Condition Yellow - What do you look for?

So many people today are in condition white - all of the time -that it scares me how little people see. Victims never see their attacker approaching, attackers being able to spot easy prey.

Even in Condition Yellow we might miss the signs or think - they’re harmless. But are they really harmless?

What do you look for in Condition Yellow and what do you do when something or someone seems off?

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Yeah, unfortunately people don’t have “predator” tattooed on their forehead. I’ve met some nasty individuals that looked nice, and some nice people that looked mean. I was talking to a military friend about this the other day. It ended up being an interesting conversation.


Looking for anything that seems abnormal for the situation. The easiest thing to spot is clothing. If it 90 degrees and someone has a jacket or hoodie on. I’ll keep an eye on them. Also arm movement. Remember when you first started carrying a firearm. You probably didnt move naturally same goes for a bad guy. They’ll be nervous and anxious, they’ll probably either always adjusting their clothing or walk very stiff like their afraid to touch something.

You can also get a feel for the atmosphere. If it seems tense be on guard a little more.

Left of Bang: How the Marine Corps’ Combat Hunter Program Can Save Your Life

This book teaches you how to develop and use skills to detect dangerous situations and behaviors so you limit the chance of being surprised.


Look for obvious “out of place” things like the hoody in 90 degree weather. Watch for nervous, or fidgety people. Trust your instincts. If you feel uneasy about a person/situation, then avoid it.


Sentinel: Become the Agent in Charge of Your Own Protection Detail

Here’s another good book written by a Delta Force Operator.


I look for anything out of the ordinary. This can be anything from multiple people gathered around to a simple note on the vehicle. Situational awareness is the key for being able to know what is around you. There are several things I look for either at the store, restaurant, market or mall. I always trust my gut instinct and the feeling I get to either stay inside the building or look for an alternate route.


well… sometimes they do :wink:
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I don’t that I’m great at detecting these folks, but I sometimes get that “being watched” sensation, or the hair goes up on my neck, or I get a gut “zing” of adrenaline or a generally creeped-out feeling. I think it’s mostly body language that sets it off - predatory or strutting or F.U. or arrogant. I haven’t spent as much time as some folks in dangerous environments, so I don’t know how well tuned my radar is.


One of my daughters was with me a couple weeks ago riding with me when I stopped at a store for a couple items. She has her permit & carries a small 9mm. She opted to wait in the van. When I returned I snuck up & purposely surprised her. She was quite startled. I informed her she was in condition white. She had no idea what I was talking about. So I took the opportunity to teach her the condition colors & what they meant, and that everyone should always at a minimum be in condition yellow. Only time one should be in condition white is while sleeping. She immediately started looking up info on that for herself. I’m grateful she takes these things seriously & always wants to learn more.


A couple of times now I’ve been out with the family. All of them are constantly in condition white, the only one with an excuse is the baby. They are slowly coming around, but the simple fact of the matter is they just don’t see what’s going on around them. Twice now I’ve noticed somebody trying to get pictures of my girls. Twice, I’ve confronted the person trying, both times they head for the door at a quick pace, I follow long enough to grab an employee and point them out, explain what happened and then I go back to my family. One of the two times the employee I spoke to did something, the other one just shrugged. If I was solo, I would follow the person out the door, but when my family is with me I won’t let them out of my sight. I won’t risk the camera-person being a decoy.

Where I live, everybody see’s the beauty in it. What they don’t see is just how easy it is to traffic somebody here. Close proximity to the Canadian border, 3 of the worlds largest great lakes and hundreds of rivers and streams make an ideal place to vacation, but also make great getaways for the less savory.

Fortunately, my wife and oldest are starting to get the hint. But every day I see people who are just completely unaware. To help with this in my family I’ve started a little “game” called who can spot the knife before me. Whoever catches sight of a knife before me gets a quarter. Sometimes i let them win here and there so they don’t lose interest, but only once did my oldest catch one before me, and that’s only because I was watching a guy messing with his IWB holster (I ended up helping the guy out, he was really embarrassed and it was his first time carrying so i left him with some advice about holsters and proper belts).


I’m glad to hear you all are so protective of your families. I was fairly ignorant when my kids were young. We all lived in condition white. Now is different. I’m glad Spence mentioned the decoy. Its so true that our attention is so easily focused on what’s happening, we don’t see what’s really happening.


I scan my surroundings…like when I leave a store or building I scan the parking lot…is there someone just having out by a car or the basket return trying not to look obvious. Did the guy that was sitting on the bench when I went in Wal Mart get up and start walking behind me as I cam out? As I’m loading things in my car is there someone or multiple someones looking like they are making a beeline for me and not just going to a vehicle near me.

If I’m downtown in a large city (especially in Louisville) if I’m at a light or a stop sigh I’m watching in the mirrors the people on the corner or the sidewalk around me…this is especially critical to me since I drive a convertible and like to keep the top down in the summertime. I’m also checking to see if there’s a big enough gap in cars or cross traffic that if I have to I can shoot the gap and get away from danger.

Malls and shopping centers I look for large groups of what I describe as “military aged males” kinda hanging out…again…trying not to look obvious.


Been looking for the bad guy all my life. When I was in my teens my friends use to think I was crazy (small town where no one locked their doors). I told them it was my natural distrust and disappointment with people in general.

I am always running “What If” scenarios in my head and looking for the person or group if figure will cause me the most problems if something did happen.
I was in a bar at 18 (legal age back then) and had run one of my what ifs in my head. Damned if it didn’t unfold just as I had ran it, right down to LEOs coming through the doors and arresting people (not me).


Hi all I am new here, Just wish to add a comment here. I’ve been training in the Martial Arts for 37 years and guns all of my adult life, and I have to strongly agree that most individuals walk around completely unaware of their surroundings, of course this excludes you. It seems that the one common mistake is a lack of awareness of the immediate physicality of a given situation. For example, the poor young girl, in Carolina, who got herself murdered by jumping into the wrong car, thinking it was her Uber ride. Taking into account that alcohol may have been involved it remains on point that she had no sense of where she was or what she was doing. As with any self defense scenario there are a thousand “what if’s” to consider yet not everything can get covered in any discussion. The important thing too, is that regardless of the type of defensive method, handgun, pepper spray, even martial arts, the individual should learn to spot possible danger and know how to remove themselves or at least negate it without the use of deadly force unless they are pushed into a corner with one way out, that is through the perpetrator.


A byproduct of political correctness and “mind your own business” mentality along with the “don’t stand out from the heard” mentality.

Many good answers in this thread.

Be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Never assume bad things cannot happen.

Don’t be afraid to profile.

If it’s out of place make a mental note.

Be conscious of “furtive movements”.

Study up on “pre attack cues”.

Try to make eye contact with everyone you meet, everyone you pass.

People will always give you subtle indications of their intent if you know what to look for.

Don’t turn off your natural instincts. If a person, place or situation seems to be setting off alarm bells and making the hair on your neck stand up there’s probably a good reason whether you can consciously identify that reason.

This isn’t paranoia, it’s simply being prepared and proactive.

From our own USCCA training philosophy “recognition is the key to warrior expert theory”. An expert recognizes that a potential life threatening situation is developing or underway. We already have a plan in the back of our mind for how we’ll respond to such threats so we don’t have to simply react out of panic or fear.

I incorporate the principles of defensive driving to personal safety and self defense. I call it “defensive driving for life”. All of the same principles apply and everyone either drives or rides in a vehicle so it’s very easily relatable.


Exactly! How many times have you heard someone say I wish I would have followed my gut?

And we can fine tune those instincts with practice and training, right @Wildrose?


Hey there @bernard1, welcome to the community!
I agree… that phone thing is such an addictive attention hog and it puts people in danger.
What form of martial arts do you do? And have you ever had to use it?

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Yep, that’s with some of my classes we have a “day trip to town” where we walk along observing and discussing.

How did most of learn to drive? Mom/dad, grandparent starts talking us through the mental actions they go through while driving, then when it’s our turn behind the wheel they calmly talk us through what we should be looking for and doing.

After about 30-60 hours of the two in combination, we’re certainly not going to have the same level of competency as someone who’s been driving for a decade or more but we know the fundamentals and can begin developing our own good driving habits and skills.

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Welcome @bernard1. I couldn’t agree more about the way people walk around in a semi-comatose state. They are oblivious to most of what goes on around them. That’s why I think new conceal carriers worry to much about who might be watching them. Most people aren’t aware the person is there, let alone notice enough details to pick out a concealed gun.


Love that idea! I’d “play games” with my kids when they were younger to see how observant they could be about different things. Training yourself to see things - no matter what it is to start with - is a great way to increase your ability to be situationally aware.


Political correctness, herd mentality, and electronic addictions have pretty well disconnected most people from their basic animal instincts and dulled our senses to the point that most folks are all but totally oblivious to their environment.

Even on the highway a staggering number of people seem to just tune the world out as soon as they get between the wheel as though getting from point A- point B happens automatically. Of course those are the same folks that will tell you “that driver came out of nowhere” or “I never saw it coming”. Of course they didn’t, they had simply tuned the world out and look straight ahead from the time they put it in drive until it’s put back in park or worse, they are paying more attention to their ED than the road.