Living in a world where extreme physical violence can erupt at a moment’s notice, it’s important to be armed with more than only one weapon!
The most effective way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun - a good guy who has the skills to stop the threat (AKA - you). However, to rely solely on a carry pistol as your only response tool puts you at a tactical disadvantage.
In addition to a lightweight, compact, easily-accessible handgun, you're also armed with a weapon that requires no bullets, batteries or carry permit. Your most powerful weapon for avoiding or mitigating an active threat will always be YOUR MIND.
We’ve all heard the term "situational awareness," but what exactly is it? Simply put, situational awareness (S/A) is an awareness of your immediate environment. Should one of your five senses pick up a threat indicator, such as seeing a bad guy across the street moving toward you with a knife, hearing gunfire, smelling smoke, etc., you are forewarned of a potential physical threat. The extra few seconds or even minutes in some cases, affords you the opportunity to not be there, should the threat continue to evolve.
Real-world examples are easy to come by. In Salzburg, Austria lampposts are being covered in airbags to stop "smartphone zombies" from bumping into them as they walk around staring at their screens. Really. Here at home it's the same thing - you don't have to look very hard to find people texting while driving or walking. All of their awareness is focused around a 6” radius of their device-holding hand. How would they know if something threatening was unfolding in their immediate environment?
That's how S/A gains you a tactical advantage - by giving you knowledge... plus time. If you happen to hear gunfire or observe an active shooter before they observe you, those precious seconds are valuable chunks of time that you may need to make a judgment call, take flight or fight. If you choose to take flight, which is the safest of the two options, then that borrowed time can help get you out of effective threat range and/ or possibly behind cover or into hiding.
Should your decision be to fight, then those very valuable quarter seconds just bought you immediate response opportunity. More time equals more opportunity to solve the tactical problem.
Sufficient time is required to defeat your cover garment, clear your pistol from its holster, and verify that you have a good backstop. All of this takes some amount of time before you can point your muzzle toward the bad guy(s), align your sights and initiate your trigger press.
Buying yourself this required time, places you in a dominant posture. This position would not have been afforded you, had you not applied your S/A, and were instead caught behind the action/ reaction power curve of an active threat.
Being situationally aware is one of the most powerful tools you can have in your tool kit. Combined with a good firearm, you can decrease your vulnerability and gain the tactical advantage of being forewarned and forearmed.
Steve Tarani, is a former CIA protective services subject matter expert who served on Donald Trump’s pre-election protection detail and is the lead instructor for the NRA’s new Non-ballistic Weapons Training program offered nationally to 2.3 million members. Tarani, an active protective agent, is a Central Intelligence Agency and FLETC-certified federal firearms instructor who also provides services for the US Naval Special Operations Command, FBI National Citizens Academy Alumni Association, National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO), and others.