MARCH 29, 2018

Skill Set: Custody

In my wire feature last week, I made a mistake.  From the last sentence of the fourth paragraph: “Normally a concealed carry holder does need or want to hold a threat or attempt to take them into custody.”  This should have read that a concealed carry holder does not need to hold a threat or attempt to take them into custody.  A few readers caught this mistake in my final edit, but for those that didn’t I need to explain.

Unless it’s required for your job you do not try to detain a threat.  Attempting this puts you into a dangerous situation.  The longer you’re around a threat the greater the chances that something bad will happen.

The threat is down.  This doesn’t mean they are out of the fight.  The body can take an enormous amount of punishment and still keep ticking.  When mind and spirit are willing, it’s amazing what an injured person can achieve.  There are numerous documented incidents where threats were down, playing opossum, waiting for an opportunity – when they will have the advantage - to get back into the fight.

A downed threat must be watched constantly.  You can’t take your eyes off them, even for a moment.  Hard to do, even under the best conditions.  All they have to do is wait for you to become distracted for a fraction of a second; this is their window to begin another attack.  And this time they already know you’re ready and willing to engage them, so there won’t be any hesitation on their part.  Maybe they are out of the fight, but their friends are not happy with your actions.  It’s difficult to deal with one threat.  It’s exponentially harder to deal with multiple threats.

Attempting to hold an uninjured threat is even more dangerous.  Physically they are one hundred percent capable of fighting.  Mentally? You have no idea what they’re thinking.  They are complying with your verbal commands, but this may be in order to lull you into a false sense of security.  And again, all they have to do is wait for the right time to attack.  Bad guys study, learn and practice these type skills, often more than the good guys.  Never underestimate the threat; don’t take any chances.

What are your options?  You leave, tactically retreating to a safer location.  Or, you force them to leave, watching them carefully in case they change their mind.  Again, your job is not to take them into custody or hold them for law enforcement.  Leave or go to a safer location, contacting the authorities as soon as possible to provide them with a good description of the threat.

Keep in mind every situation is different.  Logic always applies.  As always the difficult thing is making hard decisions in a short amount of time.  Thinking about these matters in advance will prepare you for the future.

Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, located in northern Alabama.  He is the author of “The Book of Two Guns” - writes for several firearms/tactical publications, and is featured on GunTalk’s DVD, “Fighting With The 1911 -  McKee’s new book, AR-15 Skills and Drills, is available off Shootrite’s website: