Self-defense expectations: "normal" vs. abnormal

This is a discussion on Self-defense expectations: "normal" vs. abnormal within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; If this reflection is merely a boring rehash, please forgive me and ignore the post: I've been thinking of late about the contrast between the ...

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Thread: Self-defense expectations: "normal" vs. abnormal

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    Member Array PeterCartwright's Avatar
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    Self-defense expectations: "normal" vs. abnormal

    If this reflection is merely a boring rehash, please forgive me and ignore the post: I've been thinking of late about the contrast between the "average" kind of self-defense incident (e.g. for example, those cited monthly in NRA publications) vs. the extrordinary kinds of events we've all witnessed in national news (e.g. the determined suicidal shooter who assulted the Denver area church). It strikes me that the self-defense needs between these two scenarios are very different.

    I can't remember reading about an incident in which an "average" self-defense episode required a reload. Nor, for that matter, can I remember any of these "average" encounters that wouldn't have been suitably served by a good old "J" frame stuffed with appropriate ammunition. (I'm not trying to restart any arguments here, merely making a point. Stay with me.)

    On the other hand, I suspect that many of us are beginning to think about the the "extrordinary" incident-like the suicidal maniac who attacks the mega church, or the deeply disturbed teen who decides to play "Terminator" at the mall. It strikes me that the expecations between "average" self-defense needs and "extrordinary" situations give very different answers to the kind of arm one may choose to carry, number of rounds carried, etc.

    My personal expectation as a civilian, is that my primary responsibility is to protect myself and my loved ones while I seek to withdraw from trouble. Still, if a "terminator" began shooting at everybody in sight while I was at the mall, I'd personally feel more comforted by the precision, reach and capacity of my Sig P220 over my trusty 642. Thoughts?

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  3. #2
    Distinguished Member Array randytulsa2's Avatar
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    My thoughts are that you are right.

    Most of us aren't going to need much more than a snubby for most situations that would justify the use of deadly force. They are for the most part going to be up-close and personal - - occurring, at furthest, at an arm's length, more often with some bodily contact. They'll be over with in a few seconds with one or two shots.

    The key word there is "most". What of the nut job who decides to shoot up the restaurant, mall, office, etc.? Or what of an ambush situation with more than one perp, at least one of whom is armed with a gun?

    Shooting a thug who jumps out from behind a car and tries to stab you or cut you with a switchblade or broken bottle in order to get your wallet, your car or your wife's purse is a whole other ball game from an actual "gunfight", i.e., where both parties have guns....

    Different deal.
    "...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.

  4. #3
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    I think that if some whacko decides to start a real battle in a mall,church or whatever....I am going to want more than a pistol.

    I will want a rifle or a shotgun. Nobody in their right mind brings a hangun to a gunfight unless its totatly unexpected. I realize that its a compromise, but in the event that a long shot presents itself, say in a mall at 25+ yards, I'm sure that I would feel much better armed with my Sig220 than I would if I were carrying a 5 shot .38.

    Since cant carry longarms around, we just have to arm ourselves for bad things that could happen. Thats another reason why I am an advocate of carrying a full sized pistol on ones person.
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    VIP Member Array Rob72's Avatar
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    The key to surviving unexpected violent assault is the initiation of overwhelmingly superior violent force. That's the concensus of every trainer worth taking a class from, LE or civvie. We all have Personal Risk Assessments that may change from day to day, but as with any professional or performance field, if we train/optimize our performance for "average", 60% of potential challenges will be beyond our ability to deal with them. The odds are looking a little unhealthy.(We're better than 50% of the BG in conditioning & speed-we'll say-, and say 10% of the BGs are "equal" to us but will have the advantage of initiative...)

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    VIP Member Array Supertac45's Avatar
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    What if a mag fails? I carry extra mags as a comfort to me knowing I have the necessary tools if I need them. Also the reason for the BUG.
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    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    Longer range, significant caliber

    I think you have a point. While a small, short range gun with minimal sights might be adequate to handle the mugger armed with a knife, a suicidal person who wants to kill dozens before dying himself is a different situation. The latter person is more likely to be armed with a semiautomatic rifle or two pistols, have lots of ammo, and be wearing a bulletproof vest. Possibly the only way you can bring him down might be a head shot from 50 feet or more.

    Your one advantage could be that the shooter is not specifically focused on you, but rather on many targets in a large arc around himself, so that you might be able to take a careful, aimed shot from his side or rear before he realizes you are there and are armed.

    The other possibility is that he is coming right at you, and you might have to fire many shots at him from the front, while taking return fire from him, to bring him down. And again you could be engaging him at a distance of 50 feet or greater, so that accuracy is paramount.

    In this situation I don't think I would want my S&W 642 snubby or my Kahr MK9, neither of which are long range guns with significant ammo capacity. I would rather have a .40 or .45 with 4 to 5 inch barrel and more rounds in the gun. And I'd want it to be a gun that I had practiced with extensively and was accurate in my hands. Of the carry guns I have used personally, I'd pick my Sig P229 in .40 or Kimber Pro in .45.
    Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the Peoples' Liberty's Teeth." - George Washington

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    Hopefully we have all the key elements in our preparedness...

    ~ Awareness (situational and personal)
    ~ Weapon(s)

    ~ Mental preparedness. A willingness and determination to adapt and use any tool or tactic necessary to survive a violent encounter. A solid resolve that you WILL survive and you WILL win!

    Finally...

    ~ Practice, practice, practice.
    ALWAYS carry! - NEVER tell!

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    I've come to the understanding that my pistol is only to bail me out of trouble, not save the world. It doesnt matter if its 9mm or 45, has 5 shots or 20. Most any quality handgun is going to do the trick just fine 99.9% of the time.
    In the unlikely event that I get caught up in a mall type of rampage, I'm going to be outclassed from square one if the BG has a long gun. Guess what, I'm outta there. My pistol is to save me and my family in a dire situation, not for heroics.
    I've been in exactly one gun fight when I had a pistol and a BG had a rifle, I dont want to do that again. It sucked.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    Member Array OldMick's Avatar
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    Said only partially in jest: Of all the accounts of self defense incidents involving the use of a handgun, I've never seen the statement, "I wish I was carrying LESS ammo."

    I'm sure a revolver with no speedloader would be adequate for most situations, but I'm just more comfortable with either a magazine that holds more rounds, or the spare mag I carry with a 239.

    Just personal preference.

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    Member Array ken45's Avatar
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    I look at it statistically. I figure there is maybe a 1 in 100 chance that I'll ever need to fire my gun in self defense. If so, there is a 1 in 100 chance that I'd need a reload. (My numbers can be argued, but the principle is valid, IMO.)

    So that makes it about 1 in 10,000 that I'd need a reload. Even with a reload, there still is a chance that a single person with a handgun won't be enough either, I might need a military battalion, or at least a platoon.

    The other thing I will say is that I think excess availability of ammo leads to "pray and spray" shooting. When cops carried revolvers, they typically used only 3 or 4 rounds in a shootout. Now they tend to empty Glocks with only a single hit, if they are lucky. In one local shootout, the cop emptied a 21 round Glock and all he hit was a neighbor's TV :(

    Myself, I'm comfortable with 9 rounds of .45 (or 5 if I'm carrying the revolver). Now if i HAD to go out during a civil disturbance, yes, I'd carry more.

    Just my $.02

    Ken

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    Senior Member Array psychophipps's Avatar
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    It's nice to shoot the numbers around the internet on forums like this but the one statistic that I never see is that there is a whole heap of dead folks out there who never thought it could happen to them and guess what?

    If all those people keep beating the odds, what makes you think you won't?

  13. #12
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    I find only one flaw with your argument Ken... what are the odds you will have a malfunction and need another mag? Thats what a reload is for in most cases, not more ammo. I also figure if I'm going to carry a gun, an extra mag isnt a big deal to carry too.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    VIP Member Array matiki's Avatar
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    I'd rather have the extra ammo and not need it.

    I'd also rather have the extra barrel length and not need it.

    Further, I also would rather have the extra BUG and not need it.

    Even further, I also would rather have the extra BUG mags and not need them.

    I can't think of anything worse than needing 15 rounds and having 14, or any close approximation of that type of situation.
    "Wise people learn when they can; fools learn when they must." - The Duke of Wellington

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    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    IMHO one should carry such handgun to be effective at 25 yards , the ability to be effective at same , and the mindset to recognize a lethal danger at long range and high speed . One should always carry a reload for whatever the chosen pistol is be it revolver or pistol because when it quits going bang for whatever reason the fix is to feed it fresh ammo .

    From here it becomes scenario Dependant as to what the proper course of action is , If you MUST engage a target have the skills to shoot the bad guy down . In most cases i strongly recommend you take your family and self and get to heck out of there . Its not a popular view here , and its not necessairly what i might do , but it is the prudent view that will allow your children to have both parents while they grow up . My children are grown now and that does make a difference .
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
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    I wish I had a way to know when and where I would need a gun.I would stay home that day.I carry my g27 with 1 extra mag (20 rounds) I also carry a 25 auto with no extra mag (6 rounds) I dont think this combo will get me through any situation its just all I can conceal and still conduct a normal day without giving up my little secret.I carry to protect myself and my family and to be able to retreat from a situation.I hope I never have to struggle with having to decide if I should put my life in danger to help a stranger and maybe not get home to my family that day or let them be had by the wolf.

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