Rule #4 - and stress


October 7, 2003, 10:34 PM
We all I hope follow the four rules .. with some degree of paranoia .. safer that way!:)

However ... imagine the ultimate stress situation ...... the need for use of piece in SD scenario. Pray it never happens - of course.

Can we implement rule#4 when under so much stress .. OK .. the BG (or BG's) will be obvious I expect, but .....


With regard to what is BEHIND that target ....... that's where concerns surface .... how long can we take to identify what is and is not safe ....... in the background.?

One of my fears is ... apart from saving my own skin ....... is that behind a BG is something that definitely should NOT be hit ..... but in the heat of the moment when all is up for grabs ... how do you envisage assessing this?

I am not sure if I would have time to enjoy the luxury of appraisal!!! Of course, we might all think that ...... hey - ''shot placement'' .... all shots will hit BG.!!

Sorry!! ... I think in that situation at least one or more bullets are gonna qualify as ''stray'' ... and sure as hell ... I'd hate to have hurt any bystander.

Your thinking on this??

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El Tejon
October 7, 2003, 11:02 PM
In a word, training. But that's my answer to everything--damn Yankees and their education.

We learn target identification, movement, target angles, etc., et al. And then we keep studying.:)

October 7, 2003, 11:11 PM
This is where situational awareness comes in. You need to be aware of your surroundings before you are surprised. When my dad used to fly he would constantly be asking, "Where are we going to land?" He didn't want to land, but wanted to have a plan... always. As I walk five blocks from my office to my car each day, I am aware of who is where and which way they are going. I am more trying to size up the situation to identify potential threats, but after your question I will also keep in mind the "backstop" so to speak.

In the home I have a four year old and a wife. If awakened by a threat, I would not shoot in the direction where my family is "supposed to be" without verification of their location. I have figured out where I would move from my bed to accomodate this.

All of that was very easy to write... Your question is not that easy to answer however.

Standing Wolf
October 7, 2003, 11:55 PM
When in doubt, don't. That's my rule.

October 8, 2003, 12:20 AM
Knowing your target & its surroundings is VERY important. If you can't take a safe shot, find another alternative.
You do have options...ammo that won't over penetrate, taking a slightly different shot or just not taking the shot.

October 9, 2003, 02:26 PM
"Mr. Ryan?"
"Be careful. Most things in here don't react well to bullets."
- The Hunt for Red October

:uhoh: :D

October 9, 2003, 02:54 PM
This is why Susan and I train, and study our surroundings - including reconstruction and de-briefing after we travel.

You fight the way you train. We aren't aberrant, nor do we want to be LEO's.

As Jeff Cooper recently wrote, "You might be forgiven for losing, but never for being surprised."

That's why we have layers in weapons. If a firearm isn't feasible, then it's CQB rules with edged weapons until the opening presents itself, if possible.

Train long enough and it becomes second nature.


pale horse
October 9, 2003, 03:36 PM
It still amazes me to hear about people not taking cover when shots are fired, I am referring to sheeple. I think in such a circumstance the good samairitan act would cover you. ;)

No just kiddin. If I can make the shot w/o hitting a good guy I will take it and if not then I dont.

October 9, 2003, 04:22 PM
My thoughts:

I seek training and focus on safety whenever possible. But if a BG with a gun points it at me I'm gonna freak. I can only hope that my training will kick in and allow me to focus on putting my bullets reasonably close to C.O.M. With the adrenaline dump, tunnel vision, time impairment, and other physiological and psychological effects going on I don't doubt there may be a flyer or at best an off center hit. (YOu see it all the time from Pro's with more training than me)

I expect that rule #4 (or at least the "Beyond" part) will never come into my thinking.

How much am I supposed to process in the split second I have to decide to use deadly force?

Is this really happening?
What are the ramifications of killing this guy?
AM I justified?
Is there cover?
Can I escape?
Does he have accomplices?
Shot placement (Front sight! Front SIght!)
Rules 1-4

I have a difficult time beleiving I will even notice anything past the BG much less make a consious effort to not shoot for reasons relating to #4.

If I can make the shot w/o hitting a good guy I will take it and if not then I dont.

So do you get shot to avoid POSSIBLY injuring a bystander?

pale horse
October 9, 2003, 06:45 PM
"So do you get shot to avoid POSSIBLY injuring a bystander?"

Yes I would. I am here to preserve life. I do not hold my life as dearly as others I know. I am not a physco or anything like that. I carry my weapons to protect those in my party/company and then my own life. That means if I am not going to be able to take the shot safely I dont squeeze the trigger on anyone. If that means I die for them so be it, I am certian of my future. But if its me and ole dirtbag in a shoot out I know what I can do and if someone is in the line of fire or really close to said dirtbag then I may wait for a better shot by moving my location to open the safety of the bystandard. Thats the way I do things.

Some of the things you mentioned are subconscience. Training lets you know the shoot no shoot situations. Some of the questions should have already been asked and anwsered before you started carrying your weapon.

October 9, 2003, 08:50 PM
I think my biggest fear is target fixation.

Training and practice are nice, but something in the back of your mind is telling you it's not real.

If some big 'ol bubba with a huge knive is stomping right towards you, I have a feeling that it's going to be very hard to look around him and make sure that there's no innoccent bystander who just walked in back there to play backstop for today.

El Tejon
October 9, 2003, 11:00 PM
DMK, remember the 3 rules of the subconscious. We train using them to handle this exact situtation.

I like Big Jim's axiom: training allows you to fight with the subconscious and manuever with the thinking mind.

October 9, 2003, 11:39 PM
That's hard to answer really. The chance may well exist that the BG isn't concerned with who he harms at all, so he wouldn't be thinking about what's behind you should he miss, because he wouldn't give a damn. However, we do, and that could potentially put us at a decided disadvantage if we were to let it.

Something else to consider is what lies unseen downrange, as we are responsible for every bullet fired from our gun, and for whatever they come to rest in. So, it's not only our immediate backstop and surroundings that warrant concern, but also what potential liability risks exist downrange with regards to what we can't see, that we may also be held accountable for. This is of great concern as well, particularly when speaking in context of missed shot's.

As law abiding firearms owners with a conscience, we are concerned with not inflicting needless harm to innocent people. However, there exists the chance that the BG that confronts you may not feel the same way. Do we then sacrifice ourselves, or far worse, potentially our familiy or friends? Or, do we shoot to stop the threat and hope and pray no one was injured or killed as a result of our actions? It would seem to be one of the toughest judgement calls we could potentially ever have to make, but one that may have to be made in a matter of seconds.

It's easy to say or think how we might react if confronted with a certain situation. However, I firmly believe until we are faced with that situation, it's nothing more than speculation or hope on our part, and is yet another question we ask ourselves that can't be accurately answered without experiencing it first hand. Training is of vital importance, and should never be downplayed. However, the adrenaline and fear of dying could potentially wreak havoc on our thought and decision making processes.
The best of the best, the elite, the expertly trained, the hardend professionals, ect...have all lost battles. No matter how well we train, it is not the real thing, as we are indeed fully aware of the fact that we are in no "real" danger. This is the same adage that is applied in sports, when saying that practice is not a game situation, as the intensity, speed, competitive level, stakes, ect. are simply not the same. Practice can make you better or prepare you, but true answers about how good you are or how you would react in a given situation, are only born from experiencing the real thing IMO. Hopefully, none of us ever has a real world experience to draw from.

As each situation varies, so will the resulting action/ answer to your question. I suspect that the gravest of situations may leave us no other viable alternative, should it escalate to the "it's either me/family/friends or them" scenario. Chances are your will to survive would take over, forcing you into action. Example scenario: think about a police officer, who is surprised/startled by a gun weilding BG leaping from his car and opening fire on a busy street, at this point, the officer is not left with many choices to make, nor the time to think about it.

Best, jnb01

October 10, 2003, 02:50 PM
The four rules are there for safe recreational target shooting! You can bend the rules a bit if you're about to get skewered by an intruder with a knife!

If you're so fixated on safe gun handling that you delay responding to an imminent threat, what good was owning the gun in the first place?

It's: Front sight on target - shoot!
Not: Front sight on target - what is beyond the madman? - oops, I have a knife in my chest...

In your home, work out your safe zones of fire and shooting positions in advance.


October 10, 2003, 07:21 PM
DMK, remember the 3 rules of the subconscious. We train using them to handle this exact situtation. El Tejon: OK, I understand training the subconscious, but what are the three rules?

You know this thread reminds me of one time when I was a teenager and we were partying at a good friend's house. Parents were out of town. I got in a pretty nasty fight with another young man who didn't feel like waiting to take it outside. Unfortunately, I was very concerned about breaking stuff because my friend was already on thin ice with his parents and they did have a very nice house. My opponent did not have such concerns. I thought I could easily take this guy because that was the way it happened on a previous scuffle elsewhere. I was greatly surprised how much the idea of avoiding collateral damage put me at a disadvantage and how quickly it did at that. Needless to say, I got my behind handed to me that night and furniture got broken anyway. Luckily, it was just male egos colliding and not really life threatening but a lesson was learned.

El Tejon
October 11, 2003, 09:39 AM
Fast-slow, real-imaginary, good-bad.:)

No Quarter
October 11, 2003, 11:31 AM
I think it all sounds well and good to armchair quarterback every SD shooting we hear about - fact of the matter is that in a life or death situation, all the thinking and imaginary training is lost and you just react.

Some people freeze, some people get mad, some people dive for cover, some people charge the attacker.

NONE of you know what you will do when a situation arises unless you have already been in one. If any of you are LEO or former military or have been in a SD situation, then you know what I am talking about. THERE ARE NO CALM COOL HEADS AND PLANNED REACTIONS YOUR FIRST (and probably only)TIME TO DEFEND YOUR LIFE!

I do think that after your first time you can leaqrn from your mistakes and maybe you at least have an idea of what you would do better the next time.

My personal experience - When in Somalia, the first time some rounds impacted very close to my head, I was suprised and then angry (as in - HOW DARE YOU YOU SOB!) and then reacted by shooting back - the fact is, it took me a few seconds to realize that I had better do something or I would die. Some of the guys I was with just immediately ducked for cover and some froze, some started shooting back. ALL of us had trained and trained and trained and imagined and bragged and boasted and were sure of what we would do - NONE of us could have told you what are ture reactions were ahead of time. The bragging stopped after that first time. I found it a sobering and consumately valuable lesson. The next time we were under fire, we all kind of learned from that first experience and then reacted more appropriately because we had learned from our first time.

All the role playing, live fire excercises and mind games that we put ourselves through might do some good to help train you how to use your weapon,but NONE of it will truly prepare you for what your brain will do when you are faced with a HOLY S#$T situation FOR REAL!

My only comfort is I really know how I will react because I have had to react.

I am not sure if my experience holds true for everyone that has had to pull the trigger, but it sure seems the case from my experience.


October 11, 2003, 01:22 PM
No Quarter NONE of you know what you will do when a situation arises unless you have already been in one. I do agree ..... no amount of speculation will demonstrate or radically change what might or might not be.

I think tho that one of the reasons I present scenarios quite often is .... to stimulate thinking and even gain from other's experience ... it may make little difference but i have the feeling that, even in some small way ... discussion and then the thought that follows - must be positive and thus potentially useful.

Even an extra 0.5% ''edge'' as a result of these discussions is for me a bonus!:)

No Quarter
October 11, 2003, 02:07 PM
Agreed - To at least consider the possibilities is part of whateveer preparation is possible. I am confident that those that plan and consider are farther ahead of the game than your average sheeple.


October 11, 2003, 02:19 PM
There is a certain mindset to those who survive deadly encounters. And within that mindset there is no room for any distractions.
If you enter a gunfight worrying about the safety rules or the legal permutations or whether your gun is enough or you have the appropriate load or whether you should just run away or whether the police are on the way...

Well, people who get distracted with a lot of internal analysis are known as "victims". You don't have time for any of that. Put the front sight on the target and press the trigger - repeat until danger is no longer imminent.

You can wring your hands and analyze the greater situation later - if you're still alive.


October 11, 2003, 08:52 PM
"So do you get shot to avoid POSSIBLY injuring a bystander?"

Yes I would. I am here to preserve life.
Once you're incapacitated what keeps the bad guy from killing the bystander?

You are the most important asset the bystanders have. You are the only obstacle keeping the bad guy from wreaking havoc on everything in his sight. You need to protect yourself or the bystanders are potentially dead meat.

Ever wonder why they tell you on the airlines to put on YOUR mask FIRST and THEN help the person next to you? Because if you don't put on your mask first you will pass out and be of no help to anyone.

Same thing applies here.

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