Stopping a Rifle-Wielding Killer with your Handgun: Can it Be Done?

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Yes. It can be done. It has been done many times. Consider the following:

According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, 34% of active killer incidents are stopped by armed citizens, not just 4% as the FBI data references. However, even the FBI data shows that armed citizens have a 94% success rate when they do intercede. While the killer might have a superior weapon, the armed citizen has significant tactical advantages.

This is not a hypothetical question of “can it be done,” because it has been done many times. Here are but a few such examples:

1994 – Andy Brown, a military police officer, killed a terrorist with a rifle on Fairchild Air Force Base, making the shot at 70 yards with his baretta 92.

2007 – A killer with a rifle attacked New Life Church in Colorado Springs, killed two people before being killed by a citizen member of the church security team.

2009 – A killer with a shotgun entered a Carthage, North Carolina nursing home and killed 8 residents before being wounded and arrested by a single officer with his duty pistol.

2012 – Vic Stacy, a 66-year-old resident of a Texas trailer park, with no military or police background, shot an active shooter who was shooting at police with a rifle. Stacy made a 56 yard kill with his 357 Magnum revolver.

2015 – Garland Texas, Officer Gregory Stevens naturalized two terrorists with rifles as they exited their vehicle to attack an art exhibition, doing so with only his handgun.

2019 – A killer with a shotgun attacked the Church of Christ Church in Texas, killing two people, then being stopped by 71-year-old Jack Wilson, who made a single shot to the killer’s head.

2021 – Heroic armed citizen Johnny Hurley killed an attacker with a rifle who was killing police officers in Colorado, doing so with his carry pistol.

2022 – Eli Dickens stopped a mass killing in an Indiana mall. He fired the first 4 rounds from 40 yards away, two of the four rounds hit, he then closed the distance to fire another 6 rounds, killing the rifle-armed attacker.

So, yes, it can be done. And, bear in mind, these are only examples of handgun armed defenders topping incidents that are officially labeled mass shootings. There are many more incidents that never make the main-stream news because the rampage is stopped before innocent people die. Here are two examples of that:

2022 – A woman in Charleston, West Virginia, killed a rifle-armed attacker at a graduation party with her concealed handgun, right after he began shooting, preventing any innocents from being hurt. Ironically, this happened only two days after the Uvalde School attack. I bet not many of you heard about this incident.

2023 – Las Vegas Turnberry Towers, a rifle-wielding attacker in armor and a helmet shot out the front glass and entered the lobby of the facility, but was killed by a security guard with a handgun, immediately. I bet you did not hear about that one either.

Stopping active killers who are armed with rifles, when armed only with a handgun yourself, is a very intimidating notion. However, it has been done many times. The success rate of doing so is astronomically high. Even though you are at a disadvantage pertaining to weaponry, you have a tremendous advantage, tactically. While the killer is looking at many helpless victims, whom he presumes will not be able to fight back, he is most likely to not even notice the armed citizen who maneuvers to a position of advantage and takes him out. He will be on a rampage, trying to murder innocents, while you lock in on him, get your bearings, and put an end to it.

Yes, it is a scary proposition, but it has been done many times, and it will be done again. Practice with your handgun, it is the gun that you will use if you find yourself in such a circumstance, and just as those before you have won, you will too. Instead of the next headline where we read about many innocent lives lost, let’s have the next headline where a single scumbag gets wheeled out in a bag.

Stay armed at all times possible and have your head on a swivel. Carry on and stay safe.

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