Too much warning?

Too much warning?

This is a discussion on Too much warning? within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; In the past two weeks, on three separate occasions, I overheard three opinions about how to handle a burglary/home invasion situation. Each discussion included a ...

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Thread: Too much warning?

  1. #1
    Member Array CharlieMike's Avatar
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    Too much warning?

    In the past two weeks, on three separate occasions, I overheard three opinions about how to handle a burglary/home invasion situation. Each discussion included a notion of giving warning.

    In the first conversation I heard, a fellow talked about how he instructed his wife find her revolver and fire a round into the floor. His reason for this was to frighten the intruder and to avoid being shot himself if he came home late.

    In another conversation, I heard someone make a similar comment but the wife was instructed to fire a warning shot with their shotgun.

    Finally, another fellow mentioned the old cycling the action on a pump shotgun trick -- even repeating, "every burglar know the sound of a shot gun," phrase while miming the motion.

    NOW, I've thought about this quite a bit and I think they have it wrong. I think letting a BG know you're armed can either scare the BG away or motivate the BG to use better tactics. If it simply makes him try harder, then you've lost the element of surprise.

    If I had a shot gun and if it could be done safely, I think I'd keep it in condition 1 -- no need to "pump" it. In the case of a burglary and in general, I'm not sure if it ever helps to let a BG know you're armed other than by -- well -- shooting him (clearly only if your life is in danger!).

    In each situation, I wanted to interject, "NO! DON'T SHOOT THE FLOOR," and, "NO! DON'T TRY TO SCARE THEM WITH THE PUMP SHOTGUN SOUND".

    Would I have been wrong?


  2. #2
    Distinguished Member Array Dakotaranger's Avatar
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    Throwing your 2 cents worth (or buck fifty in this case) isn't ever wrong, but I would back up your arguement why you think that would be wrong.

    In the circumstance you list (not much to go on) verbal commands would be more appripiate. I do realize there are times that it wouldn't be necessary or even wise to do anything other than what has to be done.
    "[T]he people are not to be disarmed of their weapons.
    They are left in full possession of them."

    Zacharia Johnson (speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention,25 June 1778)"The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed." ~Alexander Hamilton

  3. #3
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    A BG has multiple warnings already, including: my house number is boldly displayed outside the door; the door's locked. Folks that ignore those common warning signs proceed at their own risk. If the violence or speed of an invasion is such that use of a firearm is what's required to stop the attack, then frankly any delay taken to issue additional warnings (and verify the result) might well get you killed.

    Thankfully, in most places, one's home is legally acknowledged to be one's castle (literally) and a home invasion/robbery is seen as already having retreated as far as one's able. It's about as close to a legally acknowledged free-fire zone for a homeowner as exists.

    I have yet to be in such a situation, but it's not really much different than a multiple-person attack outside the home (which I have had to defend against, once). If attacked, defend. If time affords the luxury of doing so, loudly demand the BG stop & drop his weapons. If complied with, adjust; otherwise, stop the threat. Same thing inside the house.

    Now, I'm not saying that gunfire is the only response, but rather that any delay in a fast-moving invasion situation could easily mean loss of your life. Caution is due.
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  4. #4
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    interesting idea. My thoughts, BG breaking in, I call 911 while positioning myself. I am being recorded by 911, so a verbal warning to BG shows his intent to proceed even though being warned.
    If they though no one was home, they will bug out, unless they have a personal grudge more than likely they will bug out and find easier prey. If they do continue, at least I have a record of my multiple warnings before engaging.
    Finally , warning shots seem like a really bad idea. Ricochets are bad.
    "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson


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  5. #5
    Distinguished Member Array randytulsa2's Avatar
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    If you're busting into my house, your mama's teachings about not taking other people's things or your last time or two in jail are all the warning you're ever going to get about why you shouldn't be doing it.

    Maybe Satan can explain it a little better to you while my 12 ga./Mosin/.45 cool off.
    "...bad decisions that turn out well often make heroes."


    Gary D. Mitchell, A Sniper's Journey: The Truth About the Man and the Rifle, P. 103, NAL Caliber books, 2006, 1st Ed.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocky View Post
    .......My thoughts, BG breaking in, I call 911 while positioning myself. I am being recorded by 911, so a verbal warning to BG shows his intent to proceed even though being warned.
    .......If they do continue, at least I have a record of my multiple warnings before engaging.........Finally , warning shots seem like a really bad idea. Ricochets are bad.
    +1. The perfect legal position, as well as well thought out tactically, if time permits.


    The tyrant dies and his rule is over, the martyr dies and his rule begins. ― The Journals of Kierkegaard

  7. #7
    VIP Member Array peacefuljeffrey's Avatar
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    A warning (verbal, firing a shot) give warning to the burglar that he is opposed by the homeowner. This can give him the opportunity to prepare himself to battle it out with the homeowner. If you are justified in using force because he has broken into the home, why give him warning, why eliminate your advantage of surprise if you have it?

    Many people say that the first warning they give an intruder will be the sound of gunfire and the impact of a bullet. (Usually I guess that will be in reverse order. :grin1: I see their reasoning.

    If the burglar is roaming the house carrying a gun in his waistband, for example, and you shout out a warning when you hear him in the other room, guess what he might get ready to do. He wouldn't have necessarily known you were present and armed and ready to oppose him until you called out your warning. Now instead of having him happen upon you pointing your gun at him with him unaware, he happens upon you with the gun now in hand.

    There is no point in "playing fair" and giving him the chance to defend himself with his own weapon (or even an improvised one he may pick up in your home).

    One final thought: if you warn a burglar, rather than end his career using justified lethal force, and he goes a-running away, you may be sending him on to continue his crimes against other people, and this time he may gear himself up to be more forceful and violent.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ayan View Post
    Finally, another fellow mentioned the old cycling the action on a pump shotgun trick -- even repeating, "every burglar know the sound of a shot gun," phrase while miming the motion.
    WARNING! A SIXTO RANT IS COMING! IF YOU ARE EASILY OFFENDED, SKIP THE FIRST PARAGRAPH.
    This is not directed at anyone here. And Ayan, I understand your post completly.

    I am so tired of hearing this moronic phrase come out of sheeple's mouths. It almost as bad as the on "if you shoot him outside, drag them inside". Come on people, stop parroting the stuff you heard from your inbred neighbors. This kind of rhetoric is what makes gun owners look like fumbling bumpkins that can't count past ten.

    OK, I'm done now.

    A verbal warning would be OK, and in some states required. Such as, "I'm armed, the police have been called, leave now!" That is of course you have time to do such a thing. Other than that, I would be just repeating Rocky's, ccw9mm's, and peacefuljeffery's posts.
    Last edited by SIXTO; January 21st, 2007 at 02:58 PM.
    "Just blame Sixto"

  9. #9
    Senior Member Array purple88yj's Avatar
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    With 911 on the phone, I would think that you would be best served by giving the warning. Your recorded voice will be enough to show that you wanted no issues with said bad guy. If the BG does continue with his intentions, then you are more likely to be in the clear.

    That said, if the BG does decide to go find a weaker target, then so be it. My family is what matters to me.

    Now, being that my children sleep in another room, and there is no real barrier between them and the BG, I will be in a place where me and the BG will meet. Quite likely the BG will not only meet me, but a messy end.

  10. #10
    VIP Member Array Tom G's Avatar
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    I would call 911 and then give the bad guy a verval warning. I don't agree with fireing a warning shot. Why damage your house with gunfire. If your verbal warning dose not scare him off, find secure cover, hide, and wait on the BG next move . Do not try to clear the house due to this wiill put you at a serious disadvantage. Remember you have already called 911 and the cops are on their way.

  11. #11
    VIP Member Array peacefuljeffrey's Avatar
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    We should discuss the legality (or illegality?) of even firing the said warning shot. IS it legal? WILL it cause you more trouble than the other two options (of firing at the BG, or firing after warning him)?

  12. #12
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    As Stated Above...

    I will give plenty of warnings...the address on the door...the door locked...
    If listening carefully, the BG will here the 'click' of the safety...

    After the aforementioned 'warnings', there will be NO warning shots...only 2CM and 1H...

    If you come into my home uninvited, you'll probably leave in a horizontal position.

    Stay armed...stay safe!

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  13. #13
    VIP Member Array packinnova's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocky View Post
    interesting idea. My thoughts, BG breaking in, I call 911 while positioning myself. I am being recorded by 911, so a verbal warning to BG shows his intent to proceed even though being warned.
    If they though no one was home, they will bug out, unless they have a personal grudge more than likely they will bug out and find easier prey. If they do continue, at least I have a record of my multiple warnings before engaging.
    Finally , warning shots seem like a really bad idea. Ricochets are bad.
    Agreed...except Ricochets...It's not about the Richochets. The bullets want to find their way home...home being the BG. There's no place like home. There's no place like home. There's no place like home....

  14. #14
    VIP Member Array paramedic70002's Avatar
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    I think that a preemptive strike would be in order on a burglary suspect. That being said, you better be pretty sure Cousin Bubba isn't perpretrating a surprise visit because he didn't want to go home drunk, cause it's gonna be a BIG surprise for Cousin Bubba when you shoot him! Also be aware of possible accomplices. So, shouting FREEZE ought to be good enough. Gets the point and the message across. You can give follow up orders once you gauge compliance. If your uninvited guest is close to a door or window, I might modify that to FREEZE OR RUN! or maybe just RUN! If said guest failed to freeze or run away, then he starts to gain weight measured in grains.

    I can attest from personal experience that the sound of my shotgun racking in a round will induce what I call the "Shite or flight" reflex, which closely approximates the FREEZE/RUN command.
    "Each worker carried his sword strapped to his side." Nehemiah 4:18

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  15. #15
    Senior Member Array PaulG's Avatar
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    To me it depends on the situation.

    First of all: NO WARNING SHOTS EVER!!

    You are responsible for every round that leaves your gun. Don't run the risk just to warn a bad guy.

    As for pumping the shotgun, if my family is in the bedroom with me, we have already called 911 and I hear the bad guy coming up the steps, I will shout a warning that I am armed and the cops are on their way and I would reinforce this by racking the slide.

    I don't want to shoot anyone. I want the bad guy to re-evaluate his beliefs and decide that he has an urgent appointment somewhere else.

    I think that 99.999% of the bad guys will leave at this point. If I happen to have one of the other .001% coming after me, I will send him a few 00 buck warning shots to center of mass.

    If on the other hand my family is elsewhere in the house, I will go to them most likely with a pistol instead of a long gun due to the difficulting in manuvering with the shotgun. Stealth will be the rule. No warning of any kind. Shoot on sight.

    Having said all of that, my goal is to die of extreme old age having never fired at a human soul.

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