Armed Citizen Analysis


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realmswalker
August 27, 2008, 01:05 PM
I thought this might be some good info. I apologize if it's a repost.

I saw this on the Cal Guns forum and thought I'd share it here since it shows some interesting stats and info regarding use of a weapon by private citizens. This is an interesting study the NRA has done collecting some data between 1997 and 2001 (be nice to see something new, I know).

I'll just paste the results and stats here rather than gab about them. Looks like I'm ok not being a seasoned scout sniper or having twin .45's at the ready for HD. This article was posted in a thread where discussion arose over how many rounds a civilian needs (when CCWing or just in general for HD).

The Armed Citizen A Five Year Analysis
OVERVIEW OF SURVEY
For the period 1997 - 2001, reports from "The Armed Citizen" column of the NRA Journals were collected. There were 482 incidents available for inclusion in the analysis. All involved the use of firearms by private citizens in self defense or defense of others. No law enforcement related incidents were included. The database is self-selecting in that no non-positive outcomes were reported in the column.

DATA ANALYSIS
As might be expected, the majority of incidents (52%) took place in the home. Next most common locale (32%) was in a business. Incidents took place in public places in 9% of reports and 7% occurred in or around vehicles.

The most common initial crimes were armed robbery (32%), home invasion (30%), and burglary (18%).

Overall, shots were fired by the defender in 72% of incidents. The average and median number of shots fired was 2. When more than 2 shots were fired, it generally appeared that the defender's initial response was to fire until empty. It appears that revolver shooters are more likely to empty their guns than autoloader shooters. At least one assailant was killed in 34% of all incidents. At least one assailant was wounded in an additional 29% of all incidents. Of the incidents where shots are fired by a defender, at least one assailant is killed in 53% of those incidents.

Handguns were used in 78% of incidents while long guns were used in 13%; in the balance the type of firearm was not reported. The most common size of handgun was the .35 caliber family (.38, .357, 9mm) at 61%, with most .38s apparently being of the 5 shot variety. Mouseguns (.380s and below) were at 23%, and .40 caliber and up at 15%.

The range of most incidents appears to be short but in excess of touching distance. It appears that most defenders will make the shoot decision shortly before the criminal comes within arm's length. Defenders frequently communicate with their attackers before shooting.
The firearm was carried on the body of the defender in only 20% of incidents. In 80% of cases, the firearm was obtained from a place of storage, frequently in another room.

Reloading was required in only 3 incidents. One of those involved killing an escaped lion with a .32 caliber revolver, which was eventually successful after 13 shots.

Multiple conspirators were involved in 36% of the incidents. However, there were no apparent cases of getaway drivers or lookouts acting as reinforcements for the criminal actor(s) once shooting starts. At the sound of gunfire, immediate flight was the most common response for drivers and lookouts.

When multiple conspirators were involved, the first tier was a two man action team. If another member was available, he was usually the driver of the getaway car and remained in the car. If a fourth conspirator was involved, he was stationed immediately outside the target location as a lookout for the police or other possible intervening parties. The outside conspirators do not generally appear to be armed. It does appear that the trend over the period has increased from one weapon in the action team to two weapons.

The largest group of violent criminal actors was 7, a group that committed serial home invasions in Rochester NY. An alert and prepared homeowner, who saw them invade an adjacent home, accessed his shotgun, and dispatched them (2 killed and 1 seriously wounded) when they broke in his door.
Incidents rarely occurred in reaction time (i.e., second increments). Most commonly, criminals acted in a shark-like fashion, slowly circling and alerting their intended victims. The defender(s) then had time to access even weapons that were stored in other rooms and bring them to bear.
The most common responses of criminals upon being shot were to flee immediately or expire. With few exceptions, criminals ceased their advances immediately upon being shot. Even small caliber handguns displayed a significant degree of instant lethality (30 per cent immediate one shot kills) when employed at close range. Many criminal actors vocally expressed their fear of being shot when the defender displayed a weapon. Upon the criminals' flight, the "victims" frequently chased and captured or shot the criminals and held them for the authorities.

CONCLUSIONS
1) Even small caliber weapons are adequate to solve the vast majority of incidents requiring armed self-defense.
2) Mindset of the potential victim was far more important than the type of weapon used. All the victims were willing to fight their opponents in order to survive. Although not common, in some cases bridge weapons, such as pens, were used to gain time to access the firearm.
3) Frequently, the defenders were aware that something was amiss before the action started and then placed themselves in position to access their weapons. Awareness of the surroundings appears to be a key element of successful defense.
4) The defenders had some measure of familiarity with their firearms. Although perhaps not trained in the formal sense, they appear to be able to access a firearm and immediately put it into action. At least one defender learned from a previous experience and made the firearm more accessible for subsequent use.
5) Training or practice with a firearm should include a substantial amount of accessing the firearm from off body locations, such as drawers, underneath counters, etc.
6) This analysis does not present a view of the totality of armed self-defense in that non-positive outcomes were not available for inclusion in the database. The analysis may, however, be useful in helping to describe a methodology for successful armed self-defense. This methodology might be described as: 1. be aware, 2. be willing to fight, 3. have a weapon accessible, 4. be familiar enough with the weapon to employ it without fumbling, 5. when ready, communicate, both verbally and non-verbally, to the attacker that resistance will be given, and 6. if the attacker does not withdraw, counterattack without hesitation.

Data Tables
Location of Incident
Home 52%
Business 32%
Public 9%
In or around Vehicle 7%

Shots Fired
Type of Location No Yes
Business 33% 72%
Home 25% 75%
Public 29% 71%
In or around Vehicle 35% 65%
Grand Total 28% 72%

Number of Shots Fired
Average 2.2
Median 2
Mode 1
Max 20

Gun Type
Handgun 78%
Long Gun 13%
Unknown 8%

Body Carry
Type of Location No Yes
Business 69% 31%
Home 94% 6%
Public 49% 51%
In or around Vehicle 65% 35%
Overall 80% 20%

Multiple Assailants
Type of Location NO YES
Business 76% 24%
Home 72% 28%
Public 62% 38%
Retail Business 52% 48%
In or Around Vehicle 49% 51%
Overall 64% 36%

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Rugerlvr
August 27, 2008, 01:15 PM
Cool info. Thanks!

jpruitt
August 27, 2008, 01:49 PM
That's good reading. Do you have a link to the original NRA study? I know some people who would enjoy reading that.

realmswalker
August 27, 2008, 02:58 PM
Sorry I do not as I copied and pasted it from calguns.

Jim Watson
August 27, 2008, 04:14 PM
I don't take it to mean that the NRA did the study. I think somebody read over several years of Armed Citizen columns in American Rifleman and did his own analysis. I once saw a similar presentation at a Rangemaster Tactical Conference.

This sort of stuff indicates the eternal IPSC vs Gunsite debate is kind of moot. Neither marksmanship nor "tactics" plays a great role. You mostly have to be willing to fight.

NG VI
August 27, 2008, 04:33 PM
One of those involved killing an escaped lion with a .32 caliber revolver, which was eventually successful after 13 shots.



That is a scary proposition. At least I know .40 is sufficient for tigers!

3KillerBs
August 27, 2008, 04:40 PM
Interesting information.

Chipperman
August 27, 2008, 05:23 PM
Most commonly, criminals acted in a shark-like fashion, slowly circling and alerting their intended victims. The defender(s) then had time to access even weapons that were stored in other rooms and bring them to bear.


That's not something we should advertise, as the Anti's would use it to say that requiring "safe-storage" does not impede the ability to use a gun in defense.

shdwfx
August 27, 2008, 05:52 PM
The firearm was carried on the body of the defender in only 20% of incidents. In 80% of cases, the firearm was obtained from a place of storage, frequently in another room.
...
Home 52%
Business 32%
Public 9%
In or around Vehicle 7%

My guess would be that a more recent study of "successful uses" would show an increased percentage of incidents away from home.
Why? Concealed carry is more common than it was in 2001.

cambeul41
August 27, 2008, 05:57 PM
Interesting, but not scientific because the "sample" consists of cherry-picked stories chosen by the NRA "The Armed Citizen" column editors.

RPCVYemen
August 27, 2008, 11:27 PM
Interesting, but not scientific because the "sample" consists of cherry-picked stories chosen by the NRA "The Armed Citizen" column editors.

Good point. The study really tells us more about that the editors of the NRA think makes a good "Armed Citizen" story than anything else.

Mike

Double Naught Spy
August 28, 2008, 12:57 AM
Interesting, but not scientific because the "sample" consists of cherry-picked stories chosen by the NRA "The Armed Citizen" column editors.
Good point. The study really tells us more about that the editors of the NRA think makes a good "Armed Citizen" story than anything else.

Yeah, I noticed the data were bizarre when I got to...

Overall, shots were fired by the defender in 72% of incidents. ... At least one assailant was killed in 34% of all incidents. At least one assailant was wounded in an additional 29% of all incidents. Of the incidents where shots are fired by a defender, at least one assailant is killed in 53% of those incidents.

Imagine if guns were fired in defense during 72% of self defense situations where the defenders had guns and that many BGs were wounded and/or killed. I would be willing to bet that our crime levels would be significantly declining.

Vegas Native
August 28, 2008, 01:07 AM
That is some cool info. I have been the victim of a home invasion before. When the BGs tried to kick the door in, they got a sight of me posted up diagonally behind a wall looking down the barrel of my XD-45, and the music of my wife screaming in to the phone at the inept 911 operator.

Vegas Native
August 28, 2008, 01:12 AM
Gotta love LVMPD 911. If you need help, it will be there in only a matter of hours!

Atomsk
August 28, 2008, 03:50 AM
Very informative

BruceRDucer
August 28, 2008, 04:59 AM
The largest group of violent criminal actors was 7, a group that committed serial home invasions in Rochester NY. An alert and prepared homeowner, who saw them invade an adjacent home, accessed his shotgun, and dispatched them (2 killed and 1 seriously wounded) when they broke in his door.


:uhoh::)

RPCVYemen
August 28, 2008, 11:12 AM
Imagine if guns were fired in defense during 72% of self defense situations where the defenders had guns and that many BGs were wounded and/or killed. I would be willing to bet that our crime levels would be significantly declining.

Yeah, I wonder what percentage of self-defense situations involve home invasions and multiple assailants. Those have high PR value to the NRA, since they inspire a high Fear Factor among middle class white people - the core of the NRA.

At least around Raleigh, NC, there has been a darn near 100% correlation between involvement in the drug trade and home invasion. That sort of makes sense - most home invasions are about large amounts of cash (and/or drugs). Most people don't keep large amounts of cash at home - the bank is safer. It seems like the people around here who keep large amounts of cash at home are people who have good reason not to deposit it in the bank.

That may be changing - there seems to be a growing trend of black on Hispanic crime around here. I guess it's the case that folk with questionable immigration status don't trust banks either.

Mike

HeadJunter
July 14, 2011, 10:53 AM
I did the study because I wanted to have a better idea of what really happens in incidents. It's at least as relevant as anything else available, which, other than random 5th hand anecdotal accounts, isn't much.

youngda9
July 14, 2011, 11:05 AM
4 years, 482 instances = 120/year in this study.

Kleck estimated 2.25 million devensive uses per year.

The numbers you report are for 0.0053% (120/2.5million) of all defensive gun uses.

Interesting numbers, but statistically insignifigant to attempt to draw conclusions from...nowhere signifigant to the total # of SD gun uses...the vast majority of which go unreported...and most of which include no shots fired at all, not 72% of instances as this reports.

Standing Wolf
July 14, 2011, 03:34 PM
Thanks, eh? Most interesting!

heeler
July 14, 2011, 03:50 PM
I find it interesting that even when confronted or shot with the lowly mouseguns the criminal took flight or expired.
And at the shot most co-conspirators fled leaving their fellow criminal friends in the lurch.

Panzercat
July 14, 2011, 04:26 PM
This has far reaching merit to other threads in progress at this very moment. For example, "low capacity" is apparently absolutely fine for most encounters; be it a 6 round shotty or 10 shot 357 lever.

You don't need a high capacity weapon. You just need the will to use it.
...Unless you're in a firefight with a lion. :scrutiny:

MachIVshooter
July 14, 2011, 11:19 PM
Interesting. Good read!

I was kinda surprised at the caliber breakdown, though. I would've expected more of them to be .40's and .45's in this day and age.

HeadJunter
July 15, 2011, 04:41 AM
I was kinda surprised at the caliber breakdown, though. I would've expected more of them to be .40's and .45's in this day and age.

You'd be surprised at how many people dump their bigger calibers after they've shot them for awhile. I had a client just this week dump the .357 Sig for something smaller. He said: "All I knew about guns was what I learned from TV." :)

HeadJunter
July 15, 2011, 04:50 AM
Interesting numbers, but statistically insignifigant to attempt to draw conclusions from...nowhere signifigant to the total # of SD gun uses...the vast majority of which go unreported...and most of which include no shots fired at all, not 72% of instances as this reports.

True that it's a small sample but for lack of anything else to go on it was at least something. Certainly better than the "my friend has a friend who a cop in another city and that cop has a friend who heard that.....", which is the general level of analysis prevalent in the training industry. And as I said at the end: "The analysis may, however, be useful in helping to describe a methodology for successful armed self-defense."

The commonly cited statistic 5-10 foot gunfight distance is drawn from the 50 officers killed each year out of the roughly 2000 police gunfights that take place each year. So it's statistically insignificant as well. But many people latch onto that number like it's a life preserver in the middle of the Atlantic. ;)

Shaky
July 16, 2011, 01:48 AM
Here's a similar study which has not been cherry picked (though for obvious reasons, anyone who lost a fight in the worst of ways would not be included).

http://www.fsu.edu/~fstime/FS-Times/Volume2/Issue1/guns.html

MachIVshooter
July 16, 2011, 12:59 PM
You'd be surprised at how many people dump their bigger calibers after they've shot them for awhile. I had a client just this week dump the .357 Sig for something smaller. He said: "All I knew about guns was what I learned from TV."

True. And the number of 9mm/.38 cal used wouldn't have surprised me at all if it were mostly CCW defense situations that were reported.

My surprise just comes from knowing what I and many friends and aquaintences keep for HD. While we may carry smaller guns, most of us are using larger, more powerful firearms for HD (.40, 10mm, .45). I also would have expected the long gun category to be larger on account of shotguns.

HeadJunter
July 17, 2011, 06:14 AM
True. And the number of 9mm/.38 cal used wouldn't have surprised me at all if it were mostly CCW defense situations that were reported.

My surprise just comes from knowing what I and many friends and aquaintences keep for HD. While we may carry smaller guns, most of us are using larger, more powerful firearms for HD (.40, 10mm, .45). I also would have expected the long gun category to be larger on account of shotguns.

Most people who have guns for self-defense are not "gun people" and pay no attention to what "experts" tell them they should keep for self-defense.

For instance, the 2009 ATF manufacturing report (http://www.atf.gov/statistics/download/afmer/2009-firearms-manufacturers-export-report.pdf), the latest year available, indicates that the Ruger LCP was 50% of Ruger's entire production of pistols (not including revolvers). This despite the fact that most "experts" tell people that the .380 is an inadequate caliber for self-defense.

RyanAnchors
July 17, 2011, 06:59 AM
It is also misleading because it might lead someone who hasn't researched to think guns have been used less than 500 times for self-defense in that time period.
They had been used millions of times for self-defense in that time period. Don't give the antis the ammo to twist statistics.

Also, I can sum up the methodology cited above which really just follows the old school rules.
Have a gun. Practice. Mind-state.

jsimmons
July 17, 2011, 08:36 AM
That's not something we should advertise, as the Anti's would use it to say that requiring "safe-storage" does not impede the ability to use a gun in defense.
Safe storage isn't a bad thing as long as we're talking about BEING safely stored as opposed to being required to be IN a gun safe.

statelineblues
July 17, 2011, 11:46 AM
One more example...

http://news.yahoo.com/iowa-congressman-family-safe-home-invasion-131923099.html

Carl N. Brown
July 17, 2011, 12:48 PM
We do have to recognize the limitations of the sample: looking at the June 2011, American Rifleman, the armed citizen, as an example, most are clippings from newspapers or television reports. The NRA does ask for first hand accounts, but I suspect NRA asks documentation.

Due to bias in the news about guns, positive gun stories are exceptional. Of self defense incidents recounted to me, half were not reported to the police and none generated news coverage.

That does not mean that this sample is not useful, but we must keep in mind that it is primarily a sample of successful self defense incidents that were deemed newsworthy.

You won't be able to project absolute numbers about self defense with a gun, but you do get some good stats on the nature of civilian self defense from the sample as long as you recognize it is mostly a sample of successful self defense incidents deemed newsworthy by newspapers or television.

It is kinda like using the FBI UCR table on justifiable homicides: killing of a felon in the line of duty by a police officer, and killing of a felon during commission of felony by a citizen (from police report, not reflecting eventual adjudication by coroner, medical examiner, district attorney, grand jury, trial judge, trial jury or appellate court). You can get a good idea of methods or weapons commonly used, but not the absolute number of events per year.

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