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Defend Thyself Personal Defense

Nevada IHOP Shooting: What Can We Learn?

by George Wehby   |  September 8th, 2011 99

An IHOP shooting in Nevada has been all over the local and national news over the last few days. A deranged gunman bent on killing as many people as possible stormed into the restaurant armed with an AK-47 and opened fire, killing several people and wounding many more. The motive is still unclear in this case, but after it was all said and done the guy ended up committing suicide before law enforcement could respond.

These situations should be a reminder that bad things can happen at any time and situations like the one above are usually over before the police can get to the scene.  As a matter of fact, most active shooters are stopped by civilians on the scene.

On Personal Defense TV, we’ve detailed these types of incident and examined the response options of those in the area of an incident, both those that are armed and unarmed.  On the show, we featured the tactics used by the Tactical Defense Institute in Ohio. Those guys have been on the forefront training to develop the best possible way to deal with these shootings and will look to improve their methods as we learn more about why these incidents occur.

The biggest problem with these active shooters is that they like to target locations that restrict the carry of firearms such as schools, hospitals or government buildings. The options for an armed citizen range from barracading yourself in an area and waiting for the shooter to come to you, making a clean break from the scene as soon as possible (probably the smartest course of action) or actually hunting the shooter down.

Now, before anyone blasts me open about CCW holders playing police officer, keep in mind that you may be in a situation where you are armed and trained and chose to do nothing to help innocent victims. Don’t get me wrong, I know the smarter course of action is to escape and use your weapon only if the assailant is directly trying to harm you., but it would be hard for me to live with the knowledge I could have saved some lives. Every minute the shooter is not stopped, the body count climbs.  That is a fact.

What would you do in this situation?

  • Eric

    That is to bad. But the way I look at it if a person had a gun in there one more person could have died. He had 10 times more firepower than any one could carry concealed.

    • Wyne Anerson

      More and more of us are carrying legal concealed pistols and while it may not ave helped in this situation, I believe

      it is somewhat of a detriment to a rational criminal. Many of us were trained in service on their use. Additionally, it makes me feel better knowing I always have my hammerless S and W airweight in my hip pocket and can possibly protect my family if the need arises.

    • Randy Riggs

      If your ever in a situation like that, I guarantee you will want someone to help you no matter how "Out Gunned" they will be… Accurate shooting is far better then shoot and pray..

    • Brian

      All it takes is one well placed round, better to have hope then none at all… and carring Concealed you have the element of surprise which brings the 10 times firepower down to a fair fight imo

    • Curtis

      Out gunned? Dead is dead, weather you are shot with a 380 or a 50. Don't bother carrying if you don't have the skills and confidence to defend your self and others if given a chance.

  • Eric

    That is to bad. But the way I look at it if a person had a gun in there one more person could have died. He had 10 times more firepower than any one could carry concealed. Just think a person pulls out there Ruger LCP and starts shooting at him he could have killed him and then there ould have ben one more death.

    • Quick Draw

      Well, I don't think you should carry concealed if you can't hit your target!

      I also think folks need to practice so they can protect themselves and others, if they can't leave the gun at home as you might shoot the wrong person….remember 7 yards is only 21 feet….think about it.

      • David

        Right on! Maybe even get scared and shoot themselves! Not every idiot should own a gun!

        • Greg

          Actually no idiot should be allowed to own I gun. Responsible law abiding citizens should be allowed to own,carry and defend themselves and their family. Certainly idiots, morons ,criminals shouldnt own , handle or be allowed near them.

    • 3strokes

      BUT on the other hand, even if one in a gazillion, the armed CCWer could have stopped the crazed gunman (with one shot or a full magazine of 22s) and thus saved lives (plural).

      IF the Titanic had had more lifeboats, more lives COULD have been saved.

    • Frank

      I disagree. I would rather die than live with the knowledge that I allowed him to continue to kill others. I pull out my LCR and fire.

      I might die , I might stop him. The world is full of what if's …

      Strangely enough , physical courage is more common than moral courage. (think about it)

      Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway.

      • David

        I agree with you on that. Why carry a gun if you won't even try to save another life. Maybe just say PLEASE don't hurt us!! See if that s… works!

    • Bill

      Wow, that's some really questionable logic. This presumes the good guy lacks marksmanship skills and tactical common sense. I don't think it would be wise to go looking for an AK-armed shooter when only armed with an LCP. But what about concealing yourself and filling the b*****d with lead when his attention is diverted or otherwise unaware of your presence? One solid hit to the head or heart is all that's needed. Not even that at times. History has proven that these cowardly shooters often kill themselves when faced with the slightest threat.

    • Fred Bush

      Eric, the gunman committed sucide…. the death toll would have not increased…but if a CCW shooter had dropped him the toll could have been lower.

  • Tom

    It really depends on the situation – If I'm out-gunned and with no good escape, I'm likely to try an attack rather than getting gunned down where I stand. If I'm out-gunned with an escape route, I'm likely to direct others to the exit while covering the retreat. If I could do something to stop the shooter and stand a reasonable chance of living through it, I would want to do it.

    In the end, you'll never know how you'll react until it hits the fan, so all of the above could be pie-in-the-sky B.S.

    • Duffy

      Right on! I read about a bad incident where the good guy pulled out his gun but did not shoot quick enuf. Got shot in the spine and is now paraplegic. Gotta try to keep your cool. Yeah right!

  • Aardvark

    Frankly, if I had a CCW (not possible where I live in New York) I would only be concerned with my own safety. If there was no immediate threat to me then attempting to intercede and stop a violent individual could very well get me killed by the police thinking I was involved. Our laws here are such that brandishing a weapon is really only permissible in a self-defense situation. God forbid I should happen to kill in innocent person.

    • tj

      so what you stand by and let innocent people get killed as long as you are OK? I'm glad I don't run with your kind!

      • Frank

        TJ, Agreed. There are people that you can borrow a pencil from and there are people that you can truly depend on. Aardvark is someone you can borrow a pencil.

    • David

      WOW! What a hero you are. Save your own a… H… with the others.

  • Philip

    Too many variables for one answer. There was a person conducting a business meeting in a back room who told everyone around him to get down and crawl, and he ushered them out a back door.

    There was a guy who owned another restaurant across the parking lot who saw the first shot fired. He gathered his son, one woman from the parking lot, and his customers inside and locked the door. He has a permit and had his pistol with him. I've seen some comments that he should have engaged the shooter. I looked at Google Maps and measured the distance. That would have been a more-than-60-yard shot, with a pistol, under stress, across a parking lot with at least some cars in it, and with a crowded restaurant as a backstop.

    I was in the Army, and I understand running to the sound of the guns. These men protected lives and acted with presence of mind. They might have stopped him sooner had they gone after the shooter, but I think they did right.

    I agree with you that it would be difficult to know that you could perhaps have stopped the shooter and didn't. It would be more difficult to die knowing that I had left behind a wife without a husband and a 2-year-old son without a father.

    I got my CCW, and I carry wherever I can, in order to protect my family and myself. I'll help others if I can, but I'm more focused on being a live hero to my family than a dead hero to someone else.

    • Billybob


      I'm with you, 60 yards with a handgun against a nut with a rifle is not smart, but if I was trapped in the restaurant with no retreat, different story.

      • Mark

        I for one could not live with myself if I knew that I could have saved anothers life and ran away. With that said, a 60 yd shot is not an easy shot but it is easier than you think. Take a paper plate and start at the 15 yd line. Shoot and with each hit move back 15-20 yards. If you miss try offhand 2 misses your out. I did this in a Vickers class and got out to 70 yd w/ an 4 in. XD .45 others got back to 110. LAV 110 one handed. G19

        Those of you that have doubts…..try it. With alittle practice it is attainable. Semper Fi

  • Tory II

    I agree with George Wehby. I don't condem any armed person who became too afraid to shoot a maniac armed with an AK.

    We only have to try and help others, that's all. This incident is one good reason to carry the most firepower you can.

    • Riley Townsend

      Tory is right. We also need to train and practice and be aware of what is going on around us and pray that we never have to use the training.

      There are many factors to consider,(my loved ones safety first), then I would hope to help my fellow man.

      I definitely wouldn't want to just wait my turn.

  • Jacob the Israeli

    It's a difficult situation. In reality, it is the authorities that handle this scenario best. Most civilians do not train for this, so the risk of shooting an innocent bystander / another CCW holder or being confused for the shooter is there. That being said, one should obviously try to defend himself/herself from the attacker. I do agree that making a clean break would be the best choice.

    A 9mm carry piece or even a .357 magnum wheelgun is not nearly enough to confront a full magazine of devastating 7.62x39mm in the hands of a madman hopped up on adrenaline… You obviously cannot afford to miss the first shot, if you were to take it.

    Again, these are murky waters navigated only by instinct when the storm arrives. If you can assess accurately who the shooter is, take action; in the confusion, you must be fully aware of all your surroundings and all the actors in the play. Otherwise you could possibly take an innocent life or lose your own.

    • hicusdicus

      I carry a Public defender loaded with # 4 and buck and ball. Minimal collateral damage. Multiple head shots of buck shot will stop anything on two legs. Bullets miss and are seldom instantly lethal. A blind person in extreme pain is no longer a threat. A sight picture and accuracy is not a requirement. Deterrence is the key, not lethality.

      • Jacob the Israeli

        I beg to differ. Pistol buckshot is for a garden snake, not a criminal wielding a Kalashnikov. Stopping power is the key to dropping the criminal and ceasing his ability to pull the trigger, not deterrence.

        • Jacob the Israeli

          I eat my words. #4 buck and ball is different from the garden snake variety. And yes, whatever piece you have, engage the enemy (but know your weapon and its limits).

  • Savage110

    This is always tricky to decide what to do in a situation and because shootings like this are started and ended in such a short time in some cases a matter of seconds. the only thing to do when discussing a situation like this is to try to learn as many facts about the situation before saying what should have been done. in my personal opinion it is not a matter of trying to protect yourself by not drawing your side arm. because in a situation like this there is no clear logical target. so you are just as likely to be a target as the others in the restaurant. the only thing is if you draw then you become a threat to the man with the ak-47. so you have to keep your presence of mind so that you can do the most damage as possible.

  • coolerhead

    Here's all I can say. If I had been in that place at that time would I have wanted to be armed or not? If armed what would I have done? I don't know, I was not there, but I am sure I would have wanted the options being armed would have given me.

  • curtis

    if after having exhausted all other options and all you are left with is

    fight or die, you carry the fight to the bad guy and hope and pray any one else involved can escape. i am aware that this is such a simplistic answer. actually it is not the answer only the decision. the who, whens wheres and all the other data that must be evaluated is situation dependent, additionally my abilities are not the same as some one else so there is no "right" answer to the question. this is just my personal opinion.

  • bigjohn

    I often play this what if event in my mind whenever I go out in public anyway anymore. I seldom venture out in crowded places or where I know the military uniformed members gather. I live in Colorado so we are surrounded by military installations. I served in the military and 25 years in law enforcement. Law enforcement training has changed in recent years on how to handle an active shooter. The training is excellent for a uniformed officer but not so much for a civilian. First of all as a civilian you never know how many people in the building are CCW holders and will mistake you for the bad guy! Therefore shooting you. Most shooting scenes are chaotic with people running everywhere so a stopping shot to the suspect may not be possible without hitting another innocent person. I always sit facing the door, by a window and far away from the cash register if possible. I never give my menu to the waitress before I leave, just in case I need it for concealment while drawing my gun. I try to play in my mind what would I do if an active shooter started shooting right now. How would I escape. What conver do I have against an AK or shotgun. There is very little cover in a resturant or store against those types weapons.Then I always ask myself what would I do if the villian is wearing a ballistic vest. How difficult will it be to make a groin or head shot from my location. Do I wait until the bad guy gets closer of approaches my position. My Frist plan is to escape if possible. If that is not possible then I know I need to find cover or at best concealment. If neither of those are available then I know I have to react in a dymanic, and violent manor committed to stopping the actions of the active shooter. There is never a right or wrong reaction to these kinds of encounters. Perhaps the best thing to do is have a planned escape route mapped quickly in mind. Know where he exits are, sit as far away from the register or where money is kept. sit near a windo and be prepared to throw a chair or shoot out the window to escape if you can. What do you do if there are more than one or two gunman. Fight to live! Always bring more ammo then you think you will need, paractice, practice, then paractice somemore.

  • imbored

    A lot of selfish comments here. Quite frankly I would engage the shooter even if I was carrying a 9mm. My life is just that. A life. And to sacrifice it to save others would be an honor. There is truth that an office might confuse you for the shooter or you might hit a bystander or you might miss and the guy gets his hands on more ammunition.. but when it comes down to it the objective is to stop the guy and save lives. If I were in a situation where I think I could save 5 lives by losing my own that is what will happen. People live in fear to protect themselves. Even the ones carrying CCW. I won't be the sheep. I couldn't live with myself if I could have stopped the guy and survived. Forget that.

    • Frank


  • David

    I’ve been in an IHOP, carrying my CCW, with my three children. I agree the choices here are unclear. My first priority would be to protect my family. If we could escape, we would. If we could not – I agree with coolerhead. I would want the choice to have the ability to defend myself and children as a last-ditch matter. As a CCW owner of both a small J frame and a 9MM, however, it does make me ponder the choice. Between the two of them, the 9mm would have vastly increased the odds of being able to engage the shooter – both on accuracy and on number of rounds carried. Thoughts on that?

  • Calling_BS_on_Eric

    800 fps or 2000 fps makes no difference at 50 feet; nor does trajectory. At that range. tThe only difference between a semi-auto AK and a semi-auto pistol is how fast you can pull the trigger and your ability to actually hit what you are aiming at..

    • CL

      Only takes one shot not a 15 round mag full!!

  • Tracy Thorleifson

    Going up against an AK with my J-frame is my definition of a horrible, no good, very bad day. I'd avoid that fight if at all possible; it would be like Godzilla vs. Bambi. But when there is no other option, you do what you must. That's why we carry in the first place.

    • CL

      You are not going against an AK47-just another shooter.

      • Tracy Thorleifson

        CL, I shoot minute-of-man offhand at 100+ yd.s with my M1 carbine. I shoot minute-of-man offhand at 20 yd.s with my J-frame. Let's suppose the guy with the AK matches my, admittedly limited, long gun skills. Suppose we're inside 15 yd.s (IHOP radius) when I engage him. Let's say I manage to draw and fire while he's busy shooting somebody else. At that distance, even with the adrenaline dump, I'm likely to score a hit. If I'm really lucky, and my first 110 gr. .38 spl. +P Hornady Critical Defense round incapacitates him instantly, I win. Otherwise, he turns, hit or not, engages me with AK, and it's game over. At least, that's how it works out if I'm behind the AK.

        Like the vast majority of shooters, I'm more effective at *any* range with a long gun than I am with a hand gun. And hits with long guns are more devastating than hits with handguns. These were the lessons of the 1986 FBI Miami-Dade gunfight, and they're ones we'd all do well to remember. Don't kid yourself, none of us are supermen.

        • Jacob the Israeli

          Well put. A lot of people underestimate the lethality of a long gun in these situations.

  • Dlyn

    I am bothered by the comments that because he had an AK the revolver or pocket pistol becomes ineffective. The man is still mortal flesh and blood no matter what gun he is carrying or how many rounds are in his mag. One round from a flintlock will stop him if it is placed right.

    If he is shooting people you can't wait till he actually points the gun at your head to react. Especially if he has superior firepower, you need to get inside his reaction curve and act instead of react.

  • Jim Taibi

    I physically fought off someone trying to steal my car once at an ATM only on sheer adrenaline with a firearm under my seat! My point is you do not know what you will do until you are there. Train all you want but until you are there facing it for real you have no idea what you will do and very little time to react! Let's hope it never happens. I live by the motto that I refuse to be a defenseless victim of a senseless crime!

    • hicusdicus

      I was attacked and shot multiple times at my home. My gun was in my dresser drawer in a zipped bag. It might as well have been back in the store where I purchased it. I now keep a judge in every room in my house including the bathrooms. All hidden but easily and quickly accessible.

      • Jacob the Israeli

        Were you shot or were you shot at?

    • ldgrey1963

      I could not agree more, I carry (when possible). In fact most people who carry do not have sufficent tactical training to stop an active shooter. I would like to think I would have done something to stop the shooter and I hope I never face the active shooter senerio. Without proper, ongoing, TACTICAL training, I, like most CCW's , probably would not have stood a chance to stop the shooter. After reading the comments here, I want to seek out more training to have better options of stopping such a threat while carrying.

  • George

    I would have taken him out; would not have even given it a second thought. Just react to the threat. A man entering IHOP with a AK-47 isn't about to order pancakes.

    • Jim Macklin

      Maybe and maybe not? Is there a magazine in the gun? Is at slung on the back or on the chest? What do his eyes look like? In some states, AZ maybe WY or MT, ID, it might just be the regular Sunday morning shooting club.

      Again, in civilized places, cities, a concealed weapon is better than a field rig or a rifle over your shoulder. Concealed doesn't make you the first target.

      Wild eyes, incoherent speech, a black Ninja outfit with face mask, if it looks out of place, it should alert you to something, what takes another second.

      Don't wear TactiCool clothes that shout "shoot me first."

      • Kasey Nielson

        Are you for real? I've spent a great deal of time in the "uncivilized" states of Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana, and I've never seen anyone come into a store or restaurant with an AK. If I did, I don't think I'd waste my time trying to find out if his eyes were going wild. Evil wins when good people do nothing. And as for being out-gunned, that didn't seem to bother George Washington.

      • Paul Rusch

        HMMMMMMMMM your a real piece of work. So your saying that if you live in one of the states you mentioned in you comments, that it would be normal? If your a member of a shooting club, you will not " enter a place of business with your weapon just slung over your shoulder ' . You sound like a California liberal who thinks he/she knows something about the subject. Do us all a favor and sell your guns if you own them and please don't carry them. Costumes, looks, appearances etc.etc. do not, or are not good indicators of a criminals intentions. You may not know until your in it.

  • Desert Dave

    The restaurant owner next door grabbed his weapon but chickened out when he saw the assailant with an AK-47. Makes no matter what he has or you have, point and shoot under cover. Have you ever been shot at? I have. A crazy lady in San Francisco put one by my ear. My response? Duck and take cover. I called the police. I could have put her down with my P-38 but decided to watch her. She became immobilized. Why? Who knows. Nuts! I would have put a .380, or even a .22 into this killer. Things change very quickly when you've received a hot round. It doesn't make any difference what caliber it is, it's where you place it. I've thworted two potential robberies with a show of force. Gun to the ready but not pointed at the potential robbers. I stared them down and was motionless. They left.

    • James

      Chickened out, I don't think so. That shot would be beyond my ability at that distance.

      We don't know what loads were in the revolver and at that

      distance in the parking lot would be challenge unless you were

      trained or was very good at this type of situation.

      Better to call for help and let officers take over unless you got

      more firepower then that guy with the AK-47.

      I've never had an AK fired at me or fired one but all you go to do

      is watch the news video of the North Hollywood shootout when the two bad guys robbed that bank. (yes they had body armor and used imported steel core ammo in full auto ak's).

      It is unfortunate that the local PD was not in the IHOP having their morning breakfast, things could have turned out differently.


  • Jim Macklin

    Learn from life, even TV when there is something to learn. Follow me. Last season an episode of NCIS began with a Marine security guard seeing a person moving through a crowd "strangely." When the Marine stooped the person, it turned out to be a suicide murder.

    Tucson, AZ, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is the first person shot.

    Carson City, NV, Guardsman shot at IHop.

    What they all have in common, a need to watch the crowd. Odd actions should get you into a higher level of alert. If anybody at Tucson or Carson City had been as attentive as the fiction USMC guard on TV maybe it all might have turned out differently.

    A Secret Service Agent told me years ago to watch people's hands. Life has taught me to watch crowds for a person moving through a crowd like a lion looking for a meal.

    The police are wondering, why the one woman was shot outside the IHop? Maybe she saw the AK47 [presume it wasn't a fullauto] and she asked him "what are you doind with that rifle?" Just like on NCIS, she was shot [blown up]

    If she had been carrying, she might of had gun in hand when she confronted the killer.

    Inside the IHop, if I remember the floorplan of a standard IHop. the emergency exit is in the far back left as the building is entered.

    Maybe the Guardsmen were targets just because they were closest to the exit. The killer wanted trapped victims. Or maybe there was a hate for the NG/Army.

    In either case, when will the US Army/USMC learn the lesson the IDF learned almost 60 years ago, always be armed, you aren't SAFE amywhere.

    Now to the question… Get out, the rear guard shoots while others get out.

    If you can't shoot right away, get cover, a brick wall, not a cardboard partition. Shoot when you can.

    Always carry a gun.

    Don't go to IHop, I've never had a good, fully cooked waffle or pancake at one.

  • Jake

    I disagree completely with those thinking a ccw would be outgunned. At these ranges a ccw holder could easily engage the shooter and stop the fight. Yes it would be better to have a shotgun or rifle but a proficient and trained citizen could save lives. Now whether this would be prudent would depend on the dynamics of the situation but it appears in this case there was potentially time to stop the gunman. Remember many of these evildoers arent expecting their victims to fight back so the element of surprise works both ways

    • hicusdicus

      A judge is a legal hand held sawed off shot gun. It weights one pound four ounces and is about the size of a 38 stub nose. My wife a rel-estate broker carries one on her person and leaves one in the car. We have both been shot.

    • ldgrey1963

      The key word here is 'proficient'. Some people who carry need to look at this incident as a wake up call. When we decided to 'carry' we assume a moral responsibility to lend aid whenever and where ever possible. Not I am not abdicating to do nothing, to become a 'mall ninja' or super-hero, just suggesting sensible actions and sensible training when carrying.

  • Kevin L. Jamison

    Every time one of these active killers (not shooters, WE are shooters) has been engaged he has committed suicide or surrendered (rare). Even when shot at ineffectively. I would take the chance, it would appear to be my only one. When Rommel was suspected of being part of the plot against Hitler and in fear of Gestapo ambush he would go for walks with his son, giving the boy a pistol and the advice to charge into the ambush because "that sort" of person does not have the nerve for a shootout. He was a military genius.

  • Reid Stewart

    Some others have said the most important aspect of what to do: you simply won't know until faced with the decision. I do know what my first reaction would be: get down and out of the line of sight of the shooter. The most important weapon is the gray matter between our ears, and if one can maintain some cognitive ability, he/she will be in a better position to make the right decision for themselves. I agree with Mr. Maklin: given the risk that a uniform will paint a bulls-eye all over you, I think our uniformed service members should be armed, even if the weapons have to be concealed.

  • LarryA

    I carry my concealed handgun to protect me and mine. To protect other people I conduct Texas concealed handgun license classes.

    Teach a man to fish…

    • Frank

      Then I would never ever take your class.

  • Lopaka


    This a very sad day for the people who were in I-Hop when this crazy gunman storms the restaurant to shoot the Guard members that were there for a meeting. Gunmen like this makes the law want to stop everyone from carrying a weapon for self protection. It is not the law abiding citizens that are out to shoot people but crazy wakos. Right now Governor Brown is going to sign a bill to stop gun owners from carrying there guns unloaded in public places in California. It sounds like we will not be able carry our rifles to go hunting? We can not stop wakos from going in schools, restaurants and other buildings before they start shooting people with AK47. The only protection is everyone have a gun ready to blow the gunman away We need more people to have a gun to fight back killers. If more people had a gun in I-Hop this guy might not come in to shoot these people. It is like in Arizona no one come in to rob a bank because they do not know which tell has a gun to shoot them.

  • Carl

    The " authorities" statistically, don't handle these situations that well. (at least here'd in a the US). As has even mentioned by others, they almost always arrive after it's over, and (because of a that) are FAR more likely to shoot to an innocent by mistake than an armed civilian who "sees it going down."

  • BadBob

    A well trained CCW holder could have stopped this guy cold even with a .22 caliber handgun. 2 Rules stay low and shoot low. A bullet to the groin or the junk will completely immobilize the shooter giving time for a head shot. AK-47's are not very quick in the confines of a restaurant and the elements of distraction and surprise are very effective with the crazies. Throw a dish or cup against the wall and the shooter will turn to the sound and away from you giving time for a couple of well placed shots to the groin from a low vantage point. Make a mental plan when you enter a building. Watch those who enter casually for the telltale signs. How long would it take you to realize the guy was carrying an AK-47?

    • Conway

      Well said, 'BadBob'……I just want to relate something that I read, years and years ago. Someone was giving advice to a woman who wasn't sure that she could handle the recoil of something like a .38 Special revolver. He told her to get maybe a .22 caliber auto or revolver and practice, practice, practice,……using a small melon on a stick at a fairly close range to simulate taking head shots at a bad guy, and shooting until he went down or she ran out of ammo. After getting pretty accurate at close range, increase the distance…..then practice some more. Anybody can handle a .22 handgun.

  • Mtn Tom

    I agree with the comments that most active shooters stop shooting and commit suicide as soon as they are engaged. The fantasy they construct in their pathetic minds does not include a "victim" shooting back. As for the 60 yard distance with a handgun, that should not be a problem for someone who truly practices his pistol shooting. I regularly train at 50, 75 and 100 yards with my 1911s. The problem in this scenario was the parking lot full of cars and perhaps full of people – tough shot at any distance. I believe I have the obligation to stop an active shooter regardless of personal risk. I am trained to do that and will do that if required.

    • Mack Missiletoe

      Now train under stress. A pistol vs an AK47? You don't want to miss!

  • CT

    In 2009 Hillary Clinton, during her address in Mexico City, said that the lack of gun control laws in the US allowed guns, body armor, and night vision, to flow into Mexico outgunning their police. That she and the president were dedicated to remove gun ownership from US citizens. This was during the Justice Departments Operation Fast and Furious, where the DOJ was actually illegally purchasing and supplying the cartels with over 2,500 guns. Yes join the NRA for a voice and get a CCW in your state or one that allows out of state. Time to stand up and be counted or loose your constitutional rights.

    • James

      Right 100%.

      Holder and the rest should be fired for what they did.

      Now Mrs. Clinton is pushing for US to adopt the UN Gun Ban Treaty.

      Join NRA, Gun Owners and call all your elected officials and tell them the USA don't do Firearms Bans from UN or any other country.

      If just one more Supreme Court Justice retires or passes away, Obama will put another Justice in place.

      Say goodbye to your freedoms and firearms.

  • Ian

    It seems to be a split decision on those of us CCW's who would or who not engage the killer. Someone mentioned not to engage because it would identify you as a threat to the killer. I believe there is truth on both sides of the fence on this one. You don't want to be a dumb A** and pull your gun out while the killer is shooting in your direction. Lay low, and blend in with the crowd until you have an opening. However, once we engage him, we just entered a dual to the death. Keep in mind, he has to watch all 360 degrees around him for threats. We only have to watch from the direction he is from us. When he has his back to us and is in close range, is when we should consider engaging the target. Someone also mentioned about other CCW's in the resturant too. Yes, that is possible, but I honestly think we would be able to identify each other as CCW's holders. Look at it this way, if i see a grandpa holding a .357 magnum, and getting ready for a fight, I can honestly say I'm positive he isn't getting ready to shoot me or the other paytrons. I think most of us could identify who is own our team or not. How do you dress? Do you look like you belong on the killers team or like a normal person. Even if it's not grandpa, what about a business man? Someones wife? I think we all get the point. Most, not all, CCW's would be normal, with a non threatening look. We would all have "fear" in our eyes and in our body language that says "I'm not with the killer, i'm against him. Something to think about. Yes, there are law abiding citizens that have CCW's but actually "look" like a bad a** killer!!! I know some! Maybe they ought to change their looks.

  • Glenn Lacewell

    To all of you that would cut and RUN, some day you will be accountable for what you did not do! We are our brothers keeper like it or not.

  • Randy

    If I was able to use some cover and take aim at this shooter, or any other, I'd certainly pull out my Springfield and make every attempt to load his or her body with a few rounds of Corbon DPX. There is no way that I could turn and run if there was even a slight chance that I could do something to end the shooters ability to harm anyone further. Now that might change if there were a number of innocent folks around that I might hit if my bullet missed or went through the shooter..

  • john

    Obviously there was not even two people with .22 pocket pistols eating there. Just like the Gifford shooting, the person with the CCW permit is in another store. In this case, the guy ran and hide, which in my opinion was the correct move, protect his family and the innocents around him. I would have done the same thing.

    If I was by myself the next store over, then I would likely try to flank the guy and get closer before I fired. If I was eating there then I would have opened up. You have to be careful, in GA, open carry of a rifle is legal, pointing it at someone is not.

    This is where a backup gun, even a .22lr, comes into play. In that situation, giving it to a another potential victim or using it once the magazine was empty in your main carry weapon, is a good backup plan.

    This is one of the main reasons I am seriously thinking about a laser on my CCW guns. In a situation such as this, making a shot from under a table or around the corner of a doorway is most likely the best position or only position you will have. Especially if you are thinking about a foot or angle shot while lying on the ground.

    A .22LR Bobcat in the pocket sure beats a fork on the plate when someone 30 feet away starts shooting people with a AK-47.

    • James

      Good idea about the laser sights.

      Some good videos on the Crimson Trace site.


  • Harry Sears

    I was a navy seal in nam for 8 1/2 years I go to ihop I would have taken out with my kimber 1911 which I ccw al the time

    • ldgrey1963

      Harry, perhaps your SEAL training would have saved the day, too bad you were not there to take care of business. Thank you for your service, BTW most SEALS (current or past) will not ever divulge the fact they are/were spec ops.

  • Alan in Nevada

    I have been a resident of Carson City for 23 years and have patronized the IHOP in question many times.

    The common thread of the witness Interviews of those in the IHOP was, initially, great confusion as to what was going on. (One witness thought there had been an explosion in the kitchen.) When there was realization that a shooting was going on most went down under their tables and a few close to the back emergency exit door ran out that that way. All employees, (none targeted) made it out a rear service door. The National Guardsmen were the first, or among the first, targeted and apparently had little chance for evasive action. Although Nevada has liberal CCW laws, there were no carriers reported in the IHOP at the time, or at least any that chose to take action. The restaurant was apparently nowhere near full during the shooting. The killer shot 10 people in the restaurant and then returned to the parking lot where he, apparently just mad at the world, sprayed several businesses nearby before then shooting himself with a handgun. Thus, a number of people in the IHOP were left unharmed. It could have been worse.

    "The police are wondering, why the one woman was shot outside the IHop? I don't think the police are wondering. The killer parked in the IHOP parking lot, walked a few yards from his mini-van, saw the women standing by her motorcycle and shot her. Wrong place at the wrong time. There's no indication she was aware of the killer before she was shot. (She survived)


    There was a guy who owned another across the parking lot who saw the first shot fired. He gathered his son, one woman from the parking lot, and his customers inside and locked the door. He has a permit and had his pistol with him. I’ve seen some comments that he should have engaged the shooter. I looked at Google Maps and measured the distance. That would have been a more-than-60-yard shot, with a pistol, under stress, across a parking lot with at least some cars in it, and with a crowded restaurant as a backstop."

    "Desert Dave

    The restaurant owner next door grabbed his weapon but chickened out when he saw the assailant with an AK-47."

    The restaurant owner, as interviewd later, in retrospect regretted that he didn't try a shot at the guy as he was headed into the IHOP. But, being familiar with the scene, it would have been a difficult shot with a handgun for anybody under the stress of the situation. The killer was across the parking lot and walking away towards the entrance to the IHOP, the window of the IHOP behind him or a few feet to his left, and any people leaving the IHOP would have been (from the restaurant owner's position) behind the shooter and could have been hit by a miss or a shoot-through. When the killer started shooting in the parking lot (the woman by her motorcycle) there was only glass between the restaurant owner and all the others in his business. He made the right decision. (The owner made the first 911 call at 9:58 AM, at 9:03 the first responders arrived, by which time the killer was down in the parking lot dying by his own hand.)

    "Monday-morning quarterbacking" is always easy. As a CCW carrier I have long since made the decision to take out an active killer if I can and it does not inordinately endager myself or innocents in the vicinity. What I would have done, if anything, would have depended on the dynamics of the situation: How close I was to the killer, how clear of innocents the killer was for the shot, where his attention was directed, etc, etc.

  • Conway

    I would just like to hear whether the AK-47 was really an AK-47 (the 7.62 X 39mm), or, was it the AK-74 (5.56 X 45mm) and, was it a semi-automatic or "full-auto" ? I read an early eye-witness account of the shooting, and he, of course called it an 'assualt weapon', probably speaking in total ignorance of just what an assualt weapon REALLY is! What it REALLY is……usually a military weapon that will fire in semi-auto AND "full-auto", a 'selective-fire' weapon.

  • art

    OK, You did everything right, you took the perp out with a single shot and minimal casualties. Now you are faced with another situation. In the eyes of society you are a hero, in the eyes of the the law you could be facing jail time. After the investigation, the authorities may decide you were not justified in using lethal force, especially if the perp survives and retains a overzealous lawyer.

    In the meantime your permit and pistol will be confiscated and you will tied up in court for years. Now, if you are backed into a corner with no way out, take the perp out. As for the person who said he would take a bullet for some one…….save it for the movies. To save my family, YES. In my opinion the only people that would think about taking a bullet for some one would be the secret service and our military.

  • Fred Bush

    I live in Reno Nevada. I have been past that I-HOP 100's of times…. I can't tell you what I would have done because I wasn't there at that moment. The variables are just beyond anything that can be assumed in a group conversation.

    I guess that it is every mans decision based on his/her location, danger level and ability. We just can't guess because we were not there.

  • Big John Delavan

    I'm reading a lot of comments here, most from people who've never "been there, done that" but sound somewhat braggadocio and a few well thought out and/or at least sensible comments. Several entirely missed the point that "the authorities" usually arrive long after the excitement – it's impossible to be everywhere at once. What is the ratio of LE to civilian population in your neck of the woods? For the person who carries a Public Defender loaded with #4 and buck and ball: You'd best find out what that monster's spread is at distance and really, don't slight the effect of #4 buckshot. I was ambushed in '94 when I was a Deputy Sheriff. Shot from behind I caught all 27 'pellets'. My vest stopped 18. I stopped 7 and of the two remaining one when through my right arm and the other through my left shoulder. Of the remaining 7, one broke off a lateral process of my lumbar spine (L2), one came to a stop against the renal artery and two took out about 25% of my brain. Sure, I was only "out" for about 20 to 30 seconds and I still knew the situation around me. I woke up with my sidearm in hand and could have addressed the shooter if I'd known where he was, but I never saw him. Part of that missing 25% of brain cells included the entire left visual cortex so I only have vision in the left half of each eye. Much less than that at the time of the shooting. Don't underestimate #4 buckshot. Without my class 3 vest I wouldn't have gotten up again. For those who replied with "Well, I'd have pulled my 'Manstopper 58 magnum Autokiller' (or whatever), dove for cover and when he wasn't looking I'd have filled him with lead!" I can only offer this response: Until you've "been there, done that" more often than once, you have no earthly clue as to just what you'd do. Years of hard, constant training are the best predictor of any given individual's response during a life or death crisis. What have you been training for? How long? How hard? – Yeah, kinda what I thought.

    • Big John Delavan

      Sorry, forgot to mention that one 'pellet' stopped in my right arm and another stopped in my left shoulder after breaking my scapula, separating and ending up in a fan shape nearly reaching my thoracic spine. As I recall, it was all a little uncomfortable for awhile afterwards. More than 17 years afterward so far. Still continued to teach Taekwondo & Hapkido for another 14 years or so, though. Now I build better 1911's than the one I was carrying at the time of the shooting and make custom lots of both 'Personal & Professional Defense' (Reliable PPD) and 'Training Ammunition' (Reliable TA). Remember: Train, train, train and when you're sure you're good enough – train some more.

    • Jacob the Israeli

      Well told. I have now changed my opinion on the matter and would engage the Kalashnikov wielder even if I only had a 9mm. Discipline and training is the key to being effective in such a situation. Take care – Jacob

  • Harding

    Before I tell someone they're ready to defend themselves with a handgun (assuming that person is mentally prepared) is to be successful at my "4-5's drill".

    If you can draw and put 5 rounds in 5 seconds in a 5" pie plate at a distance of 5 yards WITH YOUR CARRY WEAPON then you should be able to defend yourself in most situations. And practice with all your carry weapons (if you use more than one – I do) at least once a month with the ammo you'll use.

  • Old Retired LE

    It will better to be judged 12 than carried out by 6, their more people killed by a 22cal., so if you train with a 9mm in the head it will do the job,also a 380 will do the job. all I can say is keep on practice, and you can defend your self and others.

  • Mack Missiletoe

    Gee, I didn't know CCW holders were trained to offensively take down enemies with AK47's… I didn't know compact pistols made great assault rifles… I guess I need to play more Call of Duty.

    If Police have to be careful even with all the fancy gear they have, there is NO WAY that we should expect a restaurant owner across the street to assault the enemy with a pistol.

    I believe the guy in the restaurant across the street made a wise decision. I hope he does not feel bad after reading foolish comments about how he was supposed to dance in there Rambo-style guns blazing saving princesses–and all would go well–no one would get hurt. The assailant would then get a birthday cake on the House and everyone would be happy …wait a minute!

    This is a horrible situation. We need to look at it realistically:

    fists < knives < pistols < rifles < love

    • Paul Rusch

      Anybody who thinks that you need to be a hero is misguided, but yes, you can if you chose to try, confront and defeat an individual who may be more heavily armed than you are. It is a judgement call to be sure, but again you might either stop him or cause him to change his mind on what he was going to do. we can armchair quarterback this thing forever, but we were not there. All I'm saying is that I and my friend would have confronted him, AK-47 or not. I do not fault the man outside who tried and do understand why he returned to his business to secure and protect his staff. No one ever expects you to do anything. You do what you can. If you can't, don't. If you can operate in that environment, and want to try, that is good. Would I or my friend have been scared? You bet we would have been scared, but that is where our training would hopefully take over so that we would overcome that force and take care of business as best we could. Being a Vietnam vet, I have been on the receiving end of incoming fire on many occasions. That was 43 years ago, but I know what I can do and what I can't. That is why we train as much as we can, in the hope that we never have to utilize that training here on our streets.

    • Dlyn

      "Gee, I didn’t know CCW holders were trained to offensively take down enemies with AK47′s… I didn’t know compact pistols made great assault rifles… I guess I need to play more Call of Duty"

      It is your assumption that shooting back requires some sort of special government ninja secret agent training that comes from the media. It is just a basic skill combined with will and nerve. Many civilians have it. Some cops don't. That is not a slam against cops, as others have stated, people don't know till they are faced with it. It was not government training that made Alvin York. Nor did he have better weapons than the other guys. Besides, as Mr. Rusch shows. There are many people not in uniform now, who have been there. They are still able and willing. (Thank you for your service Sir.)

      This is also not a criticism of anyone there who refrained from action. It is a judgment call and the judgment of people on the scene trumps that of people reading a newspaper article.

      • Mack Missiletoe

        A compact pistol is no match for an assault rifle unless one can get close enough. Have you seen the sights on these things? THEY SUCK. <–period) I am assuming the restaurant owner carries a compact pistol–it could be larger, but this is a popular example of a practical EDC firearm.

        When man said 'Use your pistol to fight to your rifle," it was understood that the rifle was not in the enemy's hands! XD

        I also do not see a compact pistol taking down AK47-wielding baddies 50 yards away unless the pistol is being used by a well-trained shooter that practices at those distances under stress. And has proper sights. And smiles when shooting.

        "It is your assumption that shooting back requires…" Have you seen what .30 caliber bullets do to cars? THEY GO THROUGH. There should be no 'shooting back.' You don't want a .30 caliber rifleman shooting at you from 50 yards away. Not an option. Say no to self destruction. Say yes to a home cooked meal.

  • Paul Rusch

    From what I understand, this POS fired wildly outside the store hitting other businesses and then shot a woman who was getting off of a motorcycle getting ready to go in and eat. I am amazed that no one inside the store heard any of this going on outside. I am a Vietnam vet and know gunfire when I hear it even if I am inside a building. My friend and I discussed this, because we live in Nevada about 36 miles from where this happened. My friend is a veteran LEO of 25 years and also knows gunfire when he hears it. I also understand that this POS entered the store and walked through the store to a location where he began firing at the Guardsman. I am a CCW holder and my friend is an HR218 permit holder. If this POS would have walked past us in that store on his way to where he began firing, with an AK-47 in his hands, we would not have challenged him. We would have got out of our booth and dropped him right then and there. We would not have asked him to turn around, or any of that crap. We would have shot him in the side facing us even if it was his BACK!! In my humble opinion, he was not there with his AK to have coffee and pancakes. If he was an employee just bringing the weapon in to show to a friend to sell to him, That would be unfortunate for him that he was that stupid because it would have cost him his life for that ignorant decision. But in the end, it appears that there were no CCW's in the store at the time of the crime, or I am sure the outcome would have been very different and end in a negative fashion for the bad guy. It is unfortunate that he was able to seriously injure an innocent outside the store and maybe if someone had been out there to confront him, he may never have gotten inside. However that was not the case. Nevada is not a Good Samaritan state and that means that you do not have to get involved in or intercede in a criminal act if you choose not to but, I and my friend would not have hesitated, and let the law sort it out later. I train and carry everyday as do many of my friends and acquaintances and pray to god that I/we never have to engage an individual like this who has already decided for some reason that he/she has nothing to lose but engage him/her I/we would and try our best to end the situation on a positive note with minimal loss of life and injury. Plain and simple. I you carry a weapon and you are unfortunately involved in something like this, I hope you would think beyond yourself and do what is right. If you can not, then please do not carry a weapon just because the law says you can.

  • m. sharpe

    Inside a building or between buildings, AKs are very loud. Every situation will be a little different-Have a plan. Use wisdom. Keep Your wits.Advise family members ahead of time if we say hit the exit,do it quickly without questions. Or cover down under a table, do it.

  • Rick

    Military regulations prevent me from carrying concealed when in uniform even with a CC Permit. The National Guardsmen who were shot had the same ignorant constraints therefore became priority targets with no defense. I would assume any gunman looking for a high body count try to take out any potentail adversary first so the uniform is like a beacon.

    Until our DoD acknowledges the clear and present danger men and women in uniform face each day we will continue to provide defenseless targets in our own homeland. Israeli military troops were attacked en route to R&R and were able to successfully return fire and kill several of their attackers…because they are adequately trained and trusted with their weapons. It seems to me "the world's finest fighting force" could learn a thing or two from those tried and tested warriors surrounded by cultists hell-bent on high body counts.

  • Scott.45

    I live close to where this took place and have some insight to the layout of the IHOP that in my opinion changes everything. The gunman started shooting as soon as he stepped out of his vehicle. He then entered the restaurant. When inside, he walked by a number of people AK in the open and not concealed. As a CCW holder, if I see this I know there is a problem right away. When you enter this building, the register and kitchen are right in front of you. There is a small and narrow hallway to the right which leads to the larger dining area. If memory serves me correctly (I've dined there but its been awhile) there is not an exit in this area where the gunman started unloading. If I'm carrying and have no where to go, I'm going to do what I have to do in order not to be gunned down. I'd rather go down fighting. I understand the magnitude of this situation and realize there a many factors that quite frankly may have to be dealt with after the fact. The setting changes things and I don't know that there is a right or wrong in this situation. As a CCW holder, would anyone fault you in this situation for fighting back? All of this happened within approximately 4 minutes before the shooter took his life. All in all, this occurred in a very small and tight area and there may be repercussions for the actions one might take against the shooter.

  • outlaw

    Thank slick Willie for the members of our military not being able to carry firearm's and protect themselves and quite possibly the other innocents that were shot. I totally agree that no one can predict the way the they will react until the crap hits the fan, some run to the fight, some run away. Some people could never live with the notion that they didn't do all they could, some would never think twice about it. We all just hope that we are never put in that position, but if we are we will need all the training and practice that we can get so there is no doubt in our abilities because if you hesitate you will probably get shot and possibly die.

  • Don Holmes

    Was there ever a firearm that wasn't a glock or a AK-47?

  • Unknownjoe

    All I have to say is that if there is even the slightest chance to save a life, I'm taking it. Gotta roll the dice some time.

  • Roland

    One factor that no one seemed to mention was the element of surprise! Someone trapped inside with the suspect has the element of surprise on his side. The gunman was looking for victims and would have been startled if a plainclothes patron started shooting. A person responding from outside would be at a distinct disadvantage and should be calling the police and being a good witness.

  • robert

    Just Cause 2 Hacks: No Reload, Unlimited Ammo, Unlimited Money, Unlock All:

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