The Active Shooter Situation

Posted: November 2, 2014 in All Others, Survival and Skills, Theories & Ideas
Tags: , , ,

Given past events over the last several weeks, I thought it was time that I shared some knowledge that may help save your life during an active shooter situation. From shootings in public places to office shootings, we have seen a sharp uptick in the number of shooting incidents over the last several years. However, what we haven’t seen is any public education reference what to do during this type of situation. The following suggestions are just that, suggestions.

Active Shooter

Active Shooter during training

Each active shooter situation is different; each shoot has different motives, and each person’s skill and knowledge is different. With that being said, if you are ever caught in an active shooter situation use your own judgment to make those decisions that could save your life.

Awareness is Key

As with most survival situations awareness and preparedness are the keys to survival. Most of us think that we are aware of our surroundings most of the time when we are out in public, but that is simply not the case. We live in a busy world and our minds are occupied with active lives and the issues we are dealing with. This is just fact.

The first step in surviving an active shooter situation is developing a sharper awareness. Take time to understand the environment in which you are entering. What type of place are you going? Have there been issues here before? Is this a place known to upset members of the public? Does this place have active or passive security? These are just the start of several questions which you should be asking yourself each time you go into a public place.


Typical Office Space


What are your surroundings? Is this a wide open space? Does the building have sub-offices? Does the building have “secure” areas? Do you know all the people there? Is there anyone with bags or packages moving through the crowd? Is there a large crowd? Where are the exits? Does the building have stairs? Is there a loading dock or elevators? Where are the windows? This list is endless and can drive you crazy just trying to gather this information, but if you develop the habit of checking the surrounds as you move from “point a” to “point b”, you will soon discover that your awareness of places you visit will sharply increase in a very short time.


How do you prepare for a situation such as this? Short of building a target house and running rehearsals with all the parties involved, you have to run scenarios through your mind. In other words, play the “what if game”. For example, ask yourself “What would I do if someone would begin shooting at the door I have just entered after I pass through?” By running through these scenarios you will be conducting your own mini-rehearsals to help ensure your safety. This will also assist you in raising your awareness of your surroundings.

During an Active Shooter Situation

The active shooter situation develops quickly. One minute everything is fine, people are going about their business and everything is right with the world. The next minute shots are being fired, bloody people are lying on the ground and someone’s life ended and someone else’s life will never be the same.

There will be several questions you will need to answer before the sound of the first shot dies.

The first and most important question is: Should I escape shelter-in-place (hide), take-on the shooter or play dead?

The Escape Option

For most people this can be the best option if possible. The majority of people in our society have no training in the skills needed to take-on a shooter and survive. Most people are happy to go about living their lives thinking nothing bad will every happen to them. However, I realize that bad thing happen to everyone and it’s only a matter of time until someone I know will be a victim of a shooter.

Active Shooter Run

Escaping during Active Shooter training

If you can escape, here are the questions you need to answer:

  1. Where is the nearest exit?
  2. Can you reach the exit safely?

Remember, if you choose to escape:

  1. Leave your belongings
  2. Safe guard your children
  3. Take your cell phone if its handy (Don’t dig for it)

You will be relying mostly on instinct at this point; the speed at which you exit the area will equal your life.

The Shelter-In-Place Option

The Shelter-In-Place Option is another good option if possible. Much like the Escape Option, this option removes you from the immediate area, and places a barrier between you and the shooter. Again, the key to this option is being aware of your surroundings. “Is there a room adjacent to where you are that has a door that maybe secured in some way?” This is just one of the questions that you should be asking yourself at this time.


Sheltering in place during Active Shooter training

So, if shelter-in-place is the option which you are taking, again there are several steps to ensure your safety.

When you can move, the priorities should be to answer the following while taking action:

  1. Where is the nearest room out of the area (Identify the room)?
  2. Can you reach the room safely?

After you are in the “safe” room take the following actions:

  1. Lock the door if possible.
  2. Blockade the door if possible (move furniture in front of the door).
  3. Stay away from the door and walls that face the shooter.
  4. Stay low to the floor.
  5. If possible escape the room through an outside exit (door of window).
  6. Make a plan for if the shooter comes into your “safe” room.
  7. Alert the authorities of the situation and your location. Be prepared to stay on the line and provide information as needed.

Taking On the Shooter

Taking on the shooter is not a good option for most people. Most people do not carry a firearm. The people who do cannot “clear leather” before the shooter can take another shoot. However, there are times which this situation boils down to two choices: Should I take on the shooter or get shot?

Active Shooter Charge

Charging the shooter during training


The Shooter is Close

If the shooter is close to you (within arm’s reach) become the aggressor in the situation. Be totally committed to whatever action you choice to do. If you are going for the gun, take the gun, make noise to scare and confuse the shooter and cause as much devastation to the shooter as possible. If you choose to hurt the shooter, you must cause massive damage to the shooter. If you are punching the shooter in the face, your goal should be to punch through their face.




The Shooter at a Distance (3 feet or more)

Again, this is not a good option for most people; however there may be a time this is the best option. If the shooter is not paying attention to you, the shooters back is towards you or you are within 3 to 10 feet of the shooter, this maybe your only option. This technique is also known as a near ambush rush in some circles. Again, if you commit to this action, you must be totally committed.

The action is as simple as rushing the shooter and causing as much damage as you can once you get there. Your goal in this action is to become the aggressor and take control of the weapon. If this means killing the shooter, then commit to that action. Remember, that if you choose this action there is a high probability that you will be shot.

The bottom line is if you choose to take on the shooter, you must completely be totally committed and totally devastate the shooter. Again, this is not a good option for most people.

Playing Dead

Sometimes your best option will be to play dead and wait for help. If this is chosen, you must be prepared to lie completely still, barely breathing until the situation is resolved. Again, if this action is chosen, you must be completely committed to the act your life will depend on it.

Surviving the Shooting

Remember, there are several keys to surviving any shooter situation.

  1. Be aware of your surroundings.
  2. Be prepared.
  3. Run scenarios in your mind (The What If Game)
  4. Continue to think.
  5. Commit to the action.
  6. Never give up.


  1. bpg131313 says:

    Don’t forget the fire extinguishers. Monoammonium Phosphate in ABC fire extinguishers is baby-powder fine and tastes horrible. It’ll blind you if sprayed in the eyes temporarily, it’ll gag you when you inhale it, and it’ll automatically activate the building’s fire alarms. Most have a twenty foot spray distance (longer indoors where there is no wind). There’s also the added benefit of the extinguisher being made out of steel.

    Spray them down, when they drop their weapon, go to town on them with the extinguisher. It’s a fantastic weapon that’s always around and people never think to use it. Works like a charm.


  2. bpg131313 says:

    Don’t forget the fire extinguishers. They are everywhere, they are mostly filled with Monoammonium Phosphate which is baby powder fine, will blind you when it cakes in the eyes, will gag you when you breathe it in, shoots about twenty feet indoors, and automatically sets off the fire alarms bringing people to the scene. The added benefit is that after the shooter collapses because they can’t see or breathe, you advance and go to town on them with the steel extinguisher. It’s pretty much the best weapon you’ll find readily available in any building you’re in. Works like a charm.


  3. kevin says:

    I found a article a couple of weeks ago in a magazine call personal and home defense and this very thing according to FBI stats for the first 12 to 14 minutes unless there is already armed guards there in a active shooter incident you are ON YOUR OWN the scary sad fact is it HAPPENS and ALL the stuff that was written in THIS article is right on the money


  4. Fitz says:

    I highly recommend training hopefully the sheriff or PD near you is conducting training, one of the more popular ones is the Texas CRASE program Also Rob Pincus has a traveling education program for active school shooting response

    What ever you do, do not comply, do not give up and do not hide and hope, FIGHT with your last breath.


  5. […] The Active Shooter Situation | Backyard Prepper US – Each active shooter situation is different; each shoot has different motives, and each person’s skill and knowledge is different. With that being said, if you are …… […]


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