Keeping a safe distance... what is reasonable?

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Thread: Keeping a safe distance... what is reasonable?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array CR2008's Avatar
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    Keeping a safe distance... what is reasonable?

    YouTube - man beats female cop

    I was watching this video here and notice how fast this officer got KOed... and I was thinking if there was any thing to learn by this. Thankfully the perp did not use the officers weapon against her to finish her off, he drove away.

    It surely does not take much time to put someone down if they are that close, even if the attacker is unarmed, who has the real advantage here ESPECIALLY if you had a weapon carried in a manner that drawing is slow, or having no round in the chamber (takes 2 hands to operate, cant fight off attacker with free hand)?

    Let us assume that the victim WAS NOT a police officer, but a CCW permit holder instead, and the UNARMED attacker (after making verbal threats or threatening gestures to harm you) gets closer and closer, when would it be right to draw your weapon ?(especially if there was no chance of effective escape.)

    I am 27, 6' 3" and 165lbs, should I let a man (as shown in the video there), after making threats or posturing in a threatening manner, get that close to me before drawing, after warning him to stop? Assume there is no reasonable mode of escape and that the man does not have his hands in his pockets, he is simply approaching you with clenched fists...
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    First, in the video the officer (and I know you said to imagine this was a CCW holder, but I'll explain) is APPROACHING the BG to cuff him (assuming, because she has her cuffs out and is telling him to turn around).

    Second, as a CCW, I WOULD NOT BE DOING THIS! My job isn't to get closer to someone and try to cuff them, my job is to get away.

    Someone starts approaching me making threats I'm moving the opposite direction.

    At first she is out of his reach but she gets closer and closer, he turns and she has her hand on him, MORE THAN ENOUGH space for him to simply swing his arm (which he did) and knock her out.

    As a CCW holder, going the opposite direction, I hope to put MORE distance between us, not close the gap. I will tell the assailant to "BACK OFF" if he doesn't and escape is not possible and he's getting closer, he's started something bigger.

    And NO.. even as a big man, you should NOT let anyone get close to you after making threats. If you've warned him to stop, if you have no escape, you have no other choice than to assume he's getting closer to you for a bad reason.

    And what is a reasonable distance? Another state is a good start, but I'll start with out of arms reach as the bare stinking minimum. When doing some force-on-force drills with JD I've learned that within arms reach is almost always very VERY bad. With every added foot my chances go up but my first priority is to stay out of arms reach. After that it's just to create as much distance as humanly possible.

  4. #3
    VIP Member Array wmhawth's Avatar
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    That was sickening. I hope that punk serves all 60 years. I guess it was a hard lesson in tactics for the officer.

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    Member Array JudoJake's Avatar
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    There are other differences. The BG in this video knew that he was dealing with an armed officer. And the directions given by the officer were in a lawful attempt to arrest the BG.

    When somebody threatens you it is OK to say, "Get back! Stay away from me!" However often they are upset with you, and arguing, but haven't directly threatened you. Say you took their parking space, your kid shoved their kid or whatever. The point is you don't know whether they intend to hit you or whatever, but they are close enough to do it. Telling them to,"Get back!" because they are upset and want to ague or talk to you is an option, but often not a realistic one. Also these people don't know that you are carrying a gun, giving them orders will most likely amp things up, when you should be trying to calm things down.

    Bottom line as I see it. People communicate and talk at close distance in everyday conversations. Someone might start out friendly talking with you and then get more aggressive as the conversation goes on. That doesn't mean that your life is being threatened, or that they want to disarm you(they don't even know that you are carrying). We should expect these situations to happen and expect to be placed in situations that are not ideal. Also they don't have to obey you and back up or get away from you. They can stand wherever they want.

    This is where you need more in your tool box than just drawing your weapon. Distance is good, look for it, create it when possible, but don't expect it all the time.

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    Senior Member Array Pete Zaria's Avatar
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    We're all told that the rule is something around 21 feet.

    Let's face it; It's dang near impossible to keep a threat 21 feet away from you.

    Having said that, I would certinaly not let the threat get as close as in that video.
    I know that to draw from concealment and fire a controlled pair takes me just under two seconds, and that's on a good day. A ticked off big angry dude could probably cover at least 15 feet in that time.

    Corny as it sounds, I think you really have to go on instincts. Some situations may dictate drawing at 21 feet and others may dictate waiting until the threat is confirmed, and that may be 6 feet away.

    Situational awareness still is, as usual, your #1 weapon. Try to ID threats long before they get that close, and be formulating a plan before you actually need it.
    Try to put objects (cars, walls, dumpsters, whatever's available) between you and the threat. Back away while you verbalize warnings ("DON'T GET ANY CLOSER" "IM IN FEAR OF MY LIFE" and lastly "STOP OR ILL SHOOT" and etc..., things that bystanders will remember in court ).

    If you feel a threat to your life is credible and immediate, draw. Period. ("You must act decisively enough, quickly enough.") But remember you'll have to defend your actions in court as reasonable.

    Just my inflation-adjusted two cents.

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    Member Array JudoJake's Avatar
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    Exactly! Situational awareness. They don't call it a sucker punch for nothing!

    The way I see it there are several lessons to be learned here. Most importantly is for us to revisit the OODA Loop. She OBSERVED his behavior, but didn't ORIENTATE herself to the fact that she was about to be in a fight. And if she did ORIENTATE herself and some might say that she did, because she called for backup, pointed her finger and gave verbal commands, she made a bad DECISION by engaging, instead of disengaging and drawing her gun/spray or whatever. She ACTED, but I doubt in the future she would DECIDE to ACT in that way in a similar situation. It goes back to training and experience, with a little luck thrown in.

    The other problem is presumed compliance. She had most likely arrested several people and was used to them obeying her commands. She presumed that he would too, as indicated by the fact that she had her handcuffs out before the suspect had complied with her commands. This is an easy trap to fall into.

    P.S. It doesn't hurt to be to have a strong chin.

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    VIP Member Array MitchellCT's Avatar
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    Reasonable is situational and therefore defined by the totality of the circumstances.

    This in turn is evaluated under the subjective/objective test used for all use of force incidents.

    If you are subjectively reasonable, and your subjective judgment is found to be objectively reasonable, your use of force in a given situation is justified.

    If not, then not.

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    Member Array JudoJake's Avatar
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    That is correct Michael.

    Another way I have heard it said is this; What would a reasonable person do in your situation? Which is really the question that will be asked? You just have to do what is reasonable and then be judged by reasonable people.

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    VIP Member Array MitchellCT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JudoJake View Post
    That is correct Michael.

    Another way I have heard it said is this; What would a reasonable person do in your situation? Which is really the question that will be asked? You just have to do what is reasonable and then be judged by reasonable people.
    The subjective/objective test is simple

    Based upon what you knew or reasonably believed at that moment, and the fear you were under, were your actions reasonable TO YOU?

    Next, are your actions, based on what you knew and believed and felt at that moment, actions society would consider reasonable?

    Someone may be genuinely terrified of clowns, and if a clown approached him, he may be subjectively justified in shooting the clown...but that is not something society deems reasonable.

    Your subjective reasonability is enhanced by your training.

    For instance, I've been training in FMA since 2004 and been doing other martial arts for a long time before that, so I know dam well what a larger person can do unarmed, and quite frankly, it give me the shivers thinking about the damage a committed attacker can do, even unarmed.

    Armed with a contact or edged weapon, I know to be even more fearful because I know how much injury can be caused and how fast it can be done and how easily edged weapons are hidden, so my subjective fear of your unarmed man approaching with apparently hostile intent is rather high.

    Is my fear something that society is going to deem reasonable?

    Depends on how well that can be sold to the trier of fact making the decision.

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    Member Array JudoJake's Avatar
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    Well said. I think that articulation is not one of your weaker points. You will definitely get into more trouble from what you say than what you do.

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    VIP Member Array MitchellCT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JudoJake View Post
    You will definitely get into more trouble from what you say than what you do.
    Then let me take this opportunity to remind people that the best thing to say in the aftermath of a use of force incident is...

    "I would like to speak to a lawyer before answering any questions."

    (Except in Texas. You don't need the 5th amendment in Texas...)

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    Senior Member Array jframe38's Avatar
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    Officer quit

    I've seen this video on a TV show and I'm pretty sure that the officer quit the force after this.

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    VIP Member Array KenpoTex's Avatar
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    As Mitchell pointed out, "reasonable" is going to depend on the circumstances.

    And yes, as has already been stated in this thread (and I hope it won't turn in to 10 pages of "me too"), CCW'ers and LEO's face different circumstances and have different duties.

    Just because you're not a LEO and probably won't have to approach someone like this doesn't mean you may not find yourself in close proximity to someone that means to do you harm. If you were allways in condition yellow and able to run away, all the martial-arts and defensive pistol instructors out there would be out of a job...bottom line is, it does happen.

    So, how do we deal with this type of thing?
    -Understanding the OODA-Loop and action/reaction is part of it.
    -Being able to recognize pre-assault cues is part of it.
    -Having an effective default-response (credit to SouthNarc for the term) to a surprise attack is part of it.

    One thing that I saw that probably reduced the chances of this officer was that, IMO, she wasn't ready to fight. Instead of focusing on his behavior and body language, she already had her cuffs out and was talking on her radio as she was moving into the BG's striking range.
    "Being a predator isn't always comfortable but the only other option is to be prey. That is not an acceptable option." ~Phil Messina

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    Member Array crankshop1000's Avatar
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    being a former LEO and of rather substantial frame,I recall numerous attempts by bg's to intimidate me into not doing my job. It must be be a lot worse for female officers.Not everybody is cut out for police work and we can't all be Chuck Norris.Simple fact of life is that if a bg senses a weakness, some will try to exploit it. Some cops are going to get beat. The result of this is the "small cop syndrom" that can result in over-reaction by the cop or improper use of force by police. 2 man teams are generally still a good idea in busy areas.

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    Senior Member Array Cthulhu's Avatar
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    A few weeks back, my FMA training group had some fun analyzing the "Tueller Drill", aka, '21-foot rule'. Fun, interesting, and painful.

    Painful for me, at least. Sprinting in steel-toe boots. Bad idea. Gravity is a cruel, merciless mistress.

    But I digress...

    Our training group has a fairly diverse set of people. Ages span the mid-20's to mid-50's. Tall, thin woman. Shorter, stocky guys. Most everything in-between, though there really isn't anyone in our group that is significantly overweight.

    We measured off 7 yards, and using a par/shot timer, set the par time at 1.5 seconds, and just did some runs to show that each person could cover the distance to a kicking shield and whack it in that time.

    EASILY done. And ain't none of us Olympic sprinters. Shoot, I'm fairly certain my 8-year old can outrun me. Covering the distance was fairly easy, even if not trying to sprint full-out for me. STOPPING was a little scary, as there was a fence right behind the person holding the kicking shield. But covering the distance? Easy.

    Most of us carry, so most had our holsters on us that day. Using either a training gun or an airsoft gun, some took turns drawing on a rusher. USUALLY got stuck (aluminum and plastic training knives...fun) if you just stood your ground and cleared leather/kydex.

    Moving backwards usually caused you to get stuck, as well as slowed your presentation time. Unless you're being rushed by someone with an impairment, you can pretty much count on the fact that they can always run forward faster than you can move backward.

    Moving back at an angle can serve to create more distance (think Pythagoras), but timing is a factor. If not timed correctly, it can be easy for the attacker to put on more speed while adjusting their own angle, and you still have the potential issue of fumbling your draw while moving.

    Moving FORWARD at a slight angle can be really effective, but timing is very, very, VERY critical here. If timed correctly, as you've started your forward angle (we call it zoning), if they're at a good clip, they simple can't change their approach fast enough and either shoot by you or have to make a wide arc to get back on target. If timed incorrectly, you've shortened the distance, they adjust instantly, and you're pretty much hosed.

    Another option is to deal with the approaching threat (i.e., the blade in our case) first, THEN worry about getting to your firearm. Obviously, you need extensive training with unarmed defense against a knife (never advisable, but not impossible). You also have to be aware of the position of your holstered weapon to your attacker. Basically, it's getting away from the "you have a hammer, so every problem is a nail" mentality. Use a prybar first...then drop your hammer.

    It's also fun to play with multiple threats. Two or three people milling around at 21 feet, and the defender doesn't know which is going to rush him. Doing it while the defender is distracted is fun, too. I rushed a couple of people while they were talking to the instructor.

    If you're not cheating, you're not trying hard enough.

    When it comes down to it, if you stand your ground, may as well start digging your own hole.

    TRAIN the scenario so you can have an idea of what to expect, should you have the misfortune of being in that situation.

    MOVEMENT is your friend.

    Situational awareness is a must for ANY situation. If you carry, wherever you go, there is ALWAYS at least one gun present...yours. Related to that - try not to go places where twits wave knives around.

    Obstacles. If you can get behind something that will impede the attacker's forward progress in any way, get the heck behind that something.

    If you have access to a shot/par timer and a range that will let you draw and fire from a holster, take advantage of that and learn how quickly you can draw and put a couple into COM. If anything, just another excuse to head to the range.

    I can't say anything about already having your gun out if you know there's some twit walking around with a bared knife. A LEO will likely have to go by department policy, and regular shmucks like me shouldn't be confronting any twit walking around with a bared knife, anyway.

    Having said all that, it's just a fun thing to train.

    But don't wear steel-toe boots. If you get into a fight with Isaac Newton, he always wins. Got the scar to prove it.

    -JT

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