Getting trained to carry a concealed weapon and choosing to have your firearm on your person whenever you leave your home means that if a threat presents itself, you're the first responder on the scene. If you choose to draw your firearm and end the threat, situational awareness is perhaps your biggest ally outside of your firearm and your training. Situational awareness applies in every situation in which there's an armed threat, whether you're at a gas station as it's being robbed or you're in a mall when a shooter attacks. Here are some situational awareness details to add to the information you may learn in a concealed carry class.
Identify The Threat
Regardless of your environment, you need to identify every threat before you choose to draw your firearm. Identifying your primary threat is often easy — for example, it could be someone brandishing a gun several feet away from you. However, robbers and attackers aren't always on their own, which means that a secondary threat may be present. Choosing to engage the primary target without identifying the secondary threat could cost you your life, so it's important to scan the environment to see if someone else appears to be an accomplice.
Look For Your Window
Situational awareness also involves knowing the right time to draw your firearm. Producing your weapon when an assailant is facing you, for example, can cause him or her to engage you before you're able to react. From the moment that you decide to draw your firearm, you should look for your window of opportunity. In other words, you must only draw the weapon when it's safe to do so — perhaps when the assailant is focused on someone or something that takes his or her attention away from you.
End The Threat
In a situation in which an armed person is threatening you and those around you, another component of situational awareness involves understanding that the threat persists until it doesn't. In other words, you don't want to fire a shot at the assailant and then begin to help those around you. One shot doesn't automatically end the threat. You want to shoot the assailant as many times as necessary for him or her to drop, and then you should approach the person to disarm him or her. All the while, you must continue to be aware of a secondary threat. By taking this three-pronged approach to situational awareness, you stand a good chance of eliminating the threat and protecting you and those around you.