Dealing with Multiple Assailants

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

We usually talk about active shooter situations as if there is only one assailant. That’s fine as far as it goes, but you can’t count on facing off against just one assailant. Criminals can figure the odds too and they know that their chances of survival are better if they work together in teams. So, while there are still plenty of criminals who work alone, the chance of running into two or even more of them working together can’t be ignored.

Fighting two or more assailants at one time requires more brains than brawn. Yes, it helps to be an excellent shot and you’ve got to be able to get your gun into play quickly; but even more important than that, you’ve got to be able to put a plan together on how you’re going to deal with each adversary and how you’re going to move your gun from one to the next. You really don’t want to draw your gun until you have that figured out.

The first part of this is figuring out which of the assailants is the most dangerous to you. This requires a quick evaluation of each of them, based on nothing more than what you see and hear. Adding to the difficulty of the task is the fact that you will be balancing one danger against another; it’s going to be more like comparing apples and oranges, rather than comparing the apples to other apples.

Some of the things to consider are:

  • Which is the most aggressive and/or appears the angriest? An angry assailant may feel that they need to use force to get their way and be more likely to shoot.
  • Who appears to be the leader? Followers may run, if the leader is taken out of play.
  • How are they armed? If one has a more dangerous firearm, then it will probably make sense to take them out of play quickly.
  • Where are their guns pointing? A gun pointing in the air or at the ground will take a second or two to aim, even aiming in the most rudimentary fashion, whereas the gun that’s pointed at someone is ready to fire.
  • Do any have hostages? You can’t just consider your own safety; you’ve got to consider the safety of everyone else there. A bad guy that’s holding someone by the arm or is using them as a human shield is of great danger to that person and probably needs to be dealt with first.
  • How far are they from you? With all other things considered, the assailant that is closest to you can engage you the easiest and has the greatest chances of hitting you.

You usually can’t take more than a few seconds to make that evaluation; but be sure to take those few seconds. Unless they are already shooting; you have at least some amount of time available to use. Use it; the longer that time goes, the greater the chance that they will relax, giving you an opening.

The next step in your planning is comparing their positions to each other. You want to be able to move in a fluid pattern, working your way from one assailant to the next, without having to go back in the opposite direction. In other words, if you’re working from right to left, you don’t want to have to go back towards the right, because that will slow you down.

I realize that their relative danger level and working out a pattern where you can work in one single direction may very well contradict each other. That’s where tradeoffs come in. You’re going to have to make a judgment call as to which is most important at the moment; that’s not something that you can really plan for ahead of time.

Finally, there’s the issue of timing. They depended on the element of surprise when they initiated the attack. Unless they’re already shooting, forcing your hand, you can turn the tables on them, using the same element of surprise. The more time goes on, the less they’ll expect someone in front of them to attack. Their big concern will be the police coming up behind.

What you’re really waiting for is for them to move in a manner that works out advantageous to you. If one were to cross in front of other, moving across your line of sight, there would be a moment of time when you would only be facing one assailant, as their body will shield the other. That’s a perfect time to act, allowing you to deal with the one who is visible and then shift to the other after they’ve fallen. Not only that, but the lateral shift from one target to the other will be shorter and therefore quicker.

When shooting, take two shots at each target, aiming at center mass, before shifting to the next. Then, once all the targets have been serviced, go back and check to see if any need another shot. The standard the police teach is a double tap to the body, followed up by a shot to the head, if necessary.

Working in a logical manner, you can actually defeat multiple assailants. But you’re going to have to think it through and then act at the right time. Take some time to practice with an empty gun, learning how to move and shoot. That will make it another tool in your tool box, just like keeping your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.

Dr. Rich

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