When to engage

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by 70755, Oct 18, 2010.

  1. 70755

    70755 Guest

    Apologies if this an old and tired topic but here goes...

    I have recently started CC and as all of you no doubt know, carrying while being out in places like restaurants, etc really causes you to think about what kind of scenario would you actually pull your weapon, and engage. (I know: if you pull it, you better be 100% ready and willing to fire it).

    For example, if you were in the grocery store, quickie mart, or out dining and some ruckus gets started by some BG, let's even say he has a gun and is robbing the clerk or owner - aside from possbily taking cover yourself and readying your weapon in case things got uglier - under what circumstances would you engage the BG? Obviously, if he starts shooting folks then it's an easy decision. But what if it's "just" and armed robbery and the guy has not fired any shots, hit anyone, etc? At least not yet. So, let's say you have a good backstop (brick wall) and are not worried yourself about hitting someone else. Would you fire first so as to take the guy out if your are justified to do so? Knowing things could get worse if you miss (I know, don't miss) and/or he were to start firing back and others get hit?

    I am not so sure in my short carrying experience when I would engage. That said, I would not seek to let things deteriorate to a point where my being armed but not responding quickly enough might compromise my or others safety. By that I mean such as if they BG were to start walking in my direction or to start escalating his threats to others, I'd be more inclined to fire.

    Obviously one has to consider what kind of danger to others might be brought on by the act of firing and what kind of liability are you exposing yourself if you do the escalating (even if lawful/reasonable/justifiable) from a scenario of armed robbery to shots having being fired to someone innocent was hit. Again, I am not talking about responding to a threat directed to your person (or your party's) specifically. That is obviously different. But I am talking about a situation where things would go from "merely" a BG committing felony with a weapon (in and of itself dangerous and volatile) to something a lot more violent, and possibly even tragic.

    Stated differently, I see the challenge to be how to we determine when engaging is the right, and smart, decision, even if engaging might be totally justifiable.

    We spend a lot of time talking about how to carry, what we carry, where we can and can't carry, where we should be able to carry but can't, etc. But, I think I would benefit from a good course that covers the "what should you do" topic of how and when it's smart to engage.
     
  2. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

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    Good question.
    Most armed robberies end without anybody getting hurt, other than maybe being pushed roughly to the floor or poked in the ribs with the business end of a gun.
    Therefore, "most of the time" what nearly all the other customers want, and what the store employees want, and what the store owners want, is for the Armed Citizen to just watch everything go down, then hang around afterward and be a good witness for the cops.
    Most of the time it would be legal, but unnecessary, to interrupt the armed robbery by drawing your gun and opening fire on the robbers.
    And there always is the potential for you or some innocent person getting hurt right there, that day.
    (Of course if you drop the bad guys DRT you are probably saving numerous other people who "would have" been assualted or robbed by those guys in the future, the next time they decide to "hit a lick." But preventing future crimes is not a justification for killing bad guys today.)
     

  3. Adam5

    Adam5 Atlanta Overwatch

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    Also remember that opening fire in a crowded business can result in a lot of coalteral danage, especially if the BG decides to fire back.
     
  4. SongDogSniper

    SongDogSniper New Member

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    Adam5 is spot on.

    The risk of "collateral damage" is the reason why the policy of many large stores and especially banks is to send a hold-up alarm to the police AFTER the perpetrators have already taken the loot and left the premises, NOT while the armed robbery is in progress.

    They are well insured against the robbery loss, and they want to avoid a shootout between police and the perps with employees and customers caught in the crossfire (or used as bargaining chips in a hostage standoff).
     
  5. Adam5

    Adam5 Atlanta Overwatch

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    I carry a gun to protect myself, my loved ones, and my friends from harm. I do not carry to protect an insured business, a mall, or their employees. If i can safely protect them from harm, without risk to innocent bystanders, I might, but that is not why I carry.
     
  6. Signal 69

    Signal 69 Member

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    I would only engage if I was or another customer was in danger other than that they are going to walk.
    You have to be able to articulate your actions. If they just rob the place then let them walk.

    I look at this like how a drunk driver kills everyone but him or herself. You pull your piece they hit everyone but you
    they get away and you are there all alone to explain to the police what you did or it is caught on tape.

    However, sometimes that rage or you just react and maybe you save the day.
     
  7. freeman101

    freeman101 New Member

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    Yes I have thought of stuff like that when I was new to carrying a firearm. But I have made up my mind I will not engage a BG unless he is assaulting a by stander with a weapon or the store clerk or myself or my loved ones also. If he wants he can have all the lotto tickets also. If something goes really wrong I don’t think you will have some of the same immunity as the police.
     
  8. 70755

    70755 Guest

    Thanks for the replies. Understand I personally do not think I would be inclined to engage with drawn weapon so as to, say, interrupt a robbery. I have no such hero complex. The main thing I am coming to terms with is how much being armed changes your awareness of the dynamics of how you might potentially react, and just as importantly, the potential repercussions of said reaction.
     
  9. CountryGun

    CountryGun New Member

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    This ^^!
     
  10. If you're going to engage, the only time (in my opinion) is when the bad guy has just used life-threatening force to commit a robbery or assault. I'm sure we'll all let there be a limit after that, such as waiting until the force is moved to us or our family, but if you can get a clear shot to save yourself or family, do it. I'd rather go down fighting than be cowering to their demands just to have my life ended regardless.
     
  11. guitarded_1

    guitarded_1 New Member

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    The general advice I have heard (particularly from people who train these scenarios regularly), is to be the best witness you can and not aggravate the situation - providing that it appears to be a routine robbery. Obviously, if the BG starts shooting, it's a different story. Remember that most of the time, a BG just wants the money and hopes that he won't have to shoot anyone - so when you pull your gun - you make the situation veer wildly into deadly territory. He'll have no choice then but to start firing if he can.

    I'm not suggesting that anyone lay down and die, I'm just suggesting that you better THINK about what you're doing before starting a gunfight in your local QT. Protecting people's lives is one thing, but the money in the register is not worth getting killed over - especially when it's not yours.
     
  12. corey541

    corey541 New Member

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    I would'nt fire until the BG opens fire, or does something to indicate he intends to kill someone. Most of the time they will take the money and run, but if, say after he gets the money, he orders the clerk to turn their back to him, or tries to force them into a back room, I would open fire, because at that point his intentions are to harm/kill someone.

    I remember my first day at my first job when I was 16, working retail. The man training, who was army, said "if you ever get a gun pulled on you just give them the money and let them go, but if he tells you to turn around you better jump him, because he's going to kill you."

    Things like that stick when you're a kid.
     
  13. JiG

    JiG Awaiting censure

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    After having a questionable event recently, I don't think about this stuff anymore. You can "dream" up scenarios all you want, it will NEVER go down like you imagined. What made me feel better about myself was a) recognizing a bad situation and b) forming a plan of defense based on that perceived threat in real time....

    I was getting the feeling I was about to be robbed. (I'm an atm tech). After telling a guy where the next nearest atm was (one with a camera), the guy insisted on waiting until i fixed this particular atm (don't want to use an atm with a camera... raises my suspicions). He was able to figure out the manager would be coming back with a cassette full of cash.... while he was figuring that out, I was figuring out that I needed to make two steps to my left to get a clear shot where if I missed, the bullet would hit the soda fountain's ice machine and be clear of the clerk operating register #2.... though given the distance from me and the potential threat, i'd have made a point-blank headshot and taken this guy out with one shot. He was feeling me out while I was feeling the butt of the keltec in my front pocket. I had confidence.... that won out IMO... he was bigger than I. I had a plan, I wasn't going to be a victim, and I feel I projected that to the potential threat enough that the threat didn't act upon his original thoughts.

    You are either a deer caught in headlights or someone who will grab a tree limb before going over the edge of a cliff mountain biking.... i'm the grab the branch type. You'll do what you need to do if/when the situation presents itself.

    The best thing about carrying a firearm is the confidence it gives. Project confidence, you won't get messed with.... and that's the best defense.
     
  14. Hock25

    Hock25 New Member

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    Almost all of the above responses are n/a, since robbers have been shooting anyway in Georgia, since at least 1979. If someone presents a gun in a robbery, they have me to deal with.
     
  15. samman23

    samman23 New Member

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    if it is just a property crime and you don't believe it will become truly violent, then leave it be. If you reasonably believe someone is going to get killed, do something about it.

    I don't believe in waiting till after the bad guys have initiated killing people. I would not bet that I can be faster then a guy who has the drop on you. Consider the time it takes for you to process/understand the threat and then decide and execute. Reaction is slower then action.
     
  16. AV8R

    AV8R Banned

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    I hope you don't subscribe to this doctrine in your own home. For me, All I need is fear for my or someone else's life. If someone breaks into your home with a gun, you assume they mean you harm and most of us will shoot first because they fear for their lives. Someone bursting into a convenience store with a gun is really no different, to me at least. I'd be in fear for my life even if the gun was pointed at the clerk.


    THIS. You can "what if" until the cows come home.
     
  17. Hock25

    Hock25 New Member

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    Wishful thinking doesn't go far in real life. There are numerous videos and news accounts where robbers shoot despite "cooperation." Sometimes, the shooting is their opening play. Waiting is for sheep.
     
  18. I agree with this. I always heard how if someone robs you at gunpoint, just let them have what they want without fighting back. Problem is, they may want you dead so you can't identify them. That's why I'll go down fighting.
     
  19. corey541

    corey541 New Member

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    Of course not, but being in your home is an entirely different situation than at a store. There are less unknowns in your own home than in some place like a grocery store or gas station.