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Every day defensive and situational awareness tips?

Discussion in 'Education & Training' started by 9MilMan, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. 9MilMan

    9MilMan Milwaukie Active Member

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    You've the heard the saying, "Have a smile for everyone you meet, and a plan on how to kill them"? I'd like to hear people's tips on what they do in addition to carrying weapons so that they are always in a defensive posture. For example:

    Always leaving enough room behind the car in front of you so you are never boxed in.

    Sitting so you face the entrance to restaurants and bars.

    Keeping gas tanks full/cell phone charged, BOBs in cars, etc.

    Always locating exits, fire extinguishers, potential weapons and cover....

    I bet you guys have some good ones that we don't think about all the time. Let's hear them; because we know that the carried weapon is ONE option, and the best weapon we have is between our ears. And...I want to know how my paranoia stacks up against yours. :)
    Riot, mosinguy, mjbskwim and 7 others like this.
  2. sandman1212

    sandman1212 NW Oregon Active Member

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    1. keeping your back to a wall as far from the door as possible facing the door.
    2. avoiding dark parking areas, and parking as close to the door/entrance as possible.
    3. only showing as much cash as needed when doing a purchase
    4. travel with a companion as much as possible.
    5. keeping your head on a swivel.

    Just a few...
    titsonritz, Sgt Nambu, Riot and 3 others like this.
  3. elsie

    elsie Way over there on the left Well-Known Member

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    Walk with your head up and only focus on a single item long enough to determine it's threat level - avoid target lock. (amazing how many people either walk with their head down or stare at their media player or phone)

    Pay attention to sounds or changes in sounds. I've turned on a few people who were behind me because their body actually changed sounds behind me.

    Pay attention to reflections and shadows that can indicate someone behind you, on the other side of corners, hallways and doors.

    Wifey, oknow, Sgt Nambu and 5 others like this.
  4. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Beyond leaving plenty of space between cars, actively search out your escape route at each stop.
    Your car is a weapon.
    If there is a commotion in front of your home and you feel you must investigate go out the back door, don't make yourself a target just because you are on familiar ground.
    Sneakiness is next to godliness!
    mosinguy, Riot, Oklahomie and 7 others like this.
  5. Thebastidge

    Thebastidge 10411 NE Fourth Plain Blvd Vancouver WA 98662 Well-Known Member

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    Engage people who are acting strangely or don't seem to belong. You don't have to be rude or aggressive. But simply engaging them with a hello, or "how are you" can give you a better sense of their purpose in being there. If their response is contrived or uncomfortable, investigate further. This has possible positives as well as discovering negatives. If you're friendly and engaging, you may put someone at ease. IF they're wrong, you'll quickly get a sense of it and be on your guard.

    Keep your car doors locked when you're dring. Make it a habit- if you car doors don't lock when you start moving, physically engage the lock yourself. Not just in a "bad area". Do it every time.

    Pay attention to where you're parking, especially if you're going to need to go to the car at a time when there won't be many people around. Remote locks and panic buttons are a good thing. Try to park under a light, away from other vehicles when you can.

    Check your back seat BEFORE you get in the car. It takes about a half-second and becomes a habit if you will it to be.

    I've heard it said, "A gentleman should never leave the house without a blade and a means of making fire." A pocket knife or multi-tool have saved the day on many occasions for me. It should go without saying I think you should carry your gun with you everywhere you are legally allowed to do so. Doesn't hurt to carry a mini-mag either on your belt or at least in the car.

    If you normally dress in business attire, throw at least a pair of sneakers or boots and a jacket of some kind in the trunk. Even if you look funny in slacks and sneakers, you can still walk a few miles without crippling yourself.
    Sgt Nambu, PaulZ, ocarolan and 3 others like this.
  6. Stomper

    Stomper Oceania Rising White Is The New Brown Silver Supporter

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    Eyes and ears open more, mouth open less. ;)

    I watch people's faces, they way they carry themselves, and their hands. Making "non-aggressive", yet direct eye contact with a potential adversary telling them, "I see you, and I'm not worth the risk" has averted many a potential conflict in my travels in life.
  7. gunfreak

    gunfreak Boise Well-Known Member

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    Check vans and cargo trucks parked near you as you get in your vehicle. I can tell you the difference in different truck doors closing and engines turning over, ie ford, chevy, dodge. Each of them is pretty distict.
    Redcap and (deleted member) like this.
  8. ZigZagZeke

    ZigZagZeke Eugene Silver Supporter Silver Supporter 2015 Volunteer

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    I grew up in Stockton, CA in the 50's and 60's. It has always been one of the murder (per capita) capitals of the US. It had a waterfront and a China Town that was established during the 1849 gold rush. Two major railroad lines and two major highways converged there. Downtown's "skid row" was always a mix of migrant workers, thieves, druggies, dealers, hobos, winos, con artists, pimps, prostitutes and other "down-and-outers". In the 40's Stockton was a wide open town with a city government that made Chicago's look like a church choir.

    From the time I was 12 years old I roamed pretty much free in this atmosphere. We used to play pool at a pool hall where you could buy anything you wanted for the right price, and you sometimes had to roll a drunk out of the way to make a shot. I never had a serious problem and I was never afraid to go anywhere. The stuff quoted above is second nature to me. There's a lot more to it than that but it's hard to put into words. Recognizing what people are really up to, who they really are (that young girl on the corner is NOT waiting for a bus), and what they are looking for is part of it. Looking and acting like you belong there and have your own business there is part of it too. And maintaining constant vigilance, never letting your guard down...that's part of it too. I'd call it being "streetwise". I don't know how to teach it. You kind of have to live it.
  9. oknow

    oknow amboy wa. Well-Known Member

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    when you are at home like when you are in your car make sure the doors are locked you will get a little warning when someone kicks the door in instead of someone just opening the door, you have to be aware even when your home.
  10. Father of four

    Father of four Portland, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Carry a large can of whip-azz with you at all times and open it up when needed! :D
  11. Redcap

    Redcap Lewis County, WA Well-Known Member

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    I do this as well. About 75% of the time, I can even tell you which motor it is.
  12. 9MilMan

    9MilMan Milwaukie Active Member

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    Thanks for you inputs, guys. Mostly these are common sense, but it is always good to get a reminder and put some new techniques in your urban tradecraft toolkit. Keep them coming.
  13. fyrediver

    fyrediver Seattle Active Member

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    Have an alternative to lethal force. I carry pepper spray in addition to my pistol and knife. I EDC a flashlight and use it when appropriate. It's got a nice strike bezel so is another non-lethal weapon.

    When parking I try to go to the most open area, usually further away from a building.

    When returning to my car in a parking area, I don't take the most direct approach. I generally circle the car to check it, and my surroundings, out. Found a flat tire that way once, but haven't found a bad guy --- yet ;) . Drives my girlfriend kind of crazy.
  14. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like downtown Seattle and Tacoma to me
  15. chemist

    chemist Beaverton OR Well-Known Member

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    You will deter most guys with bad intent just by looking like a tough target. I've "looked off" my share, and I'm not the intimidating type.

    Criminals are smarmy little cowards, and they'll go for easier game than you if you just keep your head up.
  16. Swedish K

    Swedish K SW Washington Moderator Staff Member

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    It's been said before on here not long ago - pull thru or back into the parking space so you don't have to back out in case you need to leave in a hurry. always carry sidearm, knife, cell phone, flashlight. Carry keys with one poking out between the fingers for a quick response punch as many self defense courses suggest. Be aware of your surroundings at all times. lock the car with the switch or keypad instead of the remote (ford keypad uses the last 2 buttons pushed at the same time) as some criminals are using a freq scanner to capture your remote code. Better than coming back to find crackhead jack in the truck stealing your stereo. Make sure your mag is properly seated every time you put it on - I've found my mag slightly released a couple of times - it could be a bad situation waiting to happen (another reason not to cc a gun with a functional mag safety). I'm sure there are a ton more...
  17. Misterbill

    Misterbill Yakima County, Washington New Member

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    I'll give you some free tips I give to every class I teach on basic situational awareness and conflict avoidance.

    1. Walk with your shoulders back, your eyes forward and your head on a swivel. It doesn't look like you're wierd that you look behind you occasionally, it just FEELS weird.

    2. DON'T walk around either totally focused on your phone or your kids, or anything else. ALWAYS keep an eye out on your surroundings. The threat you miss is the one that will GET YOU.

    3. Pay attention to your feelings. If something feels "scary," or uncomfortable or just "wrong," it's time for you to be elsewhere.

    4, If confronted, don't worry about being "rude." BE RUDE. BE PUSHY. Be clear about your space and insist that that space be respected. Treat anyone who violates these insisted upon barriers as a SERIOUS potential threat.

    5. Your ego is a lot less important than your safety. Your precious "feelings" will get over being hurt. DON'T escalate a meaningless situation. DON'T respond to an invitation to the "monkey dance." DON'T respond to aggressive behavior with more aggressive behavior when you can safely leave the situation. JUST LEAVE.

    There's a lot more to it, but those are some basics.

    NO ONE stays in condition yellow 24/7. Not even God, (Whom I've asked, and he confirmed, not even him.) Also not Chuck Norris.

    When you're out of your home, try your best to keep a good awareness of EVERYONE in your surrounding area in a general way. Ignore the ones that clearly AREN'T a threat, spend more time looking at the ones who MIGHT be a threat, ignore everyone else unless they make your inner radar "ping." What happens over time and with consistent practice, is that the inner radar gets more attuned. You spend time on things that legitimately might be a threat, and unconsciously ignore the things that clearly AREN'T a potential threat.

    It's extremely hard to put it into text, but I assure you there is a point at which you PING to threats long before you consciously see them. This puts your alertness more to an orange level. THAT is the time you want to make sure your CCW is easily accessible and if you can exit the area, you do so.

    I'm not a cop. I don't get paid for solving problems. When my radar pings me to condition orange, I GTFO of there. Let it be someone else's problem.
  18. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    I don't usually carry a BOB with me unless I'm going some distance from home, and when I do, it is never out of eyesight. I had my car broken into some years ago at work, ripped off my BOB, that was a very expensive lesson and one I absolutely refuse to repeat. If for some reason you have to leave your BOB in the car, make sure it's out of sight. Thieves are smart and opportunistic, and they know about BOBs and how many nice things are in them.
  19. Riot

    Riot Benton County, Washington Well-Known Member

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    1) When in doubt, bug out! Too many times people ignore pre-cursors to an incident. People loitering around an ATM at 3am, a car circuling around the block more than once, a large group of teens all wearing similar attire...etc. Pay attention to these threats then reevaluate your plan. Do you need to go to that ATM right now? Do you really need that parking space? Just leave!
  20. Thebastidge

    Thebastidge 10411 NE Fourth Plain Blvd Vancouver WA 98662 Well-Known Member

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    This works very well on a personal level. But when enough people leave a power vacuum in the community, it gets filled with SOMETHING. I'm not advocating everybody try to be a hero in every circumstance. But at some point you have to stand up for your community. There are smarter ways to do it than confronting a gang at the ATM at 3am. I will definitely grant that. Our major cities would not be the crime havens they are now, if people there had the same attitudes towards community and self-reliance that people do in more rural areas.

    Note before you flame that I am acknolwedging the HUGE difference between stupidly responding to meaningless aggression and "the monkey dance" because your pride is hurt, and being an active part of standing up for your right to be where you need to be and for your community to be a safe place. I invite discussion of where that line gets drawn.

    I take something of a stand- as I've said in other discussion about Opsec/PerSec that I will fly the flag, have my political stickers/signs s I see fit in order to normalize my attitudes in the community. There's no reason for the "nobody I know voted for Nixon" phenomena.