A woman you know gives you a call and asks for your advice. You let her come over to your house. It is about six in the evening when she arrives. You talk with her outside for a few minutes, and then let her in. A few seconds later, four men charge through your front door and attack you.
You own a gun. You’re armed. You present your firearm and shoot your attackers. All of them run. Two of them are wounded and are left behind by the fleeing criminals. You back up and call the police.
The police arrest one of your wounded attackers at the scene and the police get the names of the other assailants who ran. EMTs declare one of your attackers dead at the scene. The EMTs treat your injuries and then transport the other wounded attacker to the hospital. Your dead attacker was from New Jersey, a few miles away, but the other attackers are from Pennsylvania.
Criminals would never choose a fair fight. Many robberies involve more than one perpetrator, but the five attackers in this story are well above the norm. Fortunately, our defender was a gun owner, and the story makes it sound like he was carrying his firearm at home. A third of the aggravated assaults occur in and near our home, so carrying at home makes sense.
Being armed was essential when the homeowner had to defend himself from multiple attackers. The defender was injured in the attack and then used his firearm as he was being hit. He was able to shoot the robbers and stop the beating. The defender also stopped shooting when the attack stopped. The defender did not chase the robbers as they ran or shoot at them as they drove away. The defender stayed at the scene of the crime and called the police. He gave a statement to the police when they arrived. The defenders had security camera video of the break-in that he gave to the police.
There are always a number of unanswered questions in these news reports. One of the major questions is how we might defend ourselves from five people who want to beat us. That is a particularly important question for new shooters who are learning the basics of armed defense. There is much more to armed defense than depending on luck and aggression. We should plan to survive.
True, I’ve never seen a class that advertised ‘Here is how you shoot four men and a woman in a hurry.’ After thinking about it, I have been given those skills from classes I’ve taken, and I am an ordinary student rather than a gifted one.
There is plenty to learn when attackers are up close:
- Starting at the beginning, remember when you learned how to grip your handgun? Beginners will wiggle their hand down onto the gun, but that motion has to become both smooth and strong. We need a solid grip on our gun, and consistency and reliability comes with practice. Speed is an added bonus.
- We learned to make the conscious decision to press the trigger and shoot.. or not. Some instructors reinforce that decision from the first shots their students make. Yes, you can also practice “not shooting” at the range after you present your gun to the target.
- We learn to present a loaded firearm from a concealed holster. Your hands work separately and together as they present and align the gun with the target. With practice, your hands and eyes work without conscious attention.
- Practice also teaches us where the gun is pointed. The sights are pointed at the target as the gun reaches full extension and the sights come into focus. That won’t happen the first day, and maybe not the first week of practice. Work slowly and smoothly until it does.
- Shooting with both hands on your gun and your arms at full extension is how we shoot at targets that are several yards away. We don’t do that when the target is at closer distances because we don’t want to hand our gun to our attacker. There, we shoot from the retention position where we are holding the gun with one hand next to our body.
- Hands are flying everywhere during a beating. You can learn to retain control of your gun if someone grabs for it, and how to recover your gun if someone touches it. This class experience is truly hands-on.
- Learn to deliver a hand-strike with your support hand and then shoot several shots from the retention position.
- A variation is to raise your support arm to guard your head while you again shoot from retention. Later, combine this exercise with lateral or rearward movement.
- Practice putting multiple shots on multiple targets. With your support hand on the target, push away and start with the target closest to you and end with the target farthest away.
That laundry list of skills sounds impressive. It isn’t. In fact, those are the usual skills you’ll see if you take a few classes beyond your concealed carry class. Sure the instructor can show us new material, but we have to practice to make these skills our own. Those are the sort of skills you’ll get to practice in IDPA competitions.
Training like this might sound expensive, but I disagree. I often spend more on ammunition, travel, food, and lodging than the fee I pay to the instructor.
Let’s put those skills in perspective. After a year of irregular practice, I’d expect you to be able to draw from concealment and shoot two shots on each of three separate short-range targets in under three seconds, six shots total. That doesn’t make you an elite competitor. It makes you someone who planned to survive. It costs a few weekends and then a few minutes a week.
Bad things happen to good people. I want you to save your life.
Rob Morse highlights the latest self-defense and other shootings of the week. See what went wrong, what went right, and what we can learn from real-life self-defense with a gun. Even the most justified self-defense shooting can go wrong, especially after the shot. Get the education, the training, and the liability coverage you and your family deserve, join USCCA.