Self-defense training paid off for one woman alone in a Florida hotel room


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Drizzt
December 13, 2005, 03:10 AM
'Do not come in! I have a gun! Leave!'
Self-defense training paid off for one woman alone in a Florida hotel room

Tom Stienstra

Monday, December 12, 2005


In threatening situations, self-defense expert Il Ling New said that there is a little voice in the back of most people's heads that blares, "Warning! Warning! You are in danger!"

Kat Needham, a biotechnology researcher in the Bay Area with a degree with molecular biology, said she was getting the message loud and clear.

"I used to go into work by myself in South San Francisco and I'd be there late at night, on the weekends or very early, and nobody friendly would be around for hours," Needham said. "Sometimes it would be eerie and scary along the railroad tracks. Being there by myself, I wanted to make sure I could protect myself."

That led her to Gunsite, where she met New. Needham took a handgun course for self-protection, and later returned to take several other courses.

"It's rare to find a woman who has a mind-set like that," Needham said. "The two of us are on the same wavelength. We talk about situations about self-defense all the time. Watching Il Ling instructing, it gives me more confidence in myself."

In class, New lectured that you have no control of the time or place when you might face a surprise showdown. In Needham's case, it came on a business trip to Florida, where she had checked into a hotel room, chained the door and set her pistol on the bedside.

"I was relaxing for a moment when somebody suddenly opened the door," Needham said. "They were coming into the room. The chain stopped them. I grabbed my pistol and racked a round so they could hear the action and know I had a gun."

Needham remembers shouting: "Stop! Do not come in! Who are you?"

The guy yelled back, deep and menacing, 'I'm coming in,' Needham recalled.

"Do not come in!" she shouted back. "I have a gun! Leave!"

The intruder wedged his arm past the door and wrestled to try to unhook the safety chain. The arm was "huge and hairy and it scared me," Needham said.

Her training kicked in. She positioned herself around a corner, pointing her .45 Colt semi-automatic pistol at point-blank range and again shouted a warning: "Do not come in. I have a gun. If you come in, I will shoot you."

For the intruder, logic apparently set in -- and the man ran off down the hall. Needham said hotel security did not find him. "Nobody knew anything."

Later, she reviewed the episode with New. "The first thing she asked me was, 'Did he follow you to the room?'

"I wasn't sure," Needham said. "I was in a place I'd never been before. I was by myself. I didn't know what to expect. If he had come in, I would have been in fear of my life, and I would have shot him.

"If I hadn't had the training, I wouldn't have had the confidence to know I could take care of myself."

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/12/12/SPG36G6F801.DTL

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jsalcedo
December 13, 2005, 03:13 AM
The intruder wedged his arm past the door and wrestled to try to unhook the safety chain. The arm was "huge and hairy and it scared me," Needham said.

Shoulda blown his elbow off :fire:

Glad the lady is ok. I wish more people out there would take the initiative
and get a gun and some training.

MedGrl
December 13, 2005, 05:16 AM
I help teach a self defense class in conjunction with the Campus Policeat the University where I am a student . The course is based on martial arts moves rather than weapons, but my sister and I have always thought at leats a basic knowledge of guns could be benificial. We have never gotten the chance to take a course on guns and self defence but here at college I have made a friend who has started teaching me about guns.
I had my first experience firing a gun this past saturday and am now looking for a hand gun for personal self defense. When I go home for a few weeks this summer I am going to take my sister to a firing range I have found near our family home and teach her what My friend is teaching me. Hopefuly I will have my own gun by then.
I believe that while a personal gun for self defense purposes is benificial especialy for single women, Learning tactical manuvers such as hold breaks and some basic strikes like I teach in the Self defense class are also benificial in the case where you are blind-sided or attacked without warning and unable to reach your weapon.

DunedinDragon
December 13, 2005, 06:57 AM
I believe that while a personal gun for self defense purposes is benificial especialy for single women, Learning tactical manuvers such as hold breaks and some basic strikes like I teach in the Self defense class are also benificial in the case where you are blind-sided or attacked without warning and unable to reach your weapon.

I taught TaeKwonDo for many years and never felt the need to have a gun until just a few months ago. The way I look at it, it's just another level of martial arts involving weapons.

The way I look at, martial arts is used to fight your way to your handgun, and your handgun is used to fight your way to your rifle.

Darth Ruger
December 13, 2005, 07:01 AM
...never felt the need to have a gun until just a few months ago.What changed your mind?

DunedinDragon
December 13, 2005, 07:19 AM
What changed your mind?
I grew up in Wyoming and Texas so I had ample exposure to guns, but never really felt compelled to own one. For me, it's just another discipline to learn and something to challenge me. Self-defense wasn't my primary motivating factor, just a side benefit.

I think it's more about trying to master all the aspects of firearms. Shooting them, working on them, building them, reloading, and of course the tactical and legal aspects. Since I'm retired I need something to keep me occupied...and guns will do that.

I probably jumped in deeper than most. Here's my inventory so far after six months:

Taurus PT-111 9mm (sub compact)
Glock 17 9mm (medium size)
Glock 21 .45 ACP (full size)
Bushmaster AR-15 pistol
Bushmaster M4
M4gery home built.

Working Man
December 13, 2005, 07:49 AM
, I believe that while a personal gun for self defense purposes is benificial especialy for single women, Learning tactical manuvers such as hold breaks and some basic strikes like I teach in the Self defense class are also benificial in the case where you are blind-sided or attacked without warning and unable to reach your weapon.

I agree, I also think many people rely way to much on their weapon than on
themselves. It gives them a false sense of safety. If, as you've stated:

you are blind-sided or attacked without warning and unable to
reach your weapon

...then what do you do if you don't know some basic hand to hand self
defense.... I guess hope for the best.

Worse case scenario, we're all armed to the teeth with arms and teeth. :evil:

TexasRifleman
December 13, 2005, 09:16 AM
I grabbed my pistol and racked a round so they could hear the action and know I had a gun."

I have my doubts she learned Condition 3 readiness at Gunsite. Hope she rethinks that one.

Otherwise, good for her!

Tequila_Sauer
December 13, 2005, 10:19 AM
"pointing her .45 Colt semi-automatic pistol at point-blank range"


A .45, nice, I almost wish the guy had taken a round. I do question her being at point blank though, seems like quite a gamble considering she could miss and not have time for a second shot because she's so close, or she could hit him and not stop him entirely and now she's only feet away from him.

MedGrl
December 13, 2005, 10:33 AM
,
Worse case scenario, we're all armed to the teeth with arms and teeth.


Well said...Mind if I use that in my class? :cool:

One of Many
December 13, 2005, 12:35 PM
What is the definition of point-blank range? I assume it means a distance where use of sights is not required in order to hit the intended target; you just point at the target (not aiming) and shoot, with confidence that the target will be hit. If that definition is accurate, the actual distance varies from one shooter to another, and type of gun used.

TallPine
December 13, 2005, 01:02 PM
What is the definition of point-blank range?
My understanding is that it is within the distance where you would not have to aim high to account for bullet drop ...

IOW, that would be out to about 300 yards for many rifles :p

Darth Ruger
December 13, 2005, 02:26 PM
What is the definition of point-blank range?

My understanding is that it is within the distance where you would not have to aim high to account for bullet drop ...

IOW, that would be out to about 300 yards for many riflesThat's right. The correct term is "maximum point blank range", or MPBR. MPBR is the maximum range you can shoot without worrying about or compensating for bullet drop and still hit within the vital area. It will depend on the size of the vital area you want to hit, the cartridge, and bullet weight/type to some extent. If you want to hit an 8" vital area, the bullet can be anywhere between 4" above to 4" below the point you're aiming at and still hit within that 8" circle. So up to that distance, you can hold right on that spot and know you will hit somewhere in the vital area. If the target is farther than your MPBR, then you will need to start compensating for bullet drop. Your MPBR might be 300 yards for a certain cartridge, but it can also be closer or farther, depending on the size of the vital area you need to hit.

The use of the term "point blank range" to mean 'really, really close' is another incorrect use of terminology by the media because it sounds cool, scary, deadly, or whatever. Used this way, it makes it sound like the gun was anywhere from an inch to a couple of feet from the target. Sounds pretty deadly, huh? That's the idea.

That's why I never put any stock in the level of knowledge of a reporter that uses the term "point blank range" when describing a shooting with a handgun. It's evidence that they don't know what they're talking about. When they say that, it actually could have been a distance of several yards, but since handguns are generally close-range weapons compared to rifles, they always use that term, even if it was actually pretty far for a handgun.

In this case, don't forget the lady was in a hotel room, so she didn't have a lot of room to work with in the first place. If it were me, I would have done the same thing she did. By positioning herself behind a corner at the end of the entry to her room, she gave herself some cover to shoot from behind, while giving herself something to brace against to help her control her gun during rapid fire, increasing her chances of hitting the target. That would be better than moving back to the far end of the room just to open the distance by a few feet, where she would not have a wall to brace against (which, along with the greater distance, would increase the likelihood of missing with the first few shots while the bad guy closed the distance), and leaving her completely exposed (not good if the bad guy also had a gun).

I'd be more than happy to move a little bit closer in order to shoot from behind cover, rather than be a few feet back and exposed.

Devonai
December 13, 2005, 03:11 PM
She'd better get the heck out of San Francisco if she wants to keep her pistol!

MechAg94
December 13, 2005, 03:14 PM
At least she took the precaution of locking the door and making sure her gun was close by before relaxing. Where would she be if she had not locked the door? Would she have had time to react then?

teknical
December 13, 2005, 08:29 PM
I was relaxing for a moment when somebody suddenly opened the door," Needham said. "They were coming into the room. The chain stopped them.

Wherever you go, test that the door actually locks. I'd also rather bring one of these with on vacation for a backup, rather than relying on a dinky chain: Master Lock No. 265 Security Bar (http://www.masterlock.com/cgi-bin/app_search.pl?layer=layer2&cat_id=AP_DE&sub_cat_id=D265).

RyanM
December 13, 2005, 08:40 PM
http://www.frfrogspad.com/miscelli.htm#point%20blank

jtward01
December 13, 2005, 08:48 PM
In this case, don't forget the lady was in a hotel room, so she didn't have a lot of room to work with in the first place. If it were me, I would have done the same thing she did. By positioning herself behind a corner at the end of the entry to her room, she gave herself some cover to shoot from behind, while giving herself something to brace against to help her control her gun during rapid fire, increasing her chances of hitting the target. That would be better than moving back to the far end of the room just to open the distance by a few feet, where she would not have a wall to brace against (which, along with the greater distance, would increase the likelihood of missing with the first few shots while the bad guy closed the distance), and leaving her completely exposed (not good if the bad guy also had a gun).

Actually, the best thing she could have done - at least in the typical hotel room - would have been to move to the far side of bed and go down on her knees using the bed as a bench rest. If would have given her distance, cover and support all at the same time. If the BG had been armed the mattress, while perhaps not stopping a bullet, may well have absorbed enough of its energy to make a hit survivable.

rchernandez
December 13, 2005, 08:52 PM
I try to make sure the hotels I stay in have updated their locks to electronic key units. Most of the latest units have a automatic bolt feature and if you turn the latch inside a card key (from outside) will not unlock the door. Door chains are too easy to defeat for determined bg's...the solid bar door latch, often called a U-bar is what I look for.

As a business traveler, she shows a lot of commitment to her safety for traveling with her pistol. For most of my business travel, I leave my glock and the kerambit at home...ever tried traveling by air to an NRA Bullseye match? "Well that's the 22, that's for cf, that for the 45, that 45 is for hardball...and revolver is for the...

Joejojoba111
December 13, 2005, 09:01 PM
Probably a lot of pesonal preferences, but lots of people, myself included, like lots of space around them for h2h stuff. Maybe it's instilled by safety, when you're sparring you don't want to fall into a desk-corner, but it's also that if a really big guy pins you in that tiny space between the bed and the wall, there's very little room for maneuver, and thus little chance you will get up before he does.

Phyphor
December 13, 2005, 09:04 PM
Shoulda blown his elbow off :fire:

Glad the lady is ok. I wish more people out there would take the initiative
and get a gun and some training.


And of course, she'd promptly get sued for maiming him....

You know, him being the 'victim' of a maiming and all. :cuss: :banghead: :fire:

Darth Ruger
December 14, 2005, 01:01 AM
Actually, the best thing she could have done - at least in the typical hotel room - would have been to move to the far side of bed and go down on her knees using the bed as a bench rest. If would have given her distance, cover and support all at the same time. If the BG had been armed the mattress, while perhaps not stopping a bullet, may well have absorbed enough of its energy to make a hit survivable.I thought about that before I posted, because I've taught my wife to do the same thing in our bedroom in the event of a break-in since the bed would be the only thing to take cover behind. But in this lady's case, I decided I'd still do what she did, for a couple of reasons:

She has a wall corner to shoot from behind. Assuming the bad guy has a gun, the studs in the wall are better bullet stoppers than a mattress.

Plus, if her gun doesn't stop the guy (he's doped up on something, her gun jams, or whatever reason), she's still on her feet in the middle of the room and has room to fight back, and if she can break free with an eye gouge or a knee to the groin or whatever, then she can run for the door. But if her gun doesn't stop the guy when she's crouched down behind the bed, then he's on top of her, on the floor, in the corner of the room trapped between the bed and the wall. He's already got her down on the floor and she can't run and has no room to fight back.

twoblink
December 14, 2005, 01:05 AM
The way I look at, martial arts is used to fight your way to your handgun, and your handgun is used to fight your way to your rifle.

Gun Fu!!! Gunkata!!!! :evil:

The intruder wedged his arm past the door and wrestled to try to unhook the safety chain. The arm was "huge and hairy and it scared me," Needham said.


Big target = easier to hit.. Tap Rack BANG!

DunedinDragon
December 14, 2005, 04:33 AM
I'd be more than happy to move a little bit closer in order to shoot from behind cover, rather than be a few feet back and exposed.

Given the choice of close cover versus cover from a distance, I'd choose cover from a distance every time. My reasoning is that it will be more likely to play to my strengths, increasing my odds of survival, and place my attacker at a disadvantage. I go to the range every week and typically shoot between 100-200 rds. I could be wrong, but in all likelihood, my attacker is probably NOT as practiced at shooting at a distance as I am. Therefore I'm going to try and seek the situation that most likely plays to my strength and to the weakness of my attacker putting the odds in my favor.

jtward01
December 14, 2005, 05:04 AM
Plus, if her gun doesn't stop the guy (he's doped up on something, her gun jams, or whatever reason), she's still on her feet in the middle of the room and has room to fight back, and if she can break free with an eye gouge or a knee to the groin or whatever, then she can run for the door. But if her gun doesn't stop the guy when she's crouched down behind the bed, then he's on top of her, on the floor, in the corner of the room trapped between the bed and the wall. He's already got her down on the floor and she can't run and has no room to fight back.

She was carrying a .45. I don't care how stoned he was, a double-, or even triple-tap at center mass would put him down. Being across the room would give her time for multiple shot before the BG reached her. Closer to the door and she may only get one round off before he closed in on her.

The wall stud might give better protection than a mattress, if he hit a stud. If not the slug would go through the drywall like paper.

I still think what you teach your wife is right, and this lady would have done better to do the same. Fortunately, the BG chose not to push the issue.

Ryder
December 14, 2005, 05:48 AM
Sounds strange to me.

Why would he waste time attempting to use a huge hairy arm to unlatch a door chain when his shoulder would have popped that door open quicker than she could have blinked her eyes?

Joejojoba111
December 14, 2005, 06:41 AM
Didn't you see Jamie on Mythbusters? Door gives before chain does. Doorframe gives before chain does! If you screw the side into the frame deeply.

Working Man
December 14, 2005, 07:43 AM
Originally Posted by Working Man
Quote:
,
Worse case scenario, we're all armed to the teeth with arms and teeth.



Well said...Mind if I use that in my class?

Go right a head, hope it helps. :D

Janitor
December 14, 2005, 07:48 AM
Didn't you see Jamie on Mythbusters? Door gives before chain does. Doorframe gives before chain does! If you screw the side into the frame deeply.
Doesn't really matter what gives. An open door is an open door.
-

Atticus
December 14, 2005, 12:35 PM
The intruder wedged his arm past the door and wrestled to try to unhook the safety chain. The arm was "huge and hairy and it scared me," Needham said.

Hmmm... good application for "The Motel Pal"

Darth Ruger
December 14, 2005, 02:08 PM
Plus, if her gun doesn't stop the guy (he's doped up on something, her gun jams, or whatever reason), she's still on her feet in the middle of the room and has room to fight back, and if she can break free with an eye gouge or a knee to the groin or whatever, then she can run for the door. But if her gun doesn't stop the guy when she's crouched down behind the bed, then he's on top of her, on the floor, in the corner of the room trapped between the bed and the wall. He's already got her down on the floor and she can't run and has no room to fight back.She was carrying a .45. I don't care how stoned he was...And in the event her gun jammed? Would you still rather limit your options by being on the floor in the corner between the bed and the wall? If you position yourself to rely totally on your gun and give yourself no other options, you're toast if the gun somehow fails (or if the operator screws up, which often happens when the stress level goes up).

Although my gun is very reliable, I can't guarantee that it will function with 100% reliability (or that I will operate it with 100% reliability) when I really need it in a stressful situation. However, in the event my gun doesn't do the job (for whatever reason), I can guarantee that if I'm still on my feet in the middle of the room, that I can fight tooth and nail with 100% reliability. But not if I'm already on the floor in the corner between the bed and the wall with the bad guy on top of me.

Working Man summed it up well...I agree, I also think many people rely way to much on their weapon than on themselves. It gives them a false sense of safety.


I teach my wife to take cover behind the bed because there are no other options due to the layout of the room. If there were more than one defensive position to choose from, I would be sure she has other options to fall back on in the event the gun doesn't do the trick. If possible, never limit your options by relying solely on a mechanical device (gun) that could possibly fail.

And thinking that you will always emerge victorious in every possible scenario just because your gun is a certain caliber is the weakness in your mind-set that will get you killed.

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