Lessons from a Robbery

NOTE: Turn your volume off when watching the video.  The version originally posted had no audio, but the YouTube version has some pointless noise.

This video was recently shared on Facebook by the American Warrior Society.  For those who do not know, the American Warrior Society is a website and podcast created by Mike Seeklander.  If you don’t know who Mike Seeklander is you owe it to yourself to look him up.

But Mike is not the subject today.  The video is.  It is very enlightening and a in-depth review can offer some insight into areas of training often overlooked.

What we start with is a man, standing in what appears to be a Subway Restaurant, with either his wallet or phone in his weak hand.  At approximately 8 seconds everyone we can see turns and focuses on something out of the view of the camera.  They seem to be in shock as two men enter with the clear intent to rob the establishment.  The events unfold from there.

The first thing you will notice is a person (we’ll call him suspect #1) walking up to the man at the counter (we’ll call him CCW holder) and blatantly grabbing the item(s) from his weak hand.  As this is happening the CCW holder moves his strong hand back to his weapon.  For the next few seconds of video we see the CCW holder continue to work towards a draw stroke – RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE SUSPECT!  He is blatantly telegraphing his movements, but the suspect is ignoring them.

Lesson 1: With his strong hand empty the CCW holders strong was able to quickly move to a draw position.

Lesson 2: Both suspects (suspect #2 is out of camera view) were seemingly oblivious to the  motions of the CCW holder.  Without interviewing the suspects we can only speculate on their thoughts.  Perhaps the suspects had a strong personal narrative of how the robbery would unfold and it blinded their judgement or, perhaps the thought of someone with a CCW intervening never crossed their mind.  Either way it is something we should be cognizant of, as a better criminal might be more aware of his victims actions and movements.

As we continue watching the footage we see the first suspect head behind the counter, at the same time we see suspect #2 walk over to the CCW holder and physically push him back.  The CCW holder appears to be extremely compliant as the suspect doesn’t seem to exert much force while controlling the situation.  Inexplicably suspect #2 does not notice the telegraphed, imminent draw stroke either!

Lesson 3: Compliance, even if momentary, can give the criminal a false sense of security.  It leads them to believe they have chosen their victim wisely.

The CCW holder draws his weapon and makes a point-blank range shot into the chest of suspect #2.  As suspect #2 is falling to the left (hopefully reflecting on his choices in life) the CCW holder drives the gun forward, toward suspect #1, who is now behind the counter.  Note the CCW holder is doing this strong hand only.  Suspect #1 immediately throws his hands up, surrenders and cowers in the corner – like the pathetic human being he is.  It is here we see the CCW holder grab a gun off the floor and disable it.   I have watched the video several times and I can’t tell if the gun came from suspect #2 when shot or suspect #1 when he withdrew.  Either way he takes his eyes off suspect #1 while retrieving the gun from the floor.  Thankfully suspect #1 didn’t try anything stupid while the CCW holder diverted his attention.

Lesson 4: STRONG HAND ONLY.  When did you last train strong hand only?  This video provides as good a reason as any.  Get out there and shoot strong hand only at the range!  While you’re there, practice some weak hand.  It is better to suck at the range than to fail miserably in a defensive situation.

Lesson 5: Be prepared for anything.  Suspect #1 immediately surrendered and was seemingly no longer a threat.  Have you ever thought of practicing the retrieval and disabling a suspects weapon?  Do you practice ways to keep awareness on all of the suspects as the situation unfolds?  The best situational awareness is easily defeated by auditory occlusion and tunnel vision.

Finally the CCW holder takes command of the environment and orders suspect #1 out from behind the counter and onto the ground, where he has better vision and control over him.   It is my hope I would have the awareness to direct the suspect away from the gun I just disabled, but it is easy to pass judgement from a computer screen.

As the events wind down we can see suspect #2 still withering in pain (good) on the floor.  We have no idea if he is quiet, moaning or even screaming.  The entire area might be rather loud if suspect #2 is screaming in pain while the store personnel are overcome with panic and terror.  If you ever have to draw and shoot someone you should be  prepared for extreme confusion and noise.

If we look at the video in detail it is easy to pick it apart and find errors.  In reality it is only 17 seconds between the actual drawing of the CCW holders weapon until he is standing on suspect #1.  While we can find some mistakes made by the CCW holder the fact is he excelled.  He only fired when necessary to stop the threat.  He remained relatively calm.  He found the solution to the problem as his world fell apart in 17 seconds.  Think about that.  In 17 seconds the CCW holder shot a suspect and apprehended a second.  That isn’t much time to think things through and I am sure that it was far from his mind while deciding between a cold cut combo and a meatball sub.  We must react quickly and properly.  We must be aware.  Full awareness of your surroundings 100% of the time is impossible, but partial awareness all of the time is more than the normal person has.  Even partial awareness can buy you time to react and change the outcome.  You must be aware of your surroundings and you must be ready to act.

Those serious about carrying a weapon and defending themselves should train themselves wisely.  I would also suggest you check out the American Warrior Society; Mike’s podcast is full of useful information.


  1. Gun comes from the guy behind the counter He brings it to eye level then changes his mind and pitches it . Pretty clear when watched in theater mode on youtube.

    1. From the confident ease at which CCW guy also pitches the gun, my assumption is that the gun was an obvious fake, once in-hand. I call the robbers’ quick give-up as supporting evidence, your honor.

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