp point on one side, flat blade on the other, mounted onto a wooden handle.) I noticed the shape of the tool was the same as the imprint left on my steel doorframe following a recent burglary. Since the tool belonged to the suspect, who had stored it in my garage, I simply looked at the tool and the marks on my doorframe. The suspect noticed my attention, passes a muttered comment to his friend and began advancing towards me with the pick-axe raised. He got no more than two steps before my weapon was out. That was enough for the suspects to rather get in their car and flee.
        So yes, what you were saying is completely true. The suspects were in a terrible tactical situation. I would have had both dead before they could close the distance. And they had no firearms to counter mine. The distance was also too great for them to be able to realistically disarm me.
        Luckily, intelligence (finally) set in after a brief stare-down and the suspects left.
        I advocate to all my friends that if you (genuinely) feel at risk, get your weapon out quickly. It gives you more options. Until what you just wrote about tactical elements, I never thought about that, but you are 100% correct.

        1. There are several useful skills that can turn a bad situation in your favor. Such as the hip draw at close quarters, using the other arm to hold back the attacker. The firearm arm has the gun set to your hip, so it shoots in the direction your hips are pointing.

          Other tricks, suck as breaking a disarm attempt on your gun, by dropping on your back/butt, extending your arms, and then setting up a kill situation where your gun is pointed at the chest of the person trying to wrestle the gun from you. Gravity > most people’s arm strength.

          For people lacking those skills, and presumably we have to assume they are not extremely high level, pre empting the enemy is a wiser and less risky choice. Even for those with the skills, they might choose to act first, in order to save time. The skills they have they keep reserved for emergencies, such as when the enemy has a ace card up their sleeve such as a hostage or a bad shooting line (people are behind the enemy) or they have another attacking force (flankers).

          This is why some of the defense instructors prioritize mental preparation and willpower over merely having a lot of skills. Skills are only useful if you combine superior tactics. It’s not going to help the person that is in a horrible tactical situation as much. Skills will help keep a person alive, but that doesn’t mean they accomplish the mission with the least amount of risk or resource/time expenditure.

          Most criminals have to stay alive in the urban jungle by reading the competition or the victim list, in order to ensure they don’t take on a killer or warrior. The food chain applies, big eats little. The ones that don’t, tend to get eliminated sooner or later. It’s one of their weaknesses. Example, when people say, “your wallet isn’t worth your life” when speaking of submitting to some burglar crim at night. Well, if my wallet isn’t worth my life, then why is the criminal picking on people when his life isn’t worth what’s in my wallet? Because the crim only picks on people he thinks doesn’t have the firepower or ruthlessness to eliminate the crim. Some are very nervous precisely because they aren’t used to interviewing victims to disqualify the crazy/killer ones. Those aren’t victims, those are potential death traps. There’s a random chance that a person has the killer instinct, the mentality to be calm under death pressure, and has the skills/resources to counter attack. Criminals prefer to pick on women, who are alone, if not, then 2 or 3 women. 3 men is a worse situation than 3 women, since the crim has to observe the 3 men constantly for signs as they rob em. A man and a woman together, is probably even worse, then males tend to act crazy in front of women to impress them. Only the truly stupid or the truly prepared/ruthless ambush those sorts. Normally groups of 3-10 crims stalk a couple, power in numbers (won’t help them against a trained warrior and killer though).

          Pre-empting a criminal is merely going along the path of least resistance, giving him information which he would normally need to have, to stay alive. If they are crazy enough or stupid enough to attack anyways, then eliminating them will take less time. If a crim sets up an ambush, he expects the prey to fall into it like other prey. If you get spooked and then act differently, the crim realizes that you’re different. And if you set it up so his ambush automatically fails no matter what happens, then the crime has to decide whether it’s worth escalating things beyond his plans. The smart ones will pull out, since after all what you have would have to be worth his life to risk it, or somebody would have to threaten the crim to make em do it. This harkens back to Sun Tzu’s Art of War, where knowing yourself and knowing the enemy forms the foundations. Part of that has to do with learning how to think like the attackers who use violence. You can’t merely always put yourself in the defender’s point of view, that isn’t healthy nor is it decreasing your risk. Once you see things from an attacker’s point of view, defense is easy.

          As a concrete example, a trained warrior is worth about 10-50 sub standard foes. There was a Paris or French subway attack, by groups of Muslims carrying melee and firearm tools. One Gurkha with a knife pushed them all the way out of the subway. He had a good tactical situation, the shooters couldn’t surround him or get behind him. But those numbers are ridiculous normally speaking. But they aren’t ridiculous odds to overcome fro warriors that get in their mind that the crims need some killing and culling.

          1. Once again you are correct and I agree with what you say. Having the skills, but not the mental ability to cope with a situation, means your skills are useless. I try to apply a saying a heard from a pilot. “An extraordinary pilot will use his extraordinary skill to avoid situations requiring extraordinary abilities.”
            And that is what I try to do. I use the skills I have to potentially avoid a situation whereby I would have to kill someone. This is all fine and well, but sometimes the criminal takes that choice away from you. When this happens you have to be prepared to go that final step. If you are not, then it is best to sell your firearm and get some good life insurance for your family. I long since decided that I would do whatever I need to, to protect my family.
            That said, here in South Africa we face a someone different level of crime as compared to the USA. Take for instance that horrible shooting recently, where four or five Marines were shot. While we don’t have criminals targeting our armed forces, we do have criminals targeting businesses. And in most (over 75%) either an AK47 or R5 (our standard military rifle) is used by at least one suspect. In some cases three or four suspects are firing rifles on full auto. As a result, a number of innocents have lost their lives due to these idiots spraying bullets everywhere. Oh, and did I mention that this sort of event is happening on a near weekly basis?
            On top of that, many home invasions are undertaken with AK47s as well. As a result, whatever skill you have with a handgun, you have to know in South Africa that you could well end up taking on a guy with a fully auto rifle loaded with a 30 round mag. And that is where tactical thinking could make the difference between life and death. No one ever advocates taking on a bad guy with a rifle if you only have a handgun. But here it is a natural way of thinking. Tactics and thinking, using your brain, are what could get you out alive. Hell, in this country some criminals use explosives to open ATM machines. I do not wish to ever come across as giving the impression that the USA has no problems, it does and some of your crime is very serious. But here in South Africa, we face this sort of this nearly every day. To the rest of the world everything looks fine over here, but it is not. The problem is that we have become so de-sensitised to it all that we now just accept it as the new ‘normal’.

          2. Some of the better martial artists I know came from South Africa, so I know generally why the crime rates are higher over there. Unlike Switzerland or the US, having high incidences of gun ownership is more like what gangs in cities do, in order to create a balance of power, rather than to maintain social harmony.

            Due to power imbalances as a result of how people replaced apartheid with lawlessness, it’s unavoidable as such.

            In the US, military personnel are disarmed and many of the mass shootings are in gun free zones. Essentially zones where it is illegal to own a firearm, even though the state or the Constitution is incompatible with such zones. Just imagine a South Africa where a government tribe decrees that a specific city must be disarmed, and then they send in their armed guerillas. That’s what’s going on in the US for clarification.

            That’s why generally home owners here have the greatest threat from LEOs, law enforcement officers, crashing into their homes using no notice SWAT raids. Here the criminals are easily dispatched by the armed citizens, but that’s why corruption moves it up a level.

            Things like people dying due to gang warfare and criminals shooting them, happen every day in America. But those are in the cities, where the propaganda networks don’t report them to Americans or the world. So to the world it looks like our highest crime issues are shootings at schools, so they use that to enforce gun control. What they don’t say is why those schools were targeted. They were targeted because other places were too dangerous to attack.

  2. A good article, I guess, BUT… I can’t believe very many people actually buy into the supposed “myths” listed. Maybe a few people who are new to self defense issues, but no instructors I know (and I know a few on your list) are guilty of this.

    I won’t go through all of them, but as an example, are there really people who believe that NO ONE can perform well under stress? I don’t know anyone who thinks that.

      1. RE: Facebook as a ‘Source’?

        Interesting. I’m not particularly impressed with the comments I’ve seen from social-media. Maybe I’m just seeing the ‘dumb’ ones being cited.

        Or, if I get the drift of your comment, maybe many more of them are dumber than those I’ve seen.

    1. Just go up the list and read the comments about .45’s. I run into people all the time who buy into those myths. And it’s not just guns. It’s pitbulls and their locking jaws or anything else. There is so much BS out there it’s not even funny. I used to dive for a living and it’s amazing how 1 out of every 5 commercial divers are ex navy seals. LOL

      1. The BS is useful for separating the warriors from the sacrifices. In ancient days, it wasn’t necessary to be faster than the bear or sabre, you only needed to be faster than your buddies.

  3. Ayoob is an ass. Unless you are a badgemonkey sprinkled with the magic fairy dust of government authority you may NOT point a gun at ANYONE unless you are legally justified in shooting them. If you don’t have legal justification to shoot then pointing a gun at someone is a crime……unless you are part
    Of the schutzstaffel.

    1. You clearly did not understand his point. You might want to read it again… maybe a couple more times…

      1. I don’t have a legal citation for you, but I’m a criminal defense attorney in Florida. My feeling is that he right in the broad sense that drawing a gun on someone when violence isn’t imminent is going to be seen by a lot of reasonable jurors (and prosecutors and cops) as being an escalation towards violence, which is going to undercut your claims of self defense. What counts as imminent though? How far do you have to clear your holster before it counts as drawing/pointing? How relatively sympathetic are you and the other guy to a potential jury? When Bob from Accounting shoots Cletus who just got out of prison for armed robbery, everyone is going to cut him a lot more slack than if Cletus kills Bob and claims self defense.

        As a general rule, getting out of a potential bind without killing someone is going to be a lot easier on your wallet.

        1. “As a general rule, getting out of a potential bind without killing someone is going to be a lot easier on your wallet.”


          Every. Single. Time.

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          1. RE: Every Single Time?

            Not quite.

            And THAT’s the proverbial voice-of-experience….. 😉

      2. Apparently my first comment didn’t make it through moderation (I’m guessing because of a link), so let’s try this again.

        I generally like the opinions that I see from Mas Ayoob, but I do share Mr. Barger’s concern with the advice about drawing in this article. According to Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.) 18-12-106 (see lexisnexis [dot] com/hottopics/colorado — I think this is what caused my previous comment not to post, so sorry for the inconvenient format):
        (1) A person commits a class 2 misdemeanor if:
        (a) He knowingly and unlawfully aims a firearm at another person

        Also note that “Self-defense is not a valid defense to the crime of prohibited use of
        weapons. People v. Beckett, 782 P.2d 812 (Colo. App. 1989), aff’d, 800
        P.2d 74 (Colo. 1990).”

        The way I read this, if you aim your gun at someone when you are not justified to shoot them, it is a misdemeanor. I’d rather deal with a misdemeanor than death, but that doesn’t actually make it legal.

        There might also be a gray area between drawing and aiming, but I don’t really want to be the guy who finds out where that line is the hard way.

        1. Just to clarify, I probably should have said, “I’d rather deal with a misdemeanor than a situation escalating too quickly to the point that I can no longer deal with it in a timely or effective fashion.” If death is an immediate concern, then this discussion becomes a lot less relevant.

        2. RE: Wrong

          if you aim your gun at someone when you are not justified to shoot them, it is a misdemeanor. I’d rather deal with a misdemeanor than death, but that doesn’t actually make it legal. — Greyson

          It’s a felony.

          If you show someone a firearm with intention to ‘intimidate’, it’s a misdemeanor.

          1. “If you show someone a firearm with intention to ‘intimidate’, it’s a misdemeanor.”

            In every state that comes immediately to mind deliberately threatening (“intimidating”) someone with a firearm (a deadly weapon as a matter of law) qualifies as an aggravated assault, a felony good for as much as 15 years in prison. In many states it carries even much more time, because of firearms-related sentencing enhancement (cf. Florida’s 10-20-Life mandatory minimum statute, which would tack on an extra 20 years on top of the 15).

            Actually pointing the muzzle at the victim is NOT at all necessary for the act to qualify as a felony, so long as the victim had a reasonable subjective belief that you were threatening them with deadly force.

            Unless of course one has legal justification for threatening (“intimidating”) someone with a gun, in which case it’s not a crime at all.

            But given how you claim to have gotten yourself into a multi-hour stand-off with the police, I’m not at all surprised at the “expertise” you share on the subject of self-defense law in particular and criminal law in general.

            –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      1. Alive isn’t worth much if your looking at a long stretch in the pen.
        LEO with rare exceptions never have to worry about the legal
        aftermath of using deadly force. Civilians ALWAYS must worry
        about it. Even if one is lucky and the DA isn’t a useless POS polly
        looking to climb the political ladder on the backs of innocent citizens
        there is still CIVIL court. You point a gun at someone these days there’s a good chance it will end up on YouTube….and you will be left trying to tell a jury why you felt it was OK to point a gun at someone even though they didn’t pose a threat that justified using that gun. No thanks…..juries these days award millions for coffee
        burnt crotches…..

        1. There is a difference between pulling a gun and deadly force. I don’t think he’s suggesting pulling your gun because someone looked at you cross-eyed. You must still feel threatened. Ayoob’s advice is that if you put someone on the ground and dial 911, you may just be ok. If not, maybe you are at least alive. I’ll take a brandishing or assault charge over death. But I am guessing if there is a 911 tape with your voice on it saying your life was in danger and you have the person at gun point, you may be ok.

          So you would rather die than go to jail, eh? Typical macho bullshit.

          Btw, do you even know who Massad Ayoob is? The guy has been teaching this shit since you were probably in Kindergarten.

          1. I agree with your point. Had a guy grab brass knuckles as he exited his vehicle and headed towards me as I was seated on my Harley next to him (passenger side of his car) at an intersection. I dropped the kickstand got off and into stance, hand on grip and hadn’t even cleared the holster (didn’t want to anyway) as he came around the front of his car. About his 5th step from the door he noticed what I was doing and the “OH S#$T” look came across his face, upon which he quickly turned around got in his car and couldn’t grab “Drive” fast enough. Had he gotten close enough before seeing my actions I would have cleared the holster and leveled it at him, as it was extremely obvious he was intent on doing bodily harm. The reason I didn’t just drive off you ask? Because I felt whatever triggered him in the first place, would have given him reason to probably follow me and possible use his vehicle as a weapon against me on my Motorcycle.

      1. As I understand this, in some states, if you can shoot someone in self-defense, you can point a gun at them in self-defense. In other states, pointing a gun at someone may be a crime, while shooting them might be legally justified as self-defense. My further understanding is that the two are slowly converging, with at least one state modifying its self-defense statute to include presentment of deadly force this year. I seem to remember a post or two on this subject by Andrew over at the Legal Insurrection blog.

        Let me add that one of the things that I took away from reading Andrew’s Law of Self Defense book is that there are similarities and important differences state to state, in terms of self defense law, and it is important to know them for the states that you are in.

      2. Andrew,

        Just to clarify, you are saying, “there are states in which it is legal to point your firearm at someone when you are not legally justified in shooting them.” Correct? If that is correct, then it makes sense. If you are saying, “In every state, it legal to point your gun at someone when it is not legal to shoot them,” then I may be misunderstanding the law in my state (see below), and would love some clarification.

        1. Thanks for the opportunity to clarify. 🙂

          There ARE states in which it IS legal to POINT a gun at someone under circumstances in which it would NOT be legal to ACTUALLY SHOOT THEM. Indeed, MOST states fall into this class, if the appropriate circumstances are met. In the majority of states THREAT of force is not identical to USE of force.

          There are OTHER states in which you would ONLY be lawfully entitled to POINT a gun at someone if you would ALSO have been lawfully entitled to SHOOT that person. My home state, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is one such example–here, the THREAT of force IS identical to the USE of force, legally speaking.

          Of course, the HAZARD even in the former states is that POINTING can rapidly proceed to SHOOTING, and if the latter is NOT lawful then it hardly matters if the former WAS lawful.

          I discourage the law abiding from pointing guns at other people unless they have a very, very good reason for doing so–and one you can articulate in a convincing way to a jury.

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          1. RE: Been There. Done That.

            I discourage the law abiding from pointing guns at other people unless they have a very, very good reason for doing so–and one you can articulate in a convincing way to a jury. — Andrew

            Still waiting for the DA to drop the charges—menacing a police officer with a firearm—or going to trial.

            We were SWAT’d. Eating dinner and watching a movie in the upper story library when all hell broke lose at the front door downstairs.

            Thinking it was a home invasion, we armed ourselves and descended the stairs to the foyer preparing to ‘greet’ whomever it was who sounded like they were trying to break the big old door down.

            As I turned the corner of the stairs at the mid-point landing, I lazed the front porch through the two big, lace curtained windows. Just to warn whomever it was that if they came in without our permission, things would get ‘interesting’. It was the proverbial ‘least amount of defense’ I thought would de-escalate the situation.

            The pounding immediately stopped.

            Upon getting down to the foyer and looking out the window, I saw several police cars with their roof-top lights flashing.

            I immediately stopped lazing and elevated the sidearm. Seeking cover behind the three-wyth brick wall between the door with its large window and the larger window to the side of the door, I demanded who was out side. The reply came “Police”. The distaff, concealing her sidearm, looked out the sunroom window beside the front porch and confirmed that a man in police uniform was outside.

            I demanded he remove himself from the porch—for concern he’d step to a window and shoot me out of hand. [NOTE: A written report filed by the police indicated that if I’d given him any chance, he would have done just that.] After a while, he did retreat. Taking shelter behind one of the 100-year old trees that surround this big—6500 sq ft, 4-level—old [1901] house.

            The distaff disarmed herself and went outside to find out what all the hubbub was about. They took her hostage. And thus began a three-hour stand-off. They demanding I come out into the open and me—being a retired Airborne Ranger type and trained not to be so dumb as to expose myself to people pointing weapons at me—refusing.

            I am convinced that if I had complied with their demand, I’d have wound up like poor Alfred Redwing of Albuquerque. He was SWAT’d. And when his sister talked him out of his house on his cell phone, he was shot out-of-hand, armed only with the cell phone that got him killed.

            So the police, not finding anyone amongst them ‘dumb’ enough to be the proverbial forlorn hope, backed off and let my wife return home.

            The next day, in a phone call with the deputy chief, we arranged for a meeting the following day to discuss what had happened. To resolve the matter.

            We went to the police station and after being greeted by the captain of the watch, two SWAT team members jumped out of doors like evil jack-in-the-boxes and I was arrested.

            That was over a year and a half ago.

            In the March after the arrest, the police turned over evidence about the incident. Radio and telephone records as well as some logs. My attorney and I thought there was missing information that the police held. So we subpoenaed the Chief to explain the missing evidence. Last December we got more evidence. In which two of the officers report, “He didn’t know it was the police.”

            At this point the assistant DA who was prosecuting the case transferred the case to a more junior member of the DA’s staff. That ADA has been avoiding talking to my attorney since January.

            One could get the impression that they’re hoping I’ll die of some natural or unnatural cause and the whole mess will go away.

            It’s all very ‘interesting’…… 😉

          2. I would be very surprised if your lawyer thought it was a good idea for you to recite these facts on a public forum when you still have potentially very serious criminal charges pending against you in this matter. Much of what you recite here is incriminating, and now admissible as statements against interest.

            –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          3. RE: Interesting

            Don’t know what state you live in or the laws pertaining to self-defense, but here I’m permitted to use whatever level of defense is necessary to protect my life, my wife and my property.

            This is an affirmative defense of ‘false knowledge’. We didn’t know it was the police until we descended to the lower level. And the police are recorded as admitting such.

          4. Chuck,

            Andrew has stated elsewhere in this discussion that he lives in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. A quick Google search reveals that you live in Colorado. I would highly advise that you read C.R.S 18-1-704 through 18-1-706 with particular emphasis on 18-1-704.5 and 18-1-706.

            First, Colorado law does NOT allow the use of deadly force to protect property (C.R.S. 18-1-706). This is a minor issue in your situation, but it is a common (and concerning) misunderstanding of the law in this state.

            Second, and more importantly, C.R.S 18-12-106 (see my post below) establishes that it is illegal to point a firearm at someone when you are not justified to shoot them. Whether that is a misdemeanor as 18-12-106 states or a felony as you indicate doesn’t matter much. Also, 18-1-704.5 states that you may use deadly force to defend your self or another on your property in a fairly broad number of situations but all of them first require the person to have, “made an unlawful entry into the dwelling.”

            I am NOT a lawyer, but I doubt that someone standing on your porch is viewed as having made unlawful entry into your dwelling. As such, you are not justified in shooting them, and thus also not justified in pointing your gun at them.

            Lastly, I do not view the media as some super accurate source, but the reports I have found of the incident (and follow up) paint a very different picture of what happened. If the reason stated in those reports for the police showing up at your home is correct, then certain parts of your statement are unlikely or even impossible. I don’t know the truth, so I am not trying to judge on that (and the stated reason for the police leaving is that you were not threatening anyone, so that is kind of self-contradictory on their side), but I do think that further discussion of the incident could hurt your credibility and you should probably heed Mr. Branca’s advise to not share information publicly.

          5. While living in Colorado about 12 years ago, I read where two neighbors were constantly verbally fighting and it turned into more. One neighbor went home and locked himself in his house, and the other neighbor went into his own house, retrieved a baseball bat, and proceeded next door. As the man with the Bat was on the front porch screaming at the occupant of the house, said occupant raised his 12 gage and shot THROUGH the CLOSED DOOR, killing the man with the bat on his porch. the Homeowner WAS NOT CHARGED under Colorado’s “MAKE MY DAY LAW”. Now, unless that has changed in the last 10 years………..

          6. You are correct. That actually happened not too far from where I grew up and I have driven past that home several times. I don’t know if there were mitigating circumstances that made that particular incident justified (having retreated into the home, verbal threats, etc.) or just what. I had not recalled that incident when I was posting my previous comment, but that sort of thing is why I pointed out that I am not a lawyer and phrased my comment about someone on your porch as speculation rather than fact.

            FYI, Colorado’s “make my day law” is C.R.S. 18-1-704.5, and has not, based on what I have read elsewhere, been changed since it was created in 1985.

          7. RE: C.R.S. 18-1-704.5 Changes

            According to the on-line copy I captured some time back….

            * This document reflects changes current through all laws passed at the Second Regular Session of the Sixty-Ninth General Assembly of the State of Colorado (2014) and changes approved by the electorate at the November 2014 election *

            But that appears to be boiler-plate. And there may or may not have been changes to this particular section.

          8. “Actually, Colorado is now a CASTLE DOCTRINE state.”

            Colorado has always BEEN a Castle Doctrine state. EVERY state is a Castle Doctrine state.

            It would be amusing, I imagine, to hear what YOU THINK “Castle Doctrine” means. 🙂

            –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          9. RE: What Does Castle Doctrine Mean

            You can read it for yourself in a number of reliable sources. I did. [NOTE: I was trained to seek out information from reliable sources as part of my graduating the US Army Command and General Staff Course at Fort Leavenworth. Something to do with the Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield (IPB) phase, gathering information in order to make informed decisions.]

          10. RE: Sharing and Caring

            I have been. Or haven’t you been “that interested”?

          11. RE: All My Incredible ‘Legal’ Insights

            I’d love too, but there’s neither enough band-width nor time. Besides, the distaff is about to arrive and I need to prepare salad nicoise for supper.

            Have an enjoyable evening, counsellor….. 😉

          12. That would be the “distaff” you were comfortable sending unarmed out to face the police whom you so feared that you maintained an armed stand-off for three hours?

            THAT “distaff”?

            Man, you found the right match for you. 🙂

            –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          13. RE: The Distaff

            Indeed. She IS the ‘right match’…..for any Christian man.

            She is the pleasurable admixture of the woman described in Proverbs 31 and the female lead in that ‘camp’ scifi/horror movie Lifeforce.

            Eat your heart out….

          14. RE: Every State?

            New Jersey doesn’t look like it is. It requires the occupant to retreat. if possible.

          15. RE: Idiot? Moi?

            Idiot is a technical term meaning someone of low mental capacity.

            If you’d checked my profile, as I had suggested, you wouldn’t be making
            such stupid ad hom remarks.

            Instead of making your case you’ve adopted the third option of the Lawyers Rule.

            The Lawyers Rule:

            [1] If the Law is against you, argue the facts.
            [2] If the facts are against you, argue the Law.
            [3] If the Law and the facts are against you, call the other side names.

            The Official Rules: A Compendium of Truths and Laws for Living

            P.S. I think you’re projecting that ‘idiot’ part. Especially after being shown to all the viewers here that you are wrong when you stated that “EVERY state is a Castle Doctrine state”.

            But don’t take it too hard, ‘counsellor’…..

            The only man who was perfect got nailed to a tree for it.

            By the ‘lawyers’ of His time….. 😉

          16. Always worth keeping in mind that just because the authorities CHOSE not to prosecute doesn’t mean the COULDN’T have prosecuted. They make such resource allocation decisions all the time. For weeks the authorities didn’t prosecute George Zimmerman, either.

            Of course, then you’re putting yourself in the hands of someone who’s vested interests might be very, very different than your own. As Zimmerman soon found out.

            The prudent man prepares for what his opponent CAN do, not what they MIGHT do.

            –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          17. RE: C.R.S. 18-1-704.5

            18-1-704.5. Use of deadly physical force against an intruder

            (1) The general assembly hereby recognizes that the citizens of Colorado have a right to expect absolute safety within their own homes.

            (2) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 18-1-704, any occupant of a dwelling is justified in using any degree of physical force, including deadly physical force, against another person when that other person has made an unlawful entry into the dwelling, and when the occupant has a reasonable belief that such other person has committed a crime in the dwelling in addition to the uninvited entry, or is committing or intends to commit a crime against a person or PROPERTY in addition to the uninvited entry, and when the occupant reasonably believes that such other person might use any physical force, no matter how slight, against any occupant.

            (3) Any occupant of a dwelling using physical force, including deadly physical force, in accordance with the provisions of subsection (2) of this section shall be immune from criminal prosecution for the use of such force. [NOTE: Emphasis Added]

            I’ve been pouring over the C.R.S. as it relates to my case ever since this whole thing began. [NOTE: Something to do with arguing the Law before municipal benches and an occasional Military Tribunal.]

            Do note the mention of “crime against….property” in section 2.

            As for ‘pointing a firearm’, that’s splitting hairs—always a favorite of lawyers—as the laser I was using to warn off whomever was outside the door beating on it as to break it in, was attached to the .45 cal ACP.

            I used the least amount of force I deemed necessary to prevent greater force having to be applied.

            Out of curiosity, how would you respond to the sound of someone trying to break down your door in the dark of night?

          18. “Out of curiosity, how would you respond to the sound of someone trying to break down your door in the dark of night?”

            I can assure you that ZERO part of my response would involve a three-hour stand-off with clearly uniformed officers–ESPECIALLY if I’d already felt it was safe enough to send my UNARMED WIFE out to speak with them.


            –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          19. RE: No ‘Stand-Off’

            Like I stated in a previous comment, I’m trained not to do dumb things like expose myself to people—about a dozen police—are pointing weapons in my direction.

            In my career I’ve been shot at, shelled and even bombed. But it was all in fun-and-jest, i.e., training. THIS was serious.

            You’re welcome to expose yourself to armed people who are protected from prosecution by the doctrine of ‘Qualified Immunity’.

            I prefer playing it ‘safe’.

          20. Expect you ALSO thought it was safe to send your unarmed wife out to them.

            OK, “Chuck,” whatever you say.

            FYI, we ALL expose ourselves to armed people protected by qualified immunity EVERY TIME WE WALK PAST A UNIFORMED COP. You hide from ALL of them, do you?

            BTW, learn what the hell “qualified immunity” means before you start spouting off about it. It does NOT mean a police officer can murder you with impunity. How’s “qualified immunity” working for the six cops in Baltimore?

            Oofah. Where DO you people come from? 🙂

            –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          21. RE: Qualified Immunity

            The LEOs cannot get away with murder when there are too many witnesses with smart cell phones and video recording.

            Not only the Baltimore Six, but Officer Slager—who shot Walter Scott in the back, as Scott ran away from him. Too bad for Slager that someone video-recorded the shooting.

            There are all too many incidents of LEOs gunning down innocent people and not being charged with negligent or deliberate homicide. Qualified Immunity puts LEOs ABOVE THE LAW that applies to everyone else.

            RE: Where Do I Come From?

            Check my profile….. 😉

          22. “Check my profile….. ;-)”

            Not that interested. It was a rhetorical question.

            What IS clear, when it comes to self-defense law, and much other law it seems, you are an absolute fountain of misinformation.

            –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          23. RE: Not ‘Interested’

            Come on counselor….that’s not very smart, not knowing your audience.

          24. Anybody who relies on the plain-English reading of a statute is a fool. A statute is merely the Legislature’s INTENT, what they would LIKE TO SEE happen.

            A statute has NO REAL WORLD EFFECT until it is interpreted and applied by a court to actual defendants in an actual case. And it is not AT ALL unusual for a court to interpret and apply a statute in a way that seems the OPPOSITE the plain-English reading of the statute.

            There is perhaps no single area of the law where this is MORE THE CASE than defense of property law, where it is VERY common for the defense of property statute to read that deadly force can be used in defense of property only to have the courts consistently interpret this to mean ONLY WHEN INNOCENT LIFE IS AT STAKE.

            Fair warning: If you don’t know how the courts have been applying a statute, and are relying on the plain-English reading of it, then you DO NOT REALLY know WHAT that statute REALLY means in the REAL world applied to REAL people.

            –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          25. RE: Aaahhh Yes….

            ….the Lawyers’ approach to the Law.

            I’m reminded of two [in]famous citations:

            All professions are a conspiracy against the laity.


            Lawyer, n., One skilled at circumventing the Law. — Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

            Or is this more of what the Supremes did regarding their recent ruling on SCOTUScare?

          26. Scoff at the law all you want. It’s what will put you in jail if you use a gun inappropriately, and for a very, very, very long period of time.

            A big chuckle, that, right?


            –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          27. RE: Scoff Law? Moi?


            But I do recognize when someone fits a definition provided by Ambrose.

            For instance….

            we ALL expose ourselves to armed people protected by qualified immunity EVERY TIME WE WALK PAST A UNIFORMED COP.— Andrew

            You neglected the part about the ‘cop’ pointing a weapon at you.

          28. There is no rule of law in America. Do you want to be a lawyer so bad you actually believe the rule of law exists now in America?

          29. There is certainly rule of law in America. It is naive to suggest otherwise. That it is circumvented or twisted on occasion, and too often, is also true — but does not mean it does not exist at all. That would be just too silly to suggest.

          30. It’s silly to think your political rulers have to obey your laws. Only serfs and those without political influence, have to obey the law. Hussein Obola and the Clintons are not like you lesser beings.

          31. I have to concede that I do not know how these statues are being applied for the most part. I am also relying on the plain-English of the statute. I also have the benefit that it is not directly applicable to me at this time, but still, I am rely on the plain-English reading. If I am going to be fair in my interactions here, I have to admit that.

          32. Chuck,

            Please read the remainder of the sentence that you highlighted. “…and when the occupant reasonably believes that such other person might
            use any physical force, no matter how slight, against any occupant.” So basically, the person must 1) enter your home unlawfully, 2) be committing another crime in addition to the unlawful entry, and 3) there must be a reasonable fear that they will hurt someone at least a little bit. The additional crime does not have to be against you; they can be stealing your TV, but the use of lethal force is justified for the purpose of defending yourself, NOT your property. So, in Colorado, a person breaks into your home, grabs your TV and when confronted, they take a step towards you (or even stand still but make a threatening remark) instead of immediately retreating, you are very probably justified in using deadly force. But if they turn around immediately and leave with your TV, you are not justified in shooting them in the back. Why? Because it is about protecting yourself and others, NOT property.

            I’m not sure I understand your comment about splitting hairs. The laser was, by your admission, attached to a handgun. Anything the laser was pointed at, so, too, was the gun. You claim to have “lazed” the window, but according to one of the news reports I found, an officer testified to seeing the laser dot on his chest. I don’t know which is right, but I don’t think you can try to claim that you “lazed” someone or something without also having pointed your gun at it/them.

            How would I have handled this? How about shouting a simple, “how’s there?” Or, “go away, I am armed!” Since you had time to arm, based on your account, calling 911 to report the incident would not have been remiss, and could have been used to clarify the reason for the officers being on scene. From one news report I read, it specifically mentions you being on the phone with a police or 911 operator, but neither that report nor yours gives me a good indication of when that occurred. Maybe you were on the phone with them within a reasonable time frame, but that would make the part of your story where your wife looked out of the sun room window unnecessary, so I assume it wasn’t until after that point.

            To be fair, you were dealing with it in the moment, and I am looking at it from after the fact, but I would not use a laser as a means of demonstrating force or de-escalating simply because it seems very unreliable to me. The person must see the laser and assume it is attached to a firearm for it to do any thing. A person is more likely to respond to verbal information since it requires less effort and luck to receive it. In this case, the laser was seen, but I view that as mostly a lucky coincidence. Whether that luck was good or bad remains to be seen.

          33. That should be the second sentence that you highlighted. Specifically, the about crimes against property.

          34. It was brought to my attention this evening that I should amend my statements about defending property in Colorado at least a little bit. While the statements I have made about Colorado Revised Statues and lethal force to defend property are, to the best of my knowledge, correct, the Colorado Constitution could be seen as saying something different.

            Section 13 of the Colorado Constitution states: “The
            right of no person to keep and bear arms in
            defense of his home, person and property… shall be called in question…” It does not specifically state that lethal force is authorized, but it does recognize the right to bear arms in defense of property. Especially given the arms that would have been available in 1876 (when the Colorado Constitution was written), it seems that lethal force was intended to be permissible.

            Of course, trying use that as a legal defense seems like a losing battle to me, and I certainly don’t have the desire or large quantities of cash with which to test whether the Statutes or the Constitution would win out. So, functionally, I still feel that my statements about lethal force to defend property in Colorado were correct, but I do have to concede that I was not entirely right, and there is more to the matter than I was acknowledging.

          35. RE: Crimes Against Property

            Theft—as your scenario read—is a ‘crime against property’.

          36. Correct. The comment that you are responding to (“That should be the second sentence…”) was an attempt to clarify as you had highlighted more than one sentence, but my initial response didn’t, I feel, make it clear which of those highlighted sentences I was talking about.

            As far as my comments about whether lethal force is legally allowed in defense of property: I believe that my reading of the law is correct, and others I have spoken with agree with me. You have read the same material I have and come to another conclusion. That is just how it is going to be; I don’t think it is worthwhile to rehash the matter.

            Do, please, note my partial retraction below. The Colorado Constitution could be seen as saying something different from the Statutes, and I acknowledged that when it was brought to my attention.

          37. RE: What Are You Arguing About?

            You said one could not use deadly force to protect property.

            I pointed out the law says you CAN use deadly force to protect property.

            You come back with quibbles. Your scenario about a smash and grab is incorrect. Unless you want to quibble about theft and whether or not it is ‘harm’.

            You claim not to be an attorney, but you certainly come across like an aspirant.

          38. RE: My Report is Accurate

            What part(s) of your perception of it seem ‘impossible’ to you?

          39. Chuck,

            I have confined myself to referencing events that you described or the news report version of those same events. Some might consider the media-stated reason for the police arriving at your home to be embarrassing, and I am not looking to embarrass you unless it also serves the purpose of educating you. If you want to look at the information that I am considering, re-read your post, and then do a Google search for “Chuck Pelto stand off.” The first three hits (at least for me, I have learned that Google results are sometimes sorted differently based on browser and/or operating system) are short news stories about the incident. The reports from January 18th (Pueblo Chieftain and KKTV) both state a reason for the police arriving at your home that would likely be incongruent with your depiction of your wife’s location/actions.

          40. Also note that, for me at least, the 4th Google result is this page, so Mr. Branca’s early advise seems very well justified.

          41. RE: Why the Police Came

            Embarrass? Moi? You’d have to go far and hard to do such. I’ve been abused by the best, e.g., Colonel ‘No Slack’ Stack.

            BACKGROUND: This neighborhood has an interesting crime rate. Some time back there were three daylight break-ins in one week within two blocks of our happy, 7100 square foot, 4-level, historical registry home.

            As a result of that, and concerned about not hearing a door being kicked in because I was elsewhere in this big old house, we brace the doors after Susan goes to work and after she comes home. Brace. Not ‘barricade’.

            I’d taken a nap. I’d overslept. I came downstairs to find the wife on her cell phone outside the back door. She was on the phone to 911 concerned that I had fallen down one of the many stairs and hurt myself.

            Upon seeing her, I opened the door and she came in.

            Upon seeing me, she told 911, “Oh. There he is. Everything is okay. Sorry to have bothered you.” And hung up.

            That was about 5:30 pm local time.

            She came in. We commensurate on the days activities, fixed and ate supper while watching a movie.

            About 7:40 pm local time, all hell broke loose at the front door. And the ‘fun and games’ began.

            So please explain to me how a ‘welfare check’, as the police claim should require (1) an over 2-hour delay and (2) a dozen police with weapons drawn?

            If it were a welfare check, a couple of officers should be sufficient. Not an armed mob.

            And also explain why it took them over two hours to respond? If I had fallen and hurt myself, I could well have died in the interval. If they thought my wife was endangered SHE could well have died in the interval.

            And the police are STILL withholding exculpatory evidence….

          42. Since you are willing to discuss it, the reason for the welfare check stated in the news articles was that your wife was concerned that you were having a PTSD episode. Also, one of those indicates that you would not let her into the home. The response time was not mentioned, but that doesn’t surprise me too much.

            I can see where your version of events and the news report could both be accurate, so my initial assumption could easily be incorrect. I was thinking that it was impossible for your wife to be in your home if she was really locked out, or unlikely for her to join you in an armed response to someone at the door if she was the one who called the police. A two hour delay between events could help explain those things, however.

            To be fair to the police in this situation, the 2 hour delay was probably in part because their visit was most likely not a welfare check at that point; it was probably a 911 follow-up. I do know that police, at least in Colorado (I’m pretty sure it’s true everywhere else, but I don’t actually KNOW that), are required to show up any time 911 is called, even if they are told that everything is ok. It’s a precaution just to make sure everything really is ok instead of someone being coerced into saying that, etc. The 2 hour delay does seem odd to me, but I don’t know how police dispatching, priorities, etc. work. For that same reason, I cannot say why the response was of the size and/or nature that it was. I, too, would have expected one or two officers, but I just don’t truly know how some of these things work.

            I guess the silver lining to this whole thing is that you do, now, know that you can hear someone at the door from the upper story of the house, so bracing the door shouldn’t be needed. Your wife doesn’t have to worry about being locked out again.

          43. RE: PTSD? Moi?


            The police added the PTSD lie to justify their actions and the press swallowed it hook-line-and-sinker.

            In spite of my ‘best efforts’ to see combat, God saw fit to never put me in a place where I had to fire shots in anger. The closest I ever came to combat operations was that night the police showed up en mass with weapons drawn.

            RE: The Two-Hour Delay

            A ‘follow-up’ indeed. But as I sated earlier, if the police REALLY thought my wife was in danger, the two-hour delay doesn’t make any sense. Nor does the massive response. So again, the delay was to marshall their forces for a combat operation. Not a ‘welfare check’.

            Rather, there is more to this than the police are willing to admit. Hence their non-disclosure of information relating to the incident. And they are STILL withholding vital evidence. It’s blatantly obvious from the truncated telephone conversations in the recordings we have received so far.

            A couple of attorneys I’ve talked to about this—one I worked with for years on the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals—said it sounding like the police all went to dinner and then came over to our house for their evenings ‘entertainment’.

            I suspect there’s something more nefarious about it.

            RE: Bracing the Door

            Again, as I stated earlier, it’s a BIG house: 7100 square feet on four levels. Yes. I COULD hear the front door being kicked in from the upstairs library. But not from the basement, nor the gym above the garage, nor my workshop in the lower garage—formerly a large coal bin for the furnace—nor from the game room on the upper most level. So, based on the number of break-ins—including one across the alley—bracing the doors is a good measure of security. You can get simple, reliable devices to do such from Amazon. No one will get into the house through the doors without something more than the heavy battering rams favored by SWAT teams. And the noise will certainly alert us from just about anywhere in the house.

            RE: The Proverbial ‘Silver Lining’

            The real silver lining is that I’m alive. Whereas others, such as Alfred Redwine, are not. That includes some Army veterans like myself, where the police being asked to make a ‘welfare check’ on a distant relation who’d had heart surgery recently, waited HOURS before visiting. They arrived about midnight and broke down the door. The veteran, thinking it was a home invasion, armed himself and was shot dead. Some kinda ‘welfare check’ that, eh…. 😉

            The difference, again, is that I didn’t allow the potential ‘home invaders’ through the door. Something to do with being (1) trained in urban combat, (2) alert, (3) armed and (4) God seeing fit to cause the police to realize that storming the house would not be a good idea for all parties involved.

          44. Don’t call the police, especially for anything that lets them check on veteran status or “domestic” cases.

          45. RE: Don’t Call the Police

            Especially for a ‘welfare check’.

            Indeed. I’ve noticed a LOT of ‘welfare checks’ conducted by police where the ‘subject’ winds up DEAD at the hands of the police. And no charges against them because of ‘Qualified Immunity’.

            In one case, at an assisted living facility, where the man was armed with—get this—a SHOEHORN!

            There’s an interesting music video up at YouTube you might want to check out.

            This site doesn’t allow for links but you can find it by the title….

            Call the Cops – Rob Hustle ft. Bump

            My wife has since learned NOT to call the police for a ‘welfare check’. Or most anything else, as NOW, for whatever reason they’re called, we can expect nothing but trouble.

          46. “And no charges against them because of ‘Qualified Immunity’.”

            Again, you’re an idiot. That is NOT what qualified immunity means. Oofah.

            –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          47. RE: Compare and Contrast

            Show all of us your understanding of Qualified Immunity. I’d like to see it from a reliable source, please. Please provide a location where I can find what you think it is.

            Be advised, this site doesn’t like links. I’ve tried providing three such to back up my information, but all such comments were ‘disappeared’.

          48. Shooting civilians to death and getting away with it is called Justified Lethal Force in the LEO communities. Right, so qualified immunity isn’t what the standard is for police unions.

          49. RE: Qualified Immunity

            It gives government officials legal cover saying they acted in the best interest of their office. Police are ‘government officials’. And all they have to say is “I feared for my life,” in order to begin shooting.

            Wasn’t there an incident in Portland or Seattle where some street busker, i.e., clown/comedian, pointed a banana at a cop and they threatened to arrest him. I think I heard that one of the officers said, “Don’t make me fear for my life.”

            The list I provided, speaks for itself.

          50. “The list I provided, speaks for itself.”

            Yeah, it does. It’s crap. Color me shocked, given the source.

            And your understanding of qualified immunity is that of a not very bright 1st grader–mostly wrong, and the rest is imaginary.

            –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          51. RE: Nope

            You cited two instances, Freddie Gray and Tamir Rice, I refuted both of your arguments.

            Show me others or your being ‘stupid’…..ignorant and proud of it.

          52. If you want me to do legal research for you, you can pay me just like everybody else, dumb ass.

            And it’s spelled “you’re,” you idiot.

            No offense. 🙂

            –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          53. If you go into certain rumour networks, you may have heard various stories over the years. About how a woman called the police over for a domestic dispute, then when the man she was arguing with tried to leave on a motorcycle, the police went up and shot him in the head.

            For those of us with sources, we aren’t reliant on the propaganda networks to tell us what’s really going on.

            Of course, some of us haven’t forgotten Ruby Ridge, Waco 1, Waco 2, Elian Gonzalez, Ft. Hood 1, Ft Hood 2. The MSM were ordered by their masters to help create riots in Baltimore and other places, using specially created reports about crime. Crime which happens daily in those cities, but suddenly is now a national issue when done by police corrupt unions.

            CW II is pretty much inevitable at this point, given the strategic factions and who controls what. For those that haven’t ran away from the sinking ship of America to foreign countries, they will have to prepare well for these “Emergencies”.

          54. RE: Been There, Too

            Here’s a list I’ve compiled of innocents shot dead by the police…..

            • Jonathan Ferrell — Charlotte NC, running to the police after surviving an auto accident….gets gunned down.

            • John Winkler — LA, gunned down running towards a sheriff’s deputy as he was fleeing the man who had held him hostage with a knife.

            • Michael Davidson — USAF, gunned down by a state trooper as he was walking towards him after a traffic accident he was involved in.

            • Alfred Redwine — Albuquerque, NM, unarmed and shot on the front porch of his home after he’d been SWAT’d and was dumb enough to come out into the direct line of fire as the police had demanded.

            • Eric Scott — Las Vegas, NV, gunned down in the Costco parking lot because he had a concealed carry permit. And the security camera that was watching the incident reportedly ‘malfunctioned’ so that evidence of the shooting was lost.

            • Tamir Rice — 12-year old playing in a Cleveland, OH, park with an airsoft pistol. Police shot him dead within 2 seconds of their arrival on the scene.

            • Aiyana Stanley-Jones — 7-year old in Detroit. Shot by police while she slept on a couch.

            • John Crawford III, 22, was fatally shot by law enforcement inside a Beavercreek, Ohio Walmart on Aug. 5 within minutes of a 911 call from a fellow Walmart shopper. He was carrying a BB gun he considered buying.

            • Dillon Taylor — Unarmed. Killed by the Salt Lake City police because he moved his hands when the officer demanded he show his hands. The DA found no reason to charge the officer.

            • Jose Guerena — Tucson, AZ. Shot 60 times in a no-knock drug raid that found no drugs. He had the temerity to think the crashing of his door down was a home invasion and was prepared to defend his wife. So they shot him.

            • D’Andre Berghardt — Las Vegas, NV, had been walking down the highway trying to hitch a ride when police approached him. His behavior was erratic, and eventually he tried to climb inside a police vehicle — at which point he was shot dead. He got a ride….in a meat wagon.

            • Jerame Reid — Bridgeton, NJ, shot six times by police with his hands empty and up.

            • John Warna, Jr. — 95-year old WWII veteran shot to death—five 12 gauge bean bag rounds at close range—by police in his assisted-living room because he refused to take his medicine. The officer ‘feared for his life’ because Warna had a shoe-horn in his hand.

            • James Howard Allen — 74-year old war veteran. Had recently had heart surgery. Saturday afternoon the family in North Carolina asked police officers to check on his welfare. In response to the request, the cops went to the man’s house at midnight, broke in, and then shot him dead.

            • Lavall Hall — Mentally distrubed in the care of his mother. He had an episode so she called the police to help calm him down. When the police showed up, he waved a broom at them. So they shot him dead and then cuffed him. He’s ‘calm’ now.

            • Darrell Gatewood — Oklahoma City, was having a fit. His girlfriend called the police to help him. They tasered him until he was dead.

            • Derek Cruice — Shot in the face and killed during the botched raid in Deltona. Unarmed and half-naked, wearing nothing but basketball shorts, he approached officers breaking down the door of his house and was immediately shot.

            • Walter Scott — North Charleston, South Carolina. Unarmed and running away from Officer Slager when shot in the back.

            • Freddie Gray — Baltimore, run down and beaten to death by police for no apparent reason.

            • Justin Way — Florida, shot by police after girlfriend called for help because he was threatening to harm himself. So to prevent him from going to Hell by killing himself, they did it for him. Police tell girlfriend….’That’s what we do.”

            • Deven Guilford — Murdered by County Sheriff Sergeant Jonathan Frost for flashing his headlights at Frost’s vehicle because his cruiser’s highbeams were on. And Frost didn’t like that common vehicular ‘comment’. Caught on the sergeant’s body-cam. No charges filed.

            And only a handful of the officers were ever charged. But all of them got a two-week ‘paid vacation’ while their department ‘investigated’.

          55. “• Freddie Gray — Baltimore, run down and beaten to death by police for no apparent reason.”

            That’s an outright lie. There’s zero evidence of unlawful force or beating by any of the officers involved. Not even the prosecutors have argued that the police beat Gray.

            “• Tamir Rice — 12-year old playing in a Cleveland, OH, park with an airsoft pistol. Police shot him dead within 2 seconds of their arrival on the scene.”

            Tamir Rice weighed 170 pounds and was pointing an apparently real gun at people in a park. Police responded to “man with gun” call, and the moment they pulled up Tamir reached for the apparently real gun in his waistband. They perfectly appropriately lit his ass up.

            I can only assume all your other examples are equally as much bullshit as those two, but you’re not worth the effort of looking into each.

            –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          56. RE: Specifics

            • Freddie Gray — No evidence of unlawful force? I suppose he broke BOTH his neck and spine all by himself.

            I’d like to see YOU try that……;-)

            • Tamir Rice — Reached for a ‘gun’? How come the officer who shot Tamir—2 seconds after exiting the cruiser—is under charges of murder?

            ERRATA: Regarding Tamir: Not charged with murder. But a suit of Wrongful Death. My error. I apologize.

            RE: ASSUME

            You’ve been proven wrong on the two you pointed out. I counsel to avoid doing an ‘assume’ on the others. Rather look them up on your own and disabuse yourself.

            When you ASSUME something, you make and ASS out of U and ME. — One of my First Sergeants when I was a young paratrooper living in barracks.</b.

          57. Freddie Gray’s injuries are entirely consistent with a suspect, cuffed hands and ankle, standing up in a moving vehicle and falling on his own stupid dope-dealing head. Again, NOT EVEN THE PROSECUTORS ARE ALLEGING THE POLICE BEAT HIM, you dummy.

            The Tamir Rice charges are nothing more than the same political theater currently acting out in Baltimore and previously acted out in the Zimmerman case. Indeed it wasn’t until the usual crew of urban activists hand-picked a favorable judge that they got even THAT much. The actual Grand Jury did NOT indict the officers involved.

            If you don’t want to get shot by the police, don’t reach for the gun in your waistband when they pull up. Easy-peasy.

            –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          58. RE: Freddie Gray Standing Up

            Let’s see YOU stand up with a broken neck and spine.

          59. Chuck … Chuck, you really gotta think before you respond, here. The theory is NOT that he stood up AFTER his bones were broken. The theory would be that he stood up BEFORE he was so injured, and became injured as a result of standing up, because he stood up when he should not have and then fell down. Since he apparently was not beaten by the cops (if you take time to notice), that theory makes as much sense as anything else I have heard.

          60. RE: Qualified Immunity

            Glad to see you’re still lurking about. Where’s your explanation of Qualified Immunity, as you understand it?

            I’m looking forward to your effort to disabuse me.

            Come. Let us reason together. — Isaiah 1:18

          61. Any nitwit with access to Google can find out for themselves what qualified immunity is. Not you, of course, I mean someone even little bit smarter than you.

            Here’s a big hint, dummy: it has NOTHING to do with criminal misconduct.

            –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          62. RE: Qualified Immunity

            Dodging my simple request is merely evasion on your part.

            Not a good indicator of honesty in a debate.

            For the third time, I ask you to give all of US your understanding of Qualified Immunity as it relates to the police.

          63. If you can’t even Google, there’s no point in me trying to explain anything to you.

            In any case, explaining legal concepts is WHAT I DO FOR A LIVING.

            You want me to explain a legal concept to you, PAY ME.

            –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          64. I must correct you on the Freddy Grey incident. What you have stated is incorrect. Mr. Grey was arrested for possession of an illegal knife and placed in police transport wagon. The other passenger of the vehicle stated that he could here Mr. Grey throwing himself around in the vehicle in an attempt to injure himself. Coroner’s examination corroborates this story. Mr. Grey was known for deliberately getting hit by cares to get an insurance settlement. When they arrived at the police station, he found to be injured and taken to a hospital where he died several days later. At no time was he beaten by police.
            I know that several other of your cases are in fact true, so I assume that you have merely been misinformed about this case. As I lived in Baltimore most of my life, I have followed this case closely. What I have stated here has been reported by local media.

          65. LEOs, especially ones under Democrat unions, are special cases. They’re used to terminate anyone that could potentially harm the Hussein Revolution.

        2. I think he is saying that it is possible to have justification to shoot, but you may not have the necessity to shoot. It’s a nuanced idea.

    2. In my state you are justified in presenting a weapon if a reasonable person would be in fear of imminent great bodily harm or death. My county’s D.A. put it a lot more simply, “this isn’t some Wild West shootout scenario where you have to wait for the other person to start their draw stroke before you defend yourself.”

      1. The justification for drawing and firing would then be identical. Ayoob’s advice is that there are times when it is ‘justifiable to draw and point but NOT shoot’…..THAT is bullsh*t. Only LEO gets that luxury. If a mere mundane points a gun at someone WITHOUT being able to demonstrate that reasonable fear of imminent death or harm the only thing standing between them and a trial is the agenda of the DA. Don’t know about you but the LAST person I want deciding my fate is a DA looking to pad his conviction rate and get

        1. Again, this is simply NOT true in every state. Where I live, it sure is, 100%. Don’t point a gun at someone in Massachusetts unless you would have been legally entitled to shoot them. But that’s the MINORITY position in the US.

          Again, I am NOT ADVOCATING POINTING GUNS AT PEOPLE UNLESS YOU REALLY HAVE TO. I’m just clarifying the legal issue.

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

        2. I have personally done this. It seems like you’re talking about pulling a gun out over an insult. That is not what Ayoob is talking about.

        3. Not bull at all, as it is true in most states. I understand that there is usually a legal difference between displaying and shooting, and may even also be a legally definable difference between drawing without pointing, and pointing, in some jurisdictions.

          It is certainly true that defense law varies from state to state, and that you don’t really know what a law means until the courts have applied it, and thereby defined it, in particular situations.

    3. Americans get into trouble via un justified discharges, such as the one the Democrat VP told people to do, shoot in the air to scare off rapists.

      That’s not going to accomplish much, except get you a law suit for discharging a firearm.

      Technically, the crim could charge you for battery, for showing them a gun, but then again, the crim probably has 51 stolen guns anyways.

    1. Anybody on the street can demonstrate Hick’s Law to you. Challenge them to tap you with their fingertip before you can stop them. Easy-peasy. Or not. 🙂

      –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

  4. Like all of you I hope to never be forced to use my handgun on another person. I don’t, however, think that the stress of the situation will be a consideration at the time. Years of dojo and ring time allowed me to find a steady calmness in what almost all outside observers considered a very stressful situation. Although fighting is done in a somewhat controlled environment, when a 200 pound tattooed freak crosses the ring with the intent of messing you up it is not a good time to get tense. It is my experience (and many others) that the 10’s of thousands of repetitions in basic technique automatically kicks in and you often times find yourself surprised that you “did something”. I have won a few fights where I had to be told afterwards what technique stopped the opponent.
    I know that the need to defend oneself does not turn the truly prepared person into an awkward bumbling clown. If you train often, using good technique, think out your defense strategies in advance and stay alert to your surroundings at all times you will be prepared and capable of using the force required to get the job done. My only concern is “how will I pay for those 10,000 rounds of 9mm?

    1. RE: Training IS Essential

      To be prepared to fight and have practiced your techniques is vital to survival in any fight.

      People who are unfamiliar with firearms combat should take up some form of firearm force-on-force sport using paintball or airsoft weaponry.

      Doing that they will learn a lot about weapons capabilities and the best use of cover and concealment. Not to forget developing relationships with people who could be of help when the SHTF.

      The price of freedom is the willingness to do sudden battle anywhere, any time and with utter recklessness. — Robert A. Heinlein

    2. I have presented and been on-target. You have no idea what the stress and adrenaline levels are like. I work in a field where stress and performance in high-pressure situations is a requirement and I still found these levels to be through the roof.

    3. I suggest 500 rounds at a time,,,,,, it’s easier on the bank account than all 10,000 at once.
      The problem for me is that I go through all 500 in one practice session and don’t want to wait another week or two to practice again.

      That’s where “dry practice” of all movements and techniques in different orders comes in handy for me. Just make sure there is NO AMMO in a 20 yard diameter!

    4. “Stress” is not the right term. 180-220 heart beats per minute, is the more accurate issue.

      Why do people get that high a burst rate in life and death situations? It’s because even if a person knows how to swim, when they get dropped in the English channel by themselves and the sharks start circling, the human body knows that it’s in a far different situation than an indoor swimming pool with a lifeguard on the tower.

      The heart knows, even if the mind refuses to.

      As for ammo, look up dry firing drills.

      For repetitive movements, it is easy to remain calm and just go on automatic. Some killers are like that too, such as the sniper Zone or zen calmness. However, repetitive movements and automatic fighting are for the lowest skilled and capable users. This is not high level and it is not what the human body will require when your life is on the line. When a person’s life is on the line, several limiters are released, mental and physical. It will not allow you to go “automatic”, other than run like heck.

      Years of dojo and ring time allowed me to find a steady calmness in what almost all outside observers considered a very stressful situation.

      Skills don’t transfer 1 to 1. An Olympic swimmer can’t use his experience and go directly to soccer or basketball, as if he had spent his life training for the latter. He didn’t. He may get a 50% conversion or a 10% conversion, but it’s not 1 o 1.

      If every time you entered the dojo, you weren’t sure what you were going to face, from bombs, to trip wires, to nukes, to poison, to ebola, and any time you entered the ring, your family could be killed if you made a mistake, the “stress” increases exponentially due to uncertainty. A situation that has the same rules, every time, and things pretty much go the same way every time, but end up slightly different, isn’t “stressful” except on the newbies.

      1. hate to do it, but I have to agree with Ymarsakar, at least on his basic premise. Stress “inoculation” (as some call it) does not seem to generalize as well as some who have put in a lot of training time in one area would like to think. .. And, real time is a whole ‘nuther animal anyway.

        1. If they specified what exactly they were training for or against, in what circumstances, it might be different. Humans like to use broad category words like “stress” to describe stuff that is not very simple. So their supposed training protocols and benefits, are cast into doubt. Or should be at least.

          One standard method shooters use for high heartbeat situations is to exercise their body to the point where they are in the 160-180 zone, then start firing. That tests their dexterity and manual control, although even that does not 100% simulate a life and death confrontation using firearms. But the skills gained in that fashion should transfer more than 50% of the way through at least.

  5. Good article! On a side note, does anyone know what holster that is in the photo with the G43?

        1. FYI, no reason you couldn’t put a second clip on the rearward screw, have yourself a nice two-clip strong-side holster, if that’s your preference (it would be mine, relative to AIWB).

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

  6. My training officer was a prominent St Louis attorney. I will not forget his lecture on the use of deadly force; I think I can repeat it verbatim 30 years later. His point that justifiable homicide does not mean there will be no consequences. Two recent high profile incidents followed his narration almost exactly.

    1. Andrew,
      Would you believe your name was on the list of originals to interview. I have your book and am eager to talk to you!!
      I honestly have no good excuse for why I didn’t try harder to get you in this article.

      1. I’m just teasing you, Melody, no worries.

        Lucky Gunner is just dead to me now.

        No, no, just kidding. 🙂

        Hey, next time, if you’re inclined, drop me a line. It’s all good. 🙂

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

        1. Haha.. I can send you cookies to make up for it.
          Not sure how much, however, as I screw up to romin noodles but I can try.
          Next time, for sure!

        2. Andrew, I’ll take full responsibility for you being left out of this one. Melody did have you on her list but I suggested we save some folks for round two 🙂

  7. RE: Item #1: Hits Count

    All hits count. Especially when using the .45 cal ACP. Because it’s….

    ….just silly to have to shoot somebody twice.

    The only thing worse than a miss is a slow miss.

  8. RE: Item #2: When to Draw

    You draw the moment you perceive a threat. You point when you’ve identified the threat as plausible and imminent. If you hesitate at either point, you have lost the initiative and maybe the fight.

    He who hesitates is lost.

    1. RE: Not Really

      Any Marine, Ranger, or Paratrooper would do just fine. Especially if they’d argued the Law before any court or military tribunal.

  9. RE #2: Ayoob’s notion that “it’s better to take them at gunpoint than wait for the moment your life might actually be in jeopardy” seems to forget that the act of “taking them at gunpoint” might well be the action that starts the shooting. Seeing me go for my gun, the aggressor (to make the case simple) will be just as likely to figure now he MUST draw and shoot, because the only reasonable assumption he can make is that I’m drawing with the intent to fire. If I were ever to get into an encounter, and suddenly someone started drawing on me, I wouldn’t hesitate to draw and fire immediately. Isn’t the only reasonable assumption that they’re drawing with the intent to shoot? How can Ayoob fail to acknowledge that this issue is the reason for the MYTH existing at all. He talks as if drawing “before you have to” is totally safe and the only downside is the possible legal ramifications. To me this issue has NOTHING to do with the legal consequences. My objection is that I think this advice could easily INCREASE your chances of being involved in a shooting. This seems like exactly the kind of thing that happens with all those Wal Mart shootings. It’s not about “Always do this” or “Never do that” but about really understanding all of the risks that you’re managing in a confrontation, and using the best approach for the situation.

    1. Isn’t the only reasonable assumption that they’re drawing with the intent to shoot?

      Not if they are using a voice command to initiate negotiations. Talking generally freezes people because it disengages their mechanical body control and diverts attention to the speech centers. Speech centers are useless to killers using physical force, thus they shortcircuit some people’s reflexes. By the time they figure out what you are saying, they will have waited long enough to realize that you won’t shoot first.

      Yes it is a risk, but most things depend on timing and the abilities of the attacker/defender. The risk for failing to do so, like becoming a Zimmerman, is perhaps higher.

      For an incompetent person, whether they draw first or draw later, doesn’t matter. They end up like Zimmerman, surviving, maybe, at the hair’s breath. Zimmerman could have told Tray that he had a gun or pulled it out, and Tray would have submitted, because Tray didn’t grow up in a neighborhood where he could out fight gun users. What’s possible for people who make the right decisions, isn’t possible for people who make decisions as a result of being forced to do them. Incompetent people tend to end up at the latter end of the scale.

Leave a Reply

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