Holy back in the battle Batman! Whitney Rushton changes magazines like Angelina Jolie changes diapers. Well, would if she didn’t have one Nanny per child. Anyway, nice work. Only Rushton’s scanning technique puts the “p” in perfunctory. I share the rabbi’s opinion that you should train exactly as you’d hope to perform in a gun fight. Or, in this case, after. If you checked your position as quickly as Whitney, you wouldn’t know if the 101st Airborne was standing at your six. So let’s go over the basics . . .
1. Make sure that the initial threat is over
Assure yourself that the perp is out of life-threatening (for you) options. If, for example, your downed adversary aims a gun at you again or gets up and heads towards you with an edged weapon, it may be time to resume hostilities.
2. Don’t be so quick to scan
When it is safe to do so, lower your weapon slightly (finger off the trigger), pause, observe and assess. If you train yourself to shoot and scan in rapid succession—without examining the target carefully—that’s what you’ll do in real life. Which could really suck.
3. Identify any accomplices’ relative position STAT
There’s always at least one caveat in self-defense shooting. If the downed aggressor had accomplices, you need to know their 10-40 ASAP. In that case, sure, scan as quickly as possible—realizing that finding new, more adequate cover or concealment could be more important than unleashing lethal force on a new target.
[If needs be, move. Or shoot. Or move and shoot.]
4. Scan from left to right methodically
If you don’t think there are any immediate threats (i.e. accomplices), now’s the time to scan properly. Lower your weapon slightly, and scan left to right. I’m not saying scan slowly; I’m saying scan carefully. Make sure you look upwards; check out upper windows in multi-level buildings.
5. Don’t mistake looking for seeing
Training exercise: have someone place an object in your surroundings or stand behind you with a number of fingers raised. Identify the mystery object’s location or the digit count after your scanning sequence.
Once you’ve made your preliminary observation arc, go back to your left, lower your weapon (low ready) further and look behind to your left. Swivel back relatively quickly and repeat the process to your right.
There’s lots to do now: holster (if it’s safe), leave the scene (if it isn’t) call 911 (always), instruct witnesses to remain, etc. But you have to scan the scene first. Properly. So practice. Take the time to do it right. Scan carelessly and the life you won’t save may be your own.