Should You Shoot: Gas Station

You’re on your way home from a business trip and stop at a gas station late at night…

As the three of you enter the store, it seems that everyone had the same idea: drinks and snacks. You fan out in a different direction, looking for the “healthier option.” Reaching into the cooler and pulling out a bottle of mocha latte something-or-other, you hear the door of the shop open. You begin moving toward the check-out counter, ready to pay for your gas. Joe Minivan is already there, and the driver of the pickup truck has found a bag of chips and a soda and is moving into the line behind you.

The sound of the door opening indicated that two men were coming in. From your spot in line, you notice that one of the men is looking around the entire store. The other guy has turned his back to his companion and is looking out the door, holding the door handle with his left hand. His right hand is in the pocket of his hoodie. At about the same time, you notice the other man also has his right hand in the pocket of his hoodie. Just as the hair on the back of your neck stands up, the man scanning the store pulls a small auto-loading pistol from his hoodie and shouts, “Alright. Don’t do nothin’ stupid. I only want the money. If y’all play along. We’ll be gone. Everybody get up here where I can see ya.”

The robber starts waving the gun and directing people toward the cashier’s counter, while you instinctively set your merchandise on the counter and begin to blade your body, thinking about how you can get to your gun if you get the chance. You notice the accomplice is still looking out the door while the robber is shouting for people to move. Pointing his gun at the cashier, he demands that the young man behind the counter open the cash drawer and put the money in a bag. When the teen cashier fumbles opening the drawer, the robber screams, “Hurry up, Kyle! Get that money in the bag, dammit!”

What would you do?

  • Follow orders and move to the back room, hoping he will take the money and go.
  • Bolt for that piece of cover, draw your gun and come up shooting.
  • Create a diversion and charge at the robber in an effort to control his gun while you reach for yours.

0 voters

Would you do something different than listed above?

I bolt, and come up guns blazing. He has already shown a willingness to escalate the situation. 99 percent of gas station convenience stores have metal shelving. Now it’s a game of hide and seek. Most criminals are cowards, and once presented with resistance, they bolt. Statistically speaking.


I trust a criminal with a gun about as far as I can throw him. If I can safely get a shot off, I’ll do it. But there are some things in this scenario that would make me be extra cautious. First off, he’s herding the other customers close to the counter. Could they be unintended victims if I shoot? The other thing that caught my eye was that he called the clerk by name. Inside job or did he just read his name tag? Do I have to worry about 2 robbers or 3?

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Well I meant to hit the Bolt for cover button but I was also watching the Vikings game so I incorrectly chose what I knew was something I would never do. Oh well!!!
I did the “create the diversion” route 3 years ago in my old neighborhood in Chicago, lost my left index finger but saved my life from a bad situation on February 4th 2016

Cover first and draw gun. Shooting may or may not happen. I am not going to trust that the armed robbers are only there for the money. If they take the money from the register and run, no problem. If they start looking for me, there’s going to be a fight.


Bolt for cover, drawing while moving. Shooting if I have a safe shot. Hope if it gets to that point, the rest bolt and run.

I don’t want to “dive for cover and come up blazing” One I’m too big for that sht, and two I’m too old for that sht (to quote Danny Glover from Lethal Weapon).

Maybe I don’t understand the scenario because most of the responders here are trying to draw from the dive and drop.

If I understand, I’m at the counter and gunman #1 is drawn and pointing at the clerk (approx. distance 3ft just beyond arms length). What cover am I diving for that the gunman’s eye and pistol won’t automatically track me and probably start firing before I can even draw? I could try and step in close distance and try and dominate him but would risk gunman #2 lighting us both up even if I can overpower him)

Gunman #2 is at the door and is a factor but is focused on the outside as lookout so a secondary factor IMO.

Gunman #1 seems to know the clerk (calls him by name) and seems to be somewhat tolerant of his mistake (didn’t start shooting at him when he dropped the cash).

So with that I’m blading my strong side away from gunman#1 so I can cheat the draw some if needed but initially I follow instructions looking for an opening (I don’t turn my back to them)…so moving to the back of the room seems to provide convenient cover to do that without creating any large sudden moves to attract attention.

Once out of site and mind of the robbers, I can discretely draw and again see what the right move is…If Kyle has handed over the cash and the robbers are heading out the door…let them go…if Kyle is still struggling and gunman#1 is getting more and more agitated and may start shooting then I might make a move by shooting the gunmen #1 then #2.

This is also dependent on what the other customers are doing and positioned (as I don’t want them in the line of fire).

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It says bolt for cover, not dive. Bolt implies, to me, to duck and move quickly.

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Fair enough, I kind of see the two as being the same large fast movement towards cover…

But still my question is why? He’s already ordered you to the back of the store, move smoothly to the back without a bunch of stir and discreetly draw your weapon keeping it by your side and hidden by shelves/merchandise. I can then more clearly identify my targets from that point and know exactly what I’m shooting at and maybe even have “ranged” it (ok he’s about 15ft, ok he’s at 40ft, etc) and instead of “bolting/diving” I can just duck straight down along a shelf edge.

He’s not firing at anyone so why would I need to bolt/dive and draw his attention to me? Unless he’s doing something violent right then/there I’m going to get myself to have a better tactical position and he’s given me the chance to do exactly that by ordering me to the back of the room.

Comply (not giving him an excuse to escalate) and getting to a tactically advantageous position? Seems win/win.

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Look up “Active Self Protection” on youtube. These are everyday real life instances of people around the world using their handguns to protect themselves against armed criminals.
If the 2nd guy is next to me with a gun out and pointed at the teller and 1st guy is facing away looking out the door. Assuming I’m bladed with strong side away from them both then there is a real chance of me being able to draw and shoot to end the threat of the armed guy. Guy at the door…well it’s his move cause I’m not shooting him in the back but my front sight would be trained on his every move. It honestly depends on the dynamics of the whole situation if I was to try and draw my weapon. We are using our imagination here.
I will say this though. If you are ordered to the back of the store to a room and he is herding everyone then you better do everything in your power to get your handgun out without being detected and shoot when the time comes.


Couldn’t vote for one of the choices. Because I had to vote for all three!
Follow orders, move slowly to cover, communicate with buddies and hope they are carrying also. Draw my weapon, check exit strategy, create distance and distract. Be sure of my targets, what’s in front and behind. I don’t want to be the one that hits the cashier or the four year old grabbing for the chips. Make sure I have a CLEAN shot, double tap the creep that presents the immediate threat. Subdue the second creep at the door and hope he’s not armed, if so double tap that fool too, get off the mark and check if there isn’t a third creep waiting in the getaway vehicle, if he presents a deadly threat double tap him too! Finally check your six and make sure the wife of the armed creep doesn’t have a weapon pointed at your head. WALMART incident. Admittedly, this all took place in 2 seconds. Grab your beverages pay the cashier, wait for police to arrive, tell your brief story, call USCCA. Always carry with one in the chamber because if you had to rack the slide you may be the dead one.


I saw a similar situation but it was one bad guy with a gun at the counter and pointed at the teller. The good guy was standing there next to him as described above. The good guy didnt have a gun but a knife. He actually stabbed the bad guy in the heart and the bad guy instantly ran out the door and died.

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I have been viewing that channel for a while now about two years. I think his name is John; he always has a good presentation and I always learn from his efforts to make the firearm community a better place.


I believe you are watching warrior poet society. Definitely a must watch


No I have seen that one however, the tube channel I was referencing is titled “Active Self Protection” check for yourself; the You Tubers first name is “John”


@Robert8 will have to check that one out. Add to the list of must watch

You have to wait for an opportunity, if there ever is one . Some times your just f@%ked . :skull_and_crossbones:

This is almost a no win situation. It is likely no matter what you choose, you’re getting hit. To me, still the best bet is to move to cover,and if you don’t have a clear shot use cover to move for a clear shot.

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The robber has the drop on you / me this is no time to attempt to draw and fire. Maybe if I was certain I could make it to the cover I would go but under the circumstances I think comply and wait your turn.

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Based on what is written in the scenario it is a no shoot. That being said Mr. Minivan is between me and the bad guy and I’m in serious need to have my EDC in my hand. I’m not looking back at Mr. Pickup Truck but if I can get my gun out and behind my leg without him giving me away I’m less than a second for taking a shot and Mr. Minivan is going to have a headache if I do because the muzzle will be about a foot behind his head. Unless Hoodie boy One & Two do something more stupid than they already have they will walk out the door.



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