Guest Post- Don’t Bring a Knife to a Hot Coffee Fight

Today’s guest post is by Caleb Giddings from Gun Nuts Media. Caleb is the 2009 Indiana State IDPA champion, as well as a Steel Challenge Revolver Division Champion.

Saturday, a criminal made a critical error in his victim selection process when he targeted Caleb. I’ll let Caleb tell the tale from here.

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.  For my part, I locked myself in my office, called 911 and waited for the cops to arrive to take my report.

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.  My wife asked me 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.

We’re all glad to hear that Caleb came through the encounter OK. Of course his readers had a lot of well wishes, and more than a few questions, which Caleb was gracious enough to entertain.

Thank you everyone for the outpouring of support in the comments of the post about my caffeinated self-defense encounter.  I am truly and genuinely touched by your support and encouragement.

In the comments, there have been a lot of good, reasonable questions asked, and I want to do my best to answer those questions here where everyone can see them.  Most of the questions have centered around the same general topics, so hopefully by hitting the broad strokes I’ll be able to answer the big questions.  Here goes!

  • Why a .25 ACP and not something bigger? The Beretta Jetfire (my everyday carry gun) has been riding in my pocket for a year and a half now.  It goes everywhere I go as long as it’s legal to carry a gun.  It’s light, doesn’t take up a lot of weight, and most importantly I can shoot it very well.  Which is why I don’t carry a Kel-Tec .32 or a Ruger LCP in .380 – the triggers on those guns are horrid and mushy, and I just don’t shoot them as well as I shoot the .25.  Out of a 2 inch barrel, we’re not exactly talking “hammer of Thor” ballistics for any of those rounds, so I’d rather carry the gun that I can get lead on target fastest.
  • What kind of pocket holster do you use? – A very basic Blackhawk nylon pocket holster.  It’s been in my pocket as long as the Jetfire.  I use a pocket holster for the .25 primarily because it keeps the gun oriented correctly in the pocket, with the butt of the gun facing up like it should.
  • Do you practice with it? – Most certainly.  I shoot the Jetfire once or twice a month, but my usual practice with the gun is dry fire practice coming from the holster.  In practice I usually hit about 2.00-2.5 seconds on the draw with my hands starting outside of the pocket.  I would imagine that was about where I was on Saturday for my draw time as well; it just felt ridiculously slow due to the effects of adrenaline dump and time dilation.
  • What about the coffee? – It was in a standard Starbucks cup with the lid on.  I did hit him with the coffee, and I assume the lid came off when the cup hit him.  I don’t know this for a fact, but can infer it from the fact that after the event, the cup and the lid were both on the ground in seperate locations.
  • What did you see? – Well, to be honest I don’t remember seeing all that much.  It’s sort of like my memory is a slide show: I remember seeing the knife, then I remember seeing my gun in the middle of the “A” in Indiana (yes, he was wearing a Hoosiers’ sweatshirt, that I remember) and the next thing I remember is him running.
  • Why didn’t you shoot? That’s the most complicated question, and it’s something I’ve been mulling over myself.  My previous experiences with situations like this have primarily been in uniform, so as a civilian there’s a different calculation going on.  Based on input from others and prior experiences, the best guess as to why I didn’t shoot is that I perceived my assailant dropping his weapon and turning to flee, even though I don’t remember seeing it or hearing the weapon hit the deck.  That perception was enough to halt the “SQUEEZE TRIGGER” impulse.
  • How long did it take? I have no idea.  Best guess from start to finish is 5, maybe 10 seconds.  It certainly felt like an enternity.
  • Will you be switching carry methods? – No, I plan on sticking with the Jetfire.  Did I wish for a bigger gun in an easier to access holster?  Yes, but not until after the event.  But since I can’t carry a bigger gun in an easier to access holster at the office, the Jetfire will continue to ride shotgun.

I hope I’ve been able to answer the burning questions about this – again, I am tremendously touched by the flood of comments and emails offering support.  As readers go, you guys are really a great bunch, and I’m proud that the firearms community is so willing to offer support and reinforcement.  You guys are great, seriously.

We’re very happy that Caleb made it through this ordeal unscathed. Caleb credits his situational awareness, the fact that he had a gun, as well as his regular practice for keeping him safe through the event.

About our Guest Blogger Caleb makes his home with his wife in Indiana where he is a competitive shooter. Caleb is an active blogger as well as the host of Gun Nuts Radio.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

1 Comment;

  1. I am glad all turned out well. I’ve been reading Lt.Col. Dave Grossman’s book On Combat and it sounds like Caleb experienced a few of the standard physiological responses to a deadly encounter.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your discussions, feedback and comments are welcome here as long as they are relevant and insightful. Please be respectful of others. We reserve the right to edit as appropriate, delete profane, harassing, abusive and spam comments or posts, and block repeat offenders. All comments are held for moderation and will appear after approval.