Prioritizing Targets

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

Rarely do bad guys give you an even break. While there are plenty of criminals out there who are acting solo, they still try and tilt things in their favor. One of their top ways of doing that is by using firearms to intimidate their prey. By and large, criminals don’t want to have to use those firearms for anything more than show. Shooting someone is a big red line they don’t want to cross, as it really attracts police attention and ups the ante for prison time.

Another way that criminals stack the deck to their advantage is to work together. Holding up a store or restaurant with a partner is much more likely to work, because one person can’t keep their eyes on everything at the same time. The bigger the heist, the more criminals you’ll find working together. This worked when they were holding up stagecoaches in the Old West. It worked when they would waylay merchant caravans in Medieval Times; and it still works today.

This can cause a big problem for those of us who need to defend ourselves. I know that the heroes always manage to beat out ridiculous odds on television and in the movies, but real life isn’t like that. Facing off against two or more armed criminals is exponentially more dangerous than facing off against just one. Fighting back, without getting shot yourself, requires at least a minor miracle.

Nevertheless, it’s up to you and me to be prepared for just such a situation. Being willing to lay our lives down for those we love is a noble sentiment; but we aren’t going to be able to guarantee their safety by dying; we’re only going to be able to guarantee it by defeating the bad guys.

Okay, so just how do we do that?

The first part of any successful fight is developing a plan and the first part of developing a plan is to see and understand what the enemy is doing. This works for armies and it works for dealing with criminals too. Remember, those criminals probably don’t want to fire a shot, even though they’re emotionally wound up tighter than a watch spring and their finger is on the trigger. While they might shoot a couple of rounds up into the ceiling to get everyone’s attention and put fear into them; that’s about as far as they want to go. You can use that to your advantage.

Start by looking around, identifying the bad guys; where they are and what they are doing. Then it’s time to quantify the threat, determining which one is the greatest threat to you. let me be clear on that; it’s not who is the greatest threat to everyone there or even who is the greatest threat to your spouse; it’s who is the greatest threat to you personally. When dealing with multiple threats, your only chance of winning is to protect yourself first, so that you can protect others.

So how do we determine who is the greatest threat?

  • Which one of the perpetrators is closest to you?
  • What direction are they facing? A guy that’s across the room and looking right at you is a bigger threat than one standing three feet away, with his back turned to you.
  • Who has the most dangerous firepower? A shotgun is probably worse than a pistol and a large-caliber pistol is probably worse than a .22LR.
  • A guy who is hyped up and nervous is more likely to shoot than one who is calm.
  • Likewise, anyone on drugs is much more likely to shoot, as they won’t be thinking about the consequences.

I realize that some of those might be contradictory, especially when you’re actually in the situation. How do you tell if a hyped up guy who is waving his gun around is really more dangerous than a guy who’s standing five feet away from you? You take your best guess; that’s all you can do.

Once you have determined who you think is the greatest threat, you start planning on how to take them out. That must be a complete plan, including what order you’re going to service the targets, how you will move between shots and what cover you will use. As part of that, think about how to plan it so that your gun’s muzzle will have to move the least possible amount between shots, saving you time. That can either be based upon where the bad guys are or how you move; but will probably be based on a bit of both.

Of course, that’s not all there is to think of; you’ve got to take into consideration where other people are, so that you don’t accidentally shoot someone in the background, as well as the fact that the bad guys will probably be shooting back, so you need to consider your own background. In addition, you have to plan for what to do if you miss and have to go back to a target.

That’s a lot to consider and it all has to happen within seconds. But those few seconds of developing a plan will have more to do with your ability to win the engagement than anything else. Without it, you’re toast; but with it, you can win the day.

Try this out as a practice mental exercise as you go to different places during the day. As with everything else, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Then it’s a real tool for your kit, just like keeping your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.

Dr. Rich

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