Ep. 36 Should I Shoot? Is that a Pellet Gun in My Face?

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

Check out the last five episodes in this series:

The “if he’s in my house, he’s dead” crowd might not like to hear it, but if you can avoid having to shoot somebody, for God’s sake, don’t shoot. For a healthy private citizen, there’s nothing even remotely pleasant about having to shoot someone other than the knowledge that you, who were prepared and trained to accomplish such an unpleasant task, were there when you were needed to preserve innocent life.

Making that decision can be hard, though. Dead’s dead, and bullets can’t be called back. Killing’s hard on the average person and, even though no one has much sympathy for the criminal, putting him down hard will be the worst chapter of a bad book for his family. If you don’t really have to shoot, I beg you not to.

Complicating matters further, deciding whether to shoot is almost never a red light, green light affair. Don’t complain; you knew that when you got your permit, and if you didn’t, let’s you and me go get some lunch at the park.

It’s a slow day — almost no one around — and let’s say that, on our way to the charity hot dog stand, I end up waiting outside a public bathroom for you to come out so we can continue our leisurely stroll. I’m concerned that I look like some kind of skulking pervert because I’m hanging around outside a men’s room in a public park, and thus distracted, before I realize what’s happened, a young man has what looks like a K-frame revolver with a 4-inch barrel stuck in my face. From where I’m standing, the bore on it looks about as big as an oil drum as he says, “Gimmie all you got.”

Slightly flexing his clenched fist back to threaten me with a pistol-whipping if I don’t comply, I’m pretty sure I see daylight for a fraction of a second; more accurately, I’m pretty sure I don’t see any cartridge rims between the cylinder and the frame. I slowly raise both of my hands into a traditional “surrender position” and agree to give him my property. He appears to slightly relax, and I slowly reach my left hand into the pocket that actually contains my backup gun.

Should I shoot?

I’ll say short answer “probably” and long answer “no, but…”

On the one hand, though I do pretty well for a fella who’s never worked as a firearms historian, I would never claim to have seen every last revolver on the planet. Additionally, in a situation like the one described here, I’m under terrible duress. This guy’s waving a gun in my face and demanding my property, which means that what he’s really saying is, “I’m ready to murder you. Give me your money.”

Did I see that right? Were there really no rims there, or did I misidentify nickel-plated cases against the bright white sky? Can I get a look at the chambers in the cylinder? Do I see anything that looks like bullet noses in there?

Or do I quit wasting my time, pretend to comply and then initiate stopping him before he finally decides to murder me?

But dammit… just by how big the gun seems in his hand and how the t-shirt is hanging off of him, this is a very young man, maybe even a kid in his mid-teens. If I shoot at him from here, I’m going to hit every time, and enough of these 88-grain jacketed hollow-points to stop the threat he presents will likely also kill him. He should have thought about that before sticking a gun in a stranger’s’ face, but killing a kid is still killing a kid, and killing a kid is to be avoided whenever possible.

Hang on… Is that a pellet gun? For use as training aides, plenty of pellet guns are manufactured to look and feel exactly like their legit counterparts. Atop that, the cylinders seem kind of small. Son of a… I think this kid is pointing a pellet gun at my face. Or is it one of the old .22-cal I-frame Smith & Wesson “Kit Guns” that he stole from somewhere? Even if it isn’t, a pellet through the eye or nose at this range could easily kill me. Didn’t I recently see an article or an ad or something about how some guy just took a 600-pound wild boar with a pellet gun?

Wait a second… I’m standing around outside a bathroom because I’m waiting for someone. When you come out, the kid pointing a revolver in my face will likely get spooked, and there’s a good chance he’s going to either shoot you or me or hold both of us at gunpoint.

It’s been a second. Time’s running out. I have to move. I have to give him my wallet or begin the process of stopping the threat that he poses. Giving him my wallet in no way guarantees my safety as he isn’t wearing a mask as almost all robbers do when they’re looking to get away clean.

Such a situation is a lot more common than you might think and, if you haven’t thought about a situation like this, you need to. You might live in an area where this kind of violent crime is rare or you might live in an area where it’s common. Either way, all Wal-Marts sell pellet guns and all criminals can get a hold of firearms.

Some kids do stupid, dangerous things.

Some pellet guns wind up in the hands of stupid, dangerous people.

Some stupid, dangerous kids wind up with firearms.

Some pellet guns will kill you as thoroughly as a firearm chambered in .22LR.

Some days are worse than others.

Should I shoot? Should I fight?

I’d love to hear your answer.

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

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 42 comments… add one }
  • Dan February 19, 2017, 7:03 pm

    Amazing collection of some very thoughtful (and some not so much) insights into how one’s day-to-day conduct of life and views on self-defense must change when the decision is made to carry a concealed firearm. I especially appreciate the candid discussion of this subject since, for me, the point is moot. The state in which I reside has “may issue” or discretionary issue which is pretty much left up to the local chief of police. In this leftist controlled state, it is nearly impossible for a law-abiding citizen to obtain a ccw without 1.) a lot of political pull; and, 2.) evidence that your life is in imminent danger for some bureaucratically acceptable reason (and, good luck with that). Incidentally, that is a big reason why I’m making plans to relocate as soon as financially possible. But, I digress.

    First of all, let me state: I hate violence. I don’t like boxing or mma (there’s no reason I can fathom for trying to beat another person senseless for money. It’s not sport; it’s sadism.) I’ve gone to great lengths in the past to avoid physical violence, but sometimes it just doesn’t work. When you’re backed into a corner/when you’re attacked without provocation/when you’re flat out ambushed…it becomes a case of responding with quick and extremely violent counter-force, or giving up your possessions or perhaps even your life. What to do? I can say this because it has happened to me.

    One Chrismas Eve, while I was a teenager working in my Mom’s grocery store, I was confronted just at closing time by a drunk man with a gun who demanded booze (not money, just booze). Fortunately, I was able to talk the man out of doing anything stupid and he got into his car and left. Being as I lived in a small town and new most of the cops. I was able to go with them and they located the perp in a local bar, where he was arrested after I identified him. But, believe me nothing changes your outlook on life like having someone point a gun at you. I’ve also been mugged twice while living in this so-called paradise, so I know that being a victim is no fun; especially, when you’re my age and nearly as “spry” as I once was.

    Having said all that, I was for some time still ambivalent about carrying a gun…or even having one in my home – until I got married and had a kid. Then, I remembered something a local police friend of mine (I used to date his daughter) told me. He said his firs job was, “to get home to each night to my wife and kids in one piece. All else is secondary.” Later, I remember hearing a line delivered by George C. Scott who played a veteran cop in the movie “The New Centurions”. In the scene, he’s giving some ‘street schooling’ to a couple of young rookies (Stacy Keach and Eric Estrada). Scott tells them concerning reacting to violent perps, “If he uses his fists, you use your ‘stick’. If he pulls a knife, you use your gun and cancel his ticket right then and there.” So, much as I disdain violence, there are times when I believe it’s the only recourse. Hopefully, I won’t ever have to be in that position to have to decide, but if it ever comes down to a case of me or the bad guy, I’ll do my damdest to see that it’s not me.

  • Frank Romo January 27, 2017, 12:30 pm

    I’m too old to fight, if this “kid” points a gun in my face, I’ll shoot, I didn’t ask him to pick on me. He made his choice, I made mine. There’s too many idiots running around killing innocent people, I’m not going to be one of them.

  • Karl P January 7, 2017, 10:41 am

    I’ve actually thought about this a lot. The reason I carry is not for primarily for personal protection, although it could be to protect my wife or family, but rather in case I’m in a situation with an active shooter, and need to put a stop to the killing. For example, recently a guy went into a mall and began yelling Allah is Great, and shooting people randomly. If I happened to be there I would sure like to have a gun to put a stop to this.

    In the case of a robbery, I have told myself that I would drop my wallet, cell phone, keys whatever and try to get out of that place. None of this stuff is worth my life, or the hassle of a self defense killing. Besides, Jesus said, “If someone takes your coat, give them your cloak as well.” “And if someone takes away what is yours, don’t even ask them to return it.”

    So for me CCW isn’t about “self protection” in the kind of scenario you describe, but about being an armed citizen in dangerous times, when we have an enemy living within our own cities who wants to kill us. Mature, rational, clear headed men may have a duty to carry to be, in a sense, a silent militia. That is up to your conscience, and the decision to own a pistol and to carry (with a permit of course) is something that needs a lot of careful thought and prayer. Its good to think through these things ahead of time.

  • loupgarous January 6, 2017, 9:53 pm

    My answer: it goes back to the necessary condition for a justifiable homicide: you must be in reasonable fear that you or another person will die or suffer grievous bodily harm at the hands of the person you kill.
    If someone sticks something that looks enough like a pistol to trigger a self-defense reflex in my face, then tells me to hand over my cash, that’s all the pieces of the puzzle – it’s a plausible murder threat. You’d have to be wielding something implausible like an old pot-metal Crosman .177 with that tiny 1″ barrel that tilts forward to take darts for me to be utterly convinced I was in no danger from you. You’d just have sealed your fate.

  • Clyde Beard January 6, 2017, 4:53 pm

    NEVER waste time trying to assess the operable condition of a weapon pointed at you. ALWAYS view it as operable and loaded, and respond accordingly. Spend the few seconds you have assessing the perp, his stance, proximity, etc.
    If you have not been trained in dealing with armed confrontation, you should not be armed. Get the training.
    The correct response to the situation described will vary with the experience level of the victim. Acting very scared and dropping your wallet on the ground works well for a distraction to give you time to draw and move. Always move AWAY, and to the side away,from the weapon. Shoot as fast as possible. Aim for center of mass, and continue moving while shooting.
    The person you are, dies with the first person you kill, but your loved ones can’t tell, and you are just different inside.
    It’s better to be different than dead.

  • Adam V January 6, 2017, 3:12 pm

    I’ve been robbed 3 times, myself. Had a guy in my house, I stood at the top of the stairway S&W 1006 in a 10mm ready to defend to the death my family while our 40lb dog keep this man with all her night from coming near the staircase, I saw him with my own two eyes twice. I did not shoot. My property was insured, not very well insured but It wasn’t worth it to kill this man.

    Had a dude come out of no where at a house party and stick a 32cal revolver in my face. I was sitting on a couch drinking a beer. There he was, gun in my face making derogatory remarks about me being white and in his neighbor. 3 seconds we gazed into each others eyes the room went silent finally some girl said something and he looked away. Everything seemed to rapidly deescalate from that moment as he looked back at me he lowered his weapon. I just sat there didn’t say a word,

    I wouldn’t not have been able to defend myself even if i had a firearm. I would have been shoot point blank.

    Don’t shoot anyone unless it is so important that your willing to be executed by a sentence handed down by a Judge.

  • Mike Watkins January 6, 2017, 2:54 pm

    Hmmm. Gun in face. Person trying to deprive me of my hard-earned property, at the least. Probability that this is not the last time this person will ever do this.

    Do exterminators lose a nights sleep when they rid your house of destructive vermin? Do they lose sleep if the bugs they killed turn out to be mere cockroaches instead of termites?

    Guess I’m just a heartless old bastage.

  • Phillip Owens SFC Ret January 6, 2017, 2:54 pm

    I shoot air rifles on a regular basis and can tell you they can do more than significant damage. Even a well placed shot from a pellet gun could kill a person. While obviously not as dangerous as a powder based weapon an Airgun especially one of high power can cause significant damage and possibly even cause a fatal wound.

  • Jon Savage January 6, 2017, 2:13 pm

    Background: Plus 26 USN, some police traing in active duty;!5 years civilian law enforcemn; Firearms instructor and articifer in military. Triaining in unarmed self-defense. “Shoot, don’t shoot?” If you carry, be prepared (trained) in the use of that weapon, including the mental preparation for the possibility of taking life. “Always aim for the largest target.” Typically that is the upper body area. “Shoot to wound” is a stupid and dangerous response to a lethal threat. I recall the defense attorney asking, “Did you shoot to kill? Respones: “I fired to stop the assailant who at the time was poitning a large handdgun, and seemed prepared to use it.”
    Pursuing, the defense attorney stated “Your shot killed a man, you intntionally did so!”. Reponse: “I fired to stop the threat. That the shot resulted in the demise of the assailant is unfortunate. I fired to stop the assailants potential act of killing me, once again, I fired to stop the threat, there was no intention to kill.” Again, the defense counsel pressed it that I intended to kill. The judge put a stop to that. As to the question; “Shoot, don’t shoot? In the event that an officer, or a civilian, is threatened by a firearm and there is an opportunity to shoot, shoot! One fires to stop the threat. If that kills the perp, it is his problem. The chance he took when he attempted the threatening event resulted in his demise. So be it. Shoot to stop the threat, not to kill.
    And no, there was no “hangover” for killing. That is what training and preparation (mental and physical) prepares for one. If you carry, be properly prepared for the possibility of taking a life. Soldiers are and so should anyone carrying a firearm. If not, don’t carry! “Shoot, don’t start a conversation, Shoot!

    • Jkthekat January 6, 2017, 6:17 pm

      I agree, if this culprit attempts to take my property and/or my health and I do nothing, I have not only failed to protect myself but also his next victim[s]. Laying dead or dying on the ground is not a place to ponder shoot or no shoot

  • One Thumb January 6, 2017, 12:54 pm

    I’m 81 years old, 5’6″ and 147 pounds, don’t screw with an old man, ’cause he’ll bite with more than his worn out teeth!

  • Edward January 6, 2017, 12:41 pm

    Just to add a thought. When I was in the service, the commandant of the brigade of Honduran troops I was assigned to had a 13 y/o bodyguard that was rumored to have double digit combat kills. Point is, any child in a combat zone can be a killer, wearever that combat zone exists.

  • Certified Firearms Instruction January 6, 2017, 11:55 am

    I’m surprised to see so many people talking about shooting to wound. That’s not a viable strategy. There is no guarantee that you’ll stop a threat even if you put multiple rounds into the target. While you might lethally wound the threat they could still kill you while they are in the process of bleeding to death or their organs are failing. If you pull a handgun on a threat that target should be perceived as a legitimate threat to you life (or property in certain states) and you should be prepared (and trained) to use it.

    • loupgarous January 20, 2017, 6:32 pm

      I concur. I’ve had police academy trainers and more experienced cops tell me “that gun had better come out of its holster smoking.” Shorthand for “Only draw your weapon when the threshhold for justifiable homicide’s been crossed – then shoot to kill.”

      I was shocked when Dr, Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon, said the police ought to shoot to wound, preferably in the leg. Worst place, what we all saw in the movie “Speed” notwithstanding. A gunshot would in the upper thigh could dissect the femoral artery – after which the person you shoot has minutes to live unless you or someone else IMMEDIATELY applies a tourniquet to the limb between the wound and the torso. Then he can sue you, and if your shot causes him to lose that leg, you might just as well sign the deed to your home over.

      No, If you have a reason to apply deadly force at all, deadly force is the only thing you are prudent to use. Half-measures like shooting to wound can be used by a clever attorney to show you really didn’t have to use your gun – and really, the only reason to draw on someone is if you have a reason to kill that person and intend to do so immediately.

  • steven s January 6, 2017, 11:16 am

    LOVE THIS, about time this subject was addressed.
    I was a cop for 26 years,and a defensive tactics instructor as well as a firearms instructor.
    AND was a very active collector of any and all firearms.
    That being the case,I took [ and still do ] great pride in knowing EXACTLY what gun I was looking at [ still do it with movies and in gun stores/gun shows ].
    Fact is I did not shoot a few perps that were holding FAKE guns in a threatening manner = I KNEW they were fakes.
    NOW as a retiree and a good deal slower ,I would be THRILLED to not need to fire at a perp.
    I have seen many shooting aftermaths [ too many ? ] and there is NO WINNER !.
    Yes, you might actually get away without a scratch,BUT the world as you know it ENDED the moment you pulled the trigger [ hopefully hitting ONLY the perp ].
    I CCW at all times,and hell yes I “walk heavy”.
    And I pray that moment does not arrive,because the press will make so much noise and CAMP ON YOUR DOOR,and the door of all who know or EVER knew you to get a ‘statement’.
    You do not want you mom having a camera crew at her door harassing her.
    AND you cannot go out and challenge them [ you will NOT look good ].
    SO, hell yes = shoot if you MUST,up to you to know if you MUST.
    p.s. if you do shoot a perp that turns out to have a fake gun,teach yourself BEFORE it happen ,how you will deal with it.
    Don’t wait till after to see it destroy you,it was his CHOICE.

  • rt66paul January 6, 2017, 10:17 am

    If it was tv, The Lone Ranger would just shoot the gun(s) out of his hand(s). Depending on what your carry weapon might be will help here. Carrying with a hydro shock round, 9mm or larger could be a death sentence here. His shock, seeing your gun, should be enough(if he is “just a kid”). I think I would go for the right shoulder or into the right bicep(assuming he is holding the gun with his right hand). He could lose the arm, but maybe not. For sure, he won’t be doing it that way ever again.
    Many of you will say that someone violent enough to do this shoud not be able to breed, I agree, but a round in the junk doesn’t guarentee that and you aren’t his judge.
    Any person older than 14 knows that pointing a gun at someone is a threatening act and that there could be consequences. In the US, any male child of color should have had this shown to him over and over, while many whites try to be colorblind, many are not and the parents and grandparents remember a different time. So young boys are well aware that if they do something wrong(or even look like they are), they will be watched. Be threatening and you may get punished.
    The kid knows he could get clipped and did it anyway. Just maybe his being handicapped all his life and his story could keep a couple kids of ever doing this.

  • Mike January 6, 2017, 10:09 am

    Well, I can speak somewhat from experience on this matter. I have had a revolver pointed at my head during a robbery. Yes, the bore looked to be big enough for my head to easily fit inside. My first instinct was to comply, so I gave him all my money, $19. Well, it was back when gas was still under $1/gal., but as the robbery progressed either through sheer ignorance of the potential danger or blind luck, I noticed the cylinders of the gun and they appeared to be empty, so I grabbed my go to weapon of the time an 18inch crescent wrench and politely asked for my money back. Surprisingly, he didn’t want to return the money and instead played out his bluff taking a few steps back and pulling the trigger numerous times while still pointing the gun at me. This did give me pause, but after that he abandoned the bike he had ridden up to me on and took off running I chucked the wrench at him anyway, hitting him on the back of the shoulder. I didn’t get the money back but the police did have a nice bicycle from which to obtain his prints and sometime later I was able to pick him out of a photographic lineup. I don’t know if he continued his life of crime after he got out of prison. But I will tell you that I did not feel even a little bad at having taken action or making him suffer the consequences of his actions.
    Many years after that incident I also had an encounter that did end up with my actions taking a life, the situation was a bit different that time it was a lever action rifle pointed at my head with an extremely angry man announcing that he was going to kill me, while I believed him that did not immediately spur me into action, when I redirected the rifle away from me but put another life in jeopardy well that initiated a tunneling event that ended with a fatal response. Before that night I had never met the man, later I learned he had the proverbial mile long rap sheet for violent behavior. None of that gave me any sense of satisfaction for stopping him even if it might have saved others from harm in the future. I do still carry and have done so for the better part of 40 years now but I practice shoulder/leg placements, much like the European’s train their officers. My goal now is to stop the attack using the minimal amount of force needed.

  • Rick S January 6, 2017, 8:46 am

    If someone pulls a gun on me – and it doesn’t have an orange tip – I don’t have time to analyze what the gun is – but more what the perps intent is. Anyone that points a gun at another person (real or fake) has considered the possibility that they themselves can be shot in the act of their criminal intent – and has committed to that risk. Not that most of these idiots even think that far ahead – or even care.

    Take for example – the Ohio shooting of the kid in the park with the “fake gun” – where he was told to “not move” and started to draw the gun from his waistband. I’m a GUNSMITH – and after seeing the evidence photo’s of the gun – there’s no way from even 5 feet, that I could have determined that it was fake.

    The next example. I had some ya-hoos try to do a B&E on my place on New Years Day. Idiotic, because I have 3 fixed and one roaming camera covering that entry (including one DIRECTLY ABOVE). Starts out with a car pulling right up to the door, and a younger female knocking on the door (who I happened to be acquainted with) – and you can clearly see the male accomplice with a gun in his hand in the car (turned out to be a .22 semi). Now, I always answer my door with a firearm in hand (force of habit and the neighborhood I’m in), pretty much even if I know the person – and definitely if the camera’s show more than one person out of immediate view.

    Now – I WASN’T HOME (lucky for them) – but had I been, opened the door and had that .22 pointed at me – I would have had little choice but to end the threat. 2 of the 3 perps have been picked up already – charged with first degree felonies (armed burglary – even though the never penetrated my front door – all steel door/frame with stainless Medeco deadbolt). Retard even tried to shoot out the lock with the .22 – and didn’t bother policing his brass. ALL ON GLORIOUS 1080P Hi-Def Cams.

    In a critical defense situation – even the TRAINED (meaning COPS) have a difficult time ID’ing fake from real – nor should anyone have to defend a decision to shoot in self defense in one of these scenarios.

    The same as “don’t bring a knife to a gunfight” – don’t bring a FAKE GUN to a gunfight. Anyone who pulls a gun (fake, pellet or real) has taken on the commitment to get themselves shot in the act, and if they do – so be it.

    While I may lose a night or two of sleep, if someone that FORCED ME TO SHOOT THEM IN LAWFUL SELF DEFENSE – happened to NOT have a “real gun” – it’s still better than my kid having to write my eulogy, because I hesitated to defend myself against someone THAT DID.

    Hate to sound cavalier about it – but anyone that carries a gun, that isn’t prepared in their heart of hearts to use it – should it become necessary (and facing off with an armed assailant certainly qualifies) – is better off leaving it home in the safe. I have had to draw down on threats 3X in the 25 years I’ve been an EDC – all 3X the presence of my lethal response defused the situation and I made the decision NOT TO FIRE.


    • Wayne Watters January 6, 2017, 9:49 am

      Rick, I agree with all you said and have only one thing else to offer. Other than losing a night or two of sleep because of you had to take a life, which shows that you are a decent person, there is also the dread of their family members or friends taking action against you. In some cases you may know their family/friends and know where the threat would come from but in most, you will not.

    • Rich K. January 6, 2017, 9:54 am

      Shoot, even if it has an orange tip! Something I saw on the news a couple years ago mentioned gang leaders telling their members to paint the muzzles of their guns orange, in an effort to get cops to hesitate before shooting them (and thereby giving the gangstas a head start on their cop killing).

    • Floyd Burdett January 6, 2017, 10:31 am

      The “Fake Gun” issue is a Zero Sum issue to me… A GUN is A GUN…
      Suppose a criminal WANTS you to falter that extra second or 2 and ADDS an orange tip to his or her REAL GUN..??
      You just might make the decision to NOT shoot…and lose your LIFE because of it!
      Suppose it is a “starter pistol” or only shoots ‘blanks’..?? Powder blast close range from a starter pistol may still blind you — even if only momentarily — and the ‘wad’ from a blank round is almost as dangerous as a pellet — especially to the face!
      All of the points made in this article about the lingering remorse of taking a life are true… but at least YOU are still ALIVE.
      I have been involved with a self-defense shooting, and even though I did not have to go thru any legal issues — too long a story to tell, but it was a clear S/D situation — I still remember every second in deep detail, and wish it had never happened.
      But I had ONE CHANCE to survive, with one of those “desperation moves” that only because of my top physical condition, Military and ‘karate’ training, and the Grace of GOD was going to work…and it did. [I was REQUIRED by my employer to be unarmed, yet also required to be in that dangerous situation…a late-night ‘Bank Drop’ of daily sales receipts…]
      But now, MANY years later and with a variety of physical limitations due to a near-fatal traffic accident — where the other driver, who caused the crash, walked away with a $50 traffic ticket, btw — and the fact that I often have my 90 year old Mom along with me, “desperation moves” are out of the question… I carry even around the house! And I either carry ‘anyway’ in so called gun free zones, unless State Law prohibits it, or I simply NEVER go to a place that ‘requests me’ to not be armed…
      BTW — I do NOT put any decals or stickers on my vehicles that are “pro-gun” or brands and logo’s of manufacturers…even though I certainly “support” those … because I don’t want someone to think there may be a firearm inside my parked vehicle.

  • LittleBill January 6, 2017, 8:43 am

    You shoot!
    You did a great job in your description of showing the extreme uncertainty of this situation: Your assailant may or may not have a real gun. You may or may not get killed. So…. either way you’re taking a chance.
    Why take a chance on dying— if his gun is real? He’s been stupid and reckless enough to pull this stunt: let the chance of dying fall on him!
    Better to chance the aftermath— whatever it may be— than to chance ending up dead for a situation that you had nothing to do with creating.

    • Eric January 6, 2017, 10:53 am

      If any gun (pellet, fake, real, real orange painted) they have choosen to use a deadly weapon or representation of one on me … I will evaluate the choice I made to shoot after I have stopped the threat. To many trained police officers have lost their life evaluating if they should shoot or not based on gun identification …. what chance do I have with minimal training on gun recognition under duress.

  • Marcelino January 6, 2017, 8:34 am

    Blannelberry you shouldn’t be carrying a gun. You will get killed by thinking or analyzing to much. If someone points a gun at you and you go for your gun well goodbye. The situation you describe is from a Hollywood script. In real life you avoid putting yourself in dangerous scenarios.

  • Libertarian January 6, 2017, 8:20 am

    I agree with the previous comment that all of the ruminations in your scenario are not something anyone would have time for, and also the comment that the nature of the weapon being pointed at you is irrelevant: Your life is being threatened. Even if it’s a completely non-functional replica, you could end up pistol-whipped with it and then killed with your own weapon.
    I always take the approach an old cop friend of mine used to espouse:
    “Better to be tried by 12 than carried by six.”

  • Jimbob January 6, 2017, 8:16 am

    Play thug games, win thug prizes.

    Neighbors house was robbed by 3 kids the other day. If they had come through my window, they wouldn’t have made it back out.

  • Dutch Workman January 6, 2017, 7:28 am

    You do not have the right mental mindset to carry concealed… too many questions in a very obvious situation. You intentionally use the age of the perpetrator to change the Dynamics of a very dangerous situation. And remember you never draw your gun on someone that has a unholstered gun pointed at you you should know that

  • Dan January 6, 2017, 7:11 am

    Regardless of his age, if he is successful, he will continue to mug others, and will eventually injure or kill some innocent victim. This type of individual will escalate into a murderer at some point, and if he is caught before that, will go to prison where he will become even more dangerous. Best to take him out of the gene pool, and save some less prepared citizen from being accosted.

  • John January 6, 2017, 6:54 am

    How many times have you read about a person being attacked in “The Knock Out Game”? Lots. The result is usually serious injury, the older the vic the more serious the injury. If you carry, you have started to make the decision to protect yourself and your loved ones. Presented with a lethal threat react lethally and quickly. It may save your life. Carry insurance to cover this kind of situation to ease the financial strain of the civil suit to follow and go about your daily business with your situational awareness on full. With luck you will never have this situation come up. Train every week so you have the best chance of survival. Much better you live than the attacker.

  • Jon Stouffer January 6, 2017, 6:35 am

    When faced with a life & death decision you don’t have the time to process the scenarios you played in your narrative. The reality becomes real when you agree to conceal -carry and when you pack that gun away as you leave your home it becomes even more evident that you will pull that weapon when pressed to do so. Killing is the ultimate end of the line but lets look at it from another perspective. If you don’t react and it is a pellet gun it may not be the next time. If you don’t react and it he pistol whips you even after getting your valuables you still risk loss of eye site, brain damage or worse. I think the end result is evident in this case. the weapon is not the relevant issue here the issue quickly becomes ….is your life threatened? If it is then you have every right to defend yourself. If you have trained, prepared and know how to discharge the weapon you need to do so in a manner that protects you. In the end you’ll know rather quickly if this is a pellet gun or gun when you pull your weapon. If it is a pellet gun and the stupid kid has any wit about them they more than likely turn and run at which point you have concreted your assumption …..its a pellet gun. If the situation warrants – pull the trigger. Again I would stress this is not a situation where you process you react and in most cases the reaction is to pull and fire and would be supported in a court of law by virtually all states.

  • Ro Gal January 6, 2017, 5:48 am

    An excellent article, that frankly can be difficult to answer if you really immerse yourself in the scenario. If I were more inclined to believe it was not a real gun, I think I would draw my weapon as I step away in a defensive position. Once my weapon was trained on him…

  • Wade January 6, 2017, 5:31 am

    Clint Eastwood: “When you have to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk, shoot.”

    • Carroll Hale III January 6, 2017, 7:25 am

      Eli Wallach’s character (Tuco) said that, not Clint Eastwood’s character…

    • Carroll Hale III January 6, 2017, 8:09 am

      And the actual quote is “When you have to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk”

      • kane January 7, 2017, 11:20 am

        “There are two kinds of spurs, my friend. Those that come in by the door; those that come in by the window.”

  • Ron Stidham January 6, 2017, 4:56 am

    No one I know really wants to shoot (kill) someone. There are some great responses here, that I agree with-all of them. While my damaged and aging back will not allow me to be a ninja, I would have to agree that the gun in the face approach has been committed to in fact threaten your life. IF I had the room to move, and try to get myself into a better situation, as far as making an attack, maybe then I would try to get a upper hand. But again, I’m not a ninja I would have to let God and the law judge me. Given a chance I would pull my gun..

  • Jonny5 January 6, 2017, 3:52 am

    I completely agree you should where possible, thoroughly think and avoid shooting to kill every time if you can wound. In this instance however, I think he would have to take a round in the chest. You play with fire, you get burnt….

  • Mahatma Muhjesbude January 3, 2017, 12:44 pm

    Good thought snack S.J. But the belly still feels hungry…
    The other comments are correct. Age is relatively insignificant compared to the situation. If it is, indeed, an active criminal assault or robbery with anything that can be used as a weapon. A dummy metal replica pistol can still be a nasty blackjack, knocking you down hard on the concrete breaking open your skull like the proverbial egg and decease you to be yet another statistic of this rather not uncommon violence resulting fatality scenario.

    I’ve had four street robberies almost exactly like this except one with a knife and at least a couple more I seem to remember after a late night’s carousing and being too intoxicated to later remember the full script.

    I always had a gun on me and I never had to kill any of them. And they never got my money. The one with the knife actually stabbed me upon his approach so I did cripple him enough to put him in a wheel chair for several months, without even pulling my gun. I could have easily killed him with my bare hands also, but I chose not to.

    I’m not going to go into details but suffice to say some of us out there are more comfortable with themselves than others are in making the critical choice in these situations. Where most people have no choice other than to try to shoot the perp before he might shoot them, in such a criminal act. That’s all they train for. That’s all they know. And of course, in a scenario as you described here, the victim would be entirely justified in shooting the attacker because it was certainly likely, because of the specific dynamics of the assault that the perp would have committed coincidental or intentional great bodily harm in any event. And this is the law.

    I’ll just say that what you are trying to say in your tutorial series is something I agree with 100%. For the reasons you’ve already mentioned a life should never be so cavalierly taken when it is not absolutely necessary. The ‘necessary’ factor in the equation is the wild card that makes all the difference in the outcome. Unfortunately this is too often a subjective analysis and subject to a flawed perspective content. This is what’s wrong with all these bad police shootings and so many self defense concealed carry incidents with bad endings.

    In the Scenario at the public outhouse above, the difference between you and me is that if I’m suddenly turning around to have a pistol pointing at my face, which would be highly unlikely because of my personal habits in public places and tactics allowing strangers to get into my personal zone, I wouldn’t even be worried about whether or not it was a pellet gun. In the time you had that thought, The gun would have been gone from my face and his hand and the kid would have already been flat on his ass waiting painfully for my secondary decision of deciding whether or not to also break his arm for good measure? But I wouldn’t have killed him.

    The reason is that for someone like me who had long ago O’D’d on all this crazy shit, I’ve come to the point in life where I’d rather risk a skinned elbow or a torn shirt in taking the attacker down physically, than risking finding out that he was a mildly retarded teenager who never hurt a fly but was easily egged on to do stupid stuff like this by the asshole punks in the neighborhood… After I blew his whole innocent life away, when I didn’t ‘really’ have to, even though technically it was legal.
    I have a haunting nightmare of something like that because, I too, was once one of those mildy autistic always smiling and being taken advantaged of kid who occasionally got in trouble because of it.

    So handling things from that perspective is just my personal preference. And my risk to take. But life is always full of critical choices. And if you happen to be in a situation or lifestyle that throws a lot of critical decision making your way, you should prepare for it so you are able to make better, safer, less punitive, decisions.

    I’m sorry to say that most people with concealed carry permits walking around are ‘accidents’ waiting to happen. I won’t mention names but many of you readers here know who i’m talking about when certain popular CC training actually encourages encounters that you shouldn’t be trying to engage that are nothing less than asking for trouble.

    My generationally experienced advice to all new CC permit holders who are not also expansively trained/experienced in physical encounters/tactics is to think first about AVOIDING all potential street encounters as a first choice decision when out and about slinging your gun.

    Carrying a gun in your pocket does not mean that you now have a new obligation to society to be a surrogate cop or self appointed ‘street avenger’ in the hood. Sticking your nose in other people’s business when it’s none of yours will always result in getting it bloodied, and infinitely worse if you have a gun on you.
    That’s if you’re lucky.

    When I used to hand my students their black belts I whispered solemnly in their ears one of the great secrets of the Ninji. That “the fight you always win, is the one you never get into”.

    • Floyd Burdett January 6, 2017, 10:58 am

      I agree MOST with your closing comment… my Instructors said it a little differently, but the same meaning…
      “Better to AVOID a fight than to ‘Win’ a fight..!!”
      Certainly, situational awareness and being always in at least “yellow alert” makes all the difference in the world…
      But, now at 64 years old, and after a near-fatal accident that has left me quite limited physically… all of my Marine Training, Karate and CQC Training, and FORMER physical conditioning are no longer “available” as they once were. So I an no longer “un-load” on someone in the way I once could…nor can ANY of Us ever count on situations like this always being “One-on-One”!!
      So, for now at least, “Hand-to-Hand Combat” is no longer even on my ‘List of Options’..!! Maybe a quick ‘separation’ move or a possible opportunity for a single disabling strike…but no ‘Sparring’ or face-off fight… If it is a situation where I can “talk it down” I will do that. But otherwise, it has to be OVER QUICK!.
      Sometimes, even “Ranger Walker” [Chuck Norris] had to SHOOT! (-;

    • Reinhard Schwaninger January 6, 2017, 11:12 am

      Amen to that.

  • Cliff January 3, 2017, 7:25 am

    Wow–It seems to me that you have tried to assign responsibility to the victim rather than the bad guy. If you carrying concealed, you have made a decision not to be a victim. Second guessing that decision is not wise. the bad guy has made a decision already, he is breaking the law and he has no fear of being caught if he is there without a mask–he has committed–have you? No doubt, the aftermath of any shooting with be stressful, but is it more stressful to be dead or wounded? If and when the situation appears, there is no decision–life threatening situation–shoot!

  • Will Drider January 3, 2017, 2:39 am

    Way too much consideration for the thuggie and his/her choice of weapon. Eight to 80, desperate, dared, dumb or crazy: IT DOES NOT MATTER! “Armed Kids” have been used in Armies, guerrilla warfare, rebellion and terrorism. Thuggie Kids aren’t new but they are becomming more frequent and younger still.

    If a BG threatens you with a weapon, believe him. You have no factual reason not to. Any resulting action is based on a response to that and nothing else. Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying to snuff the neighbors kid playing cowboys and native Americans. Real threats dictate appropriate responseses.

    Lets hope no one ends up like the female cop that would not use her gun because she feared public backlash and almost got killed. What if you don’t think the Rohm .22 Short in his hand is real gun because the cyclinder is short and the metal is painted? What about the thuggies (and dumb asses) that paint muzzles orange? What about a guy with a bulge in his pocket he “projects” as a handgun? You must fully comprehend that it is a deliberate threat of lethal force being pressed upon you. Whether he is lying or not is not you concern, what you perceive is.

    The last thing I’ll address is some of the stupid pranks with fake guns, chainsaws, machetes, and bats, most to make a video of them scaring people. The same rules above apply and no one will be laughing. There is vid of a scary clown being drawn on too.

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