Fighting from a Vehicle

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

One of the more complex personal defense situations any of us can find ourselves in is to be attacked while stuck in a vehicle. While not exactly a common scenario, this could happen when visiting an ATM machine or when leaving a store with a large purchase. Considering that it is the Holiday Season, criminals are working harder than normal, stealing from shoppers for their own Christmas “shopping.”

Being in a vehicle puts us at a severe disadvantage in a number of different ways, starting with the difficulty of drawing our gun. If you belt carry at the 3 o’clock position, like most of us do, drawing your gun, while seated in a car is all but impossible, because your elbow has to go through the seat of the car for a normal draw. The only way you can overcome this is to either cock your elbow to the side or lean forward. But either of these actions would signal to your assailant that you are possibly drawing a gun.

The other difficulty that the vehicle causes for you is the limited visibility and movement that the vehicle causes. All a criminal has to do is come up from behind and stay behind the B pillar (the back of the driver’s door) and there is little that you can do, unless it is to take a wild shot in their general direction.

Okay, so how do you deal with this situation?

Prepare for the Fight

First of all, situational awareness is extremely important in these circumstances. If someone manages to come up to you, while you are in your car, without you being aware of it, you’re not paying as good attention to what’s going on around you as you should. Good situational awareness won’t stop them from coming up to you, but at least you won’t be caught unawares.

Criminals understand these problems, so will usually try to come up from behind your vehicle. Your mirrors can help you with this, allowing them to see if they come up close to the vehicle. But what if they don’t? What if they come up from an angle? You can eliminate that blind spot by attaching wide-angle, stick-on mirrors to your regular mirror, if it isn’t already wide angle (some newer vehicles come with wide-angle mirrors).

The second important thing to do, in order to be ready to defend yourself in your car, is the placement of your gun. Depending on the state you live in, you might want to keep a second pistol in your car, either in a holster attached to the front of your seat or one in the console. If you can’t leave it there, you can still install the holster and transfer your gun when you get and out of the vehicle.

I realize this can be a nuisance, but no more than anything else associated with carrying concealed. Once you get the habit formed, you’ll do it automatically, without really thinking about it. The bigger problem will be forgetting to move your gun before you get out of the car, while developing the habit.

When You Have to Fight

Things are still going to be challenging, even if you’ve done everything you’re supposed to do and are as ready as possible. The limitations you are operating under will make themselves immediately obvious, so you need to adjust your strategy appropriately.

Remember, your only responsibility is to get yourself out of the situation, without being wounded in the process. You are not responsible for apprehending the criminal and saving society, no matter how strong the desire to be the hero might be.

First of all, don’t limit your thinking to your gun. To someone who understands weapons, anything can be a weapon. Have you ever seen a Jackie Chan movie? He’s known for grabbing whatever and using it as a weapon. Granted, that’s stylized fighting for Hollywood, but the point is valid. If you can’t use the weapon of your choice, use what you’ve got. In this case, your best weapon might be your vehicle.

How can your vehicle be a weapon? First of all, if your engine is already running, hitting the gas and getting out of there might solve your problem. Most criminals aren’t looking to shoot anyone, but merely use their gun to intimidate. If you speed away, there is little chance that they start shooting at your retreating vehicle.

You can expand on this strategy by opening the door suddenly and slamming it into them, before driving away. Even if you don’t hurt them, you could knock them off-balance, giving you the opening you need to drive off.

Looking at other scenarios, you might find yourself in a situation where you have to get in a gunfight. If that happens, the one thing you want to do is stop your vehicle and get out of it, fighting from the ground. There is no way you can shoot accurately while driving or even while in the vehicle. Getting out gives you more freedom of movement, so that they can’t get behind you or flank you.

Keep in mind that the only part of your vehicle which can offer cover is the engine. Any caliber pistol round can punch through the think metal of a car’s body, even a .22LR. So try to situate yourself in such a way that your engine is between you and them, taking advantage of that protection. If you can, shoot under the vehicle, rather than over the hood or roof, so that you don’t have to expose your body while shooting. Hitting them in the legs can still put them down.

Take some time to think this through, before you are faced with the situation. Prior planning makes any tactical situation easier to deal with. And as always, keep your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.

Dr. Rich

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