Disclaimer: the video associated with this post may be too graphic for younger viewers.
Earlier this spring, while being followed by a pair of officers (the video was captured from the cop car’s dash camera) during a standard traffic stop, an Ohio man stopped his vehicle, and stepped out of it pointing a loaded AK-47 rifle back at the officers. He then proceeded to open fire on the cops, walking toward their vehicle.
The officers returned fire and the AK’s wielder walked back to his car, still shooting. He died next to his vehicle with his rifle in his hands. When the shooting stopped, a concerned citizen and firearms owner near the scene asked if the cops were okay, and informed them that he had a pistol. The officers told him to stay back while they called dispatch. Both cops were hit during the exchange, but they survived their injuries.
This video reminded me of two important points concealed carriers in general should consider. First, when the firearms owner approached the cops, he didn’t take any shots at the man with the AK-47. This may have saved his life, and in the least, it helped keep him out of harm’s way. CCW permit holders are not law enforcement personnel. Had the man drawn his pistol during the exchange, the officers may have mistaken him as an additional threat, possibly even someone attempting to aid the first shooter.
A second takeaway from this video is the significance of accuracy and how it is effected when shooting under stress. Shooting 7.62×39 rounds from close range (the man wielding it doesn’t appear to shoot from further than three or four yards away, maximum) at stationary targets, under different circumstances would not generally have been considered a great challenge of marksmanship. However, the man shooting the AK, even with the element of surprise as his advantage, was not able to accomplish more than “winging” his intended targets. Meanwhile, the two officers armed with handguns were able to dispatch their rifle-toting assailant while under the stress of receiving fire. Thankfully for the cops, their attacker was more ineffective with his firearm than the officers were with theirs. This demonstrates is the importance of accuracy while under duress; the officers ability to maintain their accuracy while in mortal danger saved their lives.
The exchange between these two officers and the crazed AK-47 shooter was awful, but in it can be gleaned two important lessons for concealed carriers in the mindset of concealed carry. A concealed carry permit may empower its holder to protect themselves or their loved ones with their firearm, but it does not equate to a badge. Using that firearm around law enforcement personnel might, in fact, serve to put the well-intentioned permit holder in greater danger. Also, those who have concealed carry permits are advised to learn how to effectively operate their concealed carry pistol while under stress. The urgency of firing in defense of one’s life can quickly erode one’s marksmanship skills. But, as the altercation recorded in this video displays, a few well-placed shots are more effective at neutralizing a lethal threat than a high volume of misses.