Count the number of verbal commands the officer gives before he finally ends the threat! (check the news story, and you’ll see the perp’s gun was actually a BB gun…so this was suicide by cop) There are a lot of Active Self Protection at play in the skills this officer shows to protect himself.
Original video of the officer involved shooting: https://get-asp.com/klhj
News story of the reason the officer fired (pic of the suspect’s gun is included): https://get-asp.com/mwns
What does this officer involved shooting teach us about defending ourselves with a firearm?
- 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. The pistol mounted light that the officer used here was used to good effect!
- 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! Experiencing situations like this officer did again and again in a training environment will prepare you mentally for the fight of your life.
- Part of your training must be knowing when to use verbal commands, and when to abandon verbal commands and move to physical or deadly force. Many times self-defenders (and LEO) get caught in a loop of issuing the same command repeatedly to no effect. Using verbal commands is an important part of your force options training, and part of that training in verbal commands is knowing when to talk and when to stop talking and act. The officer here gave this suspect every possible chance, and may even have given him too many.
- 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. The officer put his first volley of shots on target and ended the threat, and that is what our intent must always be!
- In a gunfight, movement is your friend as this officer shows. 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.
- 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 here stopped the threat and then stopped shooting and took follow-up shots. That was the way to do it!
- 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.
- Using a pistol-mounted light effectively takes training. Don’t think for a minute that you can just put it on your gun and use it effectively without learning how! With a light on your pistol, the rules of firearm safety are the same as they were before it had a light; therefore, using it as a search tool is extremely limited unless your light has excellent spill. Likewise, you MUST get training on how to use the light effectively, in short bursts, with movement, and effective follow-up shots. Taking a low light pistol course is really critical for anyone who keeps a light on their pistol.
Attitude. Skills. Plan.
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