What is your 'Minimum Safe Distance'

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by Grandpa Patch, Dec 5, 2018.

  1. Grandpa Patch

    Grandpa Patch Monkey+

    In a self-defense situation, nothing goes as planned, as you can not plan for every idiot on the face of the earth that might want to take what you have while you are walking to your car in a parking lot. While many internet sites suggest that the average self-defense or police shooting takes place within 21 feet (7 yards), 3-15 feet (1-5 yards) is more accurate. The point of this post is not to argue just how close engagements happen.

    What is Your Safe Distance to Engage the Threat: The 21-Foot Rule

    While a discussion of engagement distance can go on forever, I am asking "At what distance do you feel that you have other options beside direct engagement with a firearm?" No, I'm not setting you up with a trick question. Yes, there are a thousand and one variables. You can move this way, behind cover, employ XYZ tactic, etc.. You are responsible for your bullet(s). From the moment that you discharge your firearm to the moment your bullet comes to a complete stop, you are responsible for it. Regardless of intentional or unintentional damage, you are responsible for that bullet. So are what distance do you start looking for other options, before making the ultimate decision to use a firearm in self-defense? Use whichever scenario, tactic or what-if you wish. I am just interested in "at what distance to you believe that you have an option?
  2. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey+++

    I don't have a distance, I have a "call to arms"...if a situation gets to where I hear a call to arms alarm bell, my gun is in play. Had close calls at 50 yards and had a guy pull a gun one time standing 3 inches off my right shoulder.
    I will add, anyone who says not to bring a knife to a gun fight, is dead wrong. Got out of a lot of situations just ahead of a lethal confrontation because I yanked a sheath knife before a handgun cleared leather.
  3. AndyinEverson

    AndyinEverson Black Powder Monkey

    There are times where even having a terrain feature between me and the bad guy , will not count as "Minimum Safe Distance"...:eek::D

    As stated in the OP , there are thousands of factors to consider....not to forget to mention what I call the "Individual Factor"
    Meaning that :
    What is or appears threatening or unsafe to one individual , can be or appear vastly different to another.
    For example someone with a physical disability or an elderly person may view a situation in a far different light , than me , a middle aged , fairly fit male.

    All that really matters in the end is that you :
    Expend all efforts to avoid / evade the situation...
    Use all other options to escape the situation...
    Do whatever you have to do , to survive the encounter...
    I would also suggest that you Lawyer up.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
  4. Bishop

    Bishop Monkey+++

    I rather be visited in jail than at the grave
  5. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    50 feet.
    UncleMorgan and Grandpa Patch like this.
  6. Grandpa Patch

    Grandpa Patch Monkey+

    50 feet; as in 16.66 yards? I am asking just for clarification.
    UncleMorgan likes this.
  7. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn Mosquito Sailor Site Supporter+

    Sorry to seem contrary, but there are no absolutes to this question. There are too many possible variables. You have to be acutely aware of your surroundings, and assessing possible threats, access to cover and concealment and escape or points of entrance or egress from where you are at, at any given point of time. If you are distracted, impaired, encumbered, alone or in a group, what kind of a group. Are you in the woods, or an open flat field with no cover. Are you in a major population center, say NYC. Where in NYC. What time of day. Are businesses open, or is it 4am. Is the street crowded or empty.
    I am going to stop right there. I hope you can see there is no perfect answer. Situations differ on a case by case basis. Be armed as is your God given right! Be aware and trust your instincts.
  8. Grandpa Patch

    Grandpa Patch Monkey+


    Not contrary at all!
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  9. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grudge Monkey

    I'm constantly on alert when out and about in urban centers or even lightly populated areas. A threat can come from any direction and can be at any distance, several hundred feet right up to bad breath close. Choosing the best action option is always the first goal after identifying the threat. I usually maneuver my self in such a way to change course and to blade my weak side into the threat so that if a weapon is needed, it can be drawn sneaky and protected. Before I wore armor as part of my duty load out, this was the best defensive set up. When we started to be issued armor, we were taught to face a threat full on and use the armor to prevent bad things. Today as a civilian th ings have changed, I wear soft armor with enhansed coverage thay provides discrete coverage and hard shell rifle plates for when things get sporty. I'm far more likely to face off with a knife or other stab attempt or other impact but still need pistol round protection. Having armor can change your threat assessment, and can allow you options you didn't have before, but I prefer to be the meek and harmless dude, until I'm forced to become a threat!
  10. Bandit99

    Bandit99 Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    I got to agree with @tacmotusn . There simply are too many variables to even try to answer this question. I DO think one thing you said is definitely worth repeating,
    "Regardless of intentional or unintentional damage, you are responsible for that bullet" so you better be damn sure what you are doing when you pull that trigger. With pistol, I train to shoot a target as far away as possible, and currently I am very accurate at 40 feet (45 on a good day! blow my own horn here. LOL!) and hope to increase it out to 50 next Spring. What do I consider accurate, 10 rounds, rapid fire, into 6 inch target.

    Lately, I have more and more considered the possibly of carry a knife for protection purposes. I do carry a knife, not always but sometimes and it's not a fighting knife, but I believe @AxesAreBetter point is valid given a threat that is up close; furthermore, one doesn't have to consider damage to anything other than one's assailant, no collateral damage. The world is changing and we must evolve with it so maybe one should carry a knife for protection alongside their firearm.

    EDIT: And, like @Ura-Ki I think some sort of body armor is in my near future. I think this is common sense. And, some of the stuff coming out now is amazing, lightweight with great stopping power, doesn't even look like armor. I intend to get something this coming year.
  11. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    1.I pray for God's guidance through out my day ,as seriously for the mundane, as the urgent.
    2. God can lead me into the fire or around it and prepare my way no matter what.
    3.I do not deliberately choose to tempt God ,meaning I am still human and make mistakes but they are mistakes not rebellion.
    All this to say I have been guided to trouble and weathered through it unharmed .
    Some times my tools are a part of the event's solution, a jack, a rope ,wrenches, a generator ,blankets and so on.
    I am confident In God's guidance that what ever the situation ahead is, I will know my part in the event ,IF I am to be involved in it.
    Where I currently live people are pretty civil and basically friendly, it is actually rare to find some one aggravated .
    So for a distance of safety , it has't come up yet , because even the few that had shown aggression it faded quickly.
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  12. snake6264

    snake6264 Combat flip flop douchebag

    I have a Code not a distance
  13. SB21

    SB21 Monkey+++

    500 yards should give me plenty of time for plan B.
  14. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I eat vegetables. My friends are not vegetables.

    Two counties, usually. Three on a clear day.
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  15. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    I like Uri-Ki solution best, minimum distance is what ever your situational awareness indicates it should be. It may be a couple feet in a crowded city bus, or the range of a .50 cal in the hands of a sniper in a remote combat area, or the range of a drone strike if you happen to be in its sights and play for the enemy team in the sand boxes. My limited experiences in car, airplane, and combat situations was that I was alive and being debriefed, either formally or informally, but at the time it happened I didn't really know what was going on, and actions correct or otherwise, were the results of training, experience, and terror, as there was no time to really think things out. In my humble and very limited experience, rules and lists make people dead, Listening to the air crews that made it thru WW2 and Korea and were having a few drinks in the NCO club in 1959 and 1960 as they waited to finish their 20 years to retire made one thing very clear, they weren't the best airmen, the best trained, the best equipped, etc, they all share two things, they never quit and they were very lucky.
    Minimum safe distance brings to mind the story of the Army Air Force wanting to add more armor to the planes so that more would survive the horrible losses they were having in 1944. There was a group studying the battle damage of the returning aircraft and writing up reports, when some young engineer suggested that they were doing it wrong, they should be studying the areas that weren't damaged, as if the damage was random, a hit in that area meant the airplane did not survive to return and be studied. I guess my choices for minimum safe distance would be situational awareness with a good dose of paranoia, and a strong prayer for a lot of luck.
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  16. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    There was a major gas explosion near here a few weeks ago, someone put high pressure gas into a low pressure line and destroyed a bunch of houses, either equipment failure or operator error, court will at least make noises and shovel out money. One of the people involved was a non native speaking woman in her 50's or so, who was taking care of a woman in her 80's who was bed ridden. Was an "accident" and the younger woman had the new gas stove furnished by the gas company to replace her old one explode and badly burn her hands. Lead off on 6 O'Clock news, horrible gas company, what are the poor people going to do and lawyers flying in from Florida. We all know what happened, old stove had pilot lights with safety, no longer allowed, new stove has safer "igniters" and when she turned on the gas she either went to fast or something and it did not light, when she noticed or smelled that the burner was not lite, she turned it off and the igniter did just what it was supposed to, but there was a large amount of gas that lit. Now is it her fault, the stove manufacturer, the government for allowing such dangerous devices to be sold, the gas company for giving it to her? Fact remains it was an unknown in her situational awareness that lead to her injuries. We all have our holes in both our situational awareness and minimum safe distance, one with fists, one with knife, one with pistol, one with rifle, one with military and police with advanced weapons, one with computer and credit cards, etc. I am first to admit that I am a babe in the bullrushes and hope to somehow survive as I am not able to figure it all out.
  17. Thunder5Ranch

    Thunder5Ranch Monkey+++

    I prefer to identify a threat no closer than 500 yards and eliminate it before 300 yards but life does not always work that way and there really is no ideal safe space, so you need to be comfortable with everything from full body contact to picking glint up from glass 1000 yards out. Any safe or ideal distance is nothing more than a fantasy that on rare occasions might cross over into reality.
    SB21, Grandpa Patch, oldman11 and 2 others like this.
  18. Tempstar

    Tempstar Praeclarum Site Supporter+

    20 feet, 1 car length. If you have locked eyes with me at that distance something not good is about to happen. Just happened 2 weeks ago with a drunk at 6 am. I told him he was close enough, he got my meaning.
    GrayGhost, Motomom34, SB21 and 3 others like this.
  19. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    I have had very close proximity to mountain lions bear rattlers and 2 legged vermin and demons, even brushes with fire .
    Many of these lay in ambush at the moment you least expect , no way to prepare except to act instantaneously ,but not over react in a panic .All predators know panic and use it to their advantage . Though fire is not a living thing it can seem to act that way .
    Situational awareness likely to be the major skill here, but avoidance can only go so far.
    If the aggression is invaded your home ,are you alert enough and have a plan should you arrive home and something is not right ?
    GrayGhost, HK_User and Grandpa Patch like this.
  20. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    I always figured My "Safe Distance" was just beyond the limit of my Senses... It is kind of like a Bear's Safe Distance... as long as you stay outside his Sensory Range he could care less that you are around even though you can see or hear him, he goes on with his business... Same with small rodents like Squirrels, and Martin... stay outside that zone and NO ISSUES, but break that plain, and first they need to Ident exactly what you are, then the Startle Interrupt goes Off, and it is either the Flight or Fight Routine kicks in, most likely Flight... If it is good enough for Nature, it is good enough for Me... If I detect a moving Object that could be a threat, the first thing is to evaluate, and figure out what it is and then how it might interact with My World. The closer it is, the faster and Higher Priority the threat Evaluation becomes. Once that is determined, then it is a Track & Reevaluate the Threat & and Priority Level until the Object leaves the Sensory Range, along with a couple of quick checks over time to see if the Object has returned to inside Sensory Range... It is Built-In by evolution, of our species...
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