In training and practice we don’t want every drill to be a shoot drill. Real life offers far more examples of the threat of violence being enough to diffuse a situation in a personal self-defense encounter than the opposite. People are not shot as often as they have guns pointed at them. The reasoning for is (or should be) obvious and has verbalization partly to thank. Proper training includes these drills so that draw and fire is not a conditioned response. We want our students on the line to think as well as they are able and to act based on their perception of events. By giving a student a choice, they are forced to display restraint and only fire if the threats behavior warrants it. ... Part of realistic behavior is the use of verbals.
If I am confronted with an armed individual, be it knife or bat or stick, weapon of opportunity etc., the presence of the weapon alone will not necessarily dictate a threat to my or someone else's personal safety. The “totality of the circumstances” is going to determine if I go to guns or not. That is how we tell Stabby McMurderface apart from a neighbor/stranger heading out to trim his hedges. ...
... When we are reasonably sure we are being confronted with a threat and verbalization makes sense, we should do so. A verbal challenge or command is simple, forceful and direct. It should also address the larger problem first. With our shovel man example, would we command stop or drop the shovel first? You can do both of course (and should) but the immediate concern is motion. If they are not yet close enough to deliver a strike, a stop command will give ready evidence of a will to comply or not, especially if your weapon is already out when the command is given. ... [Also,] if a verbal command is warranted, so is the gun. If you feel threatened, or recognize the threat to someone else and decide to intervene, nothing will underscore the penalty for non-compliance more than showing them what it may be. If our example shovel man is given a stop with no ready penalty for not doing so, is his course of action likely to change? If you are cut off in a road rage incident and a man is running towards your blocked-in car with a bat, is a verbal stop alone likely to change his behavior? We can point guns at people and not shoot them, it happens all the time. The bad guy makes the decision to get shot, it’s best if it’s an informed decision which is why verbalization is so important.
Verbal commands should be loud, forceful and simple. They can be peppered with expletives if you like (common, though not recommended), but get to the point quickly and be specific.
Now as to why verbalization is important; the primary reason is that it lets our bad guy know that we see him, recognize his behavior and are prepared to do something about it if he does not stop. A second and possibly just as important reason given the litigious nature of our society is that a loud verbal command paints a far better picture for any potential witness. ...The author recommends that if they do comply, do not try and hold them unless they are in your home or business, or it is a personal crime (i.e., someone that you know, such as a disgruntled co-worker or ex-). In any event, he also recommends filing a police report.
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