People ask me why I give the advice I do at Active Self Protection. It’s because, having watched hundreds of real-life defensive encounters, the truths of successful and unsuccessful self-defense surface again and again. This armed robbery showcases several!
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Original video here: http://get-asp.com/ctsp
How do I protect myself in an armed robbery?
- Transitional spaces are places where we MUST be more careful of potential attack. A transitional space is any location that (1) allows attackers to prey on potential victims with an element of surprise and (2) provides ready escape for the attackers. Here the nearby exit provided a transitional space for the armed robbery to happen, and that’s a place to be more aware and ready for a fight.
- In any territorial or predatorial violence, the attacker gets to set the time and circumstances of the attack. They will almost always launch that attack from ambush, or as we like to call it in Kenpo, from “obscurity.” Surviving that ambush is one of the most important keys to successfully defending yourself. This guard had precious little time as the armed robbery started to respond before the bullets started flying.
- 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. Here we see that the first one to put an accurate shot on target often wins in an armed robbery. The lesson: shoot fast, but shoot accurately!
- In a gunfight, movement is your friend. You must be ready not only to draw and fire, but to draw and fire while moving laterally, back, and diagonally. You simply will not stand still in a gunfight because it is against every instinct you have when in mortal danger! People who focus too much on stance or isosceles vs. Weaver forget this fact, but as self-defenders we must know that we will be moving. So practice and train movement on the draw and fire. This is a great reason to have airsoft trainers and practice draw and move in your dry-fire regimen as well. Practice shooting from odd positions as well.
- We must never settle for being able to protect ourselves against a lone attacker because of how common multiple attacker engagements are. Rats travel in packs, so we must always be prepared to face multiple attackers! This armed robbery was at least 2-on-1, and we should expect at least that.
- While we know that shooting with both hands on the gun is best for recoil control and putting fast, accurate shots on target, we also know that it’s not always possible to do. We must train and prepare to use our firearm with both our gun hand and our guard hand in case of injury or incapacitation.
- Capacity matters. My rule of thumb is that I want a minimum of 5 rounds for each bad guy I might face, which accounts for 2 misses and 3 shots on target for each. (of course, you never want to miss…I am just accommodating me on my worst day) This victim shot 12 times at 2 armed robbers and still wasn’t out of the fight. Having a reload here might have let him stay in the fight, and having a firearm with a higher capacity than 12 might have as well. Higher capacity is good, so carry the highest capacity firearm that your local laws and concealment needs allows.
- 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!
Attitude. Skills. Plan.
(music in the intro and outro courtesy of http://www.bensound.com)