Concealed Carry Answers: Threat Avoidance

Concealed Carry Answers: Threat Avoidance

Concealed Carry Answers: Threat Avoidance.

Reader Chris C. writes,  “I listened to your great training on how to avoid gunfights (Living Ready University) and really like the tactic of aggressive gun presentation and sharp verbal commands, but you didn’t talk much about how to avoid risky situations in the first place.   Isn’t that just as important?”

You bet Chris.   Here are some simple tips to help you avoid being a victim of assault or home burglary that I learned in over 27 years as a cop dealing with the aftermath.

Tip 1 On Crime Avoidance (and it costs you nothing)
(As my Field Training Officer pounded into my head)… “Keep your head up and your eyes scanning at all times.”   Not only does this simple tip let you see a potential threat while you still have distance  —distance always translates into tactical flexibility—but you look like you are aware and can handle yourself.  “Meek means weak” to the bad boys.  And, don’t forget your “6”—what’s going on behind you.

The reason smartphone theft is becoming an epidemic is because when your eyes are glued to your little gizmo you; (a) telegraph you have something worth stealing, (b) are so focused on the little screen that you do not see the predator moving towards you, and (c) you are probably too nerdy to fight back.

Tip 2 (especially for female readers)
Don’t walk alone to your car at night or in a desolate spot. If you are shopping alone or meeting your girlfriend for dinner where it’s hip and happening, always ask a store clerk or the restaurant manager to provide an escort to your car.

One of the great advantages of the malls is that they have uniformed security staff happy to escort you. Even if you have a carry permit (good for you!) get an escort anyway. You don’t want to have to shoot an assailant when an escort is so much easier.

Tip 3 (for home defense)
Get an alarm system. In all my years of residential burglar reports I never took one where an alarm system was installed. Alarms are affordable, reliable and act like a crucifix to a vampire.

Enhance it with wall mounted, battery powered sensor lights. You don’t need to make your house look like Ft. Knox… the bad boys scan carefully under eaves and around entry ways and side gates for little tips that they should pick a softer target. I especially like the fake cameras that have a flashing LED light on them.

Tip 4 (especially for the guys)
Even if you have a carry permit, always have an impact weapon in your hands when out and about at night or in a rough neighborhood.

A small metal flashlight or big wad of keys on the end of a short nylon strap, an eight inch section of small diameter PVC pipe (painted black), or one of the new tactical pens all demonstrate you are not an easy target.  If you get jumped, go for the face with the device as a distraction, take out the knee with a snap kick, run at a tangent and establish tactical distance.

Remember, the best gunfight is the one you don’t need to have.


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  1. I read Tip 2, and wondered, “why would you be where it is hip and happenin’ by yourself with only a girl friend? or in a desolate place late at night, alone? or in a big creepy mall with lots of places for people be concealed, at closing time, again, by yourself? why do any of those things?” I had to travel alone when my husband was overseas, during the time period 1999-2008. I had a 3/4 ton diesel pickup and an enclosed 12 foot trailer for the bike and our possessions to worry about. I was going back and forth to the DC area, or to Tampa, FL. I not only never had any trouble, I never came close to having trouble. I know this because I never lowered my situational awareness, so I would have seen it coming. I never deviated from a route and behaviors that kept me surrounded by swarms of fellow travelers. If I didn’t like the look of a truckstop or rest area, I got back on the interstate and found one more to my liking. I never let any circumstance–low fuel, no food or water, lack of rest–determine my choices. I never let such a situation develop. I estimate I made 20 trips alone that took me halfway across the country, and I never had any trouble, and it wasn’t luck. I have to assume that I was observed, and potential troublemakers observed that they were going to have to make an attack in the middle of swarms of bystanders, and decided against it. It’s very unpleasant to have to constantly suspect the worst, but I was handed the situation, I didn’t go looking for it by being places I shouldn’t have been.

  2. That’s an interesting thought, SilverState, I’ve always considered how I would handle myself in a situation while carrying, however, what moral obligation do we have to interject ourselves into others’ situations? If we’re carrying, do we then have the obligation to intercede into a potentially harmful situation?

  3. Hey “SilverState” great comment. Just because you have a permit and are armed does NOT mean that you must or even should intervene in a crime that does not directly involve you. Always try to “be a good witness”. From a safe distance, get on the cell and tell dispatch (1) what you see, (2) where you are, and (3) “I am legally armed.” (So they inform the responding officers.) Even off- duty cops soon learn that only under the most dire circumstances is it a good idea to get involved in dealing with a crime that does not involve a direct threat to you or family members under your protection. Sadly, in this day and age no good deed goes unpunished.

  4. I apologize if you’ve covered this in another post. Another threat avoidance is knowing which fight is yours, and which is not. We all envision threats that directly or indirectly involve us but that is not reality. We could be a bystander watching a situation evolve that does not go from yellow directly to red or black. This is especially relevant in domestic situations. Soon after I started carrying, as I was driving past a mini mart, a shirtless punk was yelling at a woman/girlfriend? and flapping his arms. She didn’t seem to be in immediate danger but scene appeared to border on out of control. I thought about stopping but decided against it. The punk appeared unarmed and if my stopping escalated the situation, there would be no good outcome. Fortunately, a mile down the road I passed a couple of deputies inbound.
    My takeaway was that I need (as part of my ongoing training), to consider all possible scenarios and responses so I am not making moral decisions on the fly.


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