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Old May 25, 2011, 07:23 AM   #26
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That's a hard question for me to answer, since I've never had to use deadly force against anyone. Inside of my house, its very easy for me to tell if someone is family or foe since my kid's bedroom is right next to ours. A quick peek lets me know that situation - no problems there.

There have only been a handful of times where I've found it necessary to have my weapon in my hand ready to shoot, if necessary:

1. Caught in a flash riot in St. Petersburg, FL 1988 4th of July.
2. Camping in the desert in New Mexico - Coyotes sounded real close to my tent.
3. Gangster-looking guy looked like he was getting ready to break into my car just as I was approaching my car in a Home Depot parking lot at night. Had my gun ready, turns out the guy was just "relieving" himself by my car. Annoying to me, but nothing worth escalating the situation over.
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Old May 25, 2011, 02:00 PM   #27
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I'm with Glenn D; I would definitely say "oh s..." Seriously that question is dependent on variables, so how can I say when, generally speaking. Situational awareness, that is the key. Know your environment, know your peoples and know what they usually do and when. If you are unsure, then you must wait untill you are sure; behind some kind of barrier if at all possible. Your house is not a 'hot zone' so you have to show reasonable restraint.
"Do I preach to you when you are laying stoned in the gutter? No. Now beat it!" Futurama

Last edited by bigbaby; May 25, 2011 at 02:54 PM.
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Old May 25, 2011, 04:22 PM   #28
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At the NTI, we went through a sophisticated and complex live fire house. There were good and bad simulated persons. I recall one of the participants coming out and saying: "Glenn, I shot my son".

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Old May 25, 2011, 08:30 PM   #29
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I keep a very bright Streamlight flashlight with my handgun. I identify then shoot or don't shoot depending on what I see.
Retired LE, M.P., Sr. M.P. Investigator F.B.I. Trained Rangemaster/Firearms Instructor & Armorer, Presently Forensic Document Examiner for D.H.S.
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Old May 25, 2011, 09:24 PM   #30
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When you really need to us it, there won't be a question at all. That being said action beats reaction. I've participated in training where a seated subject with a handgun in his lap has an officer on his left side with his gun out and pointed at him, (simulated MV stop.) The seated subject can more often then not grab the gun, point it at the officer, and pull the trigger before the officer can react. I've also seen another training scenario (simmunitions) where a car chase ends in a driveway, the suspect gets out with a pistol to his head and says he is going to kill himself. He walks toward the officers who are behind the doors of their cruisers. The subject closes the distance and pushes the officers off of cover and then engages the officers and always hits one, sometimes both before the officers can react.

Use cover, verbal commands, and a strong flashlight to give yourself time, sight, and safety to gauge the situation.
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Old May 26, 2011, 07:26 AM   #31
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Yet another summary

I think what most people are saying is:

Plan, train, practice. If your only SD action is to have a firearm handy for things that wake you up, you've set up a landmine. It may never be stepped on and never go off, or it can take the innocent with it. I don't mean a physical landmine but a situational one. Put simply, a gun without a plan is a tragedy waiting to happen.

1) How will you be alerted, dog? alarm? bump in the night?

2) What will you do? If something wakes you up, do you just go back to sleep or practice (I pay attention to our dog when he barks in the night - even when I know it's a false alarm. I go through the drill, it's how I worked out what I'll do if it ever is the real thing). I'll check things out, and will fort up if I perceive a real threat.

3) OK, you've got a light, how's your hearing? If you shoot, what will happen to it? I put on amplified ear muffs - easier and quicker than putting in hearing aids, preserves my hearing if I have to actually fire.

4) Does everyone else living with you know what you're going to do?

5) Have somebody who knows what they're doing check out your plan.
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Old May 26, 2011, 08:49 AM   #32
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I pray that none of us will ever have to, but if we do, I pray that we do it as soon as we have to.
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Old May 27, 2011, 06:41 AM   #33
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My answer to the OP is: You'll just know.

Like another poster said, Train for it. Practice for it and above all THINK about it before you have to decide for real. There is no second chance because one way or another someone is going to get hurt. Make sure you know who or what you are pointing a firearm at. The first rule I was taught as a kid was NEVER point a gun at something that you do not intend to kill. Never, EVER fire a "warning" shot for two reasons, 1. It is a waste of ammo that you may need later. 2. It WILL go somewhere and hit something that you probably don't want to put holes in.

Having been in this situation 20 some years ago, what I should have done was fire when the "gentleman" in question took the first step after I told him I was armed and to leave. Instead I waited until he started to raise what was in his right hand. Yes, I had a light, knew he didn't belong in my home and knew he was holding something long in his hand next to his leg. The end result was an expired intruder and having 16 #4 shot picked out of my legs that ricocheted off the slab. That was my favorite Blackhawk and it was sold a few weeks later. It saved my life and my wife's but I had used it to take a life and I couldn't shoot it anymore. That is the worst part of using deadly force, YOU have to live with that decision. MAKE SURE IT IS THE RIGHT ONE!!! I now own another .41 just like it and hope everyday that I don't have to use it to defend myself or my family. I know I can, I just don't want to have to make that decision again.


edit was to add a thought.

Last edited by pbford; May 27, 2011 at 06:59 AM.
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Old May 27, 2011, 12:34 PM   #34
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I've never been in that situation, but I would probably "try and do" this:

-Wake my wife, give the other gun to her, open the bedroom door, and then shout. Very loudly...

-Who are you!
-(No answer)
-I have a gun, get the .... out of my house, or I will shoot you down!

I mean, you have to know who, and what type of situation you are facing. Tragedies do happen. I won't take that kind of risk.

All the best
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Old May 28, 2011, 01:49 AM   #35
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I've done a few clearings of the house in the night, locked, loaded, safety off, finger just above the trigger. Felt pretty calm... But I've had so many dreams in which I froze or locked up in such a situation, even felt panic. I've gone through pulling the trigger many times in my mind and believe I'm prepaired for it in a known life/death situation. Hope I'll be ready...
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Old May 28, 2011, 06:37 PM   #36
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If you can't tell your teenage son from a real intruder, you've got big problems.

Situational awareness is your friend.
If a person has noticed that someone has entered a window and knocked over a lamp, they are situationally aware. Situational awareness isnt the ability to determine the true identity of a person on the other side of a wall.

Situational awareness is more of a reasonable attention to what is happening around you so that you can detect when a attack may be underway or that you may be the target of a attack.
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Old May 28, 2011, 09:59 PM   #37
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Old June 15, 2011, 12:40 PM   #38
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Refer to rule No4 of firearm safety

Surely we all know the four basic safety rules.
Rule No 4 says : make sure of your target" in other words, make sure that your bullet is not aimed at someone else's target (at the range) or your teenage son who has knocked a lamp in the lounge.

This rule applies anytime any firearm is used, and if all people remembered it the amount of people killed or wounded by "friendly fire" (civilian and military) would be significantly lower.

and off course, know your state's laws; the fact that the subject is indeed an intruder does not always justify shooting.

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Old June 15, 2011, 11:46 PM   #39
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My family has a safe word. It goes like this I say “Bismarck”, the response is “Doe”. Having said that how is it used.:

If I here an intruder, it could be one of the kids. Say they had a water leak and need the left handed monkey wrench. Dad has one, I have a key so I don’t need to wake him, I’ll just sneak in and grab it. Woke up by a sound, walk to the door, “Hello”. If no response, I would close the bedroom door turn the light on in the room and call the kids one at a time on the cell. and be loud about it. If the intruder is a kid they will come to the closed bedroom door. “Mom, dad is that you in there” or “what are you doing up”, I say “Bismarck”. They roll their eyes and say “Doe”. Unlock the door and laugh about what a alarmist dad is.

If nobody comes to the door by the time I finish with calling all the kids, the next call is 911. I’ll wait for the flashing lights at the curb and the voice at the door “this is officer xxxxxx”. “ your kids called and said we should say Doe before entering.”

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Old June 15, 2011, 11:59 PM   #40
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Pull the trigger when:

1. You reasonably believe that you are in immediate danger of suffering death or serious injury due to the actions of a criminal.


2. You reasonably believe that nothing other than the immediate use of deadly force is likely to prevent death or serious injury.

I've emphasized "reasonably" because it's not enough to get freaked out and scared in the dark and start fantasizing and letting your mind run wild until you convince yourself that you are in danger. The standard is: reasonable belief.

Shooting at unidentified things in the dark merely because you think they could possibly be dangerous is negligent.
Did you know that there is a TEXAS State Rifle Association?
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Old June 19, 2011, 04:10 AM   #41
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Two things I think are valuable to mention:
As for the "get a dog" advice you have gotten, please, make sure you are an animal lover and can give the dog a good home. Also factor in that the dog may have problems (physical and mental) which might prevent it from being an effective watchdog... In short, don't just get a dog for protection from home invaders. Rather, get a dog if youre an animal lover and can provide a good home for it. If you can also score a good watchdog, its a great bonus.
Also, you inquired about what merits a warning shot.
My advice is, the only time a warning shot is warranted is if the situation meets the following criteria:
1- you are absolutely, positively, 100% sure the BG is going to do you extreme bodily harm or kill you, AND
2- you want to give one last ditch effort to keep from shooting him, AND
3- you are absolutely, positively, 100% sure the discharged bullet will not harm a living person or animal, AND
4- you are absolutely, positively, 100% sure that giving a warning shot will not give the BG an opportunity to harm you!

Stay safe and God bless!
The great-grandson of Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen.
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Old June 19, 2011, 04:23 AM   #42
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@ biff

agreed 100% on your entire post!

* number 2 as mentioned is at your discression + a good deed on your part - everything else is a must
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home defense , invasion , trigger

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