View Full Version : Distance

May 23, 2011, 01:11 AM
I read posts about situational awareness,which of course is very important, but don't let anyone get within striking distance, be it 6' or 21'. We've all stood in line @ the check out, a passenger getting in a car next to you in a mall parking lot. In Phoenix, the prospective jurors have to walk by blocks of winos & crazy derelicts begging,etc. We just cannot live in an always safe distance from potentially BG's. Your thoughts?

KC AutoBob
May 23, 2011, 01:45 AM
A good question, Jeremiah/AZ,
Somehow, life never seems to be ideal; there are some things for which there is no ideal solution. Only simple-minded answers. Insufficient distance=no time for reaction. Then, I say, act as if you are invulnerable. I work in a prison, locked up with crazies. I carry no sidearm, only a stick and some pepper spray. In the middle of it all, surrounded and face to face, at best. I act invulnerable, knowing otherwise. What else to do? I have survived 14 years, so far, unharmed...

May 23, 2011, 02:48 AM
. . .don't let anyone get within striking distance . . .

I think "don't let any potential threat get within striking distance" would be a better phrasing. I have no problem getting within 21' of the soccer mom at the grocery store. Keep on your toes, and pick your proverbial battles.

As an aside, the VAST MAJORITY of people you will encounter in life are generally good/harmless. Taking that into consideration, I don't consider many people to be a threat unless they give me a good reason.

old bear
May 23, 2011, 11:09 AM
You are correct, we can't live in a totally safe world. I think that most of us understand that there are many things we can do to make ourselves a little safer. First when ever possible keep out of dangerous areas. Two be aware of who is close to our personal zone, in line that the grocery, movies, restaurant, or parking lots. In parking lots if someone is getting into the car next to me I will often wait by the hood or trunk of the car, not between our cars. This offers a safe distance for BOTH of us, and prevents door dings.

We should not lead our lives in total fear but we can and should be aware of our Surroundings and what is happening around us.

May 23, 2011, 11:22 AM
More important than not letting anyone in striking distance is having a plan in case they attack you. In the martial arts I practice, it is common to get closer to you opponent and give him a chance, because you know when he's gonna strike.

"Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet."

May 23, 2011, 11:43 AM
Situational awareness is great in theory, but is no way fool proof in practice. Life has too many distractions and concerns to always be on alert.

Thus, it is important to develop combative skills that create distance.

May 23, 2011, 11:59 AM
Crazy88 said it best.

For me thinking back on the last 20 years or so of concealed carry I cannot think of a time that I didn't know the potential threat in advance. I don't think its particularly hard to tell the difference although a bad guy that looks and acts like a decent person could certainly fool me.

Now how do you stop or keep a potential threat a safe distance away from you? Do you have a plan for that?

May 23, 2011, 12:25 PM
Most of the time the body language and verbal clues give the attacker away.

I would not allow him within 6' of me. If he pressed that, get offof the X or the angle of attack. Respond accordingly. But DISTANCE is critical. Do not allow an obvious attacker that luxury.

May 23, 2011, 12:46 PM
To me, situational awareness is not about maintaining distance from all possible threats. Sometimes, as the original poster illustrated, it is not practical to maintain 20 feet from all possible (including unknown) threats.

Situational awareness is about maintaining an awareness of what is going on around you. It is about evaluating the relative threat levels that seem to exists. You constantly rate those levels on an ever changing basis and assign priorities to as many as you are able; then proceed as you deem best.

I was first introduced to thinking and noticing what is going on while out in public when I first attended Gunsite decades ago. Jeff Cooper explained the 4 color code system of alertness and how it related to situational awareness.

I submit that most people do not practice this sort of situational awareness. I concur with Jeff Cooper that most people are forever on White.

I have pointed out to my children many times while walking through parking lots, how people (particularly women) seem to put on blinders to what is going on around them as they move through a parking lot. I point out how these people are looking down and focusing on the ground 10 feet in front of them, or are looking in their purse for many seconds.

My basic goal is to be aware of any person before they get within 20 feet. This requires lots of head and eye movement. On occasion I have noticed that someone has seen my level of alertness and avoided coming into proximity to me.

May 23, 2011, 02:17 PM
As has everyone else, . . . I too have been fooled by people, . . . but the vast majority of time, . . . if my gut tells me that this ain't good, . . . well, . . . it ain't good.

That has kept me alive for 66+, . . . and yet allows me to stand between the soccer mom and the wanna-be gansta' rapper in the Wally world check out line.

BUT, . . . I still favor the corner table in the restaurant (near the exit), . . . I stop my vehicle with turn out distance behind other vehicles, . . . I basically carry 24/7 (or am near one) and I like to think that I pretty much stay in condition light yellow at all times.

Works for me. YMMV

May God bless,

May 23, 2011, 02:49 PM
We've all stood in line @ the check out, a passenger getting in a car next to you in a mall parking lot. In Phoenix, the prospective jurors have to walk by blocks of winos & crazy derelicts begging,etc. We just cannot live in an always safe distance from potentially BG's. Your thoughts?

This is exactly why I carry a P3AT in my front left pocket in addition to my main gun in a holster on my right side. When I'm close to people I don't know, I have my left hand on the gun. There's no quicker draw and there's no indication that I'm prepared for an attack.

We've all been in situations where we've had to shake hands with someone we don't know and have no reason to trust. Giving control of your strong hand to a stranger is a big tactical no-no, but often tough to avoid.
Having a gun right in your hand gives you a huge advantage.

May 23, 2011, 02:57 PM
I was in London, getting ready to get on the tube. A guy with a blue mohawk came out of nowhere and got in my face. I have no idea what he said, I took a step back to kick him, I remember thinking "I want to make sure I kick him out onto the rails." Before I kicked him his friend pushed him and said something like "Knock it off you sod, youre going to get yourself killed." And his friend apologized to me. I specifically remember his friend saying to him "You're going to get yourself killed." I was so freaked out I was going to try to step-ove-side-kick him off the platform.

I think the guy came around a corner from my left, but it seemed like one second he wasn't there and the next he was inches from my face.

It's a reminder to me how fast things can happen.

I mean if I can miss a guy with a blue mohawk, then I guess my situational awareness sucks.

May 23, 2011, 03:20 PM
Not letting a potential threat get close is a good idea in general, but there are those of us for whom that approach won't work well. First, there are people who need to spend significant amounts of time in crowds or conditions where they can't see somebody coming til they're close. Second, there are those of us who see poorly.

My vision is bad; I'm blind in one eye and have no peripheral vision in the remaining eye. (It's bad enough that I quit driving a couple of years ago.) I wouldn't necessarily recognize somebody I knew much farther than 20-30 feet away. (At 30 feet, I don't see faces clearly, although movement and posture often make up for that.) I also wouldn't see the expression on a stranger's face before that stranger got within easy attacking distance.

Because I know that I can't count on spotting a threat coming at me til it's close, I work hard on developing the skills necessary to deal with emergencies at close quarters. I practice shooting at from 10 feet to 10 meters; no point in developing good skills at 50 meters when I would probably not see a threat well enough at that distance to know that it was time to shoot. While my carry gun is concealable, it's on the large side for it (S&W M60 3" revolver), and is holstered in a custom-made leather holster designed to fit that exact gun and model. I can count on being able to draw it quickly (I've practiced quite a bit) and shoot it without huge amounts of recoil throwing me off.

I also have pepper spray clipped to the belt or in a pocket within quick reach. That way, if I'm in a crowd and a threat pops up, I have the option of using something that can slow or distract an attacker without putting his or her life, or that of innocent bystanders, at significant risk.

In the summers, I often open carry because that way, I can have the gun within quick reach and not have to worry about concealing it while wearing shorts and a t-shirt. There are risks associated with open carry; I wouldn't do this in a crowd or around children in most cases. But there are plenty of circumstances when the tradeoff of easy access and comfortable carry is worth the extra vigilance.

Fortunately, being a middle-aged, overweight female, I'm not a threatening figure to most people, and live in a part of the country where open carry is generally accepted. That means I don't usually have to worry about scared or nervous people or freakouts at the sight of <gasp> A GUN. ;)

May 23, 2011, 03:22 PM
Having at least some training in hand to hand is a useful thing, precisely because sometimes people simply will be right up close. Having a gun, and being good with a gun, only help if one can get to the gun.

Knowing how to punch, kick, grapple, and evade can greatly increase the odds of getting to the gun.

May 23, 2011, 03:50 PM
Let me throw a wrench into this, if I may. Say you have determined in your mind that you want to stay 10 feet away from questionable looking people. Allow me to stereotype. A guy with gang tattoo’s, greasy hair, scraggly beard, you name it. This guy is 11 feet away from you, looking directly at you, and may be heading closer. If you turn away, or angle away, you are showing signs of being afraid. Street criminals key on these signs. They can tell you are afraid, and may think you’re easy prey. Your actions may promote an attack. But if you hold your head high, stand tall and firm, the street criminal will take this as a sign of courage, dominance, a person that is street smart and not afraid of a gang banger. The street criminal would leave that person alone.

Or….. Doesn’t it work that way? I don’t know for sure. I live in a village of 75 people, and the next town over has only 6000 with very little crime.

May 23, 2011, 04:20 PM
You present a good point there Mike38. Criminals prey on weakness.

May 23, 2011, 04:23 PM
Or….. Doesn’t it work that way?

It works that way MOST of the time.

My tactic when being obviously encroached upon by a weirdO is to tell them that they are close enough. Then ask what they want. If they continue to close on me, depending on speed, I then announce that I have no money by saying "DON'T ROB ME I HAVE NO MONEY". Both times I have used that it has stopped the advance instantly. I guess they think I'm crazy since they didn't say they were robbing me. A friend on mine developed this tactic and has used it successfully many times. He works at night and in rough neighborhoods.

May 23, 2011, 05:08 PM
If someone, including a BG, wants to get close to you they will have no problem in accomplishing this. Most BG's that want to put hands on you will act normal or ignore you or hide from you behind something and then strike at the very last second when they are 5 ft or less.

In these scenarios, you must have a plan to keep the BG off you (this is where martial arts comes in handy) and away from the gun while you are in hand-to-hand combat ... during this brief moment you then need to determine whether to pull your weapon or continue with hand-to-hand.

May 23, 2011, 05:26 PM
Knowing how to punch, kick, grapple, and evade can greatly increase the odds of getting to the gun.

I have a question.

Are the people we are talking about armed? If not, how are we justified in "getting to the gun"?

If they are armed, the BG's must beat their prey into submission and then present their weapon.

May 23, 2011, 05:42 PM
Most BG's that want to put hands on you will act normal or ignore you or hide from you behind something and then strike at the very last second when they are 5 ft or less.

I haven't been fooled yet so they aren't able to act "normal" enough. As for the pounce attack, this is precisely why we are taught to go wide around corners, walk in the middle of the parking lot and not right behind the cars, and to look for such hides regularly.

Japles idea of having instant access is extremely advantageous should your radar fail or if someone is acting suspicious but hasn't done anything to warrant pulling.

I simply pop open the top of my fanny pack and cross my hands over the bag with one being on the gun. Looks very polite yet allows for an instant draw.

May 23, 2011, 05:53 PM
Are the people we are talking about armed? If not, how are we justified in "getting to the gun"?

You can get to the gun in a way as to not alarm the potential bad guy yet still give you instant access should the dynamics of the encounter turn justifiable. If you wait it could be to late. If you are to early you may get in trouble with the law. If you access secretly .....just right and very legal.

May 23, 2011, 06:01 PM
Personally I have put the smartphone away ... and more than just glance at passersby. I scrutinize and prioritize everyone with a CPA that will put them inside my personal threat zone. Then I look for available cover/concealment and alternate avenues of advance or escape.

After a while this "multi-tasking" becomes second nature and is quickly accomplished without much effort.

May 23, 2011, 06:37 PM
shootniron, I don't enter into bar fights, mutual combat, etc.

Where I live, robbery is a forcible felony. If somebody wants to mug me, but didn't bring a weapon, that would be poor planning on his part, as deadly force is lawful for defense against robbery.

This is not the case in many jurisdictions, but is the case in many southern and southwestern jurisdictions.

Now, if it turned out that I could handle the assailant quickly using bare hands, then fine. But that would mean one of two things - either I got a fast takedown or TKO on the guy when he first made contact, or else he opted to back off when his attack went south.

Note: The last time I had a guy take a swing at me, it was some idiot who had mistaken me for some other guy he was going to fight in the parking lot of a Hooter's. Came in from my left side, and I picked his right with my own, and slipped around to his right rear flank. Reflex action from many years of aikido, plus some kenpo. Guy looked pretty shocked, said, "Sorry man, thought you were somebody else..." and I let him leave.

Didn't even have to throw a punch, or lock him up, so I definitely wouldn't have drawn on him.

But by the same token, at my university, years ago, a guy took a punch, fell, hit his head on a car bumper, and never woke up.

I don't casually enter into fights, and if somebody forces one on me, I will assume very bad intentions.

May 23, 2011, 06:55 PM
It is not possible to keep people away from you. As the OP stated you are in lines, shopping at grocery stores, walking through a crowded mall or in a parking lot. One can try to be aware of surroundings, but to keep everyone at a 21 ft distance is impossible.

May 23, 2011, 07:25 PM

Thanks for explaining that as I was confused as to the situation and my state is the same as yours as to the forcible felony.

As always....I have another question.

Is it necessary in this scenario that the attacker express his intent or is the act of the attack the manifestation of the attackers intent of forcible felony?

May 23, 2011, 07:47 PM
Shootniron, assuming he doesn't state it's a robbery, he's going to kill you, etc, now you are back to the reasonable man standard.

Unless he is breaking into your home or occupied vehicle, in which case where I live we are back to forcible felonies.