Sunday, March 26, 2023

Store Owner Shoots Armed Robbers -- A Short Range Match Scenario

In the video linked below a store owner reacts to three thugs attempting a robbery. The thugs enter the store and immediately threaten the owner and customers with firearms. The thugs are committing aggravated robbery and threatening the use of unlawful deadly force—both acts are serious felonies. (see video)

At one point the store owner has retreated and a thug is on the counter threatening him with a pistol. The store owner cooperates until he has the opportunity to retrieve his pistol. We next see the store owner after he has returned to the front and grabbed a pistol from under the counter. He opens fire on the three thugs and at least one returns fire as they scramble to escape out the front door. 

The thugs then exit the store and the owner pursues. Pursuing the thugs is a bad decision as this creates a second event distinct from the earlier aggravated robbery. The owner is now using deadly force against the thugs who arguably no longer pose the threat of unlawful deadly force. As of this writing, there is no indication that the store owner has been charged. 

The store owner’s pursuit of the thugs however, does provide a prosecutor the opportunity to charge the store owner with aggravated assault. If he had not pursued the robbers into the street, the prosecution would have faced an almost impossible burden in attempting to disprove any claim of self-defense or defense of other innocents (there were at least three customers in the store). This would have made the store owner extremely hard to convict and prosecutors do not like taking cases to trial that are hard to convict. Do not chase escaping thugs. 

We used this incident as a basis for a Short Range Match stage. The Short Range Match safely replicates real-life incidents on the range which then allows competitors to solve the problem. All threat targets have a visible weapon or full mask distinguishing them from the non-threats who have no visible weapon and their face is not covered. In this particular stage, we had the competitors fire the stage three times (strings of fire) beginning from three different start positions: hand on pistol, hands at sides, and hand in surrender with wrists above shoulder. 

Eric Shooting the Short Range Stage
Eric Shooting the Short Range Stage

The stage is set with two non-threats in front of the threat targets and one threat standing on the counter as you will see in the video. My string for the stage shown in the video is with me using a P365 (I am an IDPA Master with the Back Up Gun) and starting with my hand on the pistol. My draw time measured from the instant I initially moved at the start signal until I fired the first shot was 0.63 seconds. This measurement does not include my reaction to the buzzer. As a point of interest, the buzzer’s “beep” lasts 0.30 seconds and I reacted to the onset of the beep in 0.20 seconds. My draw from concealment starting from hands at sides was 1.77 seconds and my draw from surrender was 1.67 seconds. 

Another IDPA Master shooter using a Carry Optic measured in the same manner resulted in a 1.10 second draw with hand on pistol, from hands at sides was 1.30 seconds, and his draw from surrender was 1.60 seconds. 

I’ve collected data on literally thousands of runs comparing these starting positions and (depending upon the shooter’s skill) starting with the hand on the pistol saves 0.50 – 1.75 seconds or more over starting with your hand on the pistol versus starting with the hands in another position. Clearly, if you see a potentially unlawful deadly force incident developing, placing your hand on your pistol can save significant time on your draw.

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Friday, March 24, 2023

Massad Ayoob Group MAG 40 After Class Review

We completed the Massad Ayoob Group MAG 20 live fire and MAG 20 Classroom in March 2023. It was a great class with learning all around.

I instructed the live fire portion and Massad Ayoob taught the classroom portion. Together, these courses constitute the MAG 40 and provide the student with the tools to effectively use their pistol to defend themselves; to interact with suspects, witnesses, and responding police officers; to develop a solid mindset, recognize threats, and manage the social, psychological, and legal aftermath after having been forced to use deadly force in defense of themselves or other innocents.

We had ten students for the live fire portion and the class average for the qualification was an impressive 293 points out of a possible 300.

Students in the MAG 20 live fire shoot the Standard Speed Qualification course of fire as follows: 

From the four yard line: 

-- Starting with the pistol aimed at the bottom of the target: Six rounds with your support hand in 8 seconds 

-- Starting with the pistol holstered, hand on pistol: Six rounds with your primary hand in 8 seconds 

From the seven yard line:

-- Starting with the pistol holstered, hands at sides, using your preferred stance: Six rounds, reload, six rounds in 25 seconds

From the ten yard line: 

-- Starting with the pistol aimed at the bottom of the target: Six rounds using the cover crouch, reload, six rounds from high kneeling, reload, six rounds from low kneeling in 75 seconds. 

From the fifteen yard line: 

-- Starting with the pistol holstered, hands at sides: Six rounds using the Weaver Stance, reload, six rounds using the Chapman Modified Stance, reload, six rounds using the Isosceles Stance in 90 seconds.

The MAG tradition is that if a student or staff member ties or beats Massad’s qualification score Mas signs a one dollar or five dollar bill indicating that you have beaten him at his own game. I have eight signed five dollar bills and hope to accumulate enough of them to buy a good bottle of bourbon.

I shot my P365 for the qualification and used factory equivalent reloads. I shot a 300 and  managed a 3-1/4 inch group which was 1/8" larger than my record group of 3-1/8 inches.  Its always that one shot that causes issues and in this case that one shot added 1-1/8 inches to my group size. I would have been very happy with a 2-1/8" group.  Sigh.

This is my 10th year as a Massad Ayoob Group Staff Instructor. The MAG 20 Live Fire program continues to provide outstanding instruction in the use of the handgun under stress and the MAG 20 classroom provides the absolute best instruction on the armed citizen’s rules of engagement that you can find anywhere in the United States.

If you enjoy reading these please subscribe. The link is on the upper right side of the page. All that will happen is that you will receive an e-mail when I post an article. Your information will never be distributed.