The controlled study documented in these videos show that concealed carry permit holders are fooling themselves if they think they will be able to react effectively to armed aggressors. Most CCW holders won’t even be able to un-holster their gun. They will more likely be killed themselves or kill innocent bystanders than stop the aggressor. For more details, see “Unintended Consequences: Pro-Handgun Experts Prove That Handguns Are a Dangerous Choice for Self-Defense.”

Part One


Part Two

Category: Really, really bad calls, Science, Video

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

28 Responses to “How Helpful Are Concealed Weapons?”

  1. JohnathanStein says:

    A one-sided argument for special situations; that’s why cops have had for the past 30 years.

    Concealed carry is less about imminent attack than being prepared:

    My personal favorite:

    BR: The Tueller Drill is quite interesting. I dont think this post is propaganda, but its not a full on statistical study. Last, a battle of anecdotes is a waste of time, and proves nothing

  2. USSofA says:

    Is this what you base decisions on? Barry, you’re the guy who always brings up confirmation bias.

  3. europa says:

    Barry your political beliefs are dowsing your stats and financial opinion. These test are ridiculous, they have sweaters gloves helmets random scenarios where in if someone was going to a class consistently they would know the area better than a game show like agenda by bias journalist with your same opinion

    A well trained and versed fire arm owner is a good solution to all these wackos not dictatorship gun confiscation in the name of fear.

    The 2nd amendment has to do with keeping the govt in check and self defense. My advise,… is if all the nuts have a gun, YOU better have one instead of the laziness of a statist protection with ARMED MEN WITH BADGES…….. Keep to the financial unless your well versed in American History


    BR: I am wary of the paranoid delusions of “the government is coming to get us” crowd.

  4. europa says:


    BR: This is a perfect example of what I DONT want — an anecdote from either side is meaningless. Remember, the plural of anecdote is not data . . .

  5. europa says:

    What does that mean? Again facts,not opinion. If you want to protect people discuss reasonable gun control and ownership. how come you dont mention Switzerland? Or the murder rate in Britian with other object more brutal then a gun. Its obvious you are a democrat pushing an agenda rather than giving a credible analysis. of how many times have guns protected people? If you are for gun control then the government should be first on the list they have Nukes to blow up the WORLD MULTIPLE TIMES

  6. TKWW says:

    This video and your premise represent backward thinking and predictable emotional driven ignorance. It is only a shock to the uniformed that many people cannot draw a gun like the cowboys you see on TV. Only someone with an agenda, with a generous sprinkling of ignorance regarding of gun ownership, would present such manure. It is true, many people that have carry permits are not Clint Eastwood. Newsflash; in real life there are no Clint Eastwoods. If you took a moment to do your homework you would know how difficult it is to fire a handgun accurately. There is much data to demonstrate that gun ownership reduces crime irrespective of the owners marksmanship ability. Rapes, murders, and burglaries are lower in right to carry states. A recent Harvard study published in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy once again demonstrated these facts. There is no overflow of your abilities in other areas where memorization of metrics leads you to believe that you are informed. If this puff piece is an example of how you draw conclusions I now question your perspective.

  7. kwindheim says:

    Why show someone with a concealed weapon. Why not just wear a gun on a holster like people do in Arizona. Yes it is legal to do so. It is a lot easier to draw a weapon from a holster than from a concealed spot. It wastes less time.

  8. obijohn says:

    While I buy the results from the experiments as shown above, I don’t buy the conclusion (handguns are largely useless for self-defense). There is a lot of counterfactual information, and we have only to look at the police and at personal security offered by folks like the Secret Service to see that the true experts in the field value and use handguns for self-defense.

    The lesson from the above videos is that possessing a handgun with little training will not give you some magic power over all possible adversaries. The training shown in the video was mostly about the basic mechanics; how to fire a handgun, and how to aim it. There was no effective training in self-defense with a handgun; picking a suitable concealed carry handgun, and clothing, or ‘trigger points,’ the recognizable signs of being at risk of death from an armed assailant and what to do about it. If I were in a class, armed with a paintball gun, and someone came in there with what I thought was a real handgun and started shooting up the room, I’d get out of there rather than try to draw a toy that would do me no good.

    Note that several hundred thousand examples of law-abiding individuals protecting their property and their lives with handguns occur each year. A gun doesn’t have to be fired to be effective; the shooting at the Clackamas Mall a few weeks ago came to an end when the gunman encountered an armed shopper, turned around and fled into a service hallway and then committed suicide. Who wouldn’t consider that an effective use of a handgun?

    BTW, even for the well-trained, if your life depends upon how quickly you can draw and fire a handgun then you are most likely going to die. There are four aspects to surviving a deadly encounter: situational awareness (avoiding trouble), knowledge of tactics (what to do once trouble has found you), skill with the weapons at hand (are you capable of doing what needs to be done with the weapons at hand, including guns or even unarmed combat), and the choice of a weapon (what you actually have at hand to use to defend yourself). The importance of each level is in the order given, and the choice of weapon is the least important.

    In short, don’t put yourself in a situation where you may need to defend yourself, if you find a defensive situation developing get out of it or position yourself to best advantage to overcome your attacker, know what to do and how to do it, utilize the weapon at hand that will provide the best chance of surviving the attack and overcoming your attacker.

  9. Centurion 9.41 says:

    How can you post those videos which claim proof when the FACT is every year there are documented cases of FACT which prove the premise wrong? Seriously, you do not feel strong emotional bias and perspective is creeping into your thinking?

    This much I know, IF the number of CC events where the citizen drew resulted in deaths by the CC individual the event would be ALL OVER the MSM. Yet I’ve never seen one, and I’m almost 50.

    Please, do me a favor and put up a video of the flash mobs in Philly & the mid-west from the past year…. then tell me how there’s never a reason to have more than 5 rounds in a gun. If you think a real economic collapse would not result in hungry mobs spreading out from the cities you are being an ostrich. And my point has nothing to do with race. When people start to starve, especially if water is not available, they litterally lose their minds. Read about what the sailors who survived the USS Indianapolis said happened. Such training of the effects on psyche and what people will or will not do is well, well documented.

  10. rch says:

    Yes this is video probably correct, in this staged situation. However, if you check out the impact on Australia when they decided to eliminate private ownership of guns aggravated assault increased. Also, Mexico has the most restrictive gun laws, I think in the world. So only 2 groups have weapons, criminals and the police. Who, prey tell , is winning that battle. That’s right, the Criminals.
    On a personal note, if someone comes into my home uninvited with intent to do harm to me or my family I do not intend to wait for the police to arrive and tell me there has been a crime committed. I intend to do what I can to eliminate the threat.
    Please call before you come over for coffee.

  11. ilsm says:

    TKWW/cent 9.41,

    Stats: A very few people with guns get lucky and don’t kill themselves while “thwarting” a home invasion out of hundreds of thousands.

    So rare that examples of successful use of guns in self defense is bigger news than the number of gun deaths.


    Murders in UK: 722 US 13000!!


    No point there, parts of Mexico are a failed state, US will not be a failed state unless tea party and La Pierre’s line of malarky win out.

  12. howardoark says:

    The general premise is probably correct, but in “real life” situations the kid with the gun would have had plenty of time to walk up behind the lunatic and put a bullet in his head from three feet away. Not that that would probably happen in real life either:

    “But what angered Mr D’Souza almost as much were the masses of armed police hiding in the area who simply refused to shoot back. “There were armed policemen hiding all around the station but none of them did anything,” he said. “At one point, I ran up to them and told them to use their weapons. I said, ‘Shoot them, they’re sitting ducks!’ but they just didn’t shoot back.”

    Read more:

    But, nonetheless, if you hear someone shooting up the room next door and you don’t have time to run, it would be nice to have a gun.

  13. seth1066 says:

    In a nonsense “study” going around the Internet right now, Mother Jones magazine claims to have produced its own study of all public shootings in the last 30 years and concludes: “In not a single case was the killing stopped by a civilian using a gun.”

    This will come as a shock to people who know something about the subject.

    The magazine reaches its conclusion by simply excluding all cases where an armed civilian stopped the shooter: They looked only at public shootings where four or more people were killed, i.e., the ones where the shooter wasn’t stopped.

    If we care about reducing the number of people killed in mass shootings, shouldn’t we pay particular attention to the cases where the aspiring mass murderer was prevented from getting off more than a couple rounds?

    It would be like testing the effectiveness of weed killers, but refusing to consider any cases where the weeds died.

    In addition to the Portland mall case, here are a few more examples excluded by the Mother Jones’ methodology:

    – Mayan Palace Theater, San Antonio, Texas, this week: Jesus Manuel Garcia shoots at a movie theater, a police car and bystanders from the nearby China Garden restaurant; as he enters the movie theater, guns blazing, an armed off-duty cop shoots Garcia four times, stopping the attack. Total dead: Zero.

    – Winnemucca, Nev., 2008: Ernesto Villagomez opens fire in a crowded restaurant; concealed carry permit-holder shoots him dead. Total dead: Two. (I’m excluding the shooters’ deaths in these examples.)

    – Appalachian School of Law, 2002: Crazed immigrant shoots the dean and a professor, then begins shooting students; as he goes for more ammunition, two armed students point their guns at him, allowing a third to tackle him. Total dead: Three.

    – Santee, Calif., 2001: Student begins shooting his classmates — as well as the “trained campus supervisor”; an off-duty cop who happened to be bringing his daughter to school that day points his gun at the shooter, holding him until more police arrive. Total dead: Two.

    – Pearl High School, Mississippi, 1997: After shooting several people at his high school, student heads for the junior high school; assistant principal Joel Myrick retrieves a .45 pistol from his car and points it at the gunman’s head, ending the murder spree. Total dead: Two.

    – Edinboro, Pa., 1998: A student shoots up a junior high school dance being held at a restaurant; restaurant owner pulls out his shotgun and stops the gunman. Total dead: One.

    By contrast, the shootings in gun-free zones invariably result in far higher casualty figures — Sikh temple, Oak Creek, Wis. (six dead); Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va. (32 dead); Columbine High School, Columbine, Colo. (12 dead); Amish school, Lancaster County, Pa. (five little girls killed); public school, Craighead County, Ark. (five killed, including four little girls).

    All these took place in gun-free zones, resulting in lots of people getting killed — and thereby warranting inclusion in the Mother Jones study.


    BR: Selected anecdotes from either side of any argument is not the same as data . . .

  14. richardsp says:

    “BR: Selected anecdotes from either side of any argument is not the same as data . . .”

    But this set of videos qualify as “selected anecdotes”.


    BR: Its not an anecdote, but neither is it a full data set with 100s of samples . . .

  15. bunabhucan says:

    Hey Barry, thanks for posting this. This demolishes the fantasy that amateurs whose main skill with a gun consists of using the word “tactical” as a punctuation mark could react to a real world shooter trying to kill them and be a net benefit to the situation (i.e. would not harm others, would not impede trained law enforcement responding to gunfire and so on.) Playing FPS games and hours on the gun range are not going to be any benefit. I would love to see this test replayed with people with no gun training whatsoever beyond how to fire it. I doubt their score would be any better.

    I grew up in a Ireland where the uniformed police do not carry guns and somehow manage to carry out their jobs. The myopia of the gun advocates in the USA (where I now live) amazes me.

    A “Precambrian rabbits” style question I would want to pose to them: if you (the gun advocates) genuinely believe that your position on gun ownership is based on data, rather than being doctrinal, can you imagine evidence that would change your mind?

    e.g. if every other country in the world except the US had no guns and no gun murders, would that change your mind?

  16. grywlfbg says:

    All this tells me is that we are not training people well enough. I am all for comprehensive training, examinations, and regular qualifications. If you don’t practice something you’re going to suck at it whether it’s basketball or shooting. Americans are lazy.

    I certainly don’t feel safe with cops around…

  17. stevenp says:

    These show a case where it was designed for them to fail. First of all, the attacker knew who to shoot at first. In real life, how would the attacker know who was armed and who wasn’t. Secondly, with those gloves on, it is hard to clear your cover garment and get your finger into the trigger guard. Thirdly, they may have been using Serpa retention holsters. I could not tell from the video, but I had heard criticism of this video before. That criticism stated that they were using the Serpa holster. That holster requires special training to use, and is very difficult to use with gloved fingers.

    Those interested might consider the following:
    Those who defend themselves with guns have the fewest injuries and lose less property than victims who either did not resist, or resisted without guns.
    Those using weapons against rapists are less likely to be raped, and do not have a higher chance of injury.
    There is no evidence that it provokes offender into attacking the victim.
    There is no evidence that it results in the offender taking the gun away and using it against the victim.
    Dr. Edgar A. Suter, “Guns in the Medical Literature — A Failure of Peer Review,” The Journal of the Medical Association of Georgia, vol. 83 (March 1994):136.
    Kleck and Gertz, “Armed Resistance to Crime,” at 173, 185.
    Don B. Kates, “Guns and Public Health: Epidemic of Violence, or Pandemic of Propaganda?” in Gary Kleck & Kates, Armed: New Perspectives on Gun Control (2001), p. 79.
    Kleck “Crime control through the use of armed force.” Social Problems Feb. 1988; Kleck and DeLone “Victim resistance and offender weapon effects in robbery” Journal of Quantitative Criminology March 1993; Tark and Kleck “Resisting Crime” Criminology November 2004.
    Kleck and Sayles “Rape and Resistance” Social Problems May 1990.)

  18. V says:

    I’m detecting a bit of illusory superiority in the responses.
    Yes more training would help, but the reality is most people in society will not receive all the training required, and you can’t just wish that away.
    Sure wearing a different holster might work, or it might not.
    While I definitely think it is feasible to defend yourself in a known environment such as your home with a weapon, if you are caught by surprise in an unfamilair public environment I don’t see the odds being in ones favour vs “getting the hell out of dodge”. And that assumes you happen to have a loaded weapon on you, who possibly has their weapon at their side 24/7? Furthermore what sort of society is it that needs people to be armed in such a way?

  19. ilsm says:


    None of the following justifies the colateral damage: suicides, accidents, mass murders,etc.

    “Those who defend themselves with guns have the fewest injuries and lose less property than victims who either did not resist, or resisted without guns.”

    Without gun victim, with gun defender!

    ” Those using weapons against rapists are less likely to be raped, and do not have a higher chance of injury.”

    Rapists have a different tool on their mind than handling a knife or guns!

    ” There is no evidence that it provokes offender into attacking the victim.”

    Hmmmmm, defender having a gun does not make the enemy more or less dangerous.

    “There is no evidence that it results in the offender taking the gun away and using it against the victim.”

    If disarmed by the assailant the guntotter becomes a victim!

    You can keep iyour saferoom the glock or bushmaster loaded and locked, just make sure the neighbors are aware and ready!

  20. GreenTom says:

    I’d agree this is kind of staged, but more rigorous studies show the same thing. Study below reports that people carrying weapons are about 5 times more likely to be shot than those who don’t carry. It’s funny, I predict a lot of negative reactions to this comment, but does anyone really claim that escalating a robbery to a gunfight isn’t a risky move?

  21. Disinfectant says:

    It is amazing, but not at all surprising, that so many watch these videos and utterly fail to understand the message. The point is simple and should be uncontroversial – unless you are well trained, defending yourself with a gun in a live scenario is very difficult; your body and mind are not prepared for this. It doesn’t matter how often you go to the gun range or how heroic you imagine yourself to be. Going through the motions of protecting yourself, getting the gun out, then firing at the target (and ONLY at at the target) does not happen naturally.

    To the critics: nowhere does it imply that a gun will never be useful in defense. Obviously, if you are not in the immediate line of fire and can take cover, you will have more time to prepare yourself. But if the shooter is standing right in front of you, your odds are likely much lower than you think. And as far as anecdotal evidence goes, I’m sure 0% of you can actually say that you have been in such a situation and performed as flawlessly as your imagination would have you believe.

  22. Disinfectant says:

    GreenTom, thanks for the research. Unfortunately, we know that facts are irrelevant to most people.

  23. seth1066 says:

    “…does anyone really claim that escalating a robbery to a gunfight isn’t a risky move?”

    I think currently the issue is about stopping an armed killer(s) whose intent is not robbery, but killing as many human beings as possible.

    You’re in an area (school, mall, theater) with 100 people, a killer starts shooting. Would you like to have at least one person there who is armed and has a chance of saving your life?


    BR: You seem to discount the likelihood of this crossfire killing innocent bystanders . . .

  24. seth1066 says:

    BR: “You seem to discount the likelihood of this crossfire killing innocent bystanders . . .”

    Point taken, but let me ask it this way: The gunman is a coming and people are being shot and killed. The person next to you shows you his now unsheathed pistol and asks: “Should I shoot the gunmen?” Does, “No, you might hurt somebody,” while the carnage continues, make any logical sense?

  25. balletto says:

    Most pro-gun people in the US view the VPC as roughly equivalent to the National Association of Realtors (if we were talking about home prices and trends).

    To directly address the video, the circumstances of it, including:
    1. A demonstrably inexperienced and untrained “good guy” in video #1,
    2. A ‘bad guy’ who is a trained police officer,
    3. Clothing choices (gloves, baggy t-shirt) that make it notably more difficult for the ‘good guy’ to draw the pistol
    4. The ‘good guy’ is apparently seated in the same place in each demonstration
    5. Implication that all police officers are trained to the nth degree in active shooting situations
    6. The expectation that the ‘good guy’ must perform completely perfectly all the time, every time

    …all lead me to believe that the point of the video was not honest research, but rather propaganda.


    BR: It was neither research nor propaganda, but a test of a thesis using specific circumstances within a given framework. (As I said above, it is not a complete data set).

    However, there are lots of studies and data about how often a person using a gun (a concealed or not) successfully defends themselves. See for example this:

    “People who carry guns are far likelier to get shot – and killed – than those who are unarmed, a study of shooting found.”

  26. mberg says:

    As a “controlled experiment”, this is badly set up to test whether carry permits are any help in dealing with violent crime.

    For starters, this test does, more or less, test responses under stress – as filtered through the need to “quick draw” the piece. Quick-draw is hard – stipulated! It’s also very much in the minority of self-defense cases. In most cases, a modestly alert civilian gets *some* hint something’s amiss: a car watching them, a drunk/high/dissociative person acting belligerent, shots fired around the corner or in the next classroom.

    For a great example, see the Clackamas Mall shooting this past 12/11, where a citizen drew and aimed on a mass-shooter (who then withdrew and killed himself, as often happens with mass shooters – interrupting the fantasy derails their plans; the key, according to the police, is to disrupt the fantasy as early as possible).

    Training is very important, and any worthwhile carry permit training instructor will urge their students to get the most realistic training possible. But it has little to do with a permittee’s chance of success in a real-world situation.

    By the way, that VPC study, if you actually look at the stats, shows how very, very safe permit holders actually are:

    Among people who actually follow this stuff, VPC “studies” are to “data” what “Mythbusters” is to “experimental rigor”.

    Finally: as to the bit about “discounting the likelihood of crossfire killing innocent bystanders”:
    – There are very, very few examples of that happening, Indeed, according to DOJ data from the nineties (the last time I looked, but back when crime was much higher), civilians shot the wrong person in self-defense situations about a fifth as often as cops do (because cops arrive at situations late; citizens rarely face ambiguity in their self-defense situations)
    – What? You’re saying that if a citizen draws and returns fire during a *mass shooting event*, things might get *dangerous*? Good to know!

  27. grywlfbg says:

    Disinfectant Says:
    December 27th, 2012 at 11:44 am

    To the critics: nowhere does it imply that a gun will never be useful in defense. Obviously, if you are not in the immediate line of fire and can take cover, you will have more time to prepare yourself. But if the shooter is standing right in front of you, your odds are likely much lower than you think. And as far as anecdotal evidence goes, I’m sure 0% of you can actually say that you have been in such a situation and performed as flawlessly as your imagination would have you believe.

    You make the point very well. If the shooter is standing right in front of you then you’re dead whether you have a gun or not so the odds are the same. If however you are out of the direct line of fire and are able deploy your weapon then the odds go way, way up.

    At the Mall shooting a few weeks ago, it was a citizen who ended the rampage w/o firing a shot. The shooter’s gun jammed. During the lull in firing a citizen pulled out his gun. The shooter unjammed his gun, saw the citizen w/ his gun, and instead of continuing his rampage immediately shot himself, even though he still had a ton of ammo and the cops where nowhere to be found.

    Please tell me how else a 90lb woman can defend herself against a 200+lb rapist? A gun is an equalizer, whether it’s against a government or an individual attacker.

  28. gnomic says:

    I have to point and laugh at the people who think that their guns are a threat to our government. I was in Monahans when the Republic of Texas militia was hunted down. They were heavily armed; now they are dead or in jail. The cult in Waco didn’t fare well either. A platoon or a couple of guys from a Seal Team could take out any armed group that has guns, event heavy weapontry. Why? Because of constant training.

    And based on the evidence, the guns aren’t much of a threat to the nut jobs either. Ask the people at Fort Hood, Tx. Or the police station that was shot up a few weeks ago.

    Oh, and that “90lb woman” (actually 110) has fended off an armed would-be rapist. I know one personally. Without a gun.