Defensive Gun Use / The Decision to Defend Oneself

Episode 8 - Defensive Gun Use / The Decision to Defend Oneself

Defensive gun use (DGU) is the use or presentation of a firearm for self-defense, or defense of others. Estimates over the number of defensive gun uses vary wildly depending on the study's definition of a defensive gun use, survey design, population, criteria, time-period studied, and other factors. Low-end estimates are in the range of 55,000 to 80,000 incidents per year, while high end estimates reach up to 4.7 million per year.

There are not this many actual shootings. In the vast majority of cases, an armed citizen brings his or her firearm to bear on the bad guy or guys, the perps think better of their plans for rape, robbery and/or violent assault, and leave.

You must be prepared to shoot someone who poses an imminent, credible threat of death or grievous bodily harm. It is important that you be able to draw your gun quickly and efficiently.

This is a simple matter of practice. Start at home. Wearing normal concealment clothes and your carry system (gun and holster), unload your gun, put the ammo in another room, then return and safety check your gun again. Find a safe direction to aim your gun (what would happen if you fired a round?). If there isn’t one (i.e. you live in an urban apartment), find someplace else to practice.

When interviewed after a DGU, a lot of armed self-defenders say they have no idea how their gun got into their hands. If you practice drawing from concealment, not only will you be fast and efficient, you’ll also have a good firing grip and your sights will be on target, automatically. That’s a big, possibly even life-saving advantage to have.

Train with the following in mind.

1. Be prepared to use deadly force.

This emotional, mental and psychological decision must be made long before the incident arrives. You may have to shoot a man, a woman, pregnant lady or a teenager. Think about it before the time arrives.  Be prepared to stop a co-worker, a neighbor, a teammate, friend or even a relative.  You may have to physically hurt or kill someone that you know, someone you’ve talked with, like, or someone you think you know well.


2.  Action is faster than reaction.

If someone’s pointing a gun at you, you must act fast. He can pull the trigger anytime he wants to, and you’ll be DRT, dead right there. Never, ever get involved in a so-called Mexican standoff where two people just stand there and point guns at each other.  Save that for Hollywood because in real life, if you do that, you could lose with disastrous results.

3. Have a positive ID on the threat/target, then shoot.

Be absolutely sure of your target before pulling the trigger.  If you’re too quick on the trigger, you might shoot the wrong person at the wrong time.

4. Shoot from behind cover, if available.

Know the difference between cover and concealment.  Get to hard cover and stay there until the threat stops.  Of course, shoot from behind cover and move only if you are gaining a tactical advantage without sacrificing your own safety.

5. Shoot on the move.  Shoot then move.  Move then shoot.

Practice all of these. Static shooting will get you killed.  Save that for target shooting and plinking.

6. Don’t turn your back on the threat.

If you need to retreat do so, but don’t turn your back, if possible.

7. Keep your eyes on the threat.

Your eyes are key in battle.  Protect your eyes and keep your head on a swivel.

8. Don’t hesitate.

Hesitation kills. Hesitation is your enemy, but so is shooting too fast.

10. Shoot center mass.

It’s the largest area on the body. Save shooting the gun out of someone’s hand for the movies.  Don’t shoot the leg or the shoulder, shoot center mass.  The next best target is the head and then the pelvis, but first shoot center mass.

11. Shoot until the threat stops.

If you’re justified to shoot, realize that the attacker might continue even after one or two shots, so keep shooting until the threat has stopped.  If you want some insight into this, plan a visit with an ER doctor in a big, violent city.

12. Have an individual first aid medical kit (IFAK) handy.

You’ll need it when you least expect it. Personal first aid kit, a vehicle kit, and a kit at home to be completely prepared. The kit should address blood stoppage, wound dressing, tourniquets, along with basic needs.

13. Be aggressive.

Violence of action is your friend, as long as it is controlled.  Be tactically smart, but aggressive in movement and attitude.  Call it what you will, but in the end, more violence wins.

14. Train hard.

Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “Training in all its phases must be intensive.”  The harder you train, the more you’ll begin to conquer your own inner weaknesses and the more confidence you’ll gain.