Gunfight Video Has Valuable Lessons

By Dean Weingarten

Sami Quick Stop Shooting
Sami Quick Stop Shooting
Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

Arizona – -( On 21 May 2014 in Youngstown, Ohio, a couple of teenage criminals attempted to rob  a Sami Quick Stop a little after midnight.  The armed confrontation that ensued resulted in one robber wounded, both captured, and minimum damage to the store.

One of the suspects is reported to have dropped a rifle as he fled.

There are several lessons to be learned from the video.   As is common, numerous things could have been done better by all three participants.

The first lesson is that you do not have to be a perfect gunfighter to be effective.  You simply have to be more effective than the opposition. 

Most criminals are not well trained in either shooting or tactics.  They tend to believe that everything will go according to plan.   When the victim(s) refuse to cooperate, they often are left without a contingency plan, and are unable to react until they go through a decision process.   If the victim acts during this period, the criminal has to repeat the process.    In the military, this is called getting inside the opponents OODA (Observe, Orient,Decide,Act) loop.

A simple way to look at this is: Action beats Reaction.  It takes time to react.  The clerk’s action beat the robbers reaction.

Only one suspect is seen in the video.  It is clear that the second suspect did not aid his fellow criminal in any meaningful way.

It is hard to argue with success, and the defender in this situation was clearly successful.  For purposes of discussion only, I will point out a few things that he might have done differently.

First, cover and fake compliance to gain advantage.   In the video, the defender in the checked shirt, a clerk at the store, never complies with the robber’s commands.  He stands his ground, draws his semi-auto pistol in a fairly slow draw, racks the slide and fires his shot.   The process takes about four seconds, from about 2 1/2 seconds on the video to 6 1/2 seconds on the video.   The robber is repeatedly shouting “Get in the back, get in the back”.

The clerk could have faked compliance by backing up around the shelves to his right, thus putting cover and concealment between him and the robber.  Once around the corner, he could have drawn unseen, racked the slide, perhaps moved forward to flank the robber, and engaged him from behind cover.    It would have taken about the same time.

By moving and faking compliance he might have reduced the chances of being shot, because the robber would not have seen the draw, and would not be alarmed when he seemed to comply.

From the viewpoint of the robber, he had plenty of time to shoot the clerk while the clerk was drawing his pistol and racking the slide.   As the aggressor in the incident, he had significant incentives to refrain from shooting, all of which worked to the advantage of the defender.

Most robbers do not want to shoot someone.  It is a much more serious crime that brings more attention from the authorities.   Most robbers do not include shooting someone in their contingency plans.   They simply believe that everything will happen as they envision it.

We do not know if the robber could have shot the clerk if he decided to do so.  Many armed robberies are committed with unloaded guns, guns that do not work, fake guns, toy guns, or air guns.

The robber did not appear to watch the clerks hands, and he never ordered the clerk to show his hands.

The video illustrates one of the problems with carrying in condition 3, no loaded round in the chamber.   If the clerk had made use of fake compliance and cover, the sound of racking the slide could well have alerted the robber to the fact that he was armed, even if he did not see the clerk draw.   Easing the slide forward quietly is not an option in this situation; that action often results in a failure to feed, is very difficult to do under intense pressure, and takes an unacceptable amount of time in this situation.

It appears that the clerk used proper technique to rack and release the slide.  Under stress, people tend to what they are trained to do.   After releasing the slide, he let his left hand fall to his side and shot one handed.  Most instructors believe that two handed shooting is a bit more effective, but it appears that the clerk was not trained to shoot with both hands.

The video also illustrates how criminals avoid carrying guns openly, and find ways to conceal even full sized rifles or shotguns.   In this case it appears that a book bag and the shooters clothing were used to conceal the long gun until it was brought out for use inside of the store.

c2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch

About Dean Weingarten;

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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I actually worked with him when this happened. He had one in the chamber but because he was caught off guard and panicked he cocked the gun again. But robberies are a fairly common offense around there and he had only had his concealed carry for a couple weeks when this happened. He shot the assailant in the shoulder and the bullet got lodgedthere was absolutely no damage done to the store.

Dean Weingarten

If you stop the action and look carefully, frame by frame, what appears to be the first shot is actually him racking the slide. That is why it appears that he is shooting with two hands.

The left hand comes up, grabs the slide, pulls it back, releases it, and continues on down to his side.

Col. Jim Miles Ret.

As you said hard to argue with success – The clerk reacted quickly and shot the intruder – this scared the hell out of the other one. What the video shows it pays to be armed – the clerk was and who knows it might have saved his life. There’s no guarantee armed criminals won’t kill you as past robberies have shown. Easy to Saturday morning quarterback the clerk. I say give him a big Atta Boy!! Col. Miles Ret.


I did not see where he racked the slide and his first shot was actually with two hands.


Excellent article. The clerk had clearly thought this situation through and is either very street savvy or very lucky. I think a lot of the former, a little of the latter. His instinct, given a glance at the criminal assaulting him, was that he could go for it and win, and he did. He might not do that with a different robber. It could be that his condition 3 carry was part of a negotiated deal with his employer – condition three or unarmed, in which case condition 3 is the least undesirable choice. Life is like that sometimes. In… Read more »

Rick 'Shea

No better case to show the value of a revolver or semi with a grip safety carried cocked and ready. I’ve actually used my concealed 1911A1 type handgun to keep myself from being robbed or maybe killed. Things happen really fast and if the armed good guy has to fumble around to be able to fire first or return fire or maybe just stop the nogoodnik before shooting starts any advantage is lost.

Jesse Scott

You gotta love it when peeps get a bullet.