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The rush is over as people go home from work. Now, there is a slow but steady flow of customers into the cell phone store where you work. The next customer walks in. You let him look around for a minute. The store owner continues doing some paperwork so you ask the customer if you can help him. The customer turns away and then turns back with a gun in his hand. He tells you to give him the money and the new phones. You tell the robber that your boss will be back with the phones.
You own a gun. You have your Illinois Firearms Owners Identification Card and your Concealed Carry License. You are armed tonight at work. The robber turns to look at the back room. That is when you draw your firearm. You aim for the center of his chest and shoot your attacker twice. Now the robber drops his gun and turns. You stop shooting. You and your boss run into the back room and call 911.
The police disarm your attacker. EMTs take him to the hospital. The police take your gun as evidence, and you give them a brief statement. Your boss talks to the news media but doesn’t tell them much. That is when you find out that your attacker died in the hospital.
Let’s look at the things our defender did long before the armed robber walked into the cell phone store. Our defender recognized that he works in a dangerous job in a dangerous city. He went through considerable trouble to buy a gun in Illinois. He paid for the expensive training and application fees. He endured the months-long delays so he could get his carry permit. Our defender talked with his employer about being armed at work. That morning, our good guy went through the trouble of dressing around the gun and carrying concealed in public. He did all that before he faced a threat.
During the attack, we know that the defender put shots on the bad guy in order to end the threat. Our good guy didn’t chase the bad guy down the street. The robbery victims retreated and called the police. They also gave a brief statement to the police.
There is a lot that we don’t know about this event. We don’t know how the defender gained a few second advantage over the robber who already had his gun in his hand. We do know those good tactics can keep us from getting shot.
It appears that our defender waited his turn. Our good guy did not draw his firearm when the attacker already had his gun out and pointed at him. He waited until the robber looked away and the robber had his gun pointed in another direction. Perhaps our good guy opened the cash drawer and stepped to the side. Perhaps the defender moved behind a display case to mask his motions. That is important because we’d like to cheat. We’d like to have our hand on our gun before we start the presentation because that cuts our draw time in half.
We want to move as we draw because that buys us time too. The robber has to notice we moved, find out where we are, track our movement and point his gun at us before he can shoot. In that time, we want to put shots on target and move again. Ideally, we can shoot from a position of cover or at least concealment.
Fast hands help, but tactics help us beat fast hands.
Those are certainly good tactics, but there even better options. Have a plan with your boss. If the robber will let you, then you can walk into the backroom to get the robber what he wants. From that position out of sight, you can sound the silent alarm that calls the police. There, you can draw your firearm. From behind a curtain, from a position in the dark, and from behind a wall that will stop a bullet, you can shoot your bad guy through a doorway.
Think about this. Your attacker is threatening to kill an innocent person. You can shoot the bad guy when he isn’t looking at you. You can shoot the bad guy when he doesn’t have his gun pointed at you. You can shoot the bad guy from a position where he can’t see you. In order to save the life of an innocent person, you can shoot the bad guy from behind or from a dark corner.
That isn’t what you saw in the movies and it usually takes some time to sink in. You can start thinking about it now.
Planning like that can put us in a position from which it is hard to lose. Again, we’d like to wait until the robber is not pointing his gun at an innocent party when we fire. We’d like it if there was a solid wall behind the bad guy rather than a glass window that leads onto a public street. We might not get everything we want. Take a look at the place you work and at your home.
We want to give a very brief statement to the police. Of course, tell them that you’ll cooperate and answer all their questions at a later date. Let your lawyer watch the security video and put your story together. Look for legal help today before you need it.
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.
About Rob Morse
Rob writes about gun rights at Ammoland, at Clash Daily, and on his SlowFacts blog. He hosts the Self Defense Gun Stories Podcast and co-hosts the Polite Society Podcast. Rob was an NRA pistol instructor and combat handgun competitor.