• How to Defend Yourself from an Active Shooter

One of the scariest things that can happen to a person is to be faced with someone who has a gun. Simply by wielding a gun, people can exert much more control over others and scare the individuals around them. While guns are extremely dangerous no matter the situation, you can learn how to defend yourself from an attacker with help from Krav Maga Worldwide.

silver handgun

Why Practice Krav Maga?

Every day, people are vulnerable to violence and attacks. You never know when or where a dangerous situation can develop, but there are definitely individuals in this world who won’t hesitate to use violence against others.

Attackers may want your money, your phone, your purse, or even your life—and it’s up to you to prevent their intentions from affecting you. Many people begin training in Krav Maga to defend themselves against these exact situations. While many self-defense systems and hand-to-hand combat techniques don’t teach students how to defend against a gun, Krav Maga has effective strategies for ensuring your safety when confronted by someone with a firearm.

The Danger of Guns

While shootings are at an all-time high, there are still tactics you can use to ensure safety for yourself and those around you. Learning how to defend yourself from an attacker and paying attention to active shooter safety tips can expand your awareness of dangerous situations and may potentially save your life.

Why Krav Maga is Great for Dealing with Armed Attackers

While Krav Maga was developed for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) to create a comprehensive self-defense system that they could use on and off the battlefield, it was originally intended for street fighting. Imi Lichtenfeld developed this self-defense system as a way to combat opponents attacking his community on the streets of Bratislava. He taught other young men in the area to defend themselves from thugs carrying weapons like bats and guns.

As he continued to develop Krav Maga for the IDF, Imi borrowed the best of many other fighting styles and molded them into a single self-defense system that features aspects from a wide array of techniques, including aikido, judo, boxing, and wrestling. The moves and forms from these other styles have been transformed into a self-defense system that is applicable to real-life fighting. When learning how to defend yourself from an attacker, Krav Maga is the most popular option, due to its extreme focus on practicality.

The IDF have used Krav Maga effectively to defend against groups that utilize street fighting. The hand-to-hand methods taught in Krav Maga have proven to be a useful method of defense. With a variety of simple, yet strong offensive and defensive moves, someone with Krav Maga training can quietly disarm a shooter and effectively end a potentially deadly encounter.

The First Step: Use Your Imagination

smith wesson red handle

The reason shooter situations often end so tragically is because no one thinks they’ll ever have to deal with one. While it’s fairly unlikely that you may end up having to find your way out of that precarious situation, it’s valuable to know how to defend yourself from an attacker.

One of the most important active shooter safety tips includes scanning your environment regularly for safe zones and escape routes. Throughout your day, challenge yourself by imagining a shooter walking through the door. Consider what you would do to put yourself in the best position for self-defense.

Practicing throughout the day will help develop your sense of awareness in any environment. These imaginative exercises are great mental preparation for a hypothetical shooter scenario.

What to Do in a Hostile Shooter Situation

When you’re in a hostile situation with an active shooter, you have two choices: stay and fight or quickly get to safety. Since Krav Maga advocates staying out of a fight until there are no other possible options, finding a clear route of escape should be your first priority. When learning how to defend yourself from an attacker, escape is the best form of self-defense.

Scan your surroundings for a door or window that will get you as far away from the shooter as possible. If you can guide others to the exit, take them with you.

Always Do Something

Even if it goes against your instincts, it’s always advisable to take some sort of action in a shooter situation. When considering the most effective active shooter safety tips, those who take an active role in their survival have a better chance of escape. If you have even a few moments before the shooter arrives, you have valuable time to prepare and get in the best position for defense.

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security advises the same response as Krav Maga when you encounter a shooter. They use an easy-to-remember motto when facing a scenario with a shooter: Run, Hide, Fight.

The first thing you should try is to escape. Your next line of defense is to hide yourself in a room with a locking door or behind sturdy desks. Finally, fight the shooter only as a last resort. As dangerous as fighting is, learning how to defend yourself from an attacker is better than being blindly exposed in a fatal scenario.

Krav Maga offers deeper insights on how to maximize your chances of pacifying a shooter and defending yourself against them when that strategy doesn’t work.  

old corroded revolver

When You Can’t Run, Hide

If you can’t get yourself to safety and the shooter hasn’t confronted you yet, use your time wisely. To understand the value of barriers and how to defend yourself from an attacker, it may help to step into the shoes of a shooter.

Given the tension and uncertainty of the situation, a shooter can be very nervous. Therefore, if you’re watching a shooter approach you, do everything possible to stay out of their line of sight. A shooter is more likely to focus on easy targets that they can see. If you manage to avoid a shooter’s notice completely, your escape could be much easier to manage.

When you can’t escape a room, some active shooter safety tips suggest looking for places to cover—a table, a wall, a bathroom, a desk—anything that will get between you and danger. Remain completely out of sight of the shooter and do whatever you can to stay out of view. As a last resort, you may be able to move undetected into a position from which you can attack the shooter

A key focus of Krav Maga when learning how to defend yourself from an attacker teaches you how to scan your environment for useful objects or cover. You’ll also learn how to use objects that aren’t instinctively useful to protect and defend yourself. Instantly assessing which items are large enough to conceal your body or knowing what to use to barricade an unlocked door are crucial skills you’ll learn.

Staying Calm

When someone has made a decision to use a gun against others, it’s likely that their emotions are running wild and that their anxiety and paranoia are high. While victims also tend to succumb to those feelings, the best active shooter safety tips insist that you use your emotions as a potential advantage. If you can keep your emotions in check and remain calm in this high-tension situation, then you’ll have an upper hand over your attacker.

Krav Maga teaches you that an emotional opponent makes mistakes. When learning how to defend yourself from an attacker with Krav Maga, self-control and poise are an essential part of practice.

gunshot firing

Exploring Your Attack Options

If all other options have been exhausted and you feel that your only solution is to try to disarm the shooter, it’s time to consider your attack options. It may occur to you to try to band together with the other victims and attack the shooter together as a group. The problem with this strategy is that it will almost certainly risk the life of at least one person, which too much of a compromise.

Instead of encouraging people who will likely freeze when confronted with a shooter, utilize Krav Maga to defend yourself from the attacker. Using distractions, finding a weapon, or perfecting takedown moves are usually your best chances when attacking a shooter.

Distract the Gunner

If you are trying to disarm a shooter, your best chance of success is to catch them by surprise. In order to do this, you could try to employ a distraction tactic such as throwing an object at them.

If you can refocus the shooter’s attention elsewhere, you’ll have an opportunity to employ a strong attack and immediately disarm them, effectively ending the threat. Timing and distance are extremely important when you use this method, but learning how to defend yourself from an attacker through Krav Maga will allow you to practice this tactic and ensure its effectiveness in a real-life situation.

Use a Weapon

While you’re scanning the room looking for cover, also keep in mind any objects that could possibly be used as a weapon against the shooter. Look for something heavy enough to do serious damage, yet light enough for you to handle and hold. For instance, a lamp might be too awkward to swing, whereas a pool cue or a glass mug can be heavy enough to be effective. Choosing the right object is very important and could be the difference between ending a hostile scenario and endangering others.

Using moves you worked on when you were learning how to defend yourself from an attacker, ensure that you can use the weapon of your choice accurately. You’ll also learn what to do when your opening attack doesn’t go as planned.

Although you may think you can knock a shooter’s gun away with your weapon, if they manage to maintain control of their gun, you need to be ready with additional strategies. Active shooter safety tips dictate that you should plan on following your attempt to knock their gun away with a physical rush on the attacker. In this way, you can catch them off-balance.

Employing a Takedown Move

Krav Maga can instruct you in a series of effective strikes and kicks meant to help disarm an assailant in close quarters. If you get close enough unobserved, you have a good chance of ending the threat with a quick barrage of attacks to the sensitive areas.

The fight isn’t necessarily over once the gun is taken away from the attacker. A takedown move is absolutely necessary to help control the shooter after the initial impact. Once a hostile situation has begun, the attacker will likely follow through with the necessary force to get away without being caught. For this reason, subduing an opponent is essential to detain them and end the threat permanently.

Ensure You’re Ready

Preparing for an active shooter scenario requires more than mental readiness. To be effective in these situations, you must follow active shooter safety tips in conjunction with the experience you gain from training in Krav Maga. Practicing how to defend yourself from an attacker can be the most valuable weapon in your arsenal.

Experience with the Krav Maga self-defense system gives you the benefit of poise, planning, and practice in emotionally unstable and violent situations. Train with Krav Maga Worldwide to gain a comprehensive system to arm yourself against the worst and protect yourself and those around you.