This is how fast you have to make decision of life and death…so are you ready? Have you tried it? Have you tested your Active Self Protection against a threat like this carjacking suspect presented? (in training, of course)
Original video of the officer involved shooting: https://get-asp.com/re3f
News story of the incident and outcomes: https://get-asp.com/uaod
What does this incident teach us about deadly force encounters?
- In a deadly force encounter, decisions of life and death will be made in the blink of an eye. On the range and in class we have time to consider and to think and to reset and to make multiple attempts, but when the balloon goes up in real life you’ve got fractions of seconds to decide what the best course of action is to protect yourself. The way to be better at decision making in the heat of the moment is training, specifically scenario training and force-on-force training that is designed to work on decision-making skills under stress. It’s offered all over the country, so get training!
- Against a car-wielding attacker, cover is your friend. You really want to put something permanent between you and a vehicle if you possibly can. That can be another car (preferably a bigger car) or another barricade, but standing between an aggressive driver and that cover is a great way to get squished. Thankfully this officer put shots on target to make the driver veer off, so that he wasn’t trapped between the vehicles.
- Whether you’re LEO or CCW, you need to know what force options you have available and when to abandon one and move to another. (“force options” are a better model than the older “force continuum” model) You need to know when your pepper spray is the best option, or when to abandon it (or the TASER) in favor of your firearm in a split second decision. The best way, of course, to learn and embed these options in your mind is to train in force on force scenarios with the options and then respond to the situations appropriately. In this incident the officer moved to the baton when he needed to enter the car, and transitioned from the baton to his pistol when the encounter turned deadly. That was good work.
- In the moment of need, the old saying goes that you will not rise to the occasion but fall to the level of your training. Usually, you’ll fall to the level of your WORST DAY in training. That means you want to train hard, train regularly, and make no excuses (to paraphrase one of my martial arts mentors, Skip Hancock) so that your worst day is good enough for the fight you’re in.
- 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 rules of firearm safety apply whether you’re training or fighting for your life. One of the most difficult to follow in a real life gunfight is Colonel Cooper’s Rule #4: be sure of your target and what lies beyond it. It is exceedingly difficult to do, but self-defenders must stay aware of what is behind their threat so that they take minimal risks to innocents when defending themselves. Here the officer had a convenience store and a car (full of people?) as his backstop, so marksmanship is especially important!
- 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.
Attitude. Skills. Plan.