View Full Version : After Action Review

August 29, 2008, 02:03 PM
Long time reader, 1st time posting. This is a real event that occurred 3 nights ago. I have no need to be validated in my actions and am convinced that most of what I did was as correct as circumstances allowed.
The purpose of this post is to get more opinions from various other experience levels and if necessary, to reflect on possible corrective action for the future.
It will be as brief as possible but still contain the pertinent details.
Please, before spouting off on a particular point which you may need more detail on, ask and I will provide. Then, when armed with the facts,if you feel the need, fire away!

0330, awakened by car in drive. Very rural location. Grabbed G23 and 4 cell mag light, went to front door. Looked out, strange car in yard, told wife to get phone and stand by in door but do not go outside. Went on porch, lit up car with mag light and covered with Glock. I have 3 foot high cover concealing front of elevated deck so semi crouched and side stepped the 25' to the stairs, car was off by this time. I approached from passenger side, Unk. WM in drivers seat. Looked in passenger window, hands in lap, keys in ignition, no weapons present. Kept 23 in hand (yes my finger was off the trigger the whole time mom) but put my hand in the front pocket of my hoodie and put my head near the window. The smell of alcohol almost knocked me over. Called to the wife to get LE rolling. In my part of the world, at that time of day that means up to 30 minutes. I asked if he was OK, he slowly turned his head toward me and just looked, man was he plowed. In my best Infantry Sgt. voice I loudly ordered him to take the keys from the ignition and place them on the floor, he complied. The dilemma now is how to keep this idiot from a)hurting me or b)starting his car and getting back in motion before LE arrives without unlawful restraint. I need to keep him covered so I can't block him in with another vehicle and did not want the wife out of the house because I have yet to determine his level of aggressiveness.
In the interest of post brevity I will say we spent the next 25 minutes in a little dance. He got in and out of the car 3 times. Each time he got out I ordered him to sit on the hood, after he complied I tried to engage him in some sort of conversation but he just wasn't able to and got bored. Twice he got bored and tried to come onto my porch(I was about 10 feet off from him). Both times I interdicted by standing directly in front of him and with 23 in strong hand low ready, thumped him in the sternum with the mag light to get his attention, I informed him loudly and firmly that this was not his house and that I would shoot him if he tried to get in. I'm not sure if it was the words or the thumping but both times he stopped, blinked, turned around and got in his vehicle. Both times I took up a cover position on the passenger side (23 concealed again) and sternly told him to drop the keys on the floor, he complied.
25 minutes into the event SP showed up and took over.
To short circuit this, I did not know the person nor his personality and the reason I chose to conceal was to not unnecessarily escalate to a shooting incident. I also had pretty much made up my mind that if he got aggressive I was going to take care of him with the light instead of the gun although I was fully ready to shoot if need be.
I also think I might have been a little close but it allowed me to see his hands and I was able verbally, for the most part, to manipulate him with my voice. I do not think I would have been as effective shouting at him from 25' away.
I am open to suggestions and criticisms and will take all good faith posts in the spirit they were written. BTW, before anyone calls BS on this, weshoot2 can vouch for me and if he reads The Free Press dated today, also verify the incident, or at least what they printed. None of my interaction was mentioned but his arrest is there.
Oh yeah, 3rd DUI and he blew .23 in my driveway. 3X the limit here.

August 29, 2008, 02:46 PM
Well no one got hurt, you kept an idiot off the road :mad:and out of your house and since the Cops didn't thump you in the head and drag you off too, I'd say you handled it pretty good.:D

vox rationis
August 29, 2008, 03:18 PM
Well, here's another approach. I mean you had no idea what awaited you in that car at 0330 in the morning.

You could have just as well kept your distance, maybe even stayed in the house, or outside at a stand off distance from where you could observe the car carefully, and just waited for the cops to come.

It could be argued that you were way too aggressive to proactively engage the way you did. You exposed yourself to great risk by engaging in that way, and strategically it would have been much better had you observed (and still been ready to act in your) and in your family's, defense, by maintaining a stand off range.

But it is better to be lucky then good, and luckily it all worked out.

August 29, 2008, 03:22 PM
Works for me. Good job.

August 29, 2008, 05:18 PM
Stay in the house, call the cops. Leaving the house gives up one of the biggest advantages you had.

August 29, 2008, 07:37 PM
Good job on taking care of the drunk, I'm surprised he complied as much as he did. I agree with the other posts, however, that you should not have approached the car, and rather should have stayed on the porch and called the police. I just think it's too much risk to go across open ground like that. Now if you could clearly see the car was empty, and the guy got out of his car and started talking to you, then that's a different scenario.

Brian Pfleuger
August 29, 2008, 07:48 PM
Only you can asses the level of threat at that time. My concern would have been a passenger who you didn't see sneaking up while you dealt with the driver. In the end, it worked out, there's another drunk off the road for a couple hours. Good job.

August 29, 2008, 08:25 PM
Working in corrections at the county level as I do, we see a lot of drunks in our jail garage on a nightly basis and based on what you've written I can't say I would have done anything different. To stay back at a distance woudl have created an opportunity for him to escape and possibly kill someone, but to get any closer than you did would have been potentially dangerous if he got violent. That being said, a drunk with a good boil going is the most volatile person on earth and I would say you were lucky he did not get violent when you thumped him with your Maglite. But no one got hurt and the bad guy went to jail so I would say job well done.

August 29, 2008, 08:27 PM
My concern would have been a passenger who you didn't see sneaking up while you dealt with the driver. Same here, but don't know for sure I wouldn't have handled it the same way. Only thing I can recommend for sure is security lights. Don't need a Maglight much around my house.

August 29, 2008, 08:48 PM
Several weeks ago, a local drunk thought it would be cool to holler for help in the middle of the night out front of our place.

We live in the boonies, . . . 20 - 30 minute sheriff wait, . . . called them first.

My adult son and I went out with handguns and flashlights, . . . leaving my wife ready to phone in another call if needed.

I would only do that because we had each other's backs, . . . stayed together, . . . etc.

I would not have done what you did, . . . but I applaud you for taking another drunk off the roads, . . . even if it was only for one night.

If it happens here, . . . he can sit in his vehicle and wait for the sheriff. Too many other things could be on that horizon, . . . and I am too old to mess with them.

May God bless,

August 29, 2008, 09:03 PM
To all who took the time to think and reply, thank you. I will digest all opinions.
For the "stay in the house" crowd; even though I carried for insurance, my first instinct and concern was an injured individual. No way I am going to wait 30 minutes for backup for an unknown situation if someone needed help.
For the "second suspect" crowd, agreed. It was a concern. Some mitigation; I could see once I was about 8' out of the door and 15' from the car that there was only one occupant; once I determined lack of weapons I had my wife switch the exterior lights on and we had good illumination for about a 45' circle; this is a 75' gravel drive at 0330 in a very rural (only background noise at night are owl and bear) setting. Sneaking up on me would have been hard, and the wife had my G17 close by her side.
Believe me, I am not posting these to argue my actions. I appreciate your mental efforts and just feel these facts may alter some peoples perception, if only a little.

August 30, 2008, 05:05 AM
11B20 asked me to "share any advice", so I'm going to do so here, publicly, on this Forum.
(Why? Because I know him, and I live in very similar circumstances, and apparently he values my opinion enough to ask for it.)

First, I'll fill in some 'personality points': 11B20 is a "stick" (vs "carrot") man.
He is a fair shooter.
He is willing to help, and to work.
He is not a punk.
He spits.
He has proved himself honest and honorable.

"Rural" around here means 30+ minutes for response on a good day; I am surprised he got such excellent response time. The State Police, our 'Blue Line' (outfitted in green), is one very thin line, with just 150 to cover the state.

Okay, enough blah blah blah, on with the assessment, which is based entirely on my personal opinion of family-saving behavior.......

-Big bashing Mag-Lite: mandatory.

-Gun: mandatory.

-Use of approach cover during assessment: good thinking.

-Calling cops: good timing to call immediately. Perhaps some might criticize your delay, but I think I understand why you waited until after initial assessment -- you wanted to know more first.
In an environment where cops are more common, it makes sense. Here, I believe we feel like we need to confirm an actual need for them first, before taking up any of their precious time already stretched so thin.

-Post-assessment actions: Once determined that you were dealing with a drunk, you used the right tools, your command voice and your basher. (Note to others: a big bashing flashlight is truly one of the best devices for home defense, because it allows for force escalation without gunplay.)

So, in my opinion, great job.

Now comes some negatives:

-Might have just observed, and waited, and then decided if any action on your part was required;
-Might have asked the wife to cover you with her firearm;
-Might have stayed out of reach;
-Might have told him to leave while still on your porch;
-Might have done some other stuff.

But I might have done pretty much the same thing, too.

-Bolt: couldn't, because you were in your castle.
-Bellow: you did, and it mostly worked, even through the drunken fog.
-Brandish: you didn't, I assume, and that was wise, because drunks then act bullet-proof, often insisting on calling your bluff.
-Bash: yep, a sternum-thump got his attention and apparent respect, and you weren't required to use your gun as a thumper. There is great value in having a big bashing flashlight next to your gun.
Bullet: no shot fired; no shots required.
Good, because there are uncountable ramifications for shooting another human, and killing is already over-rated.

SO, what is your after-action assessment?

August 30, 2008, 09:22 AM
well I must say u were very lucky too. Since u didnt know the intentions, an accomplice might have been hidden somewhere. IMO not a good idea to go out there.

August 30, 2008, 12:22 PM
Thanks to all for participating. It's a long weekend and the potential for lots of people to have a bad time with their expected German visitors (Gustav and Hanna) prompt me to wrap up. A reasoned and intelligent discussion, as I expected from the good folks on this board. Hopefully some people (besides me)benefited from this thread. I just figured that a real "it happened to me" would be far more beneficial than the "let's pretend 60 gang bangers armed with machete's and grenade launchers storm your bedroom, what do you do?"
scenario :D
So, weshoot2 asked; "SO, what is your after-action assessment?" Fair question.
I have taken 3 things from this, and your comments;
1. My choice to point at the target initially may have been pre-mature and a lesser strong hand "ready" condition (say a low ready) may have been just as effective.
2 The distance thing. Kind of intricate to discuss in a post but there is a trade off between safe distance and being close enough to this particular individual to keep him under voice control as it were. After dissecting I think I made the best decision under the conditions, no matter how uncomfortable it makes me feel in hind sight but will continue to evaluate
3 The crossed wrist, mag light & weapon hold. (sorry, don't know the term) was incredibly strange. My watch was in the way, I kept fidgeting etc... I now know that I need to take my mag light to the range, assume this position and actually practice firing from this position.
This is my last interaction on this thread. Thanks to all who posted again and my Southern Brothers, stay safe and keep your powder dry.

August 31, 2008, 07:24 AM
(He don't talk like he writes)


August 31, 2008, 07:27 AM
He survived; the first rule: survive.

August 31, 2008, 07:57 AM
You kept a drunk off the road and no one got killed.

Just be careful "thumping" people. A drunk in a more p.o.'d state may have wanted to fight or you could end up getting charged with assault. I think that's just as much a judgement call as deciding when to use a gun though.


September 2, 2008, 08:31 PM
11B20 spits! Well that changes my whole take on the situation.
Spitters are ornery and dangerous. :D

September 2, 2008, 10:10 PM
take a potato with you, the shove it up the exhaust.
No way will the car start.

Only if certain no second person around.

September 2, 2008, 11:35 PM
Seems good to me.

Spade Cooley
September 3, 2008, 09:55 AM
I have trouble second guessing you because I wasn't there, I had a similar problem a year ago and would do a few things differently next time.

Around 2AM I had a car pull up in my drive and shut off the lights. I am slso on a country road far from town with the same long police response time. We have a neighborhood along the river and there are sporatic homes along the road but many of them are weekend cabins. There are no lights on in or around my house. I also had a guy living down the road who was suspected of selling Meth.

I heard the car and got up to investigate with gun in hand. I opened my garage door and the automatic light came on. The car load of young men drove off and left the area.

Next time I will do it differently. I will slip out my back door and take cover at the side of my house where they can't see me. I will have my wife call the sheriff and get them rolling. They have nothing else to do and should enjoy the call. I will wait and only confront them once they move on my house. Going to the car and them seeing me in the open would be a bad idea because they would have the advantage.

Taking down a drunk driver is better left to the police. The fact that you saw him behind the wheel even if he passes out after being stopped is enough to arrest the driver. If the driver should move there is a good chance he could be seen by the sheriff who should have been called immediately. The problem is you don't know what you have when you approach the vehicle. It could be a drunk, out of control man juiced up on meth, a burglar, or even a hit man wanting to take you our. Oops, I guess I did second guess.

September 3, 2008, 07:09 PM
Well, I didn't want to look like a noob bumping his own thread but.....
ArizonaTRex, that there is the funniest comment I think I've ever read!
I laughed so hard I think I stained something when I read it.
I am ornery, no doubt,how dangerous is a matter of perception :)

September 10, 2008, 07:45 PM
11B20- around spitters , it's depth perception that matters the most:D

September 16, 2008, 10:43 PM
Just a point, do you have neighbors? ones you trust?

One night I found a car in my yard, no one in it, just a car parked against a tree. no air bags deployed, no visible damage, but a car against the tree, motor running..... Wife was home, she was on phone to police, I Called the good neighbor and said I need some help, he was outside in 3 minutes with a gun, a flashlight, and his wife on 911 telling them to get a move on in a way my wife is uncomfortable doing...When we finally located the driver, he was almost ready to give me a hard time when he saw the other neighbor and two guns, he decided to just sit on the grass and **** himself.

BUT what I learnd was neighbor was ready to cover my back very quickly when I needed it. It was, and is, a comforting idea.

September 24, 2008, 04:44 AM
11B20 Fine job ;);););), at times you have to do what you have to do, LEO can't be in all places at all times.

September 30, 2008, 09:03 PM
Just a quick observation. Flashing your light from the porch with no cover immediately and clearly reveals your position. Especially with something dim like a mag-light.
Take a look at a flashlight from a distance at night. Think you could shoot the person holding it?

Other than that I admire your sense of responsibility and compassion to keep an idiot from killing himself or others.

October 8, 2008, 11:31 AM
Gotta comment on one thing ... jrothWA's potato idea is nuts!!! No offense, but getting behind a car with an unknown person in the driver's seat is such a bad idea, I don't even know where to start. Jeez ... Besides, if he drives away, you win. Why would you NOT want to let him go?

I would NOT have gone outside. The police are closer here (maybe 10 minutes away) and I would have called them, turned the outside lights on to avoid backlighting and kept the car under observation. I would have been armed. If the person in the car is hurt, that's a problem -- for them. But there's no way to know that without putting yourself in serious harm's way; your first job is to make sure YOU and YOURS survive the encounter; staying inside makes that most likely.

October 8, 2008, 11:59 AM
I would have to say that it sounds like it played out well:
Nice alert status, good threat assessment and good danger assessment. You had a good command of the situation, and used your equipment well.
I can't say the driver ceased to be a threat, as his motivations were still unclear; But, He still had control of a deadly weapon and was a threat to the public. In some states that would be justification for a legal shoot. I think your solution was fine.
A couple of short blasts from the flashlight to the eyes will take his night vision away for a few seconds.

October 9, 2008, 08:09 AM
MY Mag-lite is verybright.

Sometimes around here the police are an hour away........

David Armstrong
October 9, 2008, 04:35 PM
take a potato with you, the shove it up the exhaust.
No way will the car start.
IIRC, those good folks at Mythbusters recentlybusted that idea.

For the OP, I'm with the stay-inside crowd, or at least go back inside after you found out nobody was hurt.

October 13, 2008, 08:17 AM
I can't say that I would have done anything different. I will ask this however, what did you plan on doing if he didn't comply with your requests and just got in his car and drove off? I mean would you have attempted to restrain him forcefully? tried to talk him down? what?

October 15, 2008, 12:42 PM
[CODE]what did you plan on doing if he didn't comply with your requests and just got in his car and drove off? I mean would you have attempted to restrain him forcefully? tried to talk him down? what?/CODE]

Rest assured that I gamed all possible actions in my head, including my response and subsequent outcomes. That said, i would be a fool to admit publicly what my theoretical response would be to theoretical actions.
I will say that the likelihood of this individual driving off was next to nothing. I have a fairly steep driveway with some curves. One side has a stone wall and one side has a drop off of about 3 feet to lawn. In the last 8 years we have had probably 2 people a year go off the drop or scrape the wall, and all of these were sober and most during daylight (using your mirrors to back up is a dying art :) ) Like I said, the odds were against him getting much more than 30 feet.

October 15, 2008, 02:05 PM
3 The crossed wrist, mag light & weapon hold. (sorry, don't know the term) was incredibly strange. My watch was in the way, I kept fidgeting etc... I now know that I need to take my mag light to the range, assume this position and actually practice firing from this position.It's called the Harrie's position. Yes, it is hard to maintain for any period of time. It is even harder to shoot accurately and control the recoil.


Gabe Suarez suggests a modification of this position, with your hands held in more of an X. That is, instead of having your right arm straight and your left bent, bend both of them, with the handgun being slightly canted to the left.

Yes, you really do have to train with it on the range, because it really is different.

As for the AAR, I'm in the "call the police and watch from behind a locked door" crowd. But I'm in the suburbs with a sub-5 minute police response time. I'm also nearing 50 and have never been in the kind of shape to be an 11B (thank you for your service, by the way). So the last thing I want to do is get within wrestling distance of a drunk. YMMV.