I personally wouldn't want to wait for SHTF. I would have hand on gun and wait for the most opportune moment to send armed robbers to Hell. "escalating the situation"? I dont know how much more escalating it could get. Just my 2 cents.
I can't wait for LEOs and others better trained then myself to chime in here, but something tells me 3 vs 1 when they already have their guns drawn and ready, is a bad tactical choice for you to engage.
By escalating the situation, I was thinking something along the lines of huddling up everyone prepping for executions, or if one of them is yelling to another "let's just shoot them and get out of here".
I look at it that if I open fire on 3 armed bad guys who already have their weapons out, I am then increasing my chances for injury or death. Here are possible scenarios of how this poker heist could play out:
1) 3 BGs enter, weapons present, and I channel Chuck Norris or Neo and somehow draw, aim, place 2-3 shots center mass on each bad guy, avoid shooting any bystanders, and avoid being shot myself. HIGHLY UNLIKELY. Maybe some of you guys have those skills, but I don't think the majority of CHL/CCWs do.
2) 3 BGs enter, weapons present, and start to open fire at poker patrons. I lose a second, and hope I am not shot at first, but I still would most likely be able to draw and fire seeing as how there are 6+ other targets the BGs could be firing at first.
3) 3 BGs enter, weapons present, and rob us at gunpoint. They then start to take actions such as hurdling us up against a wall and kneeling down, or verbal communications between the BGs knowing they were about to shoot . . . I could then still react before they fire a shot, and would essentially become scenario 1.
4) 3 BGs enter, weapons present, and rob us at gunpoint. I hand over the cash and stand there doing nothing. They get their intended loot, and not wanting to have a 1st degree murder charge X6, they then leave the office. I take down notes on physical descriptions, weapon types, license plate, etc. Everyone walks away a little lighter in the wallet, but uninjured . . . many armed robberies end like this, so I don't want to set in motion actions that would make sure injury and death would occur.
If anyone has a 5th or more scenarios that I am overlooking, please feel free to share.
I don't know how others might handle it, but I am going to chose actions which lead to the least likely possibility of me being shot and killed. Escalating a situation and opening fire at 3 armed gunmen when I am at a severe tactical disadvantage in my mind increases the likelihood of injury.
There are other tactical situations besides this 3v1 where I would shoot first, but this isn't one of them.