Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

Evaluating the Threat

You enter a room, and six feet away from you are three threats. One has a knife, one is holding a pistol, and another with a carbine. Which one do you respond to first? Most people will carefully consider the weapons the threats are armed with. At a distance of six feet a knife is just as dangerous as the pistol and rifle. Each of these weapons can put the hurt on you, quickly, so they all represent an equal threat value.

Who will you respond to first? The answer is whichever threat begins to initiate action against you. The key is to remember you are fighting the person, not the weapon. Without anyone to operate it a weapon is just a hunk of metal. This doesn’t mean we don’t need to consider the weapon, but our real enemy is the person and their skills. Some people are fighters, you can arm them with a wooden pencil, throw them into a room full of bad guys, and they’ll be the one to come out the other side. There are other people that it won’t matter what type weapons they are equipped with, they won’t win the fight. The difference is in the mental and physical capabilities of the person.

One problem when evaluating a threat is that we tend to judge people by what we think their intentions are, as opposed to what their capabilities are. A smart threat, and there are plenty of them out there, will not telegraph their intentions until they have their prey where they want them. We have to constantly be alert and watching people around us for suspicious behavior that may indicate possible trouble. That way we avoid being surprised, which makes it difficult to win the fight.

Anyone can be dangerous. An eight-year old child to an eighty-year old grandmother is capable of presenting us with a problem. It could be a stranger, but our threat may be someone we know, even a friend or family member. And they don’t have to be armed or big to be dangerous; I’ve seen four adults struggle to physically control a sixty-pound child.

Also remember that having the home field advantage can be a factor. If your threat knows the terrain and you don’t they have an advantage. This means in addition to watching the people around you it’s important to pay attention to the surrounding environment, constantly scanning and identifying objects that could be used as cover or the direction that provides you with an avenue of escape.

Evaluating a threat is about much more than just determining what type weapon they are armed with. Fighting is a mental process, and if you’re not thinking then you’re always behind in the fight. As Jeff Cooper was fond of saying, the key to winning the fight it to know there’s going to be one before it ever starts.

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September 19, 2010 - Posted by | Concealed Carry, Defensive Mindset

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