Do you have a plan? Have you rehearsed a plan to follow in case of a terrifying incident such as a Home Invasion? You need to have a plan and rehearse it BEFORE something happens.
This past week in one of the local Senior Centers, I was giving one of my programs, about firearms safety. I was talking about what to do if you wake up during the night and find someone breaking into your home. One lady stated, that she would “just shoot the guy”. I told her, “That might not be so easy”! What if he has a gun too? Are you just going to stand there in your living room and shoot him? What if he does not just stand there and let you shoot him? What if your gun is in the night stand down the hall in your bedroom? Is the gun loaded? Do you know how to load it? When is the last time you shot the gun? Is the ammunition so old that it might not work anymore? What if you miss? Are there other innocent people in your home?
Now I could go on and on with a few dozen more “what if” questions. You need to be asking yourself at least the very questions I have mentioned here, and have the answers! Many of the answers will depend on the layout of your home and the strength of your doors. Your family should be included in your planning. A very important part of your plan will depend on the presence of other family members in your home. Have you thought about your shots missing? Where will missed bullets go? Is there someone sleeping in another room, in your line of fire? There I go again, with more “What if questions.” In a dangerous situation these are some things which need advance planning. When the bad guy comes crashing through your back door, is not the time to stop and think about it!
When I was a Training Officer for a Sheriff’s Department in Florida, the rookies had to ride with me for a 14 week training period after graduating from the Basic Police Academy. After completing the Field Training, they were turned loose on the world. Well, what if the whole time the rookie was in training with me, we never encountered a bank robbery in progress? The answer to that was to rehearse different scenarios during that training period. Numerous times we would make use of an old abandoned building, or even an abandoned house for more realistic training.
Andy Taylor of Mayberry fame was sitting in the Sheriff’s Office one day when Barney Fife came running in all out of breath. Gasping he shouted, “Sheriff Andy, I just saw the first sign of winter!” Sheriff Andy turned around and with a confused expression, asked, “Barney, what on earth are you talking about? Calm down Barney. What did you see?” Still gasping for air, Barney finally calmed down enough to answer. “Andy, two men came running out of the bank wearing ski masks and it’s not even snowing!” Barney had not planned ahead for such an event.
You need to think of numerous scenarios, and have a plan. In my firearms classes, we train with some targets that present various scenarios. For instance; a target has a picture of a bad guy with a gun pointed right at you! Ok, that one is easy. How about you see the bad guy with a gun, but your children are in the bedroom right behind him? How about if you are coming out of the shopping mall and a bad guy comes at you with a knife, but, behind him are dozens of other shoppers? These are just a few of the possible incidents that could happen to you. What would you do? If you have NOT planned for such an event, you could end up hurting or killing innocent people. Have you ever practiced shooting from a prone or kneeling position, so the bullet is traveling up toward the ceiling? Shooting that way, if you miss or there is a pass through, the bullet is less likely to harm the bystanders. Have you practiced shooting after dodging to one side? Again, have you planned getting into a position so the background is clear, before you fire?
What kind of ammunition do you carry in your gun? I used to work for a large security company as their firearms instructor. The management insisted that their armed guards use ONLY the cheapest, Full Metal Jacket or Round Nose lead ammunition. This is the most DANGEROUS ammunition you could carry in your gun! FMJ ammo will more than likely pass right through the bad guy. After a pass through or a miss, FMJ round nose bullets tend to ricochet off concrete floors and walls or pass right through common wall board. You are responsible for whatever your shot hits.
Sure, use FMJ ammo for practice. You should be using the best SELF DEFENSE Hollow Point Ammo you can afford. Hollow point bullets expand and stop quicker when they hit the bad guys. Hollow point bullets are also less likely to keep on going through several walls. Ammo manufacturers have spent big money engineering and testing self defense ammunition. You should carry only self defense ammo in your gun.
In several of my Firearms Training classes, I had students tell me they have a gun stored on the top shelf of a closet. I ask them, “Is it loaded?” “Are you going to be able to get your gun, find the ammunition, load the gun and then confront the bad guy?” When I teach classes, the first half of the class is all about SAFETY. I teach you how to check to see if it is loaded or not. I teach my students using “dummy ammo” or fake plastic bullets before we ever get into using live ammo. I want my students to be very familiar with their gun before we go out to the range and shoot. When driving a car and someone pulls out in front of you, do you have time to stop and think, let’s see, this is the brake, there’s the gas pedal, and I am pretty sure that is the clutch. “Guess what, you just wrecked”! It is the same with you handling a gun in an emergency. Everyone who owns a gun for self protection should be trained and practice often!