An Opinion: Personal Rules of Engagment

Discussion in 'Defensive Carry & Self Defense' started by Vantage, Feb 25, 2016.

  1. Vantage

    Pacific Standard Time
    Active Member

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    Greetings Ladies and Gentlemen,

    The following is my opinion on the topic. I'm sharing it in hopes that it will benefit others. Either because you agree and gain some perspective, or because you disagree and gain some perspective.

    Regardless, I'm not casting judgment on anyone no matter what your position is. In my life I find that I learn, and absorb more, by asking people questions and hearing their point of view.


    I'm turning 42 years old this year. I have my CHL, and I don't carry all the time.

    Regarding an active shooter situation; my personal rules of engagement are these.

    1.) If it's just me and my kids, then my first priority is to get my kids out safe.
    2.) If I'm with someone, then they get the kids out and I engage the shooter.
    3.) If I'm alone, I engage the shooter.

    These are my personal rules, whether I'm carrying a firearm or not.

    It's simply not feasible to carry all the time. And even if you are carrying at the time our own 4 Rules of Firearms Safety teach us that most popular active shooter scenarios it is highly probable that won't be allowed to fire anyway due to crowds and unsafe backgrounds.

    But our motto (as a populace) should be "Fight Back". Fight back with whatever tools you have at your disposal.

    As firearms enthusiasts, we know how much ground can be covered in 1.5 seconds. We also know how hard it is to hit a moving target. We know how adrenaline, and tunnel vision reduces fine motor skills and effects our ability to aim, focus, and shoot. We also know that people don't blow up when they're hit with a bullet like they show in the movies. We can use these to our advantage. Throw a stapler, or a book, or whatever is nearby. Even if does no damage, it's human instinct to flinch and look away from something flying at you. (Try it yourself: Have someone throw something soft and fluffy in your face and see if you can keep your eyes open through impact.) A flinch buys time, and allows you to close distance. It will also draw the shooters attention to you. Which will allow others to get away. Or it will allow the other sheepdog charging from the rear to gain ground while you distract. Even if you take a couple rounds, there is no guarantee that it's going to take you down. Tupac was shot 9 times and lived. That old dude in chicago was shot 68 times by the police and lived. That 16 year old girl in Clackamas took a .223 to the chest and lived. You're either going to close the distance and take the guy down with a tackle or you're going to focus the shooters attention on you long enough to help others get away.

    Don't get me wrong. I'm a strong supporter of Gun Rights. I just don't think it's feasible to carry all the time. And again... even if you ARE carrying, it might not be the right tool for the job. As a citizen carrying legally you DO NOT have qualified immunity like the police do. It doesn't matter what your intent is... if you shoot an innocent you will pay the price for it. It doesn't matter if you keep attorney's on retainer or not. Having a justified shoot might keep you from going to jail, but look at Zimmerman, or Officer Darren Wilson. Both legal shoots, both ruined for life.

    Everyone must gauge their own personal stance on the topic. Speed vs Safety. Obviously the safest fashion to store your guns would be completely dismantled, magazine empty and locked up in a safe at home... ammo stored at a neighbors house. The fastest would be to just carry your gun in your hand at all times. Screw the holster, that just slows things down. Neither of those are very reasonable in my opinion. So we each need to choose where we fall in between those two extremes.

    I offer this up simply as a discussion topic. And I certainly hope this doesn't lead to mockery, or name calling, or judgments. We're obviously (nationally) are in a fight for our rights as gun owners. There are people who are devoted Pro-Gun, devoted Anti-Gun and then there are a whole lot of people in the middle who are undecided. Calling people names and mocking people who don't agree with our point of view is not going to sway anyone to our side of the aisle.

    Thank you
    Espire, Riot, spookshack and 5 others like this.
  2. fxdc

    Da Valley

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    Maybe I'm dating myself but these are two Great reads.

    In gravest extreme and Stress fire. Also If you can train with the crew at Seattle Firearms Academy DO IT.

    The OP views are valid, train as you fight because you WILL FIGHT AS YOU HAVE TRAINED!

    Each person will make their personal Choice when and if the time comes...... I hope no one has to ever make their Choice, but if that time comes and you go Down range, NEVER GIVE UP!

    And Damm it always CARRY AND CARRY A RELOAD!

    Be safe
  3. etrain16

    Silver Supporter Silver Supporter Bronze Supporter 2017 Volunteer

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    My response is this - first, I carry all the time. The only time I don't carry is when it's legally not allowed. I've been doing this for years and have yet to run into any situation outside of those I stated where it's not 'feasible' to carry.

    Second, I carry for my personal protection and the protection of my family and friends. I don't carry for strangers. With that in mind, I may, considering the situation, find myself defending/protecting strangers. But that said, my first duty to myself and my family is to retreat. My gun is a last resort, reserved for those instances when getting away is not an option. Now, I will allow for the possibility that I see someone under attack that I just can't walk away from, and I'll make that call when the time comes, but it's not part of my regular planning.

    I also have no illusions that carrying a gun is any guarantee that I'll win and the bad guy will lose. I'm not under any illusion that my gun will absolutely stop the bad guy. It is a deterrent and a tool that, given the proper circumstances, will help save my life or the lives around me.

    As to collateral damage, that is also a judgment call everyone has to make. I've taken defensive handgun training and I'm doing so again in less than a month, under the care of well trained instructors. We discuss those types of scenarios and realize that it is our duty to the best of our abilities, to not put an innocent in danger unnecessarily.

    All that said, choosing to carry or not to carry is a very personal decision. Choosing to engage or not engage is a very personal choice. It's not right for everyone, but, I believe, everyone, with the exception of those expressly forbidden by law, should have and maintain the right to carry, should they choose.
  4. ZA_Survivalist

    AK's all day.

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    I carry to protect my life and the people around me.
    Is it my job? Nope, I can easily save my own skin and get out of dodge, could I live with mysef knowing I could have made the difference saving even one life? Nope.

    Id rather get accidentally shot by police or by a crazed shooter than to live the rest of my life as a coward.
    That being said, I dont go looking for fights. Ill never be that small guy who has to beat his chest for attention or have to talk tough 24/7 for people to take him seriously.. Nope, thats not why I carry.

    I carry as a last ditch effort to protect myself and others. I KNOW I'm a better shot than most leos, hell most recreational shooters and avid CCW'ers are.. Because, its a LIFESTYLE.

    Being a LIFESTYLE, we use discretion that the average sheep dont. We know our liability and the cost of even so much as drawing a firearm in a situation.. So the OP's point doesnt apply to this forum.. It would apply to sheep. Your "anything is a weapon" comment again is common sense but shouldnt be your last resort.

    People who actively carry most often do so out of preparedness NOT fear.
    Throwing what ever is around you is a natural instinct in a fight.. But honestly, why did you not just walk away in your scenario?.. That right there is why some carry.. Sometimes the fight comes to you and you cannot get away.. There lies the problem.. If push came to shove and you had to defend yourself, you would be unarmed and more importanlty unprepared.

    If it came to the point of me having to throw something at someone honestly by that time its already too late, because the mere action of throwing something at someone to get away means an altercation is already going to happen. Now you find yourself unarmed and unprepared. YOU made that choice to be unprepared and at the cost of your life and maybe others.

    The biggest thing carriers have to remember is to just walk away. Which 90% do.
    If that doesnt work I carry a variety of other things, sometimes mace, sometimes a pain compliance device (taser) or just a knife and a flashlight. Im also 6'6 and 350lbs.. So of course I wouldnt feel the need to draw and extinguish a life unless my own life or anothers depended on it.. But not everyone can take a little punch to the head.. In many cases a single punch put someone in a coma.. What then? You'll still become every bit as bankrupt as shooting someone, only YOU were the one hurt. This is an US or THEM situation.. If you arent willing to carry everyday then you have only yourself to blame should anything bad happen on your watch. Its that simple.

    Situational awareness and your daily preparedness do wonders to keep you out of trouble in the first place.
    Can carrying be cumbersom? Sure.. But heres the thing, maybe you've been using the wrong tool for the job, if your carry pistol is too large, you need a smaller one to then fit the clothing or activity.

    THERE IS NO DO-ALL TOOL! Some tools do one thing very well, others do many things very well.. But nothing under this sun does EVERYTHING well.
    Ura-Ki, Hal Jordan, STUKA and 3 others like this.
  5. kilimanjaro

    Skagit County
    Well-Known Member

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    I couldn't agree more with all of the above posts.
    In an active shooter situation, a mass killing, something like the Paris attack, or the crazed devil who just shot over 20 people today, of course we're going to take cover, see to our loved ones with us, escape if we can, but intervention is far preferable to doing nothing. I don't see that perceived fears of being mistaken by the police for a terrorist, or not being able to determine who is an undercover officer and who is a crazed gunman, are especially valid fears, at least not to the extent that we should fail to try and end a mass event.
    Ura-Ki and Hal Jordan like this.
  6. etrain16

    Silver Supporter Silver Supporter Bronze Supporter 2017 Volunteer

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    I would wrestle with that myself. Ultimately, my first priority is to go home to my family at the end of the day. But, I have, as I suspect many do, a built in desire to help those in need, especially those in pain, those being attacked, etc. I've stepped into the middle of 3 fights in my life, and each time it ended well - but I wasn't carrying at those times. The gun changes things a bit in that I'm less likely when I'm carrying to jump into such a situation.

    But I do get where you're coming from - I'd have a hard time living with myself if I could have done something and didn't. Thankfully we don't face those moral dilemmas on a regular basis.
    Ura-Ki and Hal Jordan like this.
  7. David Bowman

    David Bowman
    Beaverton OR
    Archer Defense Concepts

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    This is how the family plan I have goes:

    Upon detecting or observing that there is an active-shooter Jihadist or dirt-bag thug in our midst, praising of the Lord for this fine opportunity to test our skills shall be saved until such time as the family can be thankful together, as the praising would get in the way of the shooting that needs doing and is not conducive to communicating. Just giving a "Contact Front!" is a sufficient enough warning to be followed by the initiation of pistol fire.

    Then, if possible, without undue risk, family members should refrain from trying to be "the one" and allow those who have not had a chance before now to engage the bad guy first so that this time, they can be "the one." Greed, while good (according to Gordon Gecko) is not a quality found as a positive family trait in this case.

    Once we are decisively engaged, it is beneficial to seek face and head shots for the sake of ourselves and the sheepish bystanders who shall be running about attempting to get out of the line of fire. There are various and sundry reasons for this action; not the least of which is going to be (eventually) the existence of IEDs. It is imperative that family members understand that while any center of mass shots at such times would possibly stop the shooting, it would not stop the exploding; which is definitely a worse situation. Face and Head shooting is more likely to prevent the jihadist from rapidly self oxidizing and sending shrapnel and shock waves into the masses.

    The bad guys are counting on engaging targets on "gun free zones" which is why you should carry everywhere, even where they put up signs that tell you that you can't, or shouldn't.

    This is why everyone should train; because the effects of adrenalin and stress can be mitigated and used to your advantage if you have training to help you with your reactions. Moving targets can be hit and bystanders can be saved by practice and training.

    I carry everyday so that I can go home, because Jihadi John or Terry the Thug don't care.
    Ura-Ki, Hal Jordan, Decker and 3 others like this.
  8. PaulB47

    Well-Known Member

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    That's pretty much where I am. Logically, it makes no sense to fight if you can get the hell out. If those other people were carrying too, AS THEY SHOULD BE IF THEY VALUED THEIR LIVES AND THEIR LOVED ONES, they could deal with anyone attacking them. So, why should I bother, if they don't? At great risk to me? With the certainty of punishment, or at least great inconvenience, from the government thugs for doing so?

    On the other hand, I realize I don't always act logically. Sometimes it irritates me that bubblegums make society ugly, ruining it for everyone. So I may engage anyway. But it will depend on how I feel at the time, and whether I have family members with me.
    Ura-Ki likes this.
  9. bgdawgrr

    Active Member

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    Ok, putting myself out there. Thought about this long and hard. I agree that my first priority is to me and mine. I need to be there for my significant other, children and grandchildren before strangers.
    IF I could take down the shooter, I would. If I couldn't intervene with a high probability of success, I don't believe I'd have a hard time sleeping. I will not hunt to engage an active shooter.

    On two occasions, I was almost in this situation.
    1. I was getting out of the car in the parking at the Tacoma Mall to go to the food court with my 7yo daughter when Maldonado shot it up in 2005. People were running out when we were walking to the door. 5 min earlier, we would have been right in the middle of it. Knowing the layout, I believe I would have been behind one of the huge pots and taken him out if he walked past. If he wasn't near us, I would have bolted for the door with my girl.
    2. A couple years later at Seatac Mall (theme here?) a shootout started. By myself. Duck and exit. Not sure what I would have done if a shooter was near me. They were shooting at each other, not the public.
    Sometimes I feel like my rules of engagement would almost be an execution. End the fight fast, closer to point blank, the better
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  10. Vantage

    Pacific Standard Time
    Active Member

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    I appreciate your reply.

    In response to your question; the scenario I gave was a general one. All I stated was "An active shooter situation". Why not walk away? Sometimes people don't have a choice. Such as a work environment where people are not allowed to carry.

    The national message that has been put out is "Run. Hide. Fight."

    I disagree with that argument. I think the message we should be promoting is to fight back. Running is exactly that... running away and leaving others to die because no one is challenging the shooter.

    Even if it were not in a closed building... say it's at the mall, in the food court... and you ARE carrying.. you're still limited by the backdrop. Sure I could walk/run away, but if I came across a car crash with people trapped inside and the car on fire, I'd like to think most people would put themselves in danger to prevent other from death. I don't see how the mall/school/office building scenario is any different.
    STUKA likes this.
  11. Derbel McDillet

    Derbel McDillet
    Kitsap County, WA

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    My personal philosophy is this:

    I carry a gun to protect my family and myself.

    I don't feel compelled to come to the rescue of others. These fellow citizens have the same right to carry as I do and for whatever reason they chose to put their personal safety in the hands of police. I've invested considerable time, effort and money to equip and train myself and I didn't do it to be somebody elses security guard.

    As soon as my family and I are clear and safe I'll call 9-1-1 and let the police come to the rescue of those who chose to not take responsibility for their own personal safety.
    Ura-Ki, STUKA, ocarolan and 5 others like this.
  12. DuneHopper

    Break These Chains
    Th1S iS H0w wE R1s3 uP! Silver Supporter

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    I am used to having a firearm so for me these are my personal rules.

    1. I carry always everywhere at all times never more then a foot from one most days if not on me.
    2. I watch every exit and person I can when out even driving its a habit.
    3. Family safety comes first.
    4. If the firearm comes out its being used period so at that point I already made a choice. Very rare situation that it would be used otherwise.
    5. I am not there to rescue anyone the exception would be those that can not make choices ( children and the elderly ).
    6. I carry because I can and because I feel compelled to do so.

    I rarely do not carry and only then because the situation wont allow it.
    In six months only twice once was at my CHL renew obviously and was when I had a medical procedure. I even carried while performing my sons wedding.
    I am lucky because not only do I carry most family here does too.
    I don't want to be that guy that went, if only I carried today ..........
    Ura-Ki, Hal Jordan, kenboy and 3 others like this.
  13. CoastRange57

    Western Oregon
    Well-Known Member

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    All great points and Vantage, most of these guys and gals are stand up enough not to name call and flame on, and are able to disagree like gentlemen. Your points are great and any post that causes any of us to reflect on this is good. The one thing I see here is the everyday carry.

    I carry every day every minute. I shower and dress and strap it on. The wife and Shepard have the duty when I shower and both are prepared. I carry two extra mags, 2 3 inch knives, and a 16 collapsible baton. Every. Day. I took it off for a Dr appointment, but my wife was in the room with one on her.

    I have a handgun on my side table in the living room, one on my head board in the bed room, one in my laundry room. There is 100 rounds of extra ammo in each of my vehicles. If I go more than 30 miles from home, there will be a long gun in the vehicle with a couple hundred rounds of ammo. There are 13 concealed carriers, males and females in our family of 17. W all go out to dinner together about once or twice a year. Pretty safe bunch.

    No one, no one will be allowed to harm myself, my family or complete strangers in my presence if within my ability to stop if from happening. I had 3 sons in the military who did combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Marine Corps trained. I told them you do whatever you have to do to get back home to us. If you have to stack them up like cord wood, do it. They came home and have trained me and a couple others in our family on tactics and the head games. Making instant decisions after complete situational and threat analysis and assessment and then applying the right amount of immediate violent lethal force to stop any threats. How to move through command presence levels, how to establish dominance right away.

    We all are going home each day safe and will conduct our business and pleasure with out threats, intimidation or fear. We will harm no person in our normal affairs, but we will not tolerate others infringing up on that as well.

    The wedding thing is interesting. A my sons wedding a couple years ago the entire male side of his wedding party, myself included was carrying that day during the ceremony. As also mentioned, to us it is a life style and that is just the way you live.
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  14. Stomper

    SHUT YOUR FACE!! Gold Supporter

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    It's so weird... every time I walk into a place/area, everyone seems to straighten up and behave. Seriously. o_O

    And like others here, if I'm not going through metal detectors before going into an area you're safe in a$$-u-me-ing that I'm armed... effectively.
  15. nammac

    I-5 Corridor - West of Portland
    Constitutionalist Platinum Supporter Silver Supporter

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    Good discussion here. I'm in agreement with most of what's already been said, good food for further thought...

    Personally, I carry all the time, a couple of reloads, 3.5" tactical knife, mace/teargas/pepper spray combo. The only deterrent is metal detectors, and I avoid those situations... If I can...

    My personal rules of engagement is simply to avoid engagement, if at all possible. I have settled in my mind that my families safety and well being superceed any desire to protect strangers or the public at large.

    If I'm given no choice but to engage, the intent is to deploy the least lethal response possible, based upon the situation presented. However, if I'm ever faced with a leathal encounter, I'm mentally prepared to drop the hammer and terminate the threat.

    At the end of the day, I intend to be home with my family where I belong.
    Ura-Ki, Lilhigbee, 2A2Dend and 2 others like this.
  16. Nick Burkhardt

    Nick Burkhardt
    NE Oregon
    Well-Known Member

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  17. edison bulb

    edison bulb
    Portland, OR
    Well-Known Member

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    Leaving the house without a hand cannon is equivalent to leaving the house without shoes. It's just not realistic or smart to do that. The need for a firearm to protect one's own life can happen anywhere at anytime. The moment of life or death will spring upon you without warning -- why the heck would one not be prepared for that?

    My rules of engagement are:

    (1) Avoid physical conflict. Other peoples' problems are not my problems. I've seen some physical altercations amongst strangers and never intervened beyond contacting the police.
    (2) When the shooting starts and the IEDs go off, my plan is to ESCAPE ESCAPE ESCAPE.
    (3) When escaping isn't possible...well, that is what the pistol and an extra reload is for.
    (4) I'm not SWAT, special, or a hero. I carry a gun for the protection of myself and my loved ones only.
    Ura-Ki, history, RicInOR and 6 others like this.
  18. 2A2Dend

    Non 2A State
    Gold Supporter Gold Supporter

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    I carry for me, mine, and my family. It's my a$$ets in the end. If and when that time comes.
    Given the situation, that can change.
    Whatever evil drives those to harm, an advocate is always willing, given reason.
  19. AndyinEverson

    Everson, Wa.
    Moderator Staff Member Bronze Supporter

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    I teach at a school , if I want to keep my job I can not carry.
    That being said , I have ways and means in my classroom to make life difficult for a shooter.
    These ways and means , may or may not follow our school plan but I will do everything I can and pull any dirty trick to get my kids home safely.

    The best things one can always do is have situational awareness.
    Always be aware of who and what are around you.
    Never be "married" so to speak , to a fixed set of plans or rules.
    I'm not saying not to prepare or plan , but be willing to adapt or drop your plan for a better one that fits the fix you are in.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2016
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  20. 2A2Dend

    Non 2A State
    Gold Supporter Gold Supporter

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    You, Andy, have my respect as a parent.
    My kids are long out of school, however, your views concerning the students and their safety, are admirable. And nice to hear.

    Cheers :)
    Ura-Ki likes this.

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