Real fights are not mutually agreed upon combat, like some Karate Kid match with rules.  There isn’t a start signal.  You are either focused on the event or you are not.  If you are not focused and ready, then the start signal will be you getting shot…or hopefully shot at and missed.  We are here to discuss the other side of that, the proactive side.

You are not only on scene at ground Zero, but are ahead of the wave so to speak. Not reacting to something completely unexpected, but rather acting deliberately.  This is no small matter as we are talking about drawing your pistol and shooting another man, or men.  So how do we cross that gap?

Before continuing, I suggest you review the flowchart we published some time ago.  Linked here for your perusal.

There are points that help you get closer, arrive at the decision to shoot...bridge the gap. These involve value judgements on the focus of your attention and the perceived danger they present.  For example, in the recent Texas school shooting, a trench coat alone would not be enough, but seeing the muzzle of a weapon peeking out from under it might be. 

That doesn’t necessarily mean immediate shooting.  What we are discussing is getting your mind there where you know you can 100% justify taking the shot and killing the suspected terrorist.  If your decision has been made based on what you see and can explain, taking deadly force action is not difficult.

There are degrees of preemption.

There is immediate preemption. This is acting – drawing and shooting - at the point of sight. For that you need prior legitimate intelligence on the threat.  For example, some students of mine eliminated a terrorist that was expected to appear at a venue with an explosive device.  They had a description from a man on the inside and all the intelligence they received had been vetted. 

When they saw him walk in, nervously with the backpack, hoping to kill a bunch of infidels, they acted directly and preemptively.  The text message I received right after was “Suarez Students – 1, ISIS – 0”.

If questioned, my guys would have been able to say that what they knew for a fact, based on verified legitimate information (not just suspicions), that based on the proximity of multiple citizens in the vicinity, the risk in the suspect detonating his explosive device precluded them from any other methods of apprehension or detention.

There is preemption as he begins his action...intercepting him. For that you need reasonable expectation of his action, so you arrive at the trigger before he does anything but you are already there when he does. For example, it is 2018, and the reality of terrorism is the new normal.  As well, the prevalence of active shooters seeking their moment of fame.  To see a man wearing a trench coat during hot and humid weather is enough for any reasonable man to take notice and maybe keep the individual in the corner of his vision.  To see the front sight of an AK-47 barely covered by the hem of his coat gets your mind right there.  The point is arriving at the decision to shoot…crossing the gap, and being ready.  Your thought process is, “that man right there is armed with a rifle, carrying it in a covert manner, and behaving in a way that may be indicative of an active shooter…I am set to go”.

It doesn’t necessarily mean that you will fire at that point, although with enough information and back story, I suspect it could be justified.  But the moment he opens his coat to bring up his rifle, your bullet should stop the action instantly.  And your positioning should have placed you where you could see that.

There is preemption post initiation.  This one is where most people will probably be, and sadly it will be late for someone.  Here you shoot him the moment he deploys his weapon and fires at someone else. Either by unfortunate timing or by the inability to mentally justify the shot (not enough verifiable information and the subsequent hesitation) the terrorist is de-facto allowed to deploy and engage a target before you engage him. This will happen simply from the self-doubt and self-second guessing forestalls your action. 

The point of this discussion is not fair play, but rather the most expeditious ways to stop a terrorist active shooter before, or as soon as he begins killing. 

Learn to get your mind there - learn to see - and to bridge the gap mentally.  Everything else will fall into place after that.