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Video: Properly Scanning For Danger

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It's scanning, not head bobbing. Tune up your situational awareness or pay the price.

You see it all the time. A shooter at the range takes a few shots with his handgun, pulls it back into his workspace, then jerks his head right and left fast as if he’s watching stock cars race by. He’ll tell you he’s scanning … for threats, that is. But is he really?

More than likely, this sad stranger is only going through the motions. There could have been a pile of gold bricks off to his side and he’d have never seen it for all the good his bobbing did. It was more form than function.

Should you get into the habit of scanning? Absolutely. But how and when you do matters, otherwise you’re putting yourself at a major disadvantage.

Learn How To Run Your Defensive Pistol:

First and foremost, scanning isn’t simply something you do after engaging a threat. It’s a constant routine, a tool you use all the time. You probably know it by a different name – situational awareness.

As to how you execute scanning, there is no set rule. However, it is safe to say you must become cognizant of your surroundings and what’s happening no matter how you go about it. It’s safe to say, a couple of head shakes isn’t going to accomplish that. Much like training an efficient handgun presentation, you need to learn festina lente — hurry slowly. Doing so ensures you take in all vital situational data to make rational and effective decisions.

Like anything else that concerns the defensive handgun, learning to properly scan your surroundings doesn’t just happen. You must hone this skill. Luckily, it’s something you can do away from the range and without a firearm. Get in the habit of looking around when out and about, taking in particulars of individuals — shirt color, hair color, etc. — and what they happen to be doing at that moment. Picking out minute details forces you to take notice of those around you. Do it consistently and it becomes second nature.

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