Middle of the night visitor?
This is a discussion on Middle of the night visitor? within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; This is another true story that happened to me about 5 years ago. As I said in another post, we live outside the city limits ...
December 30th, 2006 10:43 AM
Middle of the night visitor?
This is another true story that happened to me about 5 years ago. As I said in another post, we live outside the city limits in an area that most would be considered the country. LEO response time can be a very, very long time. Our house has two doors one in the front and one in the back, but only the rear door is ever used. So around 2:30 am I hear a strange door bell. This was not our normal door bell, we had lived in the house for five years and had never heard the front door bell, it has a different ring than the rear door bell. After a couple seconds I realized what it was. I grabbed my S&W 629 and headed for the front door, while my wife got the kids in the back bedroom. I yeleed through the door that I had a gun and knew how to use it, no response. I slowly unlocked the door and cleared it from the door jamb, I continued to open the door with my foot while having the gun at ready to fire. I did not see anybody outside and wasn't going to venture outdoors, at this time I heard the rear door bell ring. I closed the front door and locked it and proceeded to the rear door anouncing again that I had a firearm. I opened the rear door the same as I had the front ready to fire, when the front door bell rang again. Now I was really getting pissed, locked the back door and went to the front, opened as before, saw nobody then all of a sudden a guy jumped out from the side of the porch standing directly in front of me. It was amazing how fast I had the gun pointed at this guy's nose, my finger was on the trigger and the hammer was already halfway back, all of this happened without ever thinking about it. I started screaming at this guy to show me his hands, the man started to make up a story about his car ran out of gas and he needed help. It was clear he was making up the story and that he was drunk. Our house sits way back off the street, there are other house directly on the street that someone who was out of gas would have gone to. I told him to stay right there. I locked the door and went into the basement to retrieve a gas can. I handed it to the guy and told him to keep it. I kept my sights on him until he was gone. It was very clear that this guy was scared to death staring down the barrel of that 44 mag, but I didn't realize how scared he was until I saw the puddle on the ground on my porch. This guy peed his britches, not to say I wouldn't have done the samething if I was staring down a big hole! The next day I found the gas can I had given him with about 1/2 of the gas still in it, it was then that I also realized that I gave him my premixed gas. Oh well not my car. I will never know what his true intentions were, but I was glad I was able to protect my family. Now I am sure I will get flamed for ever opening the door, I should have stayed in the back bedroom with my family like little scared church mice while the BG does whatever he wants to my property. Soory NC doesn't have a retreat law when you are on your own property, besides as I said in another post I have been properly trained how to protect myself and my family and hiding in a corner is just not me. What I did learn from this situation was how important training is. You will never truly realize how important training is until your must draw your weapon in a defensive manner and you do so out of pure natural response, you won't even have to think about what you are doing, it will just happen. Again, before you flame me for opening the door, let me say that I don't encourage anyone else to do the same. If you feel more comfortable in the bedroom waiting for a LEO to arrive than that is exactly what you should do, nothing wrong with that. If you can learn anything from this event I hope it is how important training is. I hope and pray you will never have to draw your weapon on a BG, but if you do it should be something that happens naturally, quickly and without thinking. The time to think is before you draw, not while your drawing. Flame Away.
When Seconds Count, The Cops Are Just Minutes Away!!
December 30th, 2006 11:23 AM
Don't be so hard on yourself, man. :) Just remember what you did and think about what you would change for next time and what you wouldn't. I'm sure your adrenaline was through the roof, so even remembering what to do different can be a problem.
Especially when it comes to clearing your home. It sounds rediculous, but I think its an intensely personal choice about whether you should clear your home or stay bunkered down (this is assuming you don't have kids across the house). Just practice what you SHOULD do...
IMO: As far as opening the door goes, if you are going to do it, throw the door open and take cover behind the door jam. Slowly opening the door with your foot gives away your surprise in a situaiton like that, AND provides them with a target (your foot). But it's okay, man. Every single day is an opportunity to learn something new. Lessons like these could save your life, though.
Keep safe, man.
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December 30th, 2006 11:32 AM
You did well. You and your family are safe. I live in the area as well, out on the Mitchell River. Seems that a large outside dog helps quite a bit, too. Just the barking on a dark night has caused a similiar reaction from a "visitor".
December 30th, 2006 11:37 AM
I might not have opened up the door, but I think you probably knew your situation better than me...rural (L-O-N-G LEO response time), one potential BG (not 4), etc.
It was your call and you did well: you're safe and so is your family.
And that dude OUGHT to think twice about stumbling up to houses in the middle of the night.
Maybe he'll stop drinking so much (as well as drinking and driving) and begin to carry a spare gas can/not start the car when he doesn't have enough gas to get where he's going.
We can always hope.
December 30th, 2006 11:48 AM
Glad you and your family ended up safe.
As far as opening the door goes, is there some way to see out onto the front porch without opening the door? If not, maybe you should consider installing something. Even a peephole would be better than nothing, though I'd prefer a real window (it's hard to identify someone through a peephole, much less assess their intentions). Even if you're armed, perhaps especially if you're armed, opening the door opens up a whole can of worms.
This is what really concerns me. As you say later "The time to think is before you draw, not while your drawing". Based on what you've said, the situation didn't justify a deadly force response at this point. He's certainly scared you, probably pissed you off with the whole front door/back door thing, and surprised you by jumping out suddenly. However, he doesn't represent a imminent, deadly threat just standing there.
Originally Posted by NCHornet
Your reaction is quite understandable, but that doesn't make it right. The decision to fire should be a conscious decision, not an instinctive reaction. Now, you didn't fire, but you were certainly on your way there. With the hammer halfway back on a double action revolver, if anything startles you, you could end up pulling the trigger the rest of the way involuntarily and having an ND right into the guy's face.
This brings up something I've been thinking about for a while: do we practice drawing and shooting too much? Now, there are situations where the ability to draw, shoot, and hit very quickly may well save a life, and I'm not saying we shouldn't practice for that. However, in the vast majority of cases where a firearm is used for self defense, the incident ends without a shot being fired. The mere display of a firearm is enough to bring it to an end. If we program our muscle memory that our drawstroke always ends with the pistol pointed at the target and the finger is inside the trigger guard and heading backwards, will this result in unnecessary shooting?
During my dry fire practice, I usually do a couple of draws to low ready, rather than a shooting position for just this reason. After reading NCHornet's experience I think I'll try to do a bit more of that, just to make sure that I don't automatically shoot under stress.
December 30th, 2006 12:49 PM
That visitor darned near got himself killed, didn't he? Coming up to a strange house, it seems (to me) that common courtesy would dictate staying in plain view and staying at a moderate distance away ... both of which are simple and serious non-threatening steps that can help telegraph intentions before even the first word is spoken. Of course, a criminal could leverage the same things to worm his way into your confidences. At 2:30am, anything is possible.
Can't fault your actions, other than: I probably would not have exited the house nor opened the door. Not at night, with my family inside. But that's just me. About the only other thing to consider would be: trigger finger. That's the problem with folks jumping out of the dark, from the side. With the finger on the trigger, the gun could easily have gone off. Fortunately it didn't.
Kudos on getting through it okay. I trust the visitor got a bit smarter for the wear, taking stock of the protocol demanded in the middle of the night to keep your butt safe and whole, when knockin' on doors of strangers' homes.
Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
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the number of victims?
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December 30th, 2006 02:12 PM
Wow, I thought y'all would flame me for sure. I don't usually mention this situation on forums because that has been the result in the past. You know the idea of a peep hole in the door is a great one and one I hadn't thought about. In this case it wouldn't have done any good because the perp was not in front of the door. I also don't like peeking out windows either, good way to get shot. I have been trained both ways on opening doorsinto an unknown enviorment, both instructors claimed their method was the best. In this situation I was able to open the door slowly with my foot while staying to the side of the door opening. I felt much more covered this way than just throwing the door open not knowing what was on the other side. I had an instructor years ago that made us practice with DA guns, revolvers especially to know our trigger pull. I still practice quite a bit with my revolvers. I am not a Clint Eastwwod, John Wayne type, not at all. This guy scared the ....... out of me and I thank God it didn't escalate into anything more severe. I don't believe I almost accidently shot the perp, what I was saying that because of the insisted training by a prior instructor I new exactly the travel of my DA trigger. It would have taken the same amount of pressure for me to follow through with the DA trigger pull as it would have to of fired my Glock from a stationary trigger. What I was trying to explain was how important proper training is and how you will resort back to it in a split second without having to think about what you are doing. Same goes for drawing your weapon from any type of holster, if you practice enough the movement will be very fast and pretty much without thought.
Looking back on this situation I learned a lot myself, when the door bell kept ringing back and forth I allowed myself to become very angry and to me this was a bad thing, anger can lead to a bad shoot and jail time. I would hope in the same situation I could react now with less anger. Thanks for creating an enviorment here where folks can share their experience without getting flamed. You are right we can all learn from each others experience and become better trained because of it. Training is as much mental as it is physical.
Y'all be safe.
When Seconds Count, The Cops Are Just Minutes Away!!
December 30th, 2006 02:54 PM
It's not a matter of knowing the travel of the trigger or the amount of pressure it takes to pull it. When something surprises us, all of our muscles tense up, including our trigger finger. This reaction is entirely involuntary, it doesn't involve the higher brain functions at all. Knowing how much travel you have and how much force it takes to activate the trigger are irrelevant. Involuntary muscle contractions are not something that can be 'trained out', they're hardwired into the human brain.
Originally Posted by NCHornet
You may want to take a look at the fifth entry on this page over at John Farnam's website. It describes an experiment where individuals were given a revolver (with a 14 pound trigger) loaded with simunitions rounds and sent down an alley filled with several actors playing drunks. Partway down the alley a 'drunk' lying under a tarp on the ground grabs the participant by the ankle. Almost every participant who had their finger inside the trigger guard when they were grabbed had an ND. Those who had their finger properly outside the trigger guard almost never did. This is why it is so important to keep the trigger finger outside the trigger guard until the decision to fire has been made.
December 30th, 2006 06:37 PM
Respectfully, I disagree with your statement here. Draw or draw/fire should be an instinctive reaction. When you are reacting to a threat, you are already behind the curve. Action is always faster than reaction. If under stress, you stop to think and make the decision, you are dead.
Originally Posted by Blackeagle
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December 30th, 2006 07:14 PM
Your situation is very similar to mine and my wife's of a couple of weeks ago.
It was 3 a.m. in the morning on Sunday. I had been in bed for hours and I was just returning from the restroom and heard gravel crunching. A car coming down our driveway. I looked quickly out of the window and saw the headlights.
"Oh, ****," I thought. You see, we live a mile off of the paved state road down a gravel private road and then down our 1/8 mile gravel driveway--and, we never have visitors! Especially at 3 a.m.
All this happened the ONE night I left my driveway gate open (NEVER do that if you're not a lover of surprises).
I woke my wife. The adrenaline was pumping high and to top it all off I was still very groggy from drinking beer the previous evening (remember, it was Sunday morning).
I looked out of the bedroom window that is right on our drive/parking area. It looked like a kid in an explorer or small pickup. He opened the door, leaned out, closed the door. Then he repeated this move a couple of times. First, I thought he was puking. Then I realized he was stuck--he had pulled in next to my wife's explorer, off of the gravel.
So, I was pretty sure it was a drunk kid stuck in my yard. But, remember, I was still groggy from the night before drinking beer.
I did not open the door when he rang the bell. It was just way too risky given my condition (drinking the night before, way groggy from sleep, adrenaline pumping, too). I told the kid throught the door that I had already called the sheriff's office and that they were on the way. I told him to go wait in his car, which he did. The deputies showed up and all's well that ends well.
We are what most would consider way out in the country, too. Our born-here country friends are amused at my reaction to the situation. However, I am cautious by nature and given that ANYONE would come as far as they did and ring my door bell--well, the kid's just lucky I did not answer. I had an XD in my hand and the slightest misinterpretation could have ended tragically--for both of us.
The deputies told me the kid WAS drunk but very polite.
When I go to someone's door even in broad daylight, I ring the bell and step well back so as not to present a threat. More people need to realize just how their actions, body language, etc. are perceived.
December 31st, 2006 03:36 AM
The Problem: When stupid people do stupid things, smart people end up getting killed.
December 31st, 2006 04:11 PM
Originally Posted by Blackeagle
Heh ... I have a peephole on my front door and have used it before, but always I am reminded of the scene in Hard Target (a pretty good movie, by the way!) in which the badguy's henchman puts a silenced auto up to the peephole and kills a guy just as he's looking to see who it is ...
January 2nd, 2007 11:03 PM
Originally Posted by Bando
January 3rd, 2007 01:41 AM
Let's Get Some Algebra In Here...
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January 8th, 2007 06:31 PM
Depends on where you live. In Florida, state law prohibits using a firearm while under the influence, but self-defense is specifically excepted from this prohibition. Having alcohol in one's system sure isn't going to help legally, but being in a castle-doctrine state like FL on your own property does help.
Originally Posted by Bando
I don't drink a lot, but I'll have one or even two beers with dinner or during the course of an evening at home, especially if it's the weekend. If something came down like one of the situations described here (neighborhood in the 'burbs), I'm not leaving the house until police are on the scene. Any interactions I'd have with a drunk reveler or a criminal (I guess you won't know which until afterwards) will thus be inside my locked house. If someone breaks into my house and I feel threatened enough to shoot, then that's just the way it'll be because I'm not going to not have a beer or two with dinner just in case our house needs defending.
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