Do you think in the moment that you could have the patience and courage this guard did against an armed robber with a gun in your face? He definitely made a few mistakes, but in the end his Active Self Protection was strong enough to win the day, and for that we salute him!
First video of the armed robber with news story (Google Translate from Croatian required): https://get-asp.com/cpt0
Second angle of the armed robber ambushing the guard: https://get-asp.com/zl04
How do I protect myself from an armed robber?
- If you do not have the attitude, skills, and plan to protect yourself from an attacker, then your only option is to submit to their demands and hope it works out for the best. I would never suggest that a helpless person try to defend themselves against a carjacker or armed robber, though of course if it’s a matter of life and death you must do whatever you can. The point, though, is not to be a helpless victim! This is the heart of Active Self Protection, to motivate you to train and help you develop the attitude, skills, and plan so that you can choose to protect yourself if it makes sense in the moment rather than being forced into compliance with a violent felon. The clerk didn’t have skills and so she complied. The guard did have skills and defended himself. That’s a pretty clear contrast!
- Situational awareness is your best friend. It doesn’t mean that you always are paranoid or living in “condition orange,” but it does mean that you know Col. Cooper’s color code of awareness and you live by it. Pay attention to your surroundings, and recognize that when you’re in public places you need to be more aware of your surroundings than when you’re in private. This armed robber definitely got the ambush because the guard was relaxed and not paying very good attention.
- In the moment an armed robber attacks you, you must look for your opportunity to protect yourself. It is strongly possible that the moment of the attack is not that moment. You want to wait for the time that the armed robber is not focusing on you to act with decisiveness to protect yourself. The guard did a great job of waiting for his opportunity.
- If you have a firearm out, distance is your friend. A firearm has a functionally infinite range in a deadly force encounter. (yes, I know, that’s not 100% true…for the purposes of a self-defense fight, it is functionally true) If you are at contact distance to someone you have a firearm aimed at, you give them the ability to fight you for your firearm and negate the advantage you have. Therefore, if you have a gun on someone, stay out of range of their hands if at all possible! Here the guard pressed out and put the gun JUST inside contact distance, which allowed the armed robber to push the gun high and the guard’s first shot to miss. Learn to shoot from high retention position and keep the gun out of the hands of the bad guy.
- Marksmanship matters! The old saying is quite true: you can’t miss fast enough to win a gunfight. As a self-defender you need to practice and train to put your first shot on target as fast as you can, but the key is to put as many shots on target as possible. The guard here took one shot and assessed, one shot and assessed, one shot and assessed. It’s wise to train to put multiple shots on target in the moment of a deadly force encounter; while the adage that is well known is “two to the body and one to the head”, I like to say that in a fight for my life, I will put “a lot” to the “everywhere.”
- Keep your firearm ready to fire. This guard was incredibly fortunate that the armed robber gave him the time to draw, switch hands, and chamber his firearm. You can’t hope to be that lucky! 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!
Attitude. Skills. Plan.