How much do you know about the use of lethal force? If you have been reading this magazine for a while, you probably know quite a lot. If you are a new reader, you might be curious to test your knowledge.

This quiz assumes you are a private citizen (not a police officer or member of the military) who is appropriately licensed to carry firearms and trained in their safe and proper use. Each question has only one best answer. Don’t guess — you should be able to explain each of your responses. Got a pencil? There’s no time limit. Here we go…

1. The amount of force that can reasonably be expected to cause death or severe bodily injury is called

a. defensive force
b. deadly force
c. reasonable force
d. excessive force

2. The purpose of using a firearm to shoot someone who is an immediate and unavoidable deadly threat to you is

a. to wound
b. to kill
c. to frighten
d. to stop

3. Generally, when you have to shoot someone, where should you aim?

a. the head
b. the arms or legs
c. the abdomen
d. the center of body mass

4. A man breaks into your home when you are there alone and threatens to kill you with the 5″-blade knife he brought along. Your first response is to use

a. pepper spray
b. a knife of your own
c. a firearm
d. the telephone

5. Your decision to use force is based on your reasonable perception of a threat, so your use of force is

a. aggressive
b. proactive
c. reactive
d. none of the above

6. When you are carrying a gun in public, it should be

a. completely concealed
b. quickly accessible
c. fully loaded
d. all of the above

7. You think you are alone while obtaining some cash from an ATM, but as soon as you pick up the money, a young thug runs by you, grabs the money, and dashes away. Should you draw your gun and fire at him?

a. yes
b. no

8. You are involved in a situation in which you have to shoot someone in self-defense. You can expect that afterward you will be

a. charged with a criminal offense
b. sued in civil court
c. neither a nor b
d. both a and b

9. Your self-defense gun should

a. be between .380 and .45 ACP
b. have the most custom gunsmithing you can afford
c. be filled with your best reloaded ammo
d. all of the above

10. In the midst of a confrontation that involves a deadly threat to you, you are likely to experience

a. seeing things happen in “slow motion”
b. being unable to hear bystanders out of your range of vision
c. shaking or trembling in your hands
d. all of the above

11. When someone is threatening you with a knife or gun,

a. it may appear much larger and closer to you than it really is
b. your eyes will be on the assailant’s face, so you may not see the weapon
c. the weapon may not appear to be pointed at you, even when it is
d. you should do everything he tells you to

12. You come home from an evening out, and notice, before you get to the front door, that it appears that someone has been in your home while you were gone. You should

a. draw your firearm, and carefully explore every room in your home
b. keep your hand on your holstered firearm, and carefully explore every room in your home
c. open the door and yell, “Is anyone there?”
d. go to a neighbor or other safe location and call the police

13. You have children in your home. Your defensive firearm should be

a. fitted with a trigger lock at all times
b. in a safe with a dial combination lock
c. kept loaded, on a shelf too high for your kids to reach
d. none of the above

14. Confidence with a firearm comes from

a. having a new gun
b. competence with your gun
c. expensive, high quality ammunition
d. praise from your instructor

15. Which is better for self-defense?

a. a revolver
b. a semi-automatic pistol
c. a shotgun
d. whichever type of gun you are comfortable and competent with

16. Having a gun for self-defense means that

a. you should be familiar with other types of self-defense as well
b. you don’t need pepper spray
c. you can now walk through dangerous areas that you would have avoided before
d. you should practice every week

17. Someone with a knife who is about 20 feet away from you can reach you how quickly?

a. Faster than you can draw and shoot
b. About as fast as you can draw and shoot, if you are practiced
c. About as fast as you can draw and shoot, if you haven’t practiced much
d. He is too far away to be a threat, so you should not draw

18. If you have to shoot someone in justified self-defense, how many times should you shoot him?

a. Once
b. Twice, then re-evaluate whether you need to continue shooting
c. Until he stops being a threat to you
d. Until the gun is empty

19. If you are stopped for a minor traffic violation when you (legally) have a gun with you, what should you do?

a. There is no need to tell the police officer that you have a gun, unless you think he may notice it.
b. You should say, “Officer, I have a gun.”
c. You should say, “Officer, I have a license to carry a gun, and I am carrying.”
d. You should say, “Would you like to see my gun?”

20. The primary purpose of your defensive firearm is

a. to enable you to protect yourself, only
b. to help you safeguard yourself and your family
c. to help you fight crime
d. to help you protect others in public



1. b
2. d
3. d
4. c
5. c
6. d
7. b
8. d
9. a
10. d
11. a
12. d
13. d
14. b
15. d
16. a
17. b
18. c
19. a
20. b

This article was reprinted from Women&Guns magazine, Nov-Dec. 1998, Copyright © 1998, Lyn Bates