Survive an Active Shooter

What is an Active Shooter

An active shooter is a lone gunman (sometimes multiple gunmen e.g., Columbine), who is probably mentally deranged, and desires to inflict death and life threatening harm to as many innocent people as possible. The typical active shooter: acts alone, wants to kill himself before the police arrive, does not want to take hostages, shoots a rifle (not always an assault rifle), does not want to negotiate (he has no cause other than killing for the sake of killing), usually brings more than one firearm to the shooting, is often clothed in body armor, they usually work quickly and erratically.

Train Your Children Train Your Family

If you haven’t confronted the reality that you, your family, maybe your children, will one day be confronted by a lunatic coward wielding an assault rifle then you are not going to be ready if this situation happens. What that means is that you are not giving your family the optimum chance at survival. Do I believe that telling your five year old how to escape an active shooter is the answer? I don’t know. I have no idea exactly how to prevent this, but I know I want to give my family the best possible chance at survival. I know I don’t want Fox News interviewing me because some idiot took an assault rifle to my kid’s elementary school.

I know with a certainty that the answer is not to pretend these things don’t happen. I am 100% certain that the answer is not to ignore the fact that this sort of thing happens. That is why I created this website. That is why I’m writing this article. I hope you and your family never stare down the business end of a lunatic coward’s AR-15. If and when that happens, I can guarantee the police, FBI, CIA, Navy SEALs, or other good guys will not come to your aid as fast as you would like and you are going to wish that you had prepared to take care of yourself in this kind of horrible situation.

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Talk to Your School Board and Your Local Government

How much preparation has your school made to keep your children safe from an active shooter? What security measures are in place? Could those security measures conceivably work when confronted with the reality of a lunatic coward armed with an AR-15 in full body armor? Pull your head out of the sand and get involved. Stop assuming that Uncle Sam has everything taken care of.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Get off of your freaking cell phone. Pull your head out…of your smart phone and be aware of what the heck is going on around you. Wake Up! Who is standing next to you? Who just walked in the store? Why is that stranger opening the back door? What’s in his hands?
Look for things that look out of place. And always watch people’s hands. The hands are wear the danger comes from so always watch people’s hands.

The World Already Has Enough Sheep

Whether you want to believe it or not the world is comprised of wolves and sheep. Wolves don’t attack wolves. If this is news to you, welcome to the real world. Do whatever you have to do to tell the world that you are not a sheep.
Wherever you are, always know where the exits are. Know where the entrances are, but always know and plan your routes of escape.

Download a Free copy of Defensive Pistol 101.

scaled_eBookIf you go to a movie theater, a concert, a sporting event, a restaurant, or a college lecture hall, choose seats that allow for a quick exit if the crap hits the fan. Choose seats that allow a clear line of sight of everything that is going on. For goodness sakes people, give yourselves a chance to survive. Sit with your back to the wall whenever possible. Don’t have your back to the main entrance. How are you going to see the active shooter that just walked in. Some people go as far as to back into every parking space so that if they have to bail on a bad situation, they just get in their car and hit drive (as opposed to backing out). I call these people wolves. I call these people survivors.

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When Reality Happens

Action is always faster than reaction. So you are already at a disadvantage because the active shooter has got the drop on you. The active shooter is dictating where and when the fight takes place. Strike one for you.

So when reality happens, when the mess hits the fan, this is not the time to hunker down and wait for the police. Those days are behind us. This is not the time to crouch down under a table, close your eyes, and wait for the police to show up. The average gun battle lasts under 3 seconds. Let’s assume that the police show up in 10 minutes. Ten minutes is 600 seconds, that’s the length of 200 average gun battles. Are you going to voluntarily give this active shooter 600 seconds to find you crouching down behind a table with your eyes closed and your iphone clutched to your chest? Do not depend on the police to rescue you. That’s what sheep do.

Self preservation. “Self” preservation. You need to be thinking self preservation. You need to be thinking that you are responsible for your own safety, nobody else but you. This is a time for action. Violence of action, i.e., escape violently, run your butt off at the first sign of danger.

It is much harder to hit a moving target than it is to hit a target crying behind a cubicle divider holding an iphone. The active shooter has already surprised you. He has already got the drop on you. Now it’s time for you to move the odds back in your favor with some violence of action. Act! Move! Get your butt out of danger!

You have a split second fight or flight decision to make. The police will tell you that if you are 20 feet away from someone, you can sprint to that person and be on him before he is able to draw his weapon and take a shot. This is a personal decision that you are going to have to make. And it is not an easy decision.

If I’m in an active shooter situation and the guy needs to re-load, or his gun jams, or he turns his back to me…if I’m 20 feet away I’m going to tackle the guy. Violence of action gives me a much better chance of surviving then just hoping none of his bullets hit me before the cops show up and decide to make entry. And only a crazy person thinks that his only option is to tackle an active shooter armed with an AR-15. On the flip side, if the guy goes for a re-load or has a gun jam, if I’m 20 feet from safety, I’m going to run like crazy for that safety. Violence of action. Not indecision. Not sitting still. Not scared stiff. Violence of action. Make a decision and move…QUICKLY.

If You Are Not Alone

You’re at the mall and an active shooter busts into the food court firing off some 20 rounds before you even have a chance to get out of your chair. If you’re not already dead, you need to grab your family and immediately look for an exit. Do not plan on sitting out in the open. Take cover. Grab your family. Communicate to them clearly. Ignore the person bleeding out and crying for help. This is not a time to render aid if you want to survive. Do not help anyone until you and your family are in a safe location. Don’t make you and your family a target by refusing to leave a dangerous situation. If you have your family or friends with you, you need to be thinking escape and communicate. 1) Move, do not stay there, 2) communicate ultra-clearly your plan to escape when it presents itself. Do not yell, do not speak like a crazy person stuck in fast forward. Speak and move with a purpose. Speak clearly and assume control of your family or those who you are responsible for. Communicate your plan and move with a purpose.

The Truth About Concealed Handgun License Holders

The U.S. Special Forces soldiers (the door kickers and black ops types) shoot multiple thousands of rounds every year in training. Professional pistol shooters who compete in target shooting at a national level take hundreds of mental shots before they ever pick up a gun, then they pick up an unloaded gun and perform hundreds of dry fire shots just working on trigger pull and the mental and physical mechanics that go into properly firing a weapon, then they pick up an airsoft pistol and take hundreds of shots with an airsoft pistol, then after thousands of mental shots, hundreds of dry fire shots, hundreds of airsoft shot, they takes one live fire shot with an actual gun. The pros practice and rehearse worst case scenario, life or death shooting every month. Is this how you train with your concealed handgun license? The answer is no.

The average concealed handgun license holder probably shoots under 500 rounds a year, takes zero mental shots per year, takes zero dry fire shots per year, and takes zero airsoft shots per year. The special ops guys train every month for life or death fights with a firearm. They train so much that when they are actually in a life or death fight, it feels like another training evolution.

You, Mr. Concealed Handgun License Holder, are not a special ops guy. When reality strikes and you are forced to draw your gun when somebody is shooting at you, you are probably not going to hit anywhere near your intended target. You have never trained to fight. You have never trained with your pistol period. You have gone to an air conditioned firing range and leisurely shot at a paper target hanging motionless 7 yards in front of you. With this is mind lets agree on two things.

First, let’s agree that it is great that you have a firearm with you when the crap hits the fan. That firearm may indeed save your life. Second, let’s agree that drawing your firearm to defend yourself from an active shooter who has the drop on you, who has you outgunned with an assault rifle, who is probably wearing body armor (necessitating a low light head shot) is your absolute last option.

If you carry a concealed handgun, you better train to use it. Train to use it in a life or death situation. Look for classes titled Defensive Pistol, or Tactical Pistol, or Home Defense Pistol. You need to shell out the $200 to $400 that it costs to attend these classes and you need to do it on a regular basis. Do some research. Ensure that it is an ex-special ops type / ex-door kicker that is teaching the class. You want to be taught by someone who has some real world, no shit trigger time. And remember that 1) you are going to get sued by the active shooter’s family (whether you acted in self-defense or not you will be sued), and 2) you are responsible for every round that leaves your firearm, so you will be sued by any innocents that you shoot as well. When you deploy your firearm, you will be sued, and you will spend a minimum of $30,000 that you will not get back, right or wrong.
It’s Time to Admit That You Live in the Real World

Do you want to survive? Stop making yourself a target. Sheep go to opening night. Sheep go to gatherings of large crowds. Sheep go to crowded areas during peak hours. If you want to survive, you are going to have to wake up to reality and realize that the world isn’t all sunshine and roses. Active Shooters and other deranged idiots who want to kill people to make a statement because Daddy didn’t get them the BMX bicycle for their seventh birthday go to these crowded areas to kill as many people as possible because they know there will be a herd of defenseless sheep there. They’re looking for the pep rally on game day, they’re looking for the block buster on opening night, they’re looking for the sold out sporting event. You are going to have to think much more realistically about where you go and when you go there.

3 Less Than Lethal Items That Will Increase Your Survivability

1) Tactical Flashlight

Most attacks occur at night. The wolves like to operate at night. Sheep are more defenseless at night. Get yourself a tactical flashlight. What is a tactical flashlight? A tactical flashlight is small enough to be carried concealed on your person comfortably. They are small, usually black, and extremely bright. Some of them even have a clip that will clip right on to your belt or pants pocket. Get yourself a tactical flashlight that runs 200 lumens minimum. Surefire makes a 700 lumen flashlight called the lawman, and they make a smaller 500 lumen flashlight called the Fury. These are high quality expensive flashlights. I have found good quality 200 lumen flashlights at Home Depot for $4. A 200 lumen focused beam of light aimed directly at an attacker’s eyes will blind him for 1 to 3 seconds. A 500 to 700 lumen flashlight may blind him for 1 to 3.5 seconds. This is precious escape and evasion time. Practice shining a focused beam onto a target that represents an attacker’s eyes and the escaping violently. You have just bought yourself 2 lifesaving seconds.

2) Pocket Knife

Get yourself a $5 to $20 pocket knife that is small and can be clipped onto your belt or pocket. This of course will not do much for you if you are attacked by an active shooter. However, it may help you if you are stranded somewhere, and this is a useful tool that can be used as a weapon of last resort. Or a simple pocket knife can convince an attacker that you are not a sheep, you are not an easy mark and it’s time to move on. I know you are thinking that your Uncle Joe Bob the red neck wears a pocket knife, but I guarantee you that Jimmy the car-jacker isn’t following your red neck camouflage shirt wearing Uncle Joe Bob to his pick-up truck in the Macy’s parking lot.

3) Pepper Spray

You need a lot (I can’t possibly stress how much) of training to competently shoot a pistol. You do not need much training to shine a flashlight into someone’s eyes and even less training to hit someone with pepper spray. But there are tactical pepper spray classes and if you are going to carry pepper spray, you need to take some of these classes at least once or twice a year.

All of these less than lethal methods are designed to buy you time to escape. Lethal weapons are designed to stop the threat. Less than lethal weapons are designed to discourage the threat or distract the threat long enough (usually only 2 or 3 seconds) for you to escape the threat. Practice using these implements with this in mind.

You Will Revert To The Level Of Your Training

Reading this article isn’t going to do jack for you in terms of increasing your survivability. You must train. You must practice. You must rehearse.
When the mess hits the fan, you are not going to rise to the occasion. You are going to sink to the level of your training.

Practice escaping and evading. Practice moving violently to safety with your family. Mentally rehearse what you would do if an active shooter got the drop on you at the movies. Get to the theater early with your family and physically rehearse a quick exit. Prepare, practice, rehearse, train, survive.

Avoid being a walking, living, breathing target. Stop being a voluntary sheep.
Train with your flashlight, train with your pepper spray, train with your firearm. Train, train, train.

Practice getting out of danger. Practice avoiding danger. Talk openly with your family and loved ones about it. Practice escaping an active shooter at a crowded mall. Practice escaping an active shooter at your college or middle school. Practice escaping an active shooter at your church. Practice escaping an active shooter at a professional basketball game. Practice escaping or defending your house from an armed intruder. Practice not freezing in place when you hear multiple gunshots. Rehearse what you will do if a deranged threat hell bent on killing everybody busts into the location where you are and tries to kill you and your family.