View Full Version : Question about tactics

January 12, 2011, 11:04 PM
With the recent idiot in Arizona deciding to let loose on a bunch of innocent people, I got to thinking about how I would handle the situation as a CCW holder. How would you handle the situation (of course I feel I would get involved) so that people dont think your a second shooter? How would you get across that your the good guy to other possible CCW holders? Other than obviously calling the authorites, what else could be done?:confused:

January 12, 2011, 11:18 PM
Every shooting is different. The circumstances and the amount of information you have at the time will determine what you think you may do.

There was a person at the Arizona shooting with a concealed handgun but found out too late - basically in this shooting everything happened very quickly. He went through one mag (33 round Glock mag) from the sounds of it. As he was reloading he thankfully was subdued. By that time he was surrounded by people so no clear shot.

One fact is true. If a clear cut shooting happens - you got to decide now what you'll do.

When it's happening is not the time to decide - it's time to decide based on what is happening at the time but not to debate with yourself the good and bad of taking out a BG.

If you carry you need to decide that one now.

January 12, 2011, 11:24 PM
I appreciate the reply, I have already decided that I absolutely would get involved, and as such, carry... I am fairly new to the CCW game, and didn't know all the details to the shooting. I live near Salt Lake City, where the Trolly Square shootings happened a few years back and was my deciding factor to carry. I was curious how the situation could be handled.

January 13, 2011, 12:24 AM
So lets say this maniac shot seven people and you have the shot so you take it. Lets say you stop him right in his tracks. You have been practicing considerably and because of that you were able to place two perfect shots center mass from concealed carry. It can happen that fast. You now need people to know immediately that you're the good guy. First thing to do from what I'm told is to tell everyone you can that he would have kept killing people and that you stopped him. You stopped the threat or he would have kept killing. This is about all I would say but I would say it over and over so people would get it through there heads even though most of them are surely in shock.

January 13, 2011, 12:46 AM
Ok, I need to add something else. Lets say a cop shows up because he's nearby. He finds out you have a weapon either through somone else or because you haven't put it away yet. Do exactly what the officers says immediatly. Don't plead your case when he's telling you to drop the weapon and put your hands up. Just do what he says. He couldn't care less right now what you feel or think. The more you hesitate the higher his addrenaline will climb. He will put handcuffs on you - so what. You are not arrested. Once he gets you cuffed he'll be able to calm down. Then you can tell him that the other man was killing people and you stopped the threat. Then you can show him your concealed weapons permit. Just my thought.

January 13, 2011, 02:23 AM
Shooting in a crowd is always dangerous.The possibility of shooting innicent bystanders is probably too high.The possibility of others with firearms especially plaincloths cops of private security mistaking you for a bad guy is also high.Bacically to many unforseeable variables in these situations to apply deadly force.

The best tools to neutralize crazies in a crowd is bear spray or a tazer.

January 13, 2011, 05:34 AM
The first thing you can do to identify that you are the good guy to bystanders is to yell for someone to "call 911" or "call the Police" and then start asking if anyone else is hurt, these are not things a bad guy will say and it will (or should) immediately identify you as a good guy in the mind of bystanders. Even a confused or panicked person should pick up on this subconsciously.
When the police get there (whether you put the gun away already or not) do exactly what they say until they sort through the mess and either give you a chance to talk or figure out that you are on their side.

January 13, 2011, 09:07 AM
The first and most important thing is to stop the shooter. If that means shooting him, fine. If I can stop him some other way, fine. But I WILL stop him. If I have to shoot, the gun goes back into the holster as soon as I think the situation is secure (unless a law enforcement officer tells me to drop it sooner). The second thing is to try to save the lives of the injured to the extent that my knowledge, skills and abilities allow. The arrival of a law enforcement officer puts him in charge, so I'll do everything that he or she says to do as soon as physically posible.

I know that this is short and rather generalized, but it is what I intend to do if I'm ever in that sort of situation. General decisions are already made, specifics are situationally driven.

Glenn E. Meyer
January 13, 2011, 10:00 AM
Get training and have common sense. There is no one set of commando principles or actions that are set in stone and will solve all situations.

If the CCW guy there who is talking about how he was ready to shoot - had shot the guy disarming the shooter - we could kiss the CCW argument good bye in the eyes of the initiated public.

If you saw after the shots started, some guy pull a gun and start running towards the fray - well, who is he? That actually happened at a mall shooting - some hubby heard his wife was inside and started to run through the surrounding law with gun out to save the wife - luckily the police didn't hose him down.

Have abilities and understand the principles involved and practice. You can fantasize about what you would actually do on the internet.

There are no absolutes.

January 13, 2011, 10:28 AM
Probably one of the worst situations for a ccw holder..Mass shootings usually mean hysteria as well.
If you get a clean open shot on the shooter,then take it.
If not then run for cover until you get a shot or he/she gets subdued.
Be prepared to get arrested afterwards..The police need to secure the scene,then find out what happened.
Someone most likely will point you out as the shooter(only because they saw a gun in your hand and nothing else)
Just let the cops sort it out and everything will end ok if you did your job correctly.
Much different scenario than a one on one robbery/mugging self defense situation

January 13, 2011, 11:27 AM
I appreciate everyones reply and opinion, I know that in a sinerio like this, there are no absolutes. It will be very fast and very dangerous. I Know that I will not know the exact thing to do when training at the range. But in saying that, I would really like to be at least mentally prepared for something like this

January 13, 2011, 02:59 PM
as many said here, there's no one reaction, or a correct answer/solution, but the one thing that depends on any action is POSITION. Your position will dictate your actions.

The problem with this type of scenario is the tranquil setting, your level of awareness would be much different if the President was there, since its always possible with the attempts on pass presidents.

The passiveness of this type of setting creates a body freeze to a trauma event/action, the Brain can register what the eyes are seeing, and the first reaction if your up close is cover when someone is bursting out repeated shots.

So your reaction to this type of scenario will vary... base on position

Glenn E. Meyer
January 13, 2011, 03:03 PM
Simple practice of punching holes at a static range is insufficient if one is serious about critical incident response. With no offense to anyone, it's been shown that simulation training helps to overcome the freeze response and act effectively. Not that anyone might not rise to the incident as we saw in Tucson but I'm just arguing about static range training as really being the sole way to go if you consider training.

January 13, 2011, 04:58 PM
It seems to me that pulling your weapon has too many downsides to it. If you have a clear shot, what is behind him if the round goes thru him? Others may think you are the shooter, another CC, an Leo might mistake you for the BG. Position is a good point. Pepper spray if close enough might work. I can't believe that in a crowd someone was not close enough to be able to tackle or deck him before he fired 30 rounds. That is risky, but better than standing there waiting to be shot. Thought provoking!

January 13, 2011, 05:44 PM
IMO there will always be the chance of being mistaken for the "mad gunman" without having an overt uniform that sets you apart. However, behavior can be a clue to identity in crises situations, and I believe your behavior, alone, can be enough to distinguish yourself from others, including the "mad gunman".

I foresee 3 distinct types of behavior in those situations:

1. Threat behaviors, AKA, the "mad gunman"
- indiscriminately shooting people
- pursuing people to shoot
- people scattering / cowering in his wake
- no attempt to conceal himself or use cover

2. Victim behaviors
- Fleeing the scene
- cowering behind cover
- treating casualties at the scene

3. Responder behaviors
- moving toward the gunfire
- issuing commands / evacuating victims and or casualties
- actively pursuing the threat while ignoring bystanders

Most people are pretty perceptive and can get a feel for the intent of an individual based on their behavior / body language. If you are displaying anything close to "responder" behaviors, I believe you have a chance of making people pause before they assume you are a threat. No guarantees of course...

January 13, 2011, 11:26 PM
There are not guarantees on anything the moment you pull your firearm out of that holster:

1. Some mall ninja may mistake you for the active shooter, . . . and shoot you.

2. An undercover or off duty policeman may mistake you for the active shooter, . . . and shoot you.

3. You may take a shot or shots at the bg, . . . miss, . . . and be contributing to the casualties list.

4. The hardest one of all for those of us who carry, . . . be a good witness, . . . slink out if you can, . . . react against the active shooter only when he has threatened you and/or yours, . . . or you are at such a range that you can ice the dude, . . . put your weapon away, . . . and wait for LEO's.

But then again, . . . nobody said being a sheepdog was easy.

May God bless,

January 13, 2011, 11:59 PM
I know you want a straight forward answer. It can be very frustrating when you play these "what if" games... or weekend quarterbacking scenarios.

The best thing to do is know the laws of your state, get "training" to shoot (not just punching paper at some target). Maybe even do some IDPA or USPSA (aka IPSC) shooting competitions to get some shooting on the move skills.

If you get involved (as it was mentioned before in another post)... expect to be arrested. Your best bet is to neutralize the threat, call 911 and surrender your firearm to law enforcement when they arrive.

It's best to re-holster your firearm when all is settled. LEO will detain anyone they think was involved and until they can clear things up - anyone with a firearm is a suspect. With such confusion on arrival to the scene it can take hours to days to figure out what happened...

Be very verbal once the shooting is over - meaning let folks know you are a good guy. Call 911 and let them know you are on scene and give your description and that you are armed and you got involved (meaning you had to shoot the BG).

Don't give too much emotional statements - just facts).... "this guy came out shooting people, I feared for my life and others so I neutralized the shooter. The BG is down and I am wearing..... I see no other threats and I have re-holstered my firearm. I am waiting by...... for police.

Some will argue not to make a statement to police but if it's a clear cut "threat of life" then a brief fact based statement can prevent hassles later. But on the flip side if you start giving every detail you can think of to include what you were thinking and so forth (bad idea). You can start to give conflicting details (everything is a blur and your memory may not be your friend after a heated incident).

You do have to run through several basic scenarios - make them as clear as day and decide and know what your skills are and what you can do. This means if a guy is a block away and he's shooting people left and right - do you take a shot? Do you seek cover and advance? Do you call 911 (while you are advancing using cover)? Are you skilled enough to make a shot from 100 feet? Not likely but everyone's skills are different. Also can your gun shoot 100 ft? Meaning if you have a LCP (380ACP) pocket gun - not a good idea for long distance shots over 40 feet.

Start with these clear scenarios and then work up some not so clear. The more you run these "what if" games in different scenario's the more your brain can sometimes handle them during "real" stress.

January 14, 2011, 01:33 AM
I am not against helping others but I am not inclined to jump between to men fighting, chase purse snatchers or investigate odd happenings in dark alleys. I carry a weapon for the purpose of defending myself/my family as a total last resort. Firing a weapon in public involves more than just me, it involves innocent people who could possibly end-up in the path of the fired projectile. Although I am a pretty good shot on paper, if given an opening-I would rather tackle a gunman than try and [U][I]shoot into a paniced crowd.

January 14, 2011, 02:21 AM
Just to let you know Suzanna Hupp's father tried doing that at the Luby's Massacre in Killeen, Tx

He didn't make it that far - brave but most often a last resort option. By him doing it - saved several other's lives.


Everyone has to come to their own decision on what they would do.... We're all different and we'll all be faced, if at all, with different situations.

January 14, 2011, 08:38 AM
Handling that situation wouldn't be as easy as it looks. One thing about this kind of situation is that you have to decide and act FAST. Remember, that gunman's going to INSTANTLY whip out his gun and go BANGBANGBANGBANGBANG in 2 or 3 seconds, before anybody realizes what's going on, and pow, it's OVER. And during that 2 or 3 seconds it will be TOTAL hysteria, with the gun blasting and people screaming and running in panic. It would take a second or two just to confirm where in the crowd the shots are coming from. Heck, for all you know, it's a security guy shooting at somebody who pulled out a gun. You'll have just a second or two to completely analyze the siutation, pull out your gun and KILL somebody. Not many could really do it.

Glenn E. Meyer
January 14, 2011, 10:08 AM
Tackle - it was also tried at Virginia Tech and the kid was shot to pieces. On the other hand in a Oregon school shooting, it worked. Have to google the details. Think the kid took a round but got to him. It does depend on distance.

So as said, there's no set answer. You just have the situation, the skills, the will and the interaction of all of these.

Pasteur said chance favors the prepared. That's it.

Brian Pfleuger
January 14, 2011, 10:26 AM
3. Responder behaviors
- moving toward the gunfire
- issuing commands / evacuating victims and or casualties
- actively pursuing the threat while ignoring bystanders

There's an instant or two of "extra special" danger, though, particularly if there are multiple GOOD guys....

Imagine a scene like what happened in Arizona... except 3, maybe 4, CCWers are present and all draw and some or all fire on the assailant.

Now, you've got 3 or 4 guys with guns draw, at least some of whom have fired shots, none know who the bad guy is or was....

What do you do? What do they do? You already know that shots are fired, you don't know who the good guy is, do you yell warnings to the other armed people when shots have already been fired, just moments ago? What if they yell warnings to you? What if one of them isn't so savvy and starts shooting at other armed people?

This situation is potentially disastrous.

If we manage to control and survive these few precious instant of chaos then all is well, probably, but those first few seconds, even fractions of seconds, could go very, very wrong.

It's all so easy in our minds, when we're the good guy and everybody knows it, and we're the ONLY good guy, and there's nobody between us and the bad guy, and nobody behind him and when we shoot the bad guy we don't ever miss and the bad guy doesn't shoot back and the bad guy dies instantly....

If only.

Don P
January 14, 2011, 10:46 AM
According to reports this morning there was a CCW holder at the scene and he was one of the folks responsible for restraining the shooter. From what was reported the CCW made the right choice in NOT using his weapon

How would you handle the situation (of course I feel I would get involved)

OK but remember you are not LE and your CCW permit does not extend that right to you.
All situations are different and most times the best action is to take no action.
With regards to the mess in Arizona are you considering the possibility of more innocents being shot by YOU ( friendly fire) under the stress of using your weapon in a LIVE gun fight with the chance of being shot back at?
Without being there there are too many variables to even make the statement of I would get involved. And again this is my opinion.

January 14, 2011, 12:46 PM
Depends on if my family is with me, I'll take care of them first (try to get them to safety, get between the shooter and them, etc) DO NO HARM!! Don't get in over your head, If you shoot reholster asap and get your gun out of sight. When officers arrive, put your hands in the air in the surrender position and wait for orders and do what you're told.
Until help arrives, render aid as best u can. Do NOT add to the confusion by running and screaming, etc. Get on the phone to 911 and give as much info as u can or as much as asked for.

January 14, 2011, 12:49 PM
I neutralized the shooter. The BG is down (http://thefiringline.com/forums/showpost.php?p=4397322&postcount=17)

Good God in heaven, I can't imagine sitting on a jury and hearing that 911 tape being played...

If you are in a crowd where there is a active shooter and you have a shot, and the opportunity presents itself and you shoot, leave the Delta Team talk on your Xbox.

"Help! A man was just shooting into the crowd at "x". He's stopped. My name is "y" There are a lot of hurt people. Send help quick!"

IF 911 lets you stay on the line, do so. (jerks have hung up on me, apparently holding my dad's airway open was causing me to speak too quickly... Dad's fine, I'm still ******)

Holster your gun, do whatever the emergency dictates until the arrival of the police.

When the police show up:
"Thank God you're here, I'm the one who called..."
Keep your hands up and do exactly what they say.
Answer questions only pertaining to the safety of the officers, those around you. You will answer any other questions once you have your lawyer present. YOU NEED TO VERBALLY ASSERT YOUR RIGHT TO BE SILENT! (http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/law-enforcement-bulletin/September-2010/the-strategic-communication-plan). It is likely that you will be arrested.

At this point, let the expert take over, a lawyer. only answer questions when you are in the presence of and under the council of your lawyer. Don't talk, no matter what the officers say, "they can lie to you to get you to "confess"

... or

"Mr. X checking in, TANGO DOWN! TANGO DOWN! Light collateral! Need a helo at the LZ! Repeat I have NETRULAIZED the threat with my sweet SIG SAUER P-228 with under slung bayonet! Yup I KILLED him, but good! Can't get any deader than that guy I shot repeatedly! Warn your local cops about the Delta operator looking guy with the huge guns, and I'm not talking about my Sig!"

I need to stop, I had too much fun with that.

January 14, 2011, 02:12 PM
The biggest rule for intervention to me is "Harm no innocents."
What does that mean? First, make sure you positively ID the target. Second, make sure your shots ONLY hit the intended target.

I've seen SWAT members miss hostage-type targets at 4 yards with pistols, with no time limit. (CSAT hostage targets) Make sure you make your hits!

January 14, 2011, 10:29 PM
Good thinking Gentleman! All in all, we can all agree that all the factors in this particular case will more than likely not be in another.

And as it pertains to the original question, I would get involved, if that be shooting the guy, seeking cover and calling police, or tazing the SOB. Of course if he is 14 feet away and I am with my family, I will do what needs to be done. But if he is 100 feet away... I'm not going to run in there like rambo blasting shots. I would seek cover and call police.

What things could be "practiced" for a situation like this?

Double Naught Spy
January 15, 2011, 11:53 AM
Yelling at the shooter to "drop the gun" or other such commands may go a long ways to helping others realize that you are a good guy and to help keep another potential good guy shooter from shooting you. The downside is that it may prompt with bad guy as well and remove the tactical advantage that you had of him not realizing that you were present or that you were a threat.

According to reports this morning there was a CCW holder at the scene and he was one of the folks responsible for restraining the shooter. From what was reported the CCW made the right choice in NOT using his weapon

Zamudio didn't have any real choice. He was not present for the shooting, but was inside a drug store buying cigarettes. He did respond to the shooting, but by the time he arrived, the shooting had stopped and the shooter was grounded with two guys already on top of him. His "right choice" to not use his gun wasn't any sort of great achievement. He didn't even see his potential target until it was covered up with good guys with several others around.

OK but remember you are not LE and your CCW permit does not extend that right to you.

The CCW permit doesn't, but the law does. I can use lethal force to stop lethal force and I can effect a citizen's arrest.

January 15, 2011, 12:01 PM
cit1911 asked what we could practice for these situations:

1. Distance shooting, . . . most importantly knowing just how far away you are really qualified, capable, and willing to engage a bg. Realize there is a world of difference in trying to put a COM shot on a 375 pound lard bag standing up, . . . and trying to hit the head of a BG who is hunkered behind a tree, dumpster, etc. Knowing your capability comes only from practice.

2. Family warnings, . . . getting your family in tune with whatever warning you would give them: a code word, a scramble alert, whatever. The last thing you need is a family member thinking you are playing around as the BG's are busting in the front door and you have to settle the silly little family matter first. They need to react: instantaneously, without question, and correctly.

3. Your equipment, . . . practicing with your equipment in such a manner that you don't have to question if you have it, . . . where it is, . . . what condition it is in, . . . is it loaded, . . . where are the bullets and the batteries, . . . etc.

I believe these are the most important because simply, . . . I (and you) are not carrying the responsibility of protecting the known free world. We are only responsible for ourselves, our family, and those around us when the stuff hits the fan. We can best serve those responsibilities if we do the above.

May God bless,

January 15, 2011, 02:17 PM
I think it's important to bear in mind that most of the people around a situation like this would have little or no idea what was going on at the time of the incident. Not hearing things , not seeing things, senses shutting down in the excitement
I , for one, wouldn't want to risk getting myself shot in an melee so the decision to shoot/not shoot is difficult, it's not like you can shout that your the police etc plus you will need to be prepared for the aftermath
IF I did have the opportunity to shoot an active shooter AND I was safe in doing so - I would probably reholster and probably leave the scene for a safe place while calling in to LE what I did

January 15, 2011, 02:30 PM
As other have mentioned...

Be sure of your target.

Be sure of your capabilities.

As for minimizing the chances of your being identified as the bad guy yelling "help POLICE (as in calling for police assistance), get down" might help. While there are laws against impersonation a LEO, I think it would be hard to make the case that your yelling "help POLICE" was a form of self-identification rather then a calling for assistance.

January 15, 2011, 06:30 PM
I honestly cannot think of a prosecutor going after a CCWer who stopped an active shooter for shouting something like "Police, get down." I think there would be too much "hero status" from the media for that.

...now, if the stop was not successful or the CCWer hit someone else, yeah, they might get the kitchen sink thrown at them by a prosecutor!

Don P
January 15, 2011, 06:38 PM
What things could be "practiced" for a situation like this?

I personally do not think there is training for what happened in Arizona. If you want training to deal with folks like the shooter in Arizona join a law enforcement agency. They'll give you all the training you need, or join the military, they too will give you all the training you need and if you show you're good enough maybe sniper school.:eek:

January 15, 2011, 06:43 PM
If you want training to deal with folks like the shooter in Arizona join a law enforcement agency. They'll give you all the training you need, or join the military, they too will give you all the training you need
Sadly, no. Most organizations do not pay for their employees to take that sort of training (active shooter response, hostage situations, personal protective detail work, etc). Sure, some of the better agencies might, but the average officer isn't likely to see much training on that (powerpoints don't count as good training).

January 28, 2011, 08:14 PM
Be sure of my target-would be getting my family and myself safely away,

while calling 911 to summon personnel specifically trained to handle this situation


I know my capabilities and I'm certain I was never trained to handle a situation like this.

If you plan on "handling" "scenarios" like these, perhaps you should study at

the police academy...l