How To Survive Deadly Force Encounters With Your CCW

Ben offers up a few deadly force scenarios to think about and his 10 guidelines to help you survive if you are in a deadly force encounter with your CCW.

How To Survive Deadly Force Encounters With Your CCW

The concealed carry and use of deadly force literature are chocked full of detailed chapters, pages, and lengthy articles about the related deadly force, concealed carry, and handguns laws, court cases rulings, guidelines, and interpretations. And yes I understand this is not a simple subject and that many factors are involved, and situational considerations are necessary. These things are difficult to meaningfully and legally condense into a few practical paragraphs or pages, so as not to mislead or generalize for all possible scenarios. I know these matters are very involved and complex. There are many different possible life-or-death factors, results, guidelines, and tips.

Also, there is widespread disagreement among the “experts” about even the definitions, meanings, and interpretations of “Stand Your Ground,” “Castle Doctrine,” and “Use of Deadly Force,” let alone what are the practical steps to survive deadly-force encounters and attacks from “Bad” Guys and Gals.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a practical, useful, convenient, and very condensed Concealed Carry Deadly Force Checklist of just a few very key and proven guidelines to help individuals plan to survive deadly-force encounters ahead of time before they are actually in a lethal shooting?

A few short principles to think about to be proactive, generally, help pre-plan actions, and prepare one’s mind before they act in the usual brief three seconds or so of an attack. To be prepared by understanding the general concepts and possible necessary actions in the comfort of their home, just in case.

Well, here it is.

I hope these brief but practical and meaningful tips help you think about these key concepts and to prepare possible deadly force actions ahead as much as is possible, for the dreaded attack by some nefarious individual. I also hope that they help you lay a foundation for thinking ahead of time about very critical decisions and actions you might have to take before you face a deadly force encounter and have specifics of the situation. A few seconds of time saved could seem like an eternity in an encounter. If you had your licensed concealed carry gun with you, think ahead about what you possibly might do if reality arose. Of course, the unique specifics of any situation actually will determine your course of action. One little situational factor or assumption could make all the difference in how you would respond and having a successful outcome.

Think about what you would do in these common scenarios:

Scenario #1:

If the aggressor just shot a guy two rows down near you in the theater and was waving a gun around pointing it at you and other moviegoers, how would you respond? Would you draw your licensed concealed carry pistol and fire to stop the threat, if the opportunity was there? If not, what would you do?

Scenario #2:

If a bank robber threatened the teller a few feet from you by holding a gun to her head, would you shoot with your licensed concealed carry gun, if you had an opportunity? Or, if you could safely escape through the back door of the bank without a confrontation, would you?

Scenario #3:

You and your spouse are eating with friends in a restaurant, and the robbers with guns begin to bind your friends’ hands behind them quickly, blindfold and gag them and plan to take you all to the back and put you in the freezer, what would you do?

Scenario #4:

In a convenience store parking lot, a disabled middle-aged man is complaining to a healthy young lady who is parked in a handicapped space without a Handicapped Sticker on her car, an obvious violation. Her husband and young son are inside the convenience store buying snacks. Suddenly you see the young, very healthy and muscular husband come from the store with his son nearby. Without making comments, the muscular young man aggressively shoves the middle-aged disabled man roughly to the ground to his back. While on his back and apparently injured, you see the angry disabled man start to draw his concealed carry gun which you can see exposed in its holster. You are about six feet away from them. What would you do?

As terrible as these four scenarios are, they are very realistic. They all could happen today to any of us. Thinking about the guidelines and concepts on this following checklist ahead of time and your pre-planning (as much as is possible without specific situational factors) just might save your life and the lives of your loved ones.

I have learned several lessons about these concepts the “hard way” and wish you much success in implementing them, praying you never are involved in a deadly-force encounter. Know that I am NOT an attorney and am NOT giving legal advice, opinions, or recommendations, but merely trying to help you think ahead about the myriad of situations, factors, considerations, decisions, and possible outcomes. Of course, your specific state or jurisdiction and its laws and regulations will have a significant impact on your particular actions chosen, understandings, situational decisions, and the results. Know your state and jurisdiction laws. Sucess with applying these guidelines in your encounters!

Concealed Carry Deadly Force Guidelines

  1. Avoid lethal confrontations if at all possible to do so safely.
  2. Constantly identify situational awareness influencers.
  3. Control your emotions and do not be the aggressor.
  4. De-escalate first before shooting; a gun introduction escalates.
  5. Use NON-DEADLY Force Before Deadly Force if Reasonable
  6. Do not hesitate to retreat. Retreating is not a measure of your toughness, courage, strength, or shooting skills.
  7. Use tactical advantages and positions and stop the threat without excessive use of force.
  8. Capitalize on personal advantages and skills. Your mind and logical decision making are the most important.
  9. Practice common deadly force scenarios and tactics in advance by thinking “what if this happened” during normal occurrences similar to the four scenarios given above.
  10. Recognize some encounter facts not readily apparent.

Continued SUCCESS and BE SAFE!

Photo by Author.

* This personal opinion article is meant for general information & educational purposes only, and the author strongly recommends that you seek counsel from an attorney for legal advice and your own personal certified weapons trainer for proper guidance about shooting & using YOUR firearms, self-defense and concealed carry. It should not be relied upon as accurate for all shooters & the author assumes no responsibility for anyone’s use of the information and shall not be liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information or any damages or injuries incurred whatsoever.

© 2018 Col Benjamin Findley. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted or reproduced in whole or in part by mechanical means, photocopying, electronic reproduction, scanning, or any other means without prior written permission. For copyright information, contact Col Ben Findley at

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"Col Ben" is retired with 30 years service in the U.S. Air Force, with joint services Special Ops duty and training, and is Air Force qualified as "Expert" in small arms. He is a Vietnam-era Veteran. Ben is an experienced NRA-Certified Pistol Instructor, NRA Range Safety Officer, and FL Concealed Carry License Instructor. Ben recently wrote the book "Concealed Carry and Handgun Essentials for Personal Protection" (second printing) with 57 comprehensive Chapters about concealed carry and handgun principles, techniques, and tips for both experienced and new shooters. His reference book is endorsed by several organizations and is available on his website at Contact him at
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