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4 Critical Tips For Surviving An Active Shooter

active shooter

When an armed gunman goes on a shooting rampage in a restaurant, theater, school, or other public place, deaths are certain to ensue. Such gunmen are labeled by law enforcement as active shooters, which is a term the American public is unfortunately becoming well acquainted with. Active shooters are nothing new; criminals have been randomly shooting civilians in acts of desperation and rage for nigh on a century. Workplace violence and shootings seem to magnify in the face of a down economy, and sometimes there is simply no connection between the shooter’s target and the grievances he has. There is no real reason for the senseless violence that occurs.

In many cases, active shooters will undertake their rampage in areas that are designated as gun-free zones, places like colleges, universities, schools, and federal buildings, because they know and realize that these places are unlikely to contain armed resistance. It’s easy to advocate concealed carry to fight back against active shooters, but even in states where concealed carry is easily obtained by ordinary citizens, there are still places where it is prohibited to carry a firearm. It doesn’t matter if you have a concealed carry permit or not. A private business, government, or institution can absolutely forbid the carrying of firearms on their property—it’s their right to decide who can carry on their property.

How To Defend Yourself And Your Family Against The New Breed Of Lowlife Criminal Scum

In lieu of armed resistance in places where it isn’t lawful to carry, we need to develop skills to combat active shooters, skills that don’t require weapons. We need to develop strategies that will help us survive in cases where we can’t shoot back. To that end, here are some tips to deal with active shooter situations:

  1. Avoid them in the first place. This isn’t designed to encourage reclusiveness or a hermit like existence; it is simply designed to mitigate risk. Ask yourself if it is really necessary to see that big opening night picture or attend that political rally in the first place. It’s no secret that active shooters choose public places in which to execute their savagery, and they love target-rich environments. Give some serious consideration to avoiding such places.
  1. Observe the shooter before he becomes one. No, this doesn’t involve clairvoyance. It involves vigilance and observation. When you first enter a public place, note the entrances and exits, and closely observe the people as they enter and leave the premises. We aren’t stating that you need to be the proverbial gunslinger with his back to the wall and facing the entrance, but we are saying that there was a reason that old west gunslingers sat that way, and a reason why most police continue to do so. The reason is simple – watch the ingress and egress of persons. Look for the following patterns:
  • Persons who come in and seemingly scan the crowd.
  • Persons who come in, scan the crowd, then leave, only to return again shortly. It could be innocent, but it could also be a shooter planning an attack.
  • Persons who come in visibly shaken, perspiring, or with wide eyes and dilated pupils. All are signs of an adrenaline dump which could signal impending action on their part.
  1. React to an emergent active shooter. Your number one priority is to flee the building immediately should you hear shots or see someone pull a gun. While this seems obvious, realize that many buildings or institutions will have a lock down policy for active shooters in which they will compartmentalize the rooms within the building, each room barricading itself and awaiting either help or further instructions. There’s no advantage to the lockdown; all it does is create sitting ducks out of those who could otherwise flee. Should the only option remaining be a barricade, attempt to exit the room as soon as possible through means other than the door that’s barricaded. Keep the following in mind:
  • Think outside the box for your escape; look at windows and drop ceilings and alternate methods of egress or hiding.
  • Stay away from the door as most handgun rounds and all rifle rounds will easily penetrate your typical interior door. Do not use your body weight alone to block a doorway!
  • Hiding is passive and should be your last, final, and most desperate resort.
  1. If bullets fly, know what to do. Realize that bullets flying doesn’t necessarily mean every bullet will strike a target. Even among professional shooters, occasional misses are the norm even in calm, controlled situations. An active shooter is under extreme mental duress when he’s on a rampage, and thus many rounds miss their intended targets (fortunately). Still, keep the following tips in mind:
  • Bullets follow walls and floors. For that reason, try and stay off both. Much as a body of water will make a stone skip, even a sheetrock wall will sometimes deflect a bullet that is fired parallel to it, and send that bullet skipping alongside it. Try and stay a minimum of 18” off the walls.
  • The easiest way to stay off a floor is to crouch by sitting on your haunches and keeping your heels slightly elevated. This takes most of your body off the floor and presents the least surface area and smallest target to a shooter.

Active shooters are a menace and threat to society as we know them, but by being observant and taking action when disaster strikes, you can potentially evade death or injury.

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  1. Good article, Only one thing to add: The “SOUND.” Gunshots and Bullets don’t sound like what the movies depict. Gun shots from a 22 inside a car sound like an old typewriter, you don’t hear “Bangs” outside the guns firing will sound like “POPs” not what you hear when you are on the range.

    The closest thing I have heard to describe what a bullet sounds like when it passes you is a hummingbird or a big wasp/bee. When a bullet impacts something around you, you will hear the sound of what it hit, if it was steel it will “Ping” or make a sound that sounds like “Dank.” If it hits ground you will hear a “thump” or “thud”. Depending on what round it is (sub or supersonic) it will “Crack” or “SNAP” going over your head.

    Now I will give you my “hero” tactics that kept me alive through countless actions: RUN

    I am not kidding at all, it isn’t cowardice it is “gaining space, time, and ability to maneuver” Like a female marine officer told me,,, “Better to be a coward for a minute, than dead forever” Good advice,, even if she was a comm-o, I digress.

    If you cant run,,,, the best answer is: Scoped rifle,,,, end it quickly.

    Tune in next week, when the old guy begins to ramble again!!
    The Col (retired)

  2. However if you do happen to be a dumb ass Marine or Soldier or Airman or Sailor you may be tempted to go settle the shooters ass for him instead of run.

    If you have been in the situation before you probably will know that impacting bullets probably won’t toss you around when they hit.

    If the shooter hits you in a vital spot you won’t hear it or know it (or be in a position to care) usually.

    On the other hand if your adrenalin is pumping you might be a bit upset with the shooter and decide to go after him. An acquaintance of mine tracked the sniper that wounded him 3 blocks before he was able to kill him.

    If you aren’t armed and the shooter has a long gun the best strategy is to take it away and beat him to death with it. If it is a handgun a sharp bending motion can break his fingers (getting the web of your thumb between the hammer and firing pin is a good idea).

    In the heat of the moment I never really noticed any fear. Mostly things happened in slow motion.

    Just saying, when there are women, children and civilians as potential targets there are more important things to worry about that one’s own life.

    former gunny

    • True, that is what I would do. I had one bounce off my armor, always been lucky, not even sure it was a whole bullet. Also, I just realized that some people might not even know what a typewriter was, so that dates me,,,, I would not advise the avg joe to try that, though. Reason why,,, the Marine/Soldier/Airman,,, isn’t Average anymore, they are very highly trained, and very very seasoned troops now, that is a big difference. But I agree with the gunny, get your wife and kids clear and attack attack attack, you don’t want that SOB running around to do it again. A long rifle is the best, you don’t need to get to know him, just shoot him.
      A very strange phenomenon, that has occurred lately that disturbed me greatly, was female bombers and shooters, they have the knack of getting very close to you, but you cannot be sympathetic or empathetic to their gender. They are every bit as dangerous and vicious. They exhibit many of the same tendencies and actions, but because of their gender, your mind doesn’t immediately click into the danger mode. Something to consider, maybe the Gunny has some insight. Female attackers are harder to deal with, but they are a latter day reality, that we will have to deal with. If doing so, don’t do anything any different than you would for a male attacker. There is a way to handle them, but we were in a combat zone, and had a lot of leeway, that you may/may not have here in “Civilization,” but I know that anyone who shoots at me, is gonna get it back in spades, the only thing I have never experienced is having my kids and wife around when the shooting starts.
      The Col (ret)

    • @Richard Harig:

      “getting the web of your thumb between the hammer and firing pin is a good idea”.

      – Yea, because SO many active shooters are operating hammer fired, 1911s. There are multiple reasons why you don’t see 1911s flooding the streets and used in criminal activity; the least of which is cost and maintenance. You’re going to have a hard time getting your finger inside the slide to affect a modern, striker fired pistol. Your insight is ridiculous.

  3. The famous Hollywood studios can no longer specify what exactlythe people want or can get as they did prior to now. If you happen to add to that distribution on the web and, headlines, websites online, from rumor to whole movies. It’s a brand new world. Much of it great, some not.

  4. Good commentary Col and Gunny, thank you. Been 45 years since rounds came my direction, but it ain’t been long enough. Disturbs me greatly that the wackoids seem to be getting more bold about coming out of the woodwork, wanting to slaughter the innocent. There’s no predicting when or where it will occur, it seems. IMHO it calls for a change in mindset and tons more situational awareness. And CC is becoming mandatory.

  5. I can definitely see my @$$ running and helping others get out but definitely running the opposite way…and I think standing sideways could be the hardest target to hit..maybe

  6. I think part of the reasoning for this years registration (for 2012) is people who ran both of those races got shut out for this years race.

  7. And here is a list of questions I added that were not on the list.

  8. My partner and I stumbled over here from a different web page and thought I might as well check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to looking at your web page yet again.

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