Tactical Planning

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

Planning is a critical part of winning any violent encounter. While military forces are trained to react to threats without a plan, let me assure you, they always prefer having one. Even our most highly trained troops want a detailed plan, before they commit to action. Actually, those highly trained troops are even more likely to ask for a plan before being committed to action. So, let me start out by asking you some questions.

  • If an armed person came into your home while you were watching the television, what would you do?
  • What would you do if they came into your place of work?
  • If they came into your church?
  • If they came into your favorite restaurant?
  • If they came into anyplace that you frequent?

If you’re like most people, even most people who carry concealed every day, you don’t have an answer to those questions. Or if you can come up with an answer, it’s either going to be very generalized or totally off the cuff. Last I checked, neither of those count as s plan.

You might think I’m going a little overboard with this, but I have a plan in mind for each and every one of those places, as well as a whole lot more. I’ve even got multiple plans for some place, based on how the threat enters and where I am when they kick the ball off. As part of that, I’ve already scouted out the entrance and exit points in each of those places, checked for things that can be used for cover and concealment, and decided the best vantage points to defend from and how I’ll get there.

The reason for this goes back to what I said in the first paragraph; military forces going into action prefer to have a plan. I was in the military, and even though I wasn’t Special Forces or anything like that, I know the advantage there is in having a plan.

In reality, this principle ties in very closely to another important part of self-defense, that of situational awareness. Both of them can help accomplish the same thing; getting you into action sooner, and thereby helping to mitigate the bad guys’ natural advantage of having the initiative.

In most violent encounters, whether military or a thug on mugging someone on the street, the aggressor works to gain the advantage of surprise. Those first few critical seconds can make a huge difference, allowing them to take action while their victim is still trying to do four things:

  • Come to grips with the fact that they are under attack
  • Understand the nature of the attack and possible capacity of the attacker
  • Come up with a plan of action to counter that attack
  • Put that plan of action into effect

It may only take seconds to do all that, but in a fight, seconds are huge chunks of time. People have died in the first second, while they are still coming to grips with the idea that they are under attack. Others have died in other stages of that transition from “peacetime mode” to “fighting mode.” The faster you can make that transition, the greater your chances are of effectively countering the threat and surviving.

If a gunman runs into a restaurant where you are eating and opens fire, you don’t have time to think your way through those steps. Even if you could begin to react instantly, you’re at a disadvantage, because you are out of position and your pistol is in its holster. At the absolute best, you can expect to get into action in one to two seconds. But if you have to go through those four steps, you can extent that to five to fifteen seconds. That’s too long.

So, here’s how I handle this. When I walk into a new place, I start by looking around, scouting out the locations of exits (including exits that take me into other parts of the building), potential angles of attack for a bad guy to use, and potential cover and concealment. All that can be done in less than five seconds and can even be done while I’m talking to my companions.

From there, the next important step is to determine most likely avenues of attack. If you’re in a store in the mall, that’s the mall itself. If you’re in a restaurant, that’s the front door. Most criminals will get into places the same way you and I do. It’s only in the movies that they rappel from the rooftops and pick the lock on a hidden back door.

That’s all the information I need, in order to develop a defensive plan. There are three key elements to consider in this:

  • Where will I be when the attack happens?
  • Where will other people be, who might be an obstacle or might be hurt by either I or the criminal missing?
  • Where do I need to move, so that I have a clear shot?

That’s it. That’s everything needed to put together a brief defensive plan. And actually, the last of those three questions depends a lot on the answers to the first two. But ultimately, that’s the answer I have to come up with. Because what it’s really all about is putting myself in a position where I can take action without accidentally shooting innocent bystander and with the greatest chance of hitting the criminal.

Then the only thing I need to do is find myself a place to be, where I have at least a descent chance of accomplishing that. While I can’t necessarily decide where I’m going to be in store, I can select my seating in a restaurant, church or theatre, so that I am well positioned to see anyone coming in the door, as well as being in a good position to act, should I need to.

There you have it; a plan to create an entire defensive plan in fifteen seconds or less. It’s not hard and becomes even easier as you make it a habit. Before long, you’ll find that you have plans in mind for all the places you frequent. Then, if you ever need them, you’ll be ready to act.

Of course, that assumes that you’re carrying. So be sure to do that too. Carrying fits in well with keeping your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.

Chris and Dr. Rich

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