We had just left the house to go out for supper when I noticed that someone had put a plastic water bottle on the hood of my truck. Knowing that there were reports of prowlers in our area, we moved to investigate. Being conscious of proper tactics, we moved in a back-to-back mode so that we could scan a 360 degree area. Move slowly, big step–little step, watching for anything out of place, being ready to act.
The thug on my side jumped from around the corner of the house, gun in hand. I drew, delivered a controlled pair to his vital zone, and watched him go down. Her attacker came from behind the well house and he, too, fell to two rounds before he could get a shot off. Four shots, two bad guys on the ground, no good guys injured. Pretty good work, I thought.
No, we weren't involved in an actual gunfight. It was a force-on-force class using Simunitions. And it was the third exercise for us. In the first, we had smoked the bad guy who was breaking into the house. In the second, I dropped a bad guy, but his partner killed my partner.
As we cleared this last exercise, I admit that I was putting on the strut in the finest John Wayne style. That's when our instructor, Charlie McNeese, said, "When you saw the bottle on the hood of the truck, why didn't you just go back into the house, where you had good cover, shotguns & rifles, and telephones?" "Oh," I said, with the John Wayne impersonation dying quietly.
The lesson, of course, is that in a moment of excitement we often fail to consider all of our options. And we often fail to recognize our best option. Some have said that when you have a big hammer, everything looks like a nail. I have to admit that this was my mental state during this exercise. We were at a gun school, so things should be solved with a gun. In this case, we went after the bad guys with guns when we may not have had to and we failed to take advantage of the best cover, the house.
All of which tells me that this defensive business requires us to continually be learning, evaluating, and determining the best tactics for a particular incident. Doing it like the Duke would have done it is not always the best policy.