When can you shoot and when MUST you stop shooting?


Kevin discusses a self-defense shooting in a Walmart and how that shooting turned from self-defense to aggravated assault charges. :confused:

Do not pursue an attacker who is fleeing. How do you train yourself to continually assess a dynamic self-defense situation?

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My philosophy is to protect my family and self first. While I hope to never find myself in this situation, we have trained for it and we know our roles. We will seek cover if possible, assess the situation and service the target as needed. Never pursue, they could be leading you into a situation that is worse than the one you’re already in. When the target is down or leaves my AO, I’ll stay put and wait for the cavalry to arrive while providing aid to any wounded while someone (my wife) is providing overwatch.

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Since this is a self defense group it’s easier to assess from a defensive standpoint because once you’ve found cover you can gain a quick assessment of your physical environment ( corners, blind spots, other cover or concealment, etc.) Then the biggest variable is people coming in and out of your line of sight and determining whether they are a threat or not. And that should be a very quick assessment if you’re having to take cover.

If you’re going on offense (which I believe in most cases would be very reckless) then every door, corner, room and hallway will provide an extremely complex set of challenges and if you’ve never trained for it you’re setting yourself and others up for being seriously injured or killed.


There are VERY few people that can function WELL in a high stress situation that is completely out of there norm for high stress.

There is really no good way to practice having the daylights scared out of you and be able to judge your reaction at any given moment. I’ve seen seasoned combat vets go into vapor lock and have seen un washed un experienced kids float along through a gun fight like it was something they have been doing for years.

The best you can do is to mentally walk through any situation that you can dream of in your head. Being exposed to thoughtful situational training as is offered here goes a long way to “calming your head down” because you have worked your way through it once, even if only in your head.

If you watch most IDPA, 3-gun and Cowboy action shooters even us old Highpower and Bullseye shooters you can see them physically & mentally walking through the stage mentally and taking each shot in their head before they start.

So each time you walk into a grocery store or mall and THINK, if it goes down here what are my options? What if it happens there? The more you do that the sooner your head starts to categorize things without even thinking about it. Fire Extinguisher. Fire Alarm. Door. Cover. your mind will start checking things off.

I talked with my kids about this concept of awareness when they were younger. Of course they, being MY kids, after we walked out of a mall and they said “Dad, how many fire extinguishers did we pass?” I was on parking lot scan but stopped and ran through it in my head “Seven” They were all grin’s. “Nope there were only SIX”. We went back inside and I pointed out EIGHT fire extinguishers (I missed one they caught, they were 3.5 & 4’ tall and couldn’t see over a display that I could) Crestfallen they moped back to the car and while heading home I made an unexpected Dad change of plans and landed at Brewster’s ice cream. I was a proud Daddy that day.

There is no telling what you are going to do when it suddenly becomes time to do it. The best you can do is plan as best as you can.