Have you ever had to use it?


February 14, 2004, 01:57 AM
We talk/write so much about so many different holsters to carry concealed, so many different training techniques for self defense, etc. etc....
There seems to be an army of well trained, armed, and ready gun owners here in the USA, which gives me comfort if things dramatically change and this country is ever seriously attacked.
Putting all wild scenarios and paranoia aside...

Have you or someone very close to you ever had to use a handgun or other firearm for self-defense?

If so, please share the situation if you comfortable with doing so.

(By "use it" I mean unholstering it, showing it, referring to it, etc. not necessarily pulling the trigger. I'm pretty sure not many who have actually pulled the trigger would care to share anything about it here.)

Why am I asking....
1. Desire to learn from others' experiences
2. Considering getting CHL and wondering if it is really worth the responsibility, the hassle, and the cost.
3. Curiosity


links to old threads if they exist on this topic are welcome

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February 14, 2004, 02:24 AM
In twenty years, I've had to draw only once. But I was darn glad I had the pistol that night. A friend and I were driving home late one night and at one point we pulled up behind another car a ta stop sign. A black male opened the passenger door and yelled something at us. I could not understand what. He got back in the car, the back up lights came on and they hit us. Then the black guy and a large Indian got out and walked back down either side of my car. My friend and I thought we were in the middle of a "bump and rob" act. We both drew our 1911s and when the big Indian got to my door, I aimed the pistol at him, dropped the safety and ordered him to back up. He did so, and got VERY co-operative. There was no damage to the cars and when he jumped back into the other car and left, I let him since no felony had been committed. When the cops showed up, they knew the black guy. He was a male prostitute. What he had yelled , he claimed, was for us to call the cops. It seems that the Indian had hired him for sexual favors then refused to pay.

I know this. While I was looking over the sights at him, I had absolutly NO DOUBT I could have pulled that trigger if he had not backed off and become compliant.

February 14, 2004, 02:51 AM
There's an excellent thread on the same topic here (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=60164), including a very hairy encounter by QuarterBoreGunner. :eek:

February 14, 2004, 05:35 AM
Nothing fancy, just tooling around town on my old 700cc Virago (my first bike), taking all the roads I've never taken to become more familiar with my bike and prospective shortcuts.
While turning around on a country road, a stray (or loose) German shepherd got way too close and too fast for comfort in a less-than-playful manner.
So I pulled my K9 from my Bianchi bellyband and pointed it at the dog, believing he would latch on to my leg before I could position the bike to speed off. If you aren't familiar with GSDs, they can move!

Fortunately stopped about 5 feet away, giving me an odd "so what do we do now" look.
Revving the throttle while in neutral seemed to further undermine his resolve.
Putting away the K9, I put the bike in gear and sped off with the dog giving chase (but the bike's faster :) ).

I was really hoping I wouldn't have to shoot it as I have a GSD of my own; they're great dogs!
I think this particular GSD was just a professional car chaser.

A GSD is a great dog, but scary if it's not yours. Here's my GSD showing his contempt for my squirt gun (but he's friendly and playful, really!)

More as a preemptive strike, a few years ago I shot a seriously pissed-off tom cat at a friend's farm at the owner’s request (it had injured his daughter's cat and attacked his wife twice). I used the K9 with 115gr Triton Quik-Shoks, ruining the hay bale he was perched on. No more bad kitty after that. I also got a taste of how loud a K9 is without hearing protection. :o

On a more serious note, I've never drawn my K9 on a person and pray I'm never in a position that requires that.

February 14, 2004, 08:49 AM
I did last night.
Scenario: Wife comes running in the house. Outside is a skunk running around in circles with our cats in danger being in the proximity of a possible rabid skunk. Since this is 2 hours before sunset and it is acting weird, there is a strong chance it is rabid. The skunk is dispatched with two shots from a .22 buckmark. Family and cats are now safe. Chaulk up another defensive use of a handgun.

Kentucky Rifle
February 14, 2004, 09:23 AM
In peace time~only pulled it once. Didn't have to fire.

In war time~Well, you know. I was young. I wanted to live.


February 14, 2004, 09:54 AM
In addition to all the other threads on this subject which can be found using the 'search' function in the upper right hand corner, there is a currently active thread HERE (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=60164).

The original poster there ("The Rabbi") seems to be of the opinion that bad things don't happen to people, so if we could post our experiences there it would, I'm sure, assist in his 'research' on this topic.

- Gabe

February 14, 2004, 10:26 AM
he original poster there ("The Rabbi") seems to be of the opinion that bad things don't happen to people, I get the impression he is of the opinion that bad things don't happen to the majorityof people who carry, which I think is true. I've carried for 20 years and only had to draw once. I don't get the impression that he is fishing for rationals against carrying, just looking for a realistic idea of how often carriers actually have to resort to their guns. Just like the starter of this thread.

February 14, 2004, 12:53 PM
I posted my reply there.

February 14, 2004, 12:59 PM

Scroll down to RoadRep's post.

Ky Larry
February 14, 2004, 07:25 PM
I used a Ruger Black Hawk .357 to make a person with a straight razor leave me alone. A careful,close up examination of the bore of my revolver helped this person rethink their interpersonal relationship patterns. He chose to vacate the area post haste.:D

February 14, 2004, 07:36 PM
Never have.

In war time~Well, you know. I was young. I wanted to live.
Well said KR.

February 14, 2004, 08:03 PM
Yes! One time I was at a shooting range, and out of nowhere these strange, orange alien saucers made of clay started attacking! I did what had to be done. None survived... :D

Sorry, couldn't resist. Just wanted to be silly.

Ala Dan
February 14, 2004, 08:13 PM
Back in the 70's I carried a S&W 6" model 19 as a
reserve deputy sheriff in a major Alabama county
sheriffs department. About 0200 hrs in the early
AM, we proceeded to chase a vechile at speeds
exceeding 100 mph, for a distance estimated
to have been seven miles. Once we got the car
stopped, the occupant hit the electric locks on
the vechiles doors and locked them tighter than
Dicks hat ban. I was driving, so I approached
the vechile and ordered the suspect out of the
car; at which time, he simply slid down further
into the seat and placed his right hand into the
console. When I saw this, I took one step back
drew the 6" S&W model 19 from its duty rig and
pointed it at the drivers side window, in line with
and behind the drivers left ear for fear that I was
about to be shot! For some unknown and still
unexplained reason, the perp decided to call the
dogs off; turned his interior light on, unlocked the
doors, and threw his hands into the air. At this
time, I reholstered the model 19 approached the
drivers door and removed the driver; who was
the only person in the vechile. After administring
a field sobriety test, the young man was placed
under arrest for DUI.

Case in point, all is well that ends well. About a
month later at court, the lad plead guilty to DUI
and was fined $174 + the cost of court. When
exiting the courtroom, the offender came to my
partner an I and apologized; thanking us for
saving his life or the lives of others!

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

February 14, 2004, 08:45 PM
I the civilian world I have only drawn twice and fired once.

Non-fire incident. I used to work the 3pm to midnight shift and kept a smitty 910 in my truck. I was on my home and was turning off of one street onto another and accidentally cut a guy off that I didn't see. well, I pulled off and slowed way down to let the guy by. I waved and made what I thought was the "I'm sorry" expression. Well, he went ballistic and was beside me paing me, I tried slowing down, speeding up, he just wouldn't let me alone. He kept pushing me over and alomost had me in the ditch when I nailed the binders and stopped. He pulled his car in so I couldn't move and bailed out of his car. He started shouting that he was gonna kick my a** and a bunch of other stuff you wouldn't say in church. When he got to my window he was looking down the barrel of mr 9mm. I told him I was sorry for cutting him and I would try not to do it again. I dont think he heard me cuz he jumped in his car and peeled rubber. I have had many people tell me that I was wrong for brandishing but I say, F it! That guy should't have gotten all worked up.

Now for the other one. Very similar to the above bike story, I was tooling down a country road on my bike when a greman shepard came out of a yard and grabbed my boot and pulled me off the bike. After I picked my self up the dog was right on top of me, out came mr smitty and the guy came running out of his house, I told him to get his dog and he just stood there yelling as his dog was getting all frumpy. Well, the dog jupped at me and grabbed the barrel, well, I hate the feeling but I vented the dog. The guy called the cops and when I showed him the bite mark on my boot, the bike on it's side and the dog drool on the gun he looked to the guy and told him to meek the next one in his yard. I still feel bad for the guy. not fun watching you dog die.

Standing Wolf
February 14, 2004, 08:47 PM
Just once. The woman lived. The rapist who'd been paroled from prison about five weeks earlier... Well, the less said, the better.

February 14, 2004, 09:29 PM
About 5 years ago i was headed home from work.Setting at a red light i heard a man yelling to himself,he was 25-30 ft away when we made eye contact.He pulled a large butchers knife out from be hind his back and started to make a beeline for right side of my car.I drew my stainless security 6,pointed it at his chest and asked him to leave me alone.He turned around and went back the way he came from,still yelling and waving the knife around.I pulled into the next parking lot i could find and called the police,explained what had happened.They asked me to sit tight,a officer would contact me,after 30-45 minutes i called back and was informe they didn't find the guy and i could leave.Yes i was scared and i would have pulled the trigger if i needed to but i'am glad i didn't have to.

February 14, 2004, 10:59 PM
I used a Ruger Black Hawk .357 to make a person with a straight razor leave me alone.

I've done the opposite. Used a blade in response to a handgun threat. Amazing how co-operative people get when there isn't any choice. :D

Jim K
February 14, 2004, 11:08 PM
In several years as a deputy sheriff, I drew once, displayed the gun once, and told a person I was armed once. No shots fired. And that is the best way if you can do it.

In civilian carry, I never drew or even came close to needing to.


February 14, 2004, 11:42 PM
Several times. Once had a burglar coming through my window at 4 am. Unfortunately for him, I had just gotten home from a bar - fortunately for him, I didn't shoot him. Another time, a drunk was beating down my door looking for his cheating wife/girl friend ( I didn't know her). He sobered up quickly when greeted by my 100 lb German Shepard, and me with a 12 gauge. There were several other occassions when I was a student and pumping gas for a living.
Some nights, I felt like I was in a Sergio Leone movie - two hombres staring across a counter at each other- each with a hand in a coat pocket, or behind the back, a bead of sweat forming on our brows. That happened twice, and then I quit. The guy who replaced me was robbed almost weekly after I left. Ahh... the good ol $2.55/hour days.

February 15, 2004, 12:02 AM
In every issue of The American Rifleman there is a feature called "Armed Citizen" that details just what you want to know. You might see if the NRA website has a link to archives of that article.

February 15, 2004, 08:29 AM
OK, how about a new twist:

Have you ever been in a situation where you needed one but for some reason, left it at home.

For me, we were out fishing inour little 12ft fishing boat. We were out in the river anchored on the down river side of a bridge in nice calm, very wide and very deep water. There had been many river boats go by us and most waved to us and slowed way down and pulled out wide away from us as they passed. Well, there was this one boat that thought it would be fun to spped up and swing in close and give me and my at the time pregnant wife a wake. Well, I was not impressed and loudly voiced my opinion of them as we were doing everything we could do to keep from beeing tossed in to the river. Upon hearing me, the a** hole whipped his boat around and acctually nosed up against our little boat. he had three guys with him and all had beer cans in thier hands. He asked what my problem was. Well duh, it's a bunch of drunks that have no respect and cant read the boating regs. He kept throttleing up and nudging up against my little boat and asking me if I wanted to go to the shore and settle this while his friends started digging out the oars and slapping them in thier hands. after what seemed like several minutes another boat came by and slowed way down, the jerk finally backed his boat away and tore off down the river. the other boat came over and asked if we were ok but we just pulled up anchor and went home. I have no doubt in my mind that if that other boat didnt come by, we would both be at the bottom of the river. Since then, I now carry a mossy 500 mariner full of 00 buck in the boat. Never thought I would see a day when you cant enjoy fishing without being harrased.

February 15, 2004, 09:17 AM
I was coming home late from my regular Bouncing gig and noticied a non-resident poking around the cars in the tenant parking area. I headed for my apartment and saw that the guy stayed in front of me as I walked. He disappeared around the corner of a low wall and I had to go around the same wall a few seconds later. He was waiting for me on the other side. Asked me if I was following him. I replied that I lived here and was going to my home. He said that he thought that I WAS following him and people who did that got killed. As he was saying that last part he started reaching into his coat. I drew down on him with the SP101 .357 that had been in my hand since I left the car. I was scared to death. I told him that if anything but his hand came out of his coat I would shoot and kill him. Finger was on the trigger, sight was on his center of mass and he was less than 10 feet away. Thankfully, his hand came out empty and I didn't have to take his life. He walked a short distance away, threatened to come back and kill me and then ran off into the night. I was numb as I went into the house and called the Police to report it. Another time, at the bar I was working I had an small "interaction" in the parking lot with a gangbanger who lifted up his shirt to show he was strapped. I let him know that I was armed also and was ready for whatever might occur. He left without incident and I reported it to the Local Police, again extremely thankful that I didn't have to shoot someone, even an idiot like that. I don't ever want to badly hurt or kill someone, but I WILL make it home to my wife alive and I will do whatever is needed to do it.

February 15, 2004, 10:18 AM
There seems to be an army of well trained, armed, and ready gun owners here in the USA, which gives me comfort if things dramatically change and this country is ever seriously attacked.

2nd Amendment: Mission Accomplished.

Let's keep it that way.

February 15, 2004, 11:45 AM
I've carried for 20 years and only had to draw once.
Well, see there - without a gun you would have only been killed once in 20 years ... :neener:

Seriously, the closest I have come was when I was about 12-14 years old. I was with my mom and grandma on I-40 in a pickup & camper after dark. Dash lights were on full bright so it was pretty light in the cab. Car with 2 guys passes us then immediately slows down to almost stopped and starts weaving back and forth across the road so we couldn't get past. I climbed partway through the "boot" between the PU and camper to get my mom's 22 semi-auto (:rolleyes: yeah, I know) from the camper. Right after that, these guys decided to pull over and let us by. That old six-banger chevy PU broke some records and limits from there into the next town.

I fully believe that even in the dark, those wolves observed me getting something from the camper and decided that these lambs had teeth.

These days, a .357 revolver rides on my hip virtually all the time, at home or about. Only used it to kill rattlesnakes and porcupines, plus scare off a stray dog.

February 15, 2004, 12:19 PM
I have pulled my personal gun once. My military issue weapon (past and present) has been used more than once.

My lone "civilian" incident occurred not long after I'd returned from Desert Shield/Storm. I was stationed in Norfolk, and in those days we used to go to Virginia Beach on the weekends to cruise the strip on our motorcycles. I used to carry a Glock 22 concealed under my jacket, mostly because I wanted to, not because I'd ever had any trouble. For some reason, in the early 90s Virginia Beach was being plagued by groups of thugs (mostly teenagers) who would come out about midnight. They would roam around in groups of 15 to 20 or so, and they'd wait until they could corner some poor guy out of sight, then beat the crap out of him. It was so bad the police were posted on just about every other street corner along the strip, but it wasn't stopping it. So anyway, me and a buddy are down at the strip around midnight on a Friday, and we wanted to get out of traffic, so we pulled into a parking lot to hang out for a little while. This particular lot belonged to the Post Office, and due to a chain link fence, there was only one way in and one way out. We'd been sitting for a little while chatting and waving at the girls, when I noticed a large group of "thugs" coming down the sidewalk to our left. We'd managed to pick a spot away from the police, so these guys must have thought they'd found a couple easy targets. I'm 6' tall, and at the time I was built pretty well (300lb bench), as many young Marines are, but my buddy was a bit smaller. As the young thugs start getting closer, they start making derogatory comments about us and our motorcycles, so far nothing but talk. Then a couple of them drift into the parking lot and start talking about how maybe they should kick our [butts] and take our bikes. I was quiet and polite, and suggested that perhaps they'd best move along. Well, that must've been the signal to strike, because then they really started to move in, and some more of their buddies started to come in as well. At that point I lifted my jacket, pulled my gun, left it pointing toward the ground, and said, "if you want trouble, you've just found it." I'll never forget those words, or the reaction: everyone came to a complete stop, no moving, no talking, nothing. After a couple seconds they picked their chins off the ground, put their eyeballs back in their sockets, and they quickly backed up to the street. Once they were back in the comfort of the group, they started challenging me to do something. Fortunately that lasted all of about a second, and then they started moving on down the sidewalk again. Once we had a clear path, we fired up the bikes and got back to base as quickly as possible. Afterwards we chose never to hang out late at night at the beach, and even in the earlier hours we chose to stay with the crowd. Frankly I wasn't scared of them for a second, but I was afraid I'd get in trouble with the Marine Corps for shooting them. My buddy suggested telling the police, but I didn't want to explain the gun, and I didn't want the Marine Corps to ever know anything about it. [Surprisingly, we had a very, very anti-gun Battalion Commander, so that was most of why I feared retaliation by the Corps.]

My future solution to that one incident was to try and never put myself in a position where pulling my gun was the only option. That has continued to work to this day (so far at least).

Black Snowman
February 15, 2004, 05:47 PM
The one time I've ever had to use a firearm in self defense was when I was in grade school. 5th grade I believe.

An older local kid had come over to my house, uninvited, came in and was bullying my friend I had over and myself. He refused to leave but I wasn't terribly worried until he got a hold of my Brother's nunchaku. Then I was in definite fear for my life because I knew this retard had no idea how deadly they could be and was most likely going to find out on us and most likely too late to keep from doing permanent harm.

That's the point where I made a direct bee-line with friend in tow to my parent's bedroom where I knew they kept a loaded single shot 12 gauge under the bed just in case of intruders.

The sight of the shotgun as he came in the room was enough to make him stop his advance, but not drop the weapon or leave.

Seeing the gaping hole of the shotgun pointed very steadily at his face didn't persuade him to leave or drop the weapon either. I informed him if he took another step toward us that I'd shoot. He lowered the nunchaku but didn't back off.

Once the hammer was cocked, then all the sudden he's "just kidding", but still won't drop the nunchaku or leave until I tell him in no uncertain terms that if he did not drop the weapon and leave immediately I'd pull the trigger and then call the cops to dispose of the body for me.

I think the plain truth of the words struck a cord and finally realized that I had no qualms about filling his head with shot if it meant protecting my friend and I.

He then decided to leave. I immediately made sure all of the doors were locked and called my parents to let them know what happened.

As I recall the "perp's" parents got a very extended ear-full of my Father's rage and many threats of going to the police and filing a report. Never saw him again even though he lived just a block and a half away.

I was definitely glad at that point that my Dad had shown me how to use our guns and most importantly trusted me to be responsible with them. He praised me for handling the situation the way I did and let me know in no uncertain terms that I did absolutely nothing wrong. I think that experience helped me weather all of the "guns are evil" brainwashing in junior high and high school.

If an uninvited guest comes to my home and starts a confrontation now they're not faced with a single round of 12 gauge birdshot but 30 rounds of .223 55gr hollow points. I don't like to do anything half-way :)

February 15, 2004, 07:02 PM
I've done the opposite. Used a blade in response to a handgun threat. Amazing how co-operative people get when there isn't any choice.

Ryder, would you mind sharing the story? I have no idea how a knife guy would deal with a gun-wielding BG unless he's at contact distance. Just curious.



February 15, 2004, 08:03 PM
I don't get the impression that he is fishing for rationals against carrying, just looking for a realistic idea of how often carriers actually have to resort to their guns. Just like the starter of this thread.You may be right, SMLE. I took his tone as one of dismissive challenge. The 'You're all paranoid!' kind of thing. But maybe I'm just overly sensitive. ;)

- Gabe

February 15, 2004, 09:13 PM
This happened in a restaurant after the bars let out. We had been out bowling. After we placed our order for a pizza I went to the bathroom to wash my hands. When I came out my friend was standing at the juke box with his back to our table. I noticed two guys in suits sitting in our seats :confused: So I went up to my bud and asked what's up. This surprised him too. He walks over to the table and VERY POLITELY informed the guy those were our coats on the bench next to them and we'd already placed our order. Tie guy #2 gets up at this time so I sat down next to my coat. I suspect they wanted our coats as well. Screw that, it was Winter!

The other guy doesn't get up. He's a pockmarked middle aged balding tie guy (looked like a detective to me). He reaches into his suit under his left arm and says "I have something here that says you are going to find another table" to my buddy. :what: It looked to me like he had drawn a snubby and is pointing it at my friend under his suit. This was not a shall issue state. If he had a gun it was likely the only one in the restaurant.

My bud starts yelling "What? You got a gun? You got a gun? You gonna shoot me? Go ahead and shoot me, shoot me, SHOOT ME!" The restaurant got quiet for about two seconds and then started buzzing again like nothing had happened. I guess this happens a lot here? Nobody even moves out of the line of fire!

I wasn't real happy about being shot under the table so I got back up and stood next to TG#2 while this old man (I was 21 fresh out of the military and my friend was 18) continues telling my friend he's a "punk" and threatening him with this gun while my friend just keeps telling the guy to shoot him, back and forth they go like a broken record. My take on it is that the guy is dead serious, not joking in the least.

I made the decision to save my friend. Adrenaline flowed, tunnel vision, slow motion. I used to smoke and I had one burning. I walked a loop around behind my bud taking a few last huffs before stubbing it out in an ashtray at an empty table behind my friend. Finishing my loop I come up quietly behind the threat. I believe his last knowledge of me was heading for the ashtray.

Don't know if you're aware of just how loud and authoritative a Buck knife snaps open but I'd been practicing that one handed for several years and was quite proficient at it. I think the adrenaline gave it some extra oomph cause when that knife snapped open in his ear the whole restaurant went so quiet you could have heard a mouse fart. I laid my fists to either side of his head on the back of seat leaving about two inches between the tip of the knife and his neck. He wasn't totally bald and I could see what little hair he had raise up like porcupine quills. The back of his neck turned purple! My plan was to stab it into the side of his neck and pull it out the back taking out his spinal cord if he shot or I if saw a gun in his grasp. I keep my knives very sharp.

I leaned over his right shoulder looking inside his jacket. As he withdrew his hand he let it become evident that he had no weapon. He put both of his palms on the table very slowly and we cherished that moment for a bit. Then guy slid out of the booth and walked away with his buddy to another table. I put the knife back into it's holder and we sat down to await our order. I had hoped they called the cops on him.

About ten minutes later crater face comes back over to our table and apologized to my friend for calling him a punk. He wouldn't even look at me for some reason. Twenty minutes later the suits got served and the waitress wouldn't even look at us as we tried to get her attention whisking by our table. Well, a pizza doesn't take that long to cook! I'm sure they were waiting on the cops to take me away for defending my friend's life, not to mention the lives of others who were in the line of fire. So we got up and left hopping over rails on our way out. Nobody said anything to us. I only felt disgust as I locked eyes with those sheep at the register on the way out. We stuck around in the parking lot another 5 minutes warming the car up and waiting to see if the cops came. Never did see them.

So anyway, you just need the element of surprise. Probably helps that I wasn't the object of his attention but it's all in the timing. :evil:

February 15, 2004, 10:28 PM
I was in Washington, D.C. one cold March night about 5 years ago, two blocks from the FBI building and had the neighborhood crackhead and his partner pull a machete on my wife and me. Without going into a long story, he came up from behind, I was aware of what was going to happen and turned to confront him. He pulled the machete, I took the beginnings of a Weaver stance a began to draw.....................................only to realize that I had left my handgun in the hotel like a good rank & file sheep so as to not find myself in a legal quandry.

I knew better. But of course being a law abiding citizen I was following the rules. They were not. I quickly accepted the fact that someone was going to end up seriously hurt or worse. He had a machete and a partner at the end of the block and I had one arm free and a frantic female pulling on the other.

I'll say this........when I reached down to draw, he was getting double tapped without a doubt. But, I grabbed nothing but shirt and the first thought was "look at the size of that knife" quickly followed by "oh fiddle sticks, I left my gosh darn legally registered concealed carry weapon back at the hotel......oh well, maybe the police will happen by and save me, or I can reason with this obviously rational fine young man"

He didn't get my wallet and my wife and I made it back to the hotel unharmed except for our nerves

February 16, 2004, 05:41 AM
Ryder, thanks for sharing. Interesting story for sure... Makes me think about getting a knife just in case.



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