Appropriate Number of Shots in Self Defense

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Duration: 3:36

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We have a moral and an ethical obligation to avoid violence, including using a firearm, whenever possible. But sometimes the use of force is necessary in order to get to our goal of safety. So it’s important to understand how many rounds it may take to stop an attacker. Barret Kendrick of Bearco Training tackles this self-defense concept.

STATISTICS

Though we can look at statistics showing how many rounds were fired in previous defensive encounters, there’s no way to predict how many rounds we may need to fire in our defensive encounter that hasn’t happened yet.

Thankfully, more often than not when people use guns in self defense, they don’t have to press the trigger. Seeing the firearm psychologically changes the mind of the attacker. It puts the attacker into the position of not wanting to be harmed by the good guy, so they take some action such as running away. This is a type of psychological stop. The bad news is that we cannot count on this to occur.

HOW MANY ROUNDS?

We’re back to the question: How many rounds do we fire in self defense? It depends on the circumstances. Reviewing previous defensive encounters shows that some good guys have had to fire 12 rounds. Do we need to fire 12? How do we know when to stop?

Processing of information during the attack gives us the answer. We have already begun to process information because it has told us we need to use a firearm. We are already taking in information and making decisions. This observation and processing continues throughout the attack.

We know to stop when the behavior of the bad guy changes. When the bad guy is no longer doing what he was doing that made us draw and fire the gun, we know to stop firing.

CHANGES IN BEHAVIOR

What can this change in behavior look like? It could be the bad guy turning and running away, or dropping his weapon and putting his hands in the air. When the threat is no longer a threat, that’s when we can stop pressing the trigger.

Again, how many shots will that take? There’s no way to predict it. We continue to press the trigger until we know we don’t have to.