T Nation

Active Shooter


For those of you involved with significant others who refuse to accept responsibility for their own defense, or (you) simply sitting on the fence and making no decision about self defense, read this article. The responsibility of your right to live, should not be given to others.



The shooting in Tel Aviv yesterday could happen in any restaurant, anywhere, in any country. Take time to review the information in this thread.

Have a plan.

Know where the exits are.

Dont bunch up with the crowd, this was not an targeted hit, but, a mass killing of Israelis, so the shooter will be shooting at the mass.

Your decision on carrying weapons, especially firearms. If you do, know the laws,(States) if you are in a European country, Canada , or Middle East you are just fucked anyway. SE Asia, depends on where you are.

If you are taking your children to a public place, try to have a partner. One of you will be responsibile to get out the children, while the other will buy time, either attacking the shooter with a weapon, creating a diverison, or simply giving your life to buy them time to escape.



Orlando Terror Attacks

OK, take a close look at the responses from the civilians outside the airport entrance: We have an potential active shooter, with shots being fired by an LEO and fat boy in the brown t-shirt, instead of taking cover and taking responsibility for his own survival, is attempting to capture the moment on film, while, the guy in the blue shirt and cap is walking TOWARD the shots. Idiots.

Have a God damn plan and some fucking common sense.


From the SWAT Commander on the scene:



Bringing this back up so others can review their own plans for facing an active shooter. The below statement never ceases to amaze me. Stay sharp and have a plan, no matter how simple.

" You’d think it would happen in Everett or Seattle, but a small town of Burlington, I’d never dream something like this would happen."


Yep, people always think it can’t happen where they are. You don’t need to live in a warzone or be targeted by organized terrorists. It just takes one wacko who makes the decision that he’s doing this today. It can be literally anywhere.


I am going to post a few thoughts from Dave Spaulding, an exceptional LEO firearms and SWAT instructor with 35 years of experience. I was very fortunate to meet Dave and was very impressed with his “quiet professionalism”. He is an extremely humble man, and, a “tactical thinker”. I think those who are taking responsibility for their own safety and those they are in charge of protecting will enjoy his wisdom . I am pulling this off his blogspot and will scan his articles for points on Active Shooters. Let me know if you like his simple, down to earth way of writing.

By now, we have all seen the haunting photos from the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. People hunkered down in closets, toilet stalls and other cramped locations HOPING they will not be found and executed. Faces showing the extreme fear they were dealing with…or really, not understanding how to deal with it.

Fear is a natural phenomenon that cannot be removed from our being. Make no mistake, fear is your friend but only if you know how to control it and turn the emotion into an asset. Most do not and are overcome by it. So much so that they just sit and wait to be slaughtered. Having skills to utilize in crisis controls fear! Most have none…

Since the mass murder happened, I have watched the news, read the Internet “chatter” (much is just bullshit) and even seen a few videos telling people what to do if they are ever in such a situation. One was quite detailed, telling the viewer step by step what to carry with them at all times, how to chart a path of escape and even how to break a window. It was good information, but most folks will watch it, nod their head up and down and then forget everything they just saw. Let me make this process as simple as possible:

Carry a gun (if possible), carry a knife, carry a compact flashlight and


** And keep in mind it will not be the way you came in.**

Last weekend I was in Manchester, New Hampshire teaching a course and after class ended on Sunday evening, I accompanied a good friend to a high-end restaurant for a fine meal. As we were being seated, I asked the server for directions to the men’s room. A common occurrence and the server gave me said directions. Did I have to hit the head? Sure, but it wasn’t critical, I was more interested in performing a reconnaissance before I sat down to dine. As I walked to the restroom, I looked to see where the windows were and whether or not the chairs located near by could break them. As I walked past pillars, I knocked o them to see if they sounded solid or hollow, where was the door to the kitchen, where were the fire exits and if I barricaded in the rest room, how solid were the walls, could I lock the door and what were my fields of fire? Where were the fire extinguishers and what type were they?

I basically formed an escape plan, looking for anything that could be a weapon along the way and KEPT IN MIND THE ROOM WOULD BE FILLED WITH PANICKED PEOPLE IF I NEEDED TO USE SAID PLAN! Keep in mind the shortest exit route will also be the most congested…a longer path may take the least time due to fear-filled people. Do you realize that some panicked folks will not use a fire exit unless there is a fire, even if it is warranted! Panicked behavior can be quite strange.

I did all of this in less than a minute without drawing undue attention to myself. This is important! If an active killer is casing the place, your “switched on” demeanor may draw attention and you might be the first person he kills! I have gone to dinner with students who try to impress me with their tactical behavior, keeping their head on a constant swivel looking for threats. On some occasions they look as if they are having a seizure and I have to tell them to relax…it is possible to have a relaxed level of awareness…and quit drawing attention to us. Try to be “the grey man” as you stay alert in life…

Such a lifestyle should include more than just public establishments like restaurants and nightclubs; it should be any place you may inhabit. When I check into a hotel, the first thing I do is walk the stairs and check for fire exits. If I’m above the first floor, I check the windows to see if they can be broken and what path I may take if I have to climb down. You may laugh, but I did this years back when a fire alarm went off in my hotel late one night. I checked the door for heat and when I did not feel any, I cracked the door and saw smoke. I now carry a smoke mask everywhere I travel, but did not have it then. Thus, I opened the sliding glass door that led to the balcony of my room and climbed down the balconies below to the ground. It turned out to be a non-event, but I am not the type of person who likes to wait and have someone else tell me its safe. Like my company motto says, I want to be “an active participant in my own rescue!”

Being an “active participant” means preparing for life’s dangers, whatever they may be and accepting that they will happen. Waiting for someone else to rescue you is seldom a good plan, so be prepared to take action. The act of fighting back is oftentimes not as difficult as building the will to take action and fight. Anything can be a weapon if the mind makes it so, thus start looking at common objects and visualize how you might use them to defend yourself and those you care about. Be willing to do harm! While governments and do-gooders will tell you violence is not the proper course of action, history has shown they are full of shit. Think about the faces on those people huddled in the bathroom stall in the Pulse…do you want that to be you or some one you care about? Not me. Violence is never the answer, but all too often it is the only solution!

Enjoy life, have fun but be ready…


Some more thoughts from Dave:

In the end, it comes down to critical thought based on knowledge, training, and experience”. How true this is, from a back alley brawl to an Active shooter.

In this article he talking about selecting the proper handgun sights. I have posted the last half of the article because he brings up some excellent points on making critical decisions in a lethal force situation. You can read the complete article or posts here:


As a side note, I admit to being concerned about the trend of emphasizing long distance pistol shooting… I believe it is a mistake as we have been here before and it was proven to be wrong. When I went through the Sheriff’s Academy in 1976, much time was spent at 50 and 60 yards even though handgun shootings at such distances were rare and still are. From the days of the Wild West forward, the history of pistol fighting has been close quarters with incidents like Wild Bill’s 75- yard shot in Springfield, MO. being unusual. What is the old saying, ”those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it?” Why are we returning to it? The Active Shooter/Terrorism phenomenon, I am told. I constantly hear questions/statements like, “How long is the front aisle of the Wal-Mart?” or “How wide is the parking lot at the mall” but should we be launching pistol bullets at such distances? A resounding “YES!” I have been told repeatedly. “If you can shoot at 25 yards, you can easily handle 5 yards”…you know, we were told this very same thing back in the 70’s but it was not born out by reality. Do you realize/understand what such a statement does not include? The pandemonium that will accompany a five-yard gunfight! Hostile and non-hostiles moving back and forth across the battle space, screaming, yelling, incoming and out going rounds…you see, it is much, much different than just planting your feet and shooting a few rounds at distance on a piece of paper or steel while on the square range.

Now, do not take what I have just said out of context…you should know how to shoot at distance, but should it be your primary focus as I am seeing more and more? Stop and ask yourself a question…are you more likely to face a mugger in the parking lot at 5 yards or an active killer/terrorist in the Wal-Mart center aisle at 50 yards? Don’t know? Do a simple on-line search of crime statistics and see which occurs more frequently…murder, rape, robbery, assault, home invasion or the active killer/terrorist? My good friend and former CIA SAD Officer Ed Lovette did a pretty extensive study of armed citizen shootings and discovered that not only are they close, they are most likely to happen in and around the home. I know I know…training for an active killer/terrorist just feels so much cooler as compared to a simple crime, but is doing so reality or a training scar? Keep in mind, reality is what it is…not what we WANT it to be…

. Watch the videos from various terrorist attacks and active shooter events…could you make a long shot ? Again, keep in mind such a shot will not take place in a range vacuum…can you make a 50 yard shot in a pandemonium-filled event (people running and screaming, adrenaline high, respiration at maximum) such a situation would actually entail? I find it interesting the number of shooters who worry about the “liability” of modifying their carry gun, but think it is perfectly fine to launch bullets across a parking lot or down the aisles of a major storeeople in panic everywhere? I tried this recently during a class, running a Moto-Shot robot target back and forth across the line of fire as students tried to hit a full size silhouette (no attempt at shot placement) at 50 yards. No one delivered a fight -stopping hit as they split their focus between the target and the robot. Rapidly moving, panicked people will only magnify this. Remember, the reason we shoot is to incapacitate…to end the attack…so you need to hit well!

Sure, anything is possible but what is more likely for you? This process is called critical thought and you should be using it when you select a set of pistol sights or decide how to prepare to handle your personal security. As I close, please understand I am not attacking the lesson plan of any other instructor…I don’t disparage others…it is unprofessional. But I do believe in critical thought! I truly believe no one teaches something they really believe is stupid (at least I hope not!). They teach what they think is important, which is why a good student of combative pistol craft learns from a wide variety of instructors, to get varied viewpoints, opinions and backgrounds…military, law enforcement, security contractors and armed citizens. They then combine what they have learned with what they know to be realistic for their real world of work and they make an informed decision via critical thought. Pistol sights are no different…choose wisely and smartly…


Thanks for the articles and for not giving up on the forum.


My agency recently adopted a new pistol course of fire ostensibly emphasizing more close quarters ‘tactical’ style shooting over the extended range marksmanship stuff of the past. We have historically had longer average engagement distances than most city police services due to the rural nature of many areas we police.

That said, this problem is better addressed with patrol carbines than long range pistolcraft IMHO. What I’d really like to see is even stronger emphasis on continuing training, 3D moving and shooting, close range transitions from empty hand to weapons, and physically taxing “gunfighting” stuff among other things. But as always budgets available training time and safety become issues and you can never have all you would hope for.

Our program is pretty good and our instructors are for the most part excellent. Still, there is always room for improvement


I totally agree. In my experience, a handgun in a combat situation is good for 15 to 20 feet or under. I have never used a handgun when I had a carbine/ sub-gun in my hands. In combat CQB, the handgun is backup only. IMHO, all patrol officers need to be issued a carbine / rifle and training time needs to be on the level of the handgun. More accurate, better stability under stress, less likely of stray rounds killing a civilian. As you say, policing a rural areas brings its own set unique problems, including the locals primarily armed with rifles and shotguns. A handgun will leave you at a severe disavantage.

A few more “Dave Quotes” to go along with our conversation:

Handguns suck as tools of rapid incapacitation, but they’re portable. LEOs rely on them when instant deadly force is reasonable and needed. The shotgun and carbine are much better for this, but what are the chances you’ll have the bigger gun when a threat presents itself? If you know a fight is coming, you might want to take a sick day (LOL) Those who understand human conflict understand that no matter how skilled you are, there’s always a chance of losing”

"you’ll probably fight with what you have at the time the fight starts, as time is quite restrictive. Reality stinks, doesn’t it?"==so true, I once just stepped out of our “shower stall” and fired 3 mags with just a towel around my skinny waist.

“If you can’t shoot well enough to save your own life, then it’s you who will die” LOL, I love plain talk, a technique that is dying except for people in stressful situations.

“A proper combative firearms training program must include skill building in three areas: fundamentals (how to run a gun), combative aspects (how to fight with the chosen weapon), and interactive aspects (e.g., force-on- force scenarios, crisis decision making and proving the skills taught in the other levels work). Without all three, shooters will never be truly prepared for armed conflict.”

So true, especially with people who have never experienced violence, simply passing a CCW course and basics does not prepare you to make critical decisions. Knowing how to “run a gun” only, is like spending your life doing Katas and never sparring.


A little history from Dave, worth reading:

In 1984, James Huberty entered a San Ysidro, Calif. McDonald’s with several firearms and began to kill its patrons for no apparent reason. In one of the largest mass killings in history, he shot 40 people, killing 21. Experts pontificated on the possible reasons for his actions, but no one really knew. In the end, he was deemed a “crackpot” and life went on.

This incident had a profound effect on me, and I read everything that I could find about it. I began to wonder what would have happened if my wife and children had been in that restaurant. What did the responding officers feel as they stood back and watched? They must have felt so helpless as they stood by and waited for command officers to issue an order. What would have happened if this had been a school building?

Unfortunately, we now know the answer to this last question. Such incidents have occurred with enough frequency that law enforcement had to make changes in the way we respond. SWAT was thought to be the answer. We trained police officers to set up a perimeter, contain the situation and wait for SWAT to respond. The incident at Columbine changed everything. While containment was being established, children were being murdered. A public outcry immediately followed the incident.

The next evolution was the creation of the “Rapid Response System” (Quad and “T” systems) in which officers were trained by SWAT to create ad hoc entry teams to deal with shooters before more innocents died. I attended several of these courses. They were all well thought out, but as I completed the courses, one question remained, “Will these four officers from different agencies be able to come together three or four years from now and perform this action?” To be honest, I doubted it.

Today, some trainers are breaking away from impromptu teams and calling for one or two officers to enter and cautiously move toward the sound of gunfire to stop the carnage, a move that I support.

Of course, there’s much debate regarding which response is the best method, and I’m sure this debate will continue for the foreseeable future. I made my decision many years ago. Right after the incident in San Diego County, I gave much thought to what I would do if faced with a “slaughter in progress” (the term Active Shooter was yet to be coined), how I would respond to the death of women and children before my very eyes. I was a young SWAT officer at the time and while SWAT tactics were not as refined as they are today, entry tactics, room clearing, movement/shooting and communication were much the same then as they are today. Patrol rifles were not common, but every car had a shotgun, and I carried a box of slugs in my briefcase and I knew their POA/POI at 50 yards. Once I was assigned to SWAT, I had either an HK MP-5 or an AUG-P 5.56 in the trunk to work with.

In any event, I decided that when faced with an active killing I would go in, alone if necessary, but preferably with another officer to act as a rear guard. I didn’t worry about specialized training. I decided I would use building search tactics that were standard and well practiced throughout Ohio thanks to Bill Groce, a forward- thinking instructor and mentor at the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy. My plan was I would enter and tell my backup officer to watch our backs. I would move, slice the pie and clear hallways and rooms as I had been taught. The difference is I would compress the time it took to perform these actions, hopefully hastening my identification of the shooter’s location and stop his/her actions.
If shots were being fired, I would move in the direction of the sound as quickly as possible, scanning in a 360-degree arc for other threats. Having responded to an actual fire at an elementary school (not a fire drill), I realized that frightened children might try to cling to me, but all I could do is peel them off, offer a few quick words of comfort and move forward to the sound of the gun(s). If I arrived at the scene of the carnage and the shooting had stopped—say it had turned into a hostage crisis—I would back off and wait for SWAT.

My response would depend on whether or not the shooting was ongoing when I arrived.
It was a simple plan really, based on existing training and known skills. It’s what I had at the time. To this day, I have not changed my mind about my active shooter plan and if I were in a situation like this as a legally armed citizen, I would respond much the same. Some will think I’m crazy, but I long ago made up my mind that children, the future of our society, are worth dying for and that I will do whatever I can to see that they live to become adults. This is a personal decision and not one I made lightly. I’m not trying to push my decision on you. However, this situation could happen to you, as the trend of active murder seems to grow. As our media gives huge coverage to such events more and more people seeking notoriety go on killing sprees… nut jobs all! What will you do if you face an active killer and you’re all alone? Maybe you work in a rural area and you’re the only patrol officer for miles around or an armed citizen in the right pace at the right time…what will you do? Regardless of your circumstances, it’s a good idea to decide now and make a plan.

Active killer training continues across the country, and some programs are better than others. While I attended several while still a serving law enforcement officer, the best one I have attended was the Active Killer for the Armed Citizen course at the Tactical Defense Institute (www.tdiohio.com) in West Union, Ohio. I have come to believe over the years that if any program requires a lot of choreography and complex skills, it will fail in a crisis. The programs I like best are those based on simplicity and good common sense. The problem is not every officer or armed citizen across the United States will receive such training. Further, as police officers leave or retire and new ones come on board, the training must be repeated which oftentimes does not happen due to budgeting.

If you haven’t received such training, you can still prepare to face such situations. Get a reliable carbine or practice with a shotgun loaded with slugs. Practice until you know you can hit what you aim at. Practice basic building-search skills, sharpen your room-clearing ability, and work on negotiating halls, stairways. These are not complex skills.

Above all, keep your head. When the time comes, don’t let the cries and screams of those in fear divert your attention from the task at hand. You are moving towards a committed killer! Right now, someone is preparing to meet you and beat you. So train hard, and stay on guard.


Agree strongly with everything in the above. Our training is thankfully moving in the direction described.

I’ve definitely given some consideration to the point about how accessible my long guns are at any time when I’m on shift. In a weird way I almost feel safer on calls that have been identified as high risk. Everything slows down and everyone switches on. All the incident command/risk management stuff gets triggered, the carbine comes out, the hard body armour goes on, maybe half a dozen carbine operators show up and set up, emergency medical services and tactical units are on standby and in all likelihood the ‘shock and awe’ results in a peaceful or at least a safe resolution.

Conversely, on a ‘regular’ call I’m by myself down some unmarked driveway at the end of some dirt road, the carbine and shotgun are likely locked in the gun rack in the PC, the HBA is in the trunk and as a result of the size of our patrol area and the resources on the road a second member is very likely as much as 20-30 minutes away if something goes sideways. As you alluded to, pretty much everyone here has one or more long gun in the house and many of them can shoot respectably well.

Seems like it’s almost always the call that comes in sounding like nothing where shit happens while the call that lights up the radio often fizzles out into a non-event. My one of my biggest tussles to date came at a relatively minor domestic where the offending party, after a decent struggle, had already been arrested and was had been transported off scene by the other members. I had stayed behind alone to get a statement. Naturally at this point all hell broke loose. Next thing I’m huffing and puffing into the radio that I’ve got one in custody and everyone’s like WTF?!

All you can do is stay physically and mentally ready, but at the same time it’s impractical IMHO, to walk into every call like it’s an ambush. It’s a funny problem.


You are so correct, its the routine call that kills you:[quote=“batman730, post:53, topic:212669”]
All you can do is stay physically and mentally ready, but at the same time it’s impractical IMHO, to walk into every call like it’s an ambush. It’s a funny problem.

Correct, there is a fine mental line between “being ready” and paranoid. Get too “tight” and you cannot function for fear of everything and stay too loose and you die. There is no easy answer, but, FOR ME, I always “relax” better when I know that I have worked hard to keep myself physically ready to fight, along with regular weapons training. It gives me a mental security blanket and allows me to stay focused without being paranoid. Damn, that is aboutas clear as mud. Put it this way, I didnt workout, I could not do my job, both mentally and physically. I am on assignment starting tomorrow will be out for about a week, you stay safe, watch you six.


Some good, solid, basic information here, be safe:

Essentials for Combat by Dave Spaulding.

When it comes to engaging in interpersonal conflict, cops and armed citizens want to believe they know how the fight will start, finish and how their opponent will engage.

Always having a plan of attack is sound. But we all need to remember that the fight will never progress according to plan so we all need to have contingencies. Making assumptions will put you at a disadvantage before the fight ever begins!

Over the years I’ve taught many courses and in these courses, students always share their plan of attack with me. This is true regardless of whether they are law enforcement, military or armed citizens. Most will say: “If someone kicks in my front door, I’m going to get my gun while my wife calls the cops.” Or, “If I roll on an active shooter call, I’ll clear my carbine from the rack before I arrive on the scene.” These plans will work fine provided the suspect(s) performs exactly as visualized in the student’s mind. The problem: We have no idea what any criminal will do. As I’ve said many times before in this column, they don’t think like we do!

The truth: Good guys and gals don’t have the experience to “think” like the bad guys. Why? Simple…We haven’t had the same life experiences.

Sometimes I question the tactics and techniques developed during interactive Simunitions or Airsoft training because the people playing criminals are cops or legally armed citizens and they’ll behave in scenarios as such—not as a criminal would. You will do as you are trained and few have been trained to act illegally. In the examples above, what if the suspect comes through the back door instead of the front? What if the officer wrecks his cruiser while responding because his attention was directed at the carbine? It’s been said many times before…no good plan survives first contact with the enemy.

It’s certainly important to “war game” any plan, but it’s also imperative to have several plans. When plan A doesn’t work (and it probably won’t), we move to plan B, and if that fails, plan C is instituted without hesitation. Yes, it’s a tall order, but it’s essential. Attempt to consider all the possible variables in conflict and then plan for the worst possible situation. That way, when things don’t go as planned (they won’t), you’re still prepared with other options.

The Unexpected

it’s always possible something will happen that we never considered. You can think a problem through a million ways—when, where, how and why—and still not come up with all the potential situations that will occur during a fight. The harsh reality: You can’t possibly train for every potential situation you may face. This is why fundamental (I like to call them essential) skills should be practiced and mastered, because the person who will win in armed conflict is the one who can adapt to the threat and use the appropriate essential skills!

Threats will always be situationally dependent and we need to embrace this reality. Practice the critical skills—movement, communication, accurate shooting, manipulation of the weapon, using cover and concealment, etc.—so that you can run on autopilot in any type of attack. If you have to orient to the situation, you might not respond at all. Doing so also prepares us for the unexpected, which is darn near guaranteed in any fight.

You should also never make assumptions regarding how an attacker will respond to your actions. Again, they don’t think like we do, so how could you possibly think such assumptions would be correct? The only control you’ll have over the situation you’re facing is what you will do—there’s no way to know your attacker’s actions.

It would be great if suspects always responded to verbal commands or immediately became incapacitated from one round fired from our handgun, but all who are reading this should know such things are fantasy. Handguns suck as “man stoppers,” which is why cops carry carbines and shotguns in their cruisers and handguns see little use on the battlefield. The miss ratio in police shootings is also quite high, so the idea of one round fired ending a fight might be the biggest fantasy we face in our “art”.

Armed conflict is rapidly evolving, ever changing and certainly unpredictable. Even if we do have plans A, B and C, the suspect(s) might do something that makes us skip over plan B to move to plan C and then maybe return to B. Who knows! Clint Eastwood was certainly correct in the movie Heartbreak Ridge: We must be prepared to “improvise, adapt and overcome.”

Train to Win

It’s been my experience that a size-able percentage of police officers dread in-service training—in some cases, they even think it’s stupid. But it’s this training that prepares each officer for the conflicts they’re likely to face. The job of an LEO is to seek out law breakers and place themselves between the criminal and the citizens they prey upon.

With this in mind, what are the chances a cop will become involved in a serious, life-threatening conflict during their career? Will they be ready? The search for and introduction of new techniques and the skill building via repetition during in-service training equips all to respond effectively in these conflicts. If we haven’t mastered the tactics and techniques needed to fight these threats, it’s very possible we’ll be overcome, injured or even killed—and that’s unacceptable. I have spoken to many an armed citizen that would LOVE to get the in-service training many cops dread.

There are many aspects of armed conflict that are essential: dynamic but meaningful movement, communicating threats to others, deciding what to use as cover, accurate shooting as required and instant decision-making skills. If your personal practice or in-service training doesn’t include these critical components, it’ll be all but impossible to perform them under the stress and duress of armed conflict.

Keep in mind there’s no such thing as a fair fight. The difference between competition and combat is rules. If there are rules governing what transpires, we call that a sport. But in a fight, if you aren’t cheating, you aren’t trying hard enough to win! Use every skill, tactic or technique you possess to your advantage. Do the unexpected!

In his book The Principles of Personal Defense Lt. Col. Jeff Cooper outlined what was needed to prevail in armed conflict: alertness, decisiveness, aggressiveness, speed, coolness, ruthlessness and surprise, the most critical component.

Erich Hartmann, the Nazi Ace who killed 352 enemy pilots during 1,000 combat missions, laid out the importance of surprise when he said, “The man who sees the other first already has half the victory!” You can’t fight what you can’t see or don’t know about.

In reality, combat isn’t just about accurate shooting, movement, tactics or techniques. It’s about continuous problem solving under the stress and duress of someone trying to do you serious physical harm, which could result in your death. It’s about one fast, crisis-level decision after another.

Which tactic or technique should I use?

Should I move, stay, shoot, reload, take cover, retreat or engage?

Are there non-hostiles in the area?

Am I justified in shooting?

Where are others in the battle space?

Where is the suspect?

These decisions will arrive in rapid fire and the truth is you won’t move through “observe, orient, decide and act” as smoothly as water being poured from a pitcher. If you can’t see, then you might very well freeze in the orientation phase. Considering all of the information that’s pouring in and colliding with personal bias, reluctance and disbelief, it’s a wonder orientation can occur at all! But it can and does for the truly prepared.

Final Notes

Your tactics and techniques must be “trained in” so that you can run on autopilot during a conflict. Additionally, it’s a very good idea to keep your skill set(s) as simple as possible. Simple techniques might not look as cool as others, but “tacti-cool” seldom wins the fight and can certainly get you killed.

In the end, it’s not about how tight a group you can shoot on the range or if you can win the local shooting competition, it’s about whether or not you can hold yourself together during the most stressful event you’ll ever experience and take the actions needed to prevail—not just survive. A quote I’ve used many times sums it up: “Right now someone is training so that when they meet you, they beat you. Train hard and stay on guard.” Amen…



Thanks Brother. Definitely some good stuff in there. Totally agree that no matter how good your plan A is, you’ll almost certainly need to improvise. I think that’s a product of training but also the mental adaptability to quickly recognize when plan A when it doesn’t work and try something else. I’ve seen it both in force on force training and in the field when something clearly isn’t working but people (myself included at tines) get brain lock and keep trying to force an ineffective tactic or just go into a full on goofy loop. I’ve never seen it happen when it really mattered, but the possibility is a sobering thought.

Stay dangerous and be safe.


The holiday season is upon us and this presents Active Shooters with a massive amount of targets. Take the time to review this thread and start thinking about your tactical plan for protecting the ones you love.



When you have the time, take a few minutes and look over these two reports on Active Shooters. If you are serious about the defense of yourself and your loved ones, then take it a step further.

Pick out 5 to 10 active shooter cases and use visualization to put yourself on the scene

. What would you have done to live? what kind of response plan did you have? Do you see yourself armed and capable of using a weapon? What is the price of your life?




Always be ready: