Guns Won’t Deter Every Criminal

A man in West Philadelphia was robbed of a gun when the guy behind him in line noticed he was carrying and decided to relieve him of his firearm (warning, news footage will auto-play). You can read Bob Owens’ take here, and Tam’s here. I don’t really have much more to add. My bet, given the neighborhood, and the guy’s apparent age, is that the victim was probably a student living farther out in West Philadelphia than is generally prudent for a naive kid from the ‘burbs. Good on him for thinking enough about his safety to arm himself, but here he paid the price poor concealment, poor holster, and poor training. The 600 block of North 40th Street is not a good neighborhood (at least it wasn’t when I was going to school there).

Still, I feel for the victim. I’ve done more training than your average carrier, which really isn’t saying much, at all, because one thing more training teaches you is that you don’t have nearly enough! I won’t pretend I’m some kind of ninja who would have reacted any better. I am more conscientious about printing than I used to be, because some people know what to look for, and you can’t expect the sight of a carried gun is going to deter every criminal. Most of us get away with a lot of poor choices in self-defense because we live in quiet neighborhoods where, to be honest, you’re more likely to die from a poor diet and bad driving than lose life or limb to a criminal. But that neighborhood? I’d recommend starting with full size pistol and a good holster, and adapt everything else in your wardrobe (and plan) around that.

19 thoughts on “Guns Won’t Deter Every Criminal”

  1. If I purposely go anywhere like that I carry a backup gun or two! Not because I fear my main gun jamming up, but in case of a gun grab just like that.
    Most concealment holsters have little or no retention devices, a few have thumb snaps, I don’t know of any IWB holster that has a real retention system.
    Always have a plan B, and a C if you can.

    1. I think a BUG is useful if your opponent succeeds in the snatch, but you’d need both hands to prevent the snatch in the first place.

    2. The N82 Pro holder has a very slight twist lock. Not enough after a little bit of practice to get it out, but enough for a grab like this to be foiled.

  2. I made the mistake of reading the comments on Bob Owens’ post… oh brother!

    “I am [aware] of my surround[ing]s at all times” – My edits of one of the comments

    Believing that you can be always situationally aware is a major weakness in itself. Someone who thinks that could never happen to them because they are always “in condition yellow” or whatever is an idiot… flat out.

    1. Yeah, it’s amazing the level of self-delusion. I looked at that video and though “I could see that happening to me.” I’m usually not that careless with my concealment, but I am always, 100% on, all the time? Never make any mistakes?

      Hell no.

    2. OK, I went and looked too, because I am a masochist or something. All I can say is, I have awesome readers. Some days I’m really glad I never positioned this blog to be a mass market product.

  3. One of the benefits of appendix carry. It’s a little harder to reach for my junk without me seeing you coming for it.

    1. I agree. Looks like a slim build with a slim fitting T-shirt. Appendix carry might have been a good choice given the wardrobe.

      P.S. That gave me actual chills thinking if that happened to me.

  4. He seems to also fall victim to the idea – hammered into us all from a young age – that there is somehow a “civilized” way to fight for your life, and we should not cross that line. He’s grappling with his assailant the entire time, rather than striking him. Even when one hand is free, he’s trying to wrestle the attacker and hold him.

    The proper response to an attempted gun grab (or any attack with the potential to be lethal) is to be absolutely vicious. One hand will be tied up protecting your gun, but the other should be used to make your attacker think about other things. Punch him in the throat so he’s more worried about breathing than getting your gun. If you’re on your back like this guy was, kick him in the head. Gouge his eye out with your thumb (and I don’t mean “stick your thumb in his eye”, I mean try and make his eyeball pop. Be brutal, because if he wins the wrestling match he’s very probably going to kill you with your own gun.

    If you stick to “the rules” when you’re fighting for your life, you will probably die.

    1. I’m not willing to speculate to that degree. It’s one thing to know how to react. It’s another to actually do it in a high-stress situation. Most of us won’t know how we’ll react until it happens, if it happens.

      1. It was not meant so much as a criticism, as an after-action review. I’m not even saying he did it consciously. But that attitude towards fighting is hammered into us – especially males – from a very young age. In fact, it’s often tied closely to the idea of masculinity – “Real men don’t fight dirty.” This is probably mainly to keep kids from doing permanent damage to each other during the dominance fights that are all but inevitable among children, but it means that this is what we instinctively fall back on under stress (“You fight like you train”). Anyone who carries needs to be aware of that tendency and at least try to overcome it.

        The rest is simple observation. Except for some contact that seemed more accidental than deliberate, he never actually struck his attacker. This is the least effective way of fighting back that actually involves fighting back that I can think of.

    2. “If you stick to “the rules” when you’re fighting for your life, you will probably die.”

      There is a lot of truth there. Of course hindsight and 20/20 blah blah. Training for these situations would greatly improve your chances of survival for sure.

      But regardless that guy’s night went from zero to holy shit in nothing flat. I’m sure instinct would be to defend in a state of panic instead of attack. Training might improve your chances of overriding instinct (or better yet changing your instict to fight mode). But until it happens to me all I can do is speculate and do the best I can to prepare myself for such a scenario.

      1. “all I can do is speculate and do the best I can to prepare myself for such a scenario.”


        All I’m saying is that he fell victim to the mindset. Whether he did so due to a lack of thinking about it ahead of time, or from just falling back on pure instinct in the heat of the moment or the surprise of the attack, that’s what happened. I’m trying to present a purely non-judgmental AAR comment for myself and others to learn from, that’s all.

    3. In a fight, you basically run on muscle memory (unless you’re Lazarus Long). And it’s hard to train to fight dirty in a safe manner.

  5. A long time ago when I was in the Navy, the command was undergoing an operational readiness inspection. One of the inspectors came up behind me an attempted to relieve my of a 1911 I was carrying He went to the hospital to get a finger put back in working order. I told him I was sorry but acted instinctively when he touched it. He almost got an elbow to the head before I new who it was. Training is a help.

  6. Jake: He’s grappling with his assailant the entire time

    Exactly. Where’s the strikes??
    I also wondered why his legs were reserved just for propulsion on his bike.
    I can’t say I would have done any better – I’ve never been in that exact same scenario – but playing with martial arts ohsomanyyearsago taught me that knees, legs, shins and feet weren’t just for walking upright.
    I think I’ll keep the AIWB carry that I’ve used for the last 25 yrs.

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