Force or reason. Guns helps one decide

February 24, 2021

The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gang banger, and a single guy on equal
footing with a carload of drunken guys with
baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender.

God created everyone equal, Sam colt made everyone equal

21 foot rule too close

February 6, 2021

 question is the core issue in a case of alleged excessive force brought before the US Court of Appeals in the nation’s largest judicial circuit.

The court’s recent split decision carries important implications for police training, policy and street practice.

SUICIDE BY COP

Undisputed in this matter is that the assailant, a 23-year-old former high school football standout, wanted to die. But, in the words of his roommate, “He just couldn’t do it himself.” So, one winter evening in 2015, in a mood of “suicidal despair,” he called the police to “handle it.”

In what was later revealed to be a “swatting” call, he anonymously told a 911 operator in a Northern California city that “a crazy guy with a knife” was “threatening to kill my family” in a residence in a known gang area. The caller claimed he was desperately hiding with his children behind a locked door. “Please come fast!” he pleaded, before abruptly hanging up.

Anticipating a possible home invasion, two gang suppression officers patrolling nearby responded within two minutes. Upon their arrival, a young man standing outside the residence (later determined to be the fake complainant) began walking in their direction, brandishing a folding knife in his outstretched right hand.

The officers ordered him to stop and to drop the knife. Instead, according to a district attorney’s investigative report, he “began to run full stride” toward them.

Both officers opened fire. The attacker, struck 10 times, fell to the ground fatally wounded.

The DA declared the shooting justified. Likewise, a district judge, weighing a federal civil rights action alleging excessive force brought by the dead man’s survivors, ruled that the officers’ actions had been reasonable under the circumstances. She granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant officers and their municipality and dismissed the lawsuit.

After the plaintiffs appealed, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals delivered a divided opinion. Two of these jurists concurred with the district judge and sustained her dismissal of the case. The third, however, dissented – and made the “21-foot rule” a central discussion point in the court’s recent decision.

DEFINITION OF THE 21-FOOT RULE

Quick refresher: What’s commonly called the 21-foot rule has been “widely explored, discussed, elucidated – and often misunderstood – for decades,” according to the prominent police attorney and use-of-force expert Michael Brave.

In reality, it’s not an absolute rule at all, but a rough guideline based on a firearms training exercise conducted over 36 years ago by well-known trainer Dennis Tueller. Tueller found that “the average healthy adult male,” running with a knife or other contact weapon in hand, can cover a distance of seven yards in about 1.5 seconds – the time it takes the “average” officer to draw a sidearm and place two hits center-mass on a man-size target 21 feet away.

Thus, the exercise suggested, within a 21-foot radius an officer might not have time to draw and successfully defend himself against a charging subject with lethal intent and deadly means before the attacker is on him.

Tueller cautioned awareness of this “Danger Zone,” but he did not characterize his finding as a “rule,” nor as some extreme misinterpretations have claimed did he assert that any knife-wielder within 21 feet can justifiably be shot, all subtleties aside.

In the case at hand, the appellate justices, without providing this background, merely state that: “The 21-foot rule provides that a person at a distance of 21 feet or less from an officer may pose a threat to the officer’s safety.”

A QUESTION OF DISTANCE

Along the investigative and judicial trail of this case, various estimates had been given regarding the distance between the subject and the officers when they fired on him. The panel majority settled on these figures, offered by the plaintiffs:

The subject was “more than 130 feet” away when the officers first encountered him. “At the time [they] opened fire, [he] was approximately 55 feet from them.” (The defendants had estimated the distance somewhat shorter, at 46 feet.) “When [the subject] fell, he was approximately 18 feet” from the officers.

The dissenting appellate judge challenged his colleagues’ conclusion that the attacker posed an “immediate” threat warranting deadly force at a distance of 55 feet. By its written policy at that time, he pointed out, the officers’ department “provides that a person armed with a dangerous weapon, such as a knife or bat, constitutes a danger to the safety of [an] officer when that person is at a distance of 21 feet or less from the officer.

“Thus, under the Department’s own 21-foot rule,” the subject “at a distance of 55 feet presumptively did not pose an immediate threat” when he was shot, the dissenter argued. “The point of the rule is surely to guide officers’ conduct as to whether and when a suspect poses a threat…. [O]fficers are trained based on the policy, and the reasonable inference is that this training should affect our assessment of what a reasonable officer would believe and how he should react.”

To find that the shooting was deserving of a summary judgment, the judge insisted, was an error.

MAJORITY RESPONSE

Defending its position, the majority pointed out that there was “no evidence, direct or circumstantial,” that the subject was standing still at a distance of 55 feet. The “undisputed evidence” was that he was “advancing toward the officers at a fast pace (at least 12.3 feet per second), all while armed with a knife and ignoring the officers’ repeated commands to stop….

“Had the officers waited 1 to 1.5 seconds more before firing when they did, [he] would have reached them with the knife before falling to the ground.”

As to the 21-foot “rule,” the majority stated, it provides that a person at that distance or less “may pose a threat to the safety of an officer. It does not follow from this rule, or any other, that armed suspects never pose [an immediate] threat beyond 21 feet. Notably, the dissent does not cite any case holding that an officer must wait until an armed suspect is within 21 feet, or capable of actually inflicting death or serious harm, before being justified in using deadly force….

“The officers’ use of force in response to [the subject’s] conduct was reasonable under the circumstances,” permitting the district judge’s dismissal of the case to stand.

You can access the court’s decision in full, free of charge by clicking here.

LESSON LEARNED

“The key take-away from this decision for policy and training,” says Atty. Brave, “is to avoid stating and practicing hard-line, so-called ‘rules’ that are not specifically mandated by controlling legal precedent or clearly and reliably established by sufficient scientific proof. To do otherwise only invites unnecessary trouble.

“Rely instead on the ‘objective reasonableness standard’ that requires weighing the totality of circumstances as reasonably perceived by the involved officer. This standard fosters consideration of all factors that could be included in reasonably determining whether a subject is an immediate threat of significant bodily harm, whatever the distance involved.”

Brave notes that the department involved in the case above has apparently changed its policy statement that the court said was in place when the fatal shooting occurred. “In checking the department’s current online-published policy manual,” he says, “the ‘21-foot rule’ is not mentioned.”

For more on this and other critical officer safety issues, attend a Calibre Press Street Survival Seminar near you.

Every one equal, everyone polite

September 9, 2020

If everyone owns a gun, it levels the playing field, and everyone starts respecting each other,” Cargill observed. “More people of color are realizing that in order to level that playing field, they need to arm and educate themselves

Ammo prices have gone crazy

September 4, 2020

With the defunding our police and with the rise of violence with black lives matter and and ANTIFA, 5 million guns have been sold to the American public this year. 2 things have happened. Number one there is a vast demand for training and number 2, ammunition is very difficult to find and is very expensive. We have the training and resources to help you be more efficient in your marksmanship skills. Give us a call ot text. 775 741 0735.

Come play with the big boys

September 4, 2020

To have a gun at the ready

July 24, 2020

The group wrote that science backs up this training, because there is a lag time for the brain to recognize a threat, make a decision based on what an officer is perceiving and then take action. When an officer sees a threat of death or serious injury to themselves or another person, a suspect can fire three to four times before the officer can fire once.

July 23, 2020

Ohio Senate panel to vote on teacher firearm training bill

Legislation would allow teachers, other school employees to carry firearms without having to undergo the same training required of armed guards

Training special

May 29, 2020

We offer any type of training you wanna do at $75 per hour. This will include range fee as well as a firearms and you can bring the ammunition. Give us a call at 7757410735 to arrange your training.

Practice shooting with us

May 19, 2020

Range time, firearm, 2hr instruction, transportation $200. Call 7757410735

How many rounds to stop a threat

May 12, 2020

This is right on. Read this.

Gunfighting: How many shots are too many?
On the evening of March 25th, the Nye County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call for a stabbing that had occurred.

Detectives quickly identified a prime suspect: a young man named Matthew Moore.

Moore’s records-check revealed he had a violent history – especially with law enforcement.

Two Nye County Detectives (Gibbs and Cooper) dispatched to the Moore home to question him.

Arriving at the residence, Detective Cooper knocked on the front door.

Detective Gibbs took up position on the north side of the house. The suspect’s mother answered the door and began talking with the detectives…

Suddenly, Moore appeared behind his mother, armed with a Mossberg model 500 12-gauge shotgun.

Using his mother as cover, Moore shot Detective Cooper twice, hitting him in the shoulder and the chest.

Moore then continued to stalk Detective Cooper, racking and firing a third round.

Detective Cooper fell backwards while fleeing the onslaught, and was caught helpless, lying on his back, staring down the barrel of a shotgun…

Moore stood over the detective, racked a fourth round into the chamber, and fired.

Then Moore racked a fifth round into the shotgun and prepared to execute Detective Cooper…

But, before he could fire the lethal fifth round, Detective Gibbs engaged Moore. Gibbs fired his Glock handgun 13 times, hitting Moore with 12 rounds, killing him.

The entire incident was captured on video thanks to the detectives’ body cameras and a surveillance camera across the street. Thankfully, Detective Cooper is expected to make a full recovery from his wounds.

But, even in this situation, some “bleeding hearts” will cry foul, claiming excessive use of force.

They’ll ask questions like:

Why did Gibbs need to fire 13 rounds? And why did he have to shoot Moore 12 times?

Rest assured, if you are ever involved in a self-defense shooting someone is going to Monday morning quarterback every decision you make.

So, here are some critical things to remember:

Stop the threat. The goal when your life is in immediate danger is to stop the threat. Notice, I didn’t say “kill the bad guy.” Stop the threat.

So, when training, focus on hitting vital areas that will give you the best chance of stopping the threat.

Once the threat is stopped you should stop using deadly force. There is no set amount of rounds that you should or should not fire…

You only stop when your life, or someone else’s life, is no longer in danger.

It doesn’t matter if this takes 2 rounds or 22 rounds to accomplish this.Train to shoot until the threat is stopped.

Articulation. The definition of articulate is “having the ability to speak coherently.” Now, I’m not saying you want to spill your guts after you are involved in a self-defense situation.

In fact, just the opposite…

You should be polite to the police, but tell them you would like to speak with your attorney. But when the time comes to share what happened, you need to be able to articulate your actions.

Again, there is no set number of rounds that you should or should not fire. If one round stops the deadly assault, you had better stop shooting after one round…

Like I said, if it takes 15 rounds, then shoot 15… Just be ready to articulate why you considered the person a threat during all of those 15 rounds you fired.

Bottom line: if you ever have to use your firearm in self-defense, stay in the fight until there is no longer a threat no matter how many rounds it takes.

This is the reason it’s a good idea to carry a spare magazine since you never know how many bullets it will take.

I know of one fellow who got in a gunfight and had 8 rounds in his 1911. He used all 8 rounds and survived, but he later told me he will now always carry a spare magazine.