Ep. 41 Should I Shoot? Do You Carry in the Home? Do You Know the J.A.M. Calculation?

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Editor’s Note: The following is post is by Ed Combs, the Associate Editor of Concealed Carry Magazine.  

Check out the last five episodes in this series:

A few weeks ago, I offered a scenario in which you were awakened in the middle of the night by the sound of your front door being kicked in, and it raised some interesting questions about the implementation of deadly force inside the home. If you’re interested in perusing the ensuing discussion, check out Episode 33.

A lot of people saw it as a very cut-and-dried situation, but some did not. That’s fine; what we’re after here is discussion and critical thought. The body can’t go where the mind hasn’t been, and I want all concealed carriers and possessors of home-defense firearms thinking a heck of a lot about the possible circumstances surrounding the potential use of deadly force.

Say you’re standing in your kitchen one morning at about 7. Pick a reason why you’re there — finishing the dishes from breakfast, preparing your kids for the day, finally getting around to eating breakfast yourself, whatever. As this scenario unfolds, I want you to be concentrating as hard as you can on the following questions:

  • Where is your closest firearm when it’s 7 in the morning and you’re standing in the kitchen?
  • At what point would you access a firearm in this scenario?
  • What are the steps it would take? And how long would it take for you to complete them?

So, there you are and you hear screaming outside. If you live in a house, it’s out by the road. If you live in an apartment or a condo, it’s out in the parking area. (If you live in the middle of nowhere, see if you can think back to the last time you lived near people.)

The screaming is a woman’s voice telling a man named Frank to “just go away.” The man is also yelling, but you’re unable to tell what it is that he’s saying. You hear glass break, and then you hear glass break again.

Looking out the window, you see a man with a 3-foot piece of rebar hitting a car, smashing its windows and denting every surface he can touch. A woman is yelling at “Frank” to “just get out of here,” but when he turns toward her, she runs to a door, enters the residence and closes it behind her.

Frank follows, tries the door, finds is to be locked, kicks it once and walks away. He approaches the next door, tries it and finds it to be unlocked. He enters, holding his piece of rebar, and you hear shouting. You hear glass break. You’ve dialed 911 by this time and the operator tells you that there are units on the way and that you should remain in your residence.

So you do.

By this time, Frank’s been run out of the residence he entered and, as he’s walking back toward the cars, you see a trickle of blood running down his forehead from the middle of his hairline. He’s back to hitting cars again, but he hasn’t gotten to yours yet. You’re watching out your window and, for a second as he turns around, your eyes meet and Frank stops swinging his piece of rebar.

And he starts walking toward your door.

Your door is locked, and at his current pace, it looks like Frank’s going to be at the threshold in about five seconds.

Should I shoot?

No.

If you’re going to employ deadly force against an assailant, three conditions must be present: jeopardy, ability and means. (The acronym JAM is a popular way to remember them.) “Jeopardy” means you are in unavoidable jeopardy of death or great bodily harm. “Ability” means that your assailant has the physical ability to deliver that death or great bodily harm to you or another from where he is. And “Means” means your attacker has the tool or physical superiority he will use to deliver it.

As it stands now — at least for the next few seconds — Frank is still on the other side of a locked door. If you’re not holding a weapon and if you haven’t taken up a defensive posture by now, you’re crazy, but again, Frank does not yet have the ability to deliver death or great bodily harm to you. He’s still outside, and the last locked door he tried he kicked once and then walked away from.

Now those five seconds have passed, and you hear the knob rattle. It’s locked.

Then you hear the first kick. The door holds.

Then you hear the second kick. And the third. And the fourth. Now the doorjamb is starting to give way.

Should I shoot?

What you’ve seen so far is an extremely agitated man who is destroying property and who has violently entered a residence. He is holding a deadly weapon — a piece of steel rebar — and appears to have already been in one physical confrontation. He is now literally smashing open the locked door to your home, and as you do not have a legal duty to retreat from your own residence, you are:

  1. Clearly in jeopardy
  2. Facing a man who has the ability to inflict death or great bodily harm
  3. Facing a man who is holding a deadly weapon in his hands

As silly as this whole circumstance might sound, it is a combination of two different very real incidents: one I experienced as a law enforcement officer and another that is one of the more unbelievable videos you’ll probably ever see. If you Google “machete-wielding intruder shot on camera,” you will see the cell phone video of a man in Pocatello, Idaho, named Twain Thomas literally smashing through an apartment door like Jason Voorhees before the resident shoots him three times. In the ensuing wait for emergency services, Thomas admits that he was, in fact, looking to kill the resident.

Thomas absorbed three rounds. Those three rounds put him on the ground, but he survived the incident to receive a good long hitch in prison. He was holding a machete, so as soon as he went down and wasn’t moving, the resident stopped shooting. (I’ve said a few times that defensive shootings are rarely cut-and-dried affairs; sometimes they are.)

So back to what I asked you at the top.

Where is your closest firearm when it’s 7 in the morning and you’re standing in the kitchen?
Do you actually carry a firearm whenever you’re not in bed or bathing? Do you keep other firearms in your residence specifically for on-site security, or is your daily EDC sidearm also your home-defense gun? If it isn’t immediately on your person, how long does it take you to get from your kitchen to wherever it is?

At what point would you access a firearm in this scenario?
If you’re not already wearing that gun, at what point do you realize that you really need to be holding a gun? Is it the screaming? Is it the glass breaking? If we’re talking about a long gun, do you have a way to sling or otherwise secure it so you’re not just walking around with a rifle or shotgun at port arms? If you’re already wearing an EDC gun, do you pull it or do you access a different weapon? Are you a believer in the old adage that your sidearm is, “only for fighting your way to a rifle”?

What are the steps it would take and how long it would take you to complete them?
Are you literally just a proper draw away from your emergency lifesaving gear, or do you have to access a firearm from storage? Are all of your firearms squirreled away in a gorgeous $7,000 vault, or do you have other arrangements? Do you have a biometric lock box, a regular old keyed unit or do you have firearms otherwise secreted around your home? Are you more than the proverbial “three seconds away” from a firearm?

Should I shoot?

Assuming you’re been issuing strong verbal commands that he cease all hostile activity from the moment the kicking started, what happens next? Is running out a different exit even an option? Does your residence only have one entry/exit point?

“Castle Doctrine” laws aside, I’d love to hear your answers.

For more critical information on the use of deadly force and other firearms and self-defense topics, visit www.uscca.com/GunsAmerica.

{ 42 comments… add one }
  • Mario May 19, 2017, 9:05 am

    I comment from experience. At 3:30 am one rainy weekday morning my wife went downstairs for a drink of water. Moments later from the bathroom I can hear her running back up the stairs shouting that someone is trying to open our front door. As I hit the bottom stair 45 ACP in hand, a 20- some year old male is advancing toward me with his right hand hidden behind him. I tell him to leave, he ignores my command and continues to walk toward me. I raise pistol, aim, and fire. At that exact moment he whirls around and slips on the water he tracked in. He made his exit scrambling on all fours. Meanwhile the wife has called the sheriff. Huge mistake. We spent the next 45 mins being interrogated as if we were the criminals.The only thing that saved my ass was a book I read many years prior titled “In the Gravest Extreme” by Mass Ayoob. If you haven’t yet read one of these books that prepares you for the aftermath of a shooting…YOUR SCREWED. There are more details, that upon the advice of council I shall not include in this narrative. I will tell you that my attorney was out of town. He did return my call and advised me. The deputies didn’t care. They continued questioning me. I continued staring back SILENTLY. Key word. Nuff said.

  • tom March 3, 2017, 6:28 pm

    I could life with shooting an aggressor. What I couldn’t live with is knowing a crazed man, wielding a steel club walked up to my neighbor’s door, broke through the door, I heard screaming and shouting, and me and my firearms sat in my living room nice and safe (from prosecution) whilst my neighbor was being attacked and I had the means to stop the attacker, but was so worried about being prosecuted for doing what is obviously the right thing that I did nothing and have to see my neighbor get taken away in the ambulance or worse, try and look his/her family in they eye during the wake or funeral.

    And that is what I will tell the jury if I am ever prosecuted for doing the right thing. That I would rather face prosecution or law suits than try to face myself in the mirror knowing that I allowed my neighbor to be brutalized because I was too scared of lawyers to intervene. Shame on most of you for your comments.
    In the given scenario, the BG (frank) has invaded a neighbor’s home and you heard them yell for him to leave followed by glass breaking. The next thing that happens in this sequence of events is me yelling into my neighbor’s home from their front lawn with my firearm holstered but my hand on the holster ‘it’s tom from across the street, do you need help?’. At which point, the neighbor’s response will dictate my actions… if the neighbor yells ‘yes’ or if I continue to hear things breaking and/or people screaming I will yell ‘I’m coming in to help, I’m armed’. Hopefully the BG takes the hint and leaves.

    But no way am I cowering in my house whilst my neighbor is in need of help. Not to go on a religious kick, but WWJD? Risk prosecution and help His neighbor? Stay indoors to be safe from prosecution?

  • Capt D February 13, 2017, 2:11 pm

    Sounds like everyone is pretty much in agreement. Both of our entry doors, front and rear are steel security doors on the outside sporting steel frames, steel vertical and horizontal bars and steel type screen, double locked 24/7. This is routine in our household, we live on 2.5 acres with neighboring homes in sight but 100’s of yards from us.
    The steel doors are not totally in-penetrable but this allows us the option to have the front and rear solid core doors open during nice weather while the entry’s are still secured. If not, then they are closed and also double locked 24/7. These obstacles will take an intruder armed with a piece of rebar a little while to break in. Not only that but as I would have a little more time and the would be intruder Frank could see that I am armed and walking towards the door quickly. You would think a smarter person would retreat just as quickly if not faster. If not I would close the second line of defense and double lock that one too. That should make things much more difficult for the stranger named Frank to get past. I already know that if someone wants entry into our home they will sidestep the entry doors and opt for a window. This is of course after the intruder scaled our six foot no-climb fence, covered the 50 yards of open ground from the fence to the front door and made it past our three Doberman’s that have 360 protection access around our home.
    Once inside now Frank will have to find us first as we would have retreated to our safe room. Now poor ole Frank has another steel framed door to get through that is equipped with one door knob style lock, three deadbolts and two steel crossbars on the inside of the door located low and high. Police have already been called and Frank is aware of this because I have told him multiple times the Police are on their way. We are still on the line with the Police and have informed them that Frank has broken into the home and is standing outside of our safe room and it’s location.
    Let’s just say for sh** and giggles that Frank is a magician and has breached the 1st safe door. I’m pretty sure Frank is not going be too happy to find there are two more steel framed doors he has to get past to get to us. We have three solid entry doors that lead to our safe room and all are triple dead bolted with steel cross bars. Walls are reinforced against penetration and fire and would take some major power tools and a bit of time to get through.
    So FINALLY! Mr. Magician gets past the third door and finds nothing because we have exited the safe room through a hidden passageway. So while Frank is standing there a bit confused, we are out front talking with the Police that have finally arrived. Game over! If Frank gets shot it won’t be by me as I have passed the baton onto the officers whom are fully armed and prepared to take down the intruder if need be.
    Let’s consider another scenario; Frank breaks in quickly through a window and that sounds the very loud local alarm. Frank comes at me with his rebar swinging. I’m armed and standing between Frank and my family… Not much of an option here Frank. Swinging a baseball bat is one I guess as long as it’s not stopped in motion because I hit a wall or lamp instead of Frank.
    Bang bang, game over Frank!
    Yes we take our personal safety very seriously. My 13 year old son and my wife are both proficient at 500 yards with a scope and as well at 30 feet with a handgun. I loved Paul Ostoich’s comment above; “Take it serious it’s about being ‘prepared’ not paranoid !!!!” A safe room is there to buy you time and keep you and others safe until help arrives. If anyone would like to know how to inexpensively build their own let me know, I’ll share… If ok with you S.H. Blannelberry..

    • Don Kemmann February 13, 2017, 3:22 pm

      Holy Crap! Where do you live? Johannesburg?

      • Capt D February 13, 2017, 6:00 pm

        Ha Ha Funny LOL!! No we’re not drinking the Kool aid around here… Just believe and practice daily in being better prepared to defend life if necessary. Retreat is for protection even in my own home. Both for me, my family and the other guy. Because without it someone s going to die or at the very least, badly hurt. The last thing I want to do is kill someone so I have applied multiple layers of protection for myself and my family in and around our home to alert and protect us. This hopefully buys us precious seconds to avoid a life or death situation. If you have an armed intruder wanting into your home and smashing down a door to get in quickly, he’s more than likely got a couple of buddies with him.
        Like many, outside of the home we conceal carry. We also practice shooting and tactical training regularly in many scenarios with tactical trainers locally. At the very least, it’s a ton of fun!!
        I am not so stupid to understand that no one is going to protect me in a moment when SHTF in some fashion or another. It is up to me as the protector and guardian of my family and myself to be prepared, no one else.
        We are all one of two things; Either the Sheepdog or the sheep. Even the wolves protect their own in packs, ie. hence the word Gang Bangers. We live in a pretty safe area but we are out away from the city dwellers by choice. So one of the negatives is that we do not have immediate response from police the in town people have. 5 to 10 minutes response time is not acceptable in my book. So if I cannot buy enough time with my defensive set up….. My gun(s) are my last recourse/resource.
        Everyone’s personal security is different. Many people think just because they have a gun they are safe and self protected. Even if they do not practice with it. I watched a video recently where an armed robber was holding up a super market at gun point. An armed citizen pulled his gun and when he pointed, aimed and pulled the trigger he had an OH SH** moment.. He forgot to flip his safety off.
        Like these ‘Should I Shoot’ articles we respond to, personally I would not have involved myself unless the bad guy started shooting. Even then it would have been behind solid cover. All the sheep standing behind him were targets dazed and confused on what to do. Like the people in the recent airport shooting.. More were interested in who was shooting than taking cover.. Dah.
        I know you were kidding so please don’t take my response as defensive. My message is simple. Home protection and readiness will go along way in an OH SH** moment. Everyone is on board in my home, even the dogs… Peace out brother..

    • Jason Porter February 13, 2017, 4:54 pm

      I wish I had this kind of dedication to personal protection. I guess I’d have to settle for blowing this dude away the second he succeeded in kicking down my door and entering my house.

      • George Procyshyn March 17, 2017, 2:25 pm

        I think this is exactly it. Once he’s breached your door with a potential weapon your in immediate jeapordy and can and should respond to protect your safety. Note, I say AFTER he gets your door open, I do believe if you shoot him THRU the door, you’re sort of screwed. Doors can be replaced, your life can’t.

  • rl February 12, 2017, 4:09 pm

    Great article.
    There is one caveat to this and that is that some states do recognize a right to use deadly force to protect another person. Specifically, some state that deadly force is permissable to be used in order to PREVENT a sexual assault even if the perpetrator may not be using a gun or knife or patently deadly weapon in his attack for the female victim.
    6. A person may, pursuant to the ensuing provisions of this article,
    use physical force upon another person in self-defense or defense of a
    third person, …..

    NYPenal Code 35.15… 2. A person may not use deadly physical force upon another person
    under circumstances specified in subdivision one unless:
    (a) The actor reasonably believes that such other person is using or
    about to use deadly physical force. Even in such case, however, the
    actor may not use deadly physical force if he or she knows that with
    complete personal safety, to oneself and others he or she may avoid the
    necessity of so doing by retreating; except that the actor is under no
    duty to retreat if he or she is:
    (i) in his or her dwelling and not the initial aggressor; or
    …..
    (b) He or she reasonably believes that such other person is committing
    or attempting to commit a kidnapping, forcible rape, forcible criminal
    sexual act or robbery; or

    The Joke of course, about all of these “good Samaritan” type of statutes in States like New York is that how can you possibly use deadly force to prevent “Forcable rape” if you are out strengthened by the perpetrator and the State won’t allow you to possess a firearm that would enable you to use such deadly force?

  • gary February 12, 2017, 2:22 pm

    the very second he crosses the threshold he now has a double tap from a 40 cal 1911 in his chest (center mass). Hopefully, end of advancement of hostilities. If not, it is 16-40 Para. The head is next(zombie shot) . This is why I practice a lot to able to hit my target. It is what I call Gun Control.

  • Schizas John February 11, 2017, 5:51 pm

    POGO

  • Mongo February 11, 2017, 10:45 am

    In today’s world, we must be armed at all times while on our property. In Louisiana, you did not need a carry permit to have a gun concealed while on your property. That being said, my .357 revolver would already be in my hands and I would be in motion to get my shotgun. No doubt the other people in the scenario above would already be calling 911, so I would not bother, my observations about the event would be part of my statement to LEO, which would coincide with other witnesses. Shouting commands at him to stop trying to break into my house would no doubt be heard by others, and when his foot crossed the threshold, yelling stop one last time while he sees that I’m armed just may change his mind to leave, I would rather not kill someone. But if his decision is to continue advancing into my home, then he has sealed his fate. Acute lead poisoning would be his cause of death.

    • Bob February 12, 2017, 7:43 pm

      Same here.

  • Ron Stidham February 11, 2017, 7:52 am

    I live in the country, their will be no screaming and yelling to hear from the neighbors. This action will unfold at my residence. While kicking in my door, there will not be a 911 call, this will be a all at once scenario. Their will be no time for verbal commands, action will be my only companion. I keep my 1911 at hand, its with me as I type this message. When I took my initial interview for my CCW, the officer told me directly to shoot at the biggest part of my assailant and to shoot till I ran out of ammo. Leaving only one side of one witness. Do I want to shoot (kill) someone, NO. But in this instance, there will be a man on the inside of my home with a lot of bleeding holes. Do yourself a favor, ITS BETTER TO BE JUDGED THAN DEAD.

  • Michael J. Salzbrenner February 10, 2017, 9:19 pm

    Speaking specifically from MY perspective, and regarding MY local laws and such.

    I carry. My primary sidearm is on my hip whenever I am awake, unless unrealistic (such as naked). 6 feet or less from me 90% of the time it is NOT on my hip.

    All other firearms are stored in my gun safe, and in my opinion would be unnecessary for this situation (for reasons to detailed to pursue for this discussion), As well they would be unreasonably difficult to acquire for this confrontation once subject had focused on my home as a target. However, my family would have already been directed to the safest room in the house (which as you can imagine is where my gun safe is located.) as soon as he approached my property. So they would have access to those resources if the need arose.

    Retaining emergency response on the phone during the duration of this incident.

    1. As soon as he began to advance toward my door I would assess the available information of the situation, egress to a safe distance from the door, identify effective cover options, phone in off-hand, gun un-holstered and chambered, body positioned for defense, muzzle low.

    2. At the first kick of my door. Phone set aside and still active, muzzle raised on point, body at ready position, repeat verbal warnings.

    3. If at any point the door is breached, finger on trigger, final verbal warning.

    (3 and 4 probably merged as this situation will most likely escalate within seconds)

    4. If the individual enters my property, or exhibits characteristics of intention to cast anything into the confines of my property, only then would I feel a direct threat and be compelled to resolve it.

  • paul ostoich February 10, 2017, 7:14 pm

    If you are going to carry a firearm for protection you need to have it at all times ( where legally permitted ) yes that means your kitchen, bathroom . I am a retired police officer from Los Angeles Ca. believe me you won’t have time to say wait I need to get my weapon out of my safe. Take it serious it’s about being prepared not paranoid !!!!

  • Kelso C. February 10, 2017, 1:50 pm

    Look up Tueller Drill. Keep as much space as possible between you and the front door. If, after multiple verbal commands, he still enters the home, and still has the weapon, shoot him until he is no longer a threat. Then stop shooting. An assailant with a blunt or edged weapon can close a 21 foot space and kill or severely injure you in less than 1.5 seconds, and depending on the assailant, possibly under 1 second, even if you take evasive action! DO NOT HESITATE! There are some VERY ugly pictures of people who hesitated.

  • Dave Brown February 10, 2017, 1:48 pm

    I have been doing this deal for over 40 years which means a couple of things. First I am getting old and lazy so I only skim most articles. This one I was mainly interested in what JAM meant, got it. Anyway, many a moon ago I learned that you keep a ready firearm in every room which includes the bathroom and the garage, plus every vehicle including your motor bikes. Simple as that. Now with young Grand Buddies around I keep them all high up, on safe, or a home made trigger plus installed. Yep Safeties. See I hunt a lot so I believe in safeties. Now my daily pocket carries which ends at a Kahr PM40, cute little thing, but I have a trigger plug on it. I digress. As for what time of the day, all the time is carry time. My small pistols are an NAA32acp which I have some darn hot loads for, but my little Desert Eagle 380 ain’t much bigger and actual weights a little less then the NAA. If I want to run around in my BVDs I have a nylon neck band with a small retention holster attached. Simple as that. Now don’t go off on the Safeties as the US Military thinks they are a requirement, and I think they know more then us. Think, Be Safe, and don’t count on the other guy being safe, Dave

  • David L. Price February 10, 2017, 1:12 pm

    I live in Arizona. My weapon would be drawn and pointed at the front door. The second the door opened, I would yell “stop!”. The moment he chose to cross the threshold would be his last. I would continue to fire until he stops advancing, or I run out of ammo.

  • Mike February 10, 2017, 12:29 pm

    From the outset I am likely on person with at least a small 9mm. If not there is a 12 gauge by the kitchen door. I would have that when I went to investigate anyway ( I am the pistol till you get something better guy). Back in the house first door kick starts verbal warnings. If that door comes down he will find the floor at prompt or with help from Remington.

  • Ken's Personal Safety and Gun Training February 10, 2017, 12:04 pm

    Excellent article! Too many different laws in as many states that vary in this scenario so my response is as follows:
    1. Learn your state’s laws regarding self-defense. Don’t forget to check your home owner’s insurance policy as well.
    2. Make a self-defense plan. Include a plan for you and your family to cover the emotional aftermath. Taking a life is not easy and should not be taken lightly. I might also add that it has the potential to leave emotional scarring for the shooter as well as any witnesses. With no shots fired, just living in several minutes of extreme terror can leave emotions battered / scarred as well.
    3. Make an appointment with a police officer or several police officers to discuss the plan and make modifications if needed.
    4. When the plan is satisfactory with the police, run it by an attorney.
    5. Once 3 and 4 are satisfactory, train yourself and your family to the plan.
    6. Practice the plan, once a week, once a month, or once every 2 months. Practice until it is second nature (just be careful not to go overboard on this part).
    7. On top of all this, be sure to frequent the range to maintain marksmanship skills to reduce the possibility of collateral damage beyond the threshold.
    8. Insurance is a great thing to have and is mandatory in many scenarios (car, medical….) however when it comes to self-defense…. Your call….
    9. Should the scenario begin to play out in your home, be sure to call 911 at the onset. Keep the operator on the line until police arrive. Everything the 911 operator and you say will be recorded as well as all other sounds your phone is able to detect. If able, place your phone on speaker phone! The recording could very well be all the eyewitness needed to corroborate your version of the incident.
    Just my thoughts…..

  • Barry D Thomas Sr February 10, 2017, 11:57 am

    Do not see going out the other door,putting my self and loved ones OUTSIDE on the Lawn with this Idiot! If he kicks in the door and enters my home he has about 10 seconds to turn around and Leave. of course 911 will have been called,and in my area should almost be there(small town, Quick response time)if not tied up else where. But if Frank keeps coming I will give him my utmost personal attention.

    • Barry D Thomas Sr February 10, 2017, 11:59 am

      Beside going out the Door with a Gun in hand can get you Killed by the Police upon arrival. it also changes the rules on self defence

    • Kelso C. February 10, 2017, 3:29 pm

      Hi Barry – Do not wait 10 seconds! See the comment above about the Tueller Drill.
      Kelso

  • charles February 10, 2017, 11:49 am

    I live in Washington State. The rural end, not the liberal haven by the coast. Given these circumstances, as soon as I heard the commotion I would’ve gotten my Remington 12 gauge and awaited events. If the perp came to my door, I would wait until some part of him or his weapon entered my domicile, Preferably the working part, i.e., upper torso. I would back away, putting the room between him and I. I would shout to him that I have a shotgun (I keep mine round in chamber safety on). If he continued coming into my home, and he still had the rebar, I would make a snap judgement as to his mental condition, and if he were still enraged and screaming I would fire.

    It’s easy to think of shooting someone. We all do it. We want to save people.We want to be heroes. The reality of such things is not so easy. I have known more than a few police officers whose mental stability was severely challenged after they were forced to shoot someone. That someone, scum, whatever, is a human being. And there will be both civil and psychological consequences if you kill them.

    That previous paragraph sounds like I’m waffling. I am not. I think part of preparing to use deadly force, is to get past the fantasy part, and take a cold hard look at what may be a very different reality. What if your neighbors shun you. You must be prepared to be arrested, and in some hideous states, tried.

    In my opinion it is easy to have a cavalier attitude “I’ll just blow a hole in him”. I do it too. But, it is very important to really imagine killing someone, watching the life go out of them. It is not to be taken lightly. The more reality you practice, the more prepared you will be for that reality.

    If someone were about to harm my loved ones, or my neighbors, and it was clear (therein lies the rub) I would use deadly force to protect them, and myself.

    • Gary February 10, 2017, 12:57 pm

      Charles you are EXACTLY correct. I’m the father of a highly decorated LE officer. He has had to take a life. It affected him
      with PTSD…with help got past it and is back being the outstanding officer that he is. I have an extensive LE training background also and 20 yrs. military service. I’ve been trying to teach friends and family….that taking a life…no matter that it wss justified…can be a very sobering event for most human beings. So, as you said, you MUST know and understand…this is NOT the movies or TV. The cops drops 2 bad guys, holsters his weapon, turns in his report later….back to work. NO…it’s truly not that emotionally benign. It’s traumatic. So, get real with your feellings and approach to what you MAY someday have to do. I can do it…I just hope I don’t have to do it…pull the trigger on another human. I have attorneys at the ready and know how to make a 911 call. I will defend myself, my family, my freinds, and even an innocent person in a store IF any of these are met with deadly force….I WILL put them down. Not bravado….just what I am trained and prepared to do IF I must. Too many CCW holders don’t have a clue about most all issues with carrying a loaded firearm and all the implications that go along with that decision, especially if they ever had to use that weapon. Even my niece said…”Oh, I wouldn’t shoot someone to kill them, just shoot them in the arm to stop them.” I just stared at her….really??? And, she didn’t want to hear a “training lecture” from her well informed Uncle! Sad. And there are other’s that think the same. For me…no CCW for these folks.

  • jim February 10, 2017, 11:06 am

    While sitting at the table cleaning a pistol, a man fleeing from LE walked in my front door, which I had foolishly left unlocked. The intruder caught me cold with a disassembled weapon. Fortunately for me he saw the Glock FRAME in my hand and in his haste presumed it was a functioning firearm. He muttered “oh damn” and turned to walk into the arms of the pursuing LEO.
    Lesson: Always have a functioning firearm on your person!

  • Capt Bart February 10, 2017, 10:56 am

    Being in TX makes it easier. A visitor from Scotland, intoxicated, tried to force his way into the wrong house. The grand jury no billed the homeowner/shooter. If I am not bathing or sleeping, I have one or more weapons on me at all times. Usually a pocket 9 and a .357 snubby. If I’m going out, I’ll add my 1911. In this scenario, I would go get the double barrel and wait. Pistols are NOT the optimum self defense weapon unless a pistol is all you have.
    Ken, that 911 tape will be used against you in court; call, report and hang up! Then you don’t have the adrenaline fueled, “got you, you bastard’ type comment on the tape.
    Bruce, yes, wife and kids first! My kids are grown and my wife would be armed and covering my back; she’s done it before in a different situation. Gotta love a Texas lass!
    Finally, if you have a lawyer, call them before the police arrive. You need your attorney to avoid saying something incorrectly and having to fight for your freedom. I use Texas Law Shield – gun attorneys who have a 24/7 hot line for their clients.
    Just my not so humble opinion, of course.

  • Kevin Austin February 10, 2017, 10:33 am

    It’s simple. You know he is coming in. Just leave the door unlocked and meet him at the door

  • Stanley Wruble February 10, 2017, 10:30 am

    Home alone I would defer to an alternate exit, picking up stashed weapon enroute. Proximity is everything, he has a piece of rebar it is not a gun so I get some distance and 911 it. I don’t much like retreating from my home, goes against my nature. BUT it is better than making some lawyer rich. No other option, drop ’em.

    • Joe McHugh February 10, 2017, 11:57 am

      “…defer to an alternate exit…”?? OK, you make it outside an walk away while talking to the 911 operator. The bad guy broke in stormed through the house and went out the same “alternate exit” and is now coming right at you! Now you have a lethal weapon and he “only” has a short piece of metal in his hand. What goes through your mind as he charges at you, are you going to use excessive force on a person that might be reasoned with because he sees your gun? Are you going to kill someone on a public street just because he was yelling threats at you?

      OK, same scenario and the bad guy is opening my unlocked door that I didn’t think to lock while all the commotion was going on. Hey, I often leave my door unlocked in the daytime while I am home, so sue me! And yes, I have my pump Winchester Model 12 loaded with 0-0 buck shot, pointed at the doorway. I immediately tell the guy that I saw, and heard everything from my open window. I tell “Frank” that I will enjoy be a witness against him at his trial. I also remark that he looks like a guy that abuses little boys and he undoubtedly has inappropriate relations with his mother. For some inexplicable reason Frank takes exception to my remarks.

      He charges at me and immediately does a backwards flip when the shot charge hits him squarely in the chest. The 0-0 shot charge has the same energy as two .44 magnum bullets striking at the same time. I won’t need to waste another shot because Frank won’t be moving much, if at all. I remember the blue tarp that I keep on the back deck and use it to roll Frank onto it to keep the blood from ruining the carpeting.

      When the police interview me, I say that I tried to calm the the poor man down, and even offered him coffee. I’ll also say that I attempted to stop him by shooting his arm but he was coming too fast for an aimed shot. I won’t mention that the Winchester Model 12 shotgun points like the finger of doom, and I could hardly miss at point blank range.

      I’ll only ponder about one thing. How stupid is a guy that charges at a person aiming a shotgun right at him? Of course Frank won’t be wondering about anything. By the way, the District Attorney will understand that there was only one witness, me.

  • Edward Glenn February 10, 2017, 8:49 am

    Call 911 while retrieving shotgun (00buck) by front door, pull up chair in entry way, open front door, have a seat, This should unsettle intruder when he shows up in open doorway, simply state “You might wanna try some other house, Frank”. If he steps inside, well, that would be the last bad choice he would ever have to make. Did I invite him in by leaving the door open? No, I’d do it to avoid unnecessary property damage, but the lawyers would have to sort it out. Given your scenario, this should be proved to be reasonable. Also, since he already left one other house, there is a fair chance I wouldn’t have to shoot him, he has no personal beef with me, his rage will have calmed some, and by now, the cops should be there. He should be very surprised that I called him by name. How would I know that? I’d hope that would stop him in his tracks.

  • Ken's Personal Safety and Gun Training February 10, 2017, 8:27 am

    Excellent article! Too many different laws in as many states that vary in this scenario so my response is as follows:
    1. Learn your state’s laws regarding self defense. Don’t forget to check your home owners insurance policy as well.
    2. Make a self defense plan. Include a plan for you and your family to cover the emotional aftermath. Taking a life is not easy and should not be taken lightly. I might also add that it has the potential to leave emotional scarring for the shooter as well as any witnesses. With no shots fired, just living in several minutes of extreme terror can leave emotions battered / scarred as well.
    3. Make an appointment with a police officer or several police officers to discuss the plan and make modifications if needed.
    4. When the plan is satisfactory with the police, run it by an attorney.
    5. Once 3 and 4 are satisfactory, train yourself and your family to the plan.
    6. Practice the plan, once a week, once a month, or once every 2 months. Practice until it is second nature (just be careful not to go overboard on this part).
    7. On top of all this, be sure to frequent the range to maintain marksmanship skills to reduce the possibility of collateral damage beyond the threshold.
    8. Insurance is a great thing to have and is mandatory in many scenarios (car, medical….) however when it comes to self defense…. Your call….
    9. Should the scenario begin to play out in your home, be sure to call 911 at the onset. Keep the operator on the line until police arrive. Everything the 911 operator and you say will be recorded as well as all other sounds your phone is able to detect. If able, place your phone on speaker phone! The recording could very well be all the eyewitness needed to corroborate your version of the incident.
    Just my thoughts…..

  • Bruce February 10, 2017, 7:29 am

    Wife and kids would be moved upstairs into master bedroom. I would be armed at the stairs, possibly on the landing, I would prefer to retreat within the house if possible because I do want to avoid killing another human being if I can do so without endangering me or my family. Once he enters he will be drawn on and will he my extremely loud voice telling him to leave of I will shoot. If he advances I will shoot until the threat is eliminated.

  • Dan February 10, 2017, 6:18 am

    By this time I would have my 357 from the biometric or my home defense 12 GA from the laundry room just off the kitchen. Should the door giveaway and he cross the threshold, if it’s the shotgun 1 round of double 0 in the chest. If I’m carrying the 357 1 tap in the chest 1 tap in the head.

  • frank booth February 10, 2017, 6:10 am

    I would be armed wife with kids and a stagecoach loaded a ready in another room, On the same line with 911, Doberman at door get pass her, it over I would put him down, 82nd vet I would shoot when the dog was not in the fight any more. if the police happen to get their befor I shoot I would call off the very well trained Doberman, only when my family was safe

  • MARK February 9, 2017, 10:41 am

    Being Canadian I don’t enjoy ANY legal protection regarding use of lethal force or even carry for that matter,
    That said in this scenario as soon as he headed to my door I would be down the hall to my bedside gun vault (combo lock) & retrieve my 1911 & ammo. Gun & ammo stored in seperate locked containers as per Canadian law. Taking about 30 seconds. Way too long I know but I move slow due to an old spinal injury. Assuming I get back to a cover position in view of the door I would continue verbal commands until the the door opens. At that point I would open fire knowing full well that I WILL be charged with various criminal code violations & that I will PROBABLY be exonerated after several years & several thousand dollars. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE my country but I hope my American brothers appreciate the personal liberties they enjoy. ” Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6″

  • Chris February 8, 2017, 3:02 pm

    If you shoot before he enters the local district attorney is most likely going to have a field day with you, since he was still on the other side and unable to physically harm you at that point. If I saw him coming towards my door I’d make sure it was locked, attach the security bar under the door knob, create distance while finding cover with weapon in hand and I would be verbally communicating with him the consequences of his actions should he enter my home. Hopefully I would be doing all of this with 911 on the line but not assuming that they would be there in time. As far as re-treating out a door? I don’t know about that. Not that I would be opposed to that nor would I ever want to kill a human being under any circumstances but I don’t know if re-treating at that point is prudent from a self defensive/tactical point of view. If I do retreat where do I go? outside to the fenced backyard not far from the maniac that is only a fence board away. If I’m in my home I know where things are and in what direction the threat is coming from (if he’s kicking in my front door) and have taken some sort of cover while the perpetrator will have to come through the bottle neck of my front door. Also if I am following this scenario, my wife and kids are still home with me and I would not risk moving them outside to try and retreat. That would only be putting them and myself at a greater risk. At that point my wife would be armed and barricaded in a room with my children while calling 911. If he did enter I could not take the chance that he would all of a sudden calm down and apologize for his actions after kicking in my door, unlawfully entering my home with blood on his face while holding a lethal weapon and had just demonstrated great physical ability after destroying my front door.

  • steve o'leary February 8, 2017, 10:00 am

    as he approaches the door, I toss him a drop gun. as he catches it, I empty my 10mm into his chest. problem solved, problem staying solved.

    • LHTwist February 9, 2017, 5:20 pm

      My very thoughts from the beginning Steve. Just open the door and let him walk right in. If he’s up for a little chat over a cup of coffee, maybe we can sort out his troubles. If that’s not in the cards, then I’ll be facing the task of quickly getting his bleeding corpse off my hardwood floors. But the door will still be solid.
      For the author: My EDC would have already been be in the kitchen from the beginning, unlimbered by the time he started in my direction and he would be receiving instruction from the first footstep past the threshold. From there, the decisions would be mostly his. Sounds cold, and comes easy from the armchair, but that’s what and why you train.

    • BUURGA February 10, 2017, 2:55 am

      LOL That is a joke, right? That would be a bad day for your pistol to jam. Try explaining how one of your guns got into his hands. There are plenty of other things wrong with this nonsense, but you get the idea.

  • Thomas Webb February 7, 2017, 8:31 pm

    I’m thinking for the most part no one “really” want’s to kill another person unnecessarily, that said as long as he’s kicking, I’m waiting, But if the door come’s open and he come’s In….Good night Irean.

    • DRAINO February 9, 2017, 9:08 am

      Agreed. Once through the threshold……bye bye bad guy! Yes, verbally warn him while the kicking ensues. Seriously doubt that will stop him though. But, cover the bases….verbal warnings, 911 on the line, innocents safely stowed away. All this given, do the community a service…..put him down when he steps through the door. Don’t stop shooting until he is no longer a threat.

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