Almost... A DQ Stop
Turns Ugly


Duke practicing double taps with his S&W Model 442 .38 from about seven paces. Many people carry
small guns like this, but never practice. Don’t be that person.

Last summer for the first time in my life I thought I might have to use a gun to defend myself. I did not, but the episode rattled me that day, and six months later I still wonder about it. The encounter was very strange.

It was a hot July evening. Yvonne had some sort of meeting for horse lovers, so a visiting friend and I decided we needed ice cream. We duly drove into town to the nearest Dairy Queen and each got chocolate sundaes. For some reason my friend was driving, but we were in my mini-van. The evening was decidedly warm so we parked under a shade tree in a parking lot behind the DQ. It belonged to them, was paved, I’d say about 50 yards long and perhaps 20 yards wide. It could be entered from both the front of the DQ and an exit at the rear onto another city street. There were a few picnic tables but we had the place to ourselves — briefly.

While we sat there enjoying our treat, I happened to notice a fellow in the next lot about 20 yards away behind an electrician’s or plumber’s business. He was unloading tools from a work truck. I’m fairly situationally aware and pointed out to my buddy, “The guy over there is packing.” That’s perfectly fine here in Montana, openly or concealed with a CCW license. The fellow appeared to have a 1911 on his right hip and a spare mag on his left side.

Now hold that thought for a moment.

About then what I call a “bubba-mobile” roared in from the front parking lot entrance. It was painted primer gray, had rusted-out fenders and a muffler so loud we could barely hear one another. The driver had on a straw hat and at least a three or four day’s beard stubble. He backed into a parking space about 20 feet to my right, parallel with us, but only stayed a moment. Then he roared away, screeching his tires, out the back entrance to the street. We shrugged and continued minding our own business.
Mere minutes later Mr. Bubba again roared into the lot from the front passing close behind our parked mini-van. He then stopped with his truck situated so we would be perfectly T-boned if he backed up. And that’s exactly what he did, again screeching his tires — but stopping a mere foot or two from the driver’s side door of our vehicle. Then he roared away out the back entrance again making his tires squeal. My friend said, “Heck if he had kept going he would have hit me dead center.”

That’s when I double checked my S&W Model 442 .38 to make sure it was loaded.

Duke’s hot weather handguns are these two 5-shooters — an S&W Model
360 and S&W Model 442 loaded with .38 Special ammo.

But Wait

Minutes later, for a third time the guy roared into the lot from the front. This time, without slowing, he tried to turn beside my van’s driver’s side. In doing so he whacked the van’s bumper taking it and the tail light out. Sitting inside we got a severe jolt. At this point I exited the van’s passenger side and went around behind it. The .38 was in my right hand shoved out of sight into my pocket. I could see Mr. Bubba jumping out of his truck and running around the front of it. My decision then was made. He had acted aggressively for no reason and if he had been armed even with so much as a tire iron I was going to shoot.

Instead he was unarmed and immediately started blubbering, “I’m sorry, oh God, I’m sorry! I’ll make this right. I’ve got insurance. I didn’t mean to hit you.” This was being shouted at me with whiskey breath. And by his manic behavior I figured drugs were involved also.

At this point seeing there was no danger I happened to glance past Mr. Bubba to where the workman had been unloading tools. Bless his heart; he had his 1911 out and was braced against his work truck covering me. I raised my left hand palm out to show him we were okay and he holstered and went on about his business. You’ve got to love Montana!

Post Thoughts

I took the fellow’s insurance information, never dreaming for a moment it would be valid but it turned out to be good. Still, because of the damage I had to call the city police. When I started dialing the cops Mr. Bubba took off on foot like a scared rabbit and I never saw him again. The cop asked his whereabouts and I told him. He said, “Never mind. His address is right here on his insurance information. I’ll get him later.” That was the end of it.

The guy’s behavior was completely erratic. Why keep coming back to this parking lot? Why peel rubber? Why pull so close to us in a completely empty lot? I’ll guess I’ll never know. What I did learn is a peaceful situation can go to hell instantly. My hot weather handguns are S&W 5-shooters — a Model 360 and a Model 442. High capacity autoloader packers might sneer at my choice but the first rule of self-defense is to have a gun, and I did.

I’m also glad someone I didn’t even know was prepared to help me. And finally to critique myself, being right handed I stepped into the open between our vehicles to confront the guy. I should have remained behind cover, for I had no idea if he was armed or not.

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