What happens when you are threatened?

This is a discussion on What happens when you are threatened? within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I am curious to know what happens with your hands, your brain, your eyes, your feet... what happens when you are attacked or threatened? I ...

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Thread: What happens when you are threatened?

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    Member Array darebear's Avatar
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    What happens when you are threatened?

    I am curious to know what happens with your hands, your brain, your eyes, your feet... what happens when you are attacked or threatened? I dont expect anyone to divulge any information sensitive to them or that will cause any legal issues but from the stories that you have heard and from any bad experiences that you have had I was wondering if you can share what happens in a bad situation.

    I personally was in 3 fight or flight situations in my life. At 17 my friends and I had a gun pulled on us while walking around the city... by a druggy. We literally froze and ended giving up our wallets.

    At 21, I worked at Citizens Bank, and was robbed. Didn't see a gun but was told there was one and that was enough for me. Oddly enough I kept my cool other than being super hungry and tired (I slept for 11 hours straight when I got home) I really didn't lose my composure. Also made a FBI friend which is pretty cool.

    And two months ago, at night, my parents trashy neighbor let all six of her pit bulls out in the front yard while I was walking to my truck. I put my hand on the grip of my HK45c while at the same time jumping on top of the trunk of another car. It only lasted for a couple seconds but in that small window I realized all my training ineffeciencies and one of the things I realized after was that it happened so fast I don't think I would have been able to pick up my front sight for proper sight picture.

    SO. What happens? How do I go about being a little more prepared mindset wise? And if you never been in a threatening situation how do you perceive yourself handling it?

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    Distinguished Member Array RevolvingMag's Avatar
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    The last/only time I've been in that kind of situation I was unarmed (16) with two friends. A couple kids (14&15) pulled guns on us as we were walking back to one of my friends' houses. They got our wallets, and the $1.25 that we had between us.

    My only real response was anger. If I had known then that they only had 2 bullets between them (found this out later after they were caught robbing a motel), I might have tried to do something about it. I could see, and think clearly. I wasn't shaking from an adrenaline dump. I COULD have done something, but was unwilling to face two fully loaded handguns.
    "Rock and load, lock and roll... what's it matter? FIRE!!"

    "Gun control means hitting your target every time."

    Please take everything I say with at least one grain of salt- I am a very sarcastic person with a very dry sense of humor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by darebear View Post
    SO. What happens? How do I go about being a little more prepared mindset wise? And if you never been in a threatening situation how do you perceive yourself handling it?
    It's called training. The more you get, the more the actions will become automatic. In time you won't even think of what is happening, you'll react to the situation and only think about it after the fact.
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    Member Array Gforty's Avatar
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    "On Combat" by LTC Dave Grossman

    I've just started this book about the psychology and physiology of combat. Chapter Two mentions two of the physical reactions you may experience, but which are seldom discussed due to potential embarrassment (having to change your underwear).

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    New Member Array Zeff's Avatar
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    When my band was on tour a drunk guy that was at the show tried to hit our drummer with a tire iron because he thought our vehicle was blocking his car. I slammed the guy's arm against our trailer pinning his arm and the tire iron while the drunk's brother talked some sense back into him. It drew a large crowd and I got the tire iron away from the guy. I think if the guy wasn't drunk there would have been a fight.

    This happened years ago before I had my CC. I am a hefty guy and still feel that this was the the best course of action for what happened.

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    Generally your body goes into a fight or flight reflex which I am guessing is what you are talking about.

    There will be a massive dump of adrenaline from your body. You can/will experience tunnel vision, auditory exclusion (loss of hearing), increased sensitivity to the nerve endings, in some cases loss of fine motor skills, and increased, though short lived, strength. Your heart rate and breathing will increase significantly.

    The after effects are ussually fatigue, the overwhelming urge to urinate, and body tremors. All these things are what hunters would call buck fever.

    Generally speaking everyone will experience these things it is just the level that they experience them at and more importantly how they deal with them. Through training you learn how to use the fight or flight reflex to your advantage or how not to let it effect you as much.
    "A first rate man with a third rate gun is far better than the other way around". The gun is a tool, you are the craftsman that makes it work. There are those who say "if I had to do it, I could" yet they never go out and train to do it. Don't let stupid be your mindset. Harryball 2013

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    VIP Member Array Harryball's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tacman605 View Post
    Generally your body goes into a fight or flight reflex which I am guessing is what you are talking about.

    There will be a massive dump of adrenaline from your body. You can/will experience tunnel vision, auditory exclusion (loss of hearing), increased sensitivity to the nerve endings, in some cases loss of fine motor skills, and increased, though short lived, strength. Your heart rate and breathing will increase significantly.

    The after effects are ussually fatigue, the overwhelming urge to urinate, and body tremors. All these things are what hunters would call buck fever.

    Generally speaking everyone will experience these things it is just the level that they experience them at and more importantly how they deal with them. Through training you learn how to use the fight or flight reflex to your advantage or how not to let it effect you as much.
    Tacman is right. Training will simulate the stress, It seems to me you have had some experience in the alarmed body response learn from it and continue to train. Learning from what has already happened. Experience is your best teacher..IMO
    Don"t let stupid be your skill set....

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    Senior Member Array Dennis1209's Avatar
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    Personally, I think situational awareness is your best defense. I'm still lacking on that some but I'm trying to practice it every time I go out the door. I'm normally the type walking around with my head in the clouds, but the world has drastically changed. Performed deliberately and correctly, I can see it giving you precious extra seconds to react. Now, walking out your door and your neighbor letting out her Pit Bulls at the same time, that concept may not be an advantage to you. But the majority of the time in public, staying in condition "yellow" is advantageous.

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    VIP Member Array Hiram25's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by archer51 View Post
    It's called training. The more you get, the more the actions will become automatic. In time you won't even think of what is happening, you'll react to the situation and only think about it after the fact.
    This one!
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    Through training and experience you learn how to overcome it.

    Your four choices of response when faced with a threat are fight, posture, flight, or submit.

    I worked as a bouncer through college, and was in my share of scuffles and bar brawls. Then I joined the Marine infantry, and did multiple combat tours overseas. You need to train your mind and body to be aggressive when faced with a threat. Run simple scenarios through your head. Learn how to manipulate your OODA loop (if you don't know what that is, you are behind the curve, learn it, understand it, use it).

    Maintain self awareness of threats, and avoid letting yourself become complacent.

    Past experience shows me that when faced with a threat, I tend to go into fight mode, trying to utilize speed, surprise, and violence of action, in order to survive.
    Bark'n, Guantes and limatunes like this.
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  12. #11
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    Array Bark'n's Avatar
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    darebear It is not magic, and it doesn't come to you by osmosis. You have to prepare yourself through training. Many of us here have been training for decades how to handle that one situation where you may need your gun.

    It is also a slow process. Classes are not always inexpensive. People can and do spend $500 - $800 or more for a decent gunfighting class. And that is just the tuition. That does not include upwards of a couple hundred dollars for the ammo you will shoot plus food, lodging and travel expenses.

    But, you don't have to lay out a grand just to get decent training. Training comes from all kinds of sources. In my case a lot came from my training in the Marine Corps. Then, I probably spent a thousand dollars or more on books, magazines videos, and other literature from reputable sources over the last 30 years. I spent 10 years as a swat team medic receiving countless hours of professional training which thankfully was of no cost to me. I've attended 4 professional gunfighting classes not including a basic pistol shooting class. I been to one class which was nothing but legal issues on lethal force and the law. I do not shoot competitively, although I would really like to. It has taken me close to 30 years to acquire that knowledge and I don't stop learning.

    As far as the expensive training from places like Gunsite, Thunder Ranch, Tactical Response Solutions, and from instructors like John Farnam, Mas Ayoob, Chuck Taylor, Clint Smith and countless others, it may take you several years to save up enough money to attend one of their programs. You should strive to attend one of the top tier shooting programs in your life. There are many out there but you don't have to start there.

    What is your life worth? Your survival is a personal thing. You want to learn how to survive a shooting incident, you have to sacrifice. Time, effort and money. It's what makes the world go around, bro. Time, effort and money. No one just gives it to you.
    DefConGun likes this.
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    "The gun is the great equalizer... For it is the gun, that allows the meek to repel the monsters; Whom are bigger, stronger and without conscience, prey on those who without one, would surely perish."

  13. #12
    VIP Member Array oakchas's Avatar
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    I'd have to agee with training being KEY.

    As a pilot, you train repeatedly for emergent situations that may never occur. You train to recognize impending danger before it develops into crisis. Flying is hours and hours of boredom puncuated by moments of sheer panic.

    Bark'n is absolutely right in that you don't need expensive training from the outset, but that you should strive to get it when you can. Until you can, you practice... practice...practice...and practice some more...

    Draw, dry fire, dry fire from awkward positions, practice with your weak hand... sure, you can put bullets downrange... at paper targets... maybe you have a range that allows more than slow fire from stationary stance. If not... Impovise at home, if you don't have a basement, maybe you've got a garage... Lima uses hers, as we've seen in her videos.

    Don't know your weapon, so dry fire may require a lot of racking the slide. But it should make tap rack bang practice easier once you've built those muscles.

    As to what happens to you physiologically when you are threatened... Adrenaline dumps can lead to the symptoms outlined above... or, they can make perception very acute... you hear, sense, and see everything as in slow motion (at least initially in the dump).

    To raise your SA, go watch people... go to a mall, go to a park... go to wal mart... start by looking for "one thing"... say... people with glasses... then fine tune it to people with horn rimmed glasses... or people who are left handed... look for other CCW's out and about...

    There are lot's of things you can do on your own... but then in the end... the best is good professional level training...
    Rats!
    It could be worse!
    I suppose

  14. #13
    Member Array OldMick's Avatar
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    Most people understand the "fight" or "flight". Two other common reactions are "freeze" (I don't know what to do, and I can't get myself to move, I'm so scared) and finally "posture". A good example of posture is animals raising their hackles or arching their back to look larger. People who carry may feel the desire to draw their firearm, but they hesitate to shoot. Most animals, although they will kill prey, (including humans) may fight, but generally will not kill one another as it weakens the species.

    Part of the purpose of military training is to break down our natural hesitation to kill another human. Self defense training with a firearm does somewhat the same thing.
    Last edited by OldMick; September 11th, 2011 at 06:23 PM. Reason: spelling

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    Senior Member Array SFury's Avatar
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    Buck fever is indeed the same thing. Hunters learn to control the adrenalin flow. I've never heard of any name associated for the adrenalin rush outside of hunting, but I can attest that only through training and by doing can you overcome buck fever.

    When the adrenalin hits, I now have control over myself for the duration of an encounter where I may shoot. If you have never been in a dangerous situation, or been hunting and felt that rush, you can't describe it. It's an amazing feeling to say the least.

    You can't predict how you'll react when it hits until you've been through it. How I react after years of hunting to that rush, and how I used to shake as a young hunter is amazingly different. I still shake after I kill a deer, but when they are around me I remain in absolute control. Training, training, and more training.

    When the time comes, and the adrenalin hits, you will find out how well prepared you actually are.

  16. #15
    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    Training helps prepare you.
    Experience tests your preparation.
    buckeye .45 and First Sgt like this.
    "I do what I do." Cpl 'coach' Bowden, "Southern Comfort".

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