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Deputy's Observations: The First Rule of Gunfighting

Deputy's Observations: The First Rule of Gunfighting

Frank Hinkle

The first rule of surviving a gunfight is to have a gun to fight with. As we discussed in the previous article that means not only having a weapon, but also having it accessible to you when you need it. That does not mean under the seat of your car or inside of a briefcase. It means where you can put your hand to it immediately, and without taking your eyes off of any threat.

Example: my wife (also a peace officer) and I were shopping in a grocery store when she observed an ex-con looking male walking around the store in a suspicious manner. She went to the manager and told him that he had a booster in the store and what she had seen him take. We then attempted to finish our shopping without any further involvement. We were standing in line at the checkout counter when we saw the suspect exiting the store with the manger trailing along behind him. The suspect dropped some packs of cigarettes that we had seen him take, but still had others in his possession. I rethought my previous decision not to get further involved and started to go to cover the manager. But at the same time I decided that I needed to access my weapon before approaching the suspect. I had a .380ACP pistol in an ankle holster, but at that moment it was too far away from my hand to be of any use, and to retrieve it meant taking my eyes off of the situation that was developing.

That quickly a pickup truck driven by another ex-con looking male pulled up outside the doors and the first subject jumped into it. My first impression was that the truck was cleaner than both subjects and that it was probably stolen. The driver swerved towards the store manager and then sped off. This was not a simple petty theft-shoplift, it was 2 ex-cons on a crime spree, and they weren’t going to go back to jail quietly. And that all happened before I could get my pistol out of my ankle holster.

Not only was my weapon too far from my hand but it was also obvious to me was that I did not have nearly enough gun for that incident. A small .380 pistol or 2" revolver is great for carrying, but they are not always enough gun for the situation.

So what is “enough gun”? Using today’s collective body of knowledge that is an easy question to answer. One of your greatest concerns in today’s society is being the first armed person on the scene of an “active shooter” incident. Picture yourself off-duty and being at a school or shopping mall, a large restaurant or theater, and hearing gunfire and screaming. Our experiences over the last few years have taught us that mentally ill persons, alone or in groups, have acted out their fantasies of committing multiple murders in places like schools and shopping malls. Disgruntled ex-employees or scorned lovers have gone into crowed restaurants and offices to kill staff and customers alike. And the only way to stop the killing is to aggressively confront and incapacitate the killers. No waiting for back-up, no calling for SWAT, no setting up a perimeter or rendering of first aid to victims. We must peruse the shooter and attack them, put them on the defensive at risk to our own lives, and end the killing.

Look at the places that you frequent and at what distances you might be expected to make a pistol shot at in an active shooter scenario, and then ask yourself is you are confident in your ability to do so with the weapon that you would be carrying. It dose not matter what equipment you have back in your car if you are away from your car; you will forced to deal with this situation with what you are carrying on your body.

As you walk your child through their school, look at the layout and where cover is and where you might encounter an armed suspect. Do you practice 15-yard and 25-yard shooting with your sub-compact weapon? Now turn that around: If you came up to this corner, heard shooting, looked around the corner and saw an armed person shooting into a classroom, what weapon that you can carry on your body would you be able to make that shot with, in order to save lives?

I carry a Colt Combat Commander in .45 ACP loaded with Winchester Lawman Jacketed Hollow Point ammunition, 2-extra magazines and a pair of Peerless handcuffs. That’s what I’d want if I found myself at that corner, so that’s what I carry every day.

Stay safe, and stay alert.

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