What if I Get Attacked From Behind?

This is a common concern that “switched on” people have…and it’s a legitimate one.

Smart bad guys are going to attack from off angles and blindside you if possible.

You may get some advance warning, or you may not, so we’re going to split this up into 2 different questions…

  1. What if I get attacked from behind?
  2. What if an attacker approaches me from behind?

If you get ATTACKED from behind and your attacker is at all effective, you’ve got a serious issue…it means you’ve taken a bullet, stab, or strike as your first indication that there’s a problem.

It might look like this…


And there’s not really much you can do once you’re unconscious.

Keep in mind that this is sensational and frightening in large part because it’s rare.  Especially if you’re someone who practices situational awareness.

#2 is much more common.

A situation where you either become aware of someone trying to move into position to attack you from behind…

The short answer to this problem is that if it’s an immediate threat to your life, you need to turn and do what you need to do to stop the threat.  This may or may not mean shooting.

Low level predators are often dissuaded by simple awareness or a verbal challenge.  You can’t count on it, but oftentimes that’s all it takes to get an attacker to select someone else.

In the real world, you’re not going to be looking forward, detect a threat that needs shooting 20-30 feet away, and draw as you’re turning…you’re going to turn your head, determine if there’s a threat that needs shooting, and THEN draw & engage.

A much more likely situation is that you begin fleeing a threat, realize you need to shoot, and then draw, turn, and engage.

But, for the sake of argument, let’s look at what’s involved in turning and shooting…

It’s a combination of smoothly rotating your body, turning your head (which is different than turning your body from a balance perspective), shifting visual focus while your head is moving, assessing whether there truly is a threat or not, and drawing and presenting your firearm…all at the same time.

This is more involved than people think, and the simple act of turning the head and looking back over the shoulder quickly will give a lot of people a stinger, make them dizzy, or create visual confusion as their balance and vision catches up.

So, how do you improve your ability to turn and engage targets?

First, you start by breaking it down and identifying the building blocks:

  • Vision while turning your head
  • Balance while turning your head
  • Switching directions while standing
  • Letting things settle down visually enough that you can identify whether or not there is a threat at odd angles
  • Drawing and presenting your firearm

Second, you figure out your current performance envelope.

How quickly can you turn 180 degrees without pain, stumbling, or losing your balance and read something out loud that’s directly behind you?

Or how quickly can you turn/draw, present, aim, make a judgement call on a target, and engage that target accurately (if necessary) when it’s 180 degrees behind you?

If you have prosthetics, compromised balance, or just have worn out joints, it could take a few seconds to do without pain or dizziness.  (It’s critical that you find the speed and range of motion that you can train in without pain)

If you’re 20, you might be able to do a jump turn and draw/shoot/hit before you touch the ground. 😉

This isn’t the fastest way, but it is challenging…one of the quickest ways is to pivot on the ball of your support side foot towards your shooting side, rotate your torso around your shooting shoulder, and shoot one handed while looking over your shooting side shoulder.  Here’s an example of reacting, turning, drawing from under a fleece lined flannel shirt, and engaging a target behind me in 1.18 seconds.  The hit is just to the right of the yellow circle:


Keep in mind that this video shows a skill in isolation.  Cool for a video, and a great building block and assessment tool for how quickly your vision and balance stabilizes after turning your head/body quickly, but in order to be more applicable for the real world, it would also need a threat discernment component and/or movement.

You could call it theatrics, but it’s a core step in building the skill of sprinting away from a threat and then drawing/turning/engaging…whether you’re still in the open or have reached cover.

Once you know your limits…

Third, you start working on improving your performance on each skill in isolation.

-Turning and shooting

-Running, stopping, turning and shooting

-Turning, and making shoot/don’t shoot decisions based on changing visual input

People make a HUGE mistake when they want to shoot better on the move by simply jumping from shooting simple drills to overly complex ones.  That brute force approach almost never works…it works for a tiny fraction of shooters, but not for most.  What you want to do is:

Vision drills to see better while your head/body are moving.

Balance drills to make it less taxing to keep your balance while turning your head.

Practice turning 180 degrees to find the quickest and most stable way to turn around without pain given your ankle, knee, hip, back, and neck mobility.

Looking AND SEEING at various angles instead of just looking at things straight in front of your face.

These simple skills could mean the difference between a 10% hit rate and a 90% hit rate in a self-defense situation…but more importantly, they’ll help you avoid threats while driving and walking and have been proven to dramatically reduce injuries from tripping and falling in boomers and older-than-boomers.

Finally, you start combining the skills together with dry fire to expand your performance envelope.

Why is it important to eventually combine them together in practice instead of just practicing them separately?

Simply put, skills/circuits in the brain that fire together in practice get wired together and that means that you can fire them together at high speed under stress without a big drop in performance.

If you don’t fire the circuits together in practice…like if you do all of your gun training flat footed shooting at a target straight in front of you and suddenly need to combine that skill with dynamic vision, balance, and mobility skills when lives are on the line, you’re going to get unnecessary delays and a big drop in performance while your brain tries to cobble the skills together.

How you practice these skills matters…a lot.

If you’re doing the same drills you’ve always done, you won’t improve very quickly.

If you’re doing drills that are too challenging, you may pat yourself on the back after doing such “hard core” training and have strong, emotional memories, but when you train like that, very little skill development actually happens.

And I’ve got a presentation that I’m doing tonight where I’ll show you why it’s so vital that you do it right and an easy, step-by-step way to train so that your training is fun and so that you’re improving as quickly as possible with your real-world 360 degree shooting skills.

And, yes…this training will work regardless of whether your idea of “movement” is simply taking a step to the side as you draw and shoot or sprinting full speed to cover while putting effective hits on target.

Sign up now to attend by clicking >HERE<

Want to see something kind of fun? 🙂  (even though it is completely useless?)

In this video, I’ll react, jump, draw from concealment under a fleece lined flannel shirt, turn 180 degrees, aim, and hit right on the edge of the -0 before landing.

This is considerably slower than just turning and shooting…but it is fun 🙂  For me, it’s incredibly fun because of how much ankle, knee, hip, back, and neck pain I’ve had…how bad my vision used to be…how bad my balance was…and the fact that I had nightly vertigo for about 3.5 years.  For all intents and purposes, it should be impossible for me to do what you see in the video…but I’m incredibly thankful that I can move like that again.

And, if you want to add a little “fun” into your gun training, and do it in a way that will help you build real-world skills, check out the presentation tonight.  For everyone who attends, we’ll be giving you access to a guide for how you can build your own “tactical funhouse” in your garage or spare bedroom for easy, quick, and fun dry fire training.  But you have to attend to get it, so click >HERE< to sign up now.


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  • Danofive0

    Reply Reply October 1, 2020

    One thing to remember. And remember well.
    All this training. And all. Is good to know & use if you must.
    But remember. IF you must use your gun in any way. At any time. To defend yourself.
    When the Police come. Just give your name. And say. I was in fear for my life. I want a lawyer. And then shut up until you have one with you. And make them give you the right kind of lawyer.
    Don’t talk yourself into jail. It’s very simple to do.
    Know your rights & use them.

    • Ox

      Reply Reply January 6, 2021

      Hey Dan…there are some aspects of what you said that you may want to do some additional research on.

      As an example…just giving your name may or may not be the best thing to do. More than likely, it will not be the best thing to do. There are statements that are recommended by trial attorneys and use-of-force expert witnesses that help you NOT look like an ass, guilty, or combative to the police that can still protect you.

      Another example on the lawyer…If the “they” who you’re referring to are the police, they’re not going to give you the “right kind” of lawyer. That’s your job to arrange in advance. Preferably through a personal relationship with a trial attorney who specializes in use of force cases or through USCCA.

  • Joe Utasi

    Reply Reply July 30, 2020

    I’m 70 with all kinds of physical issues, but I keep going, because I know if I stop, I’ll be just another old crippled guy. My wife and I both have concealed carry, but we NEVER (dry)practice at all. Considering the current political climate, I think maybe we both need to do some drills, at least once a month, just in case. Thanks for the motivation!!

    • Joe

      Reply Reply October 2, 2020

      The current political climate…you voted for it, you got it. You have only yourself and those like you to blame.

      • Ox

        Reply Reply October 2, 2020

        What, exactly, are you trying to say?

        Because it makes absolutely no sense to say that people who voted for Trump created the cesspool that he promised to drain before getting into office.

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