Lessons Learned from a Real Life Self-Defense Shooting


There are several points to be made about this story.  Let me start with saying that I’m glad that the female victim is alive, and the bad guy is in police custody.  The reason the female victim is alive is that she was carrying a firearm.   There’s no dispute about that.  No matter how much the anti-gun extremists claim that concealed carry rarely ever saves a life, especially for women, the facts tell a different story.

Having said the above, what can we learn from this?  The two main areas I’d like to examine are situational awareness, and having the right firearm and being able to trust your survival to it working when you need it.  In no way do I wish to unfairly criticize the victim.  There are, however, some things that need to be discussed.

Regarding situational awareness, we could assume that the victim was unaware that she was being followed.  According to the news story, when the perpetrator entered the elevator, “The victim asked the suspect what floor he needed, and the victim described the suspect as being out of it, possibly high or drunk, but when he said the sixth floor, the victim stated she became nervous,”

If you are waiting for an elevator and someone approaches making you feel uncomfortable, let them get on the elevator first and tell them you forgot something in your office, car, store, or whatever you wish to say.  Either walk away or wait for another elevator.  If you, like this woman, enter the elevator and someone follows you in, you can use the same excuse and get out of the elevator before the doors close.  If the other person goes along their way, fine.  But what if you are the target?  Now we get into the discussion of the firearm.

The woman kept her firearm in her purse.  There’s differing schools of thought about this, but that’s for another time.  My issue is that the woman either did not have easy access to the firearm, or she wasn’t prepared to draw her weapon to defend herself.  The attack began, the woman was being injured, and the attacker brandished a knife before she was able to use her firearm in self-defense.

If a woman wants to purse carry, she must be able to gain access to the firearm immediately, without searching.  This comes with practice, having the firearm in an area of the purse easily accessible with nothing else in the compartment in which you store the firearm.  Purses are made specifically for concealed carry, but can be expensive.   Using a pocket holster with the outer area made of a rubberized material will allow you to draw your firearm and keep the holster in the compartment.

What happens if you don’t have time to draw?  In this case, the woman should have at least had a hand on the handle of the firearm.  If she had access to the trigger, she could have fired through her purse.  Yes, you ruin a perfectly good purse.  They can be replaced.  Your life is more important than a Coach, Louis Vuitton, or Gucci purse.  My point is that, in a critical situation, or even a potentially critical situation, is your firearm available if you need it?  If your hand is on your firearm in your purse, nobody knows but you.

The second important aspect of this story is that it seems that the woman pulled the trigger and nothing happened.  “The gun, … didn’t fire at first and the attacker hit her in the face and held a hand over her mouth with one hand and was moving the knife toward her with the other.  ‘Fearing for her life, the victim kept pulling the trigger of her gun, which finally fired, and struck the suspect in the neck.’”

There’s nothing worse than when a gun goes click when it should go boom, and when it goes boom when it should go click.  In this instance, the gun apparently went click several times.  Carrying a firearm that doesn’t fire is as useful as the proverbial screen door on a submarine.  If you are going to carry a firearm, it needs to be ready to fire if and when you need it to save your life.  This means practice time on the range, drawing from your purse or from a concealed holster.  This also means keeping your firearm clean, and using proper self-defense ammunition.

The news story shows the woman’s firearm.  I can’t tell the brand or age of the firearm.  Nonetheless, if you are going to carry a firearm and depend upon it to potentially save your life, you need to evaluate whether what you have is sufficient, or if you need to go shopping for a new firearm.

UPDATE:  The weapon is a Beretta; appears to be an older weapon.  Here’s another news report of the incident:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKsqIoyAr-k

As I mentioned from the start, I am glad that the victim is alright, and the attacker is in prison.  I know, however, that we can learn from these types of situations.  There are several resources available to learn more about situational awareness and sites dedicated to teaching shooting tactics.  There are many  such resources on our website.  Carrying a firearm is a serious decision.  You need to be prepared to save your or a loved one’s life.  When you need to use a firearm is the wrong time to think about getting more training.  Be prepared now.

Tom David
Shield Defense Firearm Training

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