Beginners Guide: NEVER “Shoot To Kill”


By Robert Farago via

The correct expression is “shoot to stop the threat.” That’s what you’re trying to do when you perforate a perp. You are NOT trying to commit homicide, however justifiable that goal may be. Even if you’re aiming at the bad guy’s head or shooting him or her point-blank. You are shooting to stop the threat. To make a violent attacker – or potential violent attacker – cease and desist. And you’re only doing so when you or other innocent life face an imminent threat of death or grievous bodily injury. If you use the word “kill” in a firearms-related comment on the Internet, to friends or acquaintances with loose lips or, God forbid, to the police, you are . . .

opening the door to legal disaster. “So you wanted to kill Mr. Smith?” “I had to kill him! He was going to kill me!” No, you had to shoot him. To stop the threat. “I had to stop the threat.” Avoid the “K word” like the plague.


There are a couple of words you can use to help you during a defensive gun use, and after. If you have  the time and enough mental focus to yell at an approaching lethal threat, shout “STOP! Don’t make me shoot you!” Not kill. Shoot. If someone hears you shout these words, it will go very well for you during the subsequent investigation.

After the event, use the words “My life was in danger” as soon as humanly possible. When calling 911 after a defensive gun use, insert that phrase anywhere. “I want to report a shooting at XXXXX. My life was in danger. I’m 5’11”, grey hair, wearing glasses and a blue T-shirt. “Did you shoot someone sir?” Either don’t answer or say “My life was in danger.” “Did you shoot someone sir?” “Please send an ambulance to XXXX as soon as possible. I’ve got to hang up now.”

The longer you stay on the line with the 911 operator, the greater the chance you’ll say something that will be used against you in a court of law. [NOTE: the 911 call is admissible evidence even without anyone informing you of your right to remain silent.] Above all, remember that words matter.

Categories: Beginners Guide, General
About Brandon Curtis | View all posts by Brandon Curtis

Brandon is the founder of Concealed Nation and is an avid firearm enthusiast, with a particular interest in responsible concealed carry. His EDC is a Glock 27 that holds Hornady…

Brandon is the founder of Concealed Nation and is an avid firearm enthusiast, with a particular interest in responsible concealed carry. His EDC is a Glock 27 that holds Hornady 165 gr FTX Critical Defense rounds, and rides comfortably in an Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.0 holster.

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  • Nanci Loveless Burns

    Ok. I’ll DO it, I just won’t say it.

  • Sufferfortribe

    Thanks for the tip.

  • Jackrabbit

    I clicked on this article based on the title and had braced myself for a stupid and inane politically correct peace-and-love emotional piece of crap. Instead I find an article that is well written and which contains some invaluable advice. Well played!

    • Ew0k5AN0nomi5

      Same here! Very good information, and it was written in a way that made me stop and think.

  • Samuel Harper

    I have to wonder why you should avoid mentioning that you shot someone on the 911 call. I’m sure it’ll be immediately obvious when the police get there that you’re the one that you’re the one that shot the attacker. Is it just to keep you from accidentally flubbing your words and saying something that makes it sound worse?