Situational Awareness... [Archive] - Glock Talk


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06-26-2010, 06:41
It's an ever more dangerous world we live in.

How much do you LIVE situational awareness?

Are you so aware of your surroundings, and those that are nearby, the you're constantly evaluating your status?

Or, do you tailor your awareness to who/what/where/when/or how you might be in danger?

Yeah, segmenting this is probably not a good idea, but I've seen people do that, and I wonder how they'd cope, if they're not capable of reacting fast enough to unexpected threats...

What say you?


OA, out...

06-26-2010, 07:13
Hello OA,

One of the beauties about practicing ANYTHING, is that over time you get good at it, and if you get good enough, that function moves from the part of your brain that does active, conscious processing, to that part where it is easily handled by one's subconsciousness.

My wife thinks I maintain a "high orange" level of SA. To me, it's a mild yellow. No great efforts on my part are required to process the stimuli I am receiving to make assessments as to my security health, I don't feel constantly wired, hopped up or paranoid (just don't ask my wife! :)), and I no longer get fatigued by having to constantly filter what/who is going on around me.

Yes, my levels of awareness/alertness are tailored by my own risk assessment. Am I in the car at night on Interstate 95, 2am in the morning with windows up, very few other cars out? (I am still looking for DUI drivers!)

Am I at home in the basement, all doors locked, monitor for my security cameras right in front of me?

Or am I at the mall with my family 2 minutes after that high school let out, and those brawling prone wanna be gangster 11th and 12th graders are all over?

I hope I answered your question.


06-26-2010, 07:15
OA I would love to tell you 100% of the time. But that would be in my mind impossible. My senses get heightened when I'm in a strange place. I do try and be vigilant in my awareness but life gets in the way some times. I always try and look for the out of place, the group I'd rather not face, the type of places (not well lit, lots of low life, ect...) that I don't want to be around. I try to avoid these situations.
With our problems out here near the border, I think I'm much more vigilant doing small things. Yard work, walking out to my truck, hearing our dog bark. I have caught trespassers, so far just had to approach and ask them to leave. I have called the police....their answer "how do you know they are illegal?" OK no more calls to the police, just make them leave our property. They did pick up 22 illegals the other day right in my drive way. I would guess 99% are here to find work, its that 1% I worry about. They have found America to be easy pickings! Not nice to deal with criminals that really have nothing to lose. Jail is better then the places they grew up in!
After my buddy and his wife where out scouting antelope and illegals tried to carjack them on a dirt road. I carry at least 2 guns 24/7. I have had freinds shot at by drug and human smugglers.
I do have to say all these experiences have made me much more aware of my surrounding. Places I never worried about before. I even CCW when out shooting in the desert.

I wonder how they'd cope, if they're not capable of reacting fast enough to unexpected threats...All I can say to that is train to be the best you can be. When some thing happens, keep fighting and don't stop to the situation is finalized. You have one advantage, they don't know your CCWing. Take any advantage you can get, cover, dirty tricks, what ever. In a fight for your life or your families life there is no such thing as a fair fight. Your only purpose is to win and survive! Mind set can be a winning factor.
Just my 2 cents, I do love hearing from the guys that say they are 100% aware all the time, I don't know how thats possible. You have to sleep and relax sometime!

06-26-2010, 07:24
Am I at home in the basement, all doors locked, monitor for my security cameras right in front of me?
Drew doen't it amaze you how you pick up movement on your monitors. I have mine next to the TV, I can be totally into a show and my brain still picks up movement on the security monitors! I amaze friends and family, by the way I pick up things on the cameras. It amazes me that they miss them!...Bru

06-26-2010, 08:51
Back when I was a cop and later a PI in a dangerous city I was constrantly "on the hunt" and alert.

However, now that I haven't had to actually use my gun for a quite a few years I've grown a bit complacent. I'm going to a party with some of the local cops tonight and if I get the chance I will quiz them on what's really going on down here with regard to all the major dope busts and home invasions.

In the past, these same guys didn't think honest citizens like me had much to worry about, since most of the crime is dope & gang related. However a friend of my wife is married to a different local cop and she's getting a CHL at his insistance. So maybe things aren't all that "safe" after all?

06-26-2010, 09:02
Interesting topic. I just try and pay attention to who's around me, test myself to see if I can remember what they were wearing or any identifiers. I'm not all mall ninja about it and I don't mean-mug people but I try and do what I can. In the car I do the same, what cars are around me, how many occupants, etc etc. New surroundings do highten the awareness but not to a point of nervousness or hyper tension.

06-26-2010, 11:39
Interesting what sparks situational awareness in people.

Just got a call from my daughter (who is headed over to retrieve her guns and some ammo from my safe) describing what just happened to her next door neighbor. Who is home most of the time with 5 small children, hubby works out of town a lot.
Well she just returned from her driven over, crunched mail box! Yesterday she had some scribbled nasty note from some loony tune, telling her to fix the broken door???? They just had a group home placed down the street full of section 8's. Whats bothering her is the box had her home address on the side of it so they know where she lives.
The neighbor called my daughter, then came over and showed her the note. Asked her to keep a watch out for weirdo's. The odd thing is both the neighbor and my daughter have lost 3 dogs in the last few days...wondering if someone is poisoning them???
I have instructed my daughter to have the neighbor call the Post Master General, and the Sheriff (so he can drive by).
It does amaze me how situational awareness in some people only comes about when scared or confronted. I know my daughter is cool headed, really don't know her neighbor. Funny thing, my granddaughter has better awareness then either of them. She has her 642 loaded in her night stand and her 10/22 mag loaded in the closet! I guess my granddaughters been hanging around me to long!:supergrin: But she is leaving for college in a few weeks and I want her prepared. Glad I've been taking my daughter and granddaughter out shooting a lot lately.

06-26-2010, 13:04
Well, like most folks, my "alert" level is somewhat determined by surroundings. But no matter where one is, sometimes the "hairs on the back of your neck" feeling occur. And like most folks, my alert level goes up.

No one can exist in even condition "orange" all the time. That's the sorta thing that leads to what used to be called battle fatigue. I folks were honest, most spend much more time in condition "white" than anything else. It just doesn't sound "prepared" to admit it.

06-26-2010, 13:17
1. Maintain the proper mindset to recognize, evaluate, and react to threats.

Recognize dangerous situations early, and avoid them whenever possible. You are not bulletproof, and a bad day can easily become your last day. Plan your activities with this in mind. If you have no choice, as in the case of a police officer responding to high-risk calls, deal with it in the manner most beneficial to you. Wait for back-up; deploy with a shotgun or rifle if possible. Always make use of cover/concealment, and offer little or nothing of yourself as a target. Expect someone to rush you/pull a knife/point a gun/shoot at you, so you won't freeze up when it happens.

2. Avoid being killed, either before or after defensive gunfire is initiated.

Once the festivities open, fight the urge to deny that it's happening. Don't stand around waiting for someone to tell you that it's really going on. You may not survive the notification process. If there is time at all, get behind cover to shoot; if not, then shoot and get behind cover. Shoot some more, if necessary. Look all around you, and reload from a position of safety. Your opponent(s) may have friends in the neighborhood and they may be racing to the sound of gunfire, from any and all directions. You need to not get killed before the cavalry arrives, and remember that bad guys have cavalry, too. Either outfit will shoot you if you do something stupid enough. Fade away to the safest refuge, call for help and maintain a defensive mindset. Shooting the other guy is not a win. Surviving the entire encounter is a win.

3. The precision with which your defensive fire is applied...

will be the deciding factor in whether you solve your immediate problem, and live to explain it. The ammo you used may not matter at all. Practice, practice, practice.Staple a cheap 1x2 on backside of the targets you train on, where you can't see it. Make 'shooting for the centerline' second nature- so you can do it without conscious effort, once the decision to shoot is made. Your training should also include keeping your weapon reloaded, until that becomes a subconscious action as well. Your conscious efforts should be reserved for threat evaluation, evasion and escape. They will be plenty busy with those.

4. Select the proper weapon for the job at hand...

This means to take the hardest hitting gun you can tote- and still deliver fast, accurate fire with. Take a couple if given the option. Remember that caliber is secondary; a .30-30 beats a .45 auto. Shotguns are about the only anti-personnel weapon that benefits greatly by virtue of bore size. None of them are going to do you any good, if you can't hit with them.

One-Shot Stop Ratings

Some of you are probably asking yourselves if I have ever read the authoritative compilations of one-shot stop statistics which are being published in various gun magazines. I have. Unfortunately, people rely on them for selecting magic “one-shot stop” ammunition- while ignoring matters like threat recognition, evasion & escape, shooting skill, use of cover, movement & reloading under fire, and more evasion & escape. A one shot stop won't get you home, if somebody's second cousin mows you down with a low-rider while you stand there in the street like Matt Dillon during the opening scenes of Gunsmoke.

The only bullet that matters is the one that shuts down your opponent. Your precise placement of that bullet is astronomically more important that what size, caliber, or type of bullet it was- but it has to penetrateto cause a physiological shutdown of your opponent. If you get it done with one shot, you are having a very, very good day- but until you achieve precise placement, you are just a tin duck in a shooting gallery. Unlike that little duck, you are not flat and any number of contestants may be shooting at you from any number of directions. Shooting once and waiting for applause is a good way to get dead, and that popping noise you hear is probably not everyone's hands clapping.

Are you still standing there?

*Link* (

06-26-2010, 14:31
Hey Sarge have you got a chance to test those 115 grn JHP MG's on a hog yet? Waiting to hear!

06-26-2010, 14:48
I think 95% of situational awareness is achieved by living in the immediate present. This is done by not reviewing what was said at the office earlier in the day, nor dwelling on whether the grocery has sold out those sale items already while you are making your way through life and traffic. If you are just looking at, and often enjoying, your current environment you will note those things that are out of the ordinary.

You don't have to be paranoid, nor on "red alert", to look at each vehicle at the gas station when you pull up. The same for taking a glance at the vehicles that pull in when you are fueling, or at those that exit the store while you are there.

The only trick is to attune yourself to note the person(s) in the environment around you that is/are "different" and the courage to risk looking foolish to avoid them.

An instance of the above would be leaving after getting three gallons of gas, when you meant to fill up, because a the three passengers in a newly arrived car were making far too much eye contact.

06-26-2010, 15:09
Hey Sarge have you got a chance to test those 115 grn JHP MG's on a hog yet? Waiting to hear!

They were .40/165s... and no, bambi has not offered hisself up as a sacrifice yet. ;)

06-27-2010, 23:55
Situational awareness probably requires a bit more effort for those who haven't been trained/required to use it extensively, but in general I would say the majority of people are pretty on the ball.

For example, I don't think I've met anyone over the age of 12 who doesn't unpurposely eavesdrop on conversations or size up the foot traffic at restaurants while they wait to be seated; immediately look at people who enter whatever gas station/mini-mart when they are standing in line to pay or even more so while they are paying; notice cars that drive through their neighborhood that they don't recognize from their street/neighborhood on a regular basis; and my personal favorite...the personal space factor: watch someone next time they pull money out of an atm, regardless of the time of day, most especially at night. Usually they look like fiends that are dodging cops and are about to get a fix.

I say usually because at night I have seen a number of typically younger crowds around bars/clubs that are usually hammered out of their minds or buzzed enough where they are only thinking about the butt that they are trying to land for that evening or whatever social shenanigans they are twittering about these days to fill in the blank.

In general, I think people subconsciously pay more attention then we realize, but don't recognize the actual threat until the SHTF. As much as I used to hate them when I was in college and shortly there after, God help me, I love my nosey-ass neighbors' wives, my fellow MIL/LE neighbors, the plethora of dogs that bark whenever the wind blows and lose their minds when something with two legs and a new smell are in the vicinity, the guys in their underwear looking out their windows at 2am when any motion lights go off or someone with bass drives down the street.

.02 if anyone cares...

06-28-2010, 05:05
Gentlemen, Thank-you.

I've read and re-read each post, gleaning what I'd not considered, forgotten, didn't know, or had to re-assess.

The original post is/was important to me, as I get older, I may miss some of the nuances of an ever evolving/devolving society. I try to keep-up with trends, as I'm caregiver to my 89 year old mother, and frankly, don't get out nearly as much as I used to, or would like to... The elderly provide additional aspects of responsibility, when considering their safety. I'm only 60, but as they say, "it's not the years, it's the mileage." I used to be very active, and could run and gun all day. Those days, I'm afraid, are in the past.

Mobility is an "iffy" thing at best. I plan our short outings as best I can, being constantly on the alert, via the internet, having FNC constantly on in the background, and having a spare (?) eye on my iPhone for AccuWeather... I have my head on a swivel, when near crowds, always looking for exits/escape routes, and never letting Mom, my principal, out of reach. Med list always close to hand, along with her nitro pills, cell phone with local hospitals already mapped.

I have done protective work in the distant past, but that's just it, the past... Past experience is just that- past, and with no way to retrain, I'm relying on whatever intel I can glean on a daily basis. I have my CCW, my kit, and Mom's meds, and her kit. Plus the dogs, who're a comfort, as they have much better senses that I ever did...

Again, thanks for your input. My situational awareness will be more finely tweaked, because of your assist.

OA, out...

06-28-2010, 06:35
My daughter did stop by and picked up her Python, and S&W Classic Hunter 44 mag, plus an extra 870 I had sitting around. I try never to force, but to teach by example. She has seen me with guns placed around the house, master bedroom as a safe room.
She did say yesterday, "kinda dumb leaving my guns in the safe...they sure wouldn't do me any good in there!" Then she asked where I would place the guns in the house, ect.... I think she is recognizing the world isn't all warm and fuzzy anymore.
I'm am glad to see her situational awareness start to peek out! Sent home a copy of Jeff Coopers "Principles of Self Defense" to read. I am more confident in my Granddaughters mind set then my daughters. I think the Mother factor would kick in with her.
Then my sister (very liberal) stopped by yesterday with her new boyfriend. Even she was talking about getting her and my niece into a CCW course and some extra training!!!!! Man the world must really be getting bad if my liberal sister wants to start carrying a gun!
It is nice to see people that probably have never heard of the term "Situational Awareness" display some. They are both looking at their environment differently now. Much more aware of what, who, when and where they are.

06-30-2010, 07:11
The local cops still say the home invasions are almost all dope related here on the border. However, the dope part isn't ever on the news when a home invasion goes down, for some unknown reason.

07-05-2010, 15:58
My SA goes up whenever I'm outside and even inside (when I use the bathroom in the early morning/late at night, I'll make sure all windows/doors are secured)

07-05-2010, 16:00
Driving into a shopping mall parking lot, there are usually eyes already on customers by those with less than good intentions....they are sitting outside or in their cars just watching folks.

By simply getting out of your car and doing a quick but confident scan of the area, may make the diff. between being a sheep/victim and being left alone by the would-be perp.

It immediately shows the bad guys you are not like many of the people out there, and are mindful of your surroundings.

Thus the perp looks for easier pickings. My humble opinion.

07-07-2010, 08:57
but in general I would say the majority of people are pretty on the ball.

I have a friend and have seen others do the same thing.While shopping they stick headphones on and walk around with their ipods and radio's turned on while going about their business like there isn't a care in the world.I see teen girls walk around texting when they should be looking out where they go.Just the the other night there was a 14-16 year old girl who ran into my shopping cart,didn't say anything just looked suprised and went on texting.I see parents who don't pay attention to their kids or anything else for that matter.I have walked up behind people and asked them if i can help them only to see them get wide eyed and say jes you scared me.

This is not situational awareness,this is code i don't care.When i push my kiddies through the store my wife leads with the kids in the middle and i follow.We don't have cell phones to our ears nor do have ipods.There is a 3 foot rule we go by and we expect people to maintain it.When walking in stores my wife and i aways turn sideways in the isles when we stop to pick something up so we can see either direction.

When we drive we don't like sitting/driving next to people for to long especially with really dark tinted windows.At night when pulling up to the lights we brake just back from the car next to us,i like to be able to see them and their back doors.If someone is in front of me at a light i leave at least 3 car lengths in case i have to make a's never a good idea to pull right up onto another car in case of an accident or robbery.

When at home i carry all the time,not while sleeping.We have set up 4 security camera's outside and 2 inside.Indoor camera 1 captured the back door and back hallway,camera 2 faces down and out from my bedroom down the front hallway and the front door. All of them have night vision and audio.We have a weiner dog who barks when something gets to close,even me when i come in late from work.In all the kids room's i have baby monitors turned on in case someone breaks in through a window at night.This will work also when the kids try to sneak out later,i'll have them on audio:supergrin:

At any given time i can look at my tv and see who is at my bedroom door or even who is at my front door without leaving my bed.Camera's work great if you have people coming to your door trying to convert you or sell you stuff.:supergrin: