Active Shooter Defense Techniques: Q&A With The Experts

Active Shooter Defense Techniques: Q&A With The Experts

This week, we take a question on active shooter defense techniques from an SOS subscriber, who asked the following:

*Q: “You hear a lot these days about the raise of active shooters in the US. If I am in a situation with an active shooter what is the first thing and second thing you recommend I do to help the situation?”

We contacted experts in the field and included their responses to the question below:

John Correia active shooter defenseName: John Correia

Bio: John Correia the founder and owner of Active Self Protection, a self-defense and firearms training company based out of Phoenix, AZ. He travels throughout the country teaching practical self-defense, focusing especially on those who utilize firearms in their self-defense toolkit.

Response:  An active killer on the loose is perhaps the scariest situation someone could encounter. In fact, I have done a narrated review of the active killer at the Cascade Mall in Burlington, WA where I highlight some strategies for survival. You can view it here. In particular, I am a fan of Ready Houston’s Run-Hide-Fight method which is described in detail here. I do believe more people should have the attitude, skills, and plan to fight if they need to, and should be allowed and even encouraged to have force multipliers like firearms that they have with them and are highly trained with to protect themselves from active killers.


Mark Simons active shooter defenseName: Mark Simons

Bio: Mark Simons is the founder of Empower Wellness, a business dedicated to wellness, self-defense, and survival. Mark has over 30 years of experience in law enforcement, having started at such a young age that his father had to buy his service weapon for him, since Mark started when he was under 21. His credentials include certifications in the following: Firearms, Use of force, Taser, and vehicle contacts, and field training officer. Mark has taken the best of what law enforcement has to offer in regards to use of force and has cultivated it to a perfect blend for civilian use, with simple and street-tested tactics and techniques.

Response: Homeland Security recommends the following three responses:
1. Run
2. Hide
3. Fight
Run- sounds simple, but most people freeze and do not recognize gun shots. In fact a recent case an individual in a AS Situation heard shots and thought it was a metal bed being slammed to the floor. Sounds ridiculous but recognizing and running need to be trained.

Hide- turning off lights, locking doors, turning off cell phone and pulling the shades and getting away from the door all increase your chances the shooter will bypass you.

Fight-The time to swallow hard and put your game face on. There are techniques you can train to stage by a door and “explode into violence. Using gross motor skills such as elbow and knee strikes would most likely be more effective as any fine motor skills would be too much to ask with our bodies under “flight or fight” will have blood going to major muscle groups.

Finally, Homeland Security recommends training in all three disciplines but provides no said training. Empower Wellness is prepared to bridge that gap utilizing real life scenario based training.



james yeager active shooter defenseName: James Yeager

Bio: James Yeager is the “MFCEO” of Tactical Response, one of the foremost firearms training institutes in the world. With over 30 years experience in law enforcement, military, and private contracting, James has “been there, done that”. From providing executive protection and security to high-ranking VIPs in Iraq to being an undercover narcotics detective back here on the homefront, James’ real-world experience is unparalleled. His focus now is on his training business, showing “good people how to kill bad people”.

Response: James chose to provide us with a video response for this piece, which can be found by clicking here. Warning, James uses strong language in this one. James notes several things about active shooter situations, in that the shooter seeks out soft targets, such as schools, churches, colleges, and the workplace. He advises that the best response is to be (preferably) armed and agressive in an active shooter situation, since the attacker is not expecting a response. Active shooters that have been successfully stopped are always taken down by surprise, as they are not expecting a response to their misdeeds. Furthermore, he notes that the shooters are most likely not trained, and relying on the sheer terror of surprise to accomplish their acts. The shooter simply doesn’t expect resistance. If there is resistance, he’s “thrown off his X” and the fight becomes that much more fair.

Analyzing the Experts:

  • Takeaway 1– John emphasizes a strong self-defense strategy when dealing with an active shooter. If possible, one should make sure they are armed in case of an emergency, and trained and prepared to fight if necessary. If an armed response is not possible due to lack of a firearm or legal reasons, he also endorses the run-hide-fight strategy, as this can buy critical time for survival. If the attacker expends energy and ammunition, the fight could very well be that much more fair if it comes to you.
  • Takeaway 2 – Mark also endorses the ruh-hide-fight methodology. One should recognize the sounds of gunfire and get away from it. Cover and concealment are critical, and also one should recognize how to deploy makeshift barricades when hiding. Knowing how to fight is critical as well, if the attacker should come to you. “Explode” into violence, armed or not. Again, resistance is not expected from these attackers.
  • Takeaway 3 – James differs from his colleagues above in that he emphasized being trained to effectively deploy the maximum amount of force in response to an active shooter. His advice is that the first step should be to fight. The attacker is not expecting resistance, and if there’s an immediate armed response to his actions, he will most likely not know how to deal with it, turning the tide of the encounter against him. Resist and fight the attacker by any means necessary.


Image Credit: Personal Defense World

Dan Vidal

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