Reacting To Acts of  Terrorism

Lets jump straight into it, with all the recent mass killings by terrorists and deranged individuals the chances of us being caught in the middle of one of these is more likely then ever before. As more and more elected officials turn to blaming guns instead of the hearts of perpetrators everyday citizens must be ready to face the evil that is being is being thrust upon us. 

First off off we need to understand the realities of the diffrent types of terrorist attacks we have seen lately. At its core terrorism is the targeting of civilians to promote political or social change. There are many theories on what we need to do to fight terrorism as a nation but that's for another day. So in this article I'll focus on two of the more common attack types and what prepared and committed citizens can do to increase their chance of survival. So we will discuss active shooter events and hostage-siege events and what skills you'll need to stay alive. 

So before getting into any discussion about skill sets, tactics, and actions to take let's talk about a universal concept that applies to a lot of situations: Mindset and Commitment. The attackers are already committed to their cause of killing and their won't be a discussion or reasoning with them. You must be prepared to have the same mindset, that you will have to kill your attackers Every moment spent hesitating allows the attackers to kill more or take more hostages. 
I understand many out there are not able to stomach this reality and I get that. Reality can be quite cruel. If you can't commit to this I encourage you to at least read my article on surviving active shooters so your not another casualty.  There are also those who feel that non leathel means are all they need. I'll be frank with you no amount of martial arts or crossfit will replace a gun in the hands of a trained and competent individual with the will to use it. Remember the gun has been called the great equalizer.

Remember your attackers are committed to kill you. You must have an equal level of commitment to killing them.


Being armed doesn't make you effective in hostile situation. Training makes you effective. Our military trains constantly to maintain its effectiveness and profiency with its firearms and equipment. Simply put owning a handgun doesn't make you armed anymore then owning a violin makes your a violinist. The only way to become effective is through repetitive training and sound instruction. Taking your handgun and shooting at clumps of dirt in the dessert is not training, its passing time. 
Things like speed reloading, understanding angles, aiming, and handling a malfunction to name a few. Also being familiar with your gear and how it works before the bullets start flying is also paramount.
There is a popular suggested theory of dealing with situations called Run. Hide. Fight and I discuss it a separate article as not everyone is committed or capable of fighting and I believe everyone should have a plan. But I am a warrior and fight is my go to option. So let's talk about the fight. 
Terrorist rely on the fear of their victims to enable their success. When they burst in and start shooting they expect panic and chaos. They don't expect people to fight back. When you counter attack you force them into a decision making process they hadn't planned on. When you force someone into a decision making process they hadn't planned on they begin to have doubts which can open up other opportunities to further your counter attack. Think of it this way. You force them into a process they haven't planned for and you start to decrease their effectiveness. The less effective they are the higher chance of surviving the encounter. That's why it is important to act quickly, surprise the attackers, and act with as much violence as you can muster.


Active shooter attacks have been on the forefront of medica cverage this year and are becoming more commonplace. From ISIS supporters to deranged individuals the threat is very real. Let's look at the Pulse night club shooting. First off this was a terror attack and not a hate crime. This was done by an individual pledging allegiance to a terrorist organization. Reports have indicated that the shooter was challenged by an off duty police officer but that the officer broke off contact after realizing he was out gunned. This illustrates how important it is to pin down and isolate a shooter to deprive them of other targets. When contact was broken with the shooter it allowed him to proceed unfettered on his mission of carnage. History dictates when dealing with a shooter that engaging them quickly and often is the best way to save lives. Let's look at another scenario that backs this up. Recently footage has been released of Jon Meis, an unarmed security guard at Seattle Pacfic University,  confronting an active shooter. He waited until the shooter paused to reload and then burst out of concealment and pepper sprayed the shooter in the face. He then was able to disarm the shooter after a brief scuffle. He then secured the weapon and subdued the shooter further when he pulled a knife. Click this link to watch the heroic actions of this man. ​​​ . In this scenario Meis made a decision, committed to his actions,  acted quickly, and used all the violence at his disposal. This recipe has replayed itself over and over again whenever ordinary citizens acted decisively to thwart a terror attack
Any unarmed attempt to take on armed attacker will benefit from multiple defenders. If you are able to communicate with fellow citizens you might be able to setup an ambush if you know where the shooter is or they path of advance. Re bet when it comes to tackling someone aim low just above the knees,  this will give you the best chance of knocking them over, drive through the bad guy with your shoulder bowling them over. At that point attempt to pin them down and immobilize the arms. If the shooters arms and weapon are immobilized go for the head. Have another person bash them over the head with what ever heavy object you can quickly grab. Anything that will deliver blunt force trauma. Do not stop until the attacker is NOT resisting. Make sure to secure the weapon as the attacker might only be stunned or feigning unconscious. Make sure you search the attacker for secondary weapons. Remember this form of attacker ack is very risky, but it's better to die fighting then on your knees begging. ​
If you are armed the situation is much easier. Locate where the shots are coming from to pinpoint the shooters location. Use cover and concealment to the best of your ability until you are close enough to engage. DO NOT stop to help wounded. Once you are close enough engage your target and keeping engaging until they go down. Remember just because the shooter falls doesn't mean they are dead or incapacitated. When you advance on the down shooter keep your weapon trained on them while looking for other shooters. If possible have someone else disarm the weapon from the shooter and verify if they are incapacitated or dead. Make sure to check for additional weapons. If alone or no one can help make sure as you advance keep the weapon on target. Kick the weapon out of reach of the shooter. My preferred method to check if someone is feigning unconscious is to kick them in the genitals, even females, as most will not be able to hold in the pain. Quickly pat over the shooter feeling for additional weapons and remove them. Remember to keep the weapon on the shooter well doing all these actions and don't be afraid to shoot. 

If if there are other threats or even if you think there might be don't forget to uparm yourself and take the attackers weapons and ammo. Remember a handgun is nice, a rifle is better.


Hostage-seige attacks are far less common then mass shootings, although they do happen. We all recall the 2004 seige in Moscow being the most infamous. In these situations the attackers will use the time they have before the arrival of authorities to fortify there position against responding authorities. They'll do things like make barricades and even set up IEDs. Like all terrorist attacks response speed and counterattack I got quickly is imperative to saving life. The authorizes train to this standard and will use infantry tactics to make their assault into and through the building. This is good news for ordinary citizens like you and I as we know the calvery will be coming. 
If your caught in one of these situations your first thought might be to wait it out. The problem with any operation like this is they take time and there are inherent miscommunications. It might take hours before the police are ready to kick in the door. So as an ordinary citizen we must act quickly and with deadly force. If you have time to communicate with fellow hostages to make a plan do so. Don't depend on it. Look for an angle on one of the attackers and be aggressive when you attack. Be smart though. If you are unarmed you will not be able to take on multiple armed attackers. Try to get one isolated by feigning sickness, needing to go to the bathroom, look for any opportunity to get an advantage and get inside their decision cycle. Remember they are not expecting people to fight back. If you have to wait do so, just don't  draw attention to yourself.  

Another issue to think about is in most hostage situations there are explosives involved. Observe the attackers and look for bulky vest on their persons, devices with lots of wires, and such. These are things that can tip you off to the presence of a bomb. This changes things a bit. Remember the dead man switch is pretty much a Hollywood thing and a clean head shot might end the situation. 
I leave you with this my friends. Each situation is different and unique in its own way. There many different outcomes based on the terrorist training and the citizens training. The historical facts are though that those who have fought back against the terrorist have had the best chance of spoiling the terrorist plans. Also personally I'd rather die fighting for my life and the lives of those I love and care about then to die begging on my knees or running from a fight.