View Full Version : On, "What would you do if robbed", part XIX

September 21, 2006, 09:13 PM
Because of the two rather spirited threads on the theme of "what would you do if robbed", I decided to do an informal survey of other gun forums. This subject is interesting to me because after years of not CCWing, I've decided to start carrying again.

And I'm amazed that there is so little consensus re how to respond during an armed robbery. So I posed an hypothetical situation as follows:

You are alone and a gunman comes up directly in front of you. He has a revolver drawn and cocked and says, "Give me your wallet." He's pointing the revolver directly at your face.

He doesn't look overly agitated. Calm but he is watching your every move intently. Like he does this frequently.

The gun in his hand, with his arm outstretched, is maybe six feet away.

You are carrying concealed (with the rig of your choice).

What are you going to do?

BTW, if you opt to draw and fire, and if you've had combat training to allow you to do so, would you please tell me what you learned and where you were taught?

Several said that there was not enough information given. As they began offering objections, I realized they were right. Is it daytime or nighttime? Am I alone? Is he alone? Is there any cover? Am I in a parking lot? Etc.

I also realize that my bad guy might not be the norm. My bad guy sounds like a pro. I doubt the majority of stick-up men are professionals. Probably just addicts.

The vast majority of responses insisted that compliance is the only course. Some who insisted compliance (in the above scenario) I've quoted below because they were made by individuals who seemed/stated that they had had some kind of advanced combat training.

Give him my wallet. It will be inconvenient, but you have to be alive to appreciate inconvenience.

Last time I was timed, it took 1.65 seconds to draw a 1911 from a kydex holster at 3 o'clock and fire one rd into the "A" zone on an IPSC tgt at 6 ft. The younger guys were doing it in 1.25 seconds or so IIRC.

Drawing from concealement will undoubtedly add to those times.

As a last resort if it looks like he's not fininshed with me once I've coughed-up my wallet I've practiced to take one sidestep and drop to one knee while drawing in order to get out from in front of his muzzle. This action, which offers no threat, might cause enough momentary consternation/puzzlement to allow me to get off a round or ten.

Trying to do much of anything with a loaded gun pointed at you is foolhardy.

Even if I was decked out with a race rig and totally calm, it would take me around .80 seconds to get a shot off. It should only take him .15 seconds or so to just pull the trigger.

I'd let him have my wallet without a problem. I'd turn into a total sheep. At some point he's going to leave. At that point I have a few options if I'm lucky. Total unawareness of your surroundings means you have to pay the price at some point.

I DO NOT THINK that drawing and firing is a valid option when a stable person has you dead to rights unless you're a quick-draw artist and your draw is measured in fractions of a second.

Attention internet tough-guys: when the man has the drop on you (pointing a gun and your gun is snoozing away in its holster), the jig is up. Give the guy your wallet and chalk it up to being "white" when you should have been "orange"

Gun and man are simply too far away for you to do anything. Give him the wallet.

I never realized that I was in the virtual presence of so much tactical greatness.

Unless you're a quick draw prodigy, who has been through this scenario so many times that adrenaline is no longer an issue, and the lab experiment gone awry has given you gelatin like extendable arms, there's no way you'll draw and fire before he puts you down.

If he's close in, that might be a different story.

The following individual has these credentials:
- U.S. Army Ranger, albeit a long time ago...
- Numerous handgun courses at Firearms Academy of Seattle
- Currently qualify annually with the Department of Energy with handgun
He said,

Give him the freakin' wallet. He has the drop on you, and you are not going to out draw him.

If I were the mugger here I would shoot you as soon as you looked like you were going for something other than your wallet. As soon as you made a fast move I'd be jerking that trigger. Sorry, but I aleady have my weapon drawn. Even if it were a knife instead of a gun (better actually) the story ends the same.

I'd give him my wallet... actually I'd toss him the cheap money clip I carry with a few bills, so I wouldn't be giving him my home address. "I don't carry a wallet. Here's all the cash I have."

I was taught and have learned that against a prepared assailant with weapon drawn, you're toast. If you're lucky enough to have someone who's only after money... give them the damned money & get out of there. If you give them the money & they're not happy, you're no worse off than if you hadn't.

September 21, 2006, 09:14 PM
However, there did seem to be a common tactic among the responses that advocated aggressive action. They said to drop/throw the wallet in such a way as to distract the gunman then pull your weapon and fire until the threat is removed. It would seem you a) throw your wallet on the ground away from the perp, b) when the perp takes his eyes off you to follow the wallet you c) draw and commence firing. In terms of an aggressive course of action, this was the commonest.

One poster however, gave a real life instance of someone, highly trained, who fought back and died.

Almost that exact situation happened in my city a few months ago. Wannabe young thug with a .38. The guy he was robbing was an off-duty police officer, SWAT, too. The cop pulled his Sig .40, they exchanged fire. Result - cop dead, thug took 3 rounds, but wasn't seriously injured.

Having better training and a superior weapon only gets you so far when you are at a significant tactical disadvantage. Even if the cop had been wearing a vest, he was also shot in the jaw/neck area. Nobody is Superman.

The following gentleman had a truly unique perspective.

Actually happened to me.
Its nothing like you dreamers think it will be like.
After I gave them my money and my watch the guy with the gun stepped back pointed the revolver at my chest and pulled the trigger at me anyway. The gun just went "click" and I jumped him. I was really REALLY pissed off at that.
We fought for the gun and I got it pointed at him and pulled the trigger somehow as his friends were trying to kick me to death.
They backed off when the gun went off in his right eye. They ran. He died.
Its nothing like you dream its going to be like.
I was sweating like a pig after it and it must have lasted maybe 20 seconds from the start of it all to him lying there.
There was a huge inquest and fuss and muss as I am white and he was black and there was, of course, no mention of the fact that he and his pals were robbing me at gunpoint at the time and had decided to kill me anyway.
I think I lost 20 years of my life due to fright that day.

One guy recommended Krav Maga for up close and personal work. I googled Kray Maga and it seems to be hand-to-hand training. It would not apply to our hypothetical scenario since Kray Maga is close in.

Here's someone who responded to the Kray Maga advice:
When I was taking martial arts a few years ago, we actually did some Krav Maga. VERY effective, but it takes a looonnnggg time to master and even after a few years of it I STILL wouldn't want to chance it. Gun point was the ONLY situation we were encouraged NEVER to fight with martial arts.

Unless you can somehow disarm the BG with one hand and KEEP the gun pointed away from you, while you simultaneously draw your gun, point, and pull the trigger...I would do my damndest to play a helpless, NON-THREATENING victim...probably would scream and cry to. Then when they have their guard down, you pounce (shoot). I've actually tried it before at work and it works like a charm. However, at my work the teens don't have guns, they make shanks instead.

I liked this post since it gave me a benchmark of reaction time as well as a practical experiment.

well said. For those of you that think you would shoot the mugger try a little exercise. Take an inexperienced shooter to the range and set him up with a pistol in single action mode and let him aim. Set up next to him with your best gun in your fastest holster in single action mode with targets for both at 6 feet. Tell your friend as soon as he sees you move quickly out of his periphreal vison, shoot. Your never going to win, not on your best day its not possible. Rob leatham couldn't pull this one off. Not only do you have to draw and fire from DA or safe before he fires from SA but you have to hit a "lights out" area. When police sharpshooters shoot in hostage situations it is in the rectangle with the upper corners being the eyes with the lower edge on the point of the nose. Does anybody think they can hit that with your carry gun first shot at their fastest speed? Hitting anywhere else, with the exception of some very small targets, will allow the BG to still pull the trigger. If you attempt to draw and fire you are all but insuring that the BG will fire. Personally I would calmly hand him my wallet and at least take the 50/50 of the BG just goin on his way. I don't want to kill anyone, BG or not. I don't want to live with it the rest of my life. I know one guy who did and despite the clear morality of what he did, its still tough on him. I don't have the time or money to fight the legal battle to follow either. The only situations I could imagine trying to outdraw a drawn gun is: A. my family is present and the guy isn't happy with just taking the wallet, I would rather get shot than have him shoot one of my family members or worse. B. the guy is pressing the gun up against my head and wasn't happy with just the wallet. Assuming I had the presence of mind and was in the right position the combination of moving your head out of the line of fire and use your offhand further move the gun away. Then either go for your gun or knee punch etc. Again its a slim chance but with the gun pressed against your head it is possible to move clear of the line of fire before the trigger is pulled.

Some useful suggestions:

No way to answer from the internet. Get an airsoft and a sparring buddy and go to work on this yourself. You might find that stuff that is supposed to work doesn't, and stuff you didn't think you could do you can. Get some training to deal with this sort of scenario.

The best I can do is work on clearing my pistol from my cover garment and shooting as (accurately) fast as I can at an IPSC target 5-21 ft. The auto-pilot is what I can't work on other than trying to maintain a mindset.

Lessons I've learned.
My CCW setup is all wrong. I've got too many rigs/prospective rigs. If I carry a J frame revolver in a pocket holster on Monday, a 1911 with thumb break holster on Tuesday, and a Glock 17 in a cross draw on Wednesday, then when I get held up on Thursday, I'm not going to know what I've got or where I've got it. I need to select one appropriate rig and stick with it.

I've got to get a phony wallet, put some documents in it, a little cash, fake cards, etc. If I'm held up, throw him the fake. If he takes his eyes off me, draw and fire. If he keeps me in his field of vision, I guess I just gave him a used wallet with a few bucks.

Keep training scenarios to a minimum. Keep it as simple as possible so there's less to remember.

Am I forgetting anything?

September 21, 2006, 09:25 PM
This gentleman posted the following.

tough situation, and depending on who you are you will act differently. i think those LE guys that carry their peace officer credentials in their wallets will most likely end up having to shoot it out with the bad guy if he decides he wants to thumb through your wallet while still holding you at bay. there have been several documented incidents where off duty cops were killed because the bad guy found out he/she was a cop and killed them instead of simply running away.

if the guy is six feet away from you, and because action is faster than reaction, know that you can easily traverse six feet before he can pull the trigger. also know that this action is faster than you going for your pistol. the best course of action, if you were to take an offensive position, would be to attempt a gun take-away (if you are so trained) or stick him in the throat with your folding knife if you have trained to get it out and open it one-handed, while striking his gun hand out of the way so you could incapacitate him.

if you take a defensive stance, hell, give him your wallet and as he's turning away then go for your pistol if you still feel you're in immediate life-threatening danger. there is no caveat that a bad guy must be facing you in order for you to shoot. shooting someone in the back is not necessarily illegal, as contrary to popular opinion. if he's running or backing away but still pointing the gun at you, then you are still justified in using deadly force.

i would point out that if you do decide to engage in a gun battle, remember to move to cover and move laterally if possible, so you're a moving target while the most likely "untrained" robber will plant himself firmly to the ground and try to shoot back.

this is why at the range, if you have access to a range that will allow you to practice drawing from concealment, moving laterally, and engaging a target (or multiple ones), then you should practice this.

personally i think at six feet away, if there is no indication that the bad guy is going to shoot you regardless if you give him the wallet or not, give him the wallet, and then go for your gun if you feel there still is a deadly force threat.

also if you decided to go on the offensive, throw your wallet at the bad guy's face. at the minimum, his instinct will make him duck or something, and for that split second his attention is not on you but on this object flying at him. that's your opportunity to get it on with the bad guy.

these scenarios are good food for thought, but also remember to practice these "what-if's" on the range!

I don't understand, "..and because action is faster than reaction, know that you can easily traverse six feet before he can pull the trigger.."

I'll have to study that last statement.

BTW, the gentleman who posted that is from here:


These are his credentials:
Spreadfire Arms
Austin, TX
email: spreadfirearms*REMOVETHIS*@hotmail.com
Blackwater USA Executive Protection School Graduate
Bushmaster/Blackwater USA Certified Armorer
Glock Certified Armorer
Mossberg Certified Armorer
Remington Law Enforcement Certified Armorer
Texas Concealed Handgun License Instructor

September 22, 2006, 12:05 AM
The question you posted is very carefully stacked to get the response you want and has little bearing on your assertions that:

1. A person will always react the way you did in your personal experiences.
2. That the way you reacted is always the right way.
3. That any experience resembling yours will be governed by the same set of circumstances that your was.

What you are surprised about is NOT that there is no consensus, it's that people disagree with you.

There is a consensus. The consensus is that it depends on the circumstances.

The circumstances you carefully defined generated one consensus. Change one small item in your scenario and the consensus will be different.

September 22, 2006, 02:41 AM
I have been robbed many, many times... usually while packing iron. My standard move is to toss them my wallet as I back away from them. Their attention usually locks onto the wallet and I can increase the distance between us to end the standoff.

They have always taken off after usurping my meager holdings so I have never had to initiate the furball.

If I ever believed that they were about to light me up, the tossed wallet could be a good distraction for my draw.

September 22, 2006, 09:03 AM
I have been robbed many, many times...

Jeez, OBTC, don't throw that out there without some background info. :eek:

How in the world do you manage to get in the same situations over and over again without changing your routine to avoid the duplication?


September 22, 2006, 09:16 AM
I have to go along with "Oldbillthunderchief", at least to a certain extent.

#1: Carry a "throw-away" wallet with a couple of bucks in it, but NO credit/charge cards or valid I.D. in it. Of course, the bad guy may not be satisfied with the meager amount, and continue the robbery.

#2: If your tossing of the "throw-away" wallet has, in your opinion, been enough of a distraction, you need to engage your brain and head for cover, or to flee. If you're not armed, fleeing is probably your best bet. If you ARE armed, then draw from you position of cover and have the mind set that you MIGHT be involved in a shoot-out! If you're in a vehicle, which isn't always the best "cover", you might be able to use the vehicle to your advantage....to either flee OR use it as a "weapon". Add to that, while seated in your vehicle, it will give a certain amount of "concealment, and it may be enough to draw your weapon.

Several years ago, an off-duty police officer went to a fast food "drive-thru" after putting in some over-time at work. The parking lot of the restaurant had some rowdy kids in it, so the officer decided to park on a side street to eat his food.

The officer was aware of a stranger approaching him as he ate, but figured that it was a panhandler. Instead, it was an armed bad guy, who had the officer compromised. "Give me your wallet!", the bad guy exclaimed. The officer manuevered around in the drivers seat of his car, as if trying to get to his wallet. What he did was to (A) unholster his off-duty weapon and (B) remove a "throw-away" wallet from his pants pocket. Instead of handing the wallet to the suspect, he tossed it about 10' away. The suspect went to fetch the wallet, which gave the officer enough time to properly control his off-duty weapon and have the "edge" on the suspect. The officer then identified himself as a police officer and demanded that the suspect drop his weapon. Instead, the suspect lifted his weapon, and....met his demise!

Distractions and "ruses" should only be used if you have the proper mind-set AND can carry them out in a convincing manner. On the other hand, an "off-the-wall" ruse of some sort might actually confuse the bad guy! Might it work if you exclaim, "Hey, your shoe is untied!"? How about yelling, "Watch out! There's a police car!"? Maybe YES, maybe NO.

Best of all is to be alert and totally aware of your surroundings at all times. Don't go to places where danger is a known commodity. Don't get into the rut of believing that you are "invincible" just because you're carrying a firearm. Think "optional" weapons that are available to you, such as that hunk of steel, plastic and rubber that you drive. Above all, use your BEST weapon....your brain!

September 22, 2006, 09:27 AM
Perhaps this is a stupid question and somewhat off-topic, but wouldn't throwing a "fake" wallet (with fake credit, etc.) only anger the BG, assuming he checks his "goods" while still on the scene?

Seems like this is also a risky tactic. If I was going to comply, I certainly would do it all the way and not risk pissing him off further by attempting to trick him.

Too many variables for a defined answer I suppose. And I'm certainly no expert on the subject...

September 22, 2006, 11:59 AM
Every tactic (including compliance) is risky. That is why you have to assess the risk in each situation. You cannot have a pat answer to fit every scenario. The purpose of a distraction is to give the bg's mind something to occupy it instead of the thought of pulling the trigger. As a bonus, if he diverts his visual attention as well, you have gained even more time. With proper training and practice, you only need less than .5 seconds. Most people take more than .25 to react to something when they are prepared for it. It takes longer when you are not because your mind has to process the input (visual, audible) and decide a course of action.

I can't remember who it was (perhaps Bill Jordan) who used to do the clapping trick, but it demonstrates this principal rather well. Whoever it was would stand someone facing them and have them put their hands straight out in front, shoulder width apart, palms facing each other. He would then tell the subject to clap his hands as soon as they noticed him drawing. Every time I have seen this done, the person clapping their hands ended up with the gun between their hands (hope that made sense). Don't try this at home and please don't lecture me on how unsafe that was. I'm not the one who did it.

Also, I know it is television but I also know the story behind it. If you watch the Miami Vice Episode Calderone's Return, Jim Zubiena plays "the Argentinian", a hitman. After wacking a guy in a limo, he is confronted by a bodyguard who gets the drop on him. Jim puts his hands up as ordered and when the body guard looks away, executes a perfect Mozambique drill. I never tried to time it, but it was easily sub 1.25 seconds. He was using a 1911 and used (I believe) a Milt Sparks summer special (iirc) under a sport coat. Normally I would say so what, the camera can decieve. I asked Zubiena about it at the steel challenge. He said that Michael Mann said "don't worry, we'll speed up the film." Zubiena told him "don't worry, you won't have to." What you see on film is the actual speed. Jim was an early IPSC shooter and SWPL champion. I think it is a better sequence than the shooting in Colateral.

Not to belabor the point further, but it is possible with a small amount of training, practice and with the correct mindset.

Since P.A.R. seems to be hooked on creds, here are mine.
6 years US Army/ARNG
(LRRP + 101st Abn Div)
I was one of the first master class shooters in USPSA. I have won stages at the Nationals, several state championships and other major matches. Sponsored by Springfield Armory, Dillon Precision, Safariland, Vic Inc. and several others.
Graduate of Chapman Academy, M.I.S.S. (John Shaw),Plaxco, Leatham Shooting institute and several others that I don't remember. Founder of the practical shooting club at Gilbert Small Arms Range and Quantico MCB in Va. Founder of the practical shooting club at Shooter's world and UPPL in AZ. Firearms consutant for several L.E. and military agencies. Plus many others that I can't think of right now. Can't forget: all around good guy.:barf:

September 22, 2006, 02:07 PM
Thanx for the reponses.