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Illustration by Jim Brown

SILENT STANDOFF

I had just returned from a long vacation and was quietly working in the shop on my property when I got a phone call from my neighbor. She told me that an unusual man was at her door asking for permission to access the land behind her place. What she said then is, “I think he is casing the place for a burglary.”

So I quickly ran and locked my shop door. Then I grabbed my .40 pistol. I saw him open my front door and walk right in. At this point it was game on, so I quietly waited for him to turn his back to me and I snuck into a position of advantage with my pistol pointed squarely in his upper torso.

Luckily I had just shot a qualification course, along with a use of force class a week prior. But this guy was 6´3˝ and 235 pounds, and I wasn’t going to let him close any distance on me.

As he turned to look at me he was immediately startled, saying, “Oh s***! Where did you just come from?” I then told him to not make a move or he would die right where he stood.

The look on his face quickly turned from fear to aggression, and he tried to determine how to disarm me. We stood about 6 to 7 feet apart, with me now backed against my lower staircase for about four minutes. He never once complied with any of my demands to “lay down” or “back away.” He was looking me straight in the face as though he was thinking, “How can I get this gun from this guy?” But I knew for sure that wasn’t happening.

Realizing I was sensible enough not to shoot without just provocation, eventually he slowly walked toward the direction from which he came, eased into his truck and pulled away. I caught his physical description, remembered his plate, then ran for my phone and hit 911.

The responding deputies located his truck soon after. The crazy thing is, that dummy changed his plates to some stolen plates after leaving my house—tell me this wasn’t pre-planned.

He may have walked away that day, but he couldn’t run from the law. Thanks to the training I had received, I didn’t need to worry about any legal repercussions either.

—JR, OR

BACKWOODS SURPRISE

In 2008, I was 22 years old. I had my concealed carry license and chose a .40 caliber for my sidearm. I was at home for summer break and taking day classes at a local community college. There, I met Stephanie, a beautiful and intelligent classmate who had no knowledge of or experience with firearms but was eager to learn. So after a little flirting and an exchange of numbers, we had a date.

I took her out to our family land 30 miles north of the college and brought along my sidearm of course, a select few shotguns and a .22 rifle. I proceeded to show her the proper technique for shooting. Turns out she wasn’t half bad. By the end of the day, she could at least hit the paper on the target. As it grew dark, we both grew hungry. We hopped in my 4×4 pickup truck and headed to town. After a nice dinner, we got back in the truck. She scooted into the middle seat and asked me if I knew of any quiet spots by the lake. Being an avid hunter and a young man, I had more than a few in mind. So we went down the road until the pavement ran out and we were on a peninsula known as Goose Island.

We found a place to park and she wanted to go for a swim so we left the truck and took off for the water about 75 yards away. After a half-hour we made our way back to the truck, but when we got in it wouldn’t start. I guessed I had flooded the carburetor, so I popped the hood. As I fiddled under the hood with her beside me, I heard the distinct sound of leaves crunching—and not like a deer. These footsteps were heavy but determined not to be. I turned around to face three teenagers who were obviously up to no good, judging by the bat, crowbar and machete.

They ordered me to stick my hands up. Stupidly I complied. I pushed Stephanie behind me, but she was not going to put up with this. As I held my hands in the air, my shirt rode up my side, exposing my handgun. She took this opportunity to remove my weapon from the holster and point it at the boys while screaming at the top of her lungs: “GET THE #$&% OUT OF HERE!” While not very ladylike, it was extremely effective—so much so that I heard one of those wannabe Deliverance rednecks swim for his life across the lake.

On the drive home, we were both rather shaken. Even still, Stephanie invited me inside. I think we both needed company more than anything, realizing that, had I not taught her to shoot or bring my sidearm, that could have been the worst—maybe the last—night of our lives. I am completely convinced that having my gun saved us both that night. Teaching the woman I cared for greatly how to use that sidearm did us well.

—CW, OK

DISABLED, NOT DEFENSELESS

I am a disabled veteran and have my concealed carry permit. I never go anywhere without my trusty autopistol.
One day after an appointment at the local Veterans Hospital I decided to stop and get a cold drink. I never realized that the area I was in wasn’t very safe—it had been when I was a child, but it’s much more rundown now.

I parked my car at a small gas station/convenience store. As I got out of the car, I noticed a man standing near the dumpster drinking “something” wrapped in a brown paper bag. Thinking nothing of it, I went towards the store and the man proceeded to follow me closely. I went to the drink cooler in the back of the store and while watching closely, the man just stood by the front door near the cashier as he watched my every move.

As I proceeded to check out the man moved in very close and aggressively behind me, inching ever closer as I waited for my turn to pay. Realizing something wasn’t right, I reached in for my wallet and exposed a small section of my pistol that I conceal in my waistband. The gentleman apparently noticed the weapon and very quickly left the store. In fact, I didn’t even see him outside.

In my opinion, I stopped potential harm—either to me or to the store clerk. As always, I’m prepared to protect myself and loved ones whenever needed. I’m thankful for the Second Amendment, and shame on anyone who tries to abolish it!

—CC, AL

DARK HIGHWAY

I am from Missouri where I possess a concealed carry permit. Reciprocity is simply a reciprocal agreement between states to honor gun permits, just like driver’s or marriage licenses. (Could you imagine the chaos if we had to get licensed in each state where we wanted to drive to?) Reciprocity is only a recognition and acceptance of the other states laws—it does not represent a federal law.

I recently drove from Missouri to California to visit family. As usual, I brought along my handgun in .380 ACP, my leg holster for concealment and my 9mm for a nice backup that would easily conceal if necessary. All the states I traveled through recognized my permit of possession, except California. I had done my homework and discovered California’s strict, nonreciprocal policy concerning weapons of any kind. They required that the weapon be stored in a locked box and that the magazine be empty and stored away from the weapon. To the best of my knowledge, I complied with California’s mandate.
It was on our way home when the incident occurred, which put my son and me in a potentially deadly situation. It was about 2:00 a.m. and I was driving east across California. If anyone has ever been through this area, you know it’s absolute desert isolation, and for those of you who have not, it is sort of like being on the moon.

I was still complying with the law when my left-front tire blew out in the middle of nowhere. I pulled over to the shoulder of the road, reassured my son and told him to go back to sleep. Now, with the back hatch open to retrieve the spare and our luggage piled behind the car, I began the task of changing the tire when a car passed me. Then I noticed the brake lights come on. Now, instead of just driving back a few yards and asking me if I needed some assistance, the unknown driver and passenger turned their car around and shined the lights directly at me, completely blinding me. This might have been for my benefit, and their course of action might have been well intentioned, but at 2:00 a.m. in the middle of the desert I was soon on high alert. I was blinded whenever I looked towards the car, so I stepped into the middle of the road and out of the lights just in time to see the driver, the front-seat passenger and a back-seat passenger exit the vehicle. Three young men in their mid-20s started walking in my direction. I assured them I was fine and did not need their assistance, but they kept coming. I repeated myself. Each man approached, giving me a wide birth: one to the left, one to the right and the third completely in the headlights leaving only a silhouette.

All I could think was my son and I were going to die out here in the middle of the desert.

I was driving a new $58,000 SUV, and this was starting to look and feel very bad. I was thinking about my young son not having the chance to grow up and enjoy life and my wife and family grieving for years. I thought of my guns in their lockboxes and my empty magazines stashed in suitcases. The men kept coming closer and closer. My best maneuver was to draw their attention away from the car, so I walked in the middle of the highway, puffed my chest and made the tire iron in my hand very visible. The one to the right was now at the back of my SUV.

I walked to the front of my car. The men were now blinded by their own light as they looked at me. They said they were there to help and that I didn’t need to be afraid. I replied, “I have told you guys three times that I’m okay, so I would appreciate it if you left.” They started going through my luggage so I went into I-got-nothing-to-lose mode.

I started waving the tire iron and approached them as intolerantly as possible. I’m a good-sized guy, 6 feet tall and weighing 210 pounds, plus I work out. But there were three of them and one of me, and I’m in my mid-40s. I prayed, shouted and threatened, eventually convincing them to get back in their car and leave. I was never so relieved. Earlier, I had told my son to get under the covers and to not move or make a sound. He had done as I asked and was never discovered.

The moral of the story is that complying with California’s gun laws almost got my son and me killed. I had every means of protection with me but no chance of defending myself with them. (And I bought those weapons for that sole purpose: personal defense.) Please states, get together and create more reciprocal agreements concerning concealed carry. It could save lives.

Thankfully we made it back to Missouri. I loaded my handguns as soon as I reached Arizona. During the incident, I had been 15 miles from the Arizona border—think about that, just 15 miles could have made the difference between life and death. Folks, write your congressman and put pressure on your representatives to get concealed carry recognized in all 50 states. It is a matter of life and death.

—RK, MO

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