JANUARY 26, 2017

Skill Set: Avoid and Escape

Often, with all the training and practice we do - using our weapons or body to defeat the threat – we tend to ignore our number one tactic: Avoidance and Escape. Fighting is the last thing we want to do. Anytime you fight there are great risks. Avoiding or escaping allows you to win the "fight" without risk. In his books Dave Grossman talks about the four natural responses to danger: Submission, Posturing, Fight and Flight. Submitting and allowing the threat to harm you or family members is not acceptable. Posturing, puffing up and trying to scare the threat without being ready to back it up isn't a good idea either. That leaves us with Fight or Flight. We train and practice in order to fight, learning how to use our weapons as efficiently as possible to stop the threat. The presence of the weapon and verbal commands may provide a "psychological" stop. The situation may require you to put accurate hits on "target," physically stopping the threat. At the same time we need to be learning how to move, use cover, manipulate your weapon and all the other skills required to employ your weapon effectively. "Flight," avoidance and/or escape, must also be thought about and practiced in advance. Fleeing may not be as simple as you first think. You pay attention to the environment so that when you spot a source of potential trouble you modify your plans to completely avoid something that might happen. A situation explodes right in front of you without warning. You immediately "haul ass," running as quickly as possible to get to a safe area. A "tactical" retreat may be called for, visually and physically covering an area or possible threat(s) as you back out to safety. Even if you are forced to "fight" part of your response should still include "flight." As you engage the threat you back up to create distance. The fight is sudden and unexpected and you're trapped, but once the threat is down you leave for a more secure area. Plus, just because a threat is down doesn't mean the fight is over; they could have partners, so again you leave for safety. When it comes to "flight," or avoidance or escape, there are a lot of different variations. If your plan includes family members then it becomes even more complex, requiring additional thought, planning and practice in order to be prepared. As you think about your response remember that it's much better to be mobile than stationary. If you need to escape run fast and far. Moving targets are hard to hit. Distance greatly reduces your chances of being injured, regardless of what type weapon the threat has. Dropping down to the ground might not get you out of harms way. Start making it a habit to know where exits, cover or easily defended areas are located. Keep track of where all your family members are at all times. Initially these things will require conscious thought, constantly plugging back in to the task. Eventually they'll become habit. Then, like with all your other skills remember to practice. For an armed citizen the list of reasons to fight is very short. Avoidance and escape are your tactics, so studying them accordingly. Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, located in northern Alabama. He is the author of "The Book of Two Guns" - http://shootrite.org/book/book.html writes for several firearms/tactical publications, and is featured on GunTalk's DVD, "Fighting With The 1911 - http://shootrite.org/dvd/dvd.html McKee's new book, AR Skills and Drills, is available for pre-order: https://www.amazon.com/AR-15-Skills-Drills-Learn-Your/dp/144024720X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1484771081&sr=8-2&keywords=tiger+mckee Website: www.shootrite.org http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shootrite-Firearms-Academy/156608611038230?ref=ts