Why You Should Never Draw Your Gun in This Situation

Why You Should Never Draw Your Gun in This Situation
Why You Should Never Draw Your Gun in This Situation

A few weeks ago I got a frantic email from a fellow who wanted me to be an expert witness in a gun-related case. He included his lawyer’s phone number, so I gave the lawyer a call to see what happened.

Here’s what he told me: His client lives in an apartment building with underground parking and assigned spaces. For one reason or another, his client decided to park in another person’s spot (We’ll call him Mr. T.). Well, Mr. T. was not a happy camper about this, so he left a nasty note on the client’s windshield along the lines of “never park in my spot again or bad things will happen.”

The client did not appreciate the note so he wrote an even “friendlier” note and taped it to the wall on Mr. T’s spot. To make a long story short, these two very mature adults went back and forth trading nasty notes with each other… until one day, the client caught Mr. T. in the parking garage writing one of these notes.

A verbal argument ensued…

And the client said he turned his back to Mr. T. to read a note which had been taped on the parking garage wall. And that as he was reading the note, he thought he saw Mr. T. raise his hand over his head as if he was going to hit the client in the back of the head. At that moment, the client drew his firearm as he turned around and told Mr. T. to back off. (Mr. T. then called the police and the client was charged with brandishing.)

After this long story, the lawyer asked me if I would be an expert witness and I said: “sure I’ll do it, but you’re not going to like what I have to say”. The reason being, the client should not have drawn his gun, because this was not a deadly force situation.

You see, even though I’m not a lawyer myself (thank goodness) you have to remember that in order to draw your gun you must be in immediate fear for your life. You don’t draw your gun to scare someone off, you don’t draw the gun and shoot to “wound” someone either. If you’re taking out your gun it’s because you need to use it that instant because if you don’t you might end up a dead man.

In the instance above…

The client saying “he thought he saw a raised fist” is not a reason to use deadly force. Had he said, he was sure he saw a knife or a baseball bat or a crowbar, then he would have been perfectly justified in drawing the gun – because those can obviously cause serious bodily injury, and he was 100% sure that’s what he saw (even if he was later wrong.)

As any police officer will tell you, one of the most important things you must be able to do when you draw your gun is to be able to articulate the fear for your life. That’s why in the case above if the fellow had drawn his gun because he saw a knife (which later turned out to be a cell phone) he would have been justified.

Believe me, I know we’d all like to draw our guns at the “jerks” we come across in life such as the guy driving slow in the left-hand lane who we’ve been flashing our high beams at to get over… or the rude person who insults your wife. But when these things happen you must swallow your pride and remember the only time your gun should be coming out of the holster is when you’re prepared to pull the trigger and immediately stop the threat.

By the way, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, I did not end up being an expert witness in the guy’s case and as soon as I told the lawyer why I wouldn’t do it, he said to me “I was afraid you were going to say that.”

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Jason Hanson is a former CIA Officer and author of The Covert Guide to Concealed Carry. He is also the creator of the Ultimate Concealed Carry Experience, which allows you to take your concealed carry training without leaving home. For full details about this training, please visit Concealed Carry Academy. You can also follow him on Google+ and Twitter.
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Carrying a tool of deadly force does not mean we don’t have to take as much crap from people, it means we have to take a whole lot more crap from people.


That’s a great way to put it.


Amen to that. Judging from DPS crime stats on CHL holders in Texas, most of the 500,000+ permit holders on the Lone Star State fully grasp that fact.




Jason, good call.
The client did so many things wrong. First off, don’t be an a$$ and take someone else’s parking space. When someone writes you a note because you were being an a$$, just accept it and move on. Don’t write your own note back showing you are an even bigger a$$.
In a case like this I’d like it if Mr. T had taken the gun and beaten the client with it. You can’t fix stupid.



In my town, someone was killed after a contentious softball game this last summer, when another player laid a punch to the base of his skull as he turned around refusing to argue.


Sounds like it was the incident from my home town.


Jason, good call.
The client did so many things wrong. First off, don’t be an a$$ and take someone else’s parking space. When someone writes you a note because you were being an a$$, just accept it and move on. Don’t write your own note back showing you are an even bigger a$$.
In a case like this I’d like it if Mr. T had taken the gun and beaten the client with it. You can’t fix stupid.



Jason, good call.
The client did so many things wrong. First off, don’t be an a$$ and take someone else’s parking space. When someone writes you a note because you were being an a$$, just accept it and move on. Don’t write your own note back showing you are an even bigger a$$.
In a case like this I’d like it if Mr. T had taken the gun and beaten the client with it. You can’t fix stupid.


Vincent Samaha

A single punch can knock someone out. Then they’re helpless. That being said, a gun, knife, or any deadly weapon shouldn’t be drawn just based on what you see in the corner of your eye. Access the situation to some degree before acting.


I agree with the person Jason. That guy shouldn’t have pulled his gun for no apparent reason. He was wrong.


Like “charlieinthebush” says, “…it means we have to take a whole lot more crap from people…”. Carrying Concealed means we have to check our anger and childish responses at home when we leave the house. When the right to carry is exercised, much more is required of us in the form of ‘Responsible Demeanor’.


But of course nobody is talking about acting in anger – or can’t you read? This is in response to the beginning of an assault. Pull your head out of your ass and stop preaching, really, we don’t need it.


Ahh! Yes! The childish response is shown…


Aha, there is a reason why he commented as guest 😛


I am a Master Firearms Instructor and there is one rule that I teach all. A firearm is never to be used as a intemadation tool. You either pull the gun to use it or leave it in the holster. To many people flash a gun thinking it will scare someone off. Normally the first words you hear from the other party is “go ahead shoot me I dare you” they have just called your bluff and you are now standing there totally compromised like your zipper is down and you know what is showing. You have eliminated the eliment of surprise that is one of your best allies when in a deadly force situation. The responsibility of carring a firearm is monumental and one wrong move can mean your death or the death of a loved one. You meet force with an equal force. A raised bare hand is not a deadly weapon, that is till you know for sure he plans to use it as deadly force against you. Whatever action you take you will have to defend in Court and if you go there beleive me every question will feel like a knife being stuck into you and only if you have followed the rules of the use of deadly force will you fair well. I always do add a caviot and that is do not let the fear of court change your decision to defend yourself against true deadly force as that one split second of hesitation can mean the differance of who is in the Morgue. Do not give up that eliment of surprise till you have to.
Dave Henderson


That doesn’t make a lot of sense. Your a master firearms instructor, you can probably pull that gun out at the very last second while most average gun owners can’t. There is a difference between billy the kid, and old man rivers.

It sounds like your saying wait to pull the gun out till after you’ve been hit in the face a few times, cant see straight so there is a strong lack of judgment so anyone could get shot.

Flashing a gun around for show is stupid, I understand that, but with this case and the comments. Sounds like that is what all of you against it are doing. Flashing the gun around.

I’m guessing most of you guys forgot the first part of this story! his life was threatened in a note!


This individual did not, according to the article, pull his weapon to use it as an intimidating factor. he pulled it in response to a perceived threat. It is a judgement call made in a split second. In the end he did not use the weapon.


Agreed. Reacting to an immediate display of aggression and intent to do harm is not “intimidation”. He was still in the wrong, but not because there wasn’t a threat. He was in the wrong because he was part of escalating that encounter in the first place. THAT is where he lost his defense!

John Caparatta

Shouldn’t start a fight and then escalate it because you’re gonna get your ass whipped. Settled law here in DE. That said, put on your big girl panties and take your consequences. So if you draw your weapon because you think your right, then do so. But if its determined you F’d UP then own up, don’t cry how the law is against you. You’re gonna carry, then follow the law. I do. Why not you ?


…I’m not sure why that seems to be directed at me in a way as if my statement was wrong…

You literally just stated an exact agreement for what I said: that where he went wrong was being part of the original escalation (i.e. starting a fight).


may i say sir that the drawn gun will make the other guy not to continue his intention to hurt the other guy because if he is a reasonable man he will think that the other guy will shoot him if he will do it.That handgun is not only for repelling deadly assault but also to make sober those who think they can hurt anybody. That is the purpose of the weapon to shoot or threat those who will do harm on you. If the other guy is not anymore a threat then the gun should return on its holster. Better to go in court for alleged brandishing a firearm, which you must do if you do not want to get hurt, than to get hurt.

Mark in Iowa

Criminals, drunks and psychopaths threatening violence against the innocent are rarely known for being “reasonable.” Not only has this type of person ignored orders to stand down when faced with a firearm, they have, on occasion, refused to stand down after being shot. Twice. And then ordered to comply. Then shot again.

You’ve been entrusted to carry a firearm, either by the Constitution and your responsibility as a Citizen, or by your sheriff and your responsibility as a reasonable adult. YOU have to be reasonable.


What BS! The FBI crime statistics show thousands of crimes averted every year by citizens brandishing a weapon. Yes, it does expose you to more risks, but so does letting some guy punch you around. Those among us who are civilized and not in LE or military have not likely had a fight since adolescence, so we can be bested pretty easily in a fist-fight. Or even killed by an errant blow. We have the legal right to use our weapons to protect ourselves in such situations. Stop with all the faux solemnity and speeches already, I’m tired of it – we don’t need you preaching to us.


I know a man who lives in DC who prevented a mugging by drawing his weapon. He might have been beaten up and have had his wallet stolen, but no weapon was used by his assailants. What’s your advice, Dave, that he just lay down and take the beating? Really, give it a rest with all your preaching. Teach us the law and we’ll use our own judgment, thanks.


it all depends on what ‘risks’ you face. As a person that owns a gun, an old truck and nothing much else, the ‘risk’ is minimal, ‘go for it’?. As a home/property/business owner with an investment portfolio, the ‘risk’ becomes more substantial. “Deep Pockets’ enters the equation now blurred by legalistics and expensive court costs.

What can you afford to ‘Risk’? Throw all of your money on the table and winner takes All? Gambling, and that is what it amounts too, is a ‘risk’. Nothing to lose, small risk. It works both ways. Desperation/bravado of a ‘mind altered’ attacker, or a defender with ‘nothing to lose’ are both formidable opponents. “Feelin’ Lucky”?


First they sell us guns, then they tell us we don’t dare pull them until it’s too late to use them. Is the emphasis changing and why? Used to be the training was to draw your weapon, say “I am armed and will shoot. Back away.” Now that’s brandishing! BS!!!!!


Wait…are you honestly stating that the “Normal” (e.g. the majority of the time) reaction of someone that gets a gun pulled on them is to call out the gun holder and say “go ahead, shoot me”???????????

Exactly what “Master Firearm” classes do you teach? I want to know so that I can avoid them like the plague…


Depends on culture and demographics, In the perpetually dependency addicted border state of NM, where drug dealers/users awash with chemically enhanced egos, macho bravado is common, it happens…. the majority of time. Police experienced instructors over many years career have witnessed/experienced it repeatedly on calls.

Stuart Friedman

Jason, I am attorney litigating the issue in Michigan and I am not sure that I agree with you. Brandishing a weapon to stop aggression is not using lethal force. You don’t require the same degree of provocation to threaten the use of force as to use it. I have a number of state courts that agree with me on this point and hopefully so does Michigan.

You correctly state the common law, but it often doesn’t jive with realities. I am a 50 year old attorney who is not much a fighter and am not overly strong. The common law says that I should defend against an NFL player swinging at me with non-lethal force. Those courts equate threatening the use of force the same as using the force. While threatening lethal force could escalate tensions, threatening to shoot someone is not the same as shooting them.

While the rule I am advocating may not be the majority rule, it is the rule in a number of States including both red and blue states. Drawing a gun is an enormous responsibility and you shouldn’t do this simply to say that your @##*( is bigger than the other guys, but the rule you are advocating doesn’t work. The fight was silly and no one should lose their life on it, but as your post indicated, it forced the other guy to back off. While he may have been in fear of his life, both individuals left the scene in better shape than they would have done had the gun not been drawn.

A huge percentage of my case involves criminal appeals. I have seen a number of very unfortunate deaths. Many of these have taken place over stupid fights that probably made no sense to anyone (including both sides to the dispute) five minutes after it was over.

The problem with guns is that they can turn a non-lethal situation lethal, but as in this case, they also can force both people to their respective corners.


These things vary greatly depending on the state. I’m in CT and this would’ve led to criminal charges hands down. That’s why you always claim there appeared to be a weapon in their hands, even if there wasn’t. It may be the diference between a loss of permit or loss of freedom.


Well said, I like it. I think that guy should have been able to draw his gun especially if he was just reading a note and had someone coming up to him with their hands above their head.


Thanks for this. In the cultish gun community they have turned this issue into dogma when none is justified by the actual law. Just read the responses about the amount of restraint these guys suggest, really? One of you big mouths tell me one time when you took a beating from a guy and didn’t draw your weapon? Answer: None

You can demonstrate that you possess superior force in an act of prospective defense when and if you are being physically attacked in most states, you just have to realize that practically, you have opened up another set of risks/problems when you introduce the gun. You have to prove you were being attacked. You have to contend with the miscreant’s possible non-compliance – since you don’t have the right to shoot them. You could be disarmed and if you are actually effecting a citizens arrest, you would need to restrain/control the trouble maker until a cop arrives. Most of us are not trained for this and all could create bigger problems. But realize, as a matter of law, in most states, if some scumbag is about to punch you and you are armed, you can show your weapon – it’s not brandishing at that point. Brandishing would be if the guy pulled the gun during the verbal argument with no physical provocation.

The other big risk is police overreacting to your carrying a weapon when they show up on scene. They are trained (by the same over-reacters posting on this forum) to view all guns as a threat – just like the paranoid guy who almost shot his unsuspecting customer who was merely chambering a round in a pistol he was considering buying. So called “blue-on-blue” shootings happen with some regularity when undercover or off-duty cops intervene in a crime and responding officers shoot the person with the gun. Interestingly, what doesn’t get discussed publicly about these incidents is that there is no threat, axiomatically, to the responding officer in this situation. The off-duty or undercover isn’t going to shoot the cop, so de facto, the responding officer is reacting incorrectly to the threat. If more cops realized that many, many citizens legally carry weapons now and that simply by drawing their weapon are not a threat, we’d all be safer. In other words, your other big risk here when drawing your weapon is being shot by the cops. Lol, some job you folks are doing. Can’t defend us from anyone ahead of time and then shoot us or arrest us if we don’t protect ourselves in just the way you see fit. Who’s in charge here?

And of course all the barrel-suckers will now tell me how wrong I am in their ridiculously over-reactive tones. Don’t bother, I’ll pull my weapon when someone is about to put a beating on me every time – and I won’t call you guys if it causes me a problem, including an arrest, don’t worry. I’ll get a lawyer like the one above who won’t axiomatically assume – with no basis in law – that I’m guilty, unlike the author of this article. .

Tom Yarborough

There is a case here in Florida where two men had an altercation (bumped shopping carts) in the local grocery. After words the one man PUNCHED the other man and the victim pulled out his (large caliber according to the news report) weapon. BOTH men were arrested and the arresting officer stated “this was not a life threatening situation and did not warrant him drawing his weapon. I tried to contact the (weapon holder) on Facebook but received no response. I think that had I been in the same situation I would have (wrongfully, evidently) drawn my weapon as well to prevent a further butt kicking…but I guess the law is not on my side. Now, that is not to say that after several thousand dollars in legal fees that the man might not get off….but I am surprised that the man was arrested to begin with.


I think the problem lied not in the fact that he drew his weapon after getting punched, but in the altercation beforehand. Both parties sounded like they were involved in escalating the altercation. If you carry a weapon you have an obligation to not escalate such altercations. If you did anything except try to be amicable and prevent escalation, then you can’t pull a weapon once it escalates.


views like yours stuart friedman are what screw up simple laws…. because if someone draws a firearm, the second person has just been given the green light to BLOW AWAY the first person because now they feel their life is in immediate danger. AND THEY’D BE RIGHT TO DO SO!!! never draw a firearm without immediate risk to your life, by drawing your firearm they now have the right to draw theirs… what if theirs has one in the chamber and yours doesnt… I could see this type of logic leading to a whole bunch of unnecessary dead people who dont know when to draw their handgun.

Example: camera catches the entire incident starting with the arguement. Then guy 2 reaches up to scratch the back of his head. The first guy didn’t see him do this clearly and draws his gun. Guy 2 acts like he is going to back up for a second then draws his LOADED firearm and absolutely dusts guy 1…

what would guy 1’s defense be? “I pointed a deadly weapon at him but i didnt mean it?!?!” that would be a JOKE!!!
what would guy 2’s defense be? “We got into an arguement and he pulled a gun on me so i reacted in self defense for fear of my life” …

which one do you think would win/ seem more plausible? are you even actually a lawyer??


Charlie, that is a perfect and profound statment. You hit the nail on the head

Stuart G. Friedman

PS: I agree with Eric that the guy was an idiot for the note war.


There is only one instance where I would brandish my gun against an unarmed assailant. That being a strong arm robbery, where it’s obvious the aggressor intends to attack me,to separate me from my money. Certainly not the my pee pee is bigger than yours immature exchange cited here.

Keep in mind, we can be beaten to death in seconds, or maimed for life, by a bigger assailant. robbing us. Yes, I agree, give over the money and end the confrontation. Although, how about those innocent people attacked anyway, because they had little or no money on them?


In Florida we no longer have to turn and run. All we need is to be threatened in any manner. I wouldn’t do what the guy in the story did, but I do think there are times when brandishing is a good move. Like Vincent Samaha said. A single punch and your defenseless.


There is a training video out there for instructors and it is one of the best examples of what flashing a gun can do. In a pool room a rival gang walks in, after exchangine words with no force or no altercations at all one man pulls out a nickle plated 45 and waves it around. A minute later he walks out the door. Then comes running back in without his beautiful 45. The rival gang took it from him. He ran in and tried to crawl under a table but the other gang member now in possession of his gun fired at point blank range several shots one to the head. Yes he died instantly but had he not waved his gun around and then stuck it back in his belt in the small of his back the other gang would never known he had it. Most likely he would still be alive today. Many people are killed with their own guns. To me that is why giving away its location or the fact you have it gives away the biggest edge you have in a gunfight. I am 62 years old and have been in many firefights in combat but never since 1971 when I got my CDWL in Delaware have I ever pulled my gun except for in the gunshop when a so called customer tried to load a 9mm withing sight of me and I had to make a split second decision of what in the world was he doing. I pulled my weapon but left it out of sight below the counter line and asked hime what he was doing. He said he wanted to make sure it fit. I asked him politly to lower the weapon put it on the counter put his round that he still had in his hand and leave the store. While I got a bunch of lip service he never knew how close he was to an incounter with a a 40 S&W had he lock and loaded that weapon and turned it towards me. I beleive he was just plain stupid and had no mal intent but needless to say he just as well may have planned on robbing me. That is why I don’t like crowding people when they are looking at firearms but I never take my eyes off them either. Situational awareness if so important in survival in any situation or the prevention of one.


Really? He wanted to see if it fit? Wow.


Sorry for the spelling error, I shoot not spell lol


How many times have you read or heard about a hard working person shot and killed for what amounts to pocket change so the amount of money you have is not the issue it is the fact you have something that someone else wants and they feel it is their right to take it. Not being happy enough with the pocket change they then shoot the person out of frustration for the lack of money. I do not think anyone on this Forum will ever understand that mentality as it appears to me that for the most part the people on here are level headed just plain normal people that do carry a firearm. Sometimes it may save your life but many times the circumstances are just bad and you will be shot. Because you have a gun will never make you immune from being killed. One of the tools I preach over and over again till people are sick of it and that is Situational Awareness. I size up every customer that walks in the shop. I then mentally put them into a catigory that means I constantly watch them, I just check on them, or in some cases I perceve no threat at all. The same as there are places I just plain would not go at night with or without a gun. Having a gun does not assure you of a positive outcome if attacked. If used properly and at the right time it can give you that split second advantage that just may save your life. But if you have an iphone in your ears marching down a dark alley in downtown DC at 2AM I would say you have compromised your chances of survival a bit to say the least. I have seen a very differant set of groups of people who carry a firearm, those that are most likely in the 90% range that you will never know they have it then the other 10% that constantly wants to remind everyone that they have a weapon on it. I call them patters, The reason is they are always patting the gun as if it magicly has gotten lost in the last 30 seconds. While they do not brandish their guns they want to draw attention to the fact see I have a weapon but I don’t want you to know it, but the constant patting gives them away every time. I get a kick out of them as they are surprised when I say what kind of gun are you carrying after they have patted it enough. They act shocked that I knew they had a gun. Just part of the fun of owning a gunshop. Combined I have about 50 AK and AR platforms and often wonder if or when someone is going to try and get to them. I have alarms and all the other stuff I can think of but I think a lot about how would I feel it they all got out on the street. Just like having a concealed weapon having 300 guns at the worlds disposal is a scary thought that I spend many hours thinking about. I love the business but hate the thoughts of those guns in the wrong hands. I can pretend all day I know what I will do if someone does try to rob the store of guns but in all honesty I can never plan every scenerio that could happen so I just pray I make the right moves and do the right things if that day ever happens. A lot of my customers I have had for dozens of years and know most have a firearm on them and know that they would most likely come to my aid if needed or may have no choice. I have talked to many of them about it and the key is to stay alive no matter what. I know ever Gun shop owner must go through the same thoughts.


When I applied for pistol instruction a good friend of mine who was a police officer suggested I get my instruction from his partner who had his own firearms Instructtion busness, so I did. My instructor who knew my LEO friend told me if I ever shoot someone and my LEO friend shows up to get the details, eventhough he was my friend he is also a cop I am to say two things I felt that my live was threatened and I want a Lawyer and then keep my mouth shut. We owned a business at the time that’s why I applied for the permit.


That’s what my father and I teach as well. I add in, “I intend to fully cooperate but at this time I have nothing to say.”

Unless it is a cut and dry situation (bad guy mugs you, you shoot him for example) your best bet is to keep your mouth shut or give very little details.

Normal Guy

I agree with everything… Right up to the part about wanting to draw down in frustration. I’ve never wanted to pull my handgun to make a point.

Glad the defense attorney saw the light before bringing you into a courtroom.

Also… don’t forget, some areas have laws that disqualify deadly force defense if both parties engage in an argument or fight. In this case, neither party was a “victim,” they were engaged in a long-standing argument, and a person wrongfully drew down.

Good call.


I’ve wanted to draw in frustration. It was always cerebral though; like an ally mcbeal thing. I would never actually do it. In CT it doesn’t take much to lose your permit.


Let me start out by saying with the words of one of my favorite country songs “God is great, beer is good and people are crazy” in addition to sometimes just being stupid. All this drama over a parking spot is just stupid. The only thing the guy had to do was park in his own parking spot. A better man would have just appoligized to Mr. T instead of continuing to exchange notes. It would have been real hard to explain to a jury that you killed Mr. T because I thought that he was about to swing on me. If I am on that jury; you are on your way to jail. Last week, you had an article about someone who was in the CIA. He stated that one of the most important training aisds that he learned was situational awareness. How is it that in a heated situation that you turn your back to someone that you are in a heated situation with? Dah! I can see this guy have his concealed carry taken away for some time.


Both of them should’ve been more mature about it. There’s no need for threats. I probably would’ve been pissed if some guy said bad things will happen to me also. That’s when you write a note back saying it was a one time mistake and you shouldn’t threaten people right off the bat, leave an email address and let it be.


So I guess you think Zimmerman should rot in jail too then because he should have been passive and not confronted this lowlife who was wandering around on property that was part of his neighborhood watch? As well, what lead up to the conflict is irrelevant as a matter of law – so your stories about how you handle conflict better than this guy are meaningless. I can argue with someone all it want – but when they threaten me (as this guy did in writing) and then raise their arm to strike me, something altogether different is going on.

And oh yeah, if they don’t respond to the show of the weapon, it will usually at least slow them down for a second. This is the perfect opportunity to step in and smash their nose in with the butt of the pistol, This will usually result in the attacker falling to the ground crying and bleeding.



While you’re article is well thought overall, I have to disagree with your finding that he could not be afraid for his life with thinking Mr. T would only attack with his fist. (Whether the client was or was not afraid for his life is another issue. I am simply talking about whether a fist poses a serious threat to life.)

The reason I say this is because being hit in the back of the head can cause someone to fall and subsequently hit their head on something much harder with much more force. Multiple people have died across the country in the past few years from simply being punched in the head and then falling onto concrete/steps/etc. For me, seeing a shadow of a raised fist behind my head would produce fear for my life because I’ve personally known someone who went into a coma from a similar situation because of a dumb fight in a parking lot.

Jeff Williams

A Fist can be construed as a leath weapon, but raises the point. A person can throw a punch, either it being wild and unothrodox, or it can be a straight tactical punch. It all depends on both victim and aggressor. I carry, I am also am a highly trained Hand to Hand combatant. I however am disciplined enough to size up the situation and walk away or fight and in very rare situation draw my weapon.

Jeff Williams

You do not show your gun to “scare” someone off. As so many have put it, as has the author. You have to show restraint, intelliegence and a level head. I have been in a similar situation, it required one note, and a face to face. The gentlemen took exception, and I did all I could do and left it to building management, but in the end. You just walk away. Do not force the point to escalation, you just have to be the bigger person.


Your correct, always take the higher road.. No parking place is worth even the first note, let alone a responce. The client should have taken the note to the building management and let them resolve the problem… I have seen many times when a situation escalates beyond reason and for what, temper, pride ? I have found over the years, that killing your opponient with kindness has a very disarming effect on most people. And walking away from stupid confrontations can often end them… It takes 2 to have an argument…. Last thought: Never turn your back on an adversary… He could have read the note later….

Jeff Williams

You do not show your gun to “scare” someone off. As so many have put it, as has the author. You have to show restraint, intelliegence and a level head. I have been in a similar situation, it required one note, and a face to face. The gentlemen took exception, and I did all I could do and left it to building management, but in the end. You just walk away. Do not force the point to escalation, you just have to be the bigger person.


Pulling your gun out just because you are angry is never a good thing, you can actually escalated a situation.


So “Mr. T” was supposed to take the chance that his opponent WASN’T going to hit him from behind?
Or, if his opponent WAS intending to attack him, he was supposed to let it happen before he was able to draw his weapon and defend himself? Bulls@1t! That could be a deadly decision.
Any martial artist will tell you how easy it is to kill someone – barehanded and, especially, from behind.


The legal concealed weapon is a last resort item, like a lifeboat on a ship or emergency parachute on a plane, or a fire extinguisher in your house. You use it if you have to, but you’d prefer to Keep the ship afloat, keep the plane aloft, and not set your house on fire. You don’t smoke in bed and say “no problem, there’s a fire extinguisher” or fly your plane into a storm thinking it’s ok, there’s always a parachute to save you. Likewise you don’t get into fights thinking the gun wil get you out of them unscathed.

The client in this case could easily have avoided the whole confrontation by parking in his own space, or just ignoring the first note instead of escalating the conflict. Legality of drawing aside, he should have avoided the conflict to begin with, since it was easy to foresee and easy to prevent.


its great to learn this today, this should stay with as long as i am a gun owner.


At what situation or circumstance do ine give a warning shot. 


A warning shot is never appropriate.  


A warning shot is never appropriate.  


Jason, although I can appreciate your position, I wouldn’t necessarily agree with it outright. It was not mentioned in your article as to the physical attributes of either party. However, there is a legal concept called “disparity of force” which can be used as a defense. For example, I am a 54-year old disabled vet, having had two discs removed from my neck, chronic lumbar issues, and arthritis in my right knee. A young, strapping man (and perhaps an amazon woman) could easily wipe the floor with me.

Although I certainly have enough common courtesy not to park in a reserved space, had I been in a similar situation and physically outclassed, I would have considered drawing my weapon as well. 


Jason, although I can appreciate your position, I wouldn’t necessarily agree with it outright. It was not mentioned in your article as to the physical attributes of either party. However, there is a legal concept called “disparity of force” which can be used as a defense. For example, I am a 54-year old disabled vet, having had two discs removed from my neck, chronic lumbar issues, and arthritis in my right knee. A young, strapping man (and perhaps an amazon woman) could easily wipe the floor with me.

Although I certainly have enough common courtesy not to park in a reserved space, had I been in a similar situation and physically outclassed, I would have considered drawing my weapon as well. 

Harry Steele

What I see here in these comments is people equating pulling a gun to stop a fight as the same thing as shooting someone who doesnt need shot……

You have FAILED to realize that they are 2 very different things. Those who claim you should NEVER draw your gun unless you are planning to pull the trigger are idiots in my opinion…. If you are in fear of your life, DO WHATEVER YOU NEED TO DO TO DEFEND YOUR LIFE. Regardless of the law in your state, your life is worth more than the trouble you may get into.

 If someone senses that they are in danger (this person did, he thought the guy was going to hit him, which CAN be lethal as some have pointed out) and they draw their gun and warn the person to stop their attack… The  person who has the gun drawn on them now has only 2 options…. to stop what they are doing, or to continue…… Either way, they are now in control of their own future… do they continue and possibly get shot/die… or do they stop/leave and live to see another day….. Their choice….

 As far as loosing the “element of surprise” I cant believe there are still idiots out there that that actually believe that crap…. They very obviously to me dont live in the real world, only their mothers basement where they chat with other fools who know nothing about actual combat/self defense situations. I believe the term is “arm chair commandos”


With my understanding of permit to carry laws in my state (MN), the damning factor is the passive-aggressive exchange of messages.  In some cases, one can brandish a firearm to ward off a threat (although whether a raised fist counts is dubious), but at all times must “wear the mantle of innocence”.  In this case, the defendant was participating in the childish exchange which he certainly could’ve avoided–and as a CCW holder should’ve avoided–so he’s got his defense cut out for himself.


A very tough situation to call as both sides have a valid argument…depending on several “unmentioned” factors.

The primary factor being we do not know the physical presence of either of these individuals as “size does matter” in this situation.

Although most states have different laws (mine says retreat first is required) we are taught as NRA instructors that drawing when you feel your “life is endangered” in a confrontation is the right call.

Especially when the “attacker” is larger and stronger than the intended victim.

Of course the question we face here is that we do not have enough of a description to know whether this was justified based on that specific circumstance but if it was the case justification  was in order.

A woman, a senior and/or a smaller male will usually be given partiality in this situation when life is potentially threatened by a larger male.

How do we determine that just because someone is smaller and has less of a “domineering” appearance they are not even more of threat…that is another factor that needs to be weighed.

Fact remains that what we “say” in these situations is far more CRUCIAL then what we “do” as the simply wording of “I thought I saw a knife and I feared for my life” would have nearly all of us saying he was in the right.

Fact remains he did not say that and with that he is likely screwed…nothing to do with the action as if he had said those words the action was then justified.

Even more reason why as NRA Instructors we need the help of additional materials and/or partnerships with attorneys to provide to our students so they get it right!

I for one would be hard pressed to say it was not justified…we simply do not know what the strength and or capability of another person is until they follow through with an action.

I’m in the business of teaching students unarmed “street combat” along with firearms training and I train them to strike until the threat is no longer existent.

An open palm jab into the nose can place someone 6 feet deep if one drives the nose of the bone (yes I did that backwards on purpose to see who caught that:) into the brain of the other person.

An edge of hand to the lower neck/spinal region can sever the spinal cord or cause a nerve to be damaged…paralysis occurs.

A closed hammer fist to the temporal artery can cause brain damage and or death as can even an “accidental” perfectly placed blow to the solar plexus cause the heart to stop.

Most of which with raising the fist equals and opportunity to “kill me” if I don’t do something.

I think brandishing is more like the idiot in the bar mentioned above who was killed by his own gun but drawing to protect yourself when you fear for your life/life endangered has to have some kind of reasonability factor.

Is it really any different than if an attacker comes at you and you draw on them fearing for your life and they run away?

Only difference between that example and the OP’s was that the other guy did not run away he made it a point to call the law when he was already breaking the law himself by committing “assault” by having even just a clenched fist in a threatening manner to another person.




1. Yes I am less experienced than most NRA Instructors and most of those on here in terms of Firearms Training.

2. I do have 16 years of being an instructor in health and fitness/martial arts, former brief stint as an LEO, am a Certified NRA Instructor, RSO and soon to be an instructor of C.A.R. Systems.

I feel this qualifies me to give an objective opinion and to point out the obvious that makes this a “50/50” draw in terms of which group is right.

It also shows that I have decided to take my skill sets and abilities into another realm of “training” as I enjoy helping others achieve what they cannot on their own.

3. No, I don’t care that I make spelling or grammatical errors by accident and/or on purpose as I am not being paid for comments (articles I do my best to edit myself) so those of you that wish to mention that and flame etc. feel free.

I won’t lose sleep over it and you will likely cause me to write even worse just to piss you off.

4.  If we don’t have a right to draw when we “feel” our life is endangered than what is the point of carrying in the first place?

Obviously withing reason and if this guy (victim back turned) has zero self defense skills why wouldn’t he draw his gun and utilize it to avoid an attack?

Our gun is a last resort when a confrontation has escalated…they argued, it got heated, his back was turned and he saw the other guy raise his fist in a manner to strike him “blindly”.

Are we now required to process whether an attacker “hit ratio of lbs/square inch” is to be feared prior to being hit?

Does every time we draw our firearm have to end with a projectile coming out the other end and someone being maimed or killed?

Or do we use common sense that with the very “scarce” facts in this story we may see reason why it was justified seeing as we ALL carry to protect ourselves.

5. Its a well know fact that almost any well versed expert in martial arts is rendered useless in a street attack.

Combat “sports” are just that…sports and when you practice in a clean dojo with mats, whistles, ref’s, rules and respect for your opponent then you can bet your ass what you have learned will get you killed in a street confrontation or attack.

If you want to learn how to protect yourself one needs to train like they would fight so they can fight like they have trained.

There are NO RULES, etiquette, belts, referees and NO time outs on the street. The bad guy wants to hurt,rape or kill you and get whatever else they want.

That means you have to be prepared to protect yourself by whatever means necessary.

Complex motor-skills and fancy wrist locks don’t work on the guy on the street intent on harming you like it did your training partner(s) and instructors who make sure you “let” each other practice the move in class.

Plenty of reason why he may have been justified to draw his firearm…more FACTUAL info on the situation would make it more clear as to the justification of drawing but when a guy “assaults you” by threatening you with a clenched fist I would not wait to find out whether I can take a punch from them.

Besides…are we supposed to carry tazers, pepper spray, batons and learn the use of force tactical guide now as CCW holders?

Just my extra $20 on the situation…2cents is for girls.



that was the most logical rational thing said… Kudos man, Kudos!

There needs to be more people that think like you out there that is for sure.


okay, so the guy could be half his size… That’s a stupid reason, you could get hit in the back of the head fall down get knocked out, the guy could have stolen his gun and killed him… Hopefully he wasn’t charged with anything because this is justified!


What wrong about this particular story is the guy knew or had reason to believe he could be in harms way (given the nasty notes), and was there carrying, instead or going to court for a restraining order, or a civil remedy for the harassment. Stupid of him to put himself in the situation. Lack of common sense. here is another idiot, but a known, he parks/lives there and is not a crook/robber. You back away with a verbal and if he follows you despite your warning, you still have options before drawing.


I carry everywhere except for those places I am not allowed (post offices, courthouses, schools, etc); all the time.  One reason I carry is that when I carry a concealed handgun, I am a very nice guy.  I let any BS from others just roll off my back and I don’t let words or jibes rile me.  (I am a 54 year old disabled Army vet who has a little trouble walking, let alone running!)  I pay attention to things going on around me.  I am in Condition Yellow as a bare minimum, and if it is after dark or I am in a place with lots of people or potential miscreants nearby (ie, shopping mall), I am in Condition Orange.  I have had a concealed carry permit since 1975 and have not had to bust a cap on anybody outside of military ops.


just use your own freakin spot and these things dont take place.


dont start no sh and there wont be no it….

Stanley Turner

To the above story….. I only disagree with one point and thats a fist is also a deadly weapon.

Stanley Turner

If you come at me swing youre deadly fist.. i will shoot you.. and be in the right.because the fist is a deadly weapon.


As tempting as it is to pull your gun when confronted with a jerk. If he isn’t activily engaged to hurt you then don’t pull it out. Also, never underestimate the value of knowing how to defend yourself without a gun.


But this guy was engaged in activity to hurt the other guy – or (like so many others on this thread who like to preach) can’t you read either?

Isaac Lewis

Yeah i agree. I am from Texas and i just got my license, and they make sure they stress not to just pull it out because of an argument or something. Only if you fear for your life technically speaking for some its diffrent, like woman who fell like they are about to be raped.

Texas Law

In Texas,
you legally draw your pistol and threaten the use of deadly force, with the intention of preventing a person from assaulting you, and informing him that you you will defend yourself if necessary.

Texas Penal Code


Ah thanks, I should know that.. in TX


As a newer carrier of a concealed weapon, I find the opinions and information I have read here interesting and educational. The most important fact I agree with is, make drawing your weapon the last thing you do when ALL other options have been exhausted. Taking one’s life can be done in a instant, but will live with the shooter the rest of his life.


I don’t know how far your “a fist can’t cause serious injury” argument goes.

It doesn’t get very far with me at least.

I had a buddy get sucker punched in the back of the head and died a couple hours later.

and I don’t agree with the statesmen; “The client saying “he thought he saw a raised fist” is not a reason to use deadly force. ”

Did he fire a shot? That’s deadly force. Pulling out a gun to stop someone who is threatening you is never deadly force. It is far to easy to beat someone to death with just bare fists or legs. I’m not going to be the a-hole that gets his dead slammed into a concrete floor just because I’m afraid of drawing my CCW due to illegal repercussions


Not only could you risk jail time for life!! With the laws nowadays! Chances are people will bring up anything and everything they can to throw you in jail or make your life miserable if you make them angry! Hell even sue you and if that happens you will be looking at court fee’s attorneys/lawyers and possible lawsuit fee’s. Lets just say, now the guy had that gun pointed at him by you and he goes to the police and tells them he is in total shock and convulsions now because you scared him half to death with a gun, which can be life threatening sometimes and kill someone! Panic attacks, you never know what current condition one person could be in! Second, you got to remember to ask yourself!! Pick up a gun and goto jail? or take a ass beating like most kids did in the 80’s. Sometimes you might be lucky, but chances are you will end up screwed in the end too.

I know a guy who picked up a gun onetime!! he learned the hard way, 22 years in state federal pen.


Granted “I *thought* he was raising his hand to hit me” is a bit premature…but the article kind of implies that unless a weapon is involved then you never are at risk of great injury/death. Is that really true? If a person is obviously about to attempt to beat the daylights out of me am I supposed to go under the assumption that that is never going to end in great bodily injury or death to me? Am I supposed to tussle with him and try to defend myself with my fists first, risking a wrestling match with him getting my firearm?

Like I said, the “I thought” part is definitely stupid (you should be *sure* of their intent if all they have is their fists as weapons), and the situation that lead to this whole confrontation was obviously stupid and nullifies just about any justification, because the idiot shouldn’t have been escalating said situation. However, if someone accosts me in a dark alley, grabs me and raises a hand to punch me, I’m not going to NOT draw my weapon just because I don’t see a weapon in his hands, and I don’t think I’m legally in the wrong for saying that. A beating with fists can easily end in great injury or death. You must do everything in your power to avoid said fight, but if they are determined to beat you down you have the right to defend yourself unless you are positive they are too weak to win the fist fight (like if they are in a wheelchair your statement of immediate fear for your life may not be credible), because a lost fist fight is not always just a black eye, sometimes it’s death.

Abraham Collins

There are circumstances where a jury will rule in your favor in such a scenario but they aren’t numerous. If you intend to convince the panel that you had reasonable fear of danger you better have some sort of proof beyond your word alone. Testimony from an eye witness, injuries, audio or video evidence, SOMETHING, otherwise people could theoretically be getting away with murder left and right by pulling the “he was going to kill me” card every time.


Actually the burden of proof is still on the prosecution. There must be no reasonable doubt that it was not self defense if you have a coherent justified self defense story. Fortunately forensics and ballistics knowledge usually can give at least a slight idea of what was going on. If it disagrees with the story you tell then most juries are going to throw your self defense story out the window, and if it does not conflict then the prosecutor usually isn’t stupid enough to press charges at all. And, to put it simply, most people that end up convicted of such a crime, it is because there’s enough evidence that such a story wouldn’t work anyway (assuming it’s false). If there’s little enough evidence that they can’t even refute a self defense argument, then yah, usually the guy is gonna walk because they simply don’t have the evidence to win the case. They’d rather hope some new evidence pops up in 5 years that they can use rather than prosecute, get an innocent verdict and then NEVER be able to prosecute again because of double jeopardy.


So how does this work for men and women who are small-framed and may not be able to defend against an attacker who uses his fists? Are they just supposed to lay there and take it in the face?


I read in the paper almost daily about law enforcement shooting someone. Mostly running away from them but they turn and point a gun at them. This gives them the right to shoot and kill someone. When in fact this does happen, shouldn’t the law enforcement officers verify the facts with a lie detector test. If I were to shoot at someone with a story like that, I suppose they would want me to take one. I guess its pretty easy to put a gun in an expired persons hand. Maybe I watch to many movies too 🙂


Would I be able to pull a gun on four unarmed men brutally beating one man on the street? Do I wait until I believe the man on the floor is about to die or is it ok to pull the gun out right when the beating starts?

Colonel Dick

Use best judgement, i would first aim and point the gun, if that didn’t diffuse the situation i would line up and make sure no one else might be hit and then fire a non-lethal shot somewhere other than the chest or head. If they came after you after, i would lay in chest shots until they tried to retreat. Once they’re retreating and you kill someone, it becomes murder. It’s a tough limbo.


? If you see s person break into you car are you able to pull out yor fire in that situation