The most likely time when you’ll be ambushed: when you’re entering or leaving your home, car, place of business, etc. Makes sense, right? When you’re moving from one environment to another it takes a while to get “wired” into your new space. Your situational awareness dips. And boy does it dip when people get into or out of their car.

It’s the Gary Numan effect. Our automobiles are climate controlled, locked and secured sanctuaries. Just standing next to our vehicle we feel safe. We’re sinking into obliviousness even before we open the door. Equally, when we get out of our car, it takes a while for the chill to wear off. Which is great — right until it isn’t.

Here are three ways not to get shot near your car.

1. Avoid stupid people in stupid places doing stupid things

Our victim was the target of an assassination. I don’t know the back story, but if you’re dealing with stupid people on a regular basis (e.g., a drug dealer or a woman with a psycho ex), you run the risk of them doing something stupid to you. Reexamining your social network and/or lifestyle might make your car journeys safer.

More prosaically, give bad neighborhoods a miss. You know: places where stupid people do stupid things. This avoidance rule also applies to clubs and concerts bound to attract “a bad element,” regardless of the neighborhood’s general character.

I’m not suggesting you limit your travels to known upmarket destinations. You can be ambushed outside of Neiman Marcus in broad daylight just as easily as you can at Johnny’s Roadside Bar at closing time. But an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of perforation.

2. Up your situational awareness around your car

I doubt our vic would have been able to mount a successful counterattack — or at least duck or put the car between himself and the shooter — if he’d turned and spotted his assailant at the beginning of his run. Less than two seconds expired from the time the bad guy entered the frame until the first shot.

In the case of a “simple mugging” you’d might have five seconds to do something before your attacker or attackers spring their trap. Or you might not. Bad guys know the value of speed, surprise and violence of action even better than you do.

Bottom line: you have to spot a bad guy WELL before he starts his assault.

Look for him/them before you get into your car. As you’re going to your car. And once you get there. Seriously. Always pause and surveil before you get into your car. Understand that as you turn your back to load your trunk or get into your vehicle, you are pretty much a sitting duck.

3. Have your gun immediately accessible

The first rule of a successful defensive gun use: have a gun. Your ability to quickly access your firearm is more important than the type or caliber of your gun or your marksmanship.

Practicing drawing from your everyday carry gun is more important than range time. So practice, wearing your everyday clothes. If you vary your clothing, gun or holster depending on the weather or situation, practice with each set-up.

If you’re carrying bags in both hands, well, that’s a problem.Remember: we’re hard-wired NOT to drop things. I know it sounds silly, but practice dropping bags and drawing. Your ability to free your hands in a heartbeat could be the difference between life and death.

61 Responses to Self-Defense Tip: Three Ways Not to Get Shot Near Your Car

  1. Pick up a smoking habit but never smoke in your car. Light one on the way to your car, use it as an excuse to look around because you can’t enter the vehicle until you finish your cancer stick.

    No, OK, that’s a bad idea but it did work for me for 10 years and it’s an inconspicuous way to check things out around you.

    Good article but I don’t see how the video applies.

    If someone has seriously targeted you for outright assassination, which is probably what happened here, you’re probably fucked anyway unless you have professional bodyguards or the people you hang out with are around constantly and everyone pays attention to their surroundings… which is effectively like having bodyguards. Eventually the people/person who want to dead you will catch you slipping and then you’re done and that’s if they’re intent on getting close to you. If they care enough to to use a rifle at medium to long range you’re just screwed.

    • You don’t need a fucking excuse to look around. You’re not the criminal. You don’t have to be inconspicuous. Be as conspicuous as you want. Bad guys prey on condition white folks so why pretend to be Inice the white zone? Be yellow pretending to be orange.
      You can show confidence when looking about. Like you are the one looking for an opportunity. Don’t treat it as fear. Treat it as you are the master of your domain and it becomes more rewarding than paranoia.

      • No offense intended here, but I’m gonna go out about 6″ from the trunk on a limb and say you’ve never actually lived in a truly bad neighborhood.

        You can think whatever you want but there are places where the wrong glance draws in the wolves. In those places you’d rather blend in than be the guy perceived to be eyeballing the wrong person(s).

        • Ummm, most of us, finding ourselves living in a bad neighborhood, move, not take up a ridiculous cigarette fake look around habit.

        • Don’t have to live in a bad hood, just stop for gas, have a business, or a friend/family/friend’s family in da hood. It’s all the same. Many of the suburban dwellers here really have no freakin’ clue how to survive just stoppin’ for gas in North STL around midnight. Looking around like you’re cock of the walk will surely attract the attention of those who really do run dat shit as it were.

          But I’m with you, pretty obvious this guy was targeted, and there is absolutely no way to live anything resembling a life with a bounty on your head. I don’t give a damn how good you actually may, in fact, be. You’re guaranteed vulnerable several times a day, and a motivated hitman/jealous ex/angry business partner will end you at some point.

        • Why would I stop for gas in North STL at midnight?

          I’ve moved far away from areas that require that sort of talent. And I don’t drive near them.

          You’ve postulated a skill set I never need to master. Which was the point of my first post. But I’m not always the most concise communicator.

        • So, you’ve been able to move yourself out of the threat matrix. Congrats. And? What about those who can’t?

          I’ve been many times in the (statistically) most dangerous places in the US, and have made it through unscathed – though sometimes with some confrontation. Not because I ‘wanted’ to, but for a variety of reasons, it was necessary.

          So what should I do again? Ignore business/personal interests simply because something might go wrong?

  2. I’ve been mocked for the way I check before leaving my vehicle and as I get out. But this got me thinking, and I realized I’m not anywhere near so alert when I return to it.

    Good point here!

    • I got mugged once. I now have my head on a swivel.
      My wife got mugged three times. She’s still oblivious.

      Sigh.

      • “I got mugged once. I now have my head on a swivel.

        Might I suggest that is why no one else has tried to mug you … because you now look like a hard target?

        “My wife got mugged three times. She’s still oblivious.

        Might I suggest that is why people continue to mug your wife … because she continues to look like an easy target?

        Not being mugged could be as simple as being vary aware of your surroundings … which projects to tentative attackers that you are NOT an easy target. So they will simply pass on you and wait for the next oblivious person.

    • I was more into ‘Are ‘Friends’ Electric?, This Wreckage, Down in the Park and such, but I’m a weird dude. That, and the PK Dick inspirations were interesting to me…

      • It wasn’t until a few years ago that I woke up and realized Philip K. was professional hard-core tweaker rather than just a guy who wrote strange stories.

        Needless to say, it put a new perspective on re-reading ‘The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch’. (And everything else of his)

        Now, when at the grocer, at the checkout stand there’s a display of this turkey jerky product called ‘Perky Jerkey’.

        So I find myself muttering to myself as I walk by: “That Perky Pat is such a slut…”

        • EDIT – Also needless to say, I hear they are giving the ‘Blade Runner’ a re-boot.

          Just.. no.

          You cannot improve on that perfection…

        • Yup, Philip had some issues with recreational chemicals. Somewhere after the 4th wife, it got really strange….

          I dunno about the BR reboot. It might actually be interesting, at least what I’ve seen so far. YMMV….

        • PKD was schizophrenic in a time when the “approved” treatment was lithium to the point of near coma. His RD use was an attempt to self medicate, and oddly enough, researchers today are studying MDMA for treatment of PTSD, among other diagnoses.

          Having lived with a schizophrenic, and been around a few acid heads, I feel comfortable in saying that the worlds of which Dick wrote are the worlds of the mentally ill, not of the intoxicated. I was told once “Her world is a different shape than ours.” PKDs worlds are certainly a different shape.

          And he’s buried a few yards from my Grandfather in Ft Morgan, CO.

  3. It is a good thing for the girl that she took off when she did. If she had waited another couple of seconds, she would have likely ended up dead as well.

    Also, I think you should word it as: “viciously murdered” rather than “executed”.

    To me, the word “executed” infers some sort of formal judicial process. The state executes murderers. The military executes traitors.
    Criminals murder people.

    Even if one does not agree with capital punishment, still there is a difference between murder and execution, much like their is a difference between justifiable homicide (self defense) and murder.

  4. This right here is why my feet are already on the ground before the car stops moving (when passenger), and why I still check rear security, especially while in parking lots and exiting stores.

    Old patrol habits are worth keeping…

  5. Take your seat belt off when you leave the road and don’t put it back on until you are back on the road moving again.

  6. I’d still think one would notice the sound of somebody running towards them, but maybe I just give everybody too much credit.

    Since we’re speculating, I vote for former best friends and criminals, and that woman came between them.

  7. I’d say this one was damn near impossible to come out of alive or uninjured even if he did spot the attacker and had time to draw and fire.

    She is taking his picture as he is ambushed so there was no chance of that happening since hes distracted.

  8. Did the shooting victim get up and stumble around behind the red car at the very end? At first I thought it was the shooter, but his shirt is read – the victims was dark. Hard to believe, since it looked like the shooter bent over to administer the coup de grace.

    On closer examination – doesn’t look like the victim either. Maybe just some random bystander trying to get away…

    • It was the girl(friend?) running away. She tripped as the bad guy fired a shot at her (the bullet appears to hit one of the cars)..

  9. Although it pays to stay alert, practicality dictates you cannot be alert every second of your life. Full blown paranoia will kill you long before an attack usually does. Your style of life and who you are involved with often dictates your likelihood of being attacked and or killed.

    Bars are notorious places of violence and death. Alcohol consumption often plays more roles in violent spur of the moment murders than gang wars over drugs.

    Making unnecessary shopping trips at night is another mistake bored people often make. Many times they could have done their shopping in daylight and often in less violent parts of town or the areas in which they live because they think “it will never happen to me”.

    Traveling or shopping alone also makes one much more vulnerable to being robbed or attacked.

    Walking down the sidewalk at night close to a building makes one more likely to be suddenly struck by someone hiding at the corner of a building. Walk towards the curb side of the sidewalk.

    Avoid convenience stores that have their windows blocked by stick on advertisements that blocks the view of the people inside the store. Robbers love to hit this type of store.

    If one ever sees a car at a convenience store backed into a parking space beware. Crooks often do this to make their getaway faster and easier.

    When in a convenience store watch customers that come into a store that are looking at everyone in it and are entering the store at a fast pace. Crooks usually betray themselves with their body movements prior to robbery.

    Trust your 6th senses, if something does not look right do not enter a store or do not stay ,leave immediately.

    Make sure your own weapon does not print. Many innocent gun owners were simply gunned down by the usually paranoid and totally untrained Cops that were called by a panicked store worker who saw a customer carrying a gun or saw the print of him carrying one.

    When trouble comes it usually comes so fast that even if you see it coming at first you will not want to believe it and that one split second of hesitation usually gets the person killed.

    On the other hand shooting at the slightest perceived sign of danger has often caused people to accidentally kill innocent people especially within your own home when often family members have come home unexpectedly or at the wrong time often which is enough to trip off the paranoid causing him to open fire before he has identified the perceived intruder and or evaluated the situation.

    • “Make sure your own weapon does not print. Many innocent gun owners were simply gunned down by the usually paranoid and totally untrained Cops…”

      Many? Horseshit. Cite your source…

      • I only know of one where a man was shot inside a Costco. I believe his weapon was “brandished” when he bent down to get something and his shirt came up enough to see it. Store worker reports it and cops arrive and in confusion shoot and kill him.

        • In Ohio this year a young man merely picked up a BB gun off the shelf in Walmart that was already out of the package (he did not take it out of the package it) Another customer went full paranoid and called the Cops and they rushed into the store and gunned the innocent man down killing him on the spot.

  10. When leaving a store I always surveil before going to my car. I never walk directly to my car. A little walk around can reveal if I’m being tracked.

  11. These videos that do not let you scroll past them have GOT to go.
    They make the articles and comments just about impossible to read.
    This time it was whataburger.

  12. Lhstr, When I approach my car I transfer from holster carry to cansealed hand, open car door and step in. Gun in hand until leaving aera, then holster weapon in car holster and buckle up. Thats my normal act. Now if I’m a target, well not much you can do about it. Do not approach vehicle if ppl. are around it, do it safely, trust no one except family and friends! Always keep aleart and watch your six.

      • Plus one.
        I had a liberal friend ask me (seriously and politely, not snarkily) if I was so afraid to go to the store I needed to carry a gun. I said “If I thought I needed a gun to go somewhere, I wouldn’t go there.”

        • Indeed! And once I got to give the perfect answer to the question: Are you expecting trouble?

          I told her no, that if I’d been expecting trouble I’d have brought my rifle.

          🙂

        • I had a liberal ask me what I’m afraid of (in reference to packing) and I replied “not a damn thing.” Which was a bit of an exaggeration, but made my point.

  13. “I know it sounds silly, but practice dropping bags and drawing.”

    It sounds sillier, but practice THROWING shit and drawing. If it’s light enough to throw quickly, and you throw it at the attacker’s face, you may gain just enough time to make a successful draw. It doesn’t have to hurt, or even make contact – just needs to distract him momentarily.

    • Absolutely! This is one of the drills I teach students in each self defense class. There are many ways to create a distraction, of course. We’ve heard the advice to toss your wallet (or purse) as far out to the SIDE as possible. The attacker’s eye will follow the item and give you at least a little time to do whatever it is you need to do… (Another good reason not to CARRY in the purse, of course. )

      We practice being grabbed from behind, things like that as well. No guarantees, but a massive stomp to the attacker’s foot would be a great momentary distraction.

  14. I’ve dated women who were as completely oblivious as that one in the video; but my wife watches while I’m handling doors/bags/etc, and I do the same for her. I noticed that she did this the first time we met, which was impressive (and a little unsettling). Therefore, I always try to keep an eye on her if I’m doing something, because she’s alwsys watching what I can’t see.

    On one occasion she spotted someone(s) making a beeline towards my weak side blindspot at a stop-&-rob near Ybor City, and just her seeing her eyes lock on the guys told me everything I needed to know, along with her dropping her purse. By the time I turned around they knew they had been made, that we were *not* easy targets, and promptly reversed direction into the darkness of the surrounding ‘hood.

    But something about this particular video tells me the girl was as a secondary target. My guess is the dead-guy was either diddling someone he shouldn’t have been, or someone decided she wasn’t available for whatever reason. That kind of mag dump at point-blank into a guy’s face tells me it was a personal beef rather than a professional one.

  15. Total lack of situational awareness is one thing that gets me all the time. John Farnam’s teachings, especially in the Street Smart Gun Book, which is an older book so it doesn’t get as much notice as it used to, listed the color code system for awareness and it works today. Most people walk around with blinders on with no notice of anything more than what’s in front of them. I have been around long enough to know that criminals look for that. Present yourself as an easy target and they will see you as an easy target.

  16. Jewbag Farago and his Lies About Guns. What a freaking joke this site is. Good for a laugh but the dumbest gun fags on the internet. Kike boy Farago should have stuck with peddling used cars. He knows as much about guns as some groid in Chicago. Probably holds his pistol sideways too.

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