What Do You Do When a Gunman Beats You to the Draw?

I don’t really like posting these snuff videos. To be candid, watching two men kill each other for the sake of watching two men kill each other is not only a bit twisted, but practically speaking it’s a waste of time. If you’re going to watch these videos, you ought to do so with a “what-can-I-learn-from-this” mindset.

In this instance, I think there is a question of how should you respond when the person beats you to the draw?

To recap the video, the suspect enters the crowded Venezuelan store and confronts the victim. The two exchange words. The suspect then steps back and draws his gun. It appears that for a split second the victim has not yet fully retrieved his weapon or doesn’t have it directed at the suspect. The suspect is reluctant to shoot at first but then opens fire as the victim attempts to complete his draw and point his weapon.

I’m not a tactical or self-defense expert, but I think space is your enemy in this situation. I think if you’re going to make an aggressive move, the move ought to be to close the distance and attempt to disarm the suspect as opposed to drawing your own weapon when he’s already got the bead on you.

Yet, if you’re going to attempt to complete the draw, as the victim did, he did the correct thing by changing the angle of his body, that is, he hit the floor while returning fire. This slight maneuver, whether it was deliberate or inadvertent (probably the latter as it appears he was shot), gives the suspect a moving, shifting target. Under the immense stress of a gunfight, it’s much more difficult to hit a target that’s moving than a target that’s stationary and already in the line of fire.

Both men died in this gunfight. However, one can argue that the suspect could have gotten away had it not been for the victim’s ability to shoot and move under duress.

I should also state that it’s not clear as to whether these two knew one another or whether they were involved in some type of gang or drug-related conflict.

Looking at the video, what did you learn? What are your thoughts about the way in which the victim responded?

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

{ 30 comments… add one }
  • Boomer November 2, 2016, 10:00 pm

    FINALLY, some common sense about “recovered” weapons. It’s an unknown variable, collateral damage and the law frowning on you shooting a now unarmed man are 3 reasons you Should NOT shoot unless another weapon is produced against you. Good job!

  • Russ February 16, 2015, 12:19 am

    The criminal came in straight over to the guy and suspected he had a gun.
    He reached over and touched the cc guys back to check for a weapon.
    He felt nothing there and feeling emboldened, drew on the guy and shot.
    The good guy shouldn’t have let someone come so close to him.
    He also should have been more alert to incoming patrons.
    Somehow that guy that came in saw or knew the good guy had a weapon.
    There seams to be much we don’t know about this scenario.
    I would only hope CC people would be more alert while armed out in public.
    Have some sort of plan to deal with a situation related to where your going.

  • RC February 11, 2015, 11:31 am

    Having read most of the comments, I noticed one (to me) glaring fault. The victim had his head down (even scrunched over) AND had his back to what appears to be the only entrance/exit! No matter whether it is a bar/ restaurant/ student union, or any other place where people gather (and especially sit) (and especially stand on line), I ALWAYS choose the position that allows me to keep an eye one who comes and who goes. Defensively; it wouldn’t have been difficult at all in that situation to either select a line where he could observe the door, or just work from the other side of the cart. There are lots of ways to get caught unawares over which one has no control. This victim was unnecessarily unaware. Oh; I’m with everyone who says close the gap. There were nards to be kneed.

    • Russ February 16, 2015, 12:23 am

      Good to see a fellow ccw licensee with brains

  • Bob Tuttle February 10, 2015, 4:40 pm

    What did I learn? Don’t go to Venezuela.

  • Jay February 10, 2015, 8:58 am

    I noticed that he, the perp came up to him and started feeling of him to weight the situation. Obviously to find out his next move! He more than likely knew this guy and that he carried a gun otherwise why do you walk up and immediately start feeling of some one like that. Thats one reason I carry concealed and doing what this guy did if you carry in a unsuspecting place out of the norm you regain the playing field. Beside the fact your not going to get away with feeling me up like that without a definite reaction from me, especially if your bad mouthing me in the process, you’ll be on the ground as fast as dirt falling, you’ll be as surprised as a heart attack! Gun’s aren’t the only self defense in a close up situation! Be prepared, react first, recap later! The victim and the perp might both still be alive if he had an immediate reaction, as touching someone, verbal abuse, can be construed as an assault especially if during the recap a gun is found! Perp goes to jail, assuming the victim was legally carrying a weapon! I might add though.
    In Venezuela, civilians are not allowed to possess weapons of war, including: machine guns, sub-machine guns, carbines, pistols and revolvers, be they automatic or semi-automatic. Civilians are only authorized to hold .22 rifles and shotguns.
    In Venezuela, only licensed gun owners may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition
    Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in Venezuela are required to establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example, self-defence, hunting and sport and must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every year for a licence to carry firearms for the protection of persons, every two years for a licence to carry firearms for hunting, sporting purposes, and for personal defence, and every three years for a licence for in-house ownership of firearms.
    I would guess both were in illegal possession of a firearm and they both knew it, more than likely gang related!

    • Russ February 16, 2015, 12:27 am

      We saw the same goings on.

  • Methadras February 9, 2015, 9:02 pm

    I think the problem is two fold here. First the perpetrator goes directly to his mark. He didn’t look around, he didn’t wait. He went straight to him, so he’s already pegged him, but considering this happened in Venezuela, which in and of itself is a cesspool of crime. Then the perp reaches, I believe, for the gun to take it out of its holster of the victim. I think that’s what he’s trying to do and then it goes from 0-100 in an instant. The victim hesitated and let the perp stand back to get a shot. The rest is history. Now, in that split second decision the victim sees the gun drawn on him, doesn’t believe it, but gets shot, then the gun comes out, the fall, then the ensuing shots towards the perp.

    Now, what would I take from this video if I was armed in that situation knowing what I know now and seeing it play out this way? It would be to immobilize the perps arm, hand, or body if I can so I can draw and shoot or try to get the weapon away from me as far as possible. It’s a tough call, but that’s what I think I would do seeing this. If someone approaches you in this way, there is no time for words like in this video. You can see they are exchanging words. That’s too much time. I would say nothing and attack. I’ll take my chances later if I live.

  • Kalashnikov Dude February 9, 2015, 6:30 pm

    After several times watching the only conclusion I came to would be that the victim would have benefited from quicker reaction with an evasive maneuver, to either side, or to the floor. It appeared as though his draw and target acquisition was right on, even though he had already been shot. A quicker initial reaction could have saved his life as well. He hesitated. All I can say is that I hope my reaction in similar circumstances would be sufficient. In this country, your right to defend yourself is recognized. As a potential juror, watching this video, I would not be able to convict the victim for even manslaughter if he evaded, drew and fired the millisecond the suspect made a fast move. If not, then maybe even before if he felt threatened by the very encounter, and so drew on the suspect, holding him at gunpoint. Rash? Maybe. But in this case at least, they might both still be alive. Fast draw? there’s always somebody faster. If spaghetti westerns have taught us nothing else……As I grow older and hopefully wiser, having the gun out out to start is even better if you’re on the right side of things. I call it tactical high ground.

  • terrence flynn February 9, 2015, 1:33 pm

    The defender’s first thought when the other drew his gun was pull my gun. This what got him killed. In that close of proximity he should closed the distance and got his hands on the gun or the guys gun hand and jammed it against his body. And whatever else happend never let go. If nothing else he shold have immediately moved away at angle and gone for cover while drawing. I see this in training with people. When they carrying a gun the first reaction is try and draw whatever the situation is. People need to train that notion out their heads.

  • Dave Brown February 9, 2015, 12:28 pm

    Interesting considering we don’t know much about the what and why. The Lady was very aware of her surroundings, and got the heck out of there. This Keep Shooting Stuff is one reason police are having so many problems. I believe in the Double Tap, a micro second pause, and additional fire in needed. I don’t know if the first guy double tapped or not, but it appears he did not , and had ever chance to fire and move. I have watched police shoot twice before they should have and shoot 2 more times just to be safe. They shot before the adverse even started to swing on them. They have to live with that. I blame their trainers as it appears the Double Tape is no longer considered reasonable. I still defend and respect the police, but it is getting a little harder as they seem to be trained to kill rather then to determine the threat, try to afford firing a second too soon, and to just keep firing away. Time for their trainers to be retrained.

  • dave hamilton February 9, 2015, 11:26 am

    If any of you ever get a chance, attend Jeff Hall’s, “Finish Th Fight”. In his 4 hour talk he covers just such instances. Very good. Class. However, I don’t think he has made it available in book form, just live presentations.

  • JL Keim February 9, 2015, 10:17 am

    My karate instructor spent hours with me discussing how to manage “the distance ” . like a boxer , fighting a rh opponent you always move to his left in defense to take out the threat from the right and the power from his jab – ie to his weak side . Creating distance is defense, spanning distance is offense – usually . In this scenario the offensive man came in to a crowded place , with one intention to kill the other guy … the second guy let him get really close and had very few options , that was the purpose of the approach – eliminate a defense – and it worked …also the second offense guy was on the shooters weak side – less defensive options …a pistol , to me , is always a way to create and maintain MORE distance , why ? because you can effectively span the distance with the bullet ..This is not a very good example for this discussion , my advice would be – if you have people pissed enough to be trying to kill you specifically- and in public , you should 1. wear body amour , 2 watch around you better , 3. have someone with you to watch around you ( like the offensive party did ) …. if you are being hunted you better be quick and know who’s around you ..not very likely occurrence …to survive this fight , even a very trained guy would have to depend on some good luck to come out alive

    • Howard February 11, 2015, 1:00 am

      My Ju-Jitsu instructor used to say ” When attacked by an opponent with a gun you should control the distance. Within 3 seconds of the start of the fight you should be either so far away that you are in a different zip code or so close that you are inside his underwear. ” that still makes good sense to me after 20 years of fighting…..

  • listen to this February 9, 2015, 10:04 am

    According to our Federal government’s agenda along with some states, we are supposed to call the police while the scum bags prey on innocent civilians and waste tax dollars buying cops donuts, coffee and gas. With that being said you are liable for every time you pull the trigger even in the line of self defense. The spray your opponent with bullets tactic will more likely keep you alive when time is not on your side to aim. However be ready for lawsuits and prison time if you do it in a city of America.

    • listen to this February 9, 2015, 10:07 am

      My phone is going crazy if it is not about the article GOA may not want to post it

  • chip s February 9, 2015, 8:49 am

    great learning tactic

  • petru sova February 9, 2015, 8:27 am

    We really do not know what happened here. Was this a personal confrontation or was it an attempt by the victim to thwart a robbery. Either way the victim was not skilled in how to disarm a man with a handgun and even if he was the experts will tell you this is a last ditch procedure you should not attempt unless you know the gunman is about to shoot you. In the video it looks like the gunman never intended to shoot the victim until the victim drew his own gun which set off the gun fight.

    If this was a robbery then the victim should have either let the guy rob the store or if he wanted to draw and fire he would have had to do it when the gunman turned away to rob the store or was running out the door. Either way there was way more of a chance the victim would have survived.

  • Bob February 9, 2015, 7:55 am

    The most alert person is the young women behind the two men. She immediately removes herself and her daughter from the situation. If I’ve learned anything from this video it’s stay alert stay alive.

  • Mike K February 9, 2015, 7:50 am

    “WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN A GUNMAN BEATS YOU TO THE DRAW?” Run like hell and kind of zig zag!

    • DJ Bucciarelli February 9, 2015, 11:24 am

      “… Serpentine Sheldon, Serpentine!”

  • tahoejohn February 9, 2015, 5:26 am

    The victim should have rushed the gunman for a solid shot to the neck or groin or eyes or throat; he missed the oportunity during the bad guy’s hesitation. Either way the victim would have lived if he attacked and forgot about his gun. Chances are one round will not hit vitals as mentioned previously in this thread. This was a no brainer!

    Gunny O

    • Clinton Greywolf September 14, 2015, 6:50 pm

      I don’t know, a draw under real world presure can be amazingly fast! Provided, of course, you practiced correctly alot beforhand.
      Good shooting!!!

  • john February 9, 2015, 4:29 am

    Very informative. Definitely changed my mind about what I would do in that situation. Love these articles and videos. Keep it up.

  • Mike February 8, 2015, 9:52 am

    Watched this several times for perspective. First, I only speculate on what *I* would do in the same situation. But, watching carefully, I think the victim was made and had no choice but to draw. At some time early in the encounter the perp touched the victim right at 4:00, easily determining he was armed. At that point things escalated rapidly.
    My take away from this is not let ANYONE within arms reach of me and more important, my weapon. Using only the information I see in this video, I would not have drawn, I would have tried to withdrawal from the fight first.
    Now having said that, I enjoyed watched the perp die for his crime.

  • Frank February 7, 2015, 7:27 pm

    THIS is why officers are taught to keep shooting! Just hitting him does not mean he is no longer a threat! Both subjects sustained hits. One returned fire AFTER being mortally wounded and killed the guy that shot him. The other took MULTIPLE hits and still managed to run before collapsing – time which could have been used to keep shooting instead of running.

    You’ve heard the questions and seen the statements… “Why did he shoot so many times?” THIS IS WHY! “It’s excessive force to shoot someone that many times.” THIS IS WHY IT IS NOT!

    In the words of artillery, “Keep shooting until it changes shape or bursts into flames.”

  • Frank February 7, 2015, 7:26 pm

    THIS is why officers are taught to keep shooting! Just hitting him does not mean he is no longer a threat! Both subjects sustained hits. One returned fire AFTER being mortally wounded and killed the guy that shot him. The other took MULTIPLE hits and still managed to run before collapsing – time which could have been used to keep shooting instead of running.

    You’ve heard the questions and seen the statements… “Why did he shoot so many times?” THIS IS WHY! “It’s excessive force to shoot someone that many times.” THIS IS WHY IT IS NOT!

    In the words of artillery, “Keep shooting until it changes shape or bursts into flames.”

  • josh February 7, 2015, 2:56 pm

    I totally agree with you (editor)… If the suspect outdrew you close the distance as fast as possible and attempt to disarm him… before drawing your own weapon…

  • Floyd Drennon February 7, 2015, 11:48 am

    If you have to go, take as many of the bastards as you can with you. The whole situation stank from the defender’s view.

    • Chris February 7, 2015, 7:40 pm


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