There was a very interesting article in the May/June issue of the Concealed Carry (USCCA) magazine. The article discussed the concept of a Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP) holder coming to the aid of a police officer in a fight for his/her life.
Let’s review the Colorado “Self-Defense and Defense of Another” law. The law clearly states that you have the right to self-defense anywhere you have a legal right to be. That right extends to defending an innocent third party. The short discussion is that if you see someone, officer or not, in danger of extreme bodily harm or death at the hands of a bad guy, you have the right to defend that person. HOWEVER, (there’s always a however) before you do, you had better know the facts. Remember, facts can be stubborn things. If the person in danger is plain clothes cop you may not know who he is. The person in danger may not be a cop at all. The person doing the beating may not be a bad-guy. If you step in and shoot the guy doing the beating, how are you going to explain to the widow of the under-cover cop that you just killed her husband? Bottom line: YOU HAVE TO KNOW THE FACTS!
Obviously, if the person in danger is wearing a police uniform that makes the decision considerably easier. Now, instead of having to decide who the good guy is, you just have to look.
There are other concerns you have to consider. One of the NRA’s rules states, “Know your target and what is beyond.” The easiest way to describe this is when you have a major adrenalin dump into your system, your average 2-inch group at the range now goes to 8 – 10 inches. With this constraint, are you even going to hit the bad-guy? Are there innocent bystanders in the immediate area just off to the side? Are you carrying a heavy magnum like a .357mag, a .41mag, or a .44mag? With any of these (and some would argue the same with a 10mm) the over penetration could endanger innocent bystanders. This is one of the reasons I don’t recommend carrying the heavier calibers.
One way to mitigate the fear of opening groups is to train, and train often. When you train, you build muscle memory. Lack of training requires you to use your fine motor skills meaning that you have to consciously think about the five fundamentals of shooting; aiming, hold control, breath control, trigger control and follow-through. That takes time and concentration. Hold control, breath control, and follow-through should all be automatic reactions every time you shoot, whether at the range or in a defensive action. Aiming and trigger control should be “near-automatic” reactions. The only way you will get to that point is training and practice.
So, as you are preparing for your day or walking around town maintaining your “Attitude of Awareness,” keep these considerations in mind.