Hopefully, most of us will never be in a gunfight. But the fact is, there are thousands of home invasions and other crimes committed every day. This means there are many Americans who are, unfortunately, likely to experience a gunfight in their lifetime. But the chances of someone experiencing four gunfights (who isn’t in law enforcement or the military) are extremely slim.
One such person is California man Lance Thomas. Lance used to own a high-end watch store in Los Angeles. Back in the 1980s, many shopkeepers on his street were getting robbed and murdered so he decided to get a gun. He purchased a .38 snub-nosed revolver.
Just a few weeks after he purchased his first gun, two men walked into his store and attempted to rob him by pointing a 9mm at his face. As Lance was pretending to gather up watches to give to them he grabbed his .38 and shot the gunman in the face while the other robber fled. Lance was unharmed and grateful to have had a gun.
After this first encounter he decided he needed more firearms training. He began going to the shooting range regularly. He also started getting in shape and joined a gym. He bought several more guns and he put them every three feet along the counter of his store that way he was always close to a firearm. He also practiced different scenarios on how someone would attempt to rob him in the store.
Just a few months later, two more men entered the watch store armed with guns. Another gunfight ensued and Lance ended up killing both criminals. Lance was shot four times himself, but most of the shots were in the shoulder and he quickly recovered.
About two years later, Lance experienced his third gunfight. He was again in his watch store when a single robber approached him with a Glock 9mm. Lance quickly drew his gun and killed the robber. Lance was shot in the neck, but on the side so the bullet passed through cleanly and he had no serious injuries. (He even says he went back to work the next day.)
The fourth and final gunfight involved two gang members who were looking for an easy score. They actually walked into the store with their guns out and as soon as Lance saw this he drew his gun and started firing. During the gunfight both gang members were killed and Lance was untouched.
After this fourth incident Lance decided it was time to close his shop and these days he only does business by private appointment. So what are the lessons we can learn from Lance (besides not to own a watch store in LA)?
- Practice regularly. In interviews, Lance mentioned how he went to the range often and how he practiced drawing his gun often too. No doubt, his ability to quickly draw his firearm saved his life more than once.
- Get in Shape. I’m not the biggest fan of working out but I know it’s good for me, which is why I run several miles everyday. If you’re not in shape you may not be able to move quickly enough to defend yourself.
- Have multiple firearms. I have firearms stored throughout my house. Remember, if you’re watching a movie in your basement and your only gun is in your bedroom that’s a long way to go when someone is kicking in your front door.
- Prepare. Besides practicing at the range and drawing his gun, he also practiced different scenarios and prepared ahead of time for the multiple ways he could be attacked. That’s why it’s important to prepare for what you will do if you have a home invasion and even what you will do once the gunfight is over.
The bottom line is, Lance Thomas is a very courageous man who refused to be a victim, and he’s a good example of how practice and preparation can pay off in the most important way of all.