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Old March 28, 2017, 03:05 PM   #1
SIGSHR
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Is there such a thing as "Too Close" ?

Charlie Askins described a belly gun as one you press against your enemy's belly and pull the trigger. This go me wondering if there are any legal ramifications from being 'too close" ?
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Old March 28, 2017, 03:23 PM   #2
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Hopefully one or more of our lawyers will weigh in on this, but I would imagine that distance would not be much of a factor. If you have a reasonable fear of death or serious injury, I can't see how that would lessen because of being at contact distance; in some circumstances in might even be reasonable to argue that the risk was enhanced by the closeness. (In the latter part of the sentence, I am thinking primarily of edged weapons, but choke holds, chemical weapons, and others could also be more dangerous with decreasing distances.)
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Old March 28, 2017, 08:55 PM   #3
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Legal?

Not sure if "legal ramifications" is part of Tactics and Training.

There are many tactical ramifications of being "too close" to one's attacker; not sure if any of them are good. I suspect that Askins may have had in mind a "fighting in a phone booth" scenario in which, because your opponent suddenly produces a weapon, you now need one, too. A no-snag, short-barreled, large-caliber revolver was his preference:
Quote:
"The grandest defense gun I have ever had was a Colt .45 New Service with the barrel cut down to two inches. The hammer had been dehorned ... the trigger guard was cut entirely away in the front ... the grip was shortened ... it was a whiz for the purpose intended."
Source: Askins, C: The Art of Handgun Shooting, 1939
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Old March 28, 2017, 11:11 PM   #4
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Trigger guard cut away ?? Put a little thought into that. It's made of rather soft steel and if you bump it can bend and jam the trigger !!
This was brought up by Ayoob IIRC !
If you come up with ideas test it completely !!
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Old March 28, 2017, 11:46 PM   #5
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Wasn't that called a FITZ SPECIAL???
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Old March 29, 2017, 06:29 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mete
If you come up with ideas test it completely !!
I believe Askins was well able to "test it completely."
Quote:
Askins was recruited by the U.S. Border Patrol in 1930. In his memoir Unrepentant Sinner, Askins recounted that he had been involved in at least one gunfight every week.

During his service in the Border Patrol, Askins won many pistol championships, and was made the leader of the Border Patrol's handgun skills program.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Askins
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Old March 29, 2017, 06:32 AM   #7
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Ignore the political controversies and poor tactical decisions involving Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman and consider the question. The best reason for using deadly force against an individual is an ongoing act of violence that is likely to result in severe bodily injury or death. As many perpetrators of such acts do so without a firearm, and sometimes unarmed, I would think that contact distance is not too close.

Now there are all sorts of tactical issues related to this and I would not want to be using a firearm that was intentionally modified for contact distance but I do not think that, in regards to distance and the legal system, too close is an issue.
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Old March 29, 2017, 08:50 AM   #8
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Quote:
Now there are all sorts of tactical issues related to this and I would not want to be using a firearm that was intentionally modified for contact distance...
Such an ambiguous statement that one wonders why you bothered to post it at all. What are the tactical issues and what modifications are you referring to? Or, are we going to be left guessing?
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Old March 29, 2017, 09:02 AM   #9
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Remember that Zimmerman fired only one shot because the slide was jammed in his clothing and his gun did not cycle. That could have been fatal. He was fortunate that he survived.
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Old March 29, 2017, 09:16 AM   #10
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Quote:
Such an ambiguous statement that one wonders why you bothered to post it at all. What are the tactical issues and what modifications are you referring to? Or, are we going to be left guessing?
This was the OP's post:

Quote:
Charlie Askins described a belly gun as one you press against your enemy's belly and pull the trigger. This go me wondering if there are any legal ramifications from being 'too close" ?
His exact question regarded legal ramifications of being too close. My statement was intended only to address legal ramifications of distance. It was not intended to address legal ramifications of a modified firearm or the tactical issues related to attempting to draw and use a firearm at contact distance including issues such as the firearm failing due to contact distance as ShootistPRS referred to.

The legal ramifications of using a modified firearm are a separate topic. The tactical issues of using a firearm at contact distance are a separate issue. My post was intended only to respond to the issue as raised in the original post regarding legal issues and distance. Hence the caveat and statement that you objected to.
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Old March 29, 2017, 09:44 AM   #11
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Quote:
My statement was intended only to address legal ramifications of distance. It was not intended to address legal ramifications of a modified firearm or...
What, then, was the point of this: "I would not want to be using a firearm that was intentionally modified for contact distance"?
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Old March 29, 2017, 10:03 AM   #12
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Quote:
What, then, was the point of this: "I would not want to be using a firearm that was intentionally modified for contact distance"?
A statement of personal preference that I left undefended and did not get into in depth because it was not the original topic on hand but had been raised as a secondary topic by others.
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Old March 29, 2017, 10:25 AM   #13
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Quote:
Quote:
What, then, was the point of this: "I would not want to be using a firearm that was intentionally modified for contact distance"?
A statement of personal preference that I left undefended and did not get into in depth because it was not the original topic on hand but had been raised as a secondary topic by others.
I did not see anyone else having raised the issue.

The Fitz special was intended for improved concealment. Nothing about "contact distance".
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Old March 29, 2017, 10:28 AM   #14
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Quote:
"The grandest defense gun I have ever had was a Colt .45 New Service with the barrel cut down to two inches. The hammer had been dehorned ... the trigger guard was cut entirely away in the front ... the grip was shortened ... it was a whiz for the purpose intended."
That did not raise the question of modified guns?
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Old March 29, 2017, 10:37 AM   #15
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If under violent attack, where the attacker is in contact range and death or serious injury is imminent, what choice would you have? Anytime a lethal weapon is used in a self-defense situation there are potential legal ramifications.
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Old March 29, 2017, 10:43 AM   #16
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Since I posted that, I'll answer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lohman446
That did not raise the question of modified guns?
I didn't.

The OP mentioned that "Charles Askins described a belly gun"; I provided Askins' 1939 description of such a gun, out of historical interest, as part of a longer post.

I'd agree that Askins was (78 years ago) endorsing such a gun "for the purpose intended;" however, I wasn't endorsing it for today, nor raising a question.
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Old March 29, 2017, 12:14 PM   #17
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Quote:
That did not raise the question of modified guns?
Not the question of guns "intentionally modified for contact distance".

What put that into your head?

One more time:
Quote:
The Fitz Special was intended for improved concealment. Nothing about "contact distance".
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Old March 29, 2017, 06:39 PM   #18
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I submit that small revlovers work well with this tactic... either you are justified or your not justified in using deadly force. As long as that deadly force was not excessive to the point of putting others in danger. The situation you find yourself will dictate your tactics such as contact shots or how many rounds you fire.
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Old March 29, 2017, 07:07 PM   #19
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If the totality of the evidence shows one to be the defender in a use of force incident, to not have been attacking, and to not have instigated the incident or to have been engaged in the commission of crime such as home invasion, close proximity would not create any negative "legal ramifications".

Rather, it would underscore the of fact of necessity and demonstrate that an armed or ver large attacker had possessed the ability and opportunity to cause death or great bodily harm.

It would undoubtedly be prudent to do everything possible to prevent the attacker for coming so close. That has to do with safety, and not justification.
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Old March 29, 2017, 07:26 PM   #20
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I should add two things related to the modification question.

First, if there is a civil suit, in which the plaintiff argues that the shooting was not intentional, the fact of a "Fitz Special" tigger guard configuration might well come up.

Second, if any the of evidence is not straightforward, a jury might look askance at the modification. Dr. Glenn Meyer's work in the is area is worth reading.

Personally, I would not carry a Fitz Special. I don't like the removal of the front of the guard.
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Old March 29, 2017, 08:13 PM   #21
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I think a good shoot is a good shoot and "too close" is a heck of a lot easier to argue than "too far". If the attacker has a contact weapon and is close enough to use it, "too close" should not even come into the equation. Ideally we would never want to allow an attacker to be at bad breath distance before we realized it, but sometimes stuff happens.
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Old March 29, 2017, 10:31 PM   #22
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Quote:
I think a good shoot is a good shoot....
I have no idea what people think they mean by that. A shoot is lawful if the totality of the evidence is such that it is not proven otherwise beyond a reasonable doubt.

Quote:
...and "too close" is a heck of a lot easier to argue than "too far". If the attacker has a contact weapon and is close enough to use it, "too close" should not even come into the equation.
All other things being equal, that is very probably true.

Quote:
Ideally we would never want to allow an attacker to be at bad breath distance before we realized it, but sometimes stuff happens.
Yep.
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Old March 30, 2017, 12:06 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldMarksman
I think a good shoot is a good shoot....
I have no idea what people think they mean by that. A shoot is lawful if the totality of the evidence is such that it is not proven otherwise beyond a reasonable doubt.
What I mean by a "good shoot" is that the use of lethal force was justified to
prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to oneself or in the defense of another.

"A person is justified in using or threatening to use deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. A person who uses or threatens to use deadly force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground if the person using or threatening to use the deadly force is not engaged in a criminal activity and is in a place where he or she has a right to be."

Florida Statute 776.012 (section 2)

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/...0776/0776.html

I live in Florida so I am quoting Florida Law. Everyone should obviously apply the laws of wherever they are.
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Old March 30, 2017, 12:20 PM   #24
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Quote:
What I mean by a "good shoot" is that the use of lethal force was justified to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to oneself or in the defense of another.
Who decides that? On what basis do they decide it? Do you think there may have been instances in which the use of lethal force was justified to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm, but the actor's use of force was determined to have been unjustified?
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Old March 30, 2017, 02:27 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldMarksman
Who decides that? On what basis do they decide it? Do you think there may have been instances in which the use of lethal force was justified to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm, but the actor's use of force was determined to have been unjustified?
Lots of good info on this site... https://armedcitizensnetwork.org/is-...ter-a-shooting

Who decides whether or not to prosecute depends on where you live. It could be a grand jury or a prosecutor. The decision to prosecute or not is based on evidence presented by the officers and any witnesses. I'm sure there have absolutely been instances where lethal force was justified, but that is the chance we take. Hence the saying... "Better judged by 12 than carried by 6".
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