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Thread: Civilian Self Defense vs Police and Military

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Civilian Self Defense vs Police and Military

    Thought I'd bring this up here.

    Does it bother anyone else that when it comes to CCW training and opinions that most of it is geared more toward police work? Would it be more difficult to plead self defense if you employed your firearm from 20 yards, or 10 feet away? Does anyone know the average distance of self defense shootings? What's you thoughts on this?

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master
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    EVERY use of deadly force must be justified and the criteria is the same - Was there a reasonable belief that there was a legitimate and imminent threat of death or serious harm at the time the force was used.

    That criteria doesn't change based on the status of the person using the force.

    A citizen may (not always) have a duty to retreat in some cases where a police officer may be required to engage, but other than that, the decision to use force doesn't change.

  3. #3
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    Some states say you must turn tail and run first before you can defend yourself and others have stand your ground laws. At any rate be prepared to loose everything in the event you have to defend yourself. I believe also that a lot of programs are geared toward Police and Military instead of the common Joe. Most instances happen very close probably 15 feet or less.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master RU shooter's Avatar
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    As long as you can articulate your justification for use of force in court the range don't matter .A person an be in danger at 2 feet or 20 yards it's all based on how the event happened . Just remember if it goes to trial you and your attorney will have to convince a judge/jury of your reasoning
    If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck!

  5. #5
    Boolit Master


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    I saw the average engagement distance one time and it was close...a few yards. Think of a home invasion. Unless you live in a mansion, the longest shot might be 5-10 yards. One reason I stopped carry a Kimber .45. Target trigger is not only silly but foolish, as the chance for a AD increases.

    Cannot comment much on training wrt defense vs police work. The best course I took was at FrontSight and it was an eye opener...at least for me. We did a lot (maybe all?) of drawing from concealed. I doubt police need to do much of that.
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  6. #6
    Boolit Master Thumbcocker's Avatar
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    IIRC an old FBI study found that shootouts generally occurred around 7 yards.
    You'll go far providin' you ain't burnt alive or scalped."

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  7. #7
    Boolit Master


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    I think part of that is bleeding over from the instructors' backgrounds. Many instructors will revert back to their base in LE/Military, because most people haven't had many real defensive encounters as a civilian.

    Just my 2 cents as an LE trainer.
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  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master
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    There are multiple questions posed in the OP:

    1. Does it bother anyone else that when it comes to CCW training and opinions that most of it is geared more toward police work?

    2. Would it be more difficult to plead self defense if you employed your firearm from 20 yards, or 10 feet away?

    3. Does anyone know the average distance of self defense shootings?

    4. What's you thoughts on this?

    Let's break this down.
    1. Does it bother anyone else that when it comes to CCW training and opinions that most of it is geared more toward police work? - No. First, I'm not sure "most" CCW training is geared toward police work. Second, As I stated earlier the criteria for the justified use of deadly force doesn't change based on the status of the person applying the force.

    2. Would it be more difficult to plead self defense if you employed your firearm from 20 yards, or 10 feet away? - Whether or not a claim of self-defense will be a successful defense to a criminal charge will depend on the individual facts of that one particular situation.

    3. Does anyone know the average distance of self defense shootings? - There are several well used statistics on this but the general answer is most shootings take place at less than 7 yards and more than half of those are at 3 yards or less.

    4. What's you thoughts on this? - My thoughts are that each use of deadly force will be evaluated on the facts particular to that case.
    Last edited by Petrol & Powder; 02-06-2020 at 10:30 AM.

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master popper's Avatar
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    Interesting one. Knife attack on a LEO.
    https://www.full30.com/embed/MDIxMjI...j9ZtGznwjp4CHE
    Whatever!

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    Wow! That went much, much farther than it would have gone in my days as a LEO. Thanks, popper, for posting this.

    Here we have the police officers retreating, until no option remains except lethal force. I didn't ascertain which jurisdiction this happened in, but I believe that they went far beyond what was required for the shooting to be justified. The chances of the perp's mama having a successful lawsuit are extremely slim. I guess this is why they went to body cameras.

    Knife attacks require the aggressor to get within arm's reach of his intended victim, but they can cover the intervening space very quickly, so a non-lethal 50 ft. can become a lethal 4 ft. in seconds. Somewhere in between lethal force is justified, and 7 yards distance is waiting too long, as the remaining 3 or 4 yards will be covered in a time span in which it is difficult for the normal person to react. I think 15 yards is my personal limit for how closely I will allow someone who is threatening me with a weapon to approach. But, incidents can occur within the 15 yard zone, and go from a perceived threat level of zero to critical in a couple of seconds.

    Getting back to the OP's original questions, yes, most shootings occur within 7 yards or even closer. I suppose that is why so many folks practice at the 7 yard line. Personally, I've always thought that to be a mistake, as a threat can occur from farther away. For example, a recent shooting where (for no apparent reason) a lunatic started shooting at fellow in a gas station pumping gas from across the parking lot. A gun extends the zone of potential lethality or harm to a distance much farther than 7 yards. I've always practiced at 15 yards to 25 yards. The average attacker is less likely to be trained to hit beyond 25 yards or even at 25 yards, but if he's shooting at me I'm going to be shooting at him. Also, I figure that if I'm proficient at 15 yards, then 7 yards is no problem.

    About the video again-- one needs to know how many times the attacker was struck by the officer's bullets. They didn't seem to have the desired effect, and there was a lot of shooting. I wonder what caliber they were using. The pistols seemed to be Glocks. I'm not too sure how to address the OP's question about the comparison/influence of military shooting training to police shooting training. in the military one is much more likely to be armed with a shoulder weapon, and range is of far less importance as the enemy is wearing a different uniform and is fair game as far as he can be observed. So are you! I do recall one bit of military training that carried over to my philosophy of police shooting, which is to continue firing until you see the attacker fall down at which point the immediate threat is eliminated. In this instance we saw the attacker come back for seconds. Perhaps he was on drugs or completely insane, and sometimes people operating under these circumstances feel no pain. A police tactic that has gone the other way to military training is the "double tap", the theory being that two shots are likely to be more incapacitating than one. It would seem that a double tap from a .45 ACP is more effective than a double tap from a 9mm, but here there were many more shots than two, and we're left with the unanswered questions about how many actual hits and what caliber.

    Anyway, things have sure changed, and I'm glad my LEO days are 30+ years behind me. Time was, the officer would not have retreated, and the attacker would have been perforated with some .357 Mag. JHPs somewhere beyond 7 yards.

    For what it's worth.

    DG
    Last edited by Der Gebirgsjager; 02-06-2020 at 02:10 PM.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by popper View Post
    Interesting one. Knife attack on a LEO.
    https://www.full30.com/embed/MDIxMjI...j9ZtGznwjp4CHE
    Wow.

    I wonder if retreating was a good plan. It might have emboldened the attacker. Walking backwards has another downside...easier to trip and fall...then you are in trouble. One thing is shows is how quickly the gap is closed. I am too old and fat to run. Not sure if have the guts to wait until the guy is 7 yards away, as even if you hit him, there is little chance you will stop him in time.

    What was with the other cop that appeared to need to draw and was over powered? Have limited bandwidth so did not want to run the video again.
    Don Verna

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  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by popper View Post
    Interesting one. Knife attack on a LEO.
    https://www.full30.com/embed/MDIxMjI...j9ZtGznwjp4CHE
    I think With all the accusations of officers being too quick to shoot this is what you are getting. Not good for officer safety.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master RU shooter's Avatar
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    In that video the officers did many things contrary to what I was taught in the academy on how to deal perps with armed with weapons other than firearms . Deployment of a longgun by at least one of the officers would have been a real good idea
    If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck!

  14. #14
    Boolit Master


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    Interesting question, and I'll muddy the waters a bit more. Self Defense will have to be proven and an arrest may be forthcoming if it is not very apparent it is an SD case right away. And even then, other variables may play into it. Take this one playing out here in TN.

    I have to explain the timeline a bit as it can be confusing.

    This guy shoots a car thief, gets arrested, bonded out, then rearrested for reasons in the second link. Both are bad guys in the end, but the shooter may have a case of self defense if the driver tried to hit him, the driver has a case of self defense if the shooter drew his weapon before he tried to leave. It will be interesting how this one plays out, the shooter may even have to take a plea due to the second case.

    https://fox17.com/news/local/911-cal...ar-shoots-them

    https://fox17.com/news/local/police-...d-in-drug-bust
    "Freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it."
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  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by dverna View Post
    Wow.

    What was with the other cop that appeared to need to draw and was over powered? Have limited bandwidth so did not want to run the video again.
    Officer Harrison calls out "less lethal" and Officer Bidinger attempts to switch from his service weapon to his taser. That is when Harrison is attacked.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master


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    The class I took in Michigan seemed to be geared toward keeping me out of trouble. Lots of look around and be aware of what is going on around you. Michigan is a stand your ground state. Only shoot to stop the attack, which includes if the attacker turns tale to run, the threat is ended. So don't shoot them in the back. And buy the insurance which will get you baled out quick and buy you an interested lawyer. That is mostly what I got from it. It sounded pretty civilian oriented to me.
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  17. #17
    Boolit Grand Master popper's Avatar
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    I posted this to show how bad a situation can get real bad, real fast. I assume Georgia from the street stated. Look how many rnds fired for the original stop (I counted 7 shots), then the final (from 2nd LE -5 if I counted correctly) after the 1st officer was attacked. IMHO the first LE was re-holstering his gun when the knife attack started (on the ground fight he is doing something with the gun and it is loose in the end). If I were a shooting defense lawyer I'd collect a bunch of these to show the jury!! Imagine yourself, with IWB holster, decide to draw, thinking all the time. I've posted before, most of us (IMHO) won't survive an aggressive attack. Thinking more (for us) like RUN is the best attitude. Caliber really doesn't make much difference but yes, I suspect 9mm. I also guess this guy was on something nasty.
    Last edited by popper; 02-06-2020 at 03:52 PM.
    Whatever!

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Here's the video that got me thinking on this subject. https://youtu.be/Cv6PxB2TqLM

    Perhaps I'm generalizing about my training and doing some local IDPA competition. The IDPA shoots certainly are very much geared in an offensive training mode. If you followed the training your teaching yourself, you'll likely be defending yourself as the aggressor in a shooting. I have mentioned to some of my fellow shooters, that run high capacity 9s and blast away as fast as their finger can move, you do realize that your responsible for where every one of those stray slugs ends up, don't you? I'm a little concerned that civilian shooters will fall back to their training (M-P), instead of practicing situational awareness, a smooth fast draw from concealed, and good first shot placement. More likely most civilians probably never practice anything other than stand in front of a target, pistol in hand, and burst a few caps every year or two.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master




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    The argument over distance is silly. There are people that argue anything further than 7 yards away will get you thrown in prison. Really? Is the man in the Texas church shooting in prison? Should he have ran away when the shooting started? Because that's what too many people on gun forums are saying when they make silly statements about set rules of distance.
    "Luck don't live out here. Wolves don't kill the unlucky deer; they kill the weak ones..." Jeremy Renner in Wind River

  20. #20
    Boolit Grand Master
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    I don't think anyone on this thread has said that a shooting over any specified distance will "get you thrown in prison".

    A question was posed concerning distance and whether or not distance would factor into a successful application of a self-defense claim.

    The OP asked a series of questions (4 questions) and received opinions. Asking the question about distance as it relates to a self-defense claim wasn't a statement about distance and self-defense.

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