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Everyday Tactical: Situational Awareness

As mentioned in my other articles, the dynamics of a deadly force encounter happen at a blazingly fast pace. We are thrusted into a reactionary role. Thus, our decisions and actions are made and executed mostly instinctively from muscle memory, rather than through calculated decisions based on the clarity of hindsight. The tips I present are intended to help the responsible gun carrying citizen be best prepared to survive a deadly force encounter.

One thing that you must do is maintain awareness of your environment. This is commonly referred to as situational awareness. It is a simple concept about being in tune with your environment.

  • Be aware of people around you, where are they in relationship to you. Are they in your personal space and placing you at a disadvantage if they are set on harming you?
  • Continue to scan your surroundings, especially if in an unfamiliar place. Criminals are predators and most often are looking for the easiest target. Criminals do not like to be seen at by their victim because the victim will know what they look like, and because it will be more difficult to take the victim by surprise. So, keep your looks to your cell phone as glances and not long zombie-like stares.
  • Observe your surroundings noting exits or areas of cover in case you are thrust into a deadly force situation.
  • Identify situations or areas that place you at a significant disadvantage. Dark parking garages or high crime areas should be avoided.
  • Identify when you might be at a higher risk of being a target and remain especially vigilant. For example, when at an ATM, no matter what the time of day, observe the area prior to approaching the ATM, for people loitering or waiting in a car. If cannot clearly observe a large area around the ATM, go to a different one.

These are just a few things you can do to increase your situational awareness and hopefully discourage a criminal from identifying you as a target. When all you have done to stay out of trouble fails and you are forced into a deadly force encounter, rely on your training and your will to survive.

being aware of your surroundings

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