The First Things You Would Do in an Active Shooter Situation

Engage or Retreat Active Shooter situation

Thankfully, statistically, it is very, very unlikely that you will be in the same place, at the same time, with an “active shooter”.

Even though we have witnessed a number of active shooter tragedies of late, we are far more likely to ‘bite the dust’ in a car accident, for example.

Unfortunately though there are crazy people in this world. We definitely have a people violence problem.

My question for today is this: What would you do if you were on the premises of an active shooter situation in progress?

I know, don’t bother to say it (I’ll say it for you)… “Stay away from crowds” “Then it won’t happen”. That may be good general advice. However lets just say it happened. It’s a good thing to ponder. What if… and what would you do?

Until it happens, most of us won’t know for sure how we would handle it. One’s best plans might go straight out the window. But maybe a discussion in the comments below might inspire some constructive dialogue on this subject.

I’ll start by throwing a few thoughts out there:

LEO’s Duty | Active Shooter

The duty of a law enforcement officer is to go TO the threat. It is not the duty of a civilian to engage the threat. If a LEO is on premises, the LEO will likely engage the shooter as quickly as reasonably possible. Though we know that’s not always the case. Human behavior under extreme stress…

Civilian Engagement?

With that said, many believe (I’m talking about those who ‘carry’) that they will engage the shooter and take him down. That sure is easy to say. Maybe you will, or maybe you will be killed. Will your carry pistol be adequate for that task (for example)?

Barrier Between You and the Active Shooter

Especially if engaging with the threat, first thing is COVER!, coupled with, “Where’s the threat located?” Position yourself with barrier between you and the shooter! Logical, right?

Evaluate, Take the shot?

If you’ve decided to engage, and have placed yourself in a relative position of cover (assuming there was any), it’s time to evaluate. Quickly.

Is the target clear? What’s behind the target? Civilians? Is the active shooter wearing body armor? Are you a good enough shot to overcome the body armor issue?

You do know that once you commence, that you will become an immediate target, right? How overpowered are you in relation to the active shooter’s weapon?

Retreat | Get Outta Dodge…

Another way of saying it, “get the heck outta there”…

Are you by yourself or with your spouse and/or family? Will it be your instinct to protect and get them (and you) away from the active shooter?

Don’t Panic – Everyone Else Is

Obviously, there will be complete panic as people run every which way trying to get out or away. Your heart will be pounding and adrenaline will be dumping.

Know where the Exits are located

Identify Direction of Active Shooter (Sound – Gunfire)

Seek Barriers For Cover on the Way Out

Caution (If you Carry)

Whether you are engaging with the active shooter or retreating, be aware of the following:

If you have a firearm in your hand, law enforcement may presume that you are a threat too! Don’t get yourself shot by friendly fire. Trying to be a ‘hero’ may get you killed.



Continue reading: Survival Gun | Q&A


  1. Even as an off duty LEO, I would be concerned about a blue on blue shooting in an active killer situation. Possible suggestion is to call 911 and describe your clothing and advise you are armed…I would let 911 know an off duty officer was on scene and armed… but things would be very, very confused…..

    1. with all the radio traffic with every officer enroute, you know that info isn’t getting passed on to the officers on the way to the scene…if i was close to the guy and could get a shot, i think i would take it…if i’m somewhere else in the store i would get as many people out as i could then, maybe, go hunting…

      1. Hence, Joe that’s why he would be concerned about a blue on blue incident. Total chaos will reign.

  2. Retreat and get my wife and myself out of the area and into safety. That is my number one concern. My adrenaline would be flowing for sure.

    It seems to me that trying to be the hero in an instance like this would be opening up a can of ugly worms. The worms could be getting shot by LEO’s , shooting someone innocent, getting shot by the “nut” , or end up getting sued by someone involved in the fracas.

    It is just not worth it to me .

  3. I would get my family and myself out of the nearest exit if we could. If no exit can be reached hide the best I could. Using my firearm is a last resort in this situation. As others have stated. The first responders are looking for an armed person. The last thing I want is to get shot by a LEO.

  4. I have no idea. I have imagined myself in various situations, but the fact is that I have neither the training nor the desire to put myself in danger. With that said, I show tendencies in the direction of “berserker” so if people (especially children) were threatened I might end up engaging.

  5. Most folks here are well versed in situational awareness. Any advanced warning is invaluable.

    A word for those who think open carry is “exercising your constitutional right……DON’T……..there is a time and place for everything. A man carrying an AR into a local gun store won’t raise an eyebrow. Walk across a shopping center parking lot, in today’s climate, with one may get your ticket punched.

    Keep your darn “concealed” pistol concealed. Having that obvious bulge on your side, covered by a thin shirt tail makes you a target, not only for a nut job killer, but for the passing snowflake that thinks all guns (and those who own them) are evil.

    Those who like to dress up in their camo and tacti-cool vests to go to town, keep in mind that, more and more, this is a preferred attire for mass shooters. Consider the WalMart incident yesterday(?) where a young man, wearing an assault vest, with an AR slung across his chest, walked into the store. A panic ensued, someone pulled a fire alarm, he exits the building through an emergency exit where he was confronted by an off-duty, concealed carrying fire fighter and held for police. Good possibility he was just a knot headed kid pulling a stunt. We do know that he never fired his gun. I would not be surprised if he uses the excuse of “just exercising my 2nd amendment rights”. STUPID.

    Before you answer whether you would engage a mass murderer in the act, ask yourself how well prepared, skill wise (and equipment wise) to do so. If you think that possession of a concealed carry license alone qualifies you for the task……..well, your wrong. That only proves you passed a written test and put a few rounds on target, at short ranges, without hitting the instructor. Could you succeed? Yep, as they say, a blind hog occasionally finds an acorn. If you practice regularly with your handgun, engaging small targets under pressure at combat ranges, and rarely if ever miss, you have part of the equation handled. How about tactics?

    Much more to consider, but gotta go. Maybe later.

    1. Dennis, I have been following that story, That is exactly what he said he was doing….??? he may be that stupid./naive? He spoke with his sister and his wife, both advised against it…. I think he will end up doing BIG time, He could not convince me , with his attire he put on in parking lot?…

      1. Just Sayin’,

        So far, he is facing “Making Terrorist Threats” (Missouri Law 574.115) a Class D Felony. I read the law in question, and it leads me to believe intent may have to be proven.

        From reading later reports, it seems he entered the store, got a basket as if just shopping. People went ballistic, fleeing the store, he calmly exited the store also. He was confronted, outside, by an off-duty fireman with a concealed weapon and CCL permit. He complied with all commands when confronted, waited or was held (in any case, didn’t resist) till police arrived.

        Possibly he was just pulling a childish prank. In his mind, he was probably reasoning that there are no laws against carrying a long gun in public (don’t know Missouri’s laws, but true in many states). Wal Mart doesn’t post carry restrictions (that may change soon due to idiots like this). He never pointed the weapon at anyone. Reported he had 100 rounds on his person, but no reports the weapon itself was loaded and ready.

        Like I said in a previous post, he may well be just an “in your face” open carry advocate, and epitomizes how I believe those folks do a disservice to 2nd Amendment advocates.

        It will be interesting to follow up on this case later, after all the anger dies down. Let me make it perfectly clear, I am not, in any manner, condoning or trying to justify what he did. Just pointing out what his mindset and motivation might have been. He needs to thank that firefighter/concealed carry person for not cashing his ticket on the spot. In today’s climate, I don’t think anyone would have second guessed him if he had.

        1. Dennis,
          i heard today they are lettin’ him out on reports that quoted his sister and wife..guy was really lucky, no one was trigger happy.
          Heat index recorded at 113 in county seat today.. actual temp was 96 in our coop, one station in region had heat index posting 14 degrees above actual temps… would put our heat index a@110. dewpoints in 80’s (monday).
          Tomoro ,/ well today, tue now,…more of the same. Bunny’s getting lots of ice chunks in water and Ice bottles to lie against…

  6. Assessment of the situation is key when there is any type of ’emergency’ situation that involves you. Ken broke it down into two basic decisions: engage or retreat.

    There are so many variables that it is nearly impossible to think an active shooter situation through without having the basics (who, when, where — for example). Better definition of a ‘what if’ scenario would enable us to possibly plot a strategy.

    There is one near-guarantee in an active shooter situation, though — there’s a high probability is that an active shooter is armed with at least one semi-automatic rifle. So with that in mind, if you are carrying, are you mentally and physically prepared, and skilled, to use your side arm against a psycho with at least one semi-automatic rifle?

    Today’s active shooter scenes ain’t the O.K. Corral.

  7. The general public should grab their family and get out, only confront the threat if you need to. If your too close to retreat, then fight and retreat when possible. Things will never be this clear cut though. Just trying to determine the direction of the threat will likely be difficult.

    Friendly fire is a concern if your going to go engage the threat. Best to be clearly marked and known to be a good guy. How do you do that? Well you can’t, unless you with the authorities. That is why it is the best to retreat with your loved ones and let the LEOs deal with the situation.

  8. I Would evac family immediately and seek cover from point to point. My ccw is as last resort when all options fail. Even then I would be laying down cover fire as we retreat.

    That type of mass shooter scenario is a scary one. You are surrounded by hordes of zombie sheeple moving about in full panic mode. That is why avoid large crowds and hit the wally world during off hours when there are limited numbers of people.

    I hate lines anyhow. It has always been instinctive for me to avoid crowds I hate them. Non peak hour to fuel up, go shopping are priority for me.

    1. Unless you have no choice in the matter, let trained personnel handle the situation, while, hopefully coordinating with the store security as to the location of the offender.
      It’s difficult to tell where shots are coming from when sound is echoing.
      Is there a second, or more perps, that you are unaware of?
      If you have your weapon drawn, you could possibly be mistaken for the bad guy, and taken out by another cc hero.
      Professionals train to work together in a coordinated effort. A bunch of random John Waynes and Clint Eastwoods are more likely to put innocent people, or each other on a slab.
      For the average Joe citizen, unless you’re on the ” X” with the perp, and it’s you or him, then it’s probably best to get off the ” X “, seeking cover and concealment on the way to the nearest exit.
      Like someone said, plans are great, until the first shot is fired.
      But everything is determined by the situation.

      1. One caveat to the above would be if your state law says that you must retreat.
        In that case you might want to contact an attn’y. in your state that deals with 2A law in order to find out the particulars.

  9. My first move is to duck and cover and get my family out of there. I agree that the leos should be the ones to engage the shooter. But if it was an ongoing situation and leos have not arrived yet I would like to think that I would try to stop the shooter. I am a veteran but never saw combat. I have been held hostage at gun point and was able to keep a level head and escape. I hope I would have the courage to stop some maniac from killing more and more people.

  10. If anyone is interested YouTube Bear Independent has an active shooter response kit in the developmental stages. Great vid.

  11. I only know from my experience as a paramedic. I’ve worked with guys/gals who could quote step by step what to do. What dosages to give, how often, intubations, pediatric dosages, whatever. They knew all the proper treatments for various trauma and or medical emergencies, etc. Then ya pull up on the scene and they can’t remember their name. When the blood, guts and body parts are all around ya, and the people are screaming for someone to do SOMETHING, then you’ll know. I’ve never been one to panic. I’ve seen plenty of it, though.

    What would I do? I’m 98% sure, I’d do the right thing. Hopefully, I’ll never have to know what I did.

    1. We have seen that person – great at the book smarts but nothing behind it to put it into practice. What do you call the person who is last in the paramedic class? Paramedic!

      I have been the one not to panic, but I have also been the one to the scene after the event has happened. I do not think any of us can really know what we will do when we are in the scenario unless we have gone through it. I would like to think that I would not panic. However, I do know that when watching scary events (risk-taking behavior by anyone), or possible vehicle crashes, I tend to look away.

      It is best to pre-plan and try to come up with different scenarios and how you could react…and then practice.

  12. Get out if possible
    Take cover if you can’t
    Fight back if no other option
    And hopefully take a bullet so it doesn’t hit wife or kids if it comes to that

  13. Yes. Have often thought of this. Hope I never need to find out what is actually effective.
    –Exit if possible
    –Put something of large dense mass between you and shooter
    –Sadly it may mean lying still under bodies
    –If shooter asks if you’re dead, do not twitch/do not respond —(recently read of a shooter situation where shooter did ask, shot the ones who replied/did not waste bullets on ones who did not)
    –do not pick up your phone and start reporting on same

  14. That’s a tuff one, not knowing the variables of the circumstance.
    Cover, concealment and exit, if possible.
    If confronted and my or her life is in danger, cover, concealment, and draw. At that point it’s them or us.
    Totally back up Dennis’s statement on CC. Do not stand out!

    Read an article today from Washington state:
    61 yr old female at home.
    Stabbed in head several times with pruning lopers. Tied to a chair. Shot point blank in the back, with a found rifle in the home.
    Husband found her. Suspect captured, with a sick and twisted explanation of what he done…..
    Good Lord

    Protect yourselves, people

  15. I would get the hell out of dodge, as quickly and quietly as possible. If I can’t, seek cover, if that isn’t possible, at the very least concealment. I would not engage unless I absolutely had no other choice.

  16. Situation dependent. Location in relation to shooter at initiation. Who is with me. I’ve outgrown through experience freeze. So cover if available with good obseration. Gt_od if possible assist others to evacuate fight if cornered. Engage if required. Render aid. RLTW DOL.

  17. I think the first thing i would do is see if i packed my clean shorts!
    Then not sure,
    You just dont know how you will react till you are smack dab in the middle of the mess!
    Maybe some folks are made o steel and could take em on, but ya got to be a special kinda people to do that, i dont envy any o you LEO guys n gals, you have to deal with the absolute worst of society.
    I can chose to just stay away, but yall just wade right into that stuff…
    Hats off

  18. Add avoid if possible. Stay out of crowds. Wal-Mart is on the x right now
    Along with any other public area.

  19. If shooting breaks out in a WalMart? Try to not break into a laughing fit watching the 400 pounders in spandex shuck their electric scooters and outrun everyone to the exits.

    Sorry, sometimes I can’t help myself……….

  20. Dennis
    Ok so I’m going to try to control myself,
    But the only thing I can come up with your post is….
    …..if you’re a 400 # , electric scooter user, in Spandex

    We can’t use you as a ‘crisis actor’.


  21. Been through all that training. Active shooter at the Walmart? I’d most likely be way in the back in the dog treats aisle. Duck and cover. Door near there to storage area and rear door next to river.

    Have folks heard the latest about that dunderhead that managed to evacuate a Walmart and nearly get himself killed so he could “exercise his 2A rights?” If true, someone needs to take him to the woodshed until he understands the need to be a gray man. As it is, if he manages not to be prosecuted as a domestic terrorist, he’s certainly going to be sued into oblivion.

    1. Anony Mee I BET he was a Democratic Operative (AKA Crisis Actor) trying to add more fuel to the 2nd Amendment attacks. I’d be even more interested to find out IF the Handy Off Duty Fireman with a Concealed Carry pistol was also a Democratic Operative as so NOT to get their people shot during the operation.

      The Rules for Radicals often mention using fake “Enemy” Operatives to continue forcing the issues they want in public eye. Domestic version of false flag. Ongoing “Make it Stop” campaign I fear.

      Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap….

      1. me2 interesting theory. Hopefully not true but wouldn’t be surprised if it were

  22. Chances are, if I’m out in public, then my two young children are also with me. My first priority will be to run and get out of danger quickly. I try to be aware of exits and keep the stroller or shopping cart positioned so it’s not blocked and I can take off quickly.

    My least favorite place to be is in the checkout lane; I’m near the entrance, the cart is in a cattle chute essentially, and I’m at the other side of the cart handle bars.

  23. Ok so after my comment to Dennis, I was thinking….
    It wasn’t but a couple days after the Las Vegas shooting, we had a list of casualties with names. It’s been almost a week since El Paso and Dayton. The only said casualties were that of the Dayton shooter’s sister.
    What gives?

  24. Las Vegas shooting
    Oct 1st 2017
    New York Times posted casualties/victims of what they knew
    Oct 2nd 2017

  25. As much as I would like to say I’d engage the shooter I have to say I agree with what pretty much everyone else has stated, plan A should be to get out if you safely can. If running isn’t an option I think Ken made some very good points about what to consider if confrontation is your only option. Seek cover and prepared to be made a very specific target once you discharge your firearm. Just another reason to train, train, train with your CC on a regular basis. Seconds would count in a situation like this and could make the difference between making it home to your family or not. I like to consider myself a pretty good shot with my concealed from a variety of distances but wouldn’t even pretend to think I’d be able to stay calm and collected during one of these events…hopefully none of us will ever be put to the test.

  26. I rarely if ever go to a large gathering of idiots like Wal Mart and NEVER will go with young children. AND if its a “Gun Free Zone”…read “Shooting Fish in a Barrel Zone” then I will avoid them.
    Situational AWARENESS is key and if I notice something afoul, I remove myself from that situation immediately. At my age, the only time I’d engage a person intent on doing deadly harm if my wife and I are in imminent danger.
    I’ve shot and trained extensively and have above average skills BUT I HAVE NEVER BEEN IN A FIREFIGHT and I pray that my training kicks in and I destroy those intent on doing me harm.

    1. Most people that go to WalMart are good people, not “idiots”.

      Divided, We Fall.

      1. Yeah I wondered why they think Wal-Mart shoppers are idiots. They are just shopping and buying groceries. In some places that’s all there is. I could go to a smaller store and clothes shop for my granddaughter at higher prices but should I? I ain’t letting some snot nose tick turd thug run me out of my life and living. I’ll kill him and all the rest if needed so that normal folks can live normal lives. These crazies ain’t gonna win without a fight.
        Same crowd is at the Gunstore, gas station, military surplus, church, and job site. Are they idiots there too?
        I reckon I’m an idiot too cause I was there yesterday. It’s not a gun free zone.
        I don’t subscribe to the theory of stay in a cave and never come out survival. I don’t go to events like the ball drop at New Years. Common sense goes a long ways.
        I guess though like Clint says in the movie “a mans gotta know his limitations”.

        1. Matt,

          Again, my apologies of you were offended from my comments.

          But to answer your questions, YES, there are many idiots at Gun Stores, Gas Stations, Military Surplus, Church and on the job sites.

          I agree that you cannot just “stay in a cave” but my stance is that I will not buy Cheap Chicom Crap from Wal Mart or any other big box store.

        2. Walmart is good for groceries, cleaning products, auto products, kids’ clothing for very quickly growing children or grandchildren. There is Walmart home delivery (even to a PO Box), order online then pick up your groceries (quickly enter and leave the store). There is also the option of a shopping list and sprinting to get the stuff, pay and leave asap. Window shopping may go out the window in view of all the shootings. Hanging out at the mall (a teen rite of passage) may also become unpopular. Malls may need to have bulletproof lockers in hallways that people can escape to and lock from the inside. Sort of like a panic room. Maybe online shopping will become even more popular.

      2. idiots can be good people too. And good people can be idiots at times. I know I can.

      3. My apologies for making a generalization. I’m deeply sorry that it offended you.

        One can certainly argue that the pursuit of “CCC”…Cheap Chicom Crap…has in part led to a lot of economic problems that the USA has. I will do my best not to patronize the CCC that Wal Mart and other anti-American institutions peddle on us. I will gladly pay more for US Made Products or do without.

  27. I’m bout to get unpopular, well even more than normal, on here.
    Ken can you show me where the “duty” is? It only exists in policy not law that I’m aware of.

    Blue on Blue is very real. Even for myself as a LEO. I’m not a cop so they don’t know me. I have very little interaction with other LEOs except in certain situations. So as I stated before if you do act be willing to give it all because you might get killed “So Others May Live”. My first duty is to my family but then I gotta go back. I’ve discussed this with them for years. We all gotta make our choices. You choose to lay there you’ll hear them kids screams the rest of your life. Ask the Broward County Deputy who “held the perimeter” as trained to. Y’all had pretty hard words for him on here.

    No one shot the firefighter at the other Wal-Mart where he held the nutjob. No one shot the 2 regular guys at lake Hefner right here in my home that were actively engaging the bad guy. Where was this where officers killed a person actively engaging a active shooter? I live with survivors guilt already, not because of inaction but because I made it, and you won’t enjoy it. I can’t live with anymore. We all gotta make our choices though.

    I know there is only a few that actually train, attend training or have been to training on here so my question is to you select few.
    What y’all training for anyway? Did you advance? Did you move to cover or run away? Did you stand ground? What did they teach you? Ever discuss handgun WMLs advantages and maybe only having one hand cause you had a kid in tow?
    For the rest:
    When you go shoot do you put your back in a corner? Do you practice from under a chair? You shooting over your shoulder as you run off the range?

    Action of Violence

    1. – Matt in Oklahoma,
      “I know there is only a few that actually train, attend training or have been to training on here so my question is to you select few.”

      I fit in that last group, so: Go to Ground, right where you stand. Move to cover, along with any protectee. Observe, locate, and if possible, evacuate away from the shooter/shooters. If you cannot, and just remaining hidden is an unlikely winning scenario, then engage as quickly and with as much surprise as you can manage. “Speed and Power”

      Be prepared to Die, right then, right there.

      My training was as a classified courier, but we moved in addition to mostly paper, money, weapons, special weapons and people.

      Most of the time, I carried a full-sized 1911A1 with a seven-round mag, tankers’ rig shoulder holster, (worn concealed mode) and two more magazines in reserve.

      – Papa S.

      1. – Not being a LEO, nobody knew who we were, and they weren’t normally supposed to know. Plan on being a surprise to everyone.

        – Papa

    2. Yes, we train. We look at tactical scenarios. We work one handed with baby in tow, we work off handed because wounded, we shoot from platforms other than standing, we use cover and concealment, we acknowledge rule 4 violations (KNOW where your bullet will go)……but the deal is this….AVOID these scenarios whenever possible! That is the best advice.
      Training makes clear that the stress of the scenario severely reduces your abilities. Training makes clear that the BEST training is BRAIN training, not finger/trigger coordination.
      FrontSight advanced classes teach some terrific stuff….however the BEST lesson learned is that even the best training can NOT teach you to THINK. It does help to train. It teaches you your own physical limitations, and often your mental awareness limitations….so very much to consider. If at home, in a home invasion….stay put. If in public….GET OUT!

      1. Like PIO, I agree that Front Sight trains for various situations and the best situation is to NOT be in one. However, as a first responder, I took my duty seriously too — and from what you say, it seems both of us believe our “duty” is self imposed. Certainly here out in the west, the LEO does not have much of a duty to come save people because whether they come or not, the sheeple will sue LEOs. One of our friends who is LEO thinks that the time is coming that they will only respond once the danger is done – due to the liability of trying to change the outcome.

        I do not know if I could run and leave innocent people to die. That is where training comes in. We have heard it before – there are three types of people in this world – the wolves, the sheep, and the sheep herders. The sheep will run from the wolves, and those of us who are the herders will probably try to stay and fight.

        Thank you for all your insight. No one on this site agrees with everything, but I believe most of us learn a lot from each other.

    3. Matt,
      I dont think you are unpopular on this section of the site, i know a lot of the folks like reading what you have to say, different perspective eh,,,
      Everything is subjective but needs to be read from an objective POV

    4. Matt in Oklahoma
      I’ll second what Kulafarmer said I’ve gotten a lot out of your posts and implemented some
      My old boss used to say opinions are like a$$ holes everyone has one and some stink. But we’re all adults and if something is said it might give someone a different angle to look at something

    5. No, not unpopular. Different opinions, is all. I simply don’t have enough training to deal with a situation like this–if I did, that might be different. I think that’s part of why people react so badly to trained individuals (police, security, etc) who do nothing.

      CCW is a little different, as all you have to do really is convince the instructor that you know how to safely handle a firearm. Doesn’t mean you feel prepared to handle an active shooter situation.

  28. I don’t carry in public so my only option would be escape. I do have a question for those who have trained for this be they LEOs or civilians.

    I have carried, M16 in Vietnam, and have been in combat. My job was to save them, not kill them, But we were certainly taught how to engage. A few things have stuck over the years. Suppressive fire puts their heads down and when it slows down heads start popping up. Aimed fire puts them down permanently. I’ve engaged in suppressive fire and thankfully don’t really know that I hit anyone.

    One thing that I recall was one of my instructors pointing out that the best place to shoot an enemy combatant is in the back. Less chance he will engage and shoot you before he goes down. Contrary to popular belief, many people who are mortally wounded will still have time to shoot back before succumbing to their wounds.

    So hypothetical, active shooter is slaughtering a group in front of him. Would you call out and tell him to drop the weapon or just shoot him in the back?

    1. Me
      I’d just kill him. Leave that other stuff to the cowboy movies. If you can justify it and it’s within the law not having a duty to retreat like some states then who is gonna prosecute you for saving innocent people.
      Another reason I have insurance.

      1. – Matt, me and others,
        I would have to agree. It would depend on the situation and circumstances, but with bodies on the ground and a clear shot offered, I would put him on the ground if I could. Dead bodies can’t offer much argument, especially when it’s the shooter. I know our local DA, and I would like to think he has good sense.

        – Papa

      2. Matt concur no such thing as a fair fight winner is the one who walks away

  29. Thankfully I am at an age when I do not go to clubs, restaurants and movies. I watch movies at home and prefer to cook or to have food delivered/takeout. However if I had teens/20 something children I would try to have them at least not go to movies due to the darkness and the difficulty to adjust eyes in a critical situation. I would have a basement movie theater set up and encourage them to have good friends over to watch the movies – I would provide the healthy snacks. As for shopping, I do a ton on amazon and other websites for delivery. My days of window shopping are over. Shopping trips are done quickly and I try to avoid the crowded hours. I buy in bulk wherever possible for delivery. I would encourage the family to have meal services delivered such as skip the dishes etc. as it would be more relaxing at home. I believe that with the world situation, public spheres will decrease from brick and mortar stores, to religious services, to clubs and restaurants, etc. The faithful can meet in known people’s homes with a roster in place, known only to the members. This way nobody needs to go to a public religious institution where any criminal can walk in. I recall the days of back to school shopping in the 1970s and we kids never worried about shooters in malls. Sad. I believe in gated communities not for the snob appeal but for the safety appeal to keep out strangers and unknowns.

  30. I am older and not as agile as 20 years ago BUT I always wear running shoes outside. I cannot believe the number of women, including young women, who go shopping in high heels. After 5 minutes of walking she is saying ‘my feet are killing me’. Put the high heels in a mall shooting situation and she will be as feeble as an 80 year old. Ladies and girls, wear running or proper walking shoes to the mall – forget the heels, the flip flops, etc. Your life may depend on it. This is not the innocence of the 1970s anymore.

  31. If I have a solid shot, I’ll take it, otherwise I become a second shooter on the scene. You can slow them down, provide cover fire while others have a chance to get out. It all depends on the situation at hand.

  32. I have never been in a mass shooting.

    In the past, I have been in shootings during car stops, suspects blowing through my roadblock and a good ole’ Southern California drive-by shooting. My career in Law Enforcement was well short of 20 years so I gotta find something else to do as a day job.

    My current job, I am still there to confront the violent patients within a locked setting. I have traded my badge and gun for keys to the narcotics cabinet and the syringes to dart people in the backside after strapping them to a mattress. ( similar to vaccinating cows when the squeeze chute is broken.)

    My point is, I am not afraid to face violence. I do it every day and I am not a raging alcoholic, I sleep well at night ( often covered in cats next to my wife.). I do the job on taxpayer dollars that other people are afraid to do and I get paid well.

    Dennis stated in another post: “in that split second, we decide whether we are going to be a savior or survivor”. I am bitter and cynical enough that I would like to be a survivor. My prior history and current job indicates I would probably be going into the fray to evacuate the sheeple and treat on scene.

    Matt in Oklahoma stated a challenge: To those with the training and skillset…

    My response these days: I am an old, bald, fat guy that can no longer run a 5 minute mile, do 100 push ups, 30 pull ups or climb rock faces like I used to do when I was a young man in uniform running toward the sounds of gunfire with a rifle in my hand and a badge on my chest.
    I also do not have a lot of pseudo-warrior crap plastered all over the back window of my truck either. It is time to step aside and let the youngsters do the heavy lifting, maneuver into firing positioning order to take the suspects out.

    That’s right Matt. I said suspects plural. Right now, the lone wolves are in the headlines. Back in the 1980’s robberies were being done in Southern California on a large, coordinated scale by gangs or crews organized along racial lines. There have been several cases where an off duty cop was killed trying to report a 2-11 on a nearby store only to be taken out by the crew in a store the cop ran into.

    Lastly Matt, lets not forget the aftermath of families and gangs that do not like you enough to post a bounty on your head because you are the: “pig that took out my brother/son/homie”. I find it odd that the largest shrines to the deceased were built for the ones that actually fired shots or drove their car at me shortly before I put them down permanently and hard. Each time I relocated, it cost me my job and about $10,000 to get re-established in a new location/state/province.

    These days, mass shooter. I do not panic. I scan using all of my 5 senses. I quietly move to position of cover and continue scanning and try to ID location of threat and locations of safe avenue of egress. Surviving a shooting is frequently about luck and God’s grace as well as tactical training. So far, God has kept me on this earth for some purpose.

    But remember the Samurai mindset if you choose to engage in conflict: “Today is as good a day as any to die” One day my time will come. I have NOT seen that on any stupid bumper sticker lately.

    Before I leave, look up on the internet the stories of: Jim Cirillo of NYPD robbery take-down squad, Bill Jordan of US Border Patrol and USMC during WW 2, and lastly: Lance Thomas – West Los Angeles Rolex dealer and watch repairman. This people have also had experience in confronting violent people while trying to make a living.

    1. Calirefugee,

      Great post. Good read on Lance Thomas on The High Road (key words “the high road meet Lance Thomas).

      Couple of observations on Thomas. He recognized the situation quickly in every incident. After surviving first shootout, he increased his firepower not only in the power of the hand gun, but also the number of guns available with easy accessibility. Early on, he relied on only revolvers. When he opted for higher capacity semi-autos, he still made sure he had multiple weapons, quickly accessible, rather than depending on reloading mid-fight or clearing a malfunction (which he experienced in one shootout, dropped that pistol, grabbed another). Another observation, and one I stress to others. He made sure the multiple weapons he kept in his shop, all operated identically, i.e., either all double action revolvers, or later, all Sig double action/single action semi-autos. In a gun fight, if you must change weapons in the middle of the fight, you don’t have the luxury of wasting those fractions of a second to transition your thinking from double action with no manual safety to single action with a safety to be disengaged.

    2. Calirefugee those are good points. Everyone has to make their choice.

      The afterwards threats and being hunted by the criminal, family and gang are something I deal with also.
      Anyone who does their job in this profession does.
      It’s the reason I don’t live where I work.

  33. Thanks for the kind words Dennis.

    I read this post and followed responses for several days prior to posting. Like I said, this site is good because of the minimal numbers of mall ninjas or Xbox gunfighters posting screeds on the latest sad trend of shooting innocents at public locations.

    The scariest thing for me was not the fact that I lost my job after my last shooting. It was the jobs I was being offered after my last of a string of shootings. I was raised a nice boy who went to church on Sundays in a quiet suburb. ( My parents tried to turn me on to Golf at a young age- failed experiment.)

    To find myself sitting in the back of a store with a pump shotgun staring at people waiting to take down 2-11 suspects like I am in a deer blind was…disconcerting. It made me question my relationship with God and mainstream society. Time to find a new career and settle down with a nice girl in a small house with a lot of cats.

    I have worked with one person on this site on choosing and fitting of a shotgun. for your personal use. We shot at clay that day. I have also taught combat shotgun to young LEO’s and government employees going to Polar Bear Country for the USGS. A friend told me there are still video tapes of me going through the combat shotgun course at the last academy I attended. ( evidently, my course record stood for over 5 years.)

    I still like to shoot clay. I never picked up golf. Now days, I leave the big game alone and feed songbirds in my backyard. When I get bored shooting 25 of 25 at trap I’ll switch to a 20 gauge or shoot left handed. Shooting skeet and sporting clays will also humble me real good.

    Walmart? They used to have good prices on shotshells. I do not go there much these days and I am still under 400 lbs.

  34. Also read “How to survive the Most Critical 5 Seconds of your Life” by Tim Larkin and Chris Ranck-Buhr.
    Tim is world-renowned master close-combat trainer.

  35. I’ve often wondered about the general advice given for responding to an active shooter (essentially escape, hide, fight as last resort). One can reasonably assume unless you’re lucky and an off duty LEO or willing CCP is present that the shooter will execute their plan and it may be some time before responders arrive. Therefore folks will be getting shot. Perhaps quite a few. What if the advice was to swarm? True, some might get shot in the process, but no shooter will stay up long when gang tackled by 5, 10, or 20 people. If this really was the response, couldn’t that serve to dissuade some of these attacks? If one knew as soon you start shooting in a public place, any public place, your going to be swarmed in seconds, and you might get off a few lucky shots and kill one or two, but you aren’t going to get your big body count, wouldn’t that change the attacker’s calculus? Wouldn’t this change otherwise soft targets from defenseless to, well not hardened targets, but to at least a target that offers the the threat of offense? Isn’t the totally defenseless nature (perceived or real) of these targets part of the problem? Just curious what folks think.

    1. Alb J
      Bum rush em when they are changing mags, everybody start throwing shit at em

    2. A J,

      Seems I recall at least one school shooting where a teacher(/coach?) took a round to tackle the shooter. I agree that tactic would work, but as a planned or suggested response? Don’t think so.

      You might find one, possibly two, unarmed people willing to rush an active shooter, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Makes more sense to me to encourage people to be adequately armed, ready to protect themselves, rather than the silliness of criminalizing good, moral, non-violent people who could and would be armed if not prohibited by useless gun laws.

  36. If your in a fist fight expect to be hit, If your in a knife fight expect to be stabbed, if your in a gun fight expect to be shot. You having a weapon does not matter because you are still in the fight that has been brought to you.
    Lots of places like offices and schools teach this bum rush and throw stuff now under the “fight” category. This unwillingness to accept your situation and be properly equipped and trained will most likely result in death and injuries but someone somewhere will sleep better telling themselves that “they can now do something”.
    I’ll say it again if you get involved you better be willing to go all the way. It’s “so others may live” but not necessarily yourself. That is contrary to what most preppers and survivalist try and think about. Most focus solely on self preservation.
    Some stated that I have challenged them. Perhaps I did and perhaps I challenged your training. Some are training for the wrong course of action. If your not going to get into the fight then your probably not needing the school taught by the Seal Delta Ranger SF in a 3 day carbine 2000 round course. If your not willing to arm up and go forth or work in a prohibitive environment then you might be better of taking of these run, hide, fight courses where they teach you to throw the trash can and scream and tackle.

  37. My Company will not let us carry. Open or concealed. I have a pocket knife EDC. Here I will run, their rules. Unless I can get the upper hand on the shooter. In which case I will probably get fired for confronting the shooter. Even though it saves lives.
    If I’m at a public place and my family is there, that is a whole different animal. I can honestly say that I ALWAYS carry my med kit in a back pack. I was an EMT and unless its fatal, can treat gun shot wounds. If it is fatal and it isn’t me that is the fatality, they better be wearing stab proof amour.

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