Has anyone here ever been in a gunfight?

Here, I am specifically referring to fights where both sides shot or could shoot.

I have a difficult time imagining what it feels like since it is so out of my experiences and I am not willing to try it out just to find out.

So, can anyone share? Does it get easier in some ways after the first few times?

What do you mean by “could shoot”. About 2 years ago my store was held up, at gun point. I retrieved a gun from my desk, loaded it, and stayed put. The robber had no idea I was even in the building, but I could see him. We both could shoot, but neither did. The whole thing was over in 30 seconds. The scariest 30 seconds of my life (and probably not anywhere near as scary as it was for my cashier). It was probably 2 hours before my heart rate was back to normal. But I wouldn’t call that a gunfight.

I do have a friend, a retired sheriff’s deputy, that was in a ‘real’ gun fight. To the best of my knowledge, in all his years he was only in that one. I don’t know how many times he was shot at or shot at someone else, but it sounds like that was the only time there was multiple shots being exchanged back and forth.

I hadn’t thought of such a situation but that’s pretty interesting too.

Did you notice anything particular about your perceptions? Did things seem louder than usual or less loud? How about sight and the sense of touch?

What thoughts and emotions did you have during the incident? There was fear as you mentioned. Any others?

How good were your hand-eye coordination? Were you clumsy in your movements?

Everything went out the fucking window. I hung up on 911 three times. :smack:

Called them “I’m at [store] we’re getting robbed” click.
They called back (I have called ID). “We’re getting robbed, just get here”
I think it happened at least once more.

Of course I know better, but I was pretty panicked then. After they guy left and I came out of the office I sent one of my employees out the back door to see what kind of car he left in and get the plates. Well, I tried to, he looked like he was made out of stone. I was going to go, but the cops where already out front.

I later realized I should have stayed on the phone, it would have made things easier and would have resulted in not having two cops with AR-15s pointed at my front door not knowing what was going on. But now I feel like I have a special relationship with those two cops as I walked out towards them with my hands up in the air to let them know that everything was over and they could come in.

Not a gunfight, but I once did walk out into a ring of many (15?) sheriffs pointing their weapons at me, assuming I was a robbery suspect. It was a little dark. It was not until the point cop cleared me and I heard the rattle of safeties going on that I realized just how many muzzles were tracking me.

Yes. Time slows down.

Was in a situation working Armored where I had my gun drawn while sitting in the truck, ready to kick my door open into the guy walking past it while he and his buddy were walking up on my buddy (who also drew his weapon) with very clear and obvious intent to rob him. The minute he pulled the gun, they paused, the one guy looked up to see me with gun out. They paused, went :eek: and started making excuses for how they were just looking for the front door of the store. Which they had walked straight past to get to us.

Yeah, things slow down a lot.

Same thing happened when the drugged out guy was trying to break down my back door knowing I was there and armed.

But no, never fired on anyone, so never in an active gunfight.

My armored co-workers would act like badasses, carrying large caliber weapons and as much ammo as possible. They would smirk at my 9mm (puny!) and the single clip I would carry, and make noises about wanting to be able to handle any firefight. So I asked the guy who had celebrated his 40th year with the company “When was the last time someone fired their weapon in the line of duty?” He opined that someone had shot a dog back in the 70’s. :slight_smile:

It just isn’t anywhere near as common as TV cop shows make it out to be.

My papa was a postmaster in a very small, country Post Office. One day a guy walked in and pointed a gun. My dad cooperated sensibly: gave the guy the cash and money-order machine. The guy left, and walked around the building to where he’d parked his car.

My dad had picked up his .45 revolver and was tracking the guy through the windows. He had every excellent opportunity to blow the guy’s head right off.

He didn’t. He felt it was too extreme. At that point, he wasn’t in danger, so couldn’t claim self-defense.

But then he blew it, ran outside, and fired six shots at the crook’s car as it was driving off! Adrenaline got the better of him, and he just had to do something. Just like a scene in an Old West movie. He said that he simply lost control.

Didn’t do any damage. The county sheriffs fussed at him some, but ended up not charging him. So…that was my dad’s “gunfight.”

Pretty much everyone said he did the right thing by not killing the perp, except for one of the uncles who lambasted him for being a wuss. “Should’a shot the s.o.b.”

Does combat count as a “shootout”?

Back in my long long ago days as a Hell’s Angels wife, I heard one from the ladies room. Pop pop pop. Didn’t track it at first, then ran out, checked the door, and saw all “my” guys throwing their guns in my car. And shouting at me to get the hell out of there. Very common for the “old ladies” to hold the weapons. I did.

That would be a great “ask the” thread on it’s own.

No it doesn’t.

Did you remember to tell him, “That’s it, you’re done?” :dubious:

It doesn’t slow down so much as distort. Enormous attention spikes make certain aspects seem to last forever, and certain stimuli can be overwhelming. A full-body heartbeat seems to go on and on and attempts to swallow with a suddenly closed throat becomes an excruciatingly long process. Some things disappear. A knee on gravelly pavement that would otherwise hurt is a distant, almost cold sensation. There’s an emptiness in your head that’s filled with a jarringly loud string of singular thoughts. They’re not well sorted, and their staccato urgency makes it seem like little else is happening.

Yet thirty seconds still passes at the same rate. At the end, when the flood of thoughts and shoved-aside awarenesses wash back over you and you relive those thirty seconds from each newly returned vantage point, that time seems … different.

I assume that combat training is geared towards minimizing and/or desensitizing a person to these effects.

I get it. Like when Einstein proved the theory of relativity by taking a speed of light rocket for what was to him a three-hour tour to space, but when he came back, everyone had died and the monkeys took over because time is relative.


Oh, come on. Bullet time? OK, Neo, whatever you say.

Hey, I think I saw that movie.

I’ve never been shot at, or shot at anyone, but I’ve been in a couple of really tense situations where someone was thinking about shooting at me, or there was a real risk of being caught in a gunfight. The one that stands out is a guy with an AK47 screaming at me in Arabic in Iraq in 2003. I don’t speak Arabic, but I assume he was unhappy with the invasion of his homeland and saw me as a representative of everything that was wrong in the world. I also have been driving down the road when mortars landed near our car, and close to carbombs going off. I wasn’t the target, just wrong place, wrong time. I wouldn’t say that time slowed down, but it was more like I was fully awake in a way that gave me laser like focus. I’d go from kind of half focused on things like you do in life, to “I need to really think about my actions here and think about what I do next.” I kind of picture every valve in my body suddenly flipping to the full bore Open position.

Sure. Do I take it from your name that you were in the 75th? I’m curious to know if the cognitive and emotional response varies with familiarity.

“Bullet time” is real, but not necessarily slowed. Intensely, exquisitely focused. Everything that isn’t necessary to your own perception of your survival is shut down, so you are distinctly aware of every little detail of all of the important bits. It’s hard to describe.

I’ve never been in a gunfight of any sort, but have experienced that intense focus twice.

My husband has been in a situation where his military unit was ambushed, and has been in and handful of high-speed chases, plus one shooting situation as a law enforcement officer. In each case, he agrees that the perception of time is almost meaningless - your brain is too busy with trying to survive for “time” to have much meaning.

And to answer the OP as best I can, based on my conversations with trustworthy people: No. It doesn’t get easier. Perhaps more “routine,” as in a combat situation, or working a real-life scenario that one has trained for, but normal people don’t seem to find it easy to shoot at another human. Apparently, though, it can be a little bit satisfying if it’s a situation where one is protecting a friend/colleague/innocent bystander. But not easy.