A Civilian’s CCW Shooting Recap


Lessons Learned

  • Criminal Assaults often happen in parking lots
    • Read SouthNarc’s PDFs for more material on this.
  • Gun fights often happen at VERY close ranges.
  • Practice Shooting One Handed!
  • Be able to hide your gun in places you would not expect to.
  • Little details in equipment selection do matter
    • A quality holster allows you to remove the gun slowly and silently.
    • Sometimes a Stainless steel finish on a gun is far too visible
    • Grip Safeties can do more harm than good
      • If you get shot in the hand, then holding down the grip safety is a lot more difficult.
      • You may not always have a perfect grip on the gun in an emergency
    • External safety switches do more harm than good.
      • This is a fine motor skill that you have to drill the heck out of to get good with it.
    • 1911s suck for defensive use in light of the modern striker fired pistols that are available today.

From http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_1_5/988015_My_CCW_Shooting_AAR__Now_with_Moar_Graphic_Pics_on_pg_29_and_30.html

and http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_1_5/984615_.html

Many of you have asked me some great questions concerning the incident I was in last October (2009) and expressed interest in the whole story. Well, after talking to the prosecuting attorney, I was told that for interviews and such, just stick to the facts, so here goes…This is a long read so bear with me please.

Back story: Several friends and I meet on Tuesday nights at the office of a few lawyers here in town for the purpose of social interaction, maybe have a couple drinks, a good cigar and good conversation. I had missed the last couple meetings leading up to the one on Oct. 13 but promised the guy who organized the group that I would be showing up for this one. Well, I forgot and was watching TV while the wife was helping one of my sons with a science project on electricity and circuits. They couldn’t get the thing to work so I got volunteered to go to Wal-Mart to get a new light bulb and battery.

On the way to Wal-Mart, I realized/remembered that I had removed my gun/holster earlier that day to go to the gym at lunch time and laid it on my desk. I debated with myself for a minute about whether or not to spend the extra 10 minutes to run down to the office to arm myself against the masses there at 9:30 at night. Common sense prevailed and I made the extra stop and was on my way. (Crucial turning point #1 of the night)

I got to Wally World and had just collected my items when the cell phone rang. For whatever reason, the first thing that popped in my head was “Oh shit, this is Tues night and I bet it’s my buddy calling me to see where I’m at. It turned out that it was my wife who told me that they had gotten the current bulb and battery to work and that I didn’t need to bring new ones home. I told her about having forgotten my promise to join up with the Tues night guys and checked with her to make sure it was ok if I just headed on over there. She was fine with it and so I put my stuff back and headed over to the buddy’s office.

When I got to the lawyer’s office, there were five of my friends outside having a drink, enjoying their cigars and talking in the carport area on the left side of the building. I said hi to them and asked where Brian was. They said he was inside in his office, so I went in and we bull shitted for the next half hour or so. We decided that we should probably go back out and join the rest of the guys and headed out the door.

We were out there for maybe a minute when a guy walked up to our group after appearing from around the corner of the building (not uncommon to have the neighbors come by and chat as there are also houses and apartments in this area) wearing a hooded sweatshirt with the hood up and drawn tight and a scarf or balaclava covering everything but his eyes. Not too uncommon, as it was rather cold and rainy that night. What was uncommon was that he was holding a stainless steel revolver at his side.

At first I thought it was a joke that one of the guys had set up. I asked “Can we help you?” I can’t remember exactly what he said as he raised the revolver up and pointed it at the group of us, except for him telling us to drop whatever we had in our hands and something along the lines of “this is a robbery.” He told us that we were going inside and that if any of us made a move, he would shoot us. I was the last person to walk up the two steps of the side door into the conference room and evidently wasn’t moving fast enough for him. He put the muzzle in my back and was pushing me forward telling me to hurry up. In my infinite wisdom, I turned my head toward him and told him to quit shoving me, that I couldn’t go any faster than the guy in front of me. In my head, almost like a mantra, there was an alarm going off saying “This is why you carry, this is why you carry this is why you carry.”

Once we were inside, he told us to get on the floor face down, on the other side of the conference table. When he made us lay down, I picked the point farthest away from him, hoping to buy some time before he got to me. Once he had us down, he instructed us to take out our wallets, watches, jewelry, etc. He was distracted for just a couple seconds when he was getting one of our guys up to carry the plastic bag.

Under the guise of getting my wallet out, I very carefully, while watching him the whole time, removed the 1911 from the IWB holster and hid it under my chest. He was keeping a close watch on us almost the entire time and always had the revolver either on someone or pointed directly at someone. I was watching for it and I really did not have an earlier opportunity for a shot without risking my friends’ lives further or creating a hostage situation, which I would have been ill equipped to handle.

For whatever reason, maybe because I mouthed off to him earlier, I don’t know, but he only collected from one or two people before walking back to where I was. He saw that I did not have a wallet or anything waiting for him and while standing over me, pulled my leather jacket and shirt up to take my wallet from my back pocket. That is when he found my Milt Sparks IWB holster, now devoid of a firearm. He said something to the effect of “Well well well, what do we have here? Where’s the gun?” I told him I didn’t have it on me. He repeated the question and said that I wouldn’t have a holster if there was no gun. I swore that I didn’t have it on me and that I’d left it in my vehicle since I might have a drink or two while I was there. He didn’t believe me and told me to get up. He decided to assist me by grabbing onto my jacket with his left hand and pull me up. As I pushed myself up as well, I slid my hands under my chest to grab my pistol.

When he pulled me up, he was at my 5 O’clock position. I was still trying to keep him from seeing my gun until I was able to turn into him, so when I came up, I basically had my right hand (holding the pistol) tight to my stomach/chest with the muzzle pointed in the direction of my left shoulder. I don’t know why I did that, except to conceal it and maybe so he couldn’t take it away from me. I started turning to my right, into him, flipping the safety at some point along the way.

He either saw the gun or heard the safety click as I had turned into him enough for him to be at my 3 O’clock and shoved his revolver inside my open jacket against my stomach and fired the first round. Luckily, his angle was off and it only grazed my stomach. Unluckily, I had my left hand tucked against my left side and the round passed through my palm and out the base of my thumb at my wrist.

I continued turning toward him while lowering my pistol to return fire, which evidently put the right hand directly in the line of fire as he squeezed off another round. I can only assume that my hand blocked the shot from hitting my stomach or chest as we were practically face to face at that point. It took me just a second to recover and he started retreating toward the door, backing away from me and shooting. I got two shots off as he was backing away, both missing him. I had the little problem with the next round not going off, thinking I had a jam, I ducked behind the table to clear the gun and yelled for everyone to stay down. I looked down and saw how bad my hands were as I cleared the round out, and stood back up to continue fire. (Looking back on it, I think I realized that I wasn’t getting a good grip due to the screwed up hand and neglected to engage the grip safety) He had his back to the door by now and we exchanged a couple more shots (which is when I scored my hit and near miss) until his revolver hit on spent rounds. I will NEVER forget that. There were three clicks. He realized he was out of ammo and was out the door before I could get another shot off. Even in the heat of the moment, I did not attempt to shoot him in the back or pursue him.

I don’t know how I retained the gun after being hit in the strong hand, just as I don’t know how I made my hands work to clear the round. I just did. It was a combination of adrenaline, survival instinct and the grace of God. I was completely on automatic. The threat was still there and I couldn’t stop until it was gone. One of the other guys finally jumped up after the BG went out the door and locked it so he couldn’t reload and come back in. I remember seeing him lock the door and finally sat down on the floor, laid my gun down and started looking at the blood pouring out of my hands. A few of the other guys came over to help me and apply pressure to the wounds while another called 911. I made them repeat to me a few times that everyone else was ok and that no one else had been hit. One of the guys that had been there, told me that it was almost scary how lucid and calm that I stayed the entire time while we waited for the ambulance to arrive. It was also discovered at this time that I’d been shot right above my left pectoral muscle. I don’t even recall when that happened.

I’m probably repeating myself from the other posts I’ve made, in saying this, but it was very surreal and real all rolled into one at the same time. In reality, the whole exchange from the first shot probably didn’t last more than 30-40 seconds. I’m only saying that long because of the time I took clearing the chamber. It may have still been less than that. From start to finish, meaning when the guy showed up outside to the time when he left took almost exactly 7 minutes.

There you have it. If you’ve got questions, I’ll do my best to answer them. I didn’t post this to be a look at me or I’m a bad ass or anything else. I just thought that if anyone could benefit in even the smallest way from my incident and possibly help, then I would like to turn a shitty encounter into a positive thing.

God Bless you all and thank you so much for the support that you’ve shown me and my family since this first happened. I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to call my extended family and friends.

Justin

ETA Link to original thread with pics, etc. http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=1&f=5&t=984615

Links to pics for those without archive abilities per request.

Injury Sustained during the gun fight

Hand injury from the gunfight

Wrist injury from the gun fight.

Right Hand Entry Wound

7-21-10 Edit. I guess I should put updates here, as well when I bump this so people don’t have to go looking for them.

Council status hearing occurred on 7-6-10 and the trial has been set for 9-13-10.
Also found out from one of the other people there that they heard me flip safety as I was drawing/hiding the gun under me.

8/19/10 Update. Received subpoena for court on 9/13/2010.

9/9/10 Update. Trial postponed/continued AGAIN until 12/13/10.

11-27-10 Update. Another postponement for the trial. Now 1-10-11. Sigh….

1-11-11 Update – Criminal Trial over today.

1st Degree Assault – GUILTY

1st Degree Robbery – GUILTY

1st Degree Armed Criminal Action – GUILTY

Unlawful Possession of a Firearm (Felon in Possession) – GUILTY

It took the jury less than an hour of deliberation (and that included their time to eat lunch) to bring back a Guilty verdict on all four counts. Huge weight lifted off my shoulders.

The defense has 25 days to appeal the trial on technicalities and at that time (assuming the request is denied) a sentencing hearing will be set. Looks like approximately 45 days from now.

4-18-11 Update. Sentencing hearing set for morning of May 4.

5-4-11 Update
First count- Life (30) years
Second count – 25 years
Third count – 10 years
Fourth count – 10 years

75 years total and here’s the thing, the sentences are to run CONSECUTIVELY.

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Firearms Instructor in the DC Metro Area

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Posted in Awareness, Concealed Carry, True Crime
6 comments on “A Civilian’s CCW Shooting Recap
  1. sirdanmur says:

    Way to keep calm and do what needs to be done. I hope your battle wounds are healing well.

    I love the 1911’s, and really want to carry one… but my goodness, looks like I need to consider something else. What do you plan to carry now?

    Like

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