After a deadly confrontation, especially with your adrenaline running in the red zone, be sure to appropriately secure your firearm once you are out of harm’s way. Photo courtesy Crimson Trace

Disclaimer: This is not legal advice; the ultimate issues that determine whether someone is charged or not are left to an attorney, and if you have any questions, you should consult one in your jurisdiction who specializes in this area of law. The author here reflects on lessons learned through years of being a cop—lessons that could help keep you alive and out of trouble.

If you had a dollar for every pint of ink that’s been spilled telling us how to use a firearm to survive a deadly encounter, you could easily hire a personal bodyguard. Surviving a lethal confrontation is one thing—keeping your freedom, sanity and money is another. What you do after the gunfire has subsided is as important as what you do before it starts.

The locations and instances where you might have to shoot to save your life are too numerous to cover in anything short of a thick book. Hypotheticals are problematic anyway—years of teaching concealed carry classes and working the street have shown you can’t come up with a scenario to cover every occurrence. After all, a violent encounter is mostly chaos.

If you must hold an attacker at gunpoint, remain on the line with the dispatcher until the police arrive on the scene, even if you must put the phone down.

What we can do is arm ourselves with a plan that will guide us through the immediate aftermath that follows a shooting. This plan should address your post-shooting concerns. But, just as there are many different approaches to the selection and application of guns, ammo, and training for a defensive encounter, there are just as many opinions on preparing for and dealing with the aftermath. My personal approach is based on what I learned as a police officer.

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