Most people haven’t experienced anything like it. Having to take another life in self defense has got to be an extremely difficult decision. Could you take lethal action to protect yourself and other innocent bystanders? Reddit wanted to hear their user’s self defense stories and we’ve compiled our favorites below. More self defense stories.

I worked as a bartender in a night club while I was at uni when this shit went down. In the UK it is against the law to serve a drunk person, and if we do we can potentially be fined up to 80k. It sounds stupid but it’s the truth. If someone comes to the bar who is obviously drunk, slurring words, dropping change, eyes out of focus or whatever then we say no sorry I can’t serve you, here have some water and maybe take 30 minutes or so and we can see. So this one Irish guy started getting aggressive as fuck with a female colleague after she cut him off, calling her a cunt, telling her he was going to fucking find her later, she laughed it off because honestly it happened quite frequently. Then he picked up a bottle out of the rail and threw it at her from about 10 feet away (missed), I grabbed his collar and pulled him halfway over the bar and wrapped one arm around his head and the other under his arm. I just held him there until someone got the security team on the radio to come and remove him. After the door staff took him away I followed and told the manager he smashed a bottle of Sambuca when he threw it at the other bartender, door staff took this guys wallet out of his pocket, took out all the cash and gave it to the boss to pay for the bottle. He got kicked out, case closed.

We closed at 4am usually, and by the time we finished cleaning it was 5:30, we hang around and have a beer then hit McDonalds for breakfast at 6am when it opens. Drunk Irish guy was there with a few of his friends and they recognize us immediately and start cussing us out, we just turned and left straight away (there were about 6 of us) but they followed us outside, our manager stepped in as soon as we were outside and started cussing the guys out as much as they were doing to us and then one of them punched him and the Irish guy went for my friend who refused him service with another fucking bottle in his hand , I tackled him before he got to her, but he was bigger than me so I just held him on the ground in a choke (I have some very basic wrestling experience) he was fighting me on the ground, trying to bite my arm and gouge at my eyes so I just held on tight.

When he stopped moving I thought he had given up and accepted that I had him held down and he wasn’t going anywhere, turns out I had choked him out completely, I probably held on for about a minute and thirty seconds before I got up and he didn’t. The staff in McDonalds had called the police, and not long afterwards I was in handcuffs and the ambulances were arriving. I got 18 months for voluntary manslaughter.

It took me a while to come to terms with what had happened, for a little while I had a feeling of “what did I do to deserve this” and not considering that a man’s life had been ended. While I was in prison I was going through a therapy type thing and was told it might be good to meet his parents. At first they weren’t very keen on the idea and I obviously didn’t want to push it so I left it at that, and about 2 months before my release they managed to get in touch about meeting me. They didn’t seem to hold much ill will towards me, they didn’t ask me about what happened, or even try to talk to me about their son. They actually asked me what I had planned for my future, and what I was going to do with my life when I got out of prison. I expected anger and hatred and was ready to deal with it, but their understanding of the situation really hit me hard and the fact that they would even think about my future and how this horrible thing would affect me really hit me hard, and it was the driving force in my motivation to move forward and keep a positive outlook for a future that I thought I had lost.

I don’t actively think about what happened, but it’s always in the back of my mind, and it made me so much more aware of how fragile life is that I have developed some irrational phobias, I have been out of prison for 3 years now and I have a job and girlfriend and life is moving forwards, his parents still keep up with how I’m doing from time to time through Facebook and although they took an enormous loss because of me I have never experienced anything other than friendliness from them.

Nearly 25 years ago I was living at my parents’ old two-story house in the middle of farm land in Florida. They had both moved to a bigger city and were still trying to sell the old farm house. I was 20 and too old to move with my parents to their new place, so, they let me stay at the house by myself until they sold it. This allowed me to finish college and save the money I made at my PT job.

It was about my third month being there alone. The closest other house was my Uncle’s house… about 3 miles away. The closest town was a tiny town a little over 10 miles away. It was about 11:30 PM and I was reading in my bed (parents’ old bed) upstairs and I heard a loud banging on the door. I walked out of the room and looked over the balcony at the front door and saw someone staring up at me through one of the side stained-glass panes. It was a man in his 30’s. I’ve never felt such a surge of panic. I called my Uncle and it rang and rang. I grabbed the .357 magnum that my dad had left for me and told me a billion times to “keep close to me at all times,” and I called 911. Once the dispatch operator was on the phone with me, the guy was kicking at the door. One loud kick every 10 seconds. The 911 dispatcher told me someone would be there in less than 5 minutes and advised me to tell her which room I was in. I was terrified and I could hear the door starting to crack.

I put the phone down and cocked the .357 magnum and stayed at the top of the stairs (small, winding staircase.) He kept kicking and as the door was about to give way, he looked through the stained-glass window again, right at me. I pointed the gun at him and he made this expression that I can only describe as excitement. He kicked and the door gave way and slammed open and broke the window pane. He ran up the stairs and as he took the first two steps, I stood up and shot him right in the stomach. He yelled and fell back and hit the foyer floor and started moaning nonstop, writhing. I stood like a statue with the gun pointed at him until the cops arrived. When the first officer entered the front door, I pointed the gun at him and he screamed at me to drop it. For some reason I lowered the gun but couldn’t let go of it. He said that everything was going to be OK but I had to let go of the gun.

A few minutes later, an ambulance pulled up and for some reason, it wasn’t until I saw paramedics that I put the gun down and started crying. The man died en route to the ER that night. The officers told me he had a “rap sheet a mile long.” He also had a .45 gun in his glove compartment. They took me to the police station and my parents drove back that night and took me to their new home. The house sold a month later and I never stayed there alone again. My uncle was gone for the night to visit his other farmlands in Okeechobee. I don’t really ever think about this event anymore. It takes a specific inquiry for me to remember it. I now have a concealed carry .38 special that I always keep in my purse and I would never give that up.

Some years ago, three men broke into our home in the middle of the night and started going through all our shit. One of them must have knocked something over, which woke me up to hear them talking downstairs. I yelled out that the police were on their way (wife was calling at the same time) and that I was armed. I don’t know exactly what they wanted, but two of them came upstairs, moving towards the bedroom where we were holed up, and I wasn’t taking any chances. It was dark in the hallway, but I knew that it wasn’t anybody I knew, so I fired a bunch of times down the narrow hallway. They both probably died instantly or bled out very quickly, I’m not sure. I was more or less deaf after the gunfire, so I don’t know if there were any sounds. Turns out neither of the two were armed. There was no legal aftermath. We lived in a castle doctrine state at the time, so there was no charge on my part. They picked up the last guy close by with things from our house and a gun. He was charged with felony murder for the participation. He took some kind of deal that got him 30+, I think, which also meant that I didn’t have to testify. I wasn’t really interested in that part.

I was offered some counselling, which I took up, but I didn’t feel that I needed it so I stopped going after a few sessions. I’m fine with it. I wish I hadn’t been in the situation, but I don’t regret what I did. I wouldn’t kill a person for my TV, but I also won’t risk the safety of my wife or myself.

Life is the same as before. After firing, I remember feeling relief and that my initial fear completely vanished. Sort of a “was that really it?” moment. I don’t know.

Honestly, the most surprising thing in the case was that my homeowner’s insurance didn’t want to cover the cost of the shot up hallway and bloody floor. The police sent someone to clean up the liquid blood, but it had gone through the untreated floorboards and made a huge stain on the kitchen ceiling below. We had to replace the whole thing, which was a huge pain in the ass. The metallic smell was awful until it was all taken care of. Smelled a little bit like a butcher shop.

In 2006 I was hunting in Hebronville, TX with my dad. One morning he dropped me off at the blind and wished me good luck. The sun was barely coming up and it was one of the only times I had ever seen fog while hunting. About fifteen minutes go by and the animals begin to move. There were two doe on my left, a doe in the road in front of me, but nothing on my right. About ten minutes after seeing the second doe come out, I thought ‘I bet a third one will come out’ on the remaining road, (I was feeling lucky) so I glanced over.

I saw four men quickly cross the road and disappear into the brush. I looked down to pick up my radio to tell my dad because I was really scared at the time. When I looked up again, they were back on the road, kind of jogging towards me. I told my dad and he told me to “stay put, I’ll be right there. Fire a warning shot”. I carried my rifle (.270) and a sidearm for pigs (.380). I speak Spanish, so I told the men to stop and I waved my hand out the window. Three men stopped in the middle of the road but the man on the right kept jogging and was ushering them to follow him. The second time I screamed my voice cracked really hard, for whatever reason he started laughing and began sprinting towards me. My dad always taught me that if I was ever in trouble, to shoot 3 three times consecutively as a distress signal, so with my pistol I shot three times out the window, into the air.

I made sure the hatch to the blind was locked and checked for a chambered round into my rifle. I just remember shaking and simultaneously hearing my dad on the radio calling my name over and over. I stood up and realized I could no longer see any of the three men or the man who was zeroing in on me. So I shot out the window with my rifle. It was about five seconds later that I heard shuffling outside and a big thud on the blind door, he was trying to open it. All the while laughing hysterically.

A few seconds after that the latch began to give and he jammed a knife into the spacing so he could pry it open, and it started working. He gave it two hard yanks and on the second one the door came off about 80%. I could see his smile and he showed me his knife, then he wiped sweat off his forehead. He was staring straight at me, just laughing.

I had my .270 pointed at him, sitting in my lap and took the safety off. I pulled the trigger once his left arm got about three feet from me. I hit him in the neck. He let out a big groan and fell out onto his back. Then I shot another two into the doorway so that my dad would hear it.

I heard a bunch of footsteps and then it got very quiet. I could hear the man choking and gargling on blood. Another shot went off outside the blind a couple seconds later and I could see the dirt being kicked up into the opening of the torn-off door. Then I heard my dad’s voice call my name “the-great-jebus”? I started crying and my dad picked me up and closed my eyes and put me into the truck. I left my gun, my bag, oranges & water behind. He drove me back to camp and by then his friends had come back on the four wheeler we had. They kept rubbing my back for about twenty minutes until a lot of Border Patrol units rolled in.

A lady named Vicky took me back to their suburban and gave me gushers from her purse. She asked me if I had gone to the movies lately and asked me if I liked school.

A few minutes later a helicopter flew in and picked up his body. He was a 26 year old from Mexico. I don’t know what happened of the other men.

I was 14.

I feel bad. I didn’t want to hurt him. The guy just charged me for no reason. I felt I had no other choice.

Back in the mid 2000’s I was going through a divorce. My whole emotional state was in chaos. I was pretty much a functioning alcoholic. And very, very angry.

So I went to a gas station to get smokes after a particularly bad fight with my wife (we were selling the house that I had built) and I was so angry, so hurt.

As I was pulling out of the gas station some guy came rocketing out of the car wash area and cut me off. Being in the state of mind I was in I let loose a long spew of profanity at him, really nasty stuff.

He must have been having a bad day because before I knew it he was in park and around the front end of his car coming at me with his hands up. I boxed Golden Gloves in my youth and the hands up is a universal sign, I was in my car with the window down and very vulnerable. His front end was blocking mine and I was boxed in.

So I jumped out of my car and stepped out of the door’s way and the dude was literally 5 feet from me coming at me with a vengeance. Hands up and ready.

So I threw a straight right at him. I don’t remember trying to throw it hard, I just did it kind of like a batter with two strikes trying to protect the plate. It worked. I hit him right on the point of the chin. His eyes rolled up immediately and he started going down. He went down and hit the side of his head on a curb. It was the first part of him to touch the ground.

And it killed him. Brain bleed. He lasted a week I think. He had other medical issues as well that exacerbated it (his wife and I talked a lot at the hospital). She never blamed me which I am very thankful for because I sure blamed myself for many, many years. Turned into a non functioning alcoholic, was almost homeless. My whole body hurts thinking about this.
I still feel awful, still cry it out sometimes. I used to have nightmares about his two daughters. They were teenagers. They needed their daddy. And my actions took that from them.

I used to drive armored trucks in a big city, I’ll keep it vague for legal reasons. One day these two guys started following the truck. They followed us all day, we called it in but because they technically hadn’t done anything wrong… (yet.) The police couldn’t do anything. So finally, I was forced to stop for fuel. That’s when they hit us. My door had just opened, and I hadn’t even gotten both feet on the ground when they opened up on us. I was standing sort of behind the fuel pump, on the opposite side of the shooters. And the first 4 or 5 rounds from their pistols hit the pump. So I draw and immediately return fire, while the driver of my truck slams it into gear to start rolling. I grab on and we boogie right the fuck out of there. I think the whole thing maybe lasted 10 seconds, maybe less time than that. I emptied my magazine at them, all 16 rounds. And only hit one shooter twice. Both guys lived to flee the scene, but I found out later that the one who was wounded later died of his injuries. And as far as I feel about it… FUCK those guys. They were going to kill me for 400 bucks worth of change going to a convenience store. I don’t feel the least bit bad about it.

I was 17. My parents had gone out for the night so I was home with my little sister (five-years old). A man broke into our house around 11 pm. I heard the glass breaking when he busted one of our windows. My first thought was to protect my sister, so I made her hide in the closet in my room. I gave her my cell phone and told her to call 911. We were watching a movie at the time, so the TV was on but most of the lights in the house were off. I could hear him moving around in the living room, on the other side of the house from my room. I was able to sneak into my parent’s room and grab my dad’s rifle. When I stepped back in the hallway he saw me. I shouted that the police were coming and that I was armed, so he better leave. It was obvious in my voice cracking that I was terrified. He laughed at me, and then he charged. I shot him twice in the chest. I kept the gun on him as I walked over to his body, to kick away any weapons he had. He was completely unarmed. I think he only had intended to rob our home, and had I hidden with my sister, he might not have ever known we were there. The police arrived a few minutes after he died. I just watched him the whole time, and I remember the movie was still playing in the background. I don’t feel sorry for that man, and I don’t regret what I did.

When I was about 14, one summer my family went out to have just some time at my grandpa’s cabin. He was too old to go out alone now, so we had a nice place to spend summers. Grandpa had bought me a shiny new woodcutting axe to chop wood, and I really liked it, so I carried it with me wherever I went. Which was a lot of places. There were other cabins in our street, but not too many, I went exploring with my dane/retriever mix Pumba a lot.

We were in a blueberry grove, nothing but trees and bushes for a long way. I’d seen people here picking the blueberries so I didn’t think much of the scrawny older men hunched in the blueberries. It turns out he was setting a bear trap, he was a poacher and there was a lot of black bears in the area. He saw me and charged me immediately, he had a machete and was screaming at the top of his lungs about me not supposed to have been here. I let go of Pumba and he attacked the man, got him down on the ground, but with the wrong arm. Pumba was trying to protect me but the poacher was hurting him with the machete.

I barely registered running to help him, I had my axe, and I swung it down as hard as I could at him when he got on top of my dog. I ended up hitting the back of his neck. There wasn’t any blood, but I felt something give under the hit. He just kind of fell over. But Pumba was hurt, bad. I just remember there being so much blood and I had to carry him back home sobbing to my grandpa. Pumba lived, thankfully, though he never was able to run again. They found the poacher dead, I found out later I had shattered a vertebra in his neck, and pinched several nerves and he just stopped functioning.

There wasn’t a trial or a hearing or anything, the man had violence based priors, and I got about a month in juvenile mental wellness holding. I was told he didn’t have family. But I don’t think about it anymore, my parents refused therapy and I learned to accept that what happened happened on my own. Pumba has since passed away of old age, but he was a brave dog who saw me through a lot before and after this had happened.