Convience Store Robbery - Hypothetical Sceanario

If a man has a gun pointed at someone, I believe everyone is in danger. I believe most of these people take money and go, but that’s not always the case. If they are aiming a weapon (don’t care about finger on slide) they are a potential threat.

I would not ask him to stop in this situation. I would either lay low and wait, or I would draw and shoot (depending on if I have a clear shot). In this situation, if I’m drawing, I’m shooting. I’m not going to try to calm or command a man with a drawn gun on someone. If I pulled my gun and talked to the man and that resulted in him killing the cashier, I would feel extremely guilty.

I do believe we need to decide if we should be involved. If my family is with me, I’m more likely to shoot. If I’m by myself really off guard and out of the way I may wait and see what happens. I’m not particularly eager to use my gun, but this would certainly be a scenario I would want it to be an option.


Let’s say everything goes according to plan–you shoot the guy without any incidental to any property or people. Yay.
What I’m not clear on is the degree to which prosecution will take place. Thoughts @MikeBKY?


I agree. It is not a must. My safety and my Family safety is my priority always ! That means not only when Family is present, but also what happens to my Family if I’m gone…

Anyway, we are still talking about this particular scenario, so thinking about all options my action is to be involved and save innocent people. The is no big risk in this case.
I’m always calculating risk vs. result before my action. This time is definitely GO !


I’d like to hear @MikeBKY’s opinion as well, but I’ve been following few similar cases and the action was always justified. Even the firearm used by perp was fake (couldn’t be recognized in stressful situation) or unloaded.


And that fits into the Shark Tank analogy. I was not mentioning that anyone was correct or incorrect in their statement, but I wanted to pose some methods and ideas.


Thinking that you can slip out of that convenience store, with or without family members, and not trigger the perp’s (or perps’) attention on you is unfounded. The perp may have his brains so fried on drugs, that he decides to take hostages, or he decides to shoot any witnesses… Once business end of perp’s gun is on you, you’ve lost any tactical adavantage.



As I mentioned in my first post. I’m going to observe. Be a good witness. Then if it looks like it’s going to go sideways, then I will make my decision to intervene.

No, one is saying sit there, watch him turn the store into a B grade movie splatter scene. Then watch him walk away.

From the original, description of the scenario. He seems to be there for the $. I, and many others have said we would discretely get off the X and be prepared.

I am not a Police Officer, nor am I a Cowboy, nor am I a coward. I am a sheepdog in a world of wolves.
I’m not willing to escalate it. Unless he does.

2 weeks ago I was working with my favorite trainer on my stroke and point shooting. I was able to draw from concealed to 10 rounds down range in an area the size of an index card in 4.8 seconds. I think at polite convenience store lines I’m going to be able to gather more information before I make a life altering decision.

  1. I am stepping back and to opposite side of hand he has gun in to try and get best angle I can so I know my round (IF) I fire does not endanger anyone else.

  2. I am going to check to see if he has an obvious accomplice.

In this scenario before we go all guns blazing, I would like to know “perps” demeanor, where’s the gun pointing, is he shaking all over the place. In other words is he giving out clues that he is an irrational actor. The only contextual clues we have is he waited in line to demand cash and he is exhibiting good trigger control. Which imply he is there for the money. Now as I and others have said we are looking for context before we make a life impacting decision.

Also just as a what if to this scenario, what if the clerk has his own gun and decides to take his chances? I’ve seen an awful lot of clerks pulling their own guns on the news or YouTube. He sees the first perp with a gun and now he sees YOU with a gun. Are you going to shoot the bad guy and the panicked clerk?

Information is your friend.

Self defense not stuff defense.


I live in Texas, so the law defines his actions as a deadly threat. In this case, I would shoot without warning because he has already lost his right to live. The only concern I would have is whether the clerk was in the line of fire.


There is not a clear answer to this scenario due to lack of visual detail. If I may explain the details I would need to decide my course of action.

  1. Is the perp directly in front of me and is his weapon clearly within arms reach?
  2. Is he focused only on the clerk or is he glancing around?
  3. What is his physical stature, larger or smaller than me?
  4. What and who is beyond the perp in front of me?
  5. What and who is behind me?
  6. Do I see any accomplices?
  7. What do I have in my hands or arms?
    8.How is the clerk reacting?
  8. How is the perp acting, calm or agitated?
    This is a lot of information that I need to process in a very short time span, about 3 seconds, before I act. Let’s say he is directly in front of me, focused intently on the clerk, my size or smaller, I see no obvious accomplice, the clerk is trying to stay calm, and I only have two small things in my hands. If I have a clear and unobstructed path to his weapon hand and arm and can knock him off target I would do a muzzle grab, pushing the weapon down and away from intended target and tie up his arms so he could not get up on target. I would hold on to the weapon twisting his hand outwards and back towards his elbow like I am trying to put his arm to his elbow with all intentions of breaking his arm. Two things happen when this done, one being the trigger finger breaks and two I end up with weapon in my hands. Maybe just maybe someone else who sees action start will help out. A semi auto pistol held tight by the muzzle even if fired will be out of battery, a revolver will fire but a second shot with a broken finger will not.
    This action has to be executed quickly and forcibly so, if you have not practiced this and feel confident succeeding this defense now is not the time to try it.
    If he is not directly in front of me then I have a to decide am I in a position to bring my weapon to bear on target and take the shot with no collateral damage. Can I drop the items in my hands, draw my weapon, get on target, “advise him to drop the weapon”, and take the required action.without collateral damage.
    Collateral damage in this case is the lives of the innocents all around me and him. You can forget surprising him as the movements required to get your weapon on target will have alerted him to your presence. His choices are drop, run, or shoot I already committed to action.
    The last decision is take no action at all. Watch and pray that nothing worse than money is given up or taken, be attentive and remember every detail so as to be a good witness and when I get home remove my weapon, unload it, make it safe and lock it up. Then reflect on why I even decided to carry if I am not willing to protect the innocent. I will pray to God that if my wife or children are ever in the store with the same scenario that the perp that day is of the same mind to just get the money and walk out.
    Sheep Dog or sheep? You cannot be both.

Here are a couple caveats to @James rules but are dependent on state law. These are true in Kentucky
The innocent party is absolutely right. If you are an initial aggressor, you are likely in trouble.
You must be in fear for your (or another persons) life or great bodily harm. Many states use of force laws are applicable to both self defense and defense of others.
Retreat is recommended if it can be done safely but is not required.
Any force use must be reasonable based upon the “totality of the circumstances.” It is always best to use deadly force only as a last resort.
And all of this must be decided in fractions of a second while evaluating everything else that may be going on around you. Are there other bad guys? Can I retreat safely for me? For the person at gunpoint? Can I safely deploy my weapon without making the incident worse?

These are decisions police are asked to make every day they work. They generally have a lot more tools carried on them but the process is similar. It is also why most departments preach that off duty officers be good witnesses instead of inserting themselves in a situation unless there danger to their life or the life another person.

As far as the aftermath, @Aaron25, it too will all depend. Again, depending on the law, defense of others is usually justifiable force. In most jurisdictions, I would say there is a good claim for defense of others. That’s not to say there will not be an investigation, but I would assume the clerk will corroborate your version of the facts. But some momma is going to be crying that you never should have had that gun and shot her baby boy.


If you are attacked, in fear of your life and had to defend yourself, do what you must do, but, you are not the police. Get out and report the incident.


Don’t you think your “get out” moves from the line would make chaos and bigger chance of negligent discharge than just simple draw and take over whole situation?

the person in front of you pulls a gun on the cashier

so his focus is on the clerk only. Once you start your retreat his attention is on you and other people in line as well. You’ve just lost the moment of surprise.


I totally agree with everything you just said.
However in my opinion:
NYTimes Headline:
INNOCENT CLERK with HOLE in HEAD leaves behind lovely wife and three adorable children ages 3 - 5 and mortgage, services to be held Sunday.
Baby boys momma is definitely not screaming that he should not have had a gun, because he’s “a good boy” (by the way, pretty sick of hearing that) he must have gotten the gun from Donald Trump.
Alternatively: Better headline:
Clerk thanks G-D, goes home to lovely wife, kisses kids good night, buys new pair of pants! Thanks stranger on Sunday.
Momma screams her good boy got gun from Trump.
Point is bad guy NEVER held accountable due to today’s new laws.
If I so much as print in the supermarket all hell is going to break loose.
When will we start to treat criminals like garbage and LEOs and good guys with guns, like heroes.


Pull my gun and put one in the bad guys head. Save the clerks life as well as the life of anyone else who is in the store.


Sometimes, you may have to kill the shark to save who is in the tank. No verbal command, and save the clerk’s life. Gun means Go…


Aggravated Armed Robbery where deadly force is in play. The bad guy has already made the decision to employ deadly force. This is not the time to play guessing games, this is the real deal you are within a fraction of a second from the possibility of a deadly occurrence. You do not play cop, do not issue commands, you do not challenge him. Obviously that is the time to fill your hand (discretely if you can or not). It is always better to be a good witness than to become involved in a situation that is not your fight. I guess I would hope I would still be standing when the bad guy was done and left, but if there was severe enough hostility and enough tension to where you feel you or the clerk or both of you would be leaving in a body bag, the only good news is he probably won’t pull the trigger on his way to the floor.


There are advantages to living in some states. Texas Penal Code - PENAL § 9.32 | FindLaw
But that isn’t the real question. We or at least most of us didn’t sign up to enforce the law. WE only wanted to defend ourselves and loved ones. Still much like the Texas Church hero there are times when you almost have no choice.

I would hope to avoid any such condition where I had to intercede on behalf of the clerk we have been talking about. But I would also want to live with myself if after leaving unnoticed I later learned the clerk was murdered as was a family that had stopped to get gas and snacks on their way to a graduation dinner.

It is just not as simple as what would we do in a vacuum, or at least not for me. But there are some that made the choice not to respond and society took a dim view of their inaction.

I would like to believe that if I at least knew the clerks name because I had used the store a few times I would do what is necessary to save a good persons life at the expense of a bad persons? Only the action of the moment would tell.


Yes, WI does not require you to retreat either. No matter what state you are in it is better to run away IF POSSIBLE than it is to shoot another person. Remember, it is more about what a prosecutor can get a jury to believe than what actually occurred.


@James Reasonable point.

But aren’t you just a bit envious of people like the Guy on Page 22 of the February-March Concealed Carry Magazine we get? The Guy in Redding California that stopped a kidnapping and saved a girl? For me one of the reasons we have USCCA membership is to get assistance when we do what is the right thing to do. I don’t wish for it or plan on it. Still I don’t know if I could face a neighbor if I walked off when their loved one was going to be shot and I had it in my power to stop it.

Just for debates sake, doesn’t it make our battle cry of, “if there were a few concealed carry people there less people would be killed in mass shootings?” Remember this is just a conversation, but it is one I have had with my anti concealed carry nephew and some other family members.


I am not jealous of anyone that used their firearm in defense of another. Besides what happened with Jack Wilson, you will not get a parade or a medal from the governor. You will more than likely be arrested for murder until the evidence is reviewed.

I just posted the rules of deadly force for people to review. Thankfully I work for the USCCA and can review them every day. It is good to hear so you can fit it into your mental preparation and mental training. If you haven’t I would look into getting “Should I Shoot” and “Violence of Mind” those two books are worth their weight in gold when it comes to mental preperation, and how to look at everyday encounters.

To touch on your last point, I totally agree that if there were more permits issued and less gun free zones then there would be less mass shootings.