Parking Lot attempted robbery

Continuing the discussion from Ask an Attorney - What's your question?:


You’re in a busy shopping center parking lot. There’s a man with a gun trying to rob you. You draw your gun and shoot him in the pelvic girdle on purpose. You see if there’s a follow up shot needed. If his gun is dropped there’s no need for a follow up shot. You call 911 then USCCA.


  1. I really don’t want to kill anyone.
  2. The parking lot was busy. Less of a chance of an errant shot hitting someone else.
  3. The threat was stopped. There was no need to shoot again. If the gun was not dropped then a follow up is called for.

What is your thinking on this scenario?


Not enough information to say much of any thing.

Where am I within the parking lot, how did I get there, who is with me, what do I have on me, where is the man when I first see him, where is he when he initiated the robbery, while trying to rob me what precisely is he doing and saying, and what can I observe about any potential weapons the man has/what are his hands doing?


IMHO if you were able to draw, shoot, stop the threat, no others were injured and you successfully called 911 and USCCA, all is right in the world!
I would add to that scenario, holster your weapon, take cover. And repeat after me, “my name is lawyer”, while pointing to the bad guy and witnesses, he tried to kill me, all these people around me saw him try to kill me, he had that gun in my face, my name is lawyer!

Maybe this will help…


I wouldn’t necessarily count that as a true statement. There are a lot of other variables to consider. Your scenario says you shot him in the pelvic girdle but did your shot actually break bones causing the attacker to drop and making him unable to get up? Are you certain? Is the gun he dropped within reach? What is he doing? Reaching for the gun or potentially reaching for another weapon he has concealed somewhere? Etc., etc.

When threatened with deadly force you have to stop the threat in the safest manner possible for yourself and any other bystanders. The less force needed the better. But if you use less force than needed then the threat may continue and innocent people could end up getting hurt.

The one incident I had when two men tried to rob me in a grocery store parking lot ended with no one getting hurt. I saw them coming while I was loading my groceries into the passenger side of the car. I closed and locked the door and quickly pushed my cart all the way back into the store before they had a chance to get close and present a weapon. Avoiding confrontations in the first place is always the best bet.


Avoiding confrontations in the first place is always the best bet.

Yes this is true.
If the pelvic girdle is shot there is a high likelihood bone will be hit. Also as I stated if a follow up shot is needed it should be taken. Any suspect movement would be met with deadly force.


Great post and question.

I imagine many others here would be much more eloquent and know best terminology.

Guess I can only play “devil’s advocate”, but mainly to help protect you and others.

Aiming for anything other than the chest center mass poses higher risk of you missing altogether, that round then has higher chance to hit an innocent.

You never know where the bullet will move to within the body. You also might not even know if you struck or “where” you struck, especially if the perpetrator is wearing layers, dark clothing, or if it’s dark out.

If there is more than one assailant, you might need ammunition and might not have the luxury to pick and choose where you try to hit. Aiming for the chest center mass increases your chances that you’re bound to make contact. If you miss, then the assailant has a chance to hurt you.

You’d be under such duress, accuracy is compromised, hence center mass might be more feasible.

Think of all the paper targets at the ranges, notice center or highest score is 10, in the middle; and in CCL permit range tests, they prefer closer to the body/center. Why is that?

That’s why President Biden got “raked through the coals” for asking Americans to aim for a leg.

Exceptions: Your life is at risk, and at the very same time – only another body part of the assailant is within view. Exception, chest body armor.

I think deeper than what body part you’re aiming for is asking yourself and talking about why you’d rather hit the pelvis than the chest. What are your fears or concern, why. As those are legitimate.

Remember, he/she is pointing a loaded gun at you, your life is about to end. If you’re afraid of meeting lethal force with lethal force, then that’s Ok, it’s your right. There are other non lethal force options available, but it’s your right to go non lethal. Lethal is not for all in defense.

I’m for responsible persons to own and carry, but learn safety. I worry when I hear anyone aiming for anything else but the chest. You only have one second to make one decision.

I imagine others have contemplated your same valid points. It shows you care and are looking for best practice. It’s complex and unique to our nation.

I edited and revised my reply, trying to shorten it too.

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I disagree, to some point, about the efficacy of a shot to the Pelvic Girdle vs a Center of Mass. Just due to how many people who have body armor. I practice a fair amount with head, body, and pelvic girdle.

You have a very good chance of hitting something structural or artery related.


I guess my thought is did you think lives we in danger and that is why you took the shot or was it you not wanting to get robbed and you put lives in danger.

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In real time, not in slo-mo when armchair lawyers would be analyzing the surveillance video, it’s possibly a full second faster to make a follow-up shot to stop the threat than it is to process in one’s mind that the thug’s gun is dropped.


The presence of a gun in the commission of the robbery made it a crime against life instead of mere property crime.


In that case I think he took the correct action. If he thought lives were in less danger by taking the shot.


I actually think a pelvic girdle aiming point is less dangerous to bystanders as a general rule, missing high is torso which is a pretty big target, missing low into the legs leaves more to hit than high towards the head, and it’s also more likely to be a more downward angle that might hit the ground sooner.


Keeping in mind, the assailant could also be a “moving” target. Complex indeed.