We train with our firearms so that we are ready if there is a life-threatening situation. Training is the one and only thing that can help when you find yourself in a scenario like an attempted carjacking. I never thought my training would have to come into play at a busy intersection, in the middle of the day, in a well-populated area. But there I was, with my pistol drawn inside my truck, pointed at a guy running at my vehicle. My entire life hanging in the balance.
An Attempted Carjacking: A Sudden Reality
Let’s rewind to a few minutes earlier. I was following a beat-up old Toyota Camry going 15 mph under the speed limit. My mind was elsewhere while I was driving and attempting to navigate around road closures in wonderful Michigan traffic.
I noticed the two guys in the Toyota starting to act very strangely, looking around erratically and just acting odd. At the next traffic light, I saw the passenger put what I thought was a hood on his head, and the driver kept looking in his mirrors at me and my truck. The two were acting strange enough that I was on high alert.
We pulled up to the next light, and I had some choices to make. The way the intersection was set up, I could pick one of four lanes. Left turn, straight, or two right turn lanes. I needed to go right but didn’t want to be next to those guys in the Toyota. So, I just kept a good distance behind them in the same lane they were in.
My goal was not to get boxed in so that if something happened, I could get out of the situation quickly. Unfortunately, my plan completely backfired, and I ended up completely surrounded. There was a semi-truck behind me as well as one next to me and another pickup truck on the right.
I kept my eyes on the two guys in the car in front of me. They continued acting very strange, looking around, seemingly arguing in the vehicle. The second I found myself boxed in with nowhere to go, I put my hands on my pistol.
This is What We Train For
Then everything changed in a matter of seconds when the passenger door of their vehicle flew open. Out came a guy dressed in all black, wearing a ski mask and gloves. The hood I thought he put on was not a hood at all but a full ski mask.
He began running at me aggressively with one hand behind his back. Before I even realized what was happening, I had drawn my FN 509 Midsize from under my seat. The holster flew across the truck because it came with the gun.
I immediately got a firm grip on my pistol and posted up on my steering wheel. The end of the slide even hit the windshield when I brought it up and yelled a few obscenities. However, my windows were up, so I don’t know if anyone could actually hear me yelling. My finger slid onto the trigger as the guy kept moving forward towards my truck.
He was at the back of his vehicle at this point when I began to pull the pre-travel out of the trigger. Luckily, I really know my pistols and have a lot of confidence in them. Suddenly, the guy stopped dead in his tracks. He looked back at his buddy in the car, and looked at me. You could tell he was weighing his options.
Cooler Heads Prevail
The ball was in his court at this point; either get in the car he came out of and maybe go home or keep coming at me and probably not make it home at all. Thankfully, he jumped back in his car. They proceeded to run a red light and take off through traffic, nearly crashing multiple times.
This was something out of a movie. I just kept thinking, that didn’t just actually happen to me, right? I must have imagined all this. Unfortunately, this entire situation was very real and definitely rattled me a bit. I never thought this would happen to me in my wildest dreams and didn’t expect it in such a populated area.
I kept thinking about my son. What if he was in the truck with me at the time? What the heck would I have done? Thankfully I was alone, but it still happened. And it taught me some very good lessons and opened my eyes to a few things that need to change in my daily travels.
I have been a firearms instructor and huge advocate of personal protection for years and train regularly at the range. Likewise, I train others and teach personal awareness and security with my company Pew Pew Nation.
All this training, I believe, kept me calm and collected during this attempted carjacking. But it did expose a few weaknesses in my training. One thing that kept going through my head was how many 9mm rounds is it going to take to open up a hole in the windshield large enough to deliver rounds effectively on my target. I honestly don’t know.
I also started thinking about how loud this was about to be inside the closed cab of my truck. It occurred to me that during all my training, I have never fired a pistol inside a vehicle and have never shot through a windshield. That will all be changing now. I’m looking for training facilities that offer this type of training to better prepare myself in the event this happens a second time.
I also learned a few things about situational awareness. I always walk around very aware; some people even say I am paranoid at times. Clearly, that paranoia paid off because I knew something was going on before anything happened, thanks to being situationally aware.
With that being said, I made a big mistake while thinking I was doing the right thing. Pulling up behind the Toyota instead of picking another lane was not the best choice. I could have got in that far right lane with just a curb next to me and still kept my distance from them. That would have allowed me to hop the curb and get out of the situation instead of ending up a sitting duck when the traffic around us changed.
Those guys knew the area well and knew the timing of the lights. They waited for the perfect time to jump out and attempt their attack—when I was boxed in. They knew that the intersection behind us would catch up to us and block my exits.
I did call the police to report what happened. Mainly because I didn’t want anyone to report the driver of a silver F150 pulling a gun in traffic. I highly recommend reporting it yourself if you ever find yourself in a similar situation. I didn’t do anything wrong, so I had nothing to hide.
While talking to the dispatcher, I realized that all that adrenaline had blocked a whole lot of vital information out of my memory. I was pretty sure it was a gold-colored Toyota Camry, but not 100% sure now. Also, to this day, I still cannot come up with one number on their license plate, even though I know I looked at it.
I definitely will be investing in a good dash camera in the near future. A dash camera can act as incredible evidence and, in this situation, would have provided me and law enforcement with all the information and footage needed to find these guys and ensure they don’t attempt this stunt again.
I was embarrassingly useless to the police. I ended up not even filing a report because I couldn’t remember any vital information. Not to mention, I really didn’t have descriptions of the bad guys. The driver was an older white male with long hair, but I couldn’t see or remember anything else.
Also, the passenger wore a ski mask and gloves. No idea what he looked like and didn’t recall any features that would help identify him. That dash cam would have been really nice to have.
It took me a few days to really process what happened and why I was so rattled by this situation. I am thankful I didn’t have to pull the trigger and take a life. But I realized I was fully prepared to do so to save my own life. I discovered a few holes in my training that will be addressed in the very near future as well.
The biggest lesson during this situation was that this stuff can happen to anyone anywhere, at any time. With the state of this country right now and the world we live in, I believe it’s more important than ever to carry everywhere you go. Every single day of the week. Never let your guard down just because you might be going to a good neighborhood or just out for a minute.
Train often, know your firearm, and pay attention to your surroundings. It only takes a second to change life as we all know it. Stay safe and aware. Don’t allow yourself to become complacent and forget that evil exist and walks amongst us every day.