(NSFW Language) This is how FAST an actual deadly force encounter happens. Your Active Self Protection needs to be on point so you can assess and take action as fast as this officer did! Do you practice in low light conditions much?
Original video: https://get-asp.com/qfjj
Details from the Oconee County Sheriff: https://get-asp.com/r9o1
What does this officer-involved shooting teach us about protecting ourselves against an armed attacker?
1. 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!
2. Having a light mounted on your pistol is not for everyone, but for those who can make it work it does give you another tool in the toolbox. I carry the TLR-1 HL on my pistol and it works wonderfully. It does not replace a handheld light for general lighting needs, but for illuminating a known threat it is very helpful. The key, as always, is to train with it regularly and seriously.
3. Awareness with your pistol-mounted light means knowing how it operates and how to use it effectively. Many people think that you have to muzzle everything to see, but that’s simply not how a PML works. The beam provides immediate illumination and blinding to an attacker at night, but you can use the spill to illuminate a wide area and see before pointing. This is why using the PML while your pistol is at low ready is an effective technique for using the PML for search and assess functions. Of course, it doesn’t replace a handheld light in your defensive toolkit, but if your firearm needs to be out, you want both hands on it!
4. The eyes may be the windows to the soul, but the hands are the windows to the intent of a person. If you’re in a potential conflict, ALWAYS pay attention to what the aggressor is doing with their hands. They might have a force multiplier in their hand, or they might be hiding their hand so that you can’t see what is in it or using their hand to conceal something. If their hands are empty, there is a difference between someone with fists and someone whose hands are open and relaxed. As a self-defender your situational awareness must include seeing the hands of any potential threat in your vicinity, so watch the hands!
5. In your follow-up, if you have to stay in the vicinity of a downed attacker, don’t leave their tool near them if you possibly can help it. Always think of your safety first, and getting as far away as possible is always preferred for CCW, but if you have to stay in the vicinity for whatever reason, get the force multiplier away from the attacker you just stopped if you can. If you had to shoot them, the shock might wear off after a time, and if they’ve lost blood they can recover consciousness while on the ground and continue to present a threat. So if you can’t get significant distance and get out of contact to the threat, get the tool away.
6. 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. Usually the first person to put shots on target wins the gunfight. (not always, but usually) So putting the first shot on target every time and quickly is imperative.
7. If you have a partner with you when you’re attacked (be it a LEO partner if you work on a team, or your spouse or martial artist buddy), you want to do everything you can to work as a team. Knowing each other well and communicating clearly will help you protect yourself from danger. This takes training and practice and commitment, but two partners working together present a formidable challenge to any attacker.
8. The goal in any defensive firearms use is to stop the threat. Never draw a firearm if you’re not willing to use it, but if the presence of the firearm stops the threat, don’t pull the trigger! If the bad guy flees or surrenders, that’s a very successful defensive firearm use and you’ve met the goal. If your first shots stop the threat, don’t take more shots that can turn a defensive encounter into charges for you. Shoot as many times as you must in order to stop the threat, and once the threat stops, reassess and stop shooting. The officer did a great job of stopping the threat and then reassessing here.
Attitude. Skills. Plan.
(music in the intro and outro courtesy of Bensound at http://www.bensound.com)