Statistically it is very common to have to deal with multiple threats in a self defense situation, and in many classes this is not only acknowledged, but practiced. One common training practice involves scanning after the primary threat is dealt with and on the ground. Although great in theory, the execution of this practice, as traditionally taught, can be a recipe for failure.
Lets look at how the drill is typically executed. We draw and fire at our target. When the predetermined number of shots are completed, we point the gun at a downward angle, simulating pointing at the attacker now laying on the ground, then look left and right of the target, left and right down the shooting lane, then over our left and right shoulders, scanning for additional threats. We then look back at the attacker (still on the ground), then holster our weapon, satisfied no additional threats exist.
The problem with this starts with the fact that it is a repetitious task which also requires cognitive function, the practice of which becomes mindless habit, with tactical fallacy. The habit of looking left and right at set directions too often results in looking without seeing, especially when the practice of looking never results in anything to actually see….a mindless habit born out of function without outcome. We may point our eyes in those directions out of habit, but we are not cognitively aware of what we are seeing….we are just moving.
Now lets look at the potential weaknesses, or even dangers, that can result from these actions in particular. While we are doing this rote behavior we are first taking our eyes off the most viable threat we are facing, who may or may not be neutralized. While we are looking various other directions, what position are we in if we do happen to see a threat? Our gun is pointed forward and we are looking at a new threat in a completely different direction. How long will it take for us to adjust our direction once we spot the threat…especially if that threat understands it has been seen and takes immediate action, firing at us while we are standing still looking over our shoulder!
So what should we be doing? Lets start with movement…why are we practicing standing still when there are potential threats in the area? Move when shooting, and continue to move after the initial threat is down. Once the threat is down, move in a way that you can keep the threat in view, yet still get eyes on the areas around you to check for additional attackers. Make a half circle, even a full circle around the initial threat while turning your body to face the initial threat as well as new threats in the same field of view. Keep your firearm either pointed at the downed threat, if doing so does not in inadvertently result in pointing at innocent people, or in the SUL position, ready to be deployed at any additional threats we are facing while turning different directions where others are standing. Move, turn, look, and face directions you are looking to decrease your reaction time if a new threat is spotted…while keeping track of the initial threat in case they are still capable of action.
…and remember, the best time to identify potential threats is before the shooting starts and before you need to engage a threat. There is no subsititute for situational awareness. Chances are if there are, in fact, multiple threats, and you do not identify them before the attack, you may not have the opportunity to scan for them afterwards as they will have done one of two things…fled, or initiated their attack while you were were focused on the threat identified.
Femme Fatale ARMS & Training has a carefully prescribed and systematic curriculum that takes into account physical, psychological, and biomechanical considerations, designed to build a solid foundation followed by progressive skill sets enabling students to peform effectively. From Basic Firearms Use and Safety through to our Protective Tactics classes…we can get you where you need to be.
Femme Fatale ARMS & Training is a woman-owned business that provides education and support to an over victimized and underserved segment of our population. We have programs to build confidence and skill without the intimidating aspects that tend to exist elsewhere in this industry. Our goal is customer satisfaction and loyalty. We’d appreciate an opportunity to show you how we are different, yet still, help you to accomplish your education and safety goals.
Anyone can shoot a gun, we train you to defend yourself!
Femme Fatale Arms & Training is located at 160 Malabar Road, Palm Bay, Fl. We are open Mon-Wed 10 to 5, Thurs and Fri10 to 6, and Saturday 12 to 4