To Shoot Or Not To Shoot — That Is The Question These Officers Faced

In 2014, police officers in Nebraska began to be issued body cams to capture their encounters with others.  This video, taken in October of 2014, shows two officers responding to a report of some suspicious activity in an apartment.  While the majority of the video is just these two officers walking up to the door, you can see when you get to the end, that it’s hard to make a life-and-death call in a flash of a second.

So what happened?

It appears from the video that the occupants were pulling some sort of prank involving a fake gun.  The police showing up have no idea whether it’s a fake gun or not.  All they know is that these occupants are potentially armed and definitely unstable.

And, as you can see, the officer facing down the barrel does the absolute correct thing.  That said, how many of us could say we’d do the same?

Concealed Carry Comes With Great Responsibility

Concealed carriers are under a lot of pressure to keep their wits about them even when others are acting the fool.  While concealed carriers are not sworn officers of the law, we’re still under a great responsibility to protect ourselves and stay within the law.

There’s a lot of dumb kids out there in this world.  Most of them don’t intend any harm and, unfortunately, the rest of the world that’s dealing with them don’t know that.  Good job to both of these officers for handling the situation appropriately.

A couple quick tips for staying on top:

  • Always know what’s in front of and directly behind your target.
  • Never point your firearm at anything you do not intend to shoot.
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to fire.

It’s the simple things that keep us on the right side of the law.

Note The Officers’ Technique — Never Hang Out In Front Of A Door

Another quick thing to point out is how they approach the doorway.  There’s two officers present in the hallway but neither take a direct position in front of the door.  Both move off at 45° to the front of the door.  That way, if that idiot was actually armed and dumb enough to shoot through the door, they would have room to move.

It’s planning for the worst case scenarios that keep us safe.

Similarly, notice how the officer handles it when he thinks he sees a gun in the occupant’s hand.  He doesn’t expose himself but instead pulls back close to the wall.  His pistol has the lead in “slicing the pie” — that’s the technique where you incrementally clear sections of the doorway before proceeding.  He has another officer as backup.  Us, as concealed carriers, can’t count on such reinforcements.

Slice the pie and minimize your exposure in open doorways.

Another piece of the puzzle is having an officer facing on either side of the door provides some amount of overwatch against people coming up behind either of them.  That’s something a lone concealed carrier may not have — which is why you have to prioritize your movement.  Slice the pie to clear the doorway and either commit to enter and clear the room or clear the hallway via another exit.  Hallways and corridors are bad places to hang out because there’s no where to go if an attacker opens fire.



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Luke McCoy is the founder of USA Carry. In 2007, he launched USA Carry to provide concealed carry information and a community for those with concealed carry permits and firearm enthusiasts.
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Based on what you can see in the video, I wonder if the officer did the ‘absolute correct thing’. He could have been shot through the door, or shot when the door opened again. It’s only ‘right’ because the gun turned out to be fake, but if he had shot, that would have also been ‘right’, as he would have been acting under a reasonable assumption that the apartment occupant was armed, and that the officer’s life was in danger.

Chris Sankey

Props to the officers. 2016 Darwin candidates inside apartment.


Most definitely on both counts.

james lagnese

Some people are idiots…Did they know that cops were knocking on the door?


That was my question. I never heard the officers announce they were the police. Maybe the idiots inside thought it was a friend of theirs and were playing the prank on him/her/ Yeah, stupid prank, but apparently innocent.

james lagnese

I watched it again and the cops never identified themselves. A big no no.


As a former LEO I see another correct response. As he draws his weapon he YELLS ( so his partner can hear) “GUN!” Partner then calls in the situation to dispatch as he draws his weapon.
I agree with Ben below. Sadly these are the situations that get cops killed and make attorneys mega-bucks. (Yes it’s sad stupid people get themselves killed too, but the blame is theirs!)
The reality is there are many “right” responses to any gun involved scenario. The trick is to ALWAYS pick the best one! (Good luck and training effect your choices; and may you always be on the “right” side!)


I couldn’t tell from the video. Did the officers ever tell the people inside they were the police?

james lagnese

I wonder where the deaths are higher: Cops getting killed or unarmed people being killed and/or shot by cops?