Editor’s Note: The following is a post from Sammy Reese, a former Marine Corps Artillery Officer and retired police officer from California. He is a part-time range master for the police department he retired from as well as a life-long martial artist and combatives coach.
Check out the last five episodes in this series:
- Ep. 30 Should I Shoot? Have You Chosen Not to Be a Victim?
- Ep. 31 Should I Shoot? Self-Defense Amid a Riot
- Ep. 32 Should I Shoot? Threat Assessment in Cold Weather
- Ep. 33 Should I Shoot? The Late Night Prowler
- Ep. 34 Should I Shoot? ‘The Drop’
I was having one of those days where, as soon as the alarm sounded, I opened my eyes and knew it was going to be a long day. One of the messed up discs in my lower back didn’t like the way I had slept that night and it was pissed at me. While I was getting dressed, I knew a gun in the waistband was going to be out of the question until the pain subsided. It usually took a few hours to a few days for it to settle down — a routine I am all too familiar with.
I had some errands to run and left the house with “just” a J-Frame in my pocket along with a couple of speed strips — not my preferred load out, but it was better than a challenge coin and my Yojimbo2 folding knife. I will say I practice with my snubbie quite a bit and am comfortable with it out to 25 yards — not bullseye worthy, but I can put hits on an IPSC silhouette and I practice doing reloads. Like I said, it’s better than being completely unarmed.
While I was out, I got a call from a buddy asking me to meet him at the food court at the local mall for lunch. He owed me lunch, so I told him I would meet him there. While I was waiting for him, I did some people watching and started to work on some “what if?” questions, like, “What would I do if a guy with a knife started stabbing people?” or, “What would I do if a guy with a gun went active?”
Realizing I had “just” a J-Frame, I was confident I could handle a single-threat engagement. I got a sick feeling in my gut when I considered what I’d do if multiple armed threats started shooting up the mall. I knew I’d have to either be really lucky to prevail when engaging multiple threats with essentially a backup gun or do my best and hope my maker was ready for me to take my post guarding the pearly gates.
When my buddy walked up, he asked me if I was feeling OK. The feeling in my stomach had caused me to have a sick look on my face. When I told him about my “what if?” questions, my predicament of being too sore to carry my G19 and that I was rolling with my J-Frame, he threw some words I’ve used many times: “You gotta rung the bell you brung and make the best of it.”
“This is California, bro, so the odds of another armed citizen being there to help or maybe an off-duty cop are pretty slim,” he said. “At least you are armed and you have the will to fight for what is right. I hope you are around when my wife and kids are here shopping even if you just have a J-Frame. I’m hungry. Let’s eat.”
Are you prepared to do what’s right mentally and physically (skill wise)? Or are you carrying a full-size pistol and four magazines but haven’t been to the range in a year?
If you are always ready, you don’t have to get ready!
For more critical information on the use of deadly force and other firearms and self-defense topics, visit www.uscca.com/GunsAmerica.