Cashier Fights Off Armed Robber

Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good! To practice Active Self Protection, we want to minimize our personal risks while maximizing our protection. How would you have done that in this clerk’s shoes?

Original video of the armed robber getting beat up, with details:


What does this armed robber teach us about protecting ourselves from danger as good people?


  1. In any territorial or predatorial violence, the armed robber 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 Umas, from “obscurity.” Surviving that ambush is one of the most important keys to successfully defending yourself. Training “from the ambush” is a great way to do that!


  1. In MANY armed robberies, a counter is between the armed robber and the intended victims. That counter is a double-edged sword, because it can keep a knife-wielding attacker out of contact, but keeps a firearm-wielding attacker safe from your contact unless they put it over the counter. Even then, your empty-handed skills will be sorely tested by a situation when you can’t close the distance because of the counter top. The answer if you work in one of those environments is to train over the counter so that you know what your options and possibilities are. In this instance we can see how many times the clerk failed to get the gun from the armed robber, and that almost cost her dearly!


  1. The Five Ds are a tool that we use at ASP to organize our training and preparation for defending ourselves against an armed attacker when we are not armed ourselves. (or if we are armed but outdrawn such that we must deal with the problem with our hands) Deflect, Dominate, Distract, Disarm, Disable. We pursue them from first to last, in order, to give us the best chance of successfully defending ourselves against an armed opponent. Deflect their force multiplier, Dominate as much as possible (best is the whole person, second is the arm with the tool, last is the tool itself), Distract the attacker (usually using pain, redirection, movement, etc.), Disarm the attacker, and Disable the attacker.


  1. If you’re going to keep a force multiplier handy (and you should), have you thought through how you’re going to get to it, and how effective it will be in your environment? If you keep a firearm stationed near your bed, have you timed yourself getting it out and into the fight from a realistic position? Have you considered whether the force multiplier you’ve chosen will be effective in the amount of space you have to wield it? These are the questions you MUST ask before you consider a force multiplier for self-defense. In this instance, the hammer that the clerk had was honestly of almost no use. It doesn’t have enough range to get to anyone over the counter, and wasn’t available in the moment anyway.


  1. Empty-handed skills are absolutely critical for self-defenders. First of all, more conflicts you will encounter as a self-defender will require empty-handed skills than will require firearms skills, simply because more self-defense encounters are physical than deadly. Second, since a firearm is a tool of last resort, self-defenders need to have non-lethal options that include empty-handed skills to protect themselves from likely incidents. Third, in the moment of the encounter you may not have the time to get to your gun before you can fight your way to it.


  1. Fights are physically demanding. Sure, a pure gunfight might last 10 seconds and not place a huge burden on you physically, but the vast majority of encounters we see here at ASP involve physical self-defense as well. Getting into a honest-to-goodness fight with someone is incredibly physically demanding, so being physically fit is an important part of maximizing your chances to protect yourself. Fit people are harder to beat and harder to kill!


Attitude. Skills. Plan.


(music in the intro and outro courtesy of Bensound at



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