You walk into the local convenience store to grab some gas and a sweet tea.
You're back by the cooler, debating whether that bag of Corn Nuts that's catching your eye would throw your diet over the cliff, when a patron in a black hoodie walks in.
He pulls out a gun and orders the clerk to get out the money.
Your heart jumps up into your throat. . . but your blood is tingling with “hero juice”.
You're in the scumbag's blindspot and know you have enough time to reach for that smoke wagon sitting concealed on your right hip.
You pull. . . have good line of sight. . . and order the thug to drop his weapon.
He turns. . .points his gun at you. . .
. . .and you FIRE.
He goes down – his own gun falling out of his hand – and he lays motionless on the ground.
What You Must Do AFTER You Shoot (And It's NOT What You Think!)
A lot of “tactical schools” put their students through all kinds of mental gymnastics when training them in how to respond to an armed threat – and what to do immediately after a shooting.
For example, the legendary Chuck Taylor recommended asking yourself a series of questions:
- Did I hit him?
- Is he down?
- Is he out of the fight?
- Where are his friends?
The main point of all of these post-shooting “questions & answers” is to get you out of the mindset that you “fired a few shots… hit your target… the fight is over… and stuff ‘Ol Betsy back in her holster”.
This is super helpful… but I feel that most instructors are complicating the process so much that it does more to increase the danger to the defender.
Let me explain. . .
First of all, you can't use too many questions.
It's unnecessary and your actions shouldn't require you to have an amazing memory (now that I'm “over 50”, that seems to be an impossibility anyway).
Also, I HATE acronyms to try to remember!
(What did the instructor say the “S” stood for again in his F.A.S.T. method?!)
I prefer phrases. . .
. . .and NOT ones that mix up the “yes's” with the “no's”.
For example, the famous Chuck Taylor used, “Did I hit him? Is he down? Is he out of the fight?”
Now, someone will certainly want to slap my wee-wee for even DARING to contradict such a legendary tactical operator as Chuck Taylor.
But the answers to his questions – if your attacker is down on the ground but still fighting back – would be “yes, yes, no” and the proper response would be to continue your engagement of the target.
In the adrenaline-fueled fury of a real gunfight, you're likely NOT going to have the mental capacity to de-code answers that mix-up the yes's and no's.
Besides, the word “no” subliminally means “stop” and when it comes to the need to continue firing to stop the threat, I prefer to be triggered ONLY by a “yes” answer.
Here's what I mean. . .
For me and when I'm training people, I tell them to use just 3 simple questions.
If the answer to ANY of these is “yes”, you take fast action…
- “Can he kill me?” If “yes”, – engage. (Just because he's down, doesn't mean he's “out”.
- “Does he have friends?” If “yes,” – engage. (“Tunnel vision” can keep you from seeing an ambush by his buddies. You HAVE to make yourself look around you, keeping your weapon “at the ready” and pointed at the original threat while you check for other hostiles.)
- “Is there cover?” If “yes”, – get to it. (Studies show that the #1 survivability factor in a real gunfight is having effective cover to stop the bullets headed your way. You never know when an attacker is going to pull a back-up gun or if his homies – the ones you may not have seen – are going to suddenly start shooting. It's better to assess your next steps, as well as reload, from a safe position.)
Using THIS “3 questions, all yeses or nos” format will save your life when you are attacked. . .
But This Is Just ONE Of The 3 “Fights”
You Have To Survive After A Gun Battle…
The NEXT fight is the LEGAL fight to justify your actions – and unfortunately, this is where a lot of armed citizens screw things up (EVEN when they were fully justified in pulling the trigger!)
It's a sad state of affairs that criminals don't have to consider the “legality” of their actions. . . and yet YOU (the “victim”) may have to answer for your actions in a courtroom just for defending yourself, am I right?
But you do… and that's why you can't afford not to consider the legal battleground you'll face.
Nobody likes to think about staring down a judge or jury after the fact, but if you have to shoot someone in self-defense, I can almost GUARANTEE that you will.
When that happens, you'll need to know exactly what you're up against. . . and how to fight back.