On July 17th, 2022, Elisjsha Dickens was faced with an impossible task.
He found himself in a gunfight against a cowardly little man with a rifle. Until recently, we didn’t know much detail about the shooting or what exactly happened. We knew Eli engaged and killed the threat, and he did so at an extended range. We didn’t know much else until now. Eli has been cleared, and the case has been settled as self-defense. We’ve also had the details of the case released, and we can see the full story.
Eli Dickens – The Untold Story
Eli was armed with a Glock 19 and carried it concealed regularly. He and his girlfriend were eating dinner at the mall’s food court when the cowardly little twerp with a rifle began shooting. In seconds, Eli pushed his girlfriend to the ground, drew, and engaged the shooter.
Eli has no formal training and was taught to shoot by his grandfather as a kid. His Glock 19 was stock and loaded with Blazer FMJs. The sights had been slightly damaged in a motorcycle accident. In seconds Eli turned the tied with his base-level Glock 19.
When the shooting started, Eli took cover behind a larger trash can and used it to brace his shots, a smart move that allowed him to land two of four rounds on the threat at 42 yards. Dickens paused when scared shoppers ran through his line of sight. He wisely held his fire.
Instead of sitting behind the trash can, he advanced on the threat. He closed to with 20 yards and fired four more rounds that all struck the threat. As the criminal coward tried to retreat into the bathroom, Dickens continued to advance. He closed to 25 feet and fired two more rounds into the threat.
Keep in mind, Eli was very effectively outgunned by a man with a rifle. Handgun versus rifle isn’t a fight you want to be in. Yet, Eli came out successful. After the shooting, Eli met with an unarmed Mall Security officer and informed him of what happened. He intercepted the police and briefed them on the situation.
What We Can Learn
There will be experts out there who can likely bring more from this after-action than I can. However, there are a few things we can easily learn and understand. First, the main thing we should not take away is that you don’t need training. Eli didn’t have formal training, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seek formal training yourself. Formal training can make you more effective and give you an edge in a rifle versus handgun situation.
We can also learn that using your environment as cover, concealment, and a place to stabilize your gun is important. Handgun shots at 42 yards can be awfully tricky for your typical shooter. A rest of some sort can be undeniably handy to engage with.
There is also something to be said for speed, surprise, and violence of action. Eli advanced towards the threat, placing rounds on target along the way. This likely took the fight out of the cowardly criminal and completely killed his momentum. This shooter had acknowledged that gun-free zones were easy targets and had not expected resistance. Once resistance became an issue, he folded.
It reminds me of the mission of the Marine Corps rifle squad, which is, “To locate, close with, and destroy the enemy through fire and maneuver….”
In the adrenaline rush of a gunfight, Eli had the wherewithal to not fire wildly and risk harming innocent people. By leaving his position behind the trash can, he exposed himself to danger, and by advancing on the threat, he exposed himself to more danger. Yet, he did, and fortune often favors the bold. General Mattis once said, “The most important six inches on the battlefield is between your ears.”
Concealed Carry Saves
The thing we should learn most from this event is that you shouldn’t be lazy when it comes to concealed carry. Carry your firearm, be trained and ready to use it, and be smart. If you’re the praying type, say one for Eli Dickens. I hope he can place this traumatic event behind him and lead a nice life. He certainly deserves it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record-setting 11 months at sea. Travis has trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines, and the Afghan National Army.
He serves as an NRA-certified pistol instructor and pursues a variety of firearms-based hobbies.
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