Where is situational awareness difficult?

Where is situational awareness difficult?

This is a discussion on Where is situational awareness difficult? within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I've been carrying for 4 years now--long enough to feel comfortable with it, and not need to monitor myself by checking in the mirror, adjusting ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array RobbW's Avatar
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    Where is situational awareness difficult?

    I've been carrying for 4 years now--long enough to feel comfortable with it, and not need to monitor myself by checking in the mirror, adjusting my clothes or belt, or developing any of the other "tells" of CCW such as wearing "gunny" clothes, and always carrying things with my weak-side hand (I try to balance 50-50 my left and right, and figure if I'm attacked that anything strong-side gets dropped or thrown in aggressor's face). Like most here I don't act macho, or walk that "I'm-carrying swagger", and feel I blend in to most situations without standing out. Competent but invisible/easily overlooked is my MO.

    I also try to maintain situational awareness in whatever circumstances I find myself. Some circumstances are more difficult than others, but as least I try to have a general sense of what's going on around me, what is getting closer, possible threats, etc. without LOOKING like I am exercising situational awareness (I've seen the guys on constant alert around town and naturally assume [right or wrong] that they're carrying and making a show of alertness).

    I feel practicing unobtrusive scanning is making me better--better aware and less obvious at the same time. That said, some circumstances are more difficult to maintain this awareness than others. For example, vacuuming the car at the car wash is tough to do while remaining alert, but not to the point that I look like I'm on "high alert". There's a balance between being alert enough to know what is approaching, and not looking like a prairie dog by frequently poking my head up to scan my environment. It's tough, especially on a crowded day.

    What situations are challenging for you?


  2. #2
    Distinguished Member Array Reborn's Avatar
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    Conditions of Awarness

    I was trained in condition awarness best describe in colors.
    White.......head in sand. This is where you are at work, home, church,etc. You are here because you think you are safe from the world.
    Yellow.....being alert to who and what is around you.
    Orange.......knowing there is a possible threat. No action necessary but your thoughts should be preparing yourself to excape or fight.
    Red...time to do something, run, fight, call police, etc.

    Black....panic and you will either die or get hurt really bad.....this happens when you are in condition white.

    Its hard to be in conditon yellow all the time but sheepdogs must stay in this condition to protect the sheep. I know this doesn't answer you question but it takes years of training yourself. I always listen to conversation to tables around me at resturants. I feel the need to know why people are there. My wife says I am nosey. I say those conversations are not private when they are in a public place. I was an officer on duty when there were people killed in a hamburger joint. All the warning signs were there. People around the shooter were in condition white. Several died.
    Psalms 144:1
    Blessed be the Lord my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight.
    Senior Instructor for Tactical and Defensive of Texas
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  3. #3
    VIP Member Array tns0038's Avatar
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    Carry a pistol by no means requires you to be aware of our surroundings. A need for personal safety does, regardless if you’re carrying or not.

    Sure, everyone is on a higher alert when they’re walking though a parking lot at night but, most people feel safe in a crowd.

    In the past, I’ve witness two purse snatchings in crowded areas while the sun was still out. And one of them robed a man and wife walking down a main street in NO. And this BG actually knifed the guy in the back from the rear, before even saying hello, and when the guy screamed the BG grabbed the woman’s purse, and disappeared into the crowds of New Orleans.

    So for me, large congested areas of pedestrians, make it hard to notice people who standout.

  4. #4
    VIP Member Array matiki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tns0038 View Post
    Carry a pistol by no means requires you to be aware of our surroundings. A need for personal safety does, regardless if you’re carrying or not.

    Sure, everyone is on a higher alert when they’re walking though a parking lot at night but, most people feel safe in a crowd.

    In the past, I’ve witness two purse snatchings in crowded areas while the sun was still out. And one of them robed a man and wife walking down a main street in NO. And this BG actually knifed the guy in the back from the rear, before even saying hello, and when the guy screamed the BG grabbed the woman’s purse, and disappeared into the crowds of New Orleans.

    So for me, large congested areas of pedestrians, make it hard to notice people who standout.
    +1

    Crowded areas, especially multi-level malls, hotel lobbies, etc. You can't be completely aware without looking like you're searching for someone.

    "dangerous locations" such as a dark parking lot in a bad neighborhood are usually much easier to be situationally aware. In fact, being aware, and making it obvious is a potential deterrent.

    "safe locations" such as malls, crowded parks, busy streets are where situational awareness becomes very difficult, makes you stick out like a sore thumb if you're not careful and BG's can use the crowd to shield their presence from you (in other words, sneak up on you, case you, etc.)
    "Wise people learn when they can; fools learn when they must." - The Duke of Wellington

  5. #5
    Senior Member Array SilenceDoGood's Avatar
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    I find it really really really difficult to be stay in yellow durring class. One thing that helps me stay (atleast) in yellow outside of class is by coutning all the sheep roaming around in white, this way i am encouraged to atleast give everyone a "once-over". Should try it if you find yourself drifting from white-yellow, could save your life one day.
    "A government is like fire, a handy servant, but a dangerous master." -- George Washington

  6. #6
    Member Array Puppy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tns0038 View Post
    Carry a pistol by no means requires you to be aware of our surroundings. A need for personal safety does, regardless if you’re carrying or not.

    Sure, everyone is on a higher alert when they’re walking though a parking lot at night but, most people feel safe in a crowd.

    In the past, I’ve witness two purse snatchings in crowded areas while the sun was still out. And one of them robed a man and wife walking down a main street in NO. And this BG actually knifed the guy in the back from the rear, before even saying hello, and when the guy screamed the BG grabbed the woman’s purse, and disappeared into the crowds of New Orleans.

    So for me, large congested areas of pedestrians, make it hard to notice people who standout.
    NO is probably one place where condition red is appropriate 24/7.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Array Sergeant Mac's Avatar
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    I can't help but think that the MOST difficult place for situational awareness would be a strip joint.

    LoL

  8. #8
    Senior Member Array KenInColo's Avatar
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    Living in NJ & commuting into mid-town Manhattan in for 30 years will make you aware of your surroundings and situation. This was way before Rudy cleaned the place up.

    On crumby days, I took the subway; taxis were too expensive & only used when you could 'expense' them. I only had one incident when a crazy homeless person attacked me simply for making eye contact with him. Making eye contact with anyone in NYC is a big no-no.

    When I knew that a physical confrontation was unavoidable (there was no line of retreat down on that #7 subway platform), I surprised myself and actually kicked the daylights out of him! He was much larger than me but when my adrenalin kicked in he was toast. The transit cops got there pretty quickly and saved him. I was so amped up that I didn't sleep for two nights. The cops told me to take Metamucil to get the adrenalin out of my system. I was truly "scared for my life".

    On nice days I always liked to walk, either from Port Authority or Penn Station, to my office on 3rd Ave & 39th. I always altered my route, and my departure time so no one could set me up.

    On two separate occasions, male co-workers of mine were mugged walking from Port Authority to our office less than 5 minutes I after I had passed by the same location. When I spoke to my friends, I was able to describe the mugger right down to the sneakers he was wearing! Evidently, my awareness and bearing convinced the mugger not to 'try' me, even though I was smaller in stature (5'10" / 160 lbs) than my two co-worker victims.

    There's a lot to be said for Awareness & Bearing (not looking like a victim). Don't get me wrong, I've never been one to push my luck by going somewhere I think might be potentially dangerous if I don't have to. Even today, when I carry 100% of the time, I go by my CCW instructors first words to our class "If you're gonna go some place where you think you might need to be armed, don't go."
    An armed populace are called citizens.
    An unarmed populace are called subjects.

  9. #9
    New Member Array Psychic Bacon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puppy View Post
    NO is probably one place where condition red is appropriate 24/7.
    Yay home.

  10. #10
    Member Array mike28w's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sergeant Mac View Post
    I can't help but think that the MOST difficult place for situational awareness would be a strip joint.

    LoL
    A strip joint might change my definition of 'situational awareness'.... certainly the focus !!

  11. #11
    Senior Member Array KenInColo's Avatar
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    Least aware? At a Major League Baseball game. I get totally involved, I keep a scorecard and try to outguess the managers. Bo Derek could sit down in front of me and I might not notice.
    An armed populace are called citizens.
    An unarmed populace are called subjects.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sergeant Mac View Post
    I can't help but think that the MOST difficult place for situational awareness would be a strip joint.

    LoL
    That's not true----I am aways checking my 360 to see if the wife would be walking in while I donate money to the girls college fund.


    Z
    An ounce of lead is worth 200lbs of cop.

  13. #13
    Member Array fightingchance's Avatar
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    I've been trying to get better at my situational awareness, I've honestly found that I have the worst time of it when I get into a conversation with someone , especially my wife. I keep catching myself tuning everything else out , I'm trying to work on it, been catching myself completely unaware of what/who is around. I'm also working on trying to be aware without looking like I'm "on the lookout" , hopefully I'm getting better at it.

  14. #14
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    I have come to the conclusion that SA is not just making use of senses better - it's actually interpreting them. We can practice looking and actually seeing ..... listening and actually hearing but - within this framework is the need to process incoming info ... making decisions as to significance or otherwise.

    One thing I did switch onto in more recent years is - "task fixation" - something I think we need to take on board. Whether it's talking on a cell, lighting a smoke, tying a shoelace .... so many things we might have to do that distract from the normal subtle scan ..... and where we need to consciously keep a part of our alertness freed up for threats - or just something out of place.

    I agree with another poster re ''bearing'' - it is well possible to hold oneself with some authority and without appearing furtive - still be obviously in touch with our surroundings - a way to avoid that invisible ''victim'' sign so many carry.

    Use tricks such as studying reflections in glass - shops, car mirrors etc .. and practice using eye swivels rather than head turns - develop peripheral vision to the full.

    It should then be possible to cover everything other than when asleep - that zone of inevitable isolation from the world outside!
    Chris - P95
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    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


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  15. #15
    Member Array mojave_pistolero's Avatar
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    What situations are challenging to me? Taking groceries in and out of car. Vacuuming vehicle and when rushing because I need to use a bathroom. (No one better mess with me then.)
    There is only one tactical principle which is not subject to change. It is to use the means at hand to inflict the maximum amount of wound, death, and destruction on the enemy in the minimum amount of time."
    - General George Patton Jr

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