The first person to put shots on target usually wins, so could you have put shots on target in this real-life situation? This is when your Active Self Protection needs to be in high gear!
Original video of the mugger: https://get-asp.com/q1ld
What does this mugger teach us about surviving an attack on your loved ones?
- 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 Umas, from “obscurity.” Surviving that ambush is one of the most important keys to successfully defending yourself.
- 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. The sidewalk here served as a transitional space where the mugger could ambush his intended victims.
- 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 carjacking or armed robbery, 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 woman who put her hands up chose compliance, and that might have been her best choice against a mugger with a gun in her face.
- 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. Dad counter-ambushed the mugger effectively here and got him running from the fight. That was well done.
- Do not stay in the danger zone if you can possibly help it. So many times people get decision paralysis and freeze, but you cannot stay in a place where a deadly threat exists! Either act to leave the area, or act to protect yourself. Every second you give an attacker is another opportunity they have to do you and yours harm, so don’t allow that. If you can, get out of there immediately. If you can’t, then look for your opportunity to ensure your own safety by whatever means necessary. The two people who were victims in this attack got low to get behind cover/concealment, and then bugged out inside the house. Those were good reactions to bullets flying around them!
- 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. 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.”)
- Since marksmanship is so vital, your best bet to put shots on target quickly is to have both hands on your handgun. Two-handed shooting gives the most stable platform (especially if you use a thumbs-forward grip) and best recoil control for follow-up shots. There will be times and circumstances where shooting one-handed is the only option, but for best marksmanship get a solid two-handed grip as your default and goal.
- In a gunfight, cover and concealment are important tools to know and use. Cover is anything that will stop bullets; concealment is that which will not stop bullets but will hide you from being seen by the aggressors. In many instances concealment works as well as cover against attackers who are not highly trained because they won’t shoot through it. Even so, cover and concealment only work for a few moments before the bad guys will start to work around them, so use them judiciously to buy you time and give you an advantage in a gunfight.
Attitude. Skills. Plan.