Editor’s Note: Combat Handguns pays $100 for each “It Happened To Me!” letter that we print. Send yours to Combat Handguns, 1115 Broadway, New York, NY 10010. Attention: “It Happened To Me!” or e-mail to [email protected]

During 1988 I was living in New Hampshire. I was 22 years old, working as an EMT, going to Paramedic school and serving our country as a Combat Medical Specialist in the US Army Reserve. The Army had taught me to kill our enemies and I was pretty certain I could utilize deadly force if needed. After one late summer night that year I knew I was indeed capable.

My apartment building was a new three-story building. The entrance road to the parking lot sat one story above it and gave me a three-sided overview of the lot and building. I always took advantage of this and looked over the parking lot and grounds whenever I pulled in. This was a nice area of town consisting of 10 or 12 new apartment buildings loaded with cars, which always made me think of it as an attractive target for the city’s predators.

This night was no different in my approach. It was around one in the morning and I was returning from a friend’s house. I scanned the lot and verified there was no one there. As usual, I parked on the lawn under one of the streetlights. As I was stepping out of my truck I had the sense that someone was right behind me. While turning to my left to face this threat I drew my Taurus PT99 from behind my right hip. I spun to find a male coming straight at me from about 5 or 6 feet away. I leveled the pistol at his midsection with my elbow tucked in to keep the gun close. My finger was on the trigger and the hammer was coming back slowly. His eyes got wide and he started yelling at me that he was, “Just walking my dog, man!” The main problem with this is that he had been hiding and was quickly approaching my backside between my truck and the car I was parked next to. I yelled at him to, “Back the f— off!” He was, in fact, walking a dog and had the leash in his hand, and his compliance with my command is what prevented his death that night.

I watched him take off down the road before I reholstered and went to the door into my building. I closed the outside security door and then leaned against the wall so I could shake for a while. I know for a fact he had been hiding and that he was a threat to me. I learned that night that I would have no problem defending myself with deadly force if that was required. This would be one of those many events where a firearm is utilized and never makes the statistics. I have had many people ask why I didn’t report it. By the time I stopped shaking and made it to my apartment the guy was long gone and I could not have given a very good description. My focus had been on his hands and center mass. I think the fact that he never reported the event to the police helps verify that he was up to no good. I have taken comfort from that night though, knowing that, if needed, I will not hesitate in defending my life or the lives of my family.

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