I had a tremendous amount of fun this past weekend at the NSSF Shooting Sports Fantasy Camp. It was both a pleasure and an honor to shoot with living legends Jerry and Kay Miculek, the incredibly spunky and smart Julie Golob, lightning-fast KC Eusebio, and 3 Gun competitors Ryan and Dianna Muller (I missed out on shooting with Jessie Duff because she caught some shrapnel off a steel target and had to get that taken care of before we swung through her station).
As a result of this top-flight experience I’ve decided that I like sport shooting, a lot. I might even shoot a 3 Gun match in Texas this fall, if not a local match before then. But sport shooting is very different from the 180+ hours of formal firearms training I’ve had in the past three years focused on self defense, and I’ll be back trying to work out the kinks in my self-defense game with another 40+ hours of formal instruction next week.
I’ll be training with Navy SEAL Chief (retired) Chris White, former CIA non-ballistic weapons expert (arguably the “Scariest Man Alive”) Steve Tarani, and some guy named Rob Leatham, who appears to have 26 national championship which suggest that knows a little something about handguns.
They’ll be my instructor cadre in an event the Evolution of Shooting, and they’ll have their hands full.
As the following action sequence from my recent Defense Against Street Crimes class show, I still have a ways to go before I would consider myself “good,” even though I’m better than the average shooter.
The first scenario is designed to simulate a very common criminal attack scenario in many parts of the country, where citizens have been attacked by criminals while they are pumping gas. In the photo below, I’m mimicking the normal behavior of swiping my credit card at the pump as the scenario begins.
As I put the imaginary pump handle in the tank and set it to “auto” (below), I step away around the rear of the vehicle, so that I don’t trap myself between the pump, the (imaginary) hose, and the truck.
At this point, the bad guy comes out and starts aggressively asking for money. I tell him to keep his distance. He continues moving forward and I step back into concealment (vehicle bodies are concealment, not cover) just enough so that I have my hand on my gun.
When he reaches for his gun, I already have my hand on mine and we drew at almost the same time.
I stepped to my right and away from the vehicle as I drew (below), and if my memory serves me correctly, his first shot sailed past me, discharged at where I just was. I unloaded six shots in something under two seconds. He took four to the mid to upper chest, one that cored him side to side, and one that was to the lower side towards his back as I shot him to the ground.
Defensible in a court of law? Absolutely. Best case scenario? Probably not.
I should probably have come off that trigger a fraction of a second faster, but real-world shootings and scenarios alike show that is very difficult to do so from a physiological standpoint. The brain has to recognize the threat is over, then send the command to override the “fire” command that it had already sent. It’s of course a lot more technical than that, but that’s why expert witnesses make the big bucks.
Of course, while I was shooting at him, he was still shooting at me. And then it happened…
It may be subtle in the photo below, but I’m stiff-legged because while I shot the bad guy to the ground with six shots and didn’t miss, he got off a parting shot as he went down that hit me square in the middle of my left kneecap.
As he proned out after have been “mortally wounded,” his gun inches from his hand, I backed up as far as I could (below). I got the “pump” between me and him as much as I could. It’s concealment, not cover, but you work with what you have.
At this moment I had to pull out my tourniquet and cinch it high on my left leg to stop what would certainly have been copious bleeding.
As he watched me put on my tourniquet, he raised his head and said something about “Dude, I’m shot too.”
Ever the humanitarian, my response was something along the lines of, “I’m sorry, dear chap, but I seem to have packed only one tourniquet today, and I think you may be beyond my limited ability to help treat your injuries.”
Or maybe I said, “Sucks to be you.”
I forget which.
As he “died,” I kept my gun trained on his position with my right hand while I cinched my tourniquet in place with my left. If you don’t practice pretty regularly with your tourniquet of choice, then you’re going to play the devil doing this one-handed. Lucky, I’d been practicing with both CAT and SOFFT-W tourniquets, and so it went pretty well.
My next task was to place a 911 call for emergency services, get them responding to my location, and give them the correct information to get them to me and establish myself as the victim, without saying anything that might be used against me in a court of law if I happen to find myself somewhere where the prosecutor hates lawful concealed carry.
What did I say, and how did I say it? Well, I followed the directions of my Defense Against Street Crimes instructor, of course! I highly suggest you do the same.
Could I have done things better in this scenario? Absolutely.
While I think I played the moments up until the shooting began about as well as I could, I think in hindsight that if I had made another lateral step to the right as I fired. Perhaps if I did I might have avoided taking that hit to the knee from my falling opponent. I think I got target-fixated on making hits and “beating” the other guy, and it cost me a knee replacement, or maybe even my left leg below the knee.
Did I make my way to cover after taking my hit? No. I made the decision that my opponent was down with solid hits and was preoccupied with bleeding out. I had to deal with the “reality” that my injury was severe enough that I had to treat it as quickly as I could, even with only marginal concealment (the bumper of the truck and the “pump”). It was a calculation that bleeding out in the scenario was a more proximate threat to my life at that point than my opponent suddenly regaining consciousness after taking six torso hits, four of them in upper chest.
What would you have done differently?