In movies and on the TV, it is common to see gun users get very close to the bad guy, often placing the gun against the bad guy’s body.  While I hope that neither I nor anyone who reads this article ever has to use a gun in self defense, properly using the gun in such a situation is vital.  Those who defend themselves using a gun should keep their distance from the criminal for a few reasons:

Keep your distance to avoid having the gun taken away by the criminal

When defending yourself, getting too close to the criminal can allow the criminal to grab the gun and use it against you.   Your gun will work just as well from across the room as it will when 6″ from the criminal, so keep your distance.

Keep your distance to help prevent being injured by the criminal’s own weapon

Criminals are often armed, and even if they are unarmed, they can still kill with their bare hands.  Keeping your distance when defending yourself makes the criminal unable to effectively use their fists, knives, crowbars, etc.  Even if the criminal is armed with a gun, a well trained citizens who is defending themselves may still gain an advantage, relative to the less skillful criminal.  This is because it takes more skill to hit a target at a distance, then when that target is up close.

Don’t press a gun against the criminal

A pistol is said to be “in battery” when its action is closed and it is ready to fire.  A pistol is “out of battery” when the action is not fully closed, and the pistol is therefore not ready to fire.  Nowadays, high quality pistols will have a safety mechanism that prevents them from firing if out of battery, as firing in this condition can cause the pistol to explode, injuring the shooter and damaging the pistol.  Pistols can be pushed out of battery if the front of the pistol is pressed against an object, such as a criminal’s body, causing the slide to retract slightly.  Under the best conditions, the pistol just won’t fire when the trigger is pulled.  Under the worst conditions, the pistol will fire, but the partially open action will fail to contain the hot gases from the burning gun powder, resulting in an explosion, which is the last thing a person who is defending themselves needs.

Remember, guns are ranged weapons, and as such their biggest advantage is that they work from a distance.  Don’t give away this advantage by getting too close to a criminal when defending yourself.