Non-Reg Civilian Scenarios and Tactical Applications
The techniques described so far will provide you with all of the fundamental tactical building blocks you need to clear the vast majority of room and hallway configurations you will encounter as a civilian in a single-person CQB situation. The techniques are described in a way to allow you to use them in an unlimited number of combinations to deal with unique situations.
While it is impossible to predict the most effective way to apply these techniques in a real fight, there are a number of key factors and considerations associated with each potential scenario. The following sections provide additional information to help you plan and execute your CQB techniques in the situations you are most likely to encounter as a private citizen.
In a home invasion situation, one or more criminals break into your house with the intention of stealing your property or harming you and your family members. There are many measures you can take to prevent this from happening or to increase your odds of survival should it happen. However, while escape is generally the best option, for the purposes of this course, assume that your preventative measures have failed and escape is not possible. You have no other choice but to confront the intruders using the CQB techniques you learned in this course.
The first thing you must do in a home invasion situation is call the police. As soon as the line connects, say the words home invasion and give your name and address even if they do not ask for it. If you are calling from a mobile phone, the police may not be able to locate you and in the stress of the situation you may not realize what phone you are using. Give your name and address immediately.
It is important to tell the police that you are armed and prepared to defend yourself from the intruders. This will help prevent the police from accidentally shooting you if they see you holding a gun. If you have time, it might also help to tell the police what you are wearing so they can identify you more easily. From there, follow the instructions of the person on the phone. He or she will instruct you to stay on the line if possible. Therefore, it is good to have a headset ready so you can keep both hands on your weapon and still communicate with the police. Give them as much information on the situation and the intruders as possible.
As you prepare to fight, understand that you have many advantages working in your favor. First, this is your home and you know the layout better than the intruders. Ideally, you have practiced using CQB techniques to clear your house many times and this will make your movements faster and smoother. Another advantage you have going for you is that you do not need to find and engage the intruders. If you hide in one place and avoid contact until police arrive, this is a satisfactory outcome. This means there is no need to expose yourself, cross hallways, stairs or other danger areas. Since you are on the defensive, you can isolate the fight to one or two rooms, simplifying the problem for you but making it harder for the intruder.
Another advantage is that closed doors work in your favor. The intruder has to open closed doors or break through locked or barricaded doors. This makes noise and buys you time to call the police, set up your defensive position or escape. Given this fact, if you have time you might want to barricade doors to protect yourself. Have a barricade plan and practice moving the furniture to barricade doors beforehand to ensure the furniture is not too heavy to move in an emergency situation. You can also purchase regular rubber doorstops to jam a door and make it more difficult to force open. Finally, be prepared to use improvised weapons in the event that you lose your gun or run out of ammunition. Improvised weapons could include broomsticks, chairs and throwing-objects.
If you are with your family, your priority is to keep them as protected as possible. Ideally, attempt to “back them into a corner” by putting them in a room or closet with only one entrance and exit. This allows you to guard that entrance and not have to worry about the intruders coming from different directions. Also, be sure to position your family away from any doors since doors tend to draw fire. Once your family is in the safest possible position tell them to be quiet at all costs and choose your own defensive position to guard them. Ideally you should be close to your family but not right next to them. If the intruders shoot at you, even if you get shot, you do not want the bullets to strike your family as well. Also, if the intruders shoot you, they might panic and run away. If your family is not visible the intruders may not go looking for them.
When choosing a defensive position, pick a place with good cover and concealment that allows you to surprise intruders from an unexpected angle as they turn a corner or walk into a room. It is useful to plan multiple fighting positions. Ideally, pick a good position, remain quiet and move as little as possible. Wait for the intruder to walk into your sights. If you shoot one intruder, be prepared for more intruders to follow. If necessary, fall back to another fighting position and close doors behind you. This might discourage intruders from following you or give you time to find a better defensive position.
Finally, remember that loud noise can be an effective weapon in a home invasion scenario. In some cases you might want to remain quiet and not give away your position. In other cases you might want to make as much noise as possible by yelling, blowing whistles or blasting an air horn. Loud noises have been known to intimidate intruders or make them nervous because all the commotion might lead to their arrest.
Deadly Attacker (Active Shooter)
Unfortunately, deadly attacker (active shooter) situations are becoming more and more common. Most deadly attackers are perpetrating acts of terrorism, are very committed, ready to die and seek to cause maximum death and destruction. A deadly attacker situation is one of the most dangerous situations you can face as a civilian. It is also important to realize that the term “active shooter” can be misleading since in some recent attacks, terrorists have killed large numbers of people with knives, cars or other deadly weapons. Therefore, while most of this section deals with a shooter, be aware that deadly attackers can use a wide range of weapons.
As soon as you hear shots fired, do not look around for the shooter. Immediately drop to the ground and take cover behind something solid. If possible, do not attempt to hide behind bushes, small trees, wood, drywall or other flimsy materials. Bullets will pass right through these objects. Instead, pick something big and heavy made of steel, concrete, rock or earth like a stone wall, vehicle engine block or wheel well. However, don’t waste time looking for the perfect piece of cover, look for the closest covered position.
Once you are behind cover, look around and try to evaluate the situation. Don’t be in a rush to draw your weapon. If you draw your weapon, you run the risk of being shot by first responders or other armed citizens who mistake you for the shooter in the stress of the situation. One thing that can help solve this problem is carrying a small, lightweight fluorescent vest on your person. Once you are behind cover, don the vest as quickly as possible. The vest will cause you stand out and make the police think twice before shooting you. There is also little risk of criminals or terrorists wearing orange vests to fool the police.
Whether or not you have a fluorescent vest available, still make an effort not to get shot by police or armed citizens. The best way to do this is keep your weapon holstered until you identify the shooter and have a clear shot. While you are doing this, look around and try to identify any police or armed citizens around you. People on your side who are in the fight will have different posture than people who are terrified or fleeing for their lives. If you see a fellow citizen, hiding behind cover with a weapon unholstered, call out to him or her and identify yourself as a “good guy.” Try to link up with other armed citizens so you can fight as a team from behind cover and don’t accidentally shoot each other. If you eliminate a threat, be prepared to re-holster your weapon or even raise your arms if police or citizens challenge you.
If you have to move in the open, move as quickly as possible in a dead run. Do not look down your weapon sights as you are running since shooting accurately on the move is very difficult. It is best to sprint as fast as possible to a covered position, then bring your weapon up to shoot from a more stable platform.
Sniper attacks are different than an active shooter with an automatic weapon and require a different response. A sniper fires precision shots from a distance, usually from a concealed position. This means that a sniper is much more difficult to spot and engage with a small weapon like a concealed pistol. Once you hear shots, immediately drop to the ground and crawl to cover. If the shots are spaced out, accurate and you cannot see the shooter, it is probably best to remain in place and take cover. Leaving your covered position and attempting to go after the sniper with a pistol would offer a low chance of success.
Holdup or Armed Robbery
If you are in a store or bank during a hold-up, it can be dangerous to attempt to resolve the situation yourself. The best option is to stay down and wait for the police to arrive. However, if it appears that innocent lives are at risk and the police will not arrive in time, you may decide to take action to stop the gunman.
As soon as the action starts, your first objective is to run away and create as much distance between you and the gunman as possible. Do not run away in a straight line but rather try to use corners and cover to your advantage. The gunman will probably not shoot at you just for running away. If possible, run into another room, run out the back exit or run and hide behind a desk or store aisle. If the gunman can see you, it will be hard for you to draw your weapon and engage if the gunman’s weapon is already out. If you create distance and the gunman cannot see you, it will be easier to draw your weapon and fire an aimed shot from a covered position if you decide to do so.
Once you are in a covered position, stay out of sight but attempt to hear what is going on. Time your move for a moment when the gunman is distracted, talking or yelling. Once you identify your target, draw your weapon and engage. Ideally, shoot around the cover instead of popping your head up over it. Stay low if possible and shoot from a crouched position. Not only will this reduce your vulnerability but it will also raise the trajectory of your bullets so stray rounds will go into the ceiling instead of hitting other innocent people. When firing, expose as little of your body as possible and take maximum advantage of cover and concealment.
In a holdup or armed robbery, the attackers want to take what they came for and get away as quickly as possible. They are only threatening you because you can get in their way or call for help. In a hostage situation, the attackers will make a deliberate effort to control you and prevent your escape and may be less hesitant to shoot you if you are not compliant. For all these reasons, hostage situations are much more dangerous than regular holdups or robberies.
In general, the best course of action in a hostage situation is to lie low, not draw attention to yourself and wait for a hostage rescue team to arrive. However, if you decide to resist, your best chance is to do so early in the chaotic atmosphere of the initial attack, while the hostages are still panicking and out of control. If you see the hostage taker wearing a suicide vest or showing evidence of being part of an extremist group, you might want to take your chances and try to end the fight early.
If you manage to get outside the terrorists’ line of sight, it is better not draw your weapon and go back into the fight unless absolutely necessary. Instead, it is preferable to try to escape. By escaping and turning yourself over to authorities you might be able to provide valuable information to help the hostage rescue team establish an assault plan.