Some background; local cops have been out for me and my family. Not in a big way, just looking to take advantage of opportunities. Both of my kids have had run-ins with the law. Some serious and some very, very, laughably trivial. I was once the victim of selective enforcement regarding dogs being off-leash ($100 dollar ticket) on or the day after the local cops were subpoenaed to appear in court as witnesses on one of those trivial cases, they’ve threatened to have the dog destroyed, and recently one of the cops was seen prowling in my yard, and was not forthcoming as to why when I called him on the phone afterward. One of the former cops from the same department had been “hitting on” my under-age daughter and her under-age friend. That’s 2.
I let my dog out late at night a while back (yeah, well ALL the neighbors’ dogs around me are loose every day, and this has been the case for 15 years. As I say; selective enforcement) and minutes later I heard dogs barking, followed by a gunshot (that’s 2 + 2), followed by silence. 2 + 2 + 2 = ?
The “math” did not lead to any pleasant answer that I could imagine at the moment. I stepped outside in the dark, flashlight in one hand, other hand on the butt of my carry pistol. Nothing certain.
I thought for a second and phoned my next-door neighbor. No answer. I went out back, still with the flashlight, still making out nothing, when I heard my neighbor’s voice; “Lyle, were you trying to call me?”
He’d had a terminally sick animal for weeks, and it was emaciated and dying so he put it out of its misery. He was sad and thoughtful. He apologized for not having anticipating how loud the gun would be on a cold, quiet night. I helped him with the carcass, we talked for a good long while and said our goodnights.
The lessons learned?
The flashlight I carry, though it seems bright enough when trying it out casually, and for performing little tasks here and there, is not NEARLY bright enough when you MUST identify people and things in a “concerning” situation. Get the brightest mega-torch you can carry and keep it powered up. It can be more important than the gun on your hip.
A gun-mounted light is a fine idea, but ONLY as a supplement to your hand-held light. You don’t want to be pointing your gun at people just to identify them. Never do that. I still don’t have a gun light, and did not feel handicapped for it. I was handicapped not having a bright enough light.
I probably don’t have enough fear, or concern, or self preservation instinct. There wasn’t any hesitation or second thought. Hear an out-of-place gunshot, go toward it in the dark? Probably quite foolish. A Moscow cop got killed that way several years ago – just ran right up to the sound of gunfire and got shot.
Know your neighbors. Maintain a good relationship with them. Have their phone numbers. Keep your phone on your person at all times.
If you need glasses for driving, you need them for a situation like that. You’re pretty hosed without them, if the situation is truly dangerous.
And to all that I will add, from an experience hunting with a handgun in low light; if you have black-on-black sights, they’re worthless. They’re invisible. Get the most fiery, stupid-looking sights you can find if it means they’re more visible in low light. My carry pistol has white dot front and white bracket rear, which is marginal. Practice in the dark, and practice in bad weather.
Range shooting bears very little resemblence to any kind of real life shooting. The more I hunt, for example, and shoot in the wilds, the more this axiom asserts itself.
Last lesson; I still have crap for brains. You shouldn’t listen to anything I say.
ETA: 22LR pistols are in fact quite loud, especially compared to a 22LR long gun which can be safely fired without hearing protection, but a supressed 22 wouldn’t have gotten anyone’s attention.
I didn’t call the cops for the obvious reason that they would have been the most likely perps, in my judgment. Besides that, I’ve seen cops worsen, rather than help, in the majority of situations involving cops that I witnessed first-hand.
Getting into what can only be described as meta-physics (“physics” about, or pertaining to, physics); this is one of a few recent situations in which, on the surface, from the professional trainer’s or tactician’s point of view and analysis, I did absolutely everything totally wrong, and yet in hindsight it turned out that I did everything right. I responded immediately, I had a good talk with my neighbor under the stars, we caught up on recent family and community goings on, and although he’d planned to do it himself, and it would have been very difficult for him, I was able to help him dispose of a dead body. Couldn’t have been better. And so once again, regarding the after-action reports of this or that crime or other incident that we all love to talk about and analyze from all directions; if you weren’t there, don’t judge. You weren’t there. Making choices from a position of having a tiny fraction of the necessary data for a “correct” response isn’t the type of thing for a professional to “figure out”, because it can’t be figured out.