Don't bring a knife to a coffee fight

It’s not exactly easy for me to come up with a humorous way to segue into this post as is my normal routine for dealing with serious topics.  So I guess I’ll just go with the old “damn the torpedos, full speed ahead approach”.

The short version of the story is that on Saturday leaving my office, I was the subject of an attempted mugging by a member of the Indianapolis Choir Boy School of Good Men Who are Only Down on Their Luck.  As I was leaving my office, said altar boy came around the corner of my building to the left into the side parking lot, and as I turned to face him noticed the knife in his right hand.  The Chaplain’s Assistant demanded that we engage in an abbreviated barter process, wherein I would provide my wallet and car keys in exchange for not getting shanktified, which to him probably seemed like a reasonable exchange.

I politely demurred by hurling a cup of hot Starbucks at him while fishing my Beretta Jetfire out of the stupid pocket holster it was riding in.  After taking a face full of Columbia’s most popular legal export and confronted with a counter offer of bullets to his previous barter exchange concept, the young gentlemen decided that discretion was the better part of valor and made all due haste in a westerly direction.

Now, while I did write out the AAR slightly tongue-in-cheek, what happened to me is a deadly serious thing.  I was mugged in broad daylight, not 20 yards from the parking lot of a semi-popular video store.  Two days later, I can look back on this after talking it over with some cop friends and other self-defense types and gather two important take-away lessons that I’ll be remembering for quite some time:

  1. Awareness is king.  Because I heard/saw the guy as he came around the corner, I was not caught completely flat-footed when my world went abruptly pear-shaped.
  2. Action > reaction > passivity.  I was asked later “why did you throw your coffee at him?”  My only reply, and which remains my reply is “seemed like the thing to do at the time” – but from a 10,000 foot view, tossing my coffee had major impact on the encounter which was to switch the initiative from my would be attacker to me.  By throwing my coffee, I was forcing him to react to my actions instead the other way around, which gave me the opportunity to retrieve a better weapon than a cup of coffee.

The moral of the story for me anyway is twofold: keep your head up.  While you can’t be in condition orange or yellow or whatever all the time, there are certain times when it behooves you to keep your head on a swivel.  Secondly, as pdb is fond of saying, “carry your f***ing guns, people!”  It’s impossible for me to know what would have happened had any number of variables gone differently, but one that I’m glad I didn’t have to worry about was “what if I only had that cup of coffee and didn’t have my Beretta with me?”  On Saturday, a .25 in my pocket beat hell out of the 9mm I left sitting on my desk at home.


  1. Imagine what you’d have done to him if you hadn’t been hamstrung by all your gamerfag instincts. They’d still be scraping him out of your teeth.

    The real lesson: If you play gun games, your instincts will be so dulled by sissy rules that your mugger will escape alive.

    Seriously, it sounds like you did great. Wherever he is, I bet he’s wondering what the hell happened! I’m glad you’re OK. Did your pocket holster give you trouble? After the GRPC in St. Louis, which was the longest I’ve ever carried a concealed gun on my person, I’ve been thinking hard about a small snubby .38 with a shrouded hammer in a pocket holster for times when I’m in a CCW state and don’t want to have a 1911 IWB.

  2. How should I know? 🙂

    Man, I just realized that I ambused a guy with a cup of coffee! I’m awesome like Bobby DeNiro now.

    As far as the pocket holster goes, it didn’t give me trouble in the sense that gun hung up, it just took FOREVER for me to get the Beretta clear. While that may not actually be true due to time dilation and tunnel vision, I felt like I was moving in slow motion to my holster.

  3. Oh great. Now you’re going to bug all the coffee cup factories to send you samples so you can pick the one that throws hot coffee the fastest.

  4. Very nice! What you’re carrying can be very important. I’ve often wondered if seeing the coffee I’m carrying from WaWa is a viable tool, and glad to know that it is. On the other hand, what if you’d been coming out of the grocery store with bags in each hand?

    Lots to think about.

  5. srsly, good job.

    The Russians have an adage: If you shoot at a man with a gun, he’ll pull his own gun and shoot at you. If you throw an axe at him, he’ll duck.

  6. I would have thrown the bag in my left hand at him, dropped the bag in my right hand and gone for my gun.

    I’m left-handed, but I shoot and carry right handed because I’m right eye dominant; I usually try to carry stuff with my left hand anyway because it’s my “strong” side.

  7. Very good work, Caleb, and glad it worked out in your favor.

    BTW I saw a training video where that very technique was advised. I always am aware of where my gun is, but also what do I have to chuck at them while I initiate my draw.

    So how did the local five-oh treat you after-the-fact, and are you now outed in your office?

  8. Yeah mostly I’m glad that I didn’t end up discovering exactly how good the critical care unit at Wishard hospital is.

    Weerd, the cops were fine. I know most of the cops around here, so they basically said “good job not getting stabbed”. I’ve been “outed” at my office for a while, everyone here knows I’m packing a small heater.

  9. Glad you’re OK.

    It’s also an object lesson in the caliber wars – your attacker didn’t look at your Jettie and say “Hmm, it’s only a .25. I think I’ll continue my attack.”

  10. Well done. Be it a cup of coffee, a knife, a gun or martial arts training, it is the homo self-styled sapiens that is the weapon. All else are useful tools. You didn’t freeze, or do a Hamlet – “Is this really happening to me?? – maybe I’m misinterpreting his actions???,” you reacted wonderfully. Again, well done. Someone once sad something about “an upraised knife.”

    As John Boyd would say, the cup of hot coffee got you inside the attacker’s decision loop. I’d say it was decent use of Jeff Cooper’s “Principles of Self Defense.” Fortunately for the bad guy, you didn’t have to shoot him.

    Also, locking yourself in you office and calling 911 was excellent. Don’t be hard on yourself in the future thinking of all the things you supposedly didn’t do. Think about what happened, and what you can learn from it, but remember always: What you did worked. You are unharmed and a hopefully burned goblin ran away, and perhaps will re-think his choice of profession. This is the ideal ending for a self defense scenario. Congratulations.

    Lastly, I’d say try not to listen to all the crap about being traumatized by a successful self defense action. As someone “who has seen the elephant,” understand what you did was right. Read Col. Cooper about this. Also read McBride’s “A Rifleman Went to War.”

    The concept that a successful self defense must be damaging to a well adjusted human psyche is a bunch of crap.

    Post traumatic stress disorder does exist, an affects individuals to a greater or lesser degree. Now don’t you listen to ANYONE who wants to make you out as someone who it’s not a good idea to be around. PTSE can be made much worse by the negative-to-you reactions of the people around you. My advice if you have people around you who think worse of you for defending yourself: cut them out of your life. Life’s too short to put up with those kind of people.

  11. “what if you’d been coming out of the grocery store with bags in each hand? ”

    The natural instinct is to catch something thrown to them; A grocery bag full of loose, somewhat heavy items is probably going to be about the same effectively for time, as the catch is going to natural fumble and both hands get tied up in a crumbling, over-wrapping plastic bag.

    Not even close for the pain and shock value of a sudden topical ocular caffeine rinse.

  12. Don’t let the Bradys see this. I carry in coffee shops too often to have some crank-addled gamer with a temper ruin all my fun.

    Short of losing a perfectly good cup of coffee, I can’t think of a thing that I’d change about how that went down. Good on you.

  13. Caleb: “I’ve been “outed” at my office for a while, everyone here knows I’m packing a small heater.”


    Now they know you also carry a .25

    /snark off

  14. Everyone is giving you hell about carrying a .25 even though it was 100% effective at stopping the attack. Man. Some people are way too religious about their caliber choice, even in the face of clear evidence they are wrong…

    The only time I ever used a gun for self defense, it was open-carried, and never drawn. The rapidly escalating situation where I was about to be attacked by my neighbor’s abusive coke-head boyfriend ended when I moved my hand away from my hip, letting him see I was carrying. Like your attacker, mine didn’t stop and say, “oh, that’s only a .380, it won’t hurt much.” He sat down, shut up, and did as I instructed, which was to wait for the police to arrive.

    The thing about that situation, even though I didn’t draw my gun, and there was never physical contact, I still replayed it over and over in my head for weeks. I didn’t sleep well for quite a few nights. It was like someone turned on an adrenaline faucet, and it took a lot of conscious effort on my part to calm down. I still replay the events in my mind, and I still second guess what I did, or how things might have turned out.

    Regardless of what might have happened, my possession of a firearm kept violence from occurring.

  15. Caleb,

    It’s really hard to say how you could have done anything better, really.

    I do hope you got more coffee, though…

  16. Why the small heater? Was it for it’s ease of carry and maybe the temperature is still a bit high there for your ‘regular’ carry weapon to be practically carried? What are you going to carry tomorrow to fetch coffee? Do you wish you had something a bit bigger for pocket carry or are you satisfied with the Beretta for now? Are you re-thinking your brand of pocket holster?

  17. I wish I could carry a .25….. frac I’d even settle for a .22lr/magmum….. the peoples republic of Illinois-ing says no…..

    good gob staying healthy…..

  18. Good job employing the assault coffee! You only have to distract them for half a second to change the power balance in such a scenario. You also added a new argument into his risk vs reward balance.

  19. I think now’s the perfect excuse for you to get the tactical coffee cup you wanted. Seriously though, glad you’re okay, bro.

  20. Glad you are OK and for what it’s worth I think you did everything just right.

    It bothers me though that there’s this idea going around that you shouldn’t expose the gun until the decision has been made to fire. That’s just crazy to me, it means the attacker gets no chance of reconsideration, and/or we as concealed carriers can’t pull until it’s way too late (or both).

    So I wonder what your thoughts are on that, given your experience? Again – I think you did things just right myself.

  21. Steve H – at the time when I drew, I was going to shoot, I had already made that decision. I didn’t shoot because in the amount of time it took for me to draw and present the gun, my would be attacker had dropped his knife and was turning to run.

    jt: I carry the Jetfire because I wear business casual every day to work, and it’s a bit hard to conceal a full size 1911 under a polo and khakis. As far as my carry method, it’s not the pocket holster that slows your draw down, it’s the whole “pocket”. Getting your hand in an out of a pocket in a hurry can be a challenge when you’re not being mugged.

  22. Hey now, you didn’t properly FTC-ifiy the nature of your relationship with Starbucks. How do we know they didn’t give you some sort of kickback to play up the value of their coffee in a mugging? 😉

  23. .25 or .500, when your staring down the business end they all look like “the end”

  24. You should sue the coffee joint that it’s coffee was not hot enough to adequately scald the face of your attacker and make it unnecessary to draw your firearm.


  25. Caleb, glad you had the .25. Gladder you didn’t have to use it. More so that you came through it unharmed. I’m not saying unscathed, just uninjured (or worse.)

    A valuable lesson for all of us.

  26. Good job.

    Some words of wisdom for explaining things to the wife:

    A) if it’s stupid and it works, it’s not stupid;
    B) A good plan now is better than a perfect plan later

    Always take the initiative in a fight, especially against carp feces like your choirboy.

  27. “…at the time when I drew, I was going to shoot, I had already made that decision.”

    Well done, well done and well done. I can’t criticize a single thing you did, from tossing the coffee to carrying a mini-pistol. (Big secret: for many years, my carry piece was a NAA .22 Mag Mini-Revolver.) I never felt “under-gunned” with the Mini — because, I, like you, have programmed my thinking into knowing that “drawing” means “shooting”.

    The only thing I might have done differently was chase the little SOB for a bit — but yours was the better option.

  28. So glad you’re okay and able to share this calmly afterward.

    Well done, sir; especially the opening coffee gambit. Way to use and keep your head in a tight spot.

    Even a .22 LR weapon on you is better than none. I slip my PT22 into my p.j. bottoms just to go take out the trash.

  29. The problem with Caleb’s Hot Coffee CoF is that it can only be run in BUG matches, and there’s no good way to score a match that requires zero shots.

  30. Really glad to hear your OK. See, The Chicago Way does have practical applications.

    Seriously, good on you and congratulations. Well done.

  31. Self defense is, for the most part, a “Pass/Fail” test.

    You are typing this without the aid of a Oujia Board and outside a jail cell, and that makes your paper pretty easy to grade in my book. 😉

  32. … there’s no good way to score a match that requires zero shots.

    I participated in just such a match, once upon a time — it was designed by Marty Hayes at the Firearms Academy of Seattle, and it was one of his “tactical matches,” not affiliated with any outside discipline. The man who won the match fired no shots whatsoever during the entire event.

    And it was brilliant. 😉

  33. First off, well done on all aspects. Second, add this to the statistics of DHU’s that won’t end up on Cramer’s blog.
    I don’t know as this ends the caliber wars but I guarantee you the little miscreant is telling all his fellow miscreants it was a bloody ‘Desert Eagle’.

  34. See now Chuck Norris would have only needed the stir stick….and maybe a packet of raw sugar.

  35. I am conflicted. One hand says congrats on getting away. The other says that jetfire should have been half empty before he even realized getting scaled was the good part of the confrontation. This may not be popular in the “he was a model son just out scoring some crack for his momma” crowd but once he showed knife he was already dead in my mind. Especially with a .25. Had he decided his best option was offfense you were screwed.

    I am glad you are ok but that punk is like dog that tasted blood. He’s going to do it again. Best option for you is to put him down.

  36. Kathy, I stand corrected. Maybe IPSC/IDPA/etc should encourage more courses with shoot/no-shoot decisions. They might be a little more complicated to operate, but that seems like another good way to keep contenders thinking on their feet.

  37. Kathy, I stand corrected. Maybe IPSC/IDPA/etc should encourage more courses with shoot/no-shoot decisions.

    I always said that if IDPA was so hell-bent on being realistic, then they’d measure how fast you could dive behind solid cover and dial 911… 😉

  38. I am glad you are ok but that punk is like dog that tasted blood. He’s going to do it again. Best option for you is to put him down.

    Given the moral and legal ramifications of shooting someone I think Caleb handled things perfectly. He stopped the attack without firing a shot, which makes the entire ordeal far less problematic (and thus the best option) for him.

  39. It’s a .25 auto. It’ll shoot clean through a school.

    Should I ever have the honor of meeting you, Caleb, I’ll ask you to take a sharpie and autograph not my gun, not my gear, but my coffee mug.

    Well done, sir. Very well done.

    Sunk New Dawn
    Galveston, TX

  40. Caleb:

    What you experenced with the time dilation and tunnel version if you don’t already know is the adrenaline hit. Adrenaline is supposed to turn you into to the superhero Flash. I have had it hit twice, felt like it was five minutes and later found that if the whole thing took 30 seconds it was long.

    I would check/ practice with the pocket holster just to make sure it was not hanging you up and that it was due to the adrenaline.

    But I am happy it worked out!

  41. Caleb,
    It’s not clear to me, could you clarify if you actually hit him with the coffee? With/without lid. Hold cup, toss contents, or squeeze to pop lid, toss, etc.
    It’s amazing how quickly someone can spin around when they see a muzzle pointing at them.

  42. You were lucky that some underpowered Columbian did the trick.

    Real men use espresso, the .45ACP of coffee.

  43. Good to hear that your only loss in the incident was a cup of coffee! You came out unscathed, and the criminal was discouraged – sounds like a win to me.

  44. Well done. Spreading this story to my friends and family, there are some great lessons to be learned here. We talk about these kind of situations all the time and while I hope it never happens to any of my loved ones or friends, this is a perfect example of what could happen and why paying attention is a good thing.

  45. Great to hear you came out on top, Caleb. At one time someone recommended a pot full of hot coffee as an alternative to a gun, with respect to home defense. I thought it was ridiculous. Thanks, now I have to eat my words.

    I don’t know of Starbucks is any different, but DD hands you a cup of coffee that’s awfully hot. It must have hurt like all get out.

    I bet the guy chose you because your hands were full.

  46. “It bothers me though that there’s this idea going around that you shouldn’t expose the gun until the decision has been made to fire. That’s just crazy to me, it means the attacker gets no chance of reconsideration……….”

    As if his actions deserved such consideration……

    He’ll do it again, only he’ll have a gun next go round.

    …… Caleb- he knows where you work, or at least what parking lot you can be found in at quitting time. Just something to think about.

  47. “Real men use espresso, the .45ACP of coffee.”

    Espresso is that tiny coffee with the big bang to it, that costs ten X what it ought to……. that would make it the FiveseveN of coffee.

  48. He won’t be back- he now carries the Mark of Caleb.

    See, all those crazed gestures DO serve a purpose beyond drink signals!

    Many years ago something similar happened to a friend of mine- he left the apartment to get some fast food, and was I surprised when he came back with an RG-22 covered in milkshake.

    “Nothing is as exhilarating as being shot at, and missed.”

  49. Glad you are okay Caleb. A similar situation happened to one of my associates in an urban area that is know for anal gun laws. He was out jogging when a young thug rolled up on him and demanded his wallet. My associate informed him that it was not a good time, and that he should go about his business. He demanded that my associate give him his money, and then lunged at him with the knife in a menacing manner. My associate got hold of the knife hand and locked out his elbow, and then reversed the knife hand and placed the blade deep into the assailants quadricep. The thug lay on the ground screaming as my associate finished his jog. The next day my associate was driving and saw the thug slowly going down the street on crutches. I hope the young thug learned his lesson.

  50. Good job, Caleb!

    I will propose that we incorporate an Evil Black Assault Coffee Cup in our next IDPA match in your honor.

    Pete said: I am glad you are ok but that punk is like dog that tasted blood. He’s going to do it again. Best option for you is to put him down.

    No, Pete, it is not. This was the best possible outcome to a bad situation. It is not Caleb’s job to apprehend criminals. That’s what we pay the police to do. Caleb’s job is to go home to his family with the smallest possible amount of fuss. It sounds like Caleb did exactly the right thing.

  51. Good job, Caleb. I’m also glad you didn’t have to fire.

    “They make coffee other than black coffee? :D”

    Oh man, now you’re going to have the latte crowd saying that their drink would’ve dropped the guy *right there.* (chuckle)

  52. You had to get rid of the coffee anyhow, may as well use a tactical disposal. I’ll jump on the bandwagon and deduct a point or two for the .25, but mostly because of my P3AT being at the lower limit of size that I can maintain a grip on–Having a gun is far more important than which gun.

  53. The last two blog meets where I finally remembered your movie, you weren’t there. I thought you were trying to hang on to Baa Baa Black Sheep but NO, you were out getting mugged.

    You are AWESOME. Coffee AND weapon. Thank you I’ll take my hot lead caffeinated.

  54. Yep, MStJ … that coffee mug needs an IR laser, so you can hit the punk with that coffee in the dark.

    Congrats, Caleb. Passed your final on rule one of gunfighting … bring a gun.

  55. Great job! I agree that having A GUN is more important than which gun when you’re faced by a knife-wielding agressor.

    Too bad I’m stuck in the only no-carry state in the U.S.A.

  56. Heard about this via Tam and RobertaX. Glad you’re okay. Your experience is going to cause me to change my habits a bit–I’ll have my gun more accessible when going to the car, etc. since I don’t drink Starbucks….

  57. ‘While that may not actually be true due to time dilation and tunnel vision, I felt like I was moving in slow motion to my holster.’

    Molasses time. You feel like you’re moving in molasses.

    The punk probably had enough background that you were moving ‘normal’ to him (muggers and bangers have dilation, too) but an external witness would probably say ‘I never saw anyone move so fast in my life!’

    Excellent response, good shoot/no shoot decision and I would guess that you probably shook like a leaf sitting in your car.

    In general, a .25 is something you don’t really need a holster for if kept in a pocket. But you still would have felt like you were ‘fumbling’ unless you, alas, have several such encounters and they become normal.

    God forfend.


  58. Caleb,

    Heard about your encounter over at Home On The Range.

    I’m very happy you are OK. A cup of coffee to the face is an effective way to break his OODA Loop. Plus, it probably freed your gun hand!

    After the fact, were you wishing you had a bigger gun, or were you just happy you had one?

    Well done, Sir!

  59. Glad you’re OK. You used the least amount of force necessary to stop the assault, but were ready, able and willing to escalate to the next level of force necessary. Fortunately for all involved, the perp only needed a coffee surprise to change his mind about assaulting you.

    You were prepared to shoot. That is a decision that all of us who carry need to have settled in our minds before the need arises. Fortunately, this time you were able to avoid the messy consequences of having to follow through with that decision. Hopefully, the thug will reconsider his career choice and turn his life around. Before he tries this again and doesn’t get a third chance.

  60. Ummm, so what did you do with the knife? I’m thinking it would make a nice souvenir and I wanna see pix! Puleeeeese!

  61. Some guys will do anything for website traffic 😉

    Glad you’re safe, you passed the test that those of us who carry wonder if they will if the time comes.

  62. Well done.

    I’m gonna give you more crap about your choice in caffeine delivery systems then your choice of lead projectile launchers. Starbucks coffee? Jeez. Good thing you weren’t charged with “Assault with a Deadly Beverage.”

    I know the whole “throwing whatever is in your hand” at the attacker thing was discussed as a good tactic (but not practiced) at one of the training classes I attended. I can’t remember which one now. Maybe Ayoob’s LFI 1? It’s defiinitely a good tactic as it gets your hands free and, as other’s pointed out, distracts the bad buy as his natural instinct it to either catch or at least look at whatever is thrown. Good thinking.

    Btw, you ever practice getting out that .25 from that pocket holster in that particular coat in a hurry?

  63. Very Nice job on this. The use of the coffee was a great and really good thinking.

    I carry a S&W M&P 340 in 357 Mag as a pocket carry in my front pocket. Loaded with JHP P+ and I carry it every day. I shoot it regularly at the range and yes its hard on the hands but not as hard as a knife in the guts from an assailant is!!

    Your story reinforces my theory of “always carry, never tell”.

  64. Good to hear that you were armed with multiple weapons and are safe!

    actually this member of the “latte crowd” will argue for caleb – a steaming hot black coffee is usually hotter than my mocha, and probably hurts more.

  65. Excellent! I think the fact that the .25 worked in this instance speaks for itself. Hard to argue with success.

    I experienced that adrenaline rush/tunnel vision in an incident a decade ago, and it’s really like nothing else. Everything moves too fast, even though it’s happening so slowly. Now that you know what it’s like, I assume you’ll be “readier” next time, if there is one.

    I wonder, if your coffee had caused serious burns to the mugger, would your insurance have provided a defense against a suit for damages?

  66. Finally, a useful application of Starbucks.

    Of course, any moment someone is going to come along and insist that Dunkin Donuts is better, hotter and has better stinging power, then someone else will insist that Wild Bean is more modern and sophisticated than those old coffees. All three will pull out charts to prove their points, and two of them will heap scorn on you and wonder how you’re still alive, and what kind of wuss you are for carrying mere Starbucks.

    I’ll just point out that no matter how crappy coffee you had, it was better than coffee you might have gotten if there’d been time.

  67. All these comments an no-one noticed his use of an EBR in self-defense? (Evil Black Roast…)

  68. Caleb;

    Well done, lad! Seems to me you applied the Lazarus Long principle: Get a shot off FAST. Rattles your opponent and gives you time to aim the second one. Nothing saying the first shot has to be JHP.

    Ares’cuda: Chuck Norris doesn’t have to throw coffee. The coffee jumps out of the cup and runs away from him.


  69. Caleb;

    Well done, lad! Seems to me you made good application of that Lazarus Long principle — Get a shot off FAST. Rattles your opponent and gives you time to aim the second one.

    Ares’cuda: Chuck Norris doesn’t have to throw coffee. The coffee jumps out of the cup and runs away from him.


  70. I was going to ask about the knife, if the cops were able to collect (or if you bagged or w/e for them). Hopefully they’ll at least be able to grab prints. the perp might not have a record, but still.

    and also, did how did you “throw” the coffee? did the lid come off or what?

    but it’s nice to hear you are ok.

  71. You showed awareness. Good.

    You responded viciously and with alacrity. Good.

    You then moved swiftly to safety, and called for the cops. Good.

    You were almost certainly faster than you thought you were: time dialation from even just a match buzzer makes a draw that appears to onlookers to be fast and smooth, feel like pulling your arms through molasses to the shooter. In person, time dialation is even worse.

    I’m glad you didn’t have to kill him, Caleb.

    I’m sorry you went through this.

    I’m glad you perservered. He had no right to threaten you, over pocket cash.

    If anyone shrugs it off as “just a mugging,” send them here:

  72. ATH, I HOPE they can get prints, but it’s an iffy thing. Takes a good print man, and then there’s the coffee on the knife. And then there’s the issue of chain of custody (did the knife just lie there on the ground for 10 minutes? Did anyone pick it up?).

    Sadly, there’s something that bastard DID get: $3.00 worth of your coffee.

    Aw, well. A magazine full of HydraShok would have cost more, wouldn’t it? 🙂

  73. Things that will now be banned in CA, MA, and IL:

    1. Coffee cup sleeves (barrel shroud)
    2. Ported plastic lids (flash hider)
    3. Seamless styrofoam cups (ergonomic grip)
    4. Foam plastic insulators (noise suppressor)
    5. Containers larger than 20 oz. (high-capacity magazine)
    6. Espresso (LEO-only ammunittion)
    7. Ceramic mugs with pointy handles (bayonet lug)

    Thanks alot, Caleb.

  74. My only worry is that the ATF will get wind of this encounter and determine that since the opening of the coffee cup would qualify it as a “Large Caliber Weapon” as defined in section of the NFA Handbook that all coffee containment devices must be registered. Remember, this is the ONLY section of the NFA that does not require an explosive as a propellant so Caleb’s arm could be considered a propellant.

    This is serious! I don’t think I have the wherewithal to complete a Form 2 BEFORE drinking a cup of joe in the morning…

  75. You just don’t get it, do you?

    It was your pistol that caused that misunderstood choir boy to approach you in the first place. If you had not of had your pistol, I am sure he would have never thought about asking you to redistribute your wealth.

    This is why I, and other like minded liberals, leave our doors unlocked and keep absolutely no weapons in our houses. We know the misunderstood and underprivileged will see our gesture of kindness and engage us to build a better community. Guys like you make this hard to do.

    I hope the poor, coffee-stained choir boy files a lawsuit against you.

  76. So…just how slow is pocket carry when your hand is not on the gun?

    Yeah…I thought so…BELT CARRY.

    And upgrade that Beretta to a Ruger LCP, J-Frame or Kahr PM9.

  77. Oops..hit enter too early.

    You also hit on the actual solution: COMBATIVES!

    For stuff this close, the gun may not be the best option. In your case, you were CCW’ing some lethal pepper laced coffee and used it to good effect.

    Nice “shooting”!

  78. Caleb,

    What were the distances involved? At what distance did you:

    1) notice the turd?
    2) notice the knife in the turd’s hand?
    3) perform the negotiation?
    4) get the gun out?


  79. What James said –
    “Congratulations on a mugging where no one got hurt, and congratulations on your Instalanche.”

  80. Hmmmmmm. Guess who has the top Goggle result for Walther pk380.

    (Did they ever release that thing? Ok commenter on your post says they bought one.)

    Nice work on the Instalanche too.

  81. 1. About 5 yards
    2. About 5 yards
    3. I have no idea
    4. I have no idea

    After I saw the knife I don’t really remember distances or anything like that, I just remember seeing the knife, seeing my gun over his chest, and then seeing him run before I broke the shot.

  82. about where in indy…I also work downtown…and late sometime…could you give me an intersection?

  83. Your wife’s question cracked me up. She must be a neat freak.

    Q: “Why did you throw your coffee?”

    Wife approved answer, pick one:
    1) To free up the gun hand
    2) There was no place to set it down
    3) He refused to give me permission to drink it
    4) It was rotten coffee anyway, mugger just got in the way
    5) I throw things, that’s what I do. Mom didn’t smack me enough

    I doubt she’ll buy the initiative thing.

    Ya’ done good, fella. Hope I have the wits to do as well when the time comes.

  84. Way to go and yes, always take action rather than freeze. This also reminds me of the guy who said, “People will say that if you carry a gun you are paranoid. That’s ridiculous. If I’m carrying a gun, what the hell do I have to be paranoid about?”

  85. OK, Now I have read the comments. I don’t agree with the person that wrote you should have shot the guy. You would be in a world of expensive trouble with the law, win or lose, and you never know how a judge will rule. The guy spun quickly, and if you had hit him in the back you would be going to prison. He also had dropped the knife by then, so you shot an unarmed man who was fleeing. Not good. Also, who knows what was in your background if you had shot.

  86. Good thing you didn’t shoot him with that .25 – he woulda been pissed off if he found out about it.

    But seriously, well done dude. As simple as your actions may sound to someone who has never been put in that situation – under that kind of pressure keeping your head and focus is not easy. The fact that you didn’t open fire is a testament to your coolheadedness. I think most people would have fired.

  87. Dude good job. And equally importantly good job on resolving this without killing somebody.

  88. Move the hell out of Indianapolis. It’s in the rust belt, it’s a dying culture and the only thing thriving is the death culture of habitual victims.

    Move to Texas. Down here we respect and honor people with brains and balls. And so do our criminals, most of whom are steadily moving to places like Indianapolis where the pickings are easier and where the legal structure is enamored with perps and their needs and rights.

  89. Glad to hear you came out of it with nothing worse than the loss of a good cup of coffee and a jumbled set of nerves.

    Good decision to not shoot the guy. All that would have made it into the papers is how a poor down-trodden waif was gunned down in the street by a heartless gun person.

  90. Glad you’re safe.

    Good job responding…

    The only sad part is the guy is still on the loose, and able to victimize others.


  91. As I read this I am in Wash DC on business trip.. No “carry” here, but there’s a Starbucks on every block… !!!

  92. Hopefully, the choirboy will get John Edwards to sue Starbucks for making coffee too hot.

  93. Bravo. Glad you are OK. Unfortunately, the mugger is still alive and well and will do it again. Maybe the next “victim” will skip the coffee and start with bullets and make the world a better place.

  94. How about emptying the magazine at the pond life?

    Police officers do that all the time – sometimes even in the case of mistaken identity – and seldom if ever are indicted by a grand jury. That must mean it’s okay.

  95. Gee, Paul A’ Barge, Thanks. I live 25 minutes from downtown Indy in a nice suburb with great schools. My CCW is good for life. I took no test to get it–just handed them money and they mailed it, no fuss. I’ve never been asked for the license even when obviously carrying. I can carry any weapon I want, even a FA suppressed Uzi, if I choose. Taxes are low. Cost of living is low. Employment is far better than most surrounding states. We have a lot of publishing, business, marketing and technical firms. We have a huge convention and tourist industry. We have a military tradition, and a National Guard almost as big as TX’s with less than 6 million state residents. The IPD regard shot punks as “stupid SOBs” and generally don’t hassle the shooter, nor do the prosecutors. I can be on a plane to anywhere in under an hour.

    Indy proper has some nasty areas, but any city does.

    Your CCW is valid here. It took most of a decade for TX to accept ours, even though we’ve had it since 1934.

    Perhaps you should move here. Maybe one of us can enlighten the other.

  96. I used to do the fire power demo for our Personal Protection classes, starting with the .22 short and ending with the Casull in .454 or the .358 JDJ. Often got asked what I “carried” since I was “obviously” such a BAMF. When i showed them the Iver Johnson TP-22 in the Wilderness Store Keeper belt pouch, they kinda wilted…. Only had to pull a gun three times, so far without loud noises. Hope that continues. As we teach students, even the most righteous shooting in the world will cost you $25K in legal fees before it’s all over. I can think of lots of other uses for that kinda scratch, but I can also justify spending it by saying I’ll be around to pay it back!

    Good job, nice thinking, and the retreat to your office is classic. Better to have calmed down and be in famililar surroundings when PD shows up. Let them deal with the “mess” in the parking lot. One of the easier ones they’ve had that day….


  97. Caleb,

    Do you think you would have handled things differently if the thug had a gun instead of a knife ?

  98. I’m a 20 yr old college student from Santa Clara. I was walking back to my appartment, somewhat innebriated, at around 2 am last saturday morning and was jumped by a small mexican man with a shank. He said ” give me all your shit” and I said “cash or credit”. Before he could react I pushed his arm that was holding the knife, then when he turned to keep his balance I punched him in the face and threw his head into a fire hydrant. He didnt say much after that. No fire arm required.

  99. Dan: It’s great you were able to manage bare handed. That’s not always an option, though, and is never an option for smaller or disabled people, and not much use with multiple attackers.

    Also consider your tax dollars will be paying for his medical bills. Caleb’s resolution cost us nothing.

    However, morally, I applaud the hell out of smacking bad guys around. Thanks much for doing a good job.

  100. Caleb,

    Your story was posted for us to read over on

    Glad that you’re OK. I also hate to say it, but now I have even more reason to carry a handgun; even when my wife rolls her eyes at me. Greenwood and the Grove ain’t all that far apart.

    If you’re not already on INGO, feel free to check the site out.

    I doubt that we’ll ever meet, but if so, I’d like to replace that cup of coffee you spilled.

    Good day.

  101. Caleb,

    I was wondering if you felt a little “under-gun’d”?Of course a .25 is better than nothing, but if he would have had a gun instead… Just wondering if you still bet your life on the .25 after the incident?


  102. “Awesome, totally awesome” “All right, Hamilton” (Related movie quote 😉 ) Great to see that the incident went well.

  103. Caleb,

    Now you have gone and done it!! Next thing that will happen int the socialist state of California is that open carry of coffee will become against the law or we will need a permit to carry coffee in public. It seems that people just don’t consider the “reckless” nature of their actions on other states.. Now Starbucks will be requred to issue child proof safety coffee cup lids and “steaming coffee in public” will be our next illegal weapon.

    Good on you Caleb. Sorry the coffee wasn’t scalding but standing up for your self is the only way we can take back our society from the “bg” element.

    Mike Toombs
    reluctant citizen of Kalefornia, USSR.

  104. Hate to be the wet blanket, but now the choir boy will get a gun and next time he will rob a corpse he shot in the back. However, I do applaud your instantaneous response. Don’t know if I could have let him run to try someone else later, though.

  105. Well, it’s a good thing for me that I’ve got good trigger discipline, because if I had shot an unarmed man in the back as he ran away, I’m pretty sure I’d be in jail right now.


  106. I am glad that you came through this life experience with not being killed or injured. Also for not killing the scum and ending up in lawsuits up the posterior.

    A question I have for you is have you been through a defensive shooting school? Did they give other ideas to distract the assailant? Like dropping the keys or such?

    After reading your article and having been burglarized last October, I am being much more attentive of my surroundings.

    Take care everyone.

  107. I can’t imagine what logic would be behind dropping keys, since a vehicle is a good means of escape if the thug is only scared and might return. Or, he snags the keys successfully and leaves you stuck and with a bill for new keys. Worst case, he might be able to identify you (if this is at an office or near home), which leaves you needing to rekey everything.

    However, I’ve been wrong before. What is this supposed to accomplish that can’t be better done with a shout, a stomp of the foot, hot coffee, bullets…?

  108. MadMike, most times I’m out of the house, I usually have a book with me—for those times I’m waiting for the wife to finish her shopping. Sometimes it’s a hardback, mostly a paperback but always in my left hand. It’s an innocent object that can be tossed towards a hostile to distract them while drawing with my other hands.

    It’s not something I’ve planned, it’s a personal habit that works double if in need.

  109. remember the front sight motto (

    “Any cup will do, If you will do” 🙂

  110. Michlyael,

    The purpose of dropping the keys is to distract for you to draw your concealed weapon.

    I tested this with a good friend, while we were talking to each other, I dropped my keys to see his reaction. He looked down to where the keys landed.

    I just wondered if anyone having gone to a defensive class had this discussed.

    I am no expert, just asking a question.



  111. I figured that was the intent. The problem is, you need those keys. Dropping them could mean not having a vehicle for retreat. I would strongly recommend never doing it. I’d question the credentials of anyone suggesting it.

    If the guy grabs your keys and runs (druggies do stupid stuff), you have a lot of hassle to replace them all, and he just might try every key in the building to get in.

    If you have to retreat, you can’t retreat to your vehicle.

    If he’s a serious criminal and has observed you, he now has a car if he just waits an hour and comes back.

    Coffee, a book, a briefcase if there’s nothing valuable in it, rcoks, shoes, even a coat, but never keys, money or a weapon.

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