Run, Hide, or Fight! (5 Techniques For Defeating Active Shooters)


Recent shootings at churches and schools has brought one question to the top of people’s minds…

If you were going about your business at a store, in the mall, at a sporting event, or in a hospital and heard that warning, what would you do?

Run, Hide, or Fight?

Your answer is your answer.  It’s neither right nor wrong.  And it will probably depend on the situation.

If I was with my kids and could, we’d run.

If I was with my kids and couldn’t run, I’d hide and prepare to fight.

If the shooter was between me and my kids, I’d fight.

If you’re going to fight, what is your plan?

Criminals love “unarmed victim zones” so there’s a decent chance that you won’t be armed in an active shooter situation.

Here’s 5 tools/techniques for defeating an active shooter when you don’t have a gun-

1. Swarming.  Multiple committed people effectively attacking a shooter is an incredibly effective technique for stopping a shooter.  When you have your “Let’s Roll” moment, everyone’s got to accept the fact that they’re probably getting shot regardless of whether they fight or not.  But if they fight, there’s a chance that they won’t…and that they’ll be able to stop the attack.  If you choose this route, attack simultaneously and from multiple angles, yelling and screaming.  Speed, surprise, and violence of action along with full commitment and numerical superiority tips the odds in your favor.

2. Fire Extinguisher.  “Spray them with the white stuff and hit them with the red thing.” -Clint Smith.  Fire extinguishers are incredible improvised weapons.  If you work in a school or an office, consider putting 1 or 2 fire extinguishers in every classroom or office.  Sheeple won’t be scared of them, and “fire safety” is an easier budget item to get approved than “active shooter/terrorist/zombie defense.”

3. Flagpole/broom handle.  If you have access to these, try to break it near one end so that you end up with 1 or more sharp points instead of the nice finished end that it’ll normally have.  If you have a shot at an attacker from behind, swing the stick downwards at a 45 degree angle as if you’re swinging through the side of their neck.  There is a nice bunch of nerves there that will cause their blood pressure to tank and the to lose control of their body and fall to the ground in a fraction of a second.  It’s a nerve strike and it’s not a guaranteed strike, but it’s not based on pain and does work with drugged, drunk, and deranged attackers.  Otherwise, use the stick like a spear.

4. Sock & weight/paperweight.  Ever seen the movie “Full Metal Jacket?”  Remember where the recruits put soap & batteries in their socks and beat another recruit in his bed?  It’s a very effective improvised weapon.  Just take off your sock, put something heavy in it (a rock, paperweight, or even a stapler) and swing for the head/neck.  The more people you have doing this at the same time, the better.

4a. Shirt & weight/paperweight.  Don’t have socks?  Take off your shirt and tie it so it’ll hold something heavy.  Too modest to take your shirt off?  If you don’t stop the threat, there’s a good chance your shirt will end up with one or more bullet holes in it and paramedics will rip it off anyhow.

5. Defensive Flashlight.  No matter whether you’ve got a purpose built or improvised tool for defense, a flashlight makes it more effective.  In many cases, it makes a better defensive tool than pepper spray, a Taser, knife, or even a gun…although all of these tools work together with a defensive flashlight to make the combination more effective than any of them on their own.

You can use a defensive flashlight as an impact weapon, use it as a distraction/disorientation device to attract the shooter’s attention so that someone can attack more effectively from an angle, or you can kill the lights and blind the shooter if you’ve got a high quality light and follow up with strikes.

For more on using defensive/tactical flashlights as a weapon you can carry with you 24/7 in gun-free/weapon-free zones, airplanes, and around the world, check out the Avoid Deter Defend DVD course from Retired Navy SEAL, Larry Yatch.  It’s one of the most valuable and unique self-defense courses in existence, and that’s saying a lot.

It combines a simple scientific method of increasing situational awareness to avoid threats, helps you develop empty hands and flashlight immediate action drills to respond to surprise attacks so you can transition to your favorite martial art or a better defensive tool, and even deals with how to interact with 911 after an altercation to maximize your chances of survival and possibly reduce liability.  It’s the ONLY course in existence that seamlessly blends the 3 stages of a self-defense fight…the pre-fight, the fight, and the post-fight.  Learn more and get your copy now by clicking >HERE<

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  • Annyoakly

    Reply Reply June 24, 2018

    This is great information. For one who has worked in Prison Ministry and taught school for 45 years, some has been learned. I am very careful where I place myself but I can use some focus exercising to be more efficient.

    Floyd mentions objects above. We keep all our pots and pans (as well as knives) exposed with easy access for adults. Most kitchens have a heavy pan on the stove, like a #10 iron skillet with a handle. However, I know people who have broken the handle over a “high” druggy’s head. So, carry and be prepared.


  • Floyd Burdett

    Reply Reply February 6, 2018

    One thing you didn’t mention is to start throwing things at them! An onslaught of ‘Stuff’ will activate instinctive blocking and ducking reflexes! Anything you can get your hands on will contribute to the perceived ‘chaos’ of ‘stuff’,,,but the heavier and harder the better! All those things you mentioned with the sock — paperweights, staplers, etc — as well as larger items like Books and lamps and even CHAIRS!
    If you are in a restaurant or anywhere that has small tables, pick one up and use it as a ‘block’ as you charge them! Go legs first if you can handle it that way. (the legs will increase the chance the table could deflect a bullet, and they will Focus the energy of the impact when you get to them, and make it Very difficult for them to deflect your momentum…) And if there are several people swarming them with tables and chairs from multiple directions, all at the same time, as you said …even Chuck Norris couldn’t resist all of them! (Smile) This is exactly what the 4 Americans did on the European Train! One of them DID get shot! But not a fatal wound. And the other 3 overwhelmed the guy before he could get off another shot!
    One side note to mention in case you DO have your firearm…
    THINK of the areas of the body that ‘body armour’ covers…and what it does NOT COVER! Neck, the SIDES of the torso, below the belt (Lots of big blood vessels and vital organs in the hips and upper legs, and if the legs collapse they go to the ground…) So even body armour does NOT make them undefeatable!

  • Carr

    Reply Reply February 6, 2018

    I assumed a long time ago that if someone is holding a gun on me they intend to shoot me. Since I already know I’m going to be shot, my only option is to pick the optimum time to attack. It may not work, but I have nothing to lose.

  • Dave

    Reply Reply February 10, 2016

    This is going to sound silly in a civilian context and after all we wear IR patches in combat – it would be great if we had some sort of flash that would identify us as a friendly. Maybe a superman cape 😮


      Reply Reply April 26, 2016

      Dave, there is a company making a shirt, jerk down the pocket and the Velcro falls away. Has CCW or off duty or whatever, they’re for mass shooting crisis.

      • Ox

        Reply Reply May 25, 2016

        Yup…we reviewed them in the Journal of Tactics and Preparedness. It’s called the Adder System. They’re made by a friend of mine and I got to beta test them.

  • left coast chuck

    Reply Reply January 31, 2016

    I have often wondered about laser pointers. The warning on the box says not to look at the light. Pilots complain about lasers potentially blinding them when pointed at the cockpit from the ground. If everyone who is concerned about their safety, yet doesn’t want to carry a gun carried a green laser pointer, in a mass shooting situation, twenty, fifty, a hundred or more laser pointers aimed at the shooter’s eyes would certainly have some effect on the shooter. Not a perfect answer, but a partial response. Also would allow disabling before rushing the shooter. A laser pointer is a small enough device that it can easily be carried in one’s pocket. They are reasonably cheap so that the cost is not prohibitive. I am not advocating that in lieu of a high capacity, 9mm reliable handgun, but just as an alternative for those who cannot or will not carry a handgun.

  • Curtis

    Reply Reply January 27, 2016

    i thought about this when I heard it as to how I might react. First I would not draw my weapon but would be ready if needed. I would look for cover and observe what was going on. If I drew my CC and was walking around with it, how would anyone know I was not the active shooter? If another CC person was walking around with their weapon out, how would I know they were not the active shooter? I would hope the mannerisms of an active shooter and a legal CC would be different enough to discern which was the bad guy. Until I knew for sure I would remain under cover. I do not know for sure how I would react in some situations, but when i hear these things, I think about it and discuss with my CC buddies and family. Your thoughts are really good and I will add them to my thought process. I hope i never find myself in one of the situations but to ignore them is not too smart. As a additional thought. multiple shooters with AR15s give me a problem.


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