Skip to comments.How to respond to an Active Shooter with your CCW pistol.
Posted on 01/10/2011 8:03:13 PM PST by Ramius
This is a topic that I have considered posting for a long time. I'm hoping to generate some good quality discussion, becuase I think this really matters. I don't know the answers. I hope that with some vigorous discussion maybe some good actionable ideas will come out.
The exercise is this: You are out and about, let's say... at a shopping mall. It could be anywhere, of course. But for the purposes of this exercise we're at a shopping mall. You're looking at a nice pair of boots in the window of some store-- suddenly the unmistakable sound of gunshots ring out. Someone is actively shooting nearby. We will assume for this exercise that:
-- You are lawfully carrying your concealed weapon. -- You are the sort that is running toward the sound of the guns.
So here are the questions:
1.) How do we recognize each other? Presumably, in a busy mall, it's entirely likely that more than one person with a CCW will respond to the sound of the guns. You run to the sound, but how do you know if when you see a guy with a gun, he's the guy with the gun that matters? What do we do about that?
Finding another CCW carrier to team up with is a huge force multiplier... but how do we recognize each other in a split second? Some of the alternatives are disastrous.
2.) How do we identify and distinguish ourselves to the police? The police will show up, and in ginormous numbers. Sooner or later the place will be crawling with them. How do we ~not~ be "the guy with a gun" they are looking for?
Let's face it... when there's an active shooter situation going on, when the cops show up (or even when some other CCW carriers show up) it's REALLY important that everybody understands who the threats are and who they aren't.
So. How do we do that?
Ping for the AM, but suggest keeping your weapon in its holster until you know what’s going on.
Your question really covers a lot of ground. First, your relative position to the shooter, and any cover in between, will be all important. Is his back or front toward you? What is the range? Are there bystanders in between you, or behind the shooter? Your possible shooting response will depend on all of these factors.
That said, I don’t think it’s wise for a CCW shooter to go trotting down a mall corridor, while shots are ringing out, with drawn weapon visible in hand. Too much chance of being dinged by an off-duty cop or another CCW shooter. I’d save the draw until later, while working to a position of advantage. If you can, utilize cover and concealment (kiosks, mall displays, furniture, shop doorways) while moving toward the active shooter. You must get close enough to make an assessment. If the guy is blasting away at victims and shooting them down, you may decide to give him the bum’s rush, even if it means moving from cover, while you draw and begin to shoot.
But if he’s cornered somewhere and firing to no effect, then try to find a position with cover where you can pin him in place if he moves to another position.
Really, so much depends on the unique situation, that it’s hard to say, “Do this or that.” We’d all prefer to line up a nice sight picture on the active shooter’s back, while his attention was elsewhere. But it probably won’t happen that way.
This has been discussed here several times in the past - usually after every major public shooting event. Essentially you take your chances and hope everyone is paying attention to what is going on around them, but I think that is being overly optimistic.
When his gun is against the head of a loved one, child, or innocent, take the shot.
You get you and yours to safety thru the back of the nearest store.
Don’t be a hero.
If you don’t know - and you’ll know if you know - it’s not your place.
Two guys shoving an attractive woman into a car at gunpoint as she screams “rape” could be two undercover cops taking down an uncoopertive hooker.
Another ping for the AM, old possums need their rest.
Be situationally aware at all times, but especially in a crowded area - know where the cover and concealment are located (there is a big difference); know that you can not protect everyone there, but your responsibility is to your family and yourself first (if you can get them out, do so); if you can see the shooter and can make a clean kill shot, do so, but do not put yourself at risk in the process by having to move from cover; keep in mind that there may be more than one shooter; when police arrive, you will hear them, and you will hear people yelling to them where the shooter(s) are; you don't want to be standing there with your weapon in hand when they arrive on scene - their adrenaline may get you killed, even if you are in a low ready position toward the shooter, because they have not yet been able to determine just who the shooter might be at that point...
Ultimately, if you are face-to-face with the shooter, it is "Gunfight at the OK Corral" time, so shoot and move at the same time. Make the shots count. Fast misses don't do a lot to a bad guy.
So, that is my 2 cents worth... Some may agree, some may disagree. But having studied real life occurances, and having played the role of both active shooter and of innocent bystander in these active shooter drills, I can speak firsthand about how these things go down.
You just made me feel a whole lot better about the last time I watched some guys do that.
If you can take him out before he kills more people, and you trust your shooting skills, and you are certain of who the perp is, you have to have the courage to do it. Yell “GET DOWN” and then plug him.
After you shoot him, scream “I shot the gun man”, toss your gun away from your body and lay down on the ground. Pray that you won’t get shot or blamed for the crime of the perp (like Sarah Palin who was not even there!).
You really don’t have much choice but to take him out fast if you can and IF YOU ARE ABLE. If you leave him to murder a bunch of innocent people, you get to live in your own hellish prison of guilt.
If you are not a good shot, then you might kill innocent people while trying to kill him. In that case, you can not do anything assuming he is beyond your reach, except get out of the line of fire and take the deer stuck in the headlights others with you.
These are very interesting questions. Some good answers on here too.
Silly question. Use the secret handshake!
I think state laws differ slightly in what you can do. You should research this for your state.
Some basic ideas: take cover and be ready to defend yourself if threatened. If you have family with you, this should be your primary concern. If someone is nearby and about to be shot, consider taking action to protect that person.
Running around with your gun drawn is a very bad idea.
You observe and make a judgment.
And heaven help you if you miss the perp and hit a bystander.
Just because you are carrying doesn’t mean you are bound to respond.
It could get you killed.
The scenario you have described, defense of another in a public place is the trickiest situation there is.
1.) How do we recognize each other? Presumably, in a busy mall, it’s entirely likely that more than one person with a CCW will respond to the sound of the guns. You run to the sound.
Good luck with that.
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