How To Survive An Active Shooter Situation: The Ultimate Survival Guide

Everyone thought the Titanic was unsinkable. So they didn’t prepare for it. There were insufficient amount of lifeboats and the crew didn't know what to do if the boat...

How To Survive An Active Shooter Situation: The Ultimate Survival Guide
06January
How To Survive An Active Shooter Situation: The Ultimate Survival Guide
06January

How To Survive An Active Shooter Situation: The Ultimate Survival Guide

Written by Richard Douglas
in Section Latest Articles

Everyone thought the Titanic was unsinkable.

So they didn’t prepare for it. There were insufficient amount of lifeboats and the crew didn't know what to do if the boat sunk.

So when the Titanic actually started sinking, everyone straight up panicked causing over 1,500 deaths.

I believe the same thing’s happening in…

Active Shooter Situations

This stems from the belief that an active shooter situation could never happen to us.

The reality?

An active shooter situation is much MORE likely to happen than you can possibly imagine.

In fact, according to the FBI, active shooter situations have become increasingly common in the past few years.

That said, how do you prepare for an active shooter? By...

Becoming Aware of Your Surroundings

This is the most important tip.

If you don't know an active shooter situation is happening, you won't be able to respond to it.

That's why Sherlock Holmes is always a step ahead of everyone else...he's always analyzing his surroundings.

You should do the same. Here’s how:

1. Start by opening your eyes. Do you see something (or someone) suspicious? Keep your eyes on them. Then...
2. Mentally Map the exits. What’s the closest exits to you? Mentally note it. Next...
3. Listen to your surroundings. Do you hear something that sounds like a gun shot or a firecracker? Get ready because that’s probably code red for your...

Active Shooter ‘Survival’ Plan

Here’s the problem:

If you’re ever put into an active shooter situation, your brain will most likely ‘shut off’ due to the stress. As a result, you’ll just freeze up.

To overcome that, you need to simulate the stressful situation, so your body can ‘desensitize’ to it and react.

You’re probably thinking...

How Do You Simulate An Active Shooter Situation?  Image from NBCnews.com

There are two options.

The first option is to take an active shooter response class.

This class will teach you everything you need to know (along with drills) on active shooter situations.

The second option is to get firearm training.

This training will teach you how to defend yourself against an active shooter.

But which option should you choose?

In my opinion, choose both.

Here’s why:

The more prepared you are for the situation, the faster you’ll be able to respond. And that makes you ready to...

React To Any Active Shooter Situation

Firearms Training In order to react, you need to choose one of three proven options:
● Running
● Hiding
● Fighting

The option you choose depends on your unique circumstances. Let’s break these options down, starting with…

               

               

     

Running

When Should You Run?

As your first resort.

How Should You Run?

Away from the shooter.

And while you’re running, keep your hands visible at all times.

This helps both law enforcement and the average Joe identify who the active shooter is.

And speaking of the average Joe, if you see a Joe along the way, tell them to to come with you. If they don’t want to come, just keep on moving

The same applies for wounded people. Don’t try to stop to help wounded people. It’ll just increase your chances of getting hit (making 2 wounded people).

Instead, focus on getting out ASAP. After you’re safe...

Call 911

Don’t ever assume someone has already called 911. There’s actually a high chance nobody has.

But what if you get seen by the shooter along the way? Then you should try...

Hiding

When Should You Hide? 

When you can’t exit the building.

How Should You Hide?

Just like in hide-and-seek, go for ‘hard-to-find’ places.

Some good examples are lockable rooms, bathrooms, or closets.

As a general rule, you should always:
● Turn off the lights
● Silence your phone entirely (no vibrate)
● Barricade the doors (if there any)

After you’ve done that, crouch behind solid cover (like a desk or cabinet).

What Should You Do While Hiding?

Image from Waghostwriter.comCall 911.

Even if the shooter’s nearby, just dial 911 and leave the line open so the dispatcher can hear what’s happening.

And while you’re waiting for help, make sure to NEVER open the door for anyone you don’t know (other than police).

The reason?

A common tactic for shooters use to get easy suspects is to knock on doors and ask for help. Don’t make that mistake. Keep the doors closed.

So by now, you’re hiding...waiting for help to arrive when the shooter opens up your barricaded door.

What should you do? In this case, get ready to start...

Fighting

When Should You Fight?

When you can’t run nor hide.

How Should You Prepare To Fight?

With whatever weapon you can get your hands on.

If you’re armed, use your firearm training (from earlier) to take down the gun man.

If you’re unarmed, find yourself a weapon like a book, mug, pen, or any sturdy object.

After you’ve selected your weapon, it’s time to find someone to help you take down this monster.Active Shooter Response

The reason’s simple:

Shooters can hit only one target at a time, so grouping up increases your chance of survival. Speaking of fighting...

How Should You Fight?

Use the ‘disorient and charge’ strategy.

Here’s how it works:

Before you charge the shooter, throw something at him. This immediately creates hesitation, buying you a few seconds.

Then, charge the shooter all at once. At this point, the shooter will do one of two things:

1. Run
2. Fight

In either circumstance, keep charging the shooter until you get close enough to reach his gun.

As soon as you do, grab the gun’s barrel as hard as you can and move it away from your body

This will give you control over the gun's direction and even stop the gun from re-firing. This really works (even on AR-15s with scopes).

Here's a great video demonstrating the ‘barrel hold’ move:

Alright, now the gunman’s weapon has been contained. What’s next?

Disable the active shooter.

And don’t stop hitting until the gun man can’t cause anymore harm. After the gun man’s no longer a threat, remove his gun and keep watch until the police arrives.

And that’s all there is to surviving an active shooter situation.

Sure, you may never see an active shooter in your lifetime (and I hope you don’t).

But you should always be prepared for the worst, so you can save you (and your loved ones) if the ugly day ever rears its head.

And with that, it’s now time to...

Turn It Over To You

What’s one tip you plan on implementing from this guide?

Maybe you’ll start getting firearm training. Or maybe you’ll take an active shooter course.

Richard Douglas profile image

Author: Richard Douglas

Richard Douglas is a firearms expert and educator. His work has appeared on large publications like The National Interest, Daily Caller, American...

Richard Douglas is a firearms expert and educator. His work has appeared on large publications like The National Interest, Daily Caller, American Shooting Journal, and more. In his free time, he reviews...