Armed Self Defense
Updated: Dec 14, 2020
By: Doug Casity
Too often, I find myself at a gas station, a convenience store, or driving down the road; popular places for armed confrontation. As a licensed concealed pistol carrier, I always have one in the chamber and I try to have a plan in place so that I can safely return home to my family. Luckily, I live in a state that doesn’t currently have a law on the books that requires me to retreat, should I find myself in a situation where I would need to defend myself. But you should always be aware of your surroundings, have a plan of escape, and at the end of the day be one hundred percent sure that your actions are legal and, justified; plus, make sure your rounds are on target.
Unfortunately, I have found myself in this position several times. I am no longer in the military, I no longer wear a badge, but I carry daily. The first time was at a gas station; I gave my neighbor a ride so he could get drinks for his kids and while I sat in my truck listening to the local two meter repeater, I noticed that everyone in line for the register swept back towards the rear of the store. I did not have a clear line of sight to the clerk, so I was unaware of what exactly was going on inside the store. Unsure about what was happening and fearing for the safety of my friend and the community members inside the store, I drew my 9mm handgun from my waist and went to exit my truck. At that moment, a lottery machine flew across the store and a very angry female stormed out. She was not a threat any longer and that was the end of scenario number one.
Last year, a man runs out into the road and jumps on the hood of my lifted Jeep (as I am actively driving down the street). After leaving a decent sized dent in my hood, he then proceeds to approach the driver’s side door and reach out for the handle. Luckily, I was quick enough to hit my door lock while simultaneously drawing my pistol. The sight of my pistol caused him to jump back, allowing me to continue with my day. This situation could have been handled several different ways, each with various risks, however, it worked out with both of us leaving with no injuries. Unless you count the grease in his drawers.
This year, on Thanksgiving morning, my boyfriend and I had left the grocery store to head to my mother’s house to spend the holiday with my family. A road raging driver honked at us as our light had just turned green, allowing us to make our turn, only before he came along side us to give us “the finger.” Naturally, my boyfriend reciprocates the gesture. This situation escalated when the other driver pointed a handgun at us, with what I assumed was lethal intent. Currently, according to my state’s statute, I would have been justified in emptying my magazine. However, this scenario is a little different than the others. Primarily, because I have my significant other with me, in a car with only one window down, dealing with an armed individual that also has a passenger in the vehicle. If you have ever had formal training, you will be conditioned to calculate a lot of data in a very short period of time. Information such as the environment, backdrop, ingress and egress. Ultimately, I did not discharge my weapon for several reasons, which impressed the State Trooper that responded to the 911 call.
While I was expecting a firefight on the highway, I hesitated. One reason being while he had his weapon drawn and pointed my way, only my window was down and the muzzle blast would have rang both mine and my boyfriend’s bells. Second, as I drew my weapon, I noticed his female passenger, who was in my line of fire. If one of my bullets struck her, I would be liable for her injuries. Third, I was thinking “how will we get away from this guy?” Mind you, all of this is running through my head while under stress. What would you have done? There are two armed men, each with what I suspect is our significant others within the direct line of fire. After cocking the hammer on my Sig Sauer 9mm, I told my boyfriend to “break contact” by turning off off the road.
As soon as we were off the highway, I called 911 and explained to dispatch what had happened. I gave them the license plate and waited for three hours until a trooper called me back. I explained to the trooper exactly what happened, and was shocked to hear him say that he was impressed by my restraint and ability to remove ourselves from the situation. The trooper asked me to email him a written statement and I did so with as much detail as I could provide. Reports and report writing should be an additional skill we have as gun owners. If you know anything about law; what words you use and how you use them, may be the difference between putting someone behind bars, or finding yourself behind them.
In summary, you can never train enough. You can put rounds on paper all day long, but you will never know how to respond when your body chemistry changes. The sight of a hostile threat will release adrenaline, a chemical that raises your blood pressure, your heart rate, can cause your vision to tighten into “tunnel vision.” Perhaps you might get the “deer in the headlights” look. Being uncommon, stress training should be an activity that responsible gun owners engage in. Regardless, if you carry every day, or if you simply keep your grandfather’s shotgun in the closet thinking “just in case,” you should mix things up at the range. A common way that I myself stress train is by simply jogging for a minute or two prior to engaging the paper bad guy down range. Yes, it really is that simple. Get your heart rate going and try to put rounds center mass. I hope that you take away something from my experiences and apply them to a situation that you might find yourself in. I pray that never happens, but trouble can find us when we least expect it and we should all be prepared, should the need arise. Stay safe and stay frosty.