Survival Guide: How to Survive an Active Shooter Part 2

  • Posted on: 14 October 2016
  • By: Jim jones
man with gun

Lets face it, if you find yourself confronted with this scenario, you are truly having a bad day. Short of being armed yourself and well trained with your weapon, you will be left with very few options in a situation like this.

That is not to say you should just cower in a ball squealing for mercy and hope your prayers are answered. In fact, survival protocol dictates that you do everything in your power to live another day. To that end we will delve into part 2 of the "How to survive an active shooter" series.

In part 1 of this series, which again is my interpretation of the book by Clint Emerson, 100 Deadly Skills: The SEAL Operatives' Guide.... we talked about the difference between "cover" and "concealment". The distinction here is important. Whether faced with a lone gunman or a band of terrorists, a civilian's 3 available tactics are to run, hide or fight. Running obviously being the first choice and fighting the last resort.


If there is enough space between you and the perpetrator and there is a clear avenue of escape, consider making a run for it. Leave your belongings behind and and run with a plan in place. That plan bein to run in an unpredictable direction, zigzagging and ducking into and out of cover positions.

It is harder for a shooter to hit a target that is moving sporadically.

If you are with small children or immobilized for any reason running will not be a viable option for you.


If a swift exit is not possible, your next move is to find the safest place you can to hide and secure the position as best you can. Hide out of sight from the shooter, but do not go blind to their location. Silence cell phones and other digital devices and try to put something in between you and the shooter.

If there is an adjacent room you can get to, lock and barricade the door and get behind whatever solid objects are available. Desks, tables, books etc. 

Call out for help to get first responders on the scene. Even a sign in the window if no other options present themselves.

In the event that you are hiding from grenades or other explosives, Clint Emerson suggests to lay on your belly with feet toward the explosion, legs crossed to protect femoral arteries and mouth open (to prevent pressure from rupturing lungs). Cover ears with palms and fingers interlocked on the back of your head to protect the brain.


Fighting is an option of last resort, to be used only when all other options are no longer viable. But it is important to understand that fighting is option. If you have a chance to formulate a plan with a group of would be victims or have to go it alone, it is possible to disarm and take down an armed attacker.

Most attackers will be caught off guard by an act of aggression toward them by an unarmed target. So there is a chance to capitalize on the element of surprise. 

Someone with professional training is at an advantage over one without, but even untrained people, especially when acting in a group, can be of service. The goal here is to control the weapon while incapacitating the attacker. Either knock him out cold, or take him to the ground and escape.

When attacking, do so with extreme violence and aggression. Use any and all improvised weapons at your disposal. Sporting goods, furniture, any hard or dense objects you can find. Blind the attacker with salt or pepper, or anything else that burns the eyes.

When striking the attacker, continue to do so until there is no movement. Do not stop.


There are no happy endings when something like this happens. The only good that can come of it is you making it out alive. Act consciously at all times, even if there are very few seconds to make decisions.

Having thought this much about a scenario like this puts you ahead of the game if you are ever faced with this situation.

Photo credit: MockLogic via / CC BY