Clarify some terms please? "presenting" vs "aiming" etc.

samzheresamzhere BannedPosts: 10,923 Senior Member
We've had some recent discussions regarding various scenarios where a civilian has either fired or aimed or whatever with a gun in self defense. Some terms have come up and I'd like some clarification for them. Thanks in advance...

"Presenting"
I've used this term and really don't know whether it's a generally accepted term, so if there's a better one, please tell us what it is.

How I define "presenting" is that you've got a gun that you either retrieve from your home or car, or draw from a concealed carry, but however you aren't actually "aiming" that gun. In other words you're clearly and visibly holding the gun, say, alongside your body or whatever. Perhaps this is a means of showing the "agitator" or "troublemaker" that you're armed and mean business, but that you haven't actually aimed the weapon.

Maybe you're pumping gas and you see some weird guy walking toward you, for example. He may just be a bum looking for a handout and you therefore don't want to threaten him by aiming a gun at him, so you simply draw your concealed pistol and let him see you're armed, as a deterrent. Just one example but this is what I'd call "presenting". Another might be you hear noise one night around your tool shed or barn or garage or whatever, and you take your pistol in hand, flashlight in the other, and step outside to see what the problem is, maybe it's some idiotic neighbor teenagers messing around.

"Aiming"
The next step in self defense. You draw and actually point the weapon at the threat. You may have first "presented" and now proceed to actually aim, or you may draw and aim in one step, bypassing the "presenting" step. Either way, by "aiming" you're indicating a deadly serious situation. Not only do you mean business but you mean it the most. Because the next step will be to actually fire at the threat.

The way I see it is that if you're confronted with a serious, deadly threat immediately, such as a home invasion or an attempted carjacking, all bets are off and you would likely draw and fire without any intervening steps.

But IF the nature of the potential threat is yet to be determined, and it may be "defused" by you legally and sensibly just "presenting" the gun to alleviate the threat (a minor one hopefully) then you may use the presence of the gun as a tool in a step-wise self defense strategy.

Does that make sense? Does the term "presenting" properly describe the halfway measure that may possibly be a good idea for situations not necessarily requiring a shooting scenario, at least not immediately?

Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

Replies

  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 10,058 Senior Member
    From a LEO's view, you can prove presenting but can't prove aiming. Presenting used to be the command in musketry before muskets had sights, right before firing. Producing? Pointing?
    Not too many problems you can't fix
    With a 1911 and a 30-06
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Posts: 6,461 Senior Member
    Presenting is holding in the ready position, you are presenting it for use. Say your arms are in a broken Weaver, your grip is correct and the weapon is extended, however your head is off the sights and you are seeking the target.

    Pulling it out and holding it in the hope that someone will notice would be brandishing.

    Aiming is using the sights to line the bbl up.
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • jaywaptijaywapti Senior Member Posts: 4,492 Senior Member
    I find it difficult to separate presenting from aiming, for instance define "weird" is he homeless, looks like a gang banger, etc. is he threating or not, am I scared, if not I'll just be polite and defuse the situation, if I cant I'm backing off, drawing and aiming, I'm not going to just show him I've got a gun and possibly give him time to react.

    If it happens in the house or yard, especially at night, ya better believe I'm aiming and looking for a target.

    JAY
    THE DEFINITION OF GUN CONTROL IS HITTING THE TARGET WITH YOUR FIRST SHOT
  • horselipshorselips Senior Member Posts: 3,624 Senior Member
    I can see many levels of firearms use in self-defense from revealing, to drawing, brandishing, presenting, aiming, and finally firing. A situation may call for all of them in progression, or any order or combination thereof. No two situations are completely alike, and there are an infinite number of possibilities.
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    jaywapti wrote: »
    I find it difficult to separate presenting from aiming, for instance define "weird" is he homeless, looks like a gang banger, etc. is he threating or not, am I scared, if not I'll just be polite and defuse the situation, if I cant I'm backing off, drawing and aiming, I'm not going to just show him I've got a gun and possibly give him time to react.

    If it happens in the house or yard, especially at night, ya better believe I'm aiming and looking for a target.

    JAY

    When you say "defuse the situation", I ask how? Talk to the person?

    Regarding the term "weird" I'd say, mmm, the guy looks like a homeless bum who's searching for a handout for more booze money and is approaching someone pumping gas. The problem is that you can't wait till the guy is within hand-to-hand distance, especially if you're not physically fit to ward off an attack, even if the attacker is unarmed. Or the guy pulls a knife when he's close.

    Naturally, if he's already armed with, say, a knife, you of course draw and maybe fire. But if he MIGHT be a stumblebum who's harmless but just a nuisance. So maybe the question is, "How do you otherwise dissuade the guy from getting closer? This happens to people all the time, pumping gas, getting in or out of their vehicle at a parking lot. I'd guess 95% it's just some bum wanting a couple bucks, but how do you prevent the guy from getting closer?

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 10,058 Senior Member
    Not too many problems you can't fix
    With a 1911 and a 30-06
  • TrueTone911TrueTone911 Senior Member Posts: 6,045 Senior Member
    Presenting is holding in the ready position, you are presenting it for use. Say your arms are in a broken Weaver, your grip is correct and the weapon is extended, however your head is off the sights and you are seeking the target.

    Pulling it out and holding it in the hope that someone will notice would be brandishing.

    Aiming is using the sights to line the bbl up.

    That clears it up for me.
  • JasonMPDJasonMPD Senior Member Posts: 6,102 Senior Member
    You're thinking your way to the penitentiary. Let your lawyer worry about the lingo.
    “There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” – Will Rogers
  • jaywaptijaywapti Senior Member Posts: 4,492 Senior Member
    samzhere wrote: »
    When you say "defuse the situation", I ask how? Talk to the person?

    Regarding the term "weird" I'd say, mmm, the guy looks like a homeless bum who's searching for a handout for more booze money and is approaching someone pumping gas. The problem is that you can't wait till the guy is within hand-to-hand distance, especially if you're not physically fit to ward off an attack, even if the attacker is unarmed. Or the guy pulls a knife when he's close.

    Naturally, if he's already armed with, say, a knife, you of course draw and maybe fire. But if he MIGHT be a stumblebum who's harmless but just a nuisance. So maybe the question is, "How do you otherwise dissuade the guy from getting closer? This happens to people all the time, pumping gas, getting in or out of their vehicle at a parking lot. I'd guess 95% it's just some bum wanting a couple bucks, but how do you prevent the guy from getting closer?

    Sam, First of all the first rule of self preservation or defense is to always be aware of your surroundings, would you pull into a station if you saw some "weird" people there, I wouldn't and I don't think you would.
    To defuse a situation I might just tell him I cant help him, in a calm voice, to many times when you raise your voice or act threating you put him on guard, If that doesn't work I stop what I'm doing and leave, at no time will I allow him to get closer than 8 - 10 ft. from me, If he keeps advancing I will draw and aim.
    I fully realize that each situation is different, and old farts like us are thought to be easy targets.

    You asked for my opinion and ya got it.

    JAY
    THE DEFINITION OF GUN CONTROL IS HITTING THE TARGET WITH YOUR FIRST SHOT
  • JasonMPDJasonMPD Senior Member Posts: 6,102 Senior Member
    But...

    "Presenting" would be bringing the weapon into plain view from its place of concealment.

    It may or may not include aiming.
    “There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” – Will Rogers
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    jaywapti wrote: »
    Sam, First of all the first rule of self preservation or defense is to always be aware of your surroundings, would you pull into a station if you saw some "weird" people there, I wouldn't and I don't think you would.
    etc etc
    You asked for my opinion and ya got it.

    JAY

    No, absolutely thanks! Good stuff.

    These bums don't stand there at the pump waiting for you to pull up. They linger around the corner and such, then make their move. So no, nobody in his right mind would stop if there are unknowns hanging out. You're right on that.

    But your recommendation is pretty good.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    JasonMPD wrote: »
    But...

    "Presenting" would be bringing the weapon into plain view from its place of concealment.

    It may or may not include aiming.

    That's what I'd always thought, but apparently I'm wrong. Which is why of course I asked for clarification in the first place.

    It's apparently "brandishing" but I thought that this meant an illegal and "bragging" sort of action, waving a gun around literally.

    So "brandishing" is a neutral term? And here I'd though it was a negative. Shows how I learn stuff.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    JasonMPD wrote: »
    You're thinking your way to the penitentiary. Let your lawyer worry about the lingo.

    To whom was this reply intended? I haven't said I was gonna do anything. Nor would I DARE relate a former incident as an example.

    I was just asking for some definition of terms, which I don't think is yet an imprisonable offense. Maybe next year, with the Obama regime and Eric Holder?

    I was asking for a term that describes if someone who is armed "displays" a gun but does not actually aim it. I'd always used "presenting"** and apparently the correct term is "brandishing" which up till now I thought was negative but I guess I was wrong on that, too, "brandishing" being a totally neutral term.

    ** and yes, I know the military definition of "present arms" but I wasn't speaking about that.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Posts: 6,461 Senior Member
    Present arms is the act of presenting or aiming a weapon or firearm, and also the position of the weapon when so presented. The act of presenting arms is a central part of drill, that is the series of prescribed and formalized movements that are used to prepare soldiers for battle. Although classical armies were often extremely well drilled, Gustavus Adolphus reintroduced drill to European warfare to make more effective use of improved weapons and he was copied throughout Europe. To make the most effective use of muskets, volley fire had to be concentrated, requiring rigidly maintaining battle lines under fire and simultaneous fire on command. Thus all musket-armed infantrymen went through a series of movements taking them through loading to being ready to fire. ‘Present’ was the penultimate command at which the soldier took aim prior to the order to fire.

    Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/present-arms#ixzz35cVvP42U
    http://www.answers.com/topic/present-arms

    Present as in to present the arm to the enemy. I think this put it better than I did. IMHO, it means the firearm is up and ready in all aspects. Think of clearing a house or defending a room. Your weapon is up, but since you dont have a target, you are not aimed but you are pointed. If you are hunting deer, your rifle is shouldered and ready, pointed in the right direction. You still may be waiting the critters appearance from the treeline, so you are not "aimed" but at that point it is more of a matter of focus than anything.

    That was always my take and I used it on my kids as a teaching tool while hunting.
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • jaywaptijaywapti Senior Member Posts: 4,492 Senior Member
    samzhere wrote: »
    No, absolutely thanks! Good stuff.

    These bums don't stand there at the pump waiting for you to pull up. They linger around the corner and such, then make their move. So no, nobody in his right mind would stop if there are unknowns hanging out. You're right on that.

    But your recommendation is pretty good.

    Sam, this post has a lot of good answers. Being aware of ones surroundings is a lot like hunting, most hunters know what's not only 50' from them but also what's to the right, left, & behind for as far as they can see.

    JAY
    THE DEFINITION OF GUN CONTROL IS HITTING THE TARGET WITH YOUR FIRST SHOT
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Varmint & Jay, some good posts here, and thanks.

    Y'all understand, I didn't start this thread for a discussion re. tactics for self defense, as in what to do under certain circumstances, but only to clarify some terms. And apparently there's still no consensus on that, either. We all know what "aim" means but the term I was most interested in is related to what someone does just before aiming, if an actual threat hasn't been identified or the threat hasn't yet resolved itself (a stumblebum approaching slowly, might be a real threat, might just be looking for a handout).

    Most think that the term "presenting" is okay for such a step (it's the term I would use), but some say that it's "brandishing" instead. I'd thought that "brandishing" is the ill-judged and wrong way to display a firearm, waving it around in a threatening manner and such, but apparently I'm wrong and that "brandishing" is a neutral term and does not imply bad actions (according to Varmint).

    And although Gene offered info from an LEO standpoint, I was mostly thinking of civilian self defense situations but I didn't specify "civilian" so that would lead some to think I meant LEO actions. I'm still confused, as usual.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Texas law is as follows:

    Sec. 42.01. DISORDERLY CONDUCT. (a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly:
    (8) displays a firearm or other deadly weapon in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm;

    therefore, there is no actual term "brandishing" in Tx law as far as I can find, but I'd always thought that "brandishing" is to display that firearm in a boisterous and threatening manner. Per Varmint's definition, however, ANY display of a firearm is "brandishing" regardless if it's done in a legal manner or not.

    Maybe the term applies differently state to state?

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Posts: 6,461 Senior Member
    samzhere wrote: »
    Texas law is as follows:

    Sec. 42.01. DISORDERLY CONDUCT. (a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly:
    (8) displays a firearm or other deadly weapon in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm;

    therefore, there is no actual term "brandishing" in Tx law as far as I can find, but I'd always thought that "brandishing" is to display that firearm in a boisterous and threatening manner. Per Varmint's definition, however, ANY display of a firearm is "brandishing" regardless if it's done in a legal manner or not.

    Maybe the term applies differently state to state?
    I think you are doing a apples to oranges comparison. PA has no law about brandishing either and I think most states dont, because if it goes far enough to cause a problem, it is assault, disorderly conduct, terroristic threats or whatever.

    I read a few definitions on brandishing and the most succinct was "to show a weapon in a theatrical way". Using that, if you pull a CCW and hold it at your side in order to scare someone, you are using it as a prop. If you wave it around, it is a prop.

    When you present, then you are ready to use the weapon as it was intended to be used yet not as far as taking up slack on the trigger. It doesnt mean that you are waiting all day in the ready position, it is just a point in the action of bring the weapon to fire. Could be draw, present, aim, fire, or draw, present, give the dirtbag a second to rethink his life, aim, fire. Hunting would be the same, you locate the target, estimate where you have the clearest shot, present the rifle, wait until the critter is where you want it to be, aim, fire.
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    I read a few definitions on brandishing and the most succinct was "to show a weapon in a theatrical way". Using that, if you pull a CCW and hold it at your side in order to scare someone, you are using it as a prop. If you wave it around, it is a prop.

    When you present, then you are ready to use the weapon as it was intended to be used yet not as far as taking up slack on the trigger. It doesnt mean that you are waiting all day in the ready position, it is just a point in the action of bring the weapon to fire. Could be draw, present, aim, fire, or draw, present, give the dirtbag a second to rethink his life, aim, fire. Hunting would be the same, you locate the target, estimate where you have the clearest shot, present the rifle, wait until the critter is where you want it to be, aim, fire.

    Ah! Thanks for the clarification! So we're all on the same page, generally -- "brandishing" being a negative and most likely illegal act, while the still-nebulous term "presenting" is a sort of catch-all for "exposing" a firearm but not necessarily aiming.

    Sounds good to me.

    And gang, no, I'm not that interested in discussing varied scenarios here, just to get a general consensus on some terms that we all use here and elsewhere. Not legal stuff, just basic chatter lingo.

    Thanks to all for the input.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Thanks to all for the input.

    Let me clarify what I was looking for... a term that describes the act of displaying a firearm but not actually pointing it at a potential thread or aiming at that possible threat.

    I don't want to get into a long discussion here about specific scenarios -- we can do that in another thread -- but in very general terms, here are a couple of possible situations where this "displaying" might be done:
    1- You hear your dogs barking or hear commotion at an outbuilding on your neighbor's property and you take a pistol openly in your hand (plus flash if it's night) while investigating.
    2- You are pumping gas or getting into or out of your vehicle and a stumblebum is approaching you, most likely for a handout but you can't be certain.

    Note that I did not include cases of your being in your home or on your property, as you can "open carry" or hold a gun in your hand any time there, so long as you aren't causing a ruckus (if you live in a modest house it might be unwise to walk around in your front yard with a 1911 in your hand while the next door neighbor is hosting a kids' birthday party, duh).

    All I was looking for was a generally agreed term that describes the open possession of a gun during a potentially dangerous or self defense situation. If the threat is imminent, such as a bad guy who's armed with a knife or club and is running toward you, you would likely draw and fire, of course.

    But if the threat is still in the "potential" category, what term best describes the intermediate step of having your pistol in your hand but not aiming it?

    We're pretty much agreed that "brandishing" is a negative term describing "waving the gun around" or similar, pretty much ineptly (and probably drunkenly) displaying that gun.

    So the term "presenting" or maybe "producing" is a reasonable, non-legal description, something to maybe use here when describing an event, such as:

    "I was pumping gas and I saw this shabby bum approaching. He was likely looking for a handout but sometimes these bums are thugs who have a knife to rob you with. So I took my 9mm from the concealed holster and just held it down alongside my leg, presenting it but not aiming, but letting the bum see that I was armed. He quickly remembered he had a dental appointment and turned around and left. I tried to keep the gun mostly out of sight so nobody else would see it, such as the people inside the gas station. After the bum was clearly gone, I put the gun away and finished getting gas, drove away."

    That's just one general, prospective and fictional scenario meant to illustrate the concept of "presenting" a firearm. Next step, of course, if the bum kept coming, might be to point or aim at the potential threat and loudly "Get the hell away!"

    So thanks all!

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 10,058 Senior Member
    (1) carried his pistol in his hand

    (2) drew his pistol unobrusively and held it out of sight

    Neither case would be "presenting" his pistol, IMO.
    Not too many problems you can't fix
    With a 1911 and a 30-06
  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 23,898 Senior Member
    Gene L wrote: »
    (
    (2) drew his pistol unobrusively and held it out of sight

    Neither case would be "presenting" his pistol, IMO.

    CCW instructor, a retired LEO doing part time LEO service, made a point that this is so and that it would not be brandishing either.
    A Veteran is someone that served in the Military, it does not matter where they served.
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Gene L wrote: »
    (1) carried his pistol in his hand

    (2) drew his pistol unobrusively and held it out of sight

    Neither case would be "presenting" his pistol, IMO.

    Which is fine. But what term then would you use to describe such action? If "presenting" isn't a good choice, what word would be better?

    And yes, I understand the "technical" aspect of "presenting" as a prelim to aiming, such as holding the pistol "at the ready" where maybe the muzzle is pointed down or up but the person has the pistol gripped in the correct way, preparatory to then raising (or lowering) it to an aiming mode.

    I'm just looking for a term that describes the action that you say is not "presenting" -- so please give us a better word that describes it. Thanks.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 10,058 Senior Member
    Presenting is a terrible word to use in the two situations. I've never seen it in modern use outside of this forum.

    I think you have to recognize there is not a single word to describe either of the two situations you set up. They are two totally different situations. I'm not sure why you expect this. You're not known for your economy of words.

    If you insist on a single word, you're going to have to invent it.
    Not too many problems you can't fix
    With a 1911 and a 30-06
  • JKPJKP Senior Member Posts: 1,825 Senior Member
    One word....prepare.
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 10,058 Senior Member
    The problem with using one broad word is in this case, it's meaningless because it lacks specificity to the point where it loses the point. "Prepare" can mean fixing dinner, and a lot of other things. It doesn't mean handling your weapon to check out noises in your neighbor's shed, (a bad policy, btw) or drawing your weapon in the presence of a possible robbery attempt. Although both are preparations, the word means so much more and is less specific.

    I assume Sam is looking for a word to use either in his fiction or in his non-fiction writing. In both, specificity rules. Description counts. Otherwise, by depending on the reader to draw his own inferences, you're relegating your authority to someone to interpret your work.
    Not too many problems you can't fix
    With a 1911 and a 30-06
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Gene L wrote: »
    I assume Sam is looking for a word to use either in his fiction or in his non-fiction writing.

    Not really. Were it so I would have told you (to paraphrase a famous person). I just was a bit curious about some terms we've all used here and wanted a clarification, as was stated clearly in the thread title and my post.

    So maybe there isn't a single term to describe what I was thinking about. Okay, keen.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • TrueTone911TrueTone911 Senior Member Posts: 6,045 Senior Member
    "What's in a name? That which we call a rose
    By any other name would smell as sweet."

    -William Shakespeare
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Good one!

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • rootbrainrootbrain Member Posts: 75 Member
    samzhere wrote: »
    Ah! Thanks for the clarification! So we're all on the same page, generally -- "brandishing" being a negative and most likely illegal act, while the still-nebulous term "presenting" is a sort of catch-all for "exposing" a firearm but not necessarily aiming.

    Sounds good to me.

    And gang, no, I'm not that interested in discussing varied scenarios here, just to get a general consensus on some terms that we all use here and elsewhere. Not legal stuff, just basic chatter lingo.

    Thanks to all for the input.
    In some states with no open carry, someone with concealed carry can be accused of "brandishing" if a gust of wind opens their shirt enough for the weapon to be seen. Seen by a lib anti-gun usually. No one else would bother to report it.
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