UPDATE: The first story I had was that the officer died, but have since learned that he is recovering. That’s good! He did the best he could, and we can certainly learn some Active Self Protection lessons from his actions.
Original video with scant details: https://get-asp.com/z4fm
News story of the incident (Google Translate from Portuguese required): https://get-asp.com/6af6
What does this officer teach us about protecting ourselves against armed robbers?
- 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. The officer was at a disadvantage at the start because he was buried in his phone.
- 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. It also means not allowing the attacker to see that attack until it’s launched. The officer here telegraphed a bit by being too fast in his draw. It’s not always that you see a SLOWER draw being advantageous, but in this case it sure is.
- 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.
- Against multiple attackers every self-defender must know and train and practice that it’s death to focus on one too much. When every attacker is an equal threat, we practice the “Boarding House Rules” that everyone gets firsts before anyone gets seconds. If possible, stack the attackers one behind the other rather than getting between them, because if you get between them then one will have your back. It’s better if possible to work to the outside of the group and keep one between you and the others.
- Even if you’re injured, you must stay in the fight and not stop as long as you have consciousness. The human body is designed to take a ridiculous amount of injury and still function, so never stop fighting just because you’re injured! Even if you’re shot or stabbed, you have a 67-95% chance of surviving! (https://get-asp.com/ew3l and https://get-asp.com/p0hn give the details) So practice emotional fitness by knowing that even if the bad guy gets the jump and you’re injured, you’re still in the fight and still likely to survive if you take definitive action to protect yourself.
- 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.
- 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) When the balloon goes up you will likely pull the trigger more times than you will expect, and no one at the end of a gunfight wishes that they had fewer rounds in their firearm.
- Keeping a reload for your firearm on your person and accessible is a smart idea for any self-defender. First, the most common stoppage in a semi-auto pistol is a faulty magazine, so having a spare to get you back in the fight is wise. Secondly, because in the heat of the moment you’ll likely pull the trigger more times than you think you will, having a reload keeps you in the fight. Keep that reload with you, because if it’s in a bag or the car it won’t help you in the fight.
- 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.