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Three Common Tactical & Legal Mistakes You Should Know (and avoid) ^ | 13 September, 2012 | Jeffrey Denning

Posted on 09/17/2012 8:16:40 AM PDT by marktwain

I’m going to assume you’re a reasonable person. You do not provoke or engage in physical confrontations for the sport of it. You are legally authorized to possess a firearm. Further, your self-defense case does not hinge upon your alcohol consumption, your right to stand your ground or some off colored remark you may have made a week ago. Regardless of all of these things, you may still end up seeing the inside of a courtroom after you fire your gun defensively and there are still three big things in particular that can land you into blistering hot, legal and tactical water. And that‘s serious.

Legally, emotionally, and financially protect yourself by paying close attention to these three common tactical self-defense mistakes that can come back to haunt you after a shooting. Don’t let yourself get into a jam.

1. Fear

A guy or a gal with a gun who has never encountered a life or death situation before—or even if she or he has—will likely experience extreme amounts of fear. Fear is a good thing. Fear helps us survive from day to day. A person with literally no fear at all has a serious defect and is personally not the guy I want covering me. Fear, however, can also be a dangerous thing—one that tends to make tense situations worse if we let it.

If a person doesn’t understand what extreme fear does physically and psychologically during an event, or more pointedly, how they will personally react to the dump of adrenaline and other sympathetic nervous system responses, the overall response may be negative. In other words, when the fight or flight (or freeze) option occurs, doing the right thing can be tough when a life or death decision must be made in a nanosecond. Fear plays a large role any time there is a defense shooting.

Consider sleeping at your home when you hear a loud noise. You believe it’s a break-in, so you grab your gun. Perception of the imminent threat while experiencing the fear of a possible deadly encounter is enough for the brain to process, but sometimes the brain, driven by fear and faced with the unknown, fills in the blanks so to speak and paints a much worse picture in our minds than the reality of the situation. Have you ever psyched yourself out, perhaps causing nervousness and anxiety over nothing, all because of some make-believe fear you personally concocted? That can happen without you even realizing in defense scenarios.

The cure? Don’t shoot unless you’re absolutely sure what you’re doing at that moment. Control your fear. Be sure of your target and don’t let your mind wander off of what you see in front of you. Stay in control of the adrenaline beast by remembering to breathing (and by stress training, which can help you maintain a normal heart rate). After all, maybe it’s only your kid getting up to use the bathroom, not a home invasion.

2. Finger off the trigger

With extreme fear comes physiological responses that include, but are not limited to, an increased heart rate, tunnel vision, auditory exclusion and physical shaking (if not immediately, later on). A shaky trigger finger is not good—ever. So, what’s the cure?

Keep your finger straight and off the trigger and out of the trigger guard until you’re ready to shoot. Regardless of whatever anybody tells you, it only takes a flash of a second to transition your index finger from the side of the frame of your weapon to the trigger. If you’re not justified or ready to shoot, even if you’re aiming at a potential threat, keep your finger off the trigger! There is really and truly no good reason not to.

Using the proper index position, with your finger resting alongside the frame of your gun, will keep you and all others around you safe until you’ve positively made up your mind to shoot. A simple solution to an all too tragically common defense mistake.

3. Verbal commands

Now that you’ve controlled your fear and have trained yourself well to keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot, it’s important to know what to say, because there is a chance you can live or die by the words exchanged during a defense encounter just as much as the bullets. Law and circumstance may require that you give verbal commands to any potential threats and, if you aren’t justified to shoot, you certainly ought to give some direction to the would-be villain to end the scenario. Understand not saying anything thereunto, if there is time to do so, could have negative ramifications.

When giving verbal commands, avoid profanity and threats. Make clear and direct verbal cues that you aren’t messing around. For example, you could holler, “Don’t move!” or “Stop!” Once the attacker stops and you gain control you could say, “Slowly show me your hands”, “Drop the weapon” or “Get on the ground.” Follow it up with “Do it now!” If you’re in your home and you can’t see the intruder, you could say, “I have a gun. I’ve called the police.” Use the power of your lungs to show you’re bark is bad and your bite (bang! bang!) is worse. Use your big boy/big girl voice that shows whoever is around that you’re serious because witnesses, with or without video cameras, may be your greatest defense in court.

Also be aware though that if a threatening person doesn’t comply with your verbal commands, it doesn’t mean you’re free to shoot. In many states if the attacker retreats, does not have a weapon or does not advance towards the victim, the use of force may not be justifiable. This should have no bearing on your use of verbal commands however; direct your attacker and be familiar with your local defense laws.

To reiterate, control your fear, keep your finger in the index position, and remember to give verbal directions, if you can, in the face of danger. My hope is no one gets shot and the good guys/gals win in court and in life. Remember, shoot to stop the threat. If the threat doesn’t stop and you’re in fear for your life, take what action is necessary for you to win and survive. Lastly, practice much and practice often.

Until next time, continue to hone your skills and keep adding to your tactical toolbox.

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: 911; banglist; castle; castledoctrine; conceal; concealcarry; defense; gunadvice; gundefense; mistakes; selfdefense; selfdefenseadvice; tactics
Some good advice. I particularly like the comments about using your voice. Use what the military calls "command voice". Do not be wimpy, do not equivocate, demand obedience, do not get into a conversation with the adversary.
1 posted on 09/17/2012 8:16:47 AM PDT by marktwain
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To: marktwain

Since people keep less cash around, thieves break in to get pain pills or jewelry. Much of the time, the thief will have already verified that you have one of these.
A friend discovered 120 Lori tabs missing from his medicine cabinet. Police believe someone targeted him, knowing they were there.

2 posted on 09/17/2012 8:25:16 AM PDT by AppyPappy (If you really want to annoy someone, point out something obvious that they are trying hard to ignore)
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To: marktwain

part of the ariticl is legally worng. (only part)

There is no duty to retreat from an unarmed stranger theif inside the house. This is a pacifist BS. The act of breaking into the house/castle demonstrates violence.

3 posted on 09/17/2012 8:36:04 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! and
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To: longtermmemmory

Agreed. The Castle doctrine has standing in most of the Red States. Libs and progs? Let the invader do as they wish since I am not sure which of the two is worse.

4 posted on 09/17/2012 9:06:23 AM PDT by Neoliberalnot (Marxism works well only with the uneducated and the unarmed.)
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To: longtermmemmory

Depends on where you live.

5 posted on 09/17/2012 9:21:45 AM PDT by NY.SS-Bar9
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To: marktwain


6 posted on 09/17/2012 9:28:56 AM PDT by deweyfrank
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To: AppyPappy
"Police believe someone targeted him, knowing they were there."

Dirt bag boyfriend of the cute little pharmacy clerk? She knows the meds you take, your address, and latest refill. It's happened our area. That's why I don't keep my stuff in a medicine cabinet, and strangers at the door are met with appropriate precaution.
7 posted on 09/17/2012 9:48:22 AM PDT by PowderMonkey (WILL WORK FOR AMMO)
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To: longtermmemmory; Neoliberalnot

Ease up on them hammers, Texans!

The Castle Doctrine is not an end-all, be-all guarantee of righteousness, just as a gun does not guarantee you are either in control of a situation nor dominate your opponent.

Someone banging around your home in the middle of the night is most often family members and pets, yours and other people’s, if you forgot to secure your doggie door.

Next up is some stupid drunk or druggie who thinks he is inside his own home, and is confused because he can’t find the light switch and somebody moved the dang sofa. A good command voice will generally put such people into utterly perplexed docility, wondering what *you* are doing in *their* home.

Third is that if you shoot somebody, good, bad or indifferent, you are not going to get any more sleep that night and have a good chance of having your next six months fouled up with inquests and court stuff. Especially if the perp is a juvenile delinquent. And you’re looking at several hours of clean up as well.

Fourth, and this is an important one, if whoever busted in to your home is an LEO, unless you live in Indiana, if you pop him you will be charged with murder, *even* if he is not in uniform, did not identify himself, did not have a proper warrant, and probably if he has your valuables stuffed in his pockets and was carrying your laptop out the door.

Now this being said, there at least used to be an old rule that if somebody busts into your home, you should never “go hunting” for them, but position yourself in an open doorway at the end of a dark hallway as low as possible, and wait for them to come to you. This almost guarantees you the chance for an aimed double tap before they can return fire, after checking your gun to make sure it is ready to go.

A friend even put it more bluntly: never ambush unless you are prone, with concealment and cover handy. But if you do, the odds are very heavily in your favor.

This is because, bottom line of this old rule, is if you’re going to protect “your stuff”, don’t do it if the replacement value is less than your life. In a way it’s like rushing back inside your burning house to save your baseball card collection. Think about it. Sometimes it is just better to “take the hit”.

8 posted on 09/17/2012 10:33:18 AM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy (DIY Bumper Sticker: "THREE TIMES,/ DEMOCRATS/ REJECTED GOD")
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To: marktwain
Good Post

Well worth reading reading two or more times.

9 posted on 09/17/2012 11:42:35 AM PDT by TYVets ( ..... ethanol free gasoline by state and city)
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