Carry & Defensive Scenarios - When is okay to draw my weapon?

Drawing your weapon on someone is a serious matter. When your gun leaves the holster, you are drawing it for one of two reasons. Picture these two scenarios and really think about how you might act when drawing your weapon is needed to save your life or deter harm to your family.

gun holsters for quick draw

Defensive Scenario 1

You are walking to your car through a near empty parking structure in the evening. The lighting is dim. You are scanning the area on the way to your car like you always do. A man wearing a hat and sunglasses walks around the corner in your direction. You find his attire out of the ordinary due to the time of day and the dim lighting in the parking ramp. As he approaches, you see the reflection of a knife in his hand.

You are within 25 yards of your vehicle which you could probably run to, but the soon to be attacker is between you and your getaway. As he approaches you, from about 30 feet away, he asks you if you have some change. He raises his hand to show you he has a weapon meant to intimidate you… What do you do?

Defensive Scenario 2

Your spouse and your child are all asleep, It’s about 1:30AM and you are up because couldn’t sleep. You decide to go to head to the kitchen and get a glass of water, maybe a snack then watch a little television. Before you make it to the top of the stairs, you hear something. A noise coming from downstairs in the den. You wait there for a moment in silence and see light moving around. It looks like it’s from the light of a flashlight.

Quickly but silently, you check on your child and wake your spouse to let them know what is going on and to call the authorities. After removing your gun from from the safe, you stand guard waiting to see what will happen. You hear the intruder walk out the door. After a few moments pass, you quietly slink down the stairs to verify they are gone and wait for the police to let them know what you saw/heard.

As you check each of the rooms, weapon in hand, you hear the burglar come back into the house. The intruder is startled and draws a revolver… What do you do?

What would you do in those scenarios?

We cannot choose the situations we are presented with. Many times through being aware of what’s going on around us, we can greatly decrease the threat and escape without incident. When placed in a situation where you need to draw your weapon, there are really two choices. Will you draw to deter or draw to kill?

Drawing your firearm to Deter

Drawing to Deter is kind of like a warning shot. You are giving the attacker a chance to change their mind and leave you alone. The upside drawing to deter the attacker is, everyone comes out alive. You will be shaken up, heart beating super fast and you might even see where you can improve your training and/or situational awareness.

The upside for the attacker is he will realize the error of their ways and go on to become the favorite pastor at a local church in the inner city changing the minds and hearts of people who were just like him.

Okay, that last part is pretty unlikely, but you will surely put a scare into them.

The downside to drawing to deter is, you are giving them a chance to retaliate against you. They were not afraid to commit the initial crime and threaten your life once, giving them an opportunity to come up with a plan might be bad news for you, your family or the next person they attack. If the attacker sees your hesitation, he may think you aren’t going to shoot and fire his weapon.

Drawing to Kill
How about drawing to kill? There is no moral upside to killing someone. The best case scenario will be the training and practice you did will kick in, your aim will be spot on and you will come out unharmed. The attacker will not be able to come back to get even or retaliate in any way. It's best to hone your shooting skills and build up muscle memorry on the gun range. We wrote a brief article here:  How to hone your skills on on the Range

The downsides can be numerous though and you should make sure you are ready to handle them. As a person who open carries or a concealed carry permit holder, these can be very real outcomes you should consider. Here are a few of them.

Dealing with the police and potentially the legal system is inevitable after a shooting. Depending on the determination of the police, it may or may not be deemed as self defense.

Killing someone is not something most people can handle. You’ll have to live with it for the rest of your life. Knowing it was done for your survival or the survival of your family is a great help though.

Peoples perception of you will change. For the good or bad, everyone you know will think of you differently. Some will agree with your split second decision, others will not agree and damn you for it.

Through this article, there is a common theme. Saving your life and the lives of people in the immediate area. Carrying a weapon, either legally concealed or open carry, you are doing so to protect yourself. Not every situation will need shots fired.

Not every situation will require you to even draw your gun. Running away can just as easily save your life. Many states have laws requiring you to flee if at all possible. This means if your attacker has a knife and is far enough away from you for you to flee versus shoot them, the police might not side with you on a self defense plea. KNOW THE LAW! We put together a quick overview of concealed carry legal resources that are at your disposal. Take a look:  Resources For Concealed Carry Gun Laws

Your best weapon in any situation is your brain and the decisions you make. Staying calm and making quick decisions based on training you’ve completed and your skill level will save your life more often than you know.

What would you do in either of those scenarios? If you have had to draw your weapon, what choice did you make and what was the overall outcome?


About The Author

Trevor Dobrygoski has been a freelance copywriter since 2009. He has written about many different topics over the years. His 9-5 is outfitting police and other public safety vehicles with all of the equipment the law enforcement and other first responders need to save lives. When not working and writing, he is coaching, refereeing and playing soccer.