On December 11, 2010, in Conyers, GA, 22-year-old Ryan Moore was at a friend’s house for an evening of leisure. He borrowed a friend’s car to drive to the nearby grocery store, where his handgun saved his life. I interviewed Ryan Moore over e-mail about that evening.
What happened that night at the Ingles (grocery store) parking lot?
I had parked near the front of the store. A man approached as I was about to get out, asking if I had some spare money he could use for gas. After replying I didn’t have any cash, he proceeded to walk away. As I was watching him leave, I then stepped out of the vehicle and was grabbed from behind by a man who put a knife to my neck. The first man then came back and demanded my keys and wallet.
How much time did you have to react?
It took a few seconds for me to realize what was happening. Once it dawned on me, I made the decision to fight back.
I grabbed the knife and pulled it away from my neck. After a brief struggle, I managed to push him away allowing me to create a few feet of distance, where I was able to draw my revolver from concealment and to fire in defense as he came back towards me with the knife.
What were you carrying, and how many rounds did you have to fire to stop the attacker?
I had a five shot Taurus 651 snub-nosed .357 magnum loaded with magnum defensive ammunition. After drawing, I fired three shots in about two seconds before the attacker with the knife turned and collapsed after taking a few steps. I then turned around expecting the second attacker to be there, only to see him fleeing the scene.
I knew I only had two rounds left and debated whether or not to reload, but since it seemed the threat was over I holstered the revolver and called 911, only to have the first officer show up for an unrelated security detail while on the phone with dispatchers.
The revolver was taken for evidence and I was briefly detained. Due to the adrenaline I didn’t notice the fact I was cut until I was sitting in the police car and noticed blood. I was then looked at by paramedics, and taken to the hospital where I had to get stitches in my neck.
Ryan killed the first attacker, 30-year old Yuhanna Williams. According to the Associated Press:
Williams was still clutching the knife when they discovered his body, and Moore told them he was defending himself. Witnesses corroborated his story and authorities quickly found the killing to be justified.
Williams had been jailed multiple times over the past decade for charges including “disorderly conduct, simple battery, probation violation, public indecency, DUI, and possession of marijuana and possession with the intent to distribute at a school.
I asked Moore what he learned from a self-defense perspective, and what he thought of proposed bans on so-called “high capacity magazines” and “assault weapons.”
What do you carry now, and why?
My current everyday carry gun is a Glock 21, a large framed Glock semiautomatic pistol chambered in .45 ACP with a standard capacity of 13+1 rounds. Fortunately it only took three shots from my revolver to stop the threat. However, the thought that I had only two remaining in the event the second attacker didn’t flee or had backup didn’t sit well with me, especially given the fairly common incidents of crime involving multiple assailants.
Most days I also carry a spare 13-round magazine and on occasion even still carry the revolver as a backup.
Could proposed restrictions on magazines greater than 10 rounds endanger ordinary people caught in situations like the one you faced?
There is definitely a risk involved with arbitrarily limiting normal citizens to ten rounds (or seven in the case of New York). Statistics generally indicate multiple shots being required to stop a single threat regardless of caliber, and there is almost always a degradation of accuracy in a high-stress situation.
If someone is unfortunate enough to be in a self-defense situation with three or four attackers, the difference between ten rounds and thirteen (or twenty) could mean the difference between life and death.
You have an AR-15-style sporting rifle. What do you use it for? How do you answer when anti-gun people say: “No one needs a rifle like that”?
I have an AR-15 that I primarily keep for home defense, but I have also used it hunting. For hunting these rifles have become extremely popular, especially in areas where wild hogs or coyotes are popular game and pose a risk to livestock and native species. Ammunition companies have started producing ammo specifically designed for hunting with these types of rifles, such as the fairly new Razorback XT from Winchester.
The main reason I have it is for home defense. It is among the best tools for the job of protecting my life and the lives of my loved ones. The AR-15 is lightweight, maneuverable, and offers effective stopping power while reducing risk of over penetration through common building materials with the proper ammunition.
It is easy to add lights and optical sights to the rifle, making it more likely you will identify what you are aiming at and thus avoid shooting someone by accident. The rifle has manageable recoil, allowing shooters of all physical condition to handle it effectively.
Like with pistols, one will never know how many rounds are needed. If one hears a loud crash in the middle of the night, one probably won’t have the time to grab spare magazines; so whatever ammunition is in the gun is all you have if you must traverse the house in your pajamas to secure a family member against an intruder.
Gun-control advocates typically highlight the criminal misuses of firearms, while underplaying the many times firearms are used by law-abiding citizens in self-defense — ranging from tens of thousands to two million times per year, depending on the source.
Most of the time, the intended victim does not have to fire his weapon to deter the attackers. But in some cases, the good guy having a gun can mean the difference between his life or death. Fortunately, Georgia law allowed Ryan Moore to carry the gun that saved his life.
Shouldn’t all law-abiding Americans enjoy that same right?