The Aftermath: A Drive-Away Shooting

Welcome to Aftermath, a portion of our First Line email newsletter where Attorney Anthony L. DeWitt walks you through a real-life self-defense incident and shares his key takeaways.

A Texas mom and dad were out late and had their small children in car seats in the back of the family sedan. As they arrived home, two teens approached the car, opened the back doors and attempted to take the car. The father drew his lawfully concealed handgun and shot both attackers as they tried to displace the children from their car seats. Both attackers fell from the vehicle. The mother, who was driving, sped away from the scene. They called 911 and returned home. The two wounded suspects were taken by car to a local hospital where they received treatment prior to their arrest.

Do you have close-quarters shooting training? Are you prepared for self-defense scenarios inside a vehicle?

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Lock your doors, folks! Most cars auto lock once you drive, but, you get in, you lock the doors, make it a habit.

I have drawn while seat belted into the car and shot targets from inside the car at a training class. It’s also imminently dry fire-able in your garage at home (or similar) with a training gun or real gun with barrel block etc. Practice drawing from seat belted in and presenting to threat areas without flagging yourself.

And remember that the gas pedal is likely to be more most powerful tool, especially if your doors are locked

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I haven’t drilled this one. I have tried it a few times just to see how difficult it could be. What I found was, in my Jeep and the way I carry, it’s damn near impossible to draw with the seat belt on. I think I’m better off taking the 1-2 seconds to release the seat belt then uncover and draw. Drawing with the seat belt connected would bind my firearm in the holster making it a fight to get it out.

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Close quarters shooting? Yes. A little bit.

Inside a vehicle? No.

@Nathan57 Good poke that this is imminently dry fire-able. Sad I’ve never thought about it before. Time for some SIRT practice!

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The car doors on our vehicles are set to lock as soon as the car is put in drive though I usually manually lock them as soon as I get in. I disabled the feature that auto unlock’s them when you put the car in park.

The way I usually carry I can pretty easily draw with my seatbelt still on. I can also draw from the pocket carry position while seat belted but it requires I slide down in my seat a tiny bit and lift my hips up in order to draw quickly. Being lefty it is a little more of a challenge engaging targets on the driver side but I have practiced this in the garage with dryfire.

In this situation, if I was driving, I would have just put the car in reverse and floored it the second the likely car jackers/potential kidnappers made a move for the doors.

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I am with Mike164 on this one. The way the seat belt in my Expedition rides over my sidearm, it is impossible to draw with the belt on. I am strongly considering a shoulder holster or chest holster for that reason.

In my daily carry configuration, I have my pistol on my hip pretty much all day. I work in an environment that is 2A friendly and my Boss likes the fact I carry. My sidearm is covered by my shirt tail and most folks we deal with are oblivious to the fact I carry. It is easily accessible and comfortable. If I were to get a shoulder holster, it would be less accessible due to the fact I would wear it under my shirt with the shirt buttoned. Hard to access a full sized pistol through a buttoned shirt. I could, in theory, wear BOTH holsters and just transition the pistol from this on to that one depending on the situation. Shoulder holster for driving, shirt open, and belt mounted holster for work. I would have to have extreme awareness to reach for the correct holster though.

I could also, theoretically, get a second weapon to carry in the other holster.

Problem solved. If I have to get another weapon, I will do it.

Now all I have to do is convince The Wife…

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yes and yes, and prepare to have ruptured eardrums and possibly blown out windows if you dont have one down or a door open. over pressure is a thing

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The scenario has me asking questions. Wife is driving, husband in passenger seat, and two kids in the backseat in car seats. yutes open back door to steal car? Husband shoots yutes while they are trying to remove car seats?
Anyhow, your vehicle is a tool, use it! I should do a video on self-defense from your car. Just remember how well your vehicle will protect you from bullets,… it will not. You are literally a sitting target.

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Day or night, I scan for people or suspicious looking cars in the vicinity before turning to my driveway. Multiple times, I drove past my house so I could get a better view of the side of my house where thugs could hide.

Close quarters, no training. Most likely won’t be able to draw but just speed away.

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I agree with a lot of you guy’s…
I am right handed though , and between my high center console in my Xterra
and the seat belt buckled I already knew I was screwed (getting to my sidearm…)
So i got a gun magnet and mounted it to that same console by my right knee.
Same for my partner in the co-pilot seat.
Works like a charm. Practiced till comfortable.
What I also thought of I bought (2) tire Thumpers truckers use to check their wheels.
Short, heavy and maneuverable. Non lethal (unless you whack their brains out)
My Xterra has electric running boards (they fold into the body) so you lose the step
to jump up and into the truck. Armor bumpers front and back, skid plate under front bumper.
She’s a beast! 4,500 lb battering ram/steam roller.

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Doc told me I shouldn’t drive anymore. As a passenger and a person who has had major strong arm shoulder surgery: I find it nearly impossible to draw while seated in the car. What works best/fastest for me is to have the gun/holster jammed between the seat and console to draw with my off hand(left). Practice your weak hand shooting folks.

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I have done the same thing with the center console. Works like a charm.

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If I think anything is remotely suspicious, I drive past my home all the time. Will either loop around or just drive to the police station.

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There are some high quality magnet holsters out. I use them. I’ve had someone hit me with a high speed impact on the rear of my car. Magnet kept my firearm in place just fine. One mounted on the passenger and driver side of the console.

Edit: This magnet holder is for my Glock 30.

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Yeah Buddy,

When I got hit ‘Head-on’ 2 months ago the firefighter was shocked first that I extricated myself from the broken dash in my lap, and then I reached back in and grabbed my handgun her eyes got big when I holstered it. But that magnet HELD! I’m a fan!

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Seems like I read something about a magnet has a detrimental effect on the weapon. Any truth in that statement?

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I can’t imagine the magnets used to hold firearms in place having any negative impacts on the firearm.

There is that one story, I think it was about an off duty officer, who wore his gun while getting an MRI. Think the magnets pulled the gun from the holster and it hit the side of the machine and discharged. But those are some very strong magnets and I don’t think the firearm was harmed by the incident. Can’t say the same for the officer unfortunately.

I personally wouldn’t use most of the magnet mounts I see advertised to store a loaded pistol unless they also had a cover for the trigger. Like with a kydex trigger guard attached so it pulls off when you grab the pistol. In a chaotic event I wouldn’t want to accidentally hit the trigger while grabbing for the firearm.

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It hasn’t for me and I use it everytime in the car.

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Not a present day handgun. The magnets only affect the new biometric gun that is being touted as the answer to “gun violence” I don’t care what the manufacturer says, it has a chip in it and electronic circuitry. Did someone never tell you to not to put a strong magnet up to your phone?

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I was thinking about getting one for my 92S. I have had shoulder surgery and it’s near impossible for me to draw seated in the car. Did some research and there were worries it could magnetize the the metal or have an effect on the ammo. I lack the knowledge/wisdom to make an intelligent decision.

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