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Old November 2, 2010, 12:47 AM   #1
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Sharing a little experience

Just for your edification, sharing a tiny experience I had while traveling.

A couple weeks ago my wife and I drove up to a town in PA. This downtown area had a moderate number of tall buildings and didn't look the cleanest. The hotel was not of our choosing and was smack dab in the middle of the downtown area.

It was late and cold, between 10 - 11 PM and we grabbed all of our bags at once so we'd only have to make 1 trip in to check-in. The parking garage was not connected to the hotel and we had to walk around the side of the hotel to the front (side door closed at night). My wife was walking in front of me arms full probably and I had our large duffel bag and laptop case hanging around my neck to my left side. We walked past a couple of men loitering and smoking outside talking loudly. One man in a blue tee-shirt seemed fit, short blonde hair, thick in the torso and arms with no apparent beer-belly, and several inches taller than I. The other man was in the middle of a conversation with him about some experience from which he learned a life lesson. As we passed them they stopped talking and one said, "hey lady!" to my wife. We kept walking. We went inside and waited to be checked in at the front desk. The hotel was large, and had a bar playing music. The man with the blue tee-shirt came in and headed straight for the bar. Several minutes later he re-emerged and on his way back outside he sort of bumped my bag as he walked past me - even though this foyer area was a couple times wider than your average movie theatre with a ceiling at least 40 feet high.

We didn't talk about it until we got to our room. I wasn't really offended by the way he talked or that he bumped into me. I just thought he was kind of creepy, rude, and inappropriate. She thought the two of them were drunk. I didn't pay enough attention to make a judgement on that. I'm glad we kept walking. We hadn't worked out any non-verbal signals or plan or anything. My wife said she kept going because she didn't know how to address something like that but I also think it was because the door was so close already - less than 30 feet away and hotel meant more safety. I think she made a good choice and I'm proud of her for not having any of it.

If I could do anything different: I would have grabbed the heavy duffel bag by the canvas handle in the middle of the bag where I could voluntarily drop it if I needed to. With it slung around my neck, turning was slow and someone could have dragged me around by it all day long. I also did not look at them as we continued walking the distance to the door. I felt uneasy ignoring them because I didn't know what was going on behind me. I'm still unsure what would have been better - would turning to them have sparked a conflict? (who knows?) Would verbally engaging with them have been wise? How strange would it be (for both parties ) if I were to turn around and walk backwards to the hotel door? I'm guessing there is no easy rule and praise God it turned out well. Lastly, I thought I was on to something by keeping my right hand free. But as I walked I had been using my right arm to swing and counter-balance my heavy load. Next time I will keep my hand in my pocket on the handle of my snub-nose. If anything had really happened (sucker punch) I think I would have been too slow in finding the opening of my pocket and starting from there.

I tossed a few ideas around about what might be safer to walk as a couple - side by side? Her first? Her behind? - and for now we settled on her going first still. Unless we're hiking I suppose.

I'm pretty good at being hard on myself (and others unfortunately) but all in all it ended well. It probably wasn't as hazardous as some situations you all have been in but it was a surprise none the less. I could say to myself "ah, it was just a couple of harmless drunks" - but at the time I really had no idea what was going to happen. I bet you didn't either as you read this I also briefly wondered if 5 rounds of 38 special + P was enough for 2 big fellas. I like my snubby and I'm not looking to replace it, but may consider adding to the arsenal someday. My snubby's still too new-looking to replace.

You can bet I carried when we drove to Tennessee next, again arriving at night. There's another story - I was in the rest area men's bathroom late at night and was about to leave when a gentleman looking like a pirate (no offense...matey) - eyepatch and bandana pushed open the door. Surprised me again but he was nice. No, it wasn't halloween yet.

It's strange. I didn't ever see a need to carry before I actually started carrying.

To the gentleman in the blue T-shirt if you're a forum member: please be careful.
To the gentleman in with the eyepatch if you're a forum member: good evening!

To all the rest of you, hope you are well.
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Old November 2, 2010, 01:58 AM   #2
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Every Day Lessons Can Be Learned

I'm happy that all ended well for you. The snubby would have likely been enough for the two. You may want to carry two snubbys if your laws allow it.
A tactical folding knife could be considered. A lot of damage can be done with a sharp blade at close range. The blade in determined and skilled hands will get their attention.
Try to analyze those situations and see where and if improvement could be made. Try to learn any lessons on what you would change next time.
Best , Lyle
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Old November 2, 2010, 02:01 AM   #3
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I prefer to have my wife walk ahead of me in circumstances like hat. Long time ago when I was a teenager My family was walking through downtown Seattle with most of the girls in back. Afterward, one of my sisters (who was in the tailend of the group) said she had been groped by one of the loiters. She didn't say anything at the time because she didn't want us coming back to confront him.

My first instinct is to walk ahead of my wife to clear the path. But after this situation I learned that like many predators, these guys like to strike your womenfolk when you are not watching. Never had another incident with my wife or daughters walking in front of me where I can keep an eye on them and anyone coming close.

Normally we walk side by side, but my wife knows that if the surroundings get creepy when is to walk ahead of me. If the potential threat is on just one side then we would walk SxS with me on the threat side. When my daughters and SILs are with us then one of the young men bring up the rear and I walk slightly to the front to clear the path.
"The ultimate authority ... resides in the people alone. ... The advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation ... forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition."
- James Madison
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Old November 2, 2010, 10:36 AM   #4
Terry A
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Good story dyl.

Things like that probably happen thousands (?) of times per day thru out the country. A small % of them end up making the news, most often because somebody got killed. Things escalate real quickly at times.

So many ways to handle almost any situation. For the most part, we get to pick & choose our battles. But sometimes, others make that choice for us.

Having a plan for different scenarios and being vigilante can never hurt.
2 Thes 3:16 "Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all! "
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Old November 2, 2010, 10:50 AM   #5
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Glad nothing bad happened; I would suggest a few things: First be more aware of your surroundings; Second, be ready.

In the big cities, it's easy to be distracted-especially when you're traveling and tired-from all the noise and busy-bodies. When walking through parking garages, be sure to "search" the area, with your wife in front of you, unless you're turning some sort of corner.

If you're going to carry, make sure that your weapon is 100% accessible, even when carrying luggage; or you if you're going to carry the luggage for you wife, let her carry the gun-as long as she can use it.
Krav Maga/Judo
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"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit" Romans 8:1
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Old November 2, 2010, 12:10 PM   #6
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Just so you know:

PER 100,000
Taxicab driver/chauffer 15.1
Law enforcement officer 9.3
Hotel clerk 5.1
Gas station worker 4.5
Security guard 3.6
Stock handler/buyer 3.1
Store owner/manager 2.8
Bartender 2.1
You are much more more likely to be victimized in a hotel than your home.
Proxima est Mors, Malum Nullum adhibit Misericordiam
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Old November 2, 2010, 01:15 PM   #7
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Good instincts! FYI, at police academies they teach you to always keep the gun hand empty, no driver's licenses, flashlights, luggage etc... This is because fight/flight may cause an autonomic response where your gun hand will clinch said items and prevent you from drawing your weapon. It's a sympathetic response to all the other stimuli your experiencing.
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Old November 2, 2010, 01:52 PM   #8
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being vigilante can never hurt

If I was carrying, I would definitely keep at least one hand free under those circumstances, even if I had to go back for another trip once my wife was safely in the room.
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Old November 2, 2010, 02:20 PM   #9
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when i am walking with my wife, i try to keep her on my weak side

i know if something happens, (even a loud noise) she usually
grabs my arm....i want it to be my weak side so i can be
ready to go, if i have to

she likes to keep me between her and the curb, which is usually,
exactly the opposite, but she seems to know when to suspend that rule

carrying stuff makes it all much more complicated
Now I don't know, but I been told it's hard to run with the weight of gold.
Other hand I have heard it said, it's just as hard with the weight of lead.

hunter/garcia (new speedway boogie)
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Old November 2, 2010, 02:37 PM   #10
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Shotgun in duffel, park in front of the door, get wife and bags inside, park car carry duffel in ready position. Any word of\r movement, shoot until it stops....

or not. Leave out the shotgun and you have a good tactic for late night scrounged hotel access. or find a better hotel in a better part of town.

I had a room downtown L.A. a block from the federal building, walked to the Cu at night to do a conversion on their system. Worked late, walked back to hotel noticed people, a lot of people under the roadway. Had shopping carts and fires in 55 gal drums. All eyes were on me, I lit a cigar and walked on, wasnt afraid, was thinking how a society that has so much wealth turn its back on these folks. In other words ,I had a hard time thinking of myself, was only thinking about them folks and still do.

When life gets real hard, I remember them folks and the sun begins to shine again.
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Old November 6, 2010, 08:35 AM   #11
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I agree on tring to keep you strong hand available to draw your weapon. I find I do this. In an altercation you may need to be quick, no time to fumble around. I think I would have kept visual contact with the "hoods" and not looked away as I walked quickly into the hotel though. Just in case. I would have been silent.
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Old November 6, 2010, 10:01 AM   #12
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Thanks for the input guys.

Maybe I could keep walking and not necessarily maintain eye contact with someone who makes me uncomfortable. I could keep my head turned towards them so at least that would be better than looking straight forward.

I had no idea hotels were that dangerous! (according to the stats posted above)

I also like the idea of dropping off the first load of luggage with my wife to the room and while she's busy up there I could get the rest of the things. I'm not sure how likely it is she's going to agree to that though: she'd want to help. But maybe if it's a really really grim neighborhood she'd understand. But then again we'd probably be staying somewhere else instead

About walking with someone: I wonder, what do bodyguards do?

I agree with the poster above: companion on weak side seems to make sense to me now if walking side-by-side. It would be easier for me to clear her from the line of fire to get a decent angle. Plus, I could yank her back toward me with my weak side if someone were trying to pull her. If my wife were on my strong side, I would more likely grab with my gun hand (occupying it) and if I were to raise the firearm it would practically be making contact with her.

As we were walking away, she later told me she had a concern they might try knock me on the head from behind. Still I think companion in front is better than trying to protect someone behind me where I can't see them. I'd be afraid they'd just disappear without a sound and I'll bet that happens sometimes.

Before I left home for that trip I had decided to pocket carry since that's most comfortable for car rides. Whenever I do IWB, the bottom of the holster seems to dig into my thigh. Now when I think of it, pocket carry really was best because I haven't practiced drawing from IWB with one hand only. I'd have to lift my jacket and T shirt, grab the handle before the mess falls down again and draw under stress. I probably do need to practice IWB drawing single-handed. I realize whenever I practice drawing inside my own home it's never with outdoors clothing (jacket) on, never with luggage or bags.

I hope you all stay safe with all this holiday traveling coming up.
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Old November 6, 2010, 10:27 AM   #13
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Reminds me of a trip to Japan when we had an eight block walk from the train station fully loaded with baggage at 11:00pm local time. Outcome was favorable though.

Whenever I am checking in when available I park right out in front of the door. I gab one bag weakside or over the shoulder and load up the wife/kids and lock the car. We go to the room, lock them in, and I go for the rest usually with a cart if available (she doesn't travel light). That way I can push the cart away and draw or use it as a block form the BG. I am always on high alert. You can't imagine how vulnerable you are reaching into a trunk or the back of a van. I stop often and look around as I am loading the cart for people just hanging out.

I lock the car and go back to the room. Only once all of the baggage and valuables are in the room will I go park as close to the room I am staying in. All the time I am on high alert.

We often take road trips across the country and rarely stay in the same hotel twice in an area that we are familiar with. Its good to have a policy and a plan when it comes to traveling.
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Old November 6, 2010, 12:13 PM   #14
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Lots of good common sense information shared already. I always have the lovely and charming walk behind and to my left, so I would be the first to address any danger. To the front and left now sounds like the way to go. For hotel/motel check in I always park at front door see wife into lobby with our shared tote, then I park and if necessary bring luggage into lobby.

As for the guys outside, often, I find it a good idea to preempt comments, by looking at the party smiling and saying something like good evening gentleman. This catches people off guard and unless they are dead set on starting a problem this lets people know I see them and I’m not so timid that I will not speak to them.

Last edited by old bear; November 6, 2010 at 03:04 PM.
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Old November 6, 2010, 02:04 PM   #15
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I appreciate everyone's comments. I would want to reply to each by user name but by the time I'm typing I've already forgotten it.

I'm used to traveling with just the two of us (and also just myself) so I rarely use the circle right in front of hotels. I now see they're useful regardless of party size. I never used them because they remind of valet parking I suppose.

About leaving your spouse in the lobby - there is still some danger but it would take some deception first to lure them back outside or somewhere out of sight of the front desk. Much safer than walking around at night though so I like that idea. I'll also be happy when she gets her own carry permit.

Question - why switch hotels each night if staying in the same town/city ? Is it to prevent possessions kept inside the room from being stolen, maybe to prevent a local from predicting your actions?
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Old November 6, 2010, 06:13 PM   #16
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"Question - why switch hotels each night if staying in the same town/city ? Is it to prevent possessions kept inside the room from being stolen, maybe to prevent a local from predicting your actions?"

Who Me? That isn quite what I meant, but I do that very thing sometimes. We usually stay one to two nights as we experience the sights and move on. However, there are common cities we always pass through. Our satisfaction with hotels reserved based on other reviews doesn't always fare well so we don't stay in the same place twice. I admit I don't like to leave anything in the room so if we are stopping in a town, I try to get there in the late afternoon, see what we want to see, spend the night, and move on the next morning. It reduces the likihood of anyone following us back to the hotel or perhaps things suddenly dissapearing while the room is being serviced, getting a lousy neighbor, ect...
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Old November 6, 2010, 06:56 PM   #17
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I'll also be happy when she gets her own carry permit.
A carry permit does not make one safe.

When the number of people in institutions reaches 51%, we change sides.
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Old November 6, 2010, 11:55 PM   #18
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dyl - many of us are more lucky (or blessed) than we know.

Here are some suggestions to think about. First, don't stay in a motel/hotel that doesn't have a lighted drive in style check-in. Look on the internet to choose the accommodations that look the most safe and that are in a good area of town, before you leave.

Next, after you check in, unload your wife and bags before parking your car. Make sure your wife has a gun and knows how to use it. Have her stay in the locked car until you make all the arrangements and can see that it is safe for her to get out of the car and go to your room.

Third, don't get a room that is too easily accessible from stairwells or elevators. Make sure the room has substantial security locks and a fire alarm. Check the windows or outside balcony to make sure it affords no easy access to outsiders.

In addition to your gun and your wife's gun, make sure you have a backup. I personally have my wife carry the snub 357 and I carry a High Capacity semi-auto with four (min) magazines and my LCP on my ankle with three extra mags for it. And, I carry a good tactical folder such as my SOG Aegis Folder.

Or, my Ontario XM1

Finally, remember that situational awareness is paramount in EVERY aspect of your life. It is YOU that is responsible for the safety and welfare of your wife and/or children. So, instead of just walking into scary or dangerous situations and then being surprised and thankful that nothing bad happened, you need to think ahead and be watchful for trouble before it happens. And you should have already practiced various scenarios and made decisions about what you would do in this or that circumstance.

Be in tune with everything that is happening around you at all times. Know your weaknesses as well as your strengths and be prepared to do whatever is necessary to provide safety for you and your family. It's YOUR duty!
There is only one tactical principle which is not subject to change. It is to use the means at hand to inflict the maximum amount of wound, death, and destruction on the enemy in the minimum amount of time." - General George Patton Jr

Last edited by Big Bill; November 7, 2010 at 12:04 AM.
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Old November 16, 2010, 04:54 AM   #19
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About walking with someone: I wonder, what do bodyguards do?
I will tell you what they don't do, carry anything in their hands! Or hold doors open for anyone. And insist on seat belts worn by all in vehicle.

Never park in and walk from a garage, especially carrying stuff. Park outside the door, we travel light, me, coat undone, to enter Hotel lobby. Gear out of car, beep lock, book in, go to room, then me on my own, park car (Jeep) return to room.

Benchmade, access lock, clipped to pocket, sharp like a razor. Glock 19, on belt, extra G17 Mag; small bright flash light, always. I can travel all day and night, total comfort with pistol on belt, I always drive. Fill tank when no less than half full. Time for bathroom visit, stretch legs.

Living in Orlando, people come to us normally. So not much travel anymore.

DYL, why did the guy bump you? Most likely you looked like a victim to him, with all your belongings hanging off you, that's why he spoke to your Wife, you were helpless to retaliate to any move, you were burdened down, he was a typical bully. You could have shot him? Not recommended, yes?
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Old November 16, 2010, 10:54 AM   #20
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I like to walk with my wife on my strong side and slightly behind me. Close enough that either of us can make firm contact if the need arises.

I was working (for a short while) doing personal protection and that was the method I was taught. It keeps the protected partially concealed from a forward attack. Plus you can pull them behind you and begin back pedalling if necessary. If someone attempts to grab the person from bhind they can grab you. Then you can rotate to your weak side which clears your weapon further from the person you are protecting. It also allows you to sweep the person behind you without occupying your strong hand.

I never had to see how well it would work. So, I don't know if it is the best tactic.
Here's my credo: There are no good guns, There are no bad guns. A gun in the hands of a bad man is a bad thing. Any gun in the hands of a good man is no threat to anyone, except bad people.
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