When to Draw


Ga9mm

New member
I was having a discussion with a friend of mine yesterday, and this came up. What factor pushes you to the point that you would draw your weapon on someone? I was in a situation not too long ago, and drew on someone. I shouldn't have done that. In that particular setting, I shouldn't have done it because I didn't need to fire it. For me, that's the deciding factor: Don't draw unless you intend on pulling the trigger. YMMV, but if I'm put in a situation that I can get out of without pulling a trigger, then I can get out of it without waving a gun around. I think it presents too many chances of liability. Mainly, I wouldn't want to draw in an altercation that didn't call for it, cause the antagonist to draw, and someone end up getting shot and/or killed when it could have been avoided, regardless of who started it. I carry a weapon in case there's something I can't handle without it. If I can, then I don't use my weapon. If I can't, then it's there and ready.

I know that every circumstance is unique, and there's no way to say for sure what will happen, if anything does. I'm curious about what others think of when to do it.
 

If somebody is trying to harm me or my family I will draw. Period. If my gun is drawn, I am more than likely going to fire as that is my last resort after ALL other options have failed.
 
Very simple. When you feel like your life is in danger. I don't necessarily see it as a draw/don't draw situation. There's been several times when I unsnapped my piece and had my hand on the but and no one knew. I was at a friends pizza joint once about 11:30 PM waiting on my order and four thugs in baggy pants and gangster look walked in and just stood around (SW Houston). The guy asked if he could help them and they said no. At the time I was carrying a 1911 in a shoulder holster. I had my arms crossed with my hand inside the jacket. Hand on the grip and unsnapped just in case it turned ugly.
The pizza guy was a friend and noticed that I didn't take my order and leave and that my hand was inside my coat. He thanked me for hanging around until they left.

Note that your life doesn't have to actually be in danger. but the standard is that if a reasonable person would FEEL that their life is in danger under those circumstances.

All of our laws are based on the presumption of what a "reasonable person" would do in that circumstance.

1) Your life is in danger
(someone is trying to kill you)
2) You are in danger of serious bodily injury.
(Punk with a baseball bat/brick/bare hands is beating you)
3) You (reasonable person) feel that your life is in danger.
(Punk points a BB pistol at you and you believe it is a real gun)
4) You (reasonable person) feel that you are danger of serious bodily injury.
(Punk is enraged and has a baseball bat and is coming towards you screaming he's gonna whip your ass)

Remember that most likely a DA and then maybe a jury will decide what is "serious bodily injury". For instance, if you are 200 lbs, 6 foot 6 and an expert in Judo and some skinny kid, 100 lbs soaking wet approaches you and threatens to whip your ass then more than likely a reasonable person wouldn't fear bodily injury. On the other hand, if hulk hogan is coming after you, you might be justified in drawing and firing.

In North Carolina the same right to defense of self applies to "another person". So if your wife/daughter/whatever is threatened you have the right to use the same amount of force in their defense.
 
That's what I was getting at, or trying to. If I can diffuse a situation without using a gun, then I will. If it comes down to the safety of my family or me, and anyone I'm with, then it comes out. I think I've just been neating myself up the past few days about drawing when I didn't really need to.
 
I will only go for my pistol if I believe it's necessary to save the life of my family or myself. I will make the conscious decision to shoot prior to drawing my pistol. I have no intentions of displaying it to attempt to diffuse a situation.
 
In many places, diffusing a situation with a handgun will get you charged with brandishing.

Not to mention, pulling out your gun may actually have the opposite effect and escalate the situation.

I see nothing wrong with what NCjone did at the pizza place AND I personally think it was the right thing to do. (Good job NC.. You probably kept that guy from being robbed or worse.)



As for me---
My gun stays put until I feel the threat of death or extreme bodily harm is immanent and/or currently underway. I've been on "BOTH" sides of a confrontation where "drawing/brandishing" a gun actually escalated the situation. (I thank God I have not been in that type of situation for years.)
 
I've never had to draw my weapon before, but I have had situations where I was on red alert.
The worst was when I had to confront some strangers on our property. Nobody gets to my place without intending to be there. The encounter went as well as it could, and while they did not leave(didn't ask them to leave), I determined they were not a problem. Still, stress levels were pretty high during the start of the event.
 
For myself I would only draw my weapon if need be.If someone is verbally abusing me,then no I wouldn't draw.Only if my life,the lives of my family are in jeopardy.JMHO
 
mostly good points here...

Every situation is going to have its own characteristics. Like most of you, of course I wouldn't draw it in response to a verbal threat. However, I can't go with the mentality that "I'm not going to draw unless I'm going to shoot". I have to believe that there are some situations where you're justified in drawing your gun, but upon drawing your gun the aggressor immediately ceases to continue his threatening behavior. This would be a draw-but-no-shoot scenario. Think of how many times we've read a story about how a handgun had stopped an attack without even firing a shot? I just don't think you can legitimately say that you won't draw unless you're 100% sure you're going to shoot. If you draw and the perp immediately hits the floor, you could be in a world of sheet if you were to shoot. Most certainly there are also situations when there's no time for reaction to your drawn weapon before you're forced to shoot them with it. I also completely understand that drawing your weapon can escalate a situation from "potentially dangerous" to "deadly" if done at the wrong time. Never draw in an attempt to cool the situation. Only draw if the situation has already escalated to the point where you're genuinely concerned for your life or that of an innocent 3rd party (at least as it's written in Michigan).
 
Every situation is going to have its own characteristics. Like most of you, of course I wouldn't draw it in response to a verbal threat. However, I can't go with the mentality that "I'm not going to draw unless I'm going to shoot". I have to believe that there are some situations where you're justified in drawing your gun, but upon drawing your gun the aggressor immediately ceases to continue his threatening behavior. This would be a draw-but-no-shoot scenario. Think of how many times we've read a story about how a handgun had stopped an attack without even firing a shot? I just don't think you can legitimately say that you won't draw unless you're 100% sure you're going to shoot. If you draw and the perp immediately hits the floor, you could be in a world of sheet if you were to shoot. Most certainly there are also situations when there's no time for reaction to your drawn weapon before you're forced to shoot them with it. I also completely understand that drawing your weapon can escalate a situation from "potentially dangerous" to "deadly" if done at the wrong time. Never draw in an attempt to cool the situation. Only draw if the situation has already escalated to the point where you're genuinely concerned for your life or that of an innocent 3rd party (at least as it's written in Michigan).

Agree 100% with this.

BTW, good to see a fellow Western Michigander!
 
I have to believe that there are some situations where you're justified in drawing your gun, but upon drawing your gun the aggressor immediately ceases to continue his threatening behavior. This would be a draw-but-no-shoot scenario. Think of how many times we've read a story about how a handgun had stopped an attack without even firing a shot?

I kinda agree with you how ever you have to remember your not allowed to draw your gun to de-escalate the situation. If your going to draw you have to be prepared to shoot. If you think that drawing your weapon will cause the guy to turn and run thats fine and you have the right to think that how ever if the situation warrants you to draw then that means that once the weapon leaves the holster and the situtation either stays the same or gets worst then you are going to fire. I have never needed my weapon but at the same time I have not "needed" my drivers license in over 8 years. The fact is with the weapon comes the ability to take a life and you and the BG has to know that if a weapon leaves the holster then a bullet should be leaving the barrel.

I would like to think that if I were ever in a situtation that caused me to draw then I have already made the decesion that I am going to stop the BG. No different then if someone breaks into my house via a window and I grab the shotty and cock it I would like to think they guy will be running as fast as he could but if he continues he and I both know someone (hopfully him) will be meeting their maker.

I would say IMHO I have already made the decesion that if I draw I will fire unless we play the "what if" game and the BG turns and runs or drops to his knees/belly and starts pleading or praying.
 
fine lines

I kinda agree with you how ever you have to remember your not allowed to draw your gun to de-escalate the situation. If your going to draw you have to be prepared to shoot. If you think that drawing your weapon will cause the guy to turn and run thats fine and you have the right to think that how ever if the situation warrants you to draw then that means that once the weapon leaves the holster and the situtation either stays the same or gets worst then you are going to fire. I have never needed my weapon but at the same time I have not "needed" my drivers license in over 8 years. The fact is with the weapon comes the ability to take a life and you and the BG has to know that if a weapon leaves the holster then a bullet should be leaving the barrel.

I would like to think that if I were ever in a situtation that caused me to draw then I have already made the decesion that I am going to stop the BG. No different then if someone breaks into my house via a window and I grab the shotty and cock it I would like to think they guy will be running as fast as he could but if he continues he and I both know someone (hopfully him) will be meeting their maker.

I would say IMHO I have already made the decesion that if I draw I will fire unless we play the "what if" game and the BG turns and runs or drops to his knees/belly and starts pleading or praying.

I'm not talking about drawing to de-escalate. I agree with your statement that "if you're going to draw you have to be prepared to shoot". I agree with that 100%, while also saying that you must also be prepared to hold your fire. You said "...if I were ever in a situation that caused me to draw then I have already made the decision that I'm going to stop the BG." Again, I agree with that. I'm only emphasizing that there's always the possibility of the BG, upon having a gun drawn on him, will decide his life's worth keeping and cooperate/cease.

"...the BG has to know that if a weapon leaves the holster then a bullet should be leaving the barrel." Unless he immediately ceases to be a threat. If he doesn't respond to a gun being drawn, then of course, riddle his shirt with holes!!!
 
I'm only emphasizing that there's always the possibility of the BG, upon having a gun drawn on him, will decide his life's worth keeping and cooperate/cease.


This is true. If a BG pulls a knife and takes a step closer. This will make you draw, but he might stop his attack. In this sitution your not going to shoot
 
Wlhen I train, I shoot the gun (controlled pair to the thorasic cavity, 1 shot to the ocular cranial cavity), as taught during defensive handgun training. So, obviously, in this scenario, the decision has been made to shoot and so I train to shoot effectively.

However, I did have one instructor who demonstrated a defensive tactic wherein the weapon was drawn and aimed and the GG yelled "STOP" very loudly and agressively. At the same time, the GG is getting some distance between himself and the BG.

In both cases, the intent is to "stop the threat". I submit that if the threat can be stopped without shooting, that is preferrable for all concerned (nobody dies, I don't incur possible emotional, financial or legal problems).

My .02 cents
 
My personal opinion is that a firearm can be used effectively to de-escalate a possible deadly situation.

If someone is walking towards me yelling at me because I took their parking space, no draw, no shoot, it's a verbal argument. If said person is yelling at me and walking towards me with a baseball bat in an aggressive manner (anywhere other than a baseball park) i'd tell them to stay back, if they didn't than i'd draw my weapon and tell them to stay back, while retreating to my vehicle if possible OR to an area where witnesses will be present. "SIR STAY BACK, SIR STOP STOP". Why?

Should you be forced to use deadly force what do the witnesses say?

I don't know why they were fighting but the guy with the gun kept telling the other person to stay back, he said "stop" AND he was trying to get away.

My state does not have a duty to retreat law. HOWEVER, I feel it is my obligation to try to escape danger, and to avoid using deadly force if at all possible including looking like a coward and leaving.

EDIT: Of course this depends on the circumstances. Is the guy dressed in a baseball jersey? How far away is he? etc. this is just an example.
 
JJFLASH and CLEARSIGHTTACTICAL: More good points from you both. I guess that demonstrates just how unique every situation is. In the "guy with baseball bat" scenario, even tho the gun effectively de-escalated the situation, it was still initially drawn to defend and protect yourself. He was armed with a bat which gave you enough concern over life and limb to draw. You didn't draw to calm him down, you drew to stop him (and did so without firing a shot). Bravo.
 
Brandishing

In Fl., a brandishing conviction carries mandatory 3 yr. sentence. The judge has no choice, so keep it concealed unless you're going to use it!
 
In Texas the penal code says that "the threat of force is justified when the use of force is justified". If the pulling of your weapon produces a change of heart on the part of the aggressor then you have accomplished your objective. That is not brandishing and is not illegal at least in Texas.
 

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