Deciding When to Shoot

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Many people in the defensive shooting industry discuss when you “can” legally use your firearm for self-defense. While understanding the legal issues of the use of force is a fundamental responsibility for anyone who carries or stages a firearm for defensive use, Rob Pincus believes that there is an equally important need to understand not just when you “could” use force legally, but more specifically when you “should” use force. Specifically, a defensive firearm should only be used when you absolutely believe that you “need” to defend yourself of someone else. In this video, Rob discusses the importance of thinking about when you would use your firearm before you find yourself in an actual defensive incident.

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15 Responses to “Deciding When to Shoot”
  1. 2starider

    I think that will depend largely on what city/state you are in when that happens. You may have to decide if it’s better to become a victim of the crimminal or the state.

    • Pete

      Isn’t that the truth. If you live in a state like Illinois, you better make sure your half dead lying in a pool of blood before you defend yourself with a firearm. Can’t wait to leave Illinois.

  2. Bill Hoppe

    This is certainly what we teach as instructors. Avoid conflict and only shoot if in fear of death or great bodily harm. You will probably be sued in civil court even if you were justified.

    • Bud-Lite

      Bill, correct me if I am wrong, but in the past-histories of my life it has ALWAYS been that if the LEO’s (then the Judge) found the shooter to be justified in his use of lethal force …then he/she were exempted (insulated) from being sued in a civil trial. Isn’t that the law “plain and simple?” (Umm …in the majority of states/cities that is…). Cheers and be safe.

      • artsbrew

        i do not think that is right. civil and criminal law are separate. even it you win the civil case the finances will be horrendous.

  3. micko77

    The goal is NOT to justifiably shoot someone, if that’s “the beef”.  The goal is knowing WHEN you have no other viable option, and how to proceed when that occurs.

    • artsbrew

      while i agree with you and Rob, i do have my limitations. seeing someone in danger even if i do not know them would likely involve me. i hope i never have to be involved in any self protection act, but leaving an individual to be hurt or killed would leave me mentally in a bad place. also i would have a hard time trying to leave my house and yard physically if someone were in it. if i came home and found someone in there, it that would make a difference. forced entry i would have to respond. also if i did come home and it was occupied while i would not enter i have never had a cell phone so i could not call the police. it certainly puts me at a disadvantage because it would be hard to be the first to call during an altercation. perhaps some day i might get one but right now money is too tight.

  4. JRomulus

    No, he meant “where’s the beef” in the little video clip. I wondered how they would handle anything substantive in a 2:39 video; and of course you can’t. It’s not enough time. I am surprised that there isn’t a link to a premium video that covers the subject in depth, however.

    • Bud-Lite

      I’m not surprised at all. Given the (literal) endless array of possible scenarios ‘victims’ face every day …such a video would soon become a life-long documentary shouldn’t anyone think? Rob is simply making folks aware that just because the situation you’ve found yourself in may well warrant the use of deadly force it in no way is “an indicator” that it is time to kill. Far from it. There exist a vast majority of times that “the bad guy” did not need to be blasted off the face of the earth, but rather, “wised up” by looking down the business end of a Glock .40/Shotgun/AR-15/etc., or perhaps just ‘scared sh*tless while being “booked” at the local Sheriff’s holding pen.
      It (generally) takes NO time to determine if your only alternative is to kill (or BE killed) …which is statistically a rather rare occurrence yet one in which it is rather obvious that “death is imminent and thus you NEED TO FIRE to kill them …or die. Hell of a choice huh?
      Of course, there are hoards of folks who may disagree, yet I stand firm with Rob and “got it” from what little he said in a short (yet still educational) vid. Rob tends to make the viewers use their OWN minds rather than dictate to “do this” or “do that” (hey …this is because no two situations are EVER alike and ALL situations call for different tactics/efforts/alternatives to be employed if at all possible). He has “been there and done that” repeatedly, as have I.
      Think about it.
      (I am a 21yr Navy man (SF) …so I’m biased!
      Be safe.

      • artsbrew

        while i agree that it is the last thing that should be done. a knife can kill you within 20 feet even if you killed him first. i would still give the knife person a chance to drop the weapon or any other weapon. a gun to me is different. what cover i had or the circumstances would mean a lot. my finger would be on the trigger and any movement other then dropping it would have to result in a discharge. reaction time puts you at a disadvantage. just hope i never have to face the problem. if so i would hope the individual is not facing me. scary scenario. just as i would not draw on a gun pointed at me unless i knew he was going to shoot. wait for an opportunity.

  5. Rod156

    For people that don’t have a military or police background, they still have the oppurtunity to develop the confidence and experience not only with a weapon, but with situational awareness. Talking through potential scenarios with professionals like those at PDN, everyday people that just want to live their lives in safety can feeling safer and being more aware of their rights and applicable laws will not second guess themselves when seconds count in a violent situation.

  6. Richard

    Thought provoking and a good refresher. Theoretical training, education, and real experiences vary, and its important to edit out the ‘war stories’ of bad advise. It is not a good experience to be in circumstances of having to actually defend with deadly force, even if justified. Besides the legal system aftermath of criminal and civil jeopardy, ever after one will be always looking over the shoulder on high alert, even to the point of a life changing long distance relocation.


Tags: Firearm, personal defense, Rob Pincus, training




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