SA is all important!

This is a discussion on SA is all important! within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; So I'm new here, but I hope sharing this story helps others to think about this type of thing. First ill just give a basic ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array XD9rottie's Avatar
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    SA is all important!

    So I'm new here, but I hope sharing this story helps others to think about this type of thing.

    First ill just give a basic account, then I will talk about my thoughts and feelings etc.

    The account: Approx 1pm broad daylight Sat afternoon in an Applebee's parking lot.

    I had just finished lunch with my family (wife, 2 year old daughter, 2 month old son, her brother and his wife). I was carrying my XD subcompact 9mm in my crossbreed. Upon exiting the restaurant I glanced around (its a habit now), and noted an individual at the far end of the lot, looked like he was finishing a smoke break or something, as soon as he saw us he started walking quickly our way. Oddly, the lot seemed very empty, we were the only people headed to or from any of the cars at the time.

    He was about 100 yards off so I just continued to our car, but I walked slower than the group on purpose to put me between them and him. I was not expecting trouble, since there is a bus stop close by, but something in the back of my head told me to keep an eye on this guy. As I continued walking I would glance back now and then, he was closing the distance, but still 40-50 yards off. When I reached the back of my car I gave another glance, he was now 15 yards away and nearly jogging, I went to "orange" and I turned to face him, but I kept a bladed stance with my strong side facing the car.

    I started "noting" things like his olive drab coat, grey wool cap, dirty white shoes, tattered blue jeans, bloodshot eyes, both hands in his pockets, his right arm cocked out kinda weird.

    About this point he's roughly 20 feet away, I noticed his eyes, bloodshot, and I forced myself to focus on his hands. Couldn't see them. I said rather tersely "Can I help you?" He seemed a bit startled and said "hey man you got 50 cents, can I have 50 cents?" Without realizing it I had at some-point placed my hand on my weapon, I did not draw, but I had my hand there. I said "No" firmly, he trotted off to the side and then Ran across the 4 lane street.

    The family didn't know what had happened they were busy getting the kids into the car seats etc.

    Now for my thoughts and feelings. I knew that a police officer had been shot not 3 blocks from that location a couple of months prior I had also got done re-reading a post on an AR15 board called "street robberies and you". I was most worried about his hands, in other encounters I've had with people, I've always seen their hands and never felt the need to touch my weapon. In this case I didn't know what this guy was about and I could've figure out why his hands were in his pockets. His right arm being winged out at an odd angle gave me concern as well.

    I found it very odd that he approached me being that there were 3 other adults not 10 feet behind me. Even stranger was a request for 50 cents, you can't even make a phone call for that anymore.

    I'm not a small guy, about 6 foot tall and 260 lbs (mostly flab I'm afraid). My bro-in-law is about the same.

    I figure he must have figured out I was armed since my hand was behind my back, probably that's why he ran across the road.

    Per the advice I had previously read, I did not call the police because I had not drawn nor said anything that would indicate I was armed. I could have been reaching for my wallet after all. He hadn't done anything more overt than panhandle for money, except for the hands thing.

    I posted this in another forum and the first reply I got was I should leave my gun at home before I end up in jail. I asked some LEO friends as well as my former CCW instructors who told me better paranoid and alive then caught off-guard. The LEO's I talked to said that if I had show him the muzzle it would have been a problem.

    After I got in the car and drove off is when the adrenalin felt like it kicked in.

    So I've been dissecting this in my head ever since. I hope it helps people to think. I will say that training and forcing yourself to keep your situational awareness high is so vitally important. Had I not seen this guy coming, he could have surprised me and "came out of nowhere". Again, I've had numerous other encounters with panhandlers and others "on the street" and this is the only time so far that I have ever placed my hand on my weapon.

    His mannerisms and bodily language seemed aggressive until I spoke, when I said no he seemed to "deflate".

    So there it is. Am I a paranoid idiot, or did I do right?


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  3. #2
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    'Sounds like you did great. It doesn't get much better than de-escalation. He doesn't have "need to know" that you had a plan that would allow you to kill him, if necessary.

    I wouldn't spend too much time trying to get into this guy's head about why he chose you or why he went about it like he did. You'd likely be giving him way too much credit.

    Good job.
    mano3, JDE101, BlueHawk76 and 1 others like this.
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    Distinguished Member Array lionround's Avatar
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    I would say you handled that correctly. Your SA was up but you didn't overreact.
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    Senior Member Array mano3's Avatar
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    Good job!
    US Air Force, 1986 - 2007

    "To disarm the people is the best and most effective way to enslave them..." George Mason

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    Member Array KingWalleye's Avatar
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    You used the best tool available. Your brain.

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    Member Array latentcarry's Avatar
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    You did right IMO, your alertness may have saved you from worse. Maybe he intended to slam you at a good run and grab what he could while you were in shock, maybe he was just running for the bus. I doubt panhandling was the object of the trip. Just an excuse to get away when he realized he was made. You diffused the issue with a reasonable question and life goes on.
    ep1953 likes this.

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    Good job. Funny about the other forum ragging on you as another one thought it was fine to actually draw the unseen weapon and bashed me because I was against going that far unprovoked.

    As for me, I made a trip to Ft. Lauderdale yesterday with my 6906 in the console. I didn't put it on because I was dropping the wife off at the front door of a quilt show and making a run to Outdoor World while she was inside. I knew the parking lot at OW would be busy and I found a spot only a few spaces away from the door (Not as busy as I thought), so I left the gun in the console. I had time to spare after I finished, so I drove to a park next to the quilt show and parked in an empty row under some shade to read a book and wait.

    I'm not the paranoia type, but it perked my interest when a jacked-up, super-size wheeled, obnoxious-colored vehicle with blacked-out windows (get the pic?) pulled in directly next to me--in a wide-open row of empty spaces, all shaded. Now why would someone do that, especially with a paint job that cost more than my vehicle? The little man in my head says, "He's up to no good or thinks you want to make a buy."

    The gun comes out and under my T while I continue to read, looking over after every paragraph to see what's up and to let him know I'm aware. After about 15 minutes it was time to pick up the wife, but before I got out of the lot another clunker pulled in next to the pimpmobile and the windows rolled down. I left them to their business--whatever it may have been-- and exited stage left.

    Lesson learned? Don't wait in that park for the wife to finish. And for any in the vicinity, OW was stocking the shelf with Fed 9mm 115 FMJs--$15 and limit of five.
    Retired USAF E-8. Lighten up and enjoy life because:
    Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid... "For What It's Worth" Buffalo Springfield

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XD9rottie View Post
    His mannerisms and bodily language seemed aggressive until I spoke, when I said no he seemed to "deflate".

    So there it is. Am I a paranoid idiot, or did I do right?
    Sounds like you did fine, that your awareness and preparedness (not "paranoia") worked for you.

    Mannerisms, body language, speech, the "look" of a person, the direction you're approached, "the line" you're cast ... all of these can be indicators. And when that little voice tells you enough of those indicators all point to the same thing (ie, threat), then you'd darned well better be prepared for what's coming. All too often, it's exactly what the little hairs on your neck are telling you. Often it's not, sure, but if you're unprepared you can easily be overwhelmed at that turning point.

    Sounds like you did fine. Putting your hand on your weapon at that point isn't foolardy. It's wise. Ensuring you don't get an unknown, "scruffy" / questionable looking and seeming person within 3ft of you is crucial. If that is achieved via verbally engaging the person at 15-20ft, great. If it takes firm body language and manner to dissuade, fine. If OTOH it takes a bit more firmness as you showed, it is what it is. You didn't get faced with an actual deadly threat, so actually drawing wasn't justifiable (IMO). But, reasonably, you weren't prepared to get caught behind the 8-ball with condition white blinding you silly until he was in your face with who-knows-what was in his pocket. That "crooked" elbow and hands in the pocket conspired with his mannerisms, look and approach to turn on all the right signals. Sounds like you did well.

    Want proof, or about as close to it as you're going to get? He ran away, once he saw you were seriously refusing to allow the situation to go any further; and he saw that. But who in his right mind is going to run across the street like a rabbit, after casually asking for spare change, other than someone caught with his conniving butt in a ringer? Think about it.

    Evaluate, consider options for dealing with the approach in different ways, learn from it and file it away. As sure as sunshine, you'll find that knowledge useful in the future, for dealing with such things the next time around.

    Congrats.
    BlueHawk76 and MrsHB like this.
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    VIP Member Array JDE101's Avatar
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    As others have said, you did just fine. The only thing I might have done differently was to confront him before he got to within 20 ft of me. That is a little closer than I want to let an individual who looks like that and acts like that approach me. Other than that, you did fine. keep up the awareness. It is amazing how many people are totally oblivious to what is going on around them! A lot of "situations" could be avoided if people were more aware of their surroundings.
    ep1953 likes this.
    Live to ride, ride to live. Harley Road King And keep a .45 handy Kimber Custom TLE II

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    Member Array XD9rottie's Avatar
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    SA is all important!

    Completely agree. I've seen all the info about the 27 foot thing (man with knife can stab you before you can fire if he's 27 foot away or closer). Where I "went wrong" was letting him go directly behind me, I'm still trying to figure out what I could have done a little differently to keep sight on him, but the layout and where I was, I basically had to have been an owl to get my head around that far.


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    VIP Member Array Harryball's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XD9rottie View Post
    Completely agree. I've seen all the info about the 27 foot thing (man with knife can stab you before you can fire if he's 27 foot away or closer). Where I "went wrong" was letting him go directly behind me, I'm still trying to figure out what I could have done a little differently to keep sight on him, but the layout and where I was, I basically had to have been an owl to get my head around that far.


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    Not everything is going to be perfect like we imagine. Things in life will distract you, do not over think this. You did just fine. The best part of a gun fight is not getting into one.
    Don"t let stupid be your skill set....

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    Senior Member Array ep1953's Avatar
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    You did great. Keeping alert and letting the potential BG know that you were alert in my opinion caused him to abandon what would have at least been an aggressive case of panhandling and maybe much worse.

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    Distinguished Member Array grouse's Avatar
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    No, you are not a "loon". I only hopr i could do as well.

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    Distinguished Member Array kelcarry's Avatar
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    Hey XD: Could not agree with you more. IMO, situational awareness (SA) is more important than any firearm training etal. Not saying that you avoid training but it goes back to the old story about Plaxico Burris, the former wide receiver of the NY Giants, who ended up shooting himself in the leg from a firearm he had on him that was illegal; he ended up serving time in jail. When asked about the firearm he said he needed it because of where he was going--the answer he got back was obvious--"if you needed a firearm to go there, why in hell were you going there". I am sure, like in your story, things can happen in a busy parking lot in the daytime, but my SA tells me that I do not go places where there is a chance of danger; night, bad neighborhood, remote area come to mind. No matter where I am, I am looking and planning for whatever. When I am in my car, I leave space in front of me and try to maintain a position that will allow me to "get outta here". I do not use ATMs--period. Anything that could cause me a problem is not important enough for me to become part of. Easier said then done but you never let up on SA--if you never have a confrontation, your firearm and the training never become an issue.
    PS: Asking for 50 cents is the first question. Asking for cigarette is the first question. The second question usually is not a question it is a command--GIVE IT UP OR ELSE.
    Quepsiphismk likes this.

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    Member Array Kutz's Avatar
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    This Forum is called Defensivecarry not Offensivecarry, you & your SA won. You did well!

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