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When Is It OK To Draw?

BuckJM53

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#1
While all of us who carry hope that we never see a moment in time where we are forced to make the decision to draw our firearm in self defense, I'm curious what your thoughts are regarding the threshold of when it is OK to draw your firearm?

For me the reality is that it depends as there are so many potential variables in any given situation. Since most state laws on the matter (excluding castle doctrine issues) indicate that you can only legally use your firearm in an attempt to save yourself (or another) from imminent grave bodily injury or death, these are the two key issues at hand as I see it (YMMV). If you draw your gun (whether you ultimately shoot or not):

1. Did the particular set of circumstances present an imminent grave threat? There is a huge difference between someone yelling threats at you from a reasonable distance and someone engaging you with a weapon of some sort. While you may feel threatened in both cases, and while I would certainly draw on anyone coming at me with a weapon (or with superior strength), I would never draw/brandish my gun to attempt to scare/diffuse a "words only" situation, nor would I escalate the confrontation with my words. I would attempt to diffuse the situation with phrases like "I'm not looking for a fight here" or "please stop this ... don't come any closer". I look at my pistol as a tool of last resort!


2. Were your actions consistent with what any reasonable person would have done in similar circumstances. While the "reasonable person theory" might ultimately play out with the prosecutor, grand jury or at worst a jury of your peers, if the level of force and actions that you took seem reasonable to the average person faced with your situation, you'll likely be operating within the law.
 
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#2
Seems to me you have a pretty good idea of when to draw. The only time I will draw on a person is if there is an imminent threat as you stated. Any other reason can cast a bad light on you. I have seen too many instances of people drawing for percieving a threat that really was not.........yet. Better to try and de-escalate a situation whenever possible.
 

diesel

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#3
What your say'n, Buck, makes great sense.
Not trying to dis you ,but you leave out the same factor that 99% of folks leave out. Now ,this factor i'm speaking of, like you said above, depends on the situation at hand.

The injection of massive amounts of adrenaline into ones system (which more likely than not will occur) tends to misdirect ones best laid plans. Not to mention the "fight or flight syndrome" which may or may not kick in, will alter what one "plans" or thinks they may do. These are factors not planned on because there is no real way to measure an individuals dis con bob u lations under tremendous amounts of adrenaline. This will affect all of us differently.
Case in point; the Keyhoe brothers, (i'm sure i butchered that name spelling) Chaney and (i can't remember the other brothers name) his brother were highly wanted men and were stopped somewhere in Ohio, by a highway patrolman. The brother on the passenger side jumped out of the Blazer and just started firing like a demon from hell. Two patrolman returned fire, all of this shooting at POINT BLANK range, and no one got hit?????
I can't remember the year, but it was quite some time ago......the video is on Youtube. No one got hit because the suddenness and brutality of the attack, caused the patrolmens adrenaline to peak (as well as the Keyhoe bros.) and no one was able to stay on target.:eek:

Who is more highly trained than an Ohio Highway Patrolman? The point i make is simple. Make your plans but, practice, practice, practice......til it becomes an automatic reflex. Practice, i believe, is the only thing that may save your ass,......make things come out as you planned.....hopefully.

Never.......ever.......pull if your not sure you can fire, it may cost you your life.:notlisten:

I'm sure i'm going to get my ass verbally kicked over this post, but it's the way i feel about all this. We tend to talk as if we are all "Rambo" but we are not.
Just say'n.......my take on the question.......hate to see me or any of you fine people here, get hurt.:D :flag:


This is the video, i believe. Watch this please, you'll understand better what i'm saying.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jec0XwvM4_8
 
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BuckJM53

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#4
......... Who is more highly trained than an Ohio Highway Patrolman? The point i make is simple. Make your plans but, practice, practice, practice......til it becomes an automatic reflex. Practice, i believe, is the only thing that may save your ass,......make things come out as you planned.....hopefully.

Never.......ever.......pull if your not sure you can fire, it may cost you your life.:notlisten:

I'm sure i'm going to get my ass verbally kicked over this post, but it's the way i feel about all this. We tend to talk as if we are all "Rambo" but we are not.
Just say'n.......my take on the question.......hate to see me or any of you fine people here, get hurt.:D :flag:
Diesel ... No but kicking here. I couldn't agree with you more about your comments on practice ... practice ... practice. I'll re-post my thoughts on how I approach the practice process from the Practice Drill thread from May.

As you guys well know, there are numerous experts and many training programs out there today that do their best to make you believe that their techniques and training programs are the absolute best way to train for self defense (thank God for capitalism ;)). While all of the ones that I've looked into over the years have some excellent elements and training drills, as an old guy with a bad back who doesn't move that well anymore, I'm not convinced that running through kill houses and multi-station events is the best way for me to prepare for that moment moment in my life that I hope will never come (I'm also not excited to blow hundreds or thousands of dollars just so that I can hang a certificate on the wall and brag that I trained for a week with "Blah Blah" at the "Blah Blah Blah" academy or placed first at a staged event). Accordingly, my practice routine is a simple process using elements that I honestly believe must be mastered in order to have the best chance of walking away alive if I'm ever faced with having to draw my pistol to defend myself. To that end my thoughts for what they worth are as follows (YMMV).

Since it is impossible to know in advance and practice for the exact self defense scenario that we all hope we're never faced with, my training drills focus primarily on the elements that I absolutely know will be necessary to give me the best opportunity to survive the event, which are: Drawing my pistol quickly/smoothly/cleanly and Getting accurate shots on target(s) quickly. The process that I use today has evolved some over the years and is comprised of three primary segments, each of which I consider to be an important building block for the next. The first two take place in the comfort of my home and the third at my local indoor range (I generally practice each twice per week with at least 20 repetitions).

1. Draw stroke from beneath my typical cover clothing (no dry fire). I think that we all would agree that if we are unable to cleanly "present our pistol" without clothing/equipment entanglement, we may as well be carrying a brick :banghead:. To that end, and knowing full well that my fine motor skills will be compromised to some degree under stress, I practice drawing from beneath both casual and dress clothing with the focus solely on the speed and consistency of the draw stroke and disengaging the safety (Note here that both of my carry pistols are carried condition #1). When I first started practicing this drill (over 9 years ago), I was lucky to get a "clean draw" 40% of the time. Through much practice (I estimate that I'm currently over 18,000 repetitions) and modification of holster placement and the tucking/draping of my shirt, I rarely experience an entanglement issue.

2. Draw stroke (cover clothing) with dry fire. I added this drill roughly 3 years ago when I decided to convert to point shooting for self defense. For this exercise I use a LaserLyte training cartridge and a large mirror that allows me to see the placement of the initial and subsequent laser (center mass) hits on a human body target (me). I must admit that when I first started practicing this method, it felt rather odd shooting at a moving human form (with a gun pointed back at me) in lieu of paper targets. I practice this drill from various angles and positions, both stationary and with some lateral movement, and also practice at least 5 magazine changes during this segment. The picture below gives you a sense of what I see in the mirror with each squeeze of the trigger (note here that as I've improved, so has the guy in the mirror :D).





3. Engaging targets closing on my position from 15, 20 and 25 feet (live fire). While I always enjoy my "aim small miss small" target practice with a variety of pistols at a variety of distances, at least a third of my range time these days is dedicated to self defense drills. Since I'm fortunate to be a member at a range with equipment that permits me to program what I want my target to do, I take full advantage of the opportunity to fire at targets closing on my position. As with drill #2, this drill is also strictly dedicated to point shooting, and due to range rules and safety concerns, it commences with my pistol in the low ready position with the safety engaged. In addition to double tap and triple tap drills facing the target straight on as in a single attacker scenario, I also position my body at approximately 30 degree angles from the target with my head facing 90 degrees from the target (pistol pointed in a safe direction of course) to simulate attackers closing at various angles. While I use my 1911-22 for the bulk of this drill due to ammo cost, I always finish with several drills utilizing one or both of my carry pistols. To provide myself with as much challenge as possible I use a 6 x 10" target located at the level that would cover roughly from the top of the sternum to mid abdomen on a 6' tall man (see examples below). While point shooting is not for everyone, I have become very comfortable and efficient with the process and rarely place a shot outside of my intended target area.






While it is impossible to know with 100% certainty how well this (or any) training will translate to real life, I believe that the muscle memory created with this simple practice plan will serve me well if and when it is ever needed. And finally, and perhaps the most important part of the self defense process in my mind is striving to always be aware of my situation and surroundings, and trying my best to never put myself in obvious danger. While I know full well that anything can potentially happen at any time, I think that we can all agree that we can certainly improve our odds by thinking in advance about what we choose to do and where we choose to go.
 

diesel

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#5
Excellent advice AND excellent shooting.
Again, I did not set out to dis you or anyone else. I simply feel that most guys(including myself)don't take the stress/adrenaline factor into there practice time.
You have, obviously, taken the time to include this in your practice, i'm sure it will help you.

If you watched that Kehoe video, you can plainly see what happens to even a highly trained individual under certain circumstances.

Just my take on it. Keep up the great shooting!:D :flag:
 

BuckJM53

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#6
Excellent advice AND excellent shooting.
Again, I did not set out to dis you or anyone else. I simply feel that most guys(including myself)don't take the stress/adrenaline factor into there practice time.
You have, obviously, taken the time to include this in your practice, i'm sure it will help you.

If you watched that Kehoe video, you can plainly see what happens to even a highly trained individual under certain circumstances.

Just my take on it. Keep up the great shooting!:D :flag:
Diesel ... No offense taken as we are in total agreement for the need to practice. I just hope that I never have occasion to utilize this particular skill set :)
 

diesel

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#7
I hear you, my brother, I feel the same.
I, like you, stay away from bad parts of town but sometimes one can't avoid it.
Aug. 11th, I have to go down town Youngstown to S.S.Admin. This will be the first time since I got laid-off 2 yrs ago that I've been anywhere near that town.
There should be no problems at 8:30 A.M. as the "bad guys" don't get up that early..LOL:lol::flag:
 

ADulay

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#8
Gentlemen,

Also try to remember that most LEO do NOT practice as much as you might think. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of active LEO that I know who practice more than the minimum required by their departments and I know a lot of these guys.

Stress is a big factor in a major engagement. Being aware of your surroundings "should" help you avoid having to pull the sidearm and of course, moving away from a bad situation works too.

I am at an age and carrying enough wisdom of the years to not have my ego bruised should I decide to back away from what appears to be an imminent bad situation.

With that said, I'm still prepared to "engage", but prefer not to if it can be avoided by me backing down and leaving.

I'm always joking with our stage builders for the IDPA stuff that all they ever make is "charging" scenarios. They reply back that all I ever design are "retreating" scenarios. Oh well, it's all good practice.

AD
 

BuckJM53

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#9
I hear you, my brother, I feel the same.
I, like you, stay away from bad parts of town but sometimes one can't avoid it.
Aug. 11th, I have to go down town Youngstown to S.S.Admin. This will be the first time since I got laid-off 2 yrs ago that I've been anywhere near that town.
There should be no problems at 8:30 A.M. as the "bad guys" don't get up that early..LOL:lol::flag:
Unfortunately, my business activities take me into some pretty bad areas upon occasion. That being said, it gives me the opportunity to stay sharp on my situational awareness :uhoh:

Gentlemen,

Also try to remember that most LEO do NOT practice as much as you might think. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of active LEO that I know who practice more than the minimum required by their departments and I know a lot of these guys....
AD
AD ... you are correct. There are many LEOs that are not gun people and only practice when they absolutely have to in order to pass their annual qualification. I've had many opportunities over the years to shoot next to LEOs that are getting ready, and I must say that the majority of those I've seen are underwhelming in their pistol skills.
 
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#11
I will tell you what a cop told me. He said ok, you are in the mall parking lot going to or coming from your car and a man is walking toward you saying something but you can't hear what. He gets 60 feet from you and you can now tell he is talking to you. You can hear him clearly. You tell him nicely to stay where he is and you will try to answer his question. He keeps walking toward you. In a stern voice, while taking one shuffle step back, you say stay where you are and I will try to answer your question. He keeps coming. Draw your darn gun. You can't let that man get on top of you before you decide you are in danger it will be to late. Any man with any sense ( HEAVY SIGH ) not many of those around lol, will stop and ask you the question. Once you pull that gun and he keeps coming shoot. NO man, in this right mind, is going to keep coming with a gun drawn on him. No matter if he runs away or you shoot him call the police. Either they need to come to the scene with an ambulance or they need to come and take a report.
 

whitewolf68

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#12
I do have to say that is the same advice my father has always given me. Be aware of your surroundings and have a plan of escape. If worse comes to worse and you are approached have you hand on your weapon for a quick draw to defuse the situation if possible. Like you also said they would be a fool to continue to come at you with a gun on them, or at least a true dumb ass.

In closing on this message I will say the same. Make a police report regardless if you have time because chances are VERY good he will try again with another person of interest and any information to the authorities is helpful.
 
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#13
I have, on two occasions, brandished my sidearm. Once to an individual who accosted me as I was walking to the corner store in the evening hours but instead of getting any cash for crack, he got to see my Stainless Colt Combat Commander up close and personal. I reacted quickly and a lot faster than this clown was programmed for. I'm a firm believer in situational awareness and checking my six.

I, fortunately, never had the chance to remove my pistol from the holster. When I brushed back my coat and grabbed the pistol grip, (while at the same time informing him in some pretty salty language to back off), he saw it immediately and he disappeared before my eyes - a great conclusion to an unexpected confrontation. I lived in an historic inner city neighborhood that is bordered by less desirable ones so the pass-throughs are always watched by us residents.

I grew up in the inner city, so I know more or less what to expect and how to read a situation and react ahead of that moment of doubt and indecision that grips people caught off-guard and when adrenaline starts flushing through their veins.

The second time was at an ATM. Best thing to avoid this situation is simply not to use ATMs after dark and in the late hours - you're really just an easy target. Well, this dude appeared at my driver's side window the second I was pulling away from the ATM and he loudly announced in that flavorful ghetto blather how he was goinna eff me up. A tenth of a second later I practically brushed his teeth with a little Colt Mustang .380 that probably looked a lot bigger from where he was standing. As his eyes got big and he fell to the ground in his effort to get away from me, I pulled past him, made a u-turn in the parking lot and chased him through the lot screaming maniacally out the side window. He was in high gear and totally panicked - I stopped and laughed my butt off. I'd be willing to bet he thinks twice about the next white boy he tries to rob.

And if you ask me, am I afraid I could be hurt, my answer is "No". I refuse to be a victim and no one is getting my stuff - period. And if I lose the fight, well . . . at least I fought.

dogrtst
 
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#14
I will tell you what a cop told me. He said ok, you are in the mall parking lot going to or coming from your car and a man is walking toward you saying something but you can't hear what. He gets 60 feet from you and you can now tell he is talking to you. You can hear him clearly. You tell him nicely to stay where he is and you will try to answer his question. He keeps walking toward you. In a stern voice, while taking one shuffle step back, you say stay where you are and I will try to answer your question. He keeps coming. Draw your darn gun. You can't let that man get on top of you before you decide you are in danger it will be to late. Any man with any sense ( HEAVY SIGH ) not many of those around lol, will stop and ask you the question. Once you pull that gun and he keeps coming shoot. NO man, in this right mind, is going to keep coming with a gun drawn on him. No matter if he runs away or you shoot him call the police. Either they need to come to the scene with an ambulance or they need to come and take a report.
Correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't Ohio have a duty to retreat, in practice or in code?

I understand "duty to retreat" to mean you have to make every effort to leave and avoid the conflict. I would be hesitant taking that advice from a cop since cops do not have that duty to retreat.
 
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#15
In closing on this message I will say the same. Make a police report regardless if you have time because chances are VERY good he will try again with another person of interest and any information to the authorities is helpful.
In my CCW class we were told to make the police report....through a lawyer and after a day to reflect and review the report. If you pull the trigger you have 72hrs to submit a statment, so take some time and do it right.

And remember, at the scene, right after it happens, say nothing other than you want your lawyer.
 
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