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Old January 1, 2009, 09:43 AM   #1
Whirlwind06
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Armed Citizen Analysis

I have seen this post on a few other boards, but did not find it here.
I can't find an original source either.

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., ¼ 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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Old January 1, 2009, 10:12 AM   #2
lwestatbus
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Very Interesting

What an incredibly interesting and informative report. It is also very timely for me as I am trying to reconcile the feeling of absolute rapture I felt when I handled a S&W Model 60 with a 5" barrel with the limitations of the five shot capacity. I was actually on the Forum this morning to look for information on the number of shots fired in a defensive action by a private citizen.

I also appreciate the candid report of the limitations of the study. This allows me to weigh the likely applicability of the findings to my situation. And since we live on the fourth floor of a condo I don't expect to be facing many escaped lions.

Thanks again.
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Old January 1, 2009, 10:40 AM   #3
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Assuming it's accurate, this is interesting information and whoever compiled it deserves a thank you.

However, I would be cautious about drawing certain conclusions based on the data. In particular, the "small calibers are ok" conclusion. As noted, the data only includes successful outcomes. The fact that small calibers worked in several cases does not mean they work reliably. We don't know how many cases of small (or large) caliber failures are not in the data.

A similar caveat applies to the "circling shark" observation. The fact that the attacker alerted the victim gave the victim time to prepare a defense, thereby improving the victim's chances. There may be cases where the attacker did not give the victim any warning and the result was catastrophic. Such an incident would be left out of the data.
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Old January 1, 2009, 11:13 AM   #4
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Ever notice that none of those incidents involve mall ninjas or any 'uber tactical' weapons or techniques?
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Old January 1, 2009, 01:09 PM   #5
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Very good info. The only thing to remember while reading the whole article is this:

Quote:
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.
This article just shows what works, not really what does not. Still very informative! Thanks for the post.
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Old January 1, 2009, 01:22 PM   #6
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The figures likely just show what the editor or whomever is in charge of the "Armed Citizen" column selects to publish. In statistics you have a population that is represented. The population in this case is "stories in Armed Citizen column" So 52% of incidents in the Armed citizens column took place at home. That is a fair statement. to say 52% of defensive gun us incidents happen at the owners home would be unfair. Likely the Editor selects a disproportionate amount of stories of people being attacked at home because that is where people feel the safest and the editor wants people to know attacks can happen anywhere.

Try this one, take a sports page of any newspaper and find all the stories of winning teams and all the stories of losing teams. If 70% of stories are about teams that won their last game does that mean 70% of ALL teams won their last game?
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Old January 1, 2009, 01:33 PM   #7
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nice article, informative. i wont attempt to analyze it too closely.
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Old January 1, 2009, 02:02 PM   #8
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Alloy, above, probably is taking the smartest tack. Just to go the completely opposite direction, I'll go ahead and over-analyze the analysis.

There is obviously some selection bias here, which the authors acknowledge.

However, that doesn't mean the information is completely useless. This is similar to information that is sometimes compiled on "characteristics of top 10 executives," or "training regimens of most successful marathon runners." There is a fairly well-known book called The Millionaire Next Door that describes the behaviors of people whose wealth tends to increase over time. It isn't definitive evidence, but it is certainly reasonable to read these kind of descriptive accounts and think about how one might make oneself more like the successful cases shown. Certainly if one is doing something that is a radical departure from the successful cases, that might bear thinking about.

One aspect of the NRA's reporting probably is fairly systematic: you can be reasonably well assured that they're not suppressing any successful self-defense shootings or "positive outcomes." They certainly would have no interest in doing so.

Actually, I don't think the NRA is the greatest potential source of bias here. Probably the greatest source of bias is that all these accounts are gleaned (by the NRA) from newspaper reports. That could easily account for the high proportion of shots fired and assailants wounded or killed - if the intended victims defuse the situation simply by brandishing a firearm or saying "I've got a gun!" the incidents may not be reported to police, or may not make it in to the paper if they are.

Regarding the findings about the "shark circling" behavior and the successful use of small caliber firearms, these could reflect biases as noted above, but they still don't render the findings totally meaningless.

If you have a killer who moves in deliberately and achieves total surprise, these incidents aren't ever going to become cases of armed self-defense. They will be outright unchallenged murders of people who may or may not own guns. However, I am not too troubled by this bias. Frankly, if my home is attacked by highly trained professional assassins, I'm probably dead no matter what. The "sizing up your prey" behaviors are pretty well known among more casual predators and are described from other sources.

Regarding the successful use of small caliber firearms, yes there is a potentially biased sample here, but it seems unlikely that there are large numbers of cases where crime victims shoot at and hit their attackers only to succumb to a determined attacker who overcomes a non-lethal wound. The vast majority of criminals are likely to be of the "predatory" type who are looking for a soft target. Having any kind of gun and shooting back means at least one is not a soft target, and probably will be sufficient for the vast majority of criminal attacks. Again, if we are confronted by seriously determined attackers who are willing to press their attacks even after being shot, that is likely a small minority of criminals and our odds are much worse in such a situation no matter what kind of gun we use.
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Old January 1, 2009, 02:08 PM   #9
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Armed Citizen

That was a nice read.Now where is that report about having a gun in the home such a danger to the homeowner and his family?You know,the one the Brady Bunch and the American Medical Assoc. keeps referring to?
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Old January 1, 2009, 04:14 PM   #10
alloy
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Quote:
I'll go ahead and over-analyze the analysis.
...antsi

yes i read a few things into it myself, most of which are similar to your stated points.
but overall "i pays my money, and then i takes my chances"
i will stick with my puny .380 and practice for incidents that seem relevant to me.
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Old January 1, 2009, 06:07 PM   #11
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Did anybody else start laughing when some dude had to shoot a lion 13 times with a .32?
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Old January 1, 2009, 11:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
Very good info. The only thing to remember while reading the whole article is this:


Quote:
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.
Dido
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Old January 2, 2009, 12:31 AM   #13
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I've used that info before, and one thing that is of interest is that the findings seem to be reflected by other studies of shootings. What is of greatest interest to me as a researcher are the things we don't see in any of the studies. We don't see caliber being an issue, we don't see quick-draw being an issue, we don't see reloading being an issue, we don't see so many of the issues that attract so much discussion being an issue.
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Old January 2, 2009, 03:40 AM   #14
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What is of greatest interest to me as a researcher are the things we don't see in any of the studies. We don't see caliber being an issue, we don't see quick-draw being an issue, we don't see reloading being an issue, we don't see so many of the issues that attract so much discussion being an issue.
In your opinion, how much of that results from the fact that when the things you list are required the outcomes tend not to be positive for the defender?
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Old January 2, 2009, 04:45 AM   #15
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Did anybody else start laughing when some dude had to shoot a lion 13 times with a .32?
Yeah, that got a laughing, "oh s*$t" out of me too.

I also loved the part about how when shots are fired, the other conspirators tend to flee the scene. Who says there's no honor among thieves!

"I'm supposed to be your getaway driver, but, 'oh crap, someone is shooting!' I better leave your ass behind!"
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Old January 2, 2009, 09:03 AM   #16
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Quote:
Very good info. The only thing to remember while reading the whole article is this:
Quote:
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.
Ditto again. This presents a HUGE bias. Actually, I would call it couched propaganda. The caveat that non-positive outcomes are not included is downplayed compared to the amount of positive outcomes. Of course, being a gun organization that promotes guns and the use of guns in self defense, the bias isn't unexpected. It does them little good to present equal analysis to where what they promote has failed.
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Old January 2, 2009, 09:39 AM   #17
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Well, to be fair we ALL probably know what the penalty for not winning an engagement like this is. But yes, there probably is a slant to it.

I liked the line "the most common response of criminals being shot were to flee immediatly or expire"
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Old January 2, 2009, 09:46 AM   #18
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No doubt that it is biased, and I can't find an original source either.
Still interesting though.


Quote:
Pbearperry said: That was a nice read.Now where is that report about having a gun in the home such a danger to the homeowner and his family?You know,the one the Brady Bunch and the American Medical Assoc. keeps referring to?
The Brady site doesn't even have a link to the "study" I guess it is easier to just make up numbers as you go along.
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Old January 2, 2009, 10:34 AM   #19
Recon7
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What I am afraid of here is we have taken 482 incidents that we can all learn from and we stick them in a blender can come out with numbers. I think there are too many problems behind the numbers to make them useful at all. the fact that there is no source is also troubling.
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Old January 2, 2009, 01:13 PM   #20
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Quote:
In your opinion, how much of that results from the fact that when the things you list are required the outcomes tend not to be positive for the defender?
I don't think it is an issue. That such things would be required is obviously a very rare occurence not to mention rather questionable in the overall context of the event. There are studies that include failed attempts at defense, and the findings tend to be much the same. It is sort of like the somewhat infamous "here is what it looks like when LE loses a gunfight" stuff. Strangely enough, the factors in losing the fight tend to be almost the same as those when the fight is won.
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Old January 2, 2009, 01:19 PM   #21
David Armstrong
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What I am afraid of here is we have taken 482 incidents that we can all learn from and we stick them in a blender can come out with numbers. I think there are too many problems behind the numbers to make them useful at all. the fact that there is no source is also troubling.
This is not hard to do for those that want to start learning about it on their own. We all regularly have access to info about gunfights and robberies and assaults and so on. It is easy (particularly with a computer) to start listing the factors that you can know about from the info provided. Start looking for trends....number of shots fired (gives info like average of shots, need to reload, etc.) BG reactions (continued assault, left scene, DRT, etc.) and so on. Before you know it you have your own database.
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Old January 2, 2009, 03:01 PM   #22
Recon7
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Quote:
There are studies that include failed attempts at defense, and the findings tend to be much the same.
That may be true, If the numbers are the same or close it validates this analysis, all I am saying is the method of accumulating these numbers from Armed Citizen is very unscientific

Quote:
Start looking for trends....number of shots fired (gives info like average of shots, need to reload, etc.) BG reactions (continued assault, left scene, DRT, etc.) and so on. Before you know it you have your own database.
Again, not very scientific.
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Old January 2, 2009, 05:21 PM   #23
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The big Question answered

The big Question answered!

So! Show me one incident that does not valadate... Glock 19, sixteen rounds of 127g +P+ 9mm, and a spare magazine with 17 rounds of the same, and bright flash light on the same belt as the rest of the afore mentioned kit!T

Plus great night sights!!

And a Happy New Year to all!
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Old January 3, 2009, 11:14 AM   #24
Recon7
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I am getting way to academic here, but from this book

A population is
Quote:
The collection of all outcomes, responses, measurements, or counts that are of interest
Obviously nobody has such information as not all gun uses are even recorded. The next best thing is to take a sample which is
Quote:
A subset of the population
The book goes on to say
Quote:
Sample data can be used to form conclusions about populations. Sample data must be collected using an appropriate method, such as random selection. If it is not collected using an appropriate method, the data are of no value
The Italics are the authors and not mine. This is chapter one page 5. It is harder to use stronger language than "of no value"
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Old January 3, 2009, 12:47 PM   #25
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study?

Well now.

I remember a "study" quoted to us in my first ccw class. It showed the percentage of "stopped" incedents with one or two rounds by caliber. It was more involved than this, but I remember 9mm "stopped" the attack 62% of the time with two or fewer shots, while .45acp "stopped" the attack about 98% of the time. More calibers were listed, and my numbers might be a little off (poor memory), but that was the gist of it.

This was followed by the viewing of a fox news clip where a man in Israel used what appeared to be a .38 snub to defend himself from an attacker. The man fired all 5 shots with no response from the attacker. He did not even know he had been shot, and the attack continued.

Now this is a most excellent argument for the use and carry of .45acp. Indeed, the instructor was heavily advocating the .45acp as the "only" use-worthy caliber. But... This is as much emotional staging as is used by the "Brady bunch" in their anti-gun bs

What I take from this is that a "study" can be formed to bring in whatever results and support whatever position the person conducting the "study" wants to support. In like turn, how many of us are so bold as to quote "studies" that don't support our position during one of these arguments? How many times in your life have eggs been bad for you, and then good again? Careful not to date yourself.

The two things that we can all get out of this, as with the original articals? One is a bit of reassuring entertainment. And two, the knowledge that God even loves a fool that would thwart a lion with a .32.

Lol
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