Concealed Carry Made Me Avoid A Confrontation

Concealed Carry Made Me Avoid A Confrontation I have carried a concealed firearm for many years, both in the USAF and as a civilian. I had my first situation this […]

Concealed Carry Made Me Avoid A Confrontation

I have carried a concealed firearm for many years, both in the USAF and as a civilian. I had my first situation this weekend where I seriously wondered whether I would be forced to put the years of training and practice to use.

What happened?

In short, my family was asleep on our boat docked at the marina we call home many weekend nights during the warm months. A party had popped up on the next dock over and the people were getting louder and louder the drunker they got. Around 1:10am their music and yelling woke me up. Marina rules are that all is quiet after 10pm. So, I walked over and very nicely and asked the host, who I have known for years and am friendly with, to please quiet everyone down so all the other people around could sleep. He said he would. There was no tension, we both smiled and I headed back towards my boat. However, they didn’t get quiet and I couldn’t get back to sleep. So, I sat outside on my boat for a while, just observing.
*The boat is for sale, by the way. You can see how it is configured here (link).

*Other posts that might interest you:

The cavalry arrives

While I was sitting on my boat the marina owner came to quite the partiers. An hour later the marina owner came back rather upset that he had to break up the party that was still growing in volume, in spite of telling them to completely shut it down earlier. The partiers protested and had a heated argument with the marina owner. The owner told them that this was a clear violation of their lease and not the first time they had done this. So, he immediately terminated their leases (kicking them out) and then he left.

You’re not the boss of me!

concealed carry prevented altercation - angry mob

Ok, so there weren’t this many of them…

The partiers riled themselves up in an alcohol fueled and rather loud anti-marina owner group rant until someone asked “who called the marina owner?” Over the course of the next 30 minutes they gradually determined that it must have been me. I suppose they thought it a reasonable conclusion since I was the only one that had actually spoken to them about being quiet. The drunks never considered that there were probably more than 200 other people within earshot of their party.
And no, I was not the one that called. I learned later who it was and that guy had locked himself in his camper for fear that the drunks would come after him if they found out.

The watcher on the wall

From my perch atop my boat, hidden by shadows, I listened to them piece together bits of info until they knew the make and location of my boat on the dock. No big deal to me as long as they don’t mess with me, my family, or my stuff. I figured that they were all really drunk. They would lose interest, pass out soon and likely wouldn’t remember in the morning. Besides, I had NOT been the one to call the owner. The whole thing seemed rather silly…

Time for a lesson, boy!

Until one guy that I don’t know and have never even met decided that I needed to be taught a lesson and he was going to kick my ass and sink my boat… the boat that my family was sleeping on! Obviously, this got my attention.
As he made his way towards the locked gate on my dock he screamed obscenities and threats for that whole side of the lake to hear. I sat quietly, thinking that if I don’t egg him on, that one of his friends would stop him, as usually happens with aggressive drunks. No need for me to get involved and risk escalating things, right? Well, that didn’t happen. Seems they all thought that I deserved a good beating for getting their drunken karaoke fest shut down.

So you shot the dude, right?

GEMTECH GM-45 Silencer Review - Glock 17Contrary to what the “gun control” crowd would have you believe, knowing that I was carrying a Glock 17 with two 17 round magazines + 1 in the chamber did not make me brash and reckless. It made me look for other alternatives that did not involve any force at all. My goal was to de-escalate since I knew what the ultimate result of a confrontation could be: a totally avoidable tragedy. I am a firm believer that no one wins in a defensive shooting. Even in a justified “good shoot” all parties involved suffer the rest of their lives. I may have been able to go talk to him, but given that the group had collectively worked each other into a froth, I feared that any attempts to reason with them would be fruitless. If he really was determined to fight, then going out to engage him in a discussion would have been walking into a hornets nest. I may have been forced into a completely senseless altercation that I wanted no part of. A neighbor, saw the lynch mob forming and called the owner (so THAT is who called?!). The owner called the police while enroute and intercepted the angry drunk before he could figure out how to get through the locked gate and onto my dock.

So, don’t believe the hype that guns make people aggressive and invincible. Smart people realize that carrying a gun is a massive responsibility and treat the use of their gun for personal defense as a last resort.

concealed carry prevented altercation - the dock

The dock. The gate is at the far end in this picture.

What if he had attacked like he said he would?

On a tactical note, as I considered my options in dealing with the VERY aggressive and vocal guy that was threatening me and my family and had a posse of 5-6 guys with him, I was fortunate that I had found concealment and he actually thought I was somewhere a bit different than where I was. Not “hiding”, as much as in a place to observe and attempt to not be drawn into the situation. My perch was about 20 yards past the locked gate.

I still had time to consider options and evaluate the situation more closely. Although I am rather well trained (2nd degree black belt in 2 disciplines), I was not in a good environment for hand-to-hand fighting (narrow floating boat dock with bobbing boats on each side) and I generally try to avoid hand to hand since even a drunk can get lucky, if given a chance.

Evaluating defensive shooting options

If the guy chose to “back me into a corner” and tried to make good on his threats, I found that I had very few acceptable shooting angles for the 9mm round in my EDC due to a somewhat dense residential area directly behind the threat. I realized that I had never really considered how to defend my position in that location… a location that my family occupies with regularity. I challenge myself to be situationally aware, but learned that I can do more to proactively analyze wherever I am so that I already have at least the basic framework of a defensive plan BEFORE something bad happens.  If I felt that engagement were eminent, then I likely would have been best off to take the fight to him on land and away from my family. Had he appeared to have figured out how to get through the gate the plan was try to reason with him from a distance, and if that didn’t work to head right at him at a dead run and hope that he realized he had bitten off more than he could chew and turned tail before I had to choose between a hand to hand vs armed confrontation. If not, then his reaction would likely dictate how things progressed.

 I share this for a few reasons:

  • to reinforce that the choice to carry a concealed firearm for protection is a very heavy one
  • to encourage everyone to train, plan, and proactively think about how to defend yourself wherever you are.
  • to show that even someone who is trying to stay out of trouble and isn’t doing anything wrong can find themselves in a situation where they have to defend themselves
  • to show that sometimes a gun saves lives just by virtue of making people think twice about engaging a threat at all

What would you have done differently?

About Jeff

Jeff is the Editor in Chief of Gear Report and a National Shooting Sports Foundation Media member. He reports on the outdoor industry, reviews gear for camping, hiking, shooting, hunting, paddling, backpacking and other active pursuits. A USAF veteran, Jeff earned a MBA in Marketing and Health Services. He specializes in consultative selling and internet marketing. As the VP of BD & Marketing, Jeff provides sales and marketing leadership to MGECOM, Inc. and helps http://MGECOM.com acquire new clients in need of solutions for online merchants in need of Affiliate Marketing program management. Jeff founded and manages Cress Sales & Marketing LLC, offering online sales and marketing consulting and services to online merchants and service providers.