THE DEFENSIVE DISPLAY OF A FIREARM AS A VIABLE TACTIC PT.2
Jury consultant and CCW Safe content writer Shawn Vincent is of the opinion that perhaps the defensive display of a firearm as opposed to actually shooting an attacker threatening violence would have proven to be the preferred choice in several self-defense cases that he had reviewed, and expressly cited a shooting in which Michael Drejka shot Markeis McGlockton in Clearwater, Florida on July 19, 2018. McGlockton shoved Drejka to the pavement during a confrontation between Drejka and McGlockton’s girlfriend, Britany Jacob. Drejka responded by drawing a concealed handgun and aiming it at McGlockton, pausing for a brief moment, and then shooting McGlockton in the chest. Drejka was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 20 years in prison, and McGlockton, a father of four, lost his life in view of his family.
I am of the opinion that defensively displaying a concealed handgun is preferable to shooting another person in self-defense under some circumstances. A defensive display of a firearm may demonstrate to another person or persons that I am both capable of and willing to use all necessary force in order to defend myself if required. The circumstances that I am referring to would be an encounter in which the other party or parties are displaying intent to cause serious bodily injury or death, possess both the ability and opportunity to cause serious bodily injury or death, there are no other reasonable options available, and that there is sufficient time and distance to present the weapon without pointing it directly at the threat and issue strong verbal commands in an attempt to stop an imminent deadly threat from actually taking place.
I believe that concealed carriers need to visualize situations in which they might encounter an individual who they believe is a genuine and articulable threat to life and limb and there is enough time and/or distance to dissuade that person from converting violent criminal intent into action. An example might be that three individuals in a parking lot who are acting in a suspicious manner observe the concealed carrier, then in unison move in his or her direction in what appears to be a coordinated attempt to intercept, cut off, or flank them. If time permits (awareness goes a long way towards purchasing time) the best response for all parties concerned might be that the concealed carrier first begins moving on an arc and asks the other individuals to stay back.
If this request is ignored, and contingent upon the totality of the circumstances (maybe the suspicious individuals are Girl Scouts selling Thin Mint cookies), the concealed carrier can either obtain an obvious firing grip on the butt of the concealed handgun or quickly draw the concealed handgun to the Low Ready Position (muzzle depressed towards the ground at a 45-degree angle) and issue a sharp verbal command to stay back, which catches the threatening individuals by surprise and causes them to retreat. If instead the same individuals decide to continue to aggress upon the concealed carrier, then much of the situational ambiguity has been eliminated and using deadly force may soon become the only remaining option.
Something that Shawn Vincent said to me that really resonated was that “While you should never point your gun at something you’re not willing to shoot, you do not have to shoot everything that you point your gun at.” What this means is that if a concealed carrier genuinely believes that it is necessary to shoot an attacker and the handgun is aimed at the attacker and the concealed carrier is in the act of finalizing the shot, if the circumstances suddenly change (the attacker stops forward motion, lowers his or her weapon, etc.) and the concealed carrier has the opportunity to not shoot, then do not shoot. While this statement may seem obvious to many readers, the fact remains that it still happens from time to time.
I wrote the following in an article that CCW Safe has already published that was titled “TIME TO GO LOUD: WHEN DEADLY FORCE IS THE ONLY OPTION”: I will go for my handgun once my brain registers that I am being attacked by another, I am in grave danger, and it is more than I can physically handle. At that point there is nothing else that I can do but go for my handgun and prepare to, as Russell Crowe said in Proof of Life (one of my favorite movies), “go loud”. CCW Safe wants me alive and safe and will do their part afterwards if I do mine. The more homework, training, and range time I do in advance, the greater the chances are that I will do my part correctly. The time may come when the one and only solution to an ongoing life and death problem is the use of deadly force. Until then, anything that can be done to avoid that will always be the preferred option.
Steve Moses has been a defensive firearms trainer for over 26 years and is a licensed Texas Personal Protection Officer with 7 years of experience performing as shift lead on a church security detail for a D/FW area metro-church. Steve is a co-owner and Director of Training for Palisade Training Group, LLC based in Dallas, Texas. Moses is a retired deputy constable and spent over 10 years on a multi-precinct Special Response Team. He owns multiple instructor certifications, including Rangemaster Advanced Handgun Instructor and Defensive Shotgun Instructor, Red Zone Knife Defense Instructor and Adaptive Striking Foundations Instructor, Modern Samurai Project Red Dot Sight Instructor, and State of Texas Personal Protection Officer Instructor. Steve holds a BJJ Brown Belt in Relson Gracie Jiu Jitsu. He is a content contributor for CCW Safe and writes weekly articles on various subjects of interest to concealed carriers. Moses shoots competitively and holds an IDPA Expert rating. Steve is an annual presenter at the Rangemaster Tactical Conference.