Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy


During classes we constantly stress the need for maintaining visual contact with your environment, scanning with your eyes to see what the people around you are doing. When you consider that over fifty percent of all violent encounters involve more than one threat, or possible threat, this becomes especially critical. Not only do we need to keep a watch on someone that you have reason to believe may be a source of trouble, but also for any partners that may be involved.

The problem is that visually and mentally we tend to get focused in on one thing, while neglecting other areas that need attention. This is a lesson that is repeatedly being re-learned as I drive the roads around our home. There are a lot of deer around where I live. It can be day or night, cold or hot, and chances are when traveling down a road you’re going to see deer at some point in your journey.

The tactical lesson in this is that they are usually with other deer. There will be one deer stepping onto or off of the pavement, and behind it, hidden from view, will be two or three more. As drivers when we see a deer we immediately become fixated on that single deer. It will be clear of our lane, bouncing into the brush, and we still follow it with our eyes. This means when deer number two or three step into our lane we don’t see it in time to react. And trust me on this one, they look all cute and nice, but they do a lot of damage.

The point is that the deer I see may not be as important as the one I don’t. I know what the one I see is doing; it’s the one I don’t see that I need to be worried about. Scanning for trouble is the same way. When I see someone who makes me suspicious I immediately need to start looking for “friends.” While someone is approaching me from the front I scan to the sides and back to get an idea if they have partners. After checking out my environment, and locating any other possible threats I can start to assess the situation and create a response plan.

The response may be moving to a safer area, maybe somewhere that offers cover. I move to “stack” my threats, positioning them into a smaller field of view so I don’t have to split my attention across a wider area. I move to where I have better access to an exit or escape route. I can only do this successfully if I’ve spotted all the players. Otherwise I may allow myself to be herded into a disadvantage.

Sometimes it’s not the deer you see that ends up doing the damage, it’s the one you don’t see that ends up being the problem. When you see a source of potential trouble, chances are there is more out there. Find it before it hurts you.


September 19, 2010 - Posted by | Defensive Mindset, General Training

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