Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy


ImageHumans are visually oriented creatures. The majority of input on what’s going on around us is obtained through sight. We scan to discover and avoid potential problems, formulating a response prior to trouble. In a situation when we are forced to confront a threat, scanning is mandatory for a variety of reasons. And, just like other fighting skills, we must practice scanning otherwise under stress we will not do it.

Scanning is simply using your eyes to look around, visually checking the environment for important information. What you scan for depends on the situation. When driving you’re constantly scanning the road, using your mirrors to check sides and rear and watching other drivers. Scanning helps avoid being in a wreck. Scanning while walking through a parking lot allows you to spot potential trouble and initiate a response to avoid a confrontation. It also tells any bad guys out there you’re aware of your surroundings and won’t be an easy victim.

If forced to fight, scanning is a part of the response. After the primary threat is down or gone you begin scanning. The firearm stays pointing towards the last known threat or other area of concern. You twist the head so the eyes can scan for any additional threats; in over fifty percent of violent confrontations there are more than one threat. They won’t all be lined up in a nice row in front of you. While scanning you are ready to react to the initial threat or any other threats that appear.

You scan to locate family, friends, or partners and determine what you need to do concerning them. Are they ok or down and injured? You scan to identify cover to get between you and a downed threat or additional threats. If you’re behind cover you scan for better cover. In most situations, unless you’re an armed professional, you need to scan to discover what direction to tactically retreat to a safer area or an exit to escape through.

Scanning also breaks us out of the “tunnel vision” that occurs under stress. The instinctual response to danger is to visually laser focus in on the threat. It’s like holding a cardboard tube from a roll of paper towels up to your eye and looking through it. To break this tunnel vision we need to look somewhere else and focus on another object at a different distance than the threat. Scanning also breaks you out of the mental lock we tend to get into during stressful situations.

Scanning, like any other technique, must be practiced. You can always choose not to scan, but if you don’t make it part of your standard response you won’t have it when you need it. When scanning you don’t look to see if everything is O.K. That attitude will cause you to miss something important. Scan like you know there is something out there to find.

God gave us excellent visual capabilities. Take advantage of this gift. Our vision allows us to make it through every day life safely, and during a violent confrontation scanning is an essential element of victory.

March 7, 2013 - Posted by | Defensive Mindset, General Training

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