Video Lesson: Man Pulls Gun at Sandwich Shop – Marc MacYoung


Okay, this first came across my feed with wailing and gnashing of teeth over racism and how an armed citizen is such a danger to innocent civilians, yada, yada, yada. Take racism and gun control agendas and set them aside. There are important — and gawds how I hate this term — tactical lessons to be learned here.

Furthermore, there are now rumors this is an off duty cop in Rio de Janeiro. In case you don’t know what that means, Rio is going through a little problem of gangs assassinating off duty cops. As in 100 dead cops so far, not in the whole country… the city. From the videos I’ve seen, a couple of gun men just walk up, without a word, kill the cop and then run. From standing there minding your own business to dead on the ground in under 10 seconds. So, that’s another wrinkle in the subject and quite frankly — unless you’re a cop in Brazil — not something that applies to you.

However, what I’d like to do is take this out of those contexts and look at applying some of the things that happened in this video to your situation. When it comes to learning what NOT to do, that is where we can benefit from watching this three ring circus of stupidity.

First, look at the construction and layout. White shirt is cornered. Let’s assume it’s his wife with the kid. She’s standing next to him. White shirt stays in the corner and doesn’t order wife away. Now IF hoodie guy was about to pull a gun and start blasting, what would be the likely outcome of that positioning? Yeah…

FYI I loathe the tacti-douche co-opting of military specific terms like situation awareness and OODA loop. Often these add to the Frank Frazettta-fantasy-pose- protecting-your-loved-ones so many people seem to have about self-defense. Having said that, a little understanding would not have hurt this situation.

It’s plain common sense. If someone wants to kill you and the bullets are coming AT you, where do you want your loved ones? This especially if you’re pulling your gun and shooting back. Because I guarantee you, shooting at armed people draws fire to your location.

If you are in a situation where you think you might have to draw your gun or are about to, don’t forget “Hey Honey, could you go stand over there?” It can be better than flowers to keep your wife and kid from eating a bullet meant for you.

Moving on, let’s talk about spouse wrangling 101 for gunslingers.

Back in the day I was wound up pretty tight. For the first years of our relationship my wife-to-be thought I was such a gentleman for pulling a chair out for her in restaurants etc. Then she realized I was doing it so I could take the seat with my back to the wall. When she noticed that, she also spotted how many times I stood with her but in a manner that I could see the room while we talked. (What she never noticed is how often I was in a position where I could push her out out of the way and move.) That was because I was just a few months out since the last time someone had tried to kill me.

Even allowing that this was a cop in Rio and gangbangers doing hits, White Shirt wasn’t just stepping on his dick, he was pogosticking on it by focusing on his wife and kid.

So what does this have to do with wifewrangling? Here’s a hint, why didn’t they have an ‘on the clock’ protocol set up. It’s kind of important if you’re in a lifestyle where people are trying to kill you and/or you’re carrying a weapon.

My wife knows when I say “Click” in a certain way, I’m back on the clock. I’ve seen something in the environment that I don’t like and it might be trouble. Both of us know what to do — even if it’s don’t argue if I say “Honey, move back.”

If you watch, he handed the kid off to her in the first two seconds of the video. If he communicated to her that something was up, it doesn’t appear in her body language.

But while we’re talking about body language, his didn’t reflect to well on him or his awareness. (Which we’ll talk about later as I think it’s a big part of why he went from zero to stupid so fast.)

However, when hubby pulled a gun and was moving the guy away, she initially moved away, but then closed the distance again. Then she tried to hide behind and upright table. With a child in her arms!

I don’t know how to say this delicately, so I won’t. If you’re going to be armed and likely to be shot at, you give the wife some pretty clear instructions about what to do. Like “If the shit goes down, you grab the baby and get to the car.”

This is not tactical, it’s practical. Her getting the kid to safety is her priority. (Unless she has the gun in which case it your job.) But if weapons are present, these considerations must be addressed before a situation occurs.


Let me state for the record I think this guy stepped on his dick. Survival in this business is measured by fractions of seconds. Now many people would think this means being faster on the draw. No, that’s not what I am talking about at all. I’m talking about “keeping the runway in front.”

I picked that term up from a pilot friend who was being talked down through the clouds to discover the tower had brought him in halfway down the runway. Realizing he didn’t have enough runway to land, he pulled up and veered away. His response to the towers demand to know why he’d aborted his landing was “I like having the runway in front.”

There are all kinds of small things you do to keep the runway in front. Little subtle movements that will give you more of the most critical component… time.

Keeping an eye on potential trouble gives you time to assess, analyze and come up with better answers. Simply stated if he’d moved to put his butt against the counter he would have had a much better view of all of Hoodie’s actions. Not from a tacti-kool perspective, but from a not fucking up like he did and over reacting.

You sitting comfortably can see Hoodie’s actions weren’t threatening. Because you have a better position. White Shirt wasn’t in a position where he could see what was going on, because he didn’t move into one. So when Hoodie swung back, the gunslinger stupid happened.

Now White Shirt did notice the guy’s behavior and was there are a lot of little subtle things that WS could have done to improve his view and positioning. Not from a gunslinger perspective, but a seeing and knowing what is actually happening instead of thinking he was under attack when he’s not.

Oh and remember that spousal communication? Yeah her being alerted and keeping an eye on the guy would have helped too. Like if the wife is watching and yells “GUN!” you know you have a problem. But if she’s watching and he turns and she doesn’t yell that, then odds are good you don’t have to pull your own gun.

See as staying alive is measured in fractions of seconds in this business so to staying out of the prison showers for doing the stupid. You want as much time as you can have to accurately assess and make good decisions.

In other words, you wan the runway in front.


Then there’s the lack of “back off”/getting ready body language.

I’m not sure if this guy really is a cop. I’ve dealt with cops all around the world and they all have a degree of not afraid to step up to people. It’s part of the job and it’s well… pretty consistent. It’s also pretty good anti-bullying behavior. It’s not a bluff — even when a cop is badge heavy. They’re not thumb twiddlers when it comes to telling people to ease off.

This is perhaps the most squishy of all my points about this situation, but it’s also the very one that would have been most likely to have resolved the situation without numbnuts pulling his gun.

I’m not talking about huffing and puffing and trying to scare the guy off. There is no magic you-just-do-this body language or expression that will cause people to back off.

I’m talking about non-verbal leakage when you’re mentally shifting gears (or have). Often trouble makers pick up on it and realize “Oops, I treed myself a bad’un.” This, even if they don’t completely abandon their plans, then it prompts them to change ’em.

But here’s the important part. Normal people, or individuals who are just being clueless about distance ettiquette often pick up on these signals and back off. It’s simply not worth it to them. Usually people will step back and pretend it didn’t happen. This social pretense is very much a way to avoid violence. (With really thick people, I’ve even growled to get them to step out of my space.)

Option three is the person reacts negatively and escalates. That’s okay too. Because now he/she has clearly demonstrated behavior you can articulate as well as removing any doubt that something isn’t kosher about the situation.

In other words, all of this is intelligence gathering is about what is this person going to do about you making it more difficult to attack you?

That gives you all kinds of more time and more options. Better yet, it usually serves to shut the situation down so you don’t have to pull your gun. That’s a really good thing in the United States because the police frown on you waving a piece around.

About that little frisky frisk…

I’ll let the cops comment on that from a professional standpoint. But I will comment about the idea of doing it if you’re a civilian. DON’T!

Yet how many people who have their CCW (or whatever they call it in your state) would try to do the same?

If White Shirt were a civilian in the states he’d be just stacking charges against him. See that forcing the guy to take steps at gun point? Kidnapping. Honking his dick and grab assing checking for weapons? Sexual assault. Know this is a prosecutor’s wet dream.

But you know what would have really screwed him in US jurisdiction? After pulling the gun, NOBODY left!

Yeah the situation was bad enough for me to pull my gun and threaten to use lethal force, but I still wanted my sammich (Beside I knew my wife wasn’t going to make me one after I did this dumb shit). Oh gee the situation was so dangerous that your wife went over and sat down at a booth. (That’s the clue about no sammich tonight.)

If you EVER get into a situation where you draw a gun and don’t fire WITHDRAW from the location IMMEDIATELY! It may not be enough to save your ass legally, but staying there will hang it. And you just handed the system the rope with the knot already tied.

Withdrawing has become particularly important with the rise of — what I call — ‘plastic berserks’ among the young. A ‘real’ berserk will eat a magazine’s worth of bullets to get you. The threat of counter-force, even death, won’t slow them down. A plastic berserk will present the same roaring charge but will either break off when he spots determined resistance OR– and these rodents are growing in number — never meant to complete the attack. Thing is they stop and are still there… so what do you do?

Well what the prosecutor does is charge you for brandishing your weapon. And he’s going to use the plastic’s breaking off the attack as proof that you over reacted.

Now in this particular case nitwit DID overreact and draw his gun. If he were in the States he’d be hard pressed to articulate why he reasonably believed he was in immediate threat of death of grievous bodily injury with both the video AND the fact that they hung around waiting for their food.


And now I want to talk about talisman thinking.

It’s a REAL common attitude among CCW permit holders. I’m reminded of the old movie “Fright Night” where someone holds up a cross to a vampire and the vamp calmly reaches out and crushes the cross with the comment, “You have to have faith for that to work against me.”

Way too many people think of pulling a gun as a deterrent, not as a weapon. This is talisman thinking. They’re expecting the other person to act like a vampire, hiss, recoil and run away. Great, wave the gun around and you don’t have to use it. They’re at a loss what to do when this doesn’t happen.

If you think the other person is just going to turn and run when you brandish your gun, you’re in deep shit if that doesn’t happen. And it does happen. You just saw it demonstrated by Hoodie-guy. (Which incidentally, him doing what he did is another peak of stupid in this whole situation.)

So how do you conduct yourself with someone after you’ve mistakenly pulled a gun on them? Ms Manners doesn’t cover that in her etiquette books.

Oh gee, think leaving is a good idea?

This does expose a bigger issue about changing circumstances. What do you do with a plastic berserk? Not that Mr. Hoodie was, but he did demonstrate at growing — and disturbing — trend in behavior. That’s the “Oh I’ll just stay here with this guy waving a gun around”

Once again, the DA is going to use the other guy staying there as proof of you over reacting. So LEAVE!

NOTE: Often these add to the Frank Frazettta-fantasy-pose- protecting-your-loved-ones so many people seem to have about self-defense.



  1. Gary Elliott

    “If you think the other person is just going to turn and run when you brandish your gun, you’re in deep shit if that doesn’t happen.”

    Not a big fan of threat displays. When they fail, they REALLY fail.

  2. Here is my interpertation of what Marc is saying:

    1. If your threat assessment is such that you need to carry a gun:

    a. You should understand your Mission.
    b. You should understand how to communicate and deal with your family.
    c. You should understand how to engage in Deterrence & Intelligence Gathering
    d. You should understand how to engage in Positioning
    e. You should understand When to pull your gun.
    f. You should understand How to pull your gun.
    g. You should understand What to do after you pull your gun.
    h. You should understand What to Say after you have pulled and/or used your gun.

    2. If your threat assessment is such that you might need to pull your gun:

    a. Given the opportunity, you should have engaged in Deterence & Gather
    Intelligence prior.
    b. Given the opportunity, you should have created an Evacuation plan.

    3. If your threat assessment is such that you will pull your gun:

    a. Given the opportunity, you should have engaged in Deterence & Gather
    intelligence prior.
    b. Given the opportunity, you should have executed your Family Plan prior
    c. Given the opportunity, you should have obtained Positioning prior.
    d. You should have a Decision Making Criteria for shooting or not shooting.
    e. Given the opportunity, you should execute your Evacuation plan.
    f. You will need to create an Articulation plan.

    4. If your threat assessment is such that you shoot your gun:

    a. Given the opportunity, you should have engaged in Deterence/Gather
    intelligence prior.
    b. Given the opportunity, you should have executed your Family Plan prior
    c. Given the opportunity, you should have obtained Positioning prior.
    d. You should have a Decision Making Criteria for when you stop shooting.
    e. Given the opportunity, you should execute your Evacuation plan.
    f. You will need to create an Articulation plan.

    4. On the other hand, many people make the assumption that:

    a. The Threat will be obvious to themselves and other people.Therefore
    pulling their gun will not be a decision but the only logical response.
    b. After pulling their gun, the Threat will either run away and therefore
    they will not have to shoot him/her, OR the Threat will make an obvious threatening action
    c. and thus shooting him/her will not be a decision but the only logical response AND since the Threat’s actions were so obvious, they will be immediately cleared of any wrong doing by the police.

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