Guard Murdered During Armed Robbery

You certainly can’t win every fight, but practicing Active Self Protection can help you to have the best chance to survive. This is as true in an armed robbery as any other situation. How much training have you done against multiple attackers?

Original video:

News story with some scant details:

How do I protect myself during an armed robbery?

1. Situational awareness is your best friend. It doesn’t mean that you always are paranoid or living in “condition orange,” but it does mean that you know Col. Cooper’s color code of awareness and you live by it. Pay attention to your surroundings, and recognize that when you’re in public places you need to be more aware of your surroundings than when you’re in private. Especially when you encounter danger, you’ve got to recognize that there is likely MORE danger that you haven’t seen yet, and keep your head on a swivel! When you are involved in an armed robbery there is always more danger around than you are ready for.

2. 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. Here the third part is most important, because this guard never had a chance to get to his gun. He needed to know how to end this fight immediately, using his hands, so that more danger didn’t come his way before he could respond to it.

3. The Bystander Effect is real. There were lots of people around here, but no one stepped in. You cannot count on anyone breaking the Bystander Effect to help you, especially if the attacker is armed and any help would be at a force deficit from it. Usually the best way to break the Bystander Effect is to have a force multiplication advantage, which is a great reason to keep your force multiplier on you at all times. There will by bystanders in almost every armed robbery, but you and only you can be counted on to protect yourself.

4. Spiritual fitness is an important part of Active Self Protection. You don’t often get any advance notice of the last day of your life, but we see over and over that self-defense isn’t a guarantee of winning every fight you might be placed in. You want to be at peace with God, because you’ll need that peace on the day that you meet Him. Since you can’t guarantee advanced notice, make peace today. I have no idea of this guard’s fitness in this area, but his lesson for all of us is valid.

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

(music in the intro and outro courtesy of

Officer Involved Shooting Caught On Video

This officer involved shooting in Costa Rica goes down in a hurry, but also contains some significant lessons for all of us, LEO and CCW alike. Could you have prevailed in this instance?

Original video:

News story (Google Translate required):

What does an officer involved shooting teach all of us about self-defense?

1. 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. Thankfully, the armed robber’s first shot missed and the officer’s didn’t.

2. 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. In this instance we can see from the officer that the second the shooting started, he started running. You need to train to move while you shoot so that in the real thing you do so smartly.

3. 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. I am guessing that this cop wasn’t looking to be involved in an officer involved shooting that day, but as he came through the door of the establishment he walked right into one! When you’re approaching a transitional space, be aware of what is going on inside and outside so that you’re ready for what might come.

4. The human body is designed to take a ridiculous amount of punishment and still function. You can shoot someone multiple times and they can still pose a deadly threat! Even mortally wounded people can continue to pose a threat for several seconds to even minutes after being shot, so don’t think for a moment that shooting someone will necessarily immediately incapacitate them. That is Hollywood myth. In this instance the mortally wounded attacker was still able to chase the officer down for perhaps 5 or 6 seconds after being shot. Lesson: shoot until the threat stops!

5. Capacity matters. My rule of thumb is that I want a minimum of 5 rounds for each bad guy I might face, which accounts for 2 misses and 3 shots on target for each. (of course, you never want to miss…I am just accommodating me on my worst day) This officer involved shooting shows this principle as well, in that the officer took 8 shots just at this one suspect. If he was shooting a 1911, he was out. If he was shooting a neutered 10 round pistol, he had 3 left (considering he loaded a full mag plus one in the chamber). The lesson: carry the highest capacity firearm you can reasonably conceal, and keep a spare magazine with you if at all possible.

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

(music in the intro and outro courtesy of

Armed Robber Terrorizes Clerk

Would you have fought this armed robber, or just given him the till? We believe these are personal questions at Active Self Protection, but we must consider the question in advance so that we are prepared to act in the moment. So what would you do?

Original video:

News story on this incident:

How do I protect myself from an armed robber?

1. 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. Convenience stores are transitional spaces by definition, so when you enter a convenience store realize that you could be a victim!

2. Keep your firearm on your person! Plenty of people keep a firearm stationed near them under the counter or on a desk, but in the moment of need you can’t ever be sure that you can get to it if it’s not on your person. Either of these people had nothing available to them but what is on their person.

3. You must know the range of your force multiplier and the range of various force multipliers that might be used against you. Knives are short-range, fast moving force multipliers. Firearms are extremely long-range, fast moving force multipliers. Just because the man walked away from the armed robber here does not mean that he was not in range of his firearm!

4. In the moment an armed robber attacks you, you must look for your opportunity to protect yourself. It is strongly possible that the moment of the attack is not that moment. You want to wait for the time that the armed robber is not focusing on you to act with decisiveness to protect yourself.

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

Grandma Fights Off Armed Robber

Do you think this grandmother did the right thing by not pulling the trigger on this armed robber? We talk a lot at Active Self Protection about stopping the threat, and Mrs. Aldana certainly accomplished that!

Original video, along with an interview with this brave woman:

How do I protect myself against an armed robber?

1. 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. Mrs. Aldana owns a convenience store, and because people come in and out quickly it’s always a transitional space where an armed robber is more likely to strike. When you’re in transitional spaces, be sure to be extra alert!

2. Keep your firearm on your person! Plenty of people keep a firearm stationed near them under the counter or on a desk, but in the moment of need you can’t ever be sure that you can get to it if it’s not on your person. In this case it worked out just fine against this armed robber, but if he had decided to come over the counter she might not have been so lucky. Keep your gun on you!

3. You must know the range of your force multiplier and the range of various force multipliers that might be used against you. Knives are short-range, fast moving force multipliers. Firearms are extremely long-range, fast moving force multipliers. In this instance, the counter kept the knife from being immediately deliverable and so as a defender you can know that you have the upper hand.

4. This incident required emotional fitness to be able to successfully defend yourself. Repeated practice and thousands of reps of sparring and self-defense absolutely build your emotional fitness to be able to handle whatever comes your way. Emotional fitness is defined as the ability to internally represent a situation or predicament to yourself in such a way as to make you strong and able to successfully defend yourself against it. Train against situations like this so that if they ever happen in real life, you’re ready!

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

Against An Armed Robber You Must Choose When To Protect Yourself

If you were the man in the second video, would you have stayed concealed or would you have used your concealed firearm to end the threat? Practicing Active Self Protection means having the plan in place beforehand so that you’re ready to go in the moment of need!

Original of first clip:

Original of second clip:

How do I protect myself against an armed robber?

1. Carry your firearm! The ladies in the first clip had very little ability to resist the armed robber because they had no force multiplier of their own. Even if they had one, if it was in their purse it would have been useless because they had their purses taken so quickly!

2. If you carry a firearm, you better know when to use it. The elderly gentleman chose not to use his, and he had a loaded shotgun pointed at him several times as compensation and was in grave danger for quite some time. If you carry a firearm you better know what your boundaries are and when you will use it to save your life and the lives of others.

3. In both clips, empty-handed skills would have been very important had the victims chose to defend themselves. In the first clip the ladies had chances when the armed robber put his firearm away to gather belongings. Had they had attitude, skills, and plan to deal with an armed robber, they could have won a fight even if they weren’t armed. The elderly gentleman needed to know some disarm techniques against a long gun, or at least some deflect and draw techniques, and the danger could have been over in an instant.

4. I am not knocking the elderly gentleman because we all get to make our own decisions and determine whether and when we use our defensive tools. As a reminder from the second clip, though: if you find in your heart that you can’t use a defensive firearm, don’t carry one. If deep down you know that you won’t use it in the moment of need, it’s not safe for you to have it. I don’t know this man’s heart, I don’t know if he made this decision based on the situation or his soul, but let’s all recognize the need to be willing to use deadly force if you carry a firearm.

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

This is why fighting back can help you survive

We talk a lot at Active Self Protection about being willing to defend yourself. So are you? One of these ladies was, and the other wasn’t, and while both were “okay,” I think the outcome from fighting back was preferable to not, personally. How about you?

Original of first video:

Original of second video: (WARNING: this site is very, very NSFW and filled with adult content…strongest warning possible)

Why should I fight back against a mugger?

1. First of all, you shouldn’t always fight back. Every situation is unique, and you must consider your attitude, skills, and plan in relation to the threat you face. I am not blaming these women for being victimized and not saying that the attackers were anything other than reprehensible for attacking them. If you don’t have the attitude, skills, and plan to protect yourself from an attacker then you’re at their mercy, which is not a place I want to be. If you want to defend yourself, though, read on.

2. That said, in studies of rape and attempted rape it has been shown that victims who resist are not at increased risk of the offender being physically violent ( for more) and that it has been shown to be effective at deterring rape attempts as well as fighting off attackers. Therefore, it is a wise strategy to be ready to defend yourself and resist an attacker.

3. As with any attacker, muggers are not looking for fights but for victims. When they meet significant resistance they often abandon their plans and flee. We certainly see that in the second clip, that when the woman mounted a semi-effective resistance the attacker broke off his attack and fled. Note, though, that I said that it requires a significant resistance. This cannot be a token resistance that hopes for the mugger to give up. You must commit to fighting back to the point of winning the fight and stopping the attack completely.

4. Of course, the presence of multiple attackers greatly increases the level of attitude, skills, and plan needed when fighting back. You learn these skills in the training center, so commit to empty-handed skills training!

5. Force multipliers are important tools for women to carry. (men, too, but these videos are both female victims) Against bigger, stronger, faster attackers a person really needs the most effective force multiplier they can have. A firearm is best, and if either of these woman had been armed the outcome could have been much different. If a firearm is not available, a pepper spray or a TASER or a knife would make them a far more formidable opponent than her bare hands. You’re a tool user, so carry tools!

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

Off Duty Officer Shoots Armed Robber

If you’re a concealed carrier, you really need the attitude, skills, and plan exhibited by this off duty Brazilian officer! This is Active Self Protection at its very best.

Original video with some information:

How do I protect myself against an armed robber?

1. Realize that the robbery starts from an ambush and you will be at an initiative deficit. The officer did a fantastic job of waiting for his opportunity and staying aware of where the armed robbers were so that he could tell when he had a moment to get in the fight, and patiently waited his turn. If you’re outdrawn and outmaneuvered, wait if possible for your opportunity.

2. If you watch the longest version of this video, the officer has excellent situational awareness even before the armed robbery starts. He is looking outside the store, looking around occasionally, and is very aware of what is happening. That kind of awareness gives advanced notice of problems and is good to practice!

3. The entrance of the pharmacy is definitely a transitional space, so be careful at registers and entrances because they are more likely places for problems. 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. This definitely qualifies!

4. The officer had to chamber his firearm, and it’s not uncommon in Brazil for off-duty cops to carry without a round in the chamber. In this case it worked out for him, but if you’re paying close attention the sound of the gun chambering drew the attention of the gunman and made it a closer contest than it needed to be. I strongly suggest you carry with a round in the chamber to give yourself every advantage possible in the moment of need.

5. Marksmanship matters! The officer put his first shots on target, and that accuracy won the day. You can’t miss fast enough to win a gunfight, so in your training work on those first shots from the holster being on target quickly. In your dry fire and airsoft and force on force training, work on a smooth, fast draw that quickly finds the front sight and puts shots on target. It was the difference between life and death here.

6. Multiple attackers are the norm in most armed robberies. In this case there was a gunman and a grab man, and that pattern is fairly common. (the grab man might well be armed as well…I see that regularly) The officer rightly concluded that the gunman was the biggest threat to him rather than the grab man, even though the grab man was closer, and because of his decision he shot the gunman. That was wise thinking. Deal with the biggest threat first, realizing that the biggest threat might not be the closest threat.

7. The officer did a fantastic job of continuing to be aware of his surroundings, even after he had to use his firearm. He dealt with the immediate threat and then made sure that any additional threats were dealt with as well. Tunnel vision can often lead to being ambushed a second time by an accomplice, but this officer did wonderfully at staying aware of the world around him. Train this in your training by breathing and verbalizing when you have to shoot, and rather than doing a robotic scan and assess, actually look around for threats that might emerge.

8. Shoot until the threat stops. The officer did a phenomenal job of stopping the threat, and also did a fantastic job of stopping when the correct amount of force was applied to the situation to end the threat. The officer had an additional potential threat come his way but dealt with it appropriately as well. Stop the threat!

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

Off Duty Officer Stops Carjackers

Do you practice shooting at 7 yards and beyond? You might well need that skill to protect yourself or someone else! This officer in Mexico City practiced great Active Self Protection to keep these carjackers from hurting someone else.

Original video:

What do we learn about carjackers here?

1. We learn that there will be times that you can’t just drive away from them! This might be better termed an armed robbery than a carjacking, but there was nowhere for this person to run to. The cars all around prevented escape in the car. Carjackers pick people who are victims that they can corner, so sometimes you have to be able to simply fight where you are and stand your ground.

2. Carjackers travel in packs! Two or three opponents are not uncommon, so make sure that your defensive plan includes multiple attackers. Your training should regularly include multiple attackers and how to successfully defend yourself against them.

3. Marksmanship matters. This officer had a shot of 7-10 yards or so, with a terrible backstop. He had to put the shot on target to be able to stop these guys and not endanger others. Do you practice shooting at 7 yards? I hope you do, and hope you do it until you can get reliable hits.

4. Notice that the officer didn’t get tunnel vision on the one carjacker that he shot. He maintained awareness of the others who ran off, which is excellent! Keeping aware of what is going on keeps you from getting ambushed as you recover from the fight.

5. Notice as well that the officer shot to stop the threat, and that was enough. It was a psychological stop and perhaps a neuromuscular incapacitation of his legs, but he didn’t keep shooting once the threat stopped. That said, he went and got the gun in the guy’s waistband so that the threat couldn’t re-emerge, and that was excellent as well!

6. Even with multiple attackers, when shots are fired many times the gang will scatter. You won’t often have to fight 4 or 5 carjackers or other attackers, because once they realize that the force equation has tipped against them, they run for safety. They’re looking for victims, not fights, so when they encounter a fight they find alternate things to do with their day.

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

This is Why Your Defensive Skills Need To Be Sharp

While compliance may not get you what you want in an armed robbery, at Active Self Protection we talk about attitude, SKILLS, and PLAN for a reason. Do you have the skills and plan to win the fight in confrontations like these?

Original of first clip:

Original of second clip:

Why are my defensive skills so important?

1. Attitude is the foundation of everything we do at ASP. (I study martial arts at Attitude First Martial Arts Academy, which should tell you a lot about how I view attitude!) These men both had the attitude that they would stop their attackers from harming them, and that is tremendous. However, it’s not enough on its own! Attitude is FIRST, but it is not ALONE.

2. To successfully defend yourself, you need skills. The first clip required skills using a long stick like a pool cue as well as empty-handed skills and skills for dealing with multiple attackers. Those skills don’t come overnight and they require an investment of time and money and attention. The second clip required firearm skills, draw and shoot skills, and movement skills. While many people think they’re easier to acquire, in reality they are perishable skills that need constant practice and training. You can’t do that at home exclusively; you need to sit under the teaching of a competent teacher to hone your skills!

3. Once attitude and skills are sharp, it’s time to focus on the plan. Do you have a heart and plan in place to take the fight to the bad guy with ferocity? If you have time, like the guy in the first clip did, can you formulate your desired plan of attack and then carry it out? Just “I will hit him with my cue” isn’t enough…you need a path to total victory! Do you have a plan that you’ve trained if your blaster pukes in a gunfight? Can you overcome that problem, or if your gun doesn’t go bang are you dead? That’s an important question to ask.

4. The bottom line in this is that these clips must lead us to a place where we make defensive training an important part of our lives. As Dave Grossman has famously said in his book “On Combat”, “Do not expect the combat fairy to come bonk you with the combat wand and suddenly make you capable of doing things that you never rehearsed before. It will not happen.” Don’t it back and think that you’ll rise to the occasion, because you won’t. Train like you will get the worst you have in the moment, and make that as good as it can possibly be so that you have a chance to come out alive.

Attitude. Skills. Plan.

Armed Robbers Murder Clerks On Camera

I have heard talking heads on television tell people that if an armed robber robs you, just give them what they want and you’ll be fine. At Active Self Protection we know that’s certainly no guarantee, and these incidents give a lot of evidence to that fact!

Video 1 original:


Video 2 original:


Video 3 original:


Should I comply with armed robbers?


  1. The fallacy in the advice to comply is that it seems to be blanket advice. No advice will work in every situation, and someone pointing a gun at you can be reasonably inferred to mean you deadly harm. You have the right to protect yourself from a deadly threat, but if you don’t have the attitude, skills, and plan to protect yourself from the threat then compliance might be the only option you have. I would prefer that everyone have far more options, though!


  1. No product or inventory is worth getting shot for, so giving the armed robber the cash in the till or the product off the shelf is wise. Even if you’re only buying time to find an opportunity, don’t deny the armed robber what he wants without more to back it up than your angry stare. If you can’t win the encounter, then just give him the stuff!


  1. You must always look for your opportunity, but don’t look so long that the opportunity passes you by! Defend yourself at the earliest possible moment.


  1. The best solution to the first two videos would have for sure been the clerk having a firearm of their own and using it effectively. I think that every ASPer should be proficient with firearms and carry one if their laws allow. In the third clip, empty-handed skills and the Five Ds would certainly have made for a better outcome.


  1. We talk about spiritual fitness from time to time at ASP, and these videos remind us that you don’t always get to pick the day you meet your Creator. Part of ASP is being ready spiritually for that day in the event that today is the day, so make peace with God as part of your preparation.


Attitude. Skills. Plan.