A Stark Reminder to Keep Your Defensive Firearm Chambered

This store owner did a lot of things right. Unfortunately, needing to chamber his defensive firearm cost him his life. We need reminders like this, unfortunately.



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News story on this store owner and his son: https://get-asp.com/lhnl


What does this video teach us about staging and using defensive firearms?


  1. Parents must consider their children in their defensive plan. The younger the child, the more the parent(s) must consider how holding or dragging their child will affect their ability to protect both of them. Naturally, the more children you have the more you’ll be constrained in retreat or running, and the more you’ll have to “stick your foot in the ground” and defend yourself without retreat. Even older children who aren’t self-defenders need to be protected and accounted for in your defensive plan. Certainly this store owner had his son in mind as he considered using his defensive firearm.


  1. In most instances that we see on surveillance video, the first person to put shots on target wins the gunfight. That’s not 100% because injured people can stay in the fight a long time, but it is a good “rule of thumb” because once someone gets shot they usually stop thinking about whatever it is they were doing and start thinking about the pain they’re in and how not to get shot again (we call that the FIBS Factor: “F&^%, I’ve Been Shot!”). The lesson in that is clear: be the first to put shots on target. (this is the corollary to Joe Frick’s Rules for a Gunfight #3, “Only hits count. The only thing worse than a miss is a slow miss.”)


  1. Keep your firearm ready to fire. Some people carry their firearm with an empty chamber, but doing so is not recommended for several reasons. First, it assumes that you will have both hands available to you to draw your firearm, which isn’t necessarily the case. You might have a hand engaged or injured. Secondly, it assumes that you’ll have time to chamber a round in a gunfight, but gunfights are won and lost on tenths of seconds. Third, it assumes that you’ll have the dexterity to chamber a round under duress, though in the moment many times I have seen people fumble their chambering attempt. Keep your defensive firearm ready to fire, with a round in the chamber!
  2. Successful self-defense against many attacks involves a counter-ambush, where the victim finds the right opportunity to seize the initiative from the attacker and launch an ambush of their own. That involves thinking and knowing your own strengths and skill set, and being ready to strike the attacker when your opportunity for counter-ambush comes. It also means not allowing the attacker to see that attack until it’s launched. The store owner DID get a good opportunity here…he just didn’t have the tools ready to use it.


  1. Spiritual fitness is an important part of Active Self Protection. You don’t often get any advance notice of the last day of your life, but we see over and over that self-defense isn’t a guarantee of winning every fight you might be placed in. You want to be at peace with your loved ones and with God, because you’ll need that peace on the day that you meet Him. Since you can’t guarantee advanced notice, make peace today.


There are 3 additional lessons for Patron Members and 3 class starters for Instructors from this video, so please join us in those programs to see them!


Attitude. Skills. Plan.


(music in the outro courtesy of Bensound at http://www.bensound.com)




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4 replies
  1. Zengunfighter
    Zengunfighter says:

    Erwin Romell wrote in his book “The Infantry in The Attack” that his experience was that The side that shot first would win the encounter. Hits weren’t necessarily required. Shooting first got deep in the enemy’s OODA loop.
    Which makes the point that that fellow with his “third rule of gunfight is that only hits matter” is false. Misses can have a positive effect
    Obviously hits are better, and spraying and praying is a bad idea on a number of levels.

  2. Rob Acox
    Rob Acox says:

    Interesting. Some industry people advocate for NOT carrying one in the chamber to mitigate being hit during a weapon – retention scenario; you are having to fight someone because they grabbed your fire arm. Not being argumentative, just points to ponder. Personally I agree with carrying one in the chamber.

    • John Correia
      John Correia says:

      I see those kinds of incidents in real life incredibly rarely. And I don’t know a single significant trainer in the US who advocates carrying a firearm without the chamber full.


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