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When Deadly Force is Necessary

Vehicular ambush has many "postulated sequence or development of events" that cannot all be thought of and discussed here. Use your imagination and develop some of your own. If you develop some good vehicle survival tactics, please share it with us so we can all benefit from it.

The Bailout

What is Bail Out?

As defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary a bail out is: 1. to parachute from an aircraft ; :2. to abandon a harmful or difficult situation; also : leave, depart.

As Self-DefenseThoughts author, I prefer to use "BAILOUT" - a single word. It's almost similar to #2 above with a little difference, and I define It is an evasive technique to survive a deadly "point blank range" ambush at 4 to 10 ft. distance while you are driving, or as a front seat car passenger: This is carried out by (1) pulling the front seat's "backrest angle adjustment lever", (2) pushing the backrest with your back while (3) moving your head closer to the car's side without losing sight of your attacker and (4) flipping your gun's covering cloth and acquiring your loaded and "unholstered" weapon. This is a simultaneous "four-action" movement that can be easily learned. Practice it frequently especially if you just bought a new car. See the simulated pictures.

1. Please take note that the bailout is simply an evasive technique; it may or may not work depending on the situation. It may have some value or no value at all if there are better alternatives. Practice and simulate it by using two (2) toy pistols shooting suction cup arrows in order to have a good grasp on how it could possibly save your life. Practice this with the car window/s open and wear protective glasses even if you are just shooting suction cup arrows.
2. The assassin may come from the rear, in front of the car, or walks or drives a motorcycle directly towards you on either the left or right side of the car. The greatest danger is along blind narrow street intersections as shown in CCTV-2 below. ALWAYS BEWARE OF BLIND STREET INTERSECTIONS!
3. Study your maneuver if you are the armed driver and you have a front seat passenger; or if you are the armed passenger. Remember, the life of the people inside the car is as precious as yours or probably more precious than yours.

1"Point-blank range is any distance over which the trajectory of a given projectile fired from a given weapon remains sufficiently flat that one can strike a target by firing at it directly. Point-blank range will vary by a weapon's external ballistics characteristics and target chosen. A weapon with a flatter trajectory will permit a longer maximum point-blank range for a given target size, while a larger target will allow a longer point-blank range for a given weapon.[1]" - Wikipedia

In whatever car ambush situation, it is best for your to escape

Surviving a deadly close range attack while inside your car requires but not limited to the following:

1. Your training in situational awareness as covered in the Vigilance Pays page

Self-defense instructors say that when you train, the subconscious mind is likewise trained and, most importantly, being PROGRAMMED! Experts say that the programmed subconscious mind takes over the conscious mind in an extreme life or death situation; probably why some people who got into deadly confrontation cannot remember the sequence of events after the fight. Thus. my logical conclusion is: if you train without taking a cover while shooting at 3 silhouette targets, l think that is what your subconscious will do in a real fight - where one or two of your three opponents may be armed with handguns!

One hand no sights training

One hand no gun sight used training helps a lot

Img. 1 - This is a rapid fire training with one hand @ 5meters. Firing rate is probably 2 rds/sec; 9 out of 12 hit the vital chest area. Practice both your left and right hand. Weapon: S&W M&P9c. Always wear protective glasses. I forgot to wear mine and I was reprimanded for that by the range officer taking the picture. :-) A big sorry for that!

View larger image here

2. Train with your right and left hand

Experts strongly recommend that you train with your left and right hand and be able to hit with one hand a target 3 to 5 meters away without using the gun's sights. Some shooters can accurately hit a target board's head area at 10 meters or more, using their left or right hand and without using the gun's sights (some shooters call it "muzzle alignment", not shooting from the hips, and I prefer to use their definition here. See Img. 1), HOWEVER, THESE SAME EXPERTS RECOMMEND THAT YOU USE YOUR TWO HANDS AND THE GUN'S SIGHTS EVEN AT 2 TO 3 METERS DISTANCE - IF YOU POSSIBLY CAN - IN A DEADLY LIFE AND DEATH SITUATION.

Please take note, too, that your gun skill DIMINISHES with time and it is for this reason that you must train with your firearm/s a minimum of at least 2 to 3 times a year.

Remember, too, that you are an armed person and you must be sure your hands, and if possible your whole body, have enough strength to handle the weapon's recoil especially the big bores and the stress connected with the fight. You must have some strengthening exercises for both your left and your right hands at a minimum of at least 10-15 minutes three times a week. Use a light dumbbell, or if you are too lazy to exercise with that dumbbell, use a tennis ball by continually squeezing it while watching television.

An attack on the making

Assasin walks to his intended target

Img 2 - An assassin walks toward his intended target.

My preference is to massage my wife's aging legs and thighs in the same manner that I use the tennis ball for muscle toning practice; and believe me, my lovely wife is so happy about it. :-)

3. A good amount of luck.

There are events where the ambush victim survives and still able to drive after the first volley of fire. If you are hit don't lose courage and drive out of the area as soon as possible.

Your car is a weapon and you can run over assassins blocking your escape. "Don't avoid them as you might ditch your car and be unable to escape." Avoid hitting your car's front bumper on anything that will cause the air bags to deploy and stall the engine for about 2 minutes or more.

Car manufacturers have this safety feature installed in case fuel has spilled out during an accident and might cause a fire if the vehicle is started. Just drive forward, if possible with screeching tires, and run them down or sideswipe them in case they are on a motorcycle. Screeching tires deliver a "screeching" message to your attacker/s. Please see the CCTV-1 below where a young driver saved his life, his businesswoman mother and that of their household help (she was wounded but not seriously) by sideswiping the riding in tandem motorcycle assassins.

4. Divine intervention. That's your concern, folks.

The Bailout Technique

The "bailout" technique I recommend for you to practice is not difficult to learn. Your mastery of this evasive maneuver can increase your chance of survival if you have recognized an oncoming attack 2 to 3 "precious" seconds before the assassin or assassins execute their attack. I refuse to say by how much the bailout technique can increase your chance of surviving a deadly close range car ambush; because this maneuver depends much on your physical fitness, shooting skill, your state of awareness, the time you devote to your practice and the efficiency by which you can carry out the technique.

From Img 2, you may not have the slightest idea that an attack on your person is about to happen, even if you have seen him approaching your car. But if your subconscious is constantly aware of what is going on around you (Condition Yellow) it might have alerted you that this person is wearing a jacket in a warm weather. The subconscious mind of alert people who are well trained in situational awareness won't pass this as nothing; and like a machine in auto mode, their subconscious mind switches them from Condition Yellow to Condition Orange (focused alert) then to Condition Red (fight imminent) when they have determined that there is indeed a very real threat to their lives.

Intended victim noted something is out of the ordinary...

Alertnes minimizes danger

Img 3 - Your training in situational awareness conditions your subconscious, and like in auto mode, it should have alerted you that this person is wearing a jacket in a hot climate. View large image here

Keep your eyes fixed at the suspicious person approaching your car. From Img 4, as the assassin clears his jacket, you should have instinctively drawn your weapon lying on your right side as shown in Img-6.

Note: Do the following when you are under threat or in an area where deadly criminals may just be roaming around and have that "eerie" feeling about your safety. Remember "it is better to be paranoid than dead."

The weapon lying beside you should be chamber loaded and ready to fire in the event of an emergency. Your gun must always be out of the holster, cocked and locked ("Condition 1" of Jeff Cooper's Firearm Conditions of Readiness), if you are using a 1911, and covered by a cloth big enough to conceal it. In the simulation pictures, I used a standard size orange colored micro fiber car cleaning cloth. The weapon should be out of the holster, since drawing your weapon from the holster will take you about a second or more to do so; and in a deadly surprise attack, that 1 second is so precious.

Whether you are a left handed or right handed person, the gun should be on your left side if you are sitting on the right side of the vehicle, and your firing hand should be your left hand. And if you are sitting on the left side of the vehicle the gun should be on your right side, and your firing hand is your right hand. This is necessary so you won't have to twist your body - awkwardly - whether the attack is coming from the left or from the right side of the vehicle. Practice this to see what I mean.
Note:: You might have difficulty disengaging the thumb safety of a 1911 pistol with your left hand if you are right-handed, and this will cost you some precious second/s in an emergency. To overcome this, just leave the thumb safety down or off ("Condition 0" of Jeff Cooper's Firearm Conditions of Readiness). This is still safe considering that many modern pistols have no thumb safeties. 1911, at least, still have that grip safety. Take care, 1911 pistols have shorter trigger slack compared to Glocks or other striker fired pistols. Please Google the difference between trigger slack and trigger creep. Make a research, too about the several trigger characteristics of various pistols.

The assassin draws his gun

Assasin draws his weapon as he come near his intended victim

Img 4 - If you are alert, this assassin's action of clearing his jacket must have alerted you to draw your ready to fire unholstered. pistol on your left side. See Img 3.

It is for this reason that you should practice both your "strong hand" and your "weak hand" without using your sights as what was emphasized above. Today, the weak hand is called "support hand" by experts because of the negative connotation of the term "weak hand".

The bailout simultaneous 4-action evasive maneuver

1. Pull the backrest seat angle adjustment lever
2. ...and push the backrest with your back then releash the lever. Be sure where exactly the seat angle adjustment lever is located.
3. Move your head and your body closer to the car's sidings without losing your sight picture of the attacker. Sorry, this was not emphasized well in the PhotoShopped image.
Note: The sides of the car provide some protection: the door post and the window mechanism. The steel body of modern cars however, provides minimal or no protection at all because they are now made of thin metal gauges.
4. Flip away the cloth covering your gun, get your gun and...


Note: "SHOOT!" is not part of the simultaneous 4-action "bailout" evasive maneuver.

The criminal aims his gun at you...

Assasin aims his weapon

Img 5 - Please see the banner above for the intended victim's response.

Divine Intervention works, read the proof!

Let's call my friend "John" to protect his identity. This case might still be under investigation and I don't have the freedom to divulge some details of this incident. This is my friend's near tragic circumstance that happened to him about 2 years ago as of this writing (Oct. 2016).

John is a very close friend of mine and we have our weekly casual drinking every Fridays or Thursdays or whenever the next day is a free day for him and me. We still have this activity until now.

John is a lawyer, and his job is to file graft cases upon recommendation of his employer's investigation team who found sufficient cause/s to file corruption charges against employees who have committed the offense.

John and I talked about his job and my past assignments as an electrical engineer whenever we have our casual drinks. We talked, too, about security matters and sometimes about guns including some of the articles I wrote in this website.

John made a habit of reading the "Our Daily Bread" before he leaves for work. As my wife was given so many of this booklets to be given to friends and relatives, there were some I left for myself but I was not able to read them all. I instead gave the booklets to John knowing how much he loves reading it.

A little about myself:

As an electrical power systems design and planning engineer, I was assigned to conduct air-sea-land surveys of proposed small power plant projects and power barges mooring sites in rebel-infested areas in Mindanao in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s before and after the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) was established in August 1, 1989. That assignment gave me much experience dealing with different kinds of people from the highest government officials of the land and some commanders of MNLF, a secessionist group. Some became my friends. I made a good rapport among local folks, too, Muslims and Christians alike.

For a total of more than 3 months, we used the utility firm’s helicopter and plane (Islander) in our surveys. Our helicopter pilot, as a precaution, always flew just above the coconut trees since flying more than that might make us an ideal flying object for target practice.

Your gun is on the ready...

Alert intended victim draws his pistol

Img 6 - If you are alert, this assassin's action of clearing his jacket must have alerted you to draw your unholstered, chamber loaded pistol on your right side. See Img 4.

View large image here

We were 4 in all, me, a mechanical engineer, a civil engineer and a geologist. When the utility firm’s plane was not available, we were authorized to charter one where a helicopter is not practical to use.

I always had my .45 with me, just in case, but I knew that the .45’s practical use is only for petty criminals, not for fighting a rebel or rebels armed with automatic high-powered rifles.

Whenever we need to use the helicopter for our island hopping, a ranking commander of MNLF whom I was able to befriend, instructed me to approach any MNLF soldier, prefereably one carrying a radio, and show him the calling card he gave me. He instructed me to brief the MNLF soldier on the description, color and body number of our helicopter. My ranking MNLF friend had given me his calling card just in case I needed to call him when we needed help or in case we were into some kind of trouble.That was such a kind and wonderful gesture I'll never forget!

That’s the way, folks, how I acquired some wisdom dealing with all classes of people in my country, and it could be summed in only one word: RESPECT.

A shooting buddy was not so lucky

My helicopter pilot-friend and shooting buddy working in another government agency was not so lucky. His helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade while they were flying near a seashore. His body and that of his passengers were never recovered as the sea where they crashed and sunk was more than 300 meters deep. The Philippines had no equipment to go that deep, the U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay could have helped, but during that time, the U.S facility had just been turned over to the Philippine government.

Here are the images of my friend's deadly ambush. This happened just less than 2 years ago as of Oct. 2016.

Img-1: The right window of the Toyota Innova was the first point of attack. Img-2: These are not bullet entry points but bullet exit holes at the driver's side rear window. The gunmen moved from the right side near the headlight while simultaneously firing at the car's driver's seat through the car's windshield unaware that John had already left the car. The rear window had 8 bullet "exit" holes as shown above. What is not shown are bullet holes at the rear right side door steel frame below that rear right side window. Img-3: A jacketed hollow point(?) jacket that got stripped out of the bullet after it, probably, tangentially hit a portion of the car's steel frame. The jacket was recovered after the surgery. What is not shown are pictures of the windshield and the car's hood bullet entry points. They were 5. Two at the left side and another two at the right side and one that hit the hood that exited at the driver's seat. John suspected it was the bullet that was stripped of its jacket that hit his right shoulder (deltoids) as he duckerd down to make his escape. The bullet that was stripped of its jacket was never recovered.

I cannot make any analysis on the incident regarding bullet trajectories, what position the gunman was while still peppering the car with bullets unaware that John had already left the car, etc., since a report had already been submitted by expert police crime investigators.

Img-1 - Credit: ABS-CBN News; Img-2 - Credit: GMA News; Img-3 - Is an image taken by John's wife with her cellphone after his surgery. The bullet jacket was later surrendered by the hospital to investigating police officers.

How my friend survived a deadly car ambush

John’s tactics:

- While stopping at a red light he positions the driver side of his car with another vehicle without advancing much as the other driver might get offended. He leaves very little space so no person or motorcycle assassin can squeeze in to shoot him. He is, however, vulnerable to attack on the right side and at the car's windshield.
- He always makes sure that the car interior dome light will always be off whenever he opens the door at nighttime.

John’s account:

We celebrated John’s birthday in his home, and on the following day, he celebrated his birthday with his friends and office mates in a restaurant/bar. They went home past 12:00 midnight. He was alone in his car as all his friends have their own cars.

"I stopped at a red light positioning my car close enough to the SUV on my left side as was my usual practice when a man riding a motorcycle suddenly appeared and stopped just past the center of my car's right window. He drew a gun when our eyes met and shot me several times. I could actually see the bright muzzle flashes of his gun as he shot me. I ducked down, opened my car's door while the assassin continued to fire. It looks like he did not see me when I ducked down as it was dark inside my car (the car was lightly tinted - ed.) I opened the door, slowly closed it and crept outside. I jumped and took cover at the opposite road’s center island that was about 2.5ft high. I picked up a big stone with the intention of using it in case the gunman found where I was.

From where I hid, I can see how the assassin continued shooting the car, moving to the right headlight towards the left side while shooting at the driver's seat through the windshield. Looks like he was unaware I had already left the vehicle. The assassin, probably ran out of ammunition, mounted his motorcycle and left.

I knew that I was hit when I saw the blood oozing out of my right shoulder stained my white shirt. I boarded my car and drove myself to a hospital nearby.

By the way, the SUV at my left side sped away when the shooting started. It must have sustained some bullet holes too.

It was terrible, my friend, and my biggest fear was the assassin might reload and hunt me down if he did not see me inside my car and finish me off if he found me. Our great God really did save me that day..."

Responding policemen were amazed on how John survived the attack. The driver’s seat backrest and headrest were full of bullet holes. A policeman commented that as if "there was an invisible wall that protected John from the volley of fire".

John, upon reading what I have written in "The Investigation" below, wanted me to include the following:

"When our eyes met and the gunman drew his weapon, I saw the gunman firing directly at my face but what I can’t understand was why the right front passenger seat where no one was sitting had more bullet holes than the driver’s seat. My first thought was the assassin never intended to kill me but the presence of bullet holes at driver seat's headrest and backrest proved otherwise."

The investigation

- There were 13 slugs recovered by the police investigators inside and outside the vehicle. The slugs recovered outside must have hit the concrete center island as they were deformed. Another 3 were recovered while the car was being body repaired. That's a total of 16 slugs all in all. The shooter must have used a double stack 17+1 .45.
- John had no idea when he was hit on his right shoulder (deltoids): in the first volley fire, or when he instinctively ducked down the car’s floor while opening the door and slowly closing it as he escaped. Wow, what presence of mind!
- The windshield had 4 bullet entry points, 2 at the upper right and 2 at the driver's seat side at the level of the headrest. The car's hood got one which exited at the drivers seat.
- There were no CCTV's within the immediate vicinity to aid in the investigation.
- The jacket did not penetrate deep enough to cause bone injury probably because it did not have enough weight or mass to penetrate and inflict extensive tissue or bone damage.

Home Invasion: A hot cup of coffee saved a whole family’s lives.

Let’s call my friend Richard to protect his identity. Richard is a shooting buddy and a close friend. We worked in the same company.

This near-tragic incident happened to him about 15 years ago. I had already resigned from the company we were both employed in at that time. I don’t know where he is now because I learned that he left the company and worked abroad. He might still be working abroad or migrated to a country where he could land a high-paying job as a telecom engineer.

I noted during our practice session/s before a competition that the ammo he used were full power loads like me. I asked him why, and his reply was “I joined the gun club not to win trophies but to survive in a deadly life or death situation.” I said same here, Richard.

Here is his account of the incident:

“It was Monday and I was finishing my cup of coffee before I leave for work at around 6:30AM. As my children were about to take their breakfast, my wife went to the kitchen to get the foods prepared for the kids

To my surprise and horror, my wife walked in from the kitchen with a man holding a bolo on her neck with his right hand while restraining my wife with his left hand. Two of his cohorts followed her. The second one carried a knife while the third one carried a gun. The man carrying a bolo and the one carrying a knife herded my wife and kids to the bathroom while the man carrying a pistol hit the back of my head with the gun’s muzzle while uttering his chilling threats and demands.

There was no more time for me to think but I know that they are not going to spare our lives since they did not even try to conceal their identities by wearing masks.

In an instant, I slightly looked backward while leaning my head to the left and splashed the hot coffee to the intruder’s face. I don't know what his reaction was if he stepped back and tried to clear his eyes since I did not even try to look back. Probably he was not even aware that I stood up and ran. My mind was completely blank and it's probably only my instinct that made me run to our bedroom located just a few steps away to get my Browning Super 38 (same look as the standard Colt 1911 - ed) in an unlocked cabinet drawer, picked up one of my three fully loaded magazines at the top of the cabinet, quickly loaded my pistol, aimed it at the intruder’s face and fired while he was still trying to raise his pistol. He was hit on the forehead, he dropped down, and to my belief, he instantly died. His two cohorts saw what happened and ran out of the house.

Police investigators were on the scene in probably less than 30 minutes. I narrated to them what happened. They recovered the intruder’s gun. It was a fully loaded unfired pistol which I did not even care to look at since I was still in a state of shock, shock at the thought that I just killed a man. The investigators took photographs of the intruder’s body. The investigators asked me why I did not shoot the intruders armed with a bolo and a knife while they were fleeing. I simply said I don’t know; I really did not know. What I'm aware of was my wife and kids were safe as the criminals did not even have enough time to shove them into the bathroom.

The aftermath

- Richard was charged with homicide but was cleared of any criminal liability by the court in less than one year.
- Concerned relatives and friends gifted Richard 3 brand new guns. They advised him to hide the guns at places around the house where only he and his wife know just in case cohorts or relatives of the dead man come back to avenge his death.

CCTV footages


A young man's presence of mind saved his life, the life of his businesswoman mother and their household help. Video Credit: ABS CBN News


Fatal shooting of a police officer caught on CCTV camera.

Video Credit: Mark Pere Madrona


A policeman hesitated to shoot and was stabbed 3X attempting to arrest an armed man. He managed to shoot and killed the man. Video Credit:GMA News

A policeman's "hesitation to kill" almost cost him his life

What we have written almost 2 years ago about being confronted by a man with a knife or a bolo happened again last Sept. 17, 2017. Please read below:

From CCTV-3 above, policemen were hunting for the man in the video who was reported to be roaming around with a drawn knife. One of the policeman found him, drew his gun and ordered the man to surrender. The man instead lunged at him to stab him. The policeman stepped back 3 or 4 times to avoid him until he tripped down and was stabbed 3 times by the man. Wounded, it was only the policeman's presence of mind that made him able to kick the man away on top of him enabling the policeman to shoot and kill the man. See CCTV-3

A quote from our Unarmed Defense page: “Addenda to Note-2: I know you don't want to kill a man, all God-fearing men do. But when you are confronted with a situation described above, stepping back will NEVER increase the distance between you and your attacker even if you backpedal 10 to 20 meters or more.

Please click this link to read our full article.