Common Mistakes that Armed Defenders Make


Learning from your mistakes is a good thing, but learning from the mistakes of others so that you never make that mistake in the first place is much better.  This is especially true for life and death situations that you might not get a second chance to learn from.  The internet is full of CCTV footage of armed defenders, successful, and not so successful.  Here is a list of common mistakes that armed defenders make that some of them have not gotten a second chance to correct.


Failure to Retain

One of the best examples of this is CCTV footage available online of a guy that walks into a store with a gun just shoved into his back pocket without a holster and unconcealed.  He is overly confident, even ignorant, and doesn’t notice that he is getting sized up by a guy that come up from behind and takes his gun from him.  He gets knocked around a little in a scuffle but he lives.

Drawing on a Drawn Gun

Examples of this are hardly ever enjoyable to watch since they almost never go the way of the defender.  Never draw a gun when a gun is already being pointed at you, you are not “Billy the kid” and it will not go well for you.

Unaware of Weapon Condition

More often than one might think a defender does all the right things, waits for an opportunity, hides their draw, gets in position to counter ambush, but when they pull the trigger nothing happens.  Some have even died because of this.  I recommend always carrying a round in the chamber, but if you don’t feel comfortable doing this you need to know what condition your firearms is in and not attempt to fire an empty chamber only to get shot.

Tunnel Vision

Tunnel vision is almost unavoidable to some extent, but always remember that there is often a second attacker.  Before, and after you stage a counter ambush, assess the area for other threats and act accordingly.  Many armed defenders have lost their lives to an accomplice that they did not look for.

Understand Cover vs Concealment

This is not only important when you are seeking protection, but also when you are looking for a shot.  Just because your attacker is hiding behind something doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t take an effective shot.

Don’t Follow the Threat

If you have driven your attacker off, stay sharp because they might come back.  Keep your weapon ready and if possible have someone else call the police, but don’t ever follow your attacker, especially around a blind corner or through doors as they can easily aim their shots at a predictable point and kill you when you could have remained safe.


Remember, there is more to safety than simply carrying a weapon, you have to know how to effectively use it.  This comes with experience, some of which you can get through training, other that you only want to get from someone else’s mistakes.

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