Needless to say, ICP’s online active shooter training course makes no mention of armed self-defense. Why would it? Most businesses want nothing to do with armed employees. One word: lawsuits. Which they won’t face if an active shooter kills a bunch of disarmed employees.

That’s the cold-blooded truth. But the idea of facing an active shooter while armed raises an interesting question: run, hide or shoot?

I was at my daughter’s choir concert the other night wondering what I’d do if someone burst in, guns a’ blazing.

My most important mission: making sure my genetic progeny was safe. Could I get to her in a crowd of hundreds? Unlikely. But worth trying. And a good reason to know where she was in the crowd at all times.

More to the point, could I really abandon other children and unarmed adults to mass murder, even if it meant leaving my daughter fatherless?

Of course, I was disarmed at the concert. I’d have had to run back to my car and tool-up. And then go back in. In the intervening time, the SWAT team would be racing to the scene. If they saw me holding a gun I’d be dead.

A sucky situation made particularly sucky by Bush the Elder’s Gun Free School Zones Act.

Anyway, would you take on an active shooter or shooters if you didn’t have to? Would you return to the scene of the crime — school or business — to protect innocent life?

God help me, but if it wasn’t the public square, if I knew the people targeted, I would. You?

64 Responses to Question of the Day: Active Shooter…Run, Hide or Fight?

    • Escape, evade(in alternate order depending on the situation), resist and you’ll survive…likely…maybe. You have to be a a problem solver, looking for the exit, looking for space which equals time, and cover, or concealment failing that. Last resort, as you perceive it at the time is to engage. As you perceive it because when s hits the fan, nothing will make sense, no plan will survive and you’ll remember little of what really happened.

    • Do we People of the Gun have a higher incidence of nail fungus than the general population?
      Hope so otherwise why are these ads targeted at us? Actually I don’t hope so!
      The python eating the actress whose looks would now surprise me or the Nazi artifacts found buried beneath the field where the cheerleading incidents I’ve yet to see…that’s more appropriate targeting.
      I certainly know eating while scanning Truth About Guns can be stomach wrenching.

  1. It depends entirely on the threat. If it is a sole gunman or knife wielder, sure, I would respond with lethal force.

    If it were an organized team with automatic weapons, hell no. I am out of there!

    Something in between is a puzzler. At some level there is a Go/ No Go point. I’m not sure where exactly that is , for me. Hopefully I will never find out.

    • See. What you’re doing there is calculating the probability of success. Success in this case can be defined as getting your kid and getting out versus saving everyone else so you can sleep better that night. It would suck to have to leave others to their fate but not as much as sharing that fate.
      Bottom line – those poorly considered gun free zones need to be liberated.

      • I would retreat with who/what I absolutely need. ‘leaving it to the professionals’ avoids a lot of the legalities. Besides, I’ve had enough time around “people” that no one else could make it out alive and It wouldn’t affect my sleep one bit.

        It also depends on the situation… if the attacker is in my direct path of escape, then respond with lethal force, if hes in the other room, I’m out the window as the door would be suicide…

      • Kobayashi Maru.

        Freezes one in place, doesn’t it?

        To defend children you don’t know, and lose your own because you diverted to the unknowns. To lose both options because you chose your child over other children, only to be defeated bye the chaos of the crowd, and seeing your child also killed.

        The answer you choose must be made before any event happens, than execute as best you can. “In the moment” is the wrong time to contemplate and act.

        • “Everybody’s got a plan until they get punched in the nose.”- Mike Tyson

          Seemed an appropriate application.
          I would say that the only way out is to do what Kirk did.
          Cheat.
          If I cheated in that kind of scenario and won, yep, I could sleep at night…

        • It wasn’t cheating, it was thinking around and over the problem, instead of through. An active shooter is not a “fair” scenario. That means it has much in common with Kobayashi Maru, and therefore there is no such thing as cheating, merely performing an action unexpected by the designers of the excercise.

        • “It wasn’t cheating, it was thinking around and over the problem, instead of through.”

          While I unreservedly agree, Starfleet Academy remains unamused.

  2. I’m not insane. I read books about, and took training classes on, how to click those oddly alluring toenail fungus ads, and SURVIVE! I visualize, dry fire, and weekly travel to a remote location and empty a few clips.

    • “…empty a few clips.”

      As a reader here, you truly lack any technical knowledge of firearms. What you are feebly trying to describe is a “clipazine”, used in a scary rifle with a thing in the back that goes up, and can fire 100 bullets in a second, or less.

      Doesn’t anybody learn anything here, anymore?

      • Hey now! Some of us still shoot WWI/ WWII era weapons on occasion or even regularly. Clip is entirely appropriate.

        • “Hey now! Some of us still shoot WWI/ WWII era weapons…”

          Yeah, true enough. But if I took that into account, there would be no room for snarky comments ridiculing the snowflakes, and all that jazz.

  3. The night clerk at 7-11 should be able to successfully sue Southland Corp. for any harm to themselves that comes from being unable to defend themselves against an armed robber.

  4. I carry at all school functions, by federal law if you have the permission slip you are exempt. YMMV in your state. But yeah, my kid first, all kids second, most every adult for themselves. If I’m solo somewhere and TSHTF just follow the trail of brass to where the body is, mine or the “bad guy’s”, at least that’s my intent up to the point where I hear the pop or see a muzzle flash. Not gonna go charging in, but if the target is identified and cover provides the opportunity to engage, move in, not out. SWAT will probably shoot you whether you have iron in hand or not, it’s what they do, just part of the bargain.

  5. Run, hide, fight? Yes.

    Now I want to see a course on what to do when confronted by an active trucker.

  6. Hard to answer the question as there are so many variables.

    It could depend on where you are sitting when the shooting starts. Are you next to the door the shooter just came through with a clear shot? Might be best to take it quickly.

    Are you in the back requiring you to shoot over or through a crowd of people? Might be best to take cover.

    Are you near another exit to the building? Might be best to evacuate the scene and call 911, don’t assume someone else will. From there you can choose to either stay at the door and contain the situation with your weapon or continue to evacuate.

    And then the whole thought process changes if your child is stuck inside the room or other friends or family. I guess the best advice is anytime you are in a crowd, always know where the 2 closest exits are and be aware of your surroundings.

  7. I’ve got a bad hip, so if I choose to run I’ll probably be the second last one out the door next to the kid in the wheelchair, so that kind of narrows it down to hide or fight. Which one, I’ll find out if it happens. I’m not a coward, I’ve just never been tested.

    • Well, that narrows things down & should cut reaction time, since it’d be tough to hide. And you’ll get the drop on ’em for sure, because nobody expects the guy in a wheelchair to come up with a handcannon.

    • Somebody had to do this:
      “Even if I die and doing so saves a handful of people, it’s worth it.”

      “….and doing so saves even one life….”

  8. Depends on the situation. I can imagine scenarios where I would attempt each of those three options.

  9. Was working at an East Coast Casino on a Friday night about 22 years ago. While crossing the crowded casino floor I spotted a guy walking through the crowd brandishing a golf club, like he was on a mission or something. He just carried it like one might carry a weapon as opposed to a treasured piece of sporting equipment. I really thought he was up to no good.

    I had a full tool pouch including a short wrecking bar about eighteen inches long. I started to follow him while keeping an eye out for a security officer. He approached a small group of uniformed security talking with a couple of security managers in suits. He raised the club as if to hit one. I was winding up with my wrecking bar when another suited security officer grabbed my arm from behind. Turns out the guy with the golf club was a plainclothes security officer, had confiscated the club from a patron and had no intention of really striking anyone. He was just fooling around. I almost clocked him with that bar. There were several lessons learned by all that night.

  10. I am torn. From a previous career in military law enforcement, my instinct is to save as many lives as I can. Today, knowing that every leftist I save will probably sue me for causing emotional distress for using violence to stop the violence, I am inclined to save the life of me and my family, and then let everyone else fend for themselves. It sounds bad, but I suspect that is what we have become as a society.

    • More than a few leftists have been very clear that they don’t want to be saved by non-LEO “Good Guys With A Gun”.

        • A “red circle with a red diagonal line” through it over the heart should suffice, worn on any/every garment used as “outerwear” (it’s better than a pink triangle or yellow star).

    • It’s pitiful but I have to agree. Me and mine I fight for. Everyone else is on there own. I couldn’t imagine saying these words 30 years ago.

      • It’s scary to think of how bad it would’ve been when ‘ol Charlie Whitman got up on that tower, if people back then had acted like they do now. And no way would there be a nearly immediate base-of-fire from fellow citizens to help keep him pinned down nowadays.

        Yet another reason why I like living & working where I do; the corporate stores tend to look the other way (concealed means concealed), and the cops are full aware that a *lot* of people in the vicinity are going to be armed.

        One day at work a local nutcase came into my receiving backroom at Walmart, causing a ruckus and threatening to cut throats. I made the call on my radio & he went off hollering towards Tire & Lube while being tailed by management; most customers scattered, but I noticed at least two immediately duck behind displays and clear leather…. but I don’t think they had any family. I guarantee that there were plenty other customers who had pistols too, but they were unassing the AO with their spouse/kids.

  11. My army reserve unit was required to watch the DOD’s version of the run hide fight video. There were more than a few ironic chuckles considering we are required by law to be disarmed on post.

  12. You know in a surprise attack situation I can support almost every aspect of the run hide fight mantra. The part that gets me is why do I have to improvise a weapon?

    Seems to me if the bad guy can decide to bring a weapon I should have the same freedom as well.

    • Barring physical searches and/or metal detectors, I ignore those damn ‘unarmed victim zone’ signs. If there are searches and/or metal detectors, they don’t need my business. One time (didn’t know they were going to check, no signs posted) I stood there & went right thru; concealed means concealed. And a firearm is not the only type of weapon carried.

  13. Depends on the situation: as a wise man once said, incoming fire has the right of way. If not being shot at at this moment, be sure to connect with the active shooter ASAP, probably with a head shot because he will be wearing body armor. Keep shooting until you run out of bullets even if he is down to ensure the safety of innocents around you. Reload and then shoot some more. Use cover, concealment and movement to your advantage as always, but understand that it is vital to get hits on the active shooter(s) as soon as possible.

    • Head shots are very hard unless you are in the shooter’s face and as the instructor said in the last class I tool “there are no misses in a DGU.” Your average Joe/Jane is walking around with a subcompact or pocket pistol and is going to have a hard time hitting center mass beyond 5-7 yards let alone the head. If you are serious about anything more than immediate self protection you should be carrying something like an XD/M Compact at a minimum.

      • That’s a pretty specific gun, wouldn’t a g19 or a sig 320 compact work? Most people don’t carry for active shooter threats. A run in with opportunistic bad guys is far more likely and common for me and my habits. When I do go to bigger gatherings I up gun but that’s not so often.

  14. On a related note – someone(s) is going to figure out society’s over reliance on cell phones. Jammers are not hard to come by. Put that together with an active shooter and . . . Heck, someone could just pick a target based on a lack of coverage.

  15. Sure, if not me, who will? The first responsibility of a citizen is to be the first line of defense against enemies, foreign and domestic, inflicting violence against fellow citizens. We’re all Americans, after all.

    As for worrying about police responding to an active shooter situation? Not much. The typical response by the “thin blue line” has been hours. The shooter(s) and/or I, will be wounded, or dead; long before they actually get on scene and in doors, to draw chalk lines around the bodies.

  16. I can’t stand to be around crowds of people. That eliminates just about any potential that I’ll be forced to do anything.

  17. It’s a difficult question because I think it would depend on the situation. I would have to assess the situation then react. Different situations would be different reactions.

  18. If I can get me and mine out, then everyone else is on their own. Sounds heartless but… nope, it’s heartless. I’m fine with that tho.

  19. It’s getting pretty hard not to run from ttag, or hide from the nail fungus ads.
    Wtf. Put some gun ads up you poor bastards!

    • They want you to *fight* nail fungus!

      That said… uBlock Origin does a pretty good job. My page is fungus-free. 🙂

  20. Gun free act does not apply if you have a CCL. Your problem is with the state you reside in, not the Feds.

  21. Almost all are missing the point. Training by ICP is NOT designed to help you survive. Instead the primary purpose is to shield businesses that contract for ICP’s services from lawsuits after such a shooting. It’s butt covering.
    I was forced to sit through a similar training program at a rural Deep South branch of a business. In the “recognize” segment the trainer said that the most dangerous were middle-aged white southern males who liked guns. The trainer had no response when I pointed out that, with the exception of a lone black guy, two females, and a couple of Yankee engineers, EVERYONE fit into that category. He didn’t like it when I said “According to your stats this facility should have monthly, if not weekly, shootings but the only thing that gets killed around here are deer.”

    • “In the “recognize” segment the trainer said that the most dangerous were middle-aged white southern males who liked guns.”

      Perfect opportunity for a demand for statistics of all mass shootings in the US. The underlying theory is that because some demographic has a reputation for being gun-friendly, it is more likely that people in that demographic are then more likely to become deranged shooters. Akin to “people who ride in vehicles are more likely to be in a vehicle accident than those who don’t.” Which actually “proves” nothing.

    • “Which they won’t face [lawsuits] if an active shooter kills a bunch of disarmed employees.” I’d be willing to take such a case on a contingency fee in an area with the right jury pool. If it happened to in your place of employment, it sounds like it would make for a pretty compelling case, if your company disarms its employees.

      All you need is a jury of twelve that consider (or can be convinced) it’s unreasonable to disarm people and that being disarmed caused the injury in question. If it can be shown that the ICP (or similar) instruction gives false or useless information, that would also help in a such case. Even a hung jury would do a lot to convince companies to not be gun free zones.

  22. If you ever see me running away from gunfire, you can bet your bank account I’m going for another weapon, securing an alternate objective, trying to break contact for a better firing position, or it’s one of those things where you should try and keep up!

    Since I am legally disallowed the right to carry a firearm both because I am under 21 and because I spend most of my days in a nice government owned building, I have a number of firearms in the closest legal place (my car) and EDC a bag full of hard armor that also happens to conveniently double as my laptop bag. Whenever I am not in that nice government building there is usually a subloaded bag with a gun/holster, a distraction device, several spare mags, and a quick mount for a belt knife.

    I do am not going to fuck around with my thumb up my ass while someone else kills other people. I don’t care if it’s Jesus himself trying to shoot up a Neo-Nazi convention. I will do my best to save lives.

  23. I’d get my family members out of there. If it’s just me there, I’m running like hell. I’m not a hero; the only reason why I carry is in case the shooter is between me and the exit. Better to be a living coward than a dead hero.

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