Mastering the Element of Surprise for Personal Defense

posted on January 22, 2021
sheriff-jim-5-28-15.jpg (3)

The gray-haired ranch woman looked like what everyone’s grandmother should look like, fixing breakfast at 4 am. Her husband was way down at the barn, feeding his livestock. The criminal thought this home invasion would be piece of cake.

However, as he kicked open the kitchen door, the ranch woman turned and threw a pot of hot coffee in his face. The crook was quickly down on the floor, rolling around and screaming. The woman, instead of doing her own share of screaming, simply reached past him, to the back porch, and retrieved her husband’s electric cattle prod. Every time the crook tried to get up, she’d light him up with what amounted to a stun gun on steroids. The husband quickly arrived from the barn and took over until sheriff’s deputies could arrive.

This woman surprised her attacker in several ways. The first is that she made a quick, aggressive response to his criminal actions. The second is that she turned common objects into defensive tools.

The biggest problem that the honest citizen has is that he or she has to wait for the crooks to make an overt, criminal move before he or she can respond. This puts said honest citizen behind and gives the advantage to the criminal. Making a surprise response, one the criminal doesn’t expect, is one of the best ways to even up the odds and take back the advantage.

This is the main reason that I prefer to carry my defensive handgun concealed. If I have to use it, I want the appearance of that gun to be a surprise to my attacker. When the crook's preconceived plan doesn’t work, he may very well pause while trying to figure out what to do next. That pause may very well be what causes the crook to lose the fight.

In order to keep surprise on my side, I think it is also a mistake to say very much in public about what my defensive plan consists of. We’ve all heard the guy in the gun shop, or neighborhood tavern, bragging about what he is going to do if someone tries to attack him. One of the problems with that is that we never know who is listening, or who will repeat our boasts. Boastful talk is the kind of thing that could cause someone to end up in a world of hurt.

Think about your situation and give some thought to what things you can do that will surprise a crook and throw their criminal plan off course. It’s always nice when the good guys have the advantage.


Taurus GX4 Carry 9 mm pistol with Holosun red dot facing left
Taurus GX4 Carry 9 mm pistol with Holosun red dot facing left

First Look: Taurus GX4 Carry 9 mm Pistol

Taurus expands the GX4 family with an even bigger brother to the GX4XL.

First Look: Burris BTS V2 Thermal Optic

Packed with features, including streaming, multiple reticle ad color palette options and a nifty QD mount.

Honoring Our Veterans

Two separate industry events honor those who serve.

Winchester USA Ready Defense

Winchester’s USA Ready Defense ammunition looks to be a reliable and effective option for use in self-defense handguns.

Review: Taurus Judge Executive Grade

By now, you’d have to be living in a cave (digital or otherwise) to not know about the Taurus Judge revolver.

Choosing The Right Magnification For Your Rifle

The question isn't too much or too little magnification, the question is, what do you want to do with your rifle?


Get the best of Shooting Illustrated delivered to your inbox.