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Lessons Learned: Pharmacy Attack

June 12, 2024
Gun Talk Staff

With a new season of Gun Talk's First Person Defender on the way, we're taking a little time to "deconstruct" previous episodes and isolate key training insights and critical takeaways from them.


Self-defense is an ever-evolving skill that requires continuous learning and practice. In this episode of First Person Defender, we witness an intense and educational scenario designed to test the situational awareness and decision-making skills of Kevin, an experienced participant with a rich background in law enforcement and firearms journalism.

Our Defender, Kevin, is an experienced participant, so we made it extra tough on him. How will Kevin perform when the stakes are high, the danger is uncertain, and the situation is fluid? This episode of FPD is brought to you by HK. Training is provided by HK Brand Ambassador Philip Toppino of W.O.F.T. Training and Gun Talk Media’s Chris Cerino.

Meet Kevin

Kevin, the Executive Editor of Concealed Carry Magazine, brings 17 years of police experience and over 26 years in firearms journalism to the show. Despite his extensive training, Kevin acknowledges the ever-present need for more preparation, especially in high-stress, unpredictable situations.

The Scenario

Kevin is tasked with handling a complex scenario at his local pharmacy. While waiting for his prescription, an altercation breaks out. A man pulls a gun after being sprayed with pepper spray during a heated argument over line positions. Kevin's goal is to defuse the situation without escalating violence unnecessarily.

The Encounter

Upon hearing the commotion, Kevin exits the pharmacy to avoid danger. However, he is confronted by an aggressive panhandler who demands his car keys. Balancing the threat inside with the immediate threat outside, Kevin manages to distract the panhandler by throwing his keys, giving him a split second to draw his gun and neutralize the threat.

Key Learnings

Situational Awareness: Kevin's decision to leave the pharmacy initially shows good judgment in avoiding unnecessary confrontation.

Distraction Techniques: Using his keys as a distraction allowed Kevin to gain the upper hand in a critical moment.

Drawing Under Duress: Kevin's struggle to draw his firearm due to his shirt getting caught highlighted the importance of practicing one-handed draws and ensuring clothing does not impede access to the weapon.

The Second Run

Kevin faces the scenario again, but this time inside the pharmacy. Two men argue, leading one to pull out pepper spray and the other a gun. Kevin intervenes, shooting the aggressor after he fires a warning shot into the ground. A concerned citizen then enters with a gun drawn, further complicating the situation. Kevin successfully de-escalates this secondary threat by commanding the citizen to leave.

Final Thoughts

Kevin’s experience in First Person Defender underscores the complexity and unpredictability of real-world threats. It emphasizes the need for continuous training, situational awareness, and quick, decisive action. The episode serves as a stark reminder that even seasoned professionals must remain vigilant and adaptable to survive and protect others effectively.


What is the importance of situational awareness in self-defense?
Situational awareness helps you recognize potential threats early, allowing you to react proactively and avoid danger.

How can distraction techniques be useful in self-defense?
Distraction techniques can provide critical moments to gain the upper hand, as seen when Kevin used his keys to distract the panhandler.

Why is practicing one-handed draws important?
Practicing one-handed draws ensures you can access your firearm even if one hand is occupied or your clothing hinders a traditional draw.

What should you do if faced with multiple threats simultaneously?
Prioritize the most immediate threat, use cover, and try to de-escalate situations whenever possible to avoid unnecessary confrontation.

How does continuous training benefit self-defense skills?
Continuous training helps maintain and improve your skills, ensuring you are prepared for a variety of real-world scenarios.

Where can I find more episodes of First Person Defender?
You can watch more episodes of First Person Defender on and sign up for the Gun Talk newsletter for updates.

About First Person Defender

First Person Defender places everyday men and women from all walks of life into highly intense - oftentimes scary - situations where they must make split-second "life or death" decisions when it comes to their safety, or the safety of their loved ones.The situations are fluid, variable, and unscripted. We use Simunition® guns and marking cartridges that produce painful results - on bad guys and the good guys alike. See what works...and what doesn't.

The First Person Defender series isn't afraid to tackle complex, modern scenarios including: workplace violence, kidnapping attempts, school shootings, domestic violence, home invasions and so much more.Working with premium firearms and tactical trainers, FPD offers a unique learning experience for the participants and the viewers. Each episode offers individual perspectives on unfolding events, with endless outcomes possible.

Beyond the episodes themselves, the First Person Defender series showcases premium training tips from some of the top firearms trainers in the business. These are the people who've "been there and done that".Whether it's professional insight on using the latest gun gadgets and gear, training concepts you can immediately put to use, or a fresh take on your own defensive mindset - First Person Defender is the "infotainment" you've been looking for.

Learn more about First Person Defender HERE
If you're interested in being a part of the First Person Defender Experience, visit HERE

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