I just watched a video from Israel where a person was attacked by someone with a stick/club while getting out of their vehicle. They jumped back in the car (leaving the door open behind them), then took about about 5 seconds to get their gun, then shot the assailant to death. The immediate question popping into my mind was “why didn’t he lock the door and drive away?” Or, at a minimum, shut and lock the door putting an excellent barrier between them and the stick-wielding attacker, then grab the gun and exit the other side of the car (with a 2-ton obstacle between them.)
On a gun forum, another video was being discussed where someone out of the blue jumps on the hood of a car, then runs off. Immediate responses revolved around the gun, how to best draw while seated in a car etc. Again, my response was just drive away!
If you are attacked in a vehicle, your first response should probably be to try and drive away or use the 2-ton machine as a weapon. Sure, we can think up hypothetical “what-ifs” where that may not be an option, but in most cases, it is the best option. The problem is that most people view guns as their only means of protection in a deadly force scenario and then try to get a gun out to the exclusion of potentially better options!
If you are aware of your surroundings and leave some space between the car in front, you should almost always have options to use the vehicle to get out of danger. In Executive Protection training as well as in practice as a protective detail team leader in Baghdad, we used the vehicles to get out of sticky situations. This is despite having multiple people in multiple vehicles with body armor and full-auto weapons among other things. Guns were a last resort, not a first option. How much more so should it then be for a lone civilian with a puny handgun!
Here are some practical tips for vehicle operations in a deadly force encounter (in no particular order).
- Keep the doors locked at all times.
- Maintain situational awareness….this will also protect you from the biggest danger, accidents! When stopped, think about how you would get away in an emergency car-jacking attempt. Which direction, onto the sidewalk and around? Reverse?
- Maintain distance from the vehicle in front, enough to turn around them. Generic rule is you should be able to see their rear tires.
- Rubbing is racing! You can play “bumper cars” if you have to, to get out of there. Your car can push a vehicle in front, you can jump a curb, run over small bushes or signs. Paying a $500 insurance deductible (and even a ticket) beats dyin’ any day. Again, we are talking about a situation where you think bodily harm is imminent which outweighs the minor property damage.
- Don’t run on fumes, keep enough gas in the tank to get away and to a safe location. Depending on where you live, this could be some distance.
- Consider training on defensive driving and/or a shooting course involving vehicles.
-Keep alert and stay safe!