Monday, June 09, 2014

OH:Gunfight Video has Valuable Lessons

 Link to video:

On 21 May in Youngstown, Ohio, a couple of teenage criminals attempted to rob  a Sami Quick Stop a little after midnight.  The armed confrontation that ensued resulted in one robber wounded, both captured, and minimum damage to the store.  One of the suspects is reported to have dropped a rifle as he fled.  

There are several lessons to be learned from the video.   As is common, numerous things could have been done better by all three participants.

The first lesson is that you do not have to be a perfect gunfighter to be effective.  You simply have to be more effective than the opposition.   Most criminals are not well trained in either shooting or tactics.  They tend to believe that everything will go according to plan.   When the victim(s) refuse to cooperate, they often are left without a contingency plan, and are unable to react until they go through a decision process.   If the victim acts during this period, the criminal has to repeat the process.    In the military, this is called getting inside the opponents OODA (Observe, Orient,Decide,Act) loop.

A simple way to look at this is: Action beats Reaction.  It takes time to react.  The clerk's action beat the robbers reaction.

Only one suspect is seen in the video.  It is clear that the second suspect did not aid his fellow criminal in any meaningful way.

It is hard to argue with success, and the defender in this situation was clearly successful.  For purposes of discussion, I will point out a few things that he might have done differently. 

First, cover and fake compliance to gain advantage.   In the video, the defender in the checked shirt, a clerk at the store, never complies with the robber's commands.  He stands his ground, draws his semi-auto pistol in a fairly slow draw, racks the slide and fires his shot.   The process takes about four seconds, from about 2 1/2 seconds on the video to 6 1/2 seconds on the video.   The robber is repeatedly shouting "Get in the back, get in the back".

The clerk could have faked compliance by backing up around the shelves to his right, thus putting cover and concealment between him and the robber.  Once around the corner, he could have drawn unseen, racked the slide, perhaps moved forward to flank the robber, and engaged him from behind cover.    It would have taken about the same time.

By moving and faking compliance he might have reduced the chances of being shot, because the robber would not have seen the draw, and would not be alarmed when he seemed to comply.

From the viewpoint of the robber, he had plenty of time to shoot the clerk while the clerk was drawing his pistol and racking the slide.   As the aggressor in the incident, he had significant incentives to refrain from shooting, all of which worked to the advantage of the defender.

Most robbers do not want to shoot someone.  It is a much more serious crime that brings more attention from the authorities.   Most robbers do not include shooting someone in their contingency plans.   They simply believe that everything will happen as they envision it. 

We do not know if the robber could have shot the clerk if he decided to do so.  Many armed robberies are committed with unloaded guns, guns that do not work, fake guns, toy guns, or air guns.

The robber did not appear to watch the clerks hands, and he never ordered the clerk to show his hands. 

The video illustrates one of the problems with carrying in condition 3, no loaded round in the chamber.   If the clerk had made use of fake compliance and cover, the sound of racking the slide could well have alerted the robber to the fact that he was armed, even if he did not see the clerk draw.   Easing the slide forward quietly is not an option in this situation; that action often results in a failure to feed, is very difficult to do under intense pressure, and takes an unacceptable amount of time in this situation.  

It appears that the clerk used proper technique to rack and release the slide.  Under stress, people tend to what they are trained to do.   After releasing the slide, he let his left hand fall to his side and shot one handed.  Most instructors believe that two handed shooting is a bit more effective, but it appears that the clerk was not trained to shoot with both hands.

The video also illustrates how criminals avoid carrying guns openly, and find ways to conceal even full sized rifles or shotguns.   In this case it appears that a book bag and the shooters clothing were used to conceal the long gun until it was brought out for use inside of the store.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch

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