I hope I never have to even draw. If I have to draw it will be because it is the last possible option and I am willing to fire, but I will be hoping and praying the whole time I'm reaching and raising that somehow the situation will change so I don't have to pull the trigger.
If that makes me hesitate a fraction of a second longer before I fire, and that fraction of a second is the difference between living and dying for me, so be it. I will err on the side of not taking a life if I don't have to.
Whether you are like me, or whether you have a draw only to fire rule for yourself, just make sure you've counted the potential cost well beforehand.
Being active military in a combat arms MOS, escalation of force has been drilled into me. If I present my weapon and the threat is neutralized, then it's done. If the threat continues...all bets are off.
The whole idea of carrying a Defensive Weapon, is to stop a threat of death or great bodily harm. Not kill, not wound, not scare or threaten, but stop the threat.
Personally, I will NOT draw a concealed weapon unless I'm in fear of death or great bodily harm. If, while drawing, and before firing, the threat diminishes below my threshold of fear, I will NOT fire, but remain at low ready, while continuing to assess the threat, until it either completely disappears, or re-escalates. Also, as soon as it is safely possible, I will call 911, advising of situation and keeping the line open until Local Law enforcement is on the scene.
I have no desire of any kind to be involved in any way in a shooting incident, but have even less desire to be dead. You can read of all these incidents, train and plan your heart out, but what you cannot do is forsee any exact incident you may be involved in. Incidents where you have to make split second decisions, that can and WILL be "Monday Morning Quarterbacked " by people who have days, weeks or months, to examine your actions.
In nearly 40 years of carrying a firearm, I have yet had to discharge one aimed at another human being. Came close a couple of times, but the situation never quite got to that level.
I'm satisfied with that.
Is it really the best practice to wait until the LAST POSSIBLE moment as the LAST POSSIBLE option?
This is just some Lima musing here and I could be wrong but there is a pretty big risk in waiting until there are no other options... assuming you have a choice to begin with, of course.
For instance, I'm in the grocery store with my children and someone starts following me. He tells me I have a beautiful daughter and he thinks I'm lucky and that he wishes he could hold her (which I refuse). He continues to follow me and eventually I lose sight of him until I'm putting my groceries in the car. My son is standing beside me and my daughter is still in the cart. The man comes out of nowhere and starts approaching us. l tell him to stop. He doesn't. Now, I could wait until he's actually reached us. I could wait until he makes his ultimate intensions known. I coyd wait until he grabs my daughter or pulls a weapon. I could wait until he says,"I'm going to take her!" I could wait and go hands-on if / when he tries but I am so far behind the power curve and I'm putting myself and my children at great risk by waiting. So, I pull a gun and tell him to back off. I have 100% intent to use it if I need it but I've taken control of a potentially lethal situation without risking life or limb or my children and I believe I could defend my actions in a court of law.
Is it my last possible option? No! But it might be the best option given all things considered.
That being said, this is why I carry pepper spray. I wouldn't think twice about laying a cloud of pepper spray into said individuals face.
(The above scenario did not actually happen, l was using a fable).
Every year American citizens use guns about 2,400,000 times to protect themselves. In only a small percentage of those shots are fired.
For myself, I am absolutely only intending to be left alone, via stopping the violence that's impacting me; IOW, to stop the threat against me and mine. I have no specific intent to see anyone harmed, let alone killed. Sure, the aim points that allow for the most-rapid erasure of the threat happen to be the spots that control blood pressure, nervous-system function, and brain function. Despite the overlap, what I'm seeking is to stop the threat and not to necessarily kill, even though it's entirely possible that this will be the result of the felon's actions and my refusal of them.
Above and beyond all that, it just does nobody any good whatsoever (if charges occur and it reaches a court) to claim that death of the assailant was the point or goal, whether in words, on paper, in a discussion forum, or to anyone. Nobody, that is, other than the felon's estate/heirs and the lawyers involved.
Your intent (or words for it) might be otherwise. But mine is this.
In the stories that I have read, where the presentation of a firearm causes the BG to reconsider their actions without actually firing a shot, typically two of the AOJ criteria were present, coupled with a disparity of force. In these situations, the danger was imminent and real and the BG, typically multiple, were in the process of following and setting up their mark, which they had incorrectly viewed as a safe target. In these instances, had they progressed much further, the situation would likely have required actual deadly force to resolve.
In my opinion, there is a distinct difference between brandishing and readying a firearm with the intent to use it. I also don't see a problem with letting a BG know that should they proceed that they will be met with lethal force, as this alone may stop the threat.