Friendly Fire - A Self-defense Concern

There’s a lot of discussion about what to do when the police show up at a self-defense incident, but we haven’t talked a lot about what might happen when there are multiple concealed carriers reacting to a larger threat.

How do you train to identify yourself to other responsibly armed Americans in a dynamic critical incident?

Concealed Carry Badges are a bad idea… see that discussion here: CCW badge?

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This is a tough one simply due to the innumerable scenarios that could occur.

So I will take it from the aspect of PURE self defense. The object is of course to defend yourself in the face of an attack. My initial reaction is to get low and find cover (preferred) or concealment. I will probably already have my weapon in hand by that time in the low ready unless I have a threat and am actively engaging it. At this point if not shooting I am LOOKING. #1 looking for the shooter and #2 looking for somebody(s) who acted like me. #3 looking at everyone else
If #1 occurs first … well you can guess what might happen
If#2 occurs first the odds are pretty good that we are going to make eye contact. Hopefully a look and a nod will get both of us on the same page.
#3 is dangerous in that if you have another CCW that has his/her gun out they may or may not be capable of understanding that there are OTHER good guys with guns around and they may be in full panic mode. Drawing their attention when they are in escape mode is probably not a good idea.

At some point you are going to have to decide if you are going to move toward the fight, sit still and let it pass or retreat. Obviously at any time you may run across the shooter in which case all self defense rules apply. If you decide to press the attack (ie there are shots still being fired) you are now on OFFENSE, which obviously is not self defense. That said you will be projecting your defense of others. That is a whole new can of worms.

How do you train to be identified as a good guy or train to identify other good guys in a dynamic event? The only thing I can think of is to think through as many scenario’s as possible and develop a reaction plan to seeing another gun. Mebby yell “Good Guy”. Things that make you go HMMMMMM.:face_with_monocle:



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@Craig6 had some great points.

Part of defense training is scanning crowds, reading peoples body language. we should be able to pick each other out of a crowd. Especially if it’s a panicked crowd. You’ll see people what you’re doing or would be doing. That’d be a great clue.

This isn’t a full proof plan by any means. However unless you train with someone you’ll never really know what they’re going to do or capable of doing

This was actually a scenario on a the last Proving Ground (second scenario in the clip). I thought it was interesting how the CCW, despite his “brother” telling him the other guy was a good guy, still got caught up in tunnel vision for a good minute plus.


Remember two things. You are responsible for every bullet that leaves your barrel and you must also always have clarity of the situation before pressing that trigger. This won’t stop you from getting shot by someone else but may prevent you from shooting an innocent person who, like you, is just trying to help.

If you see someone with a gun, how do you know they are a bad guy. I recall reading an article many years ago from TX, and a concealed carrier killed an under cover cop who was shooting at two drug dealers. He assumed the cop was a bad guy because of how he looked and the way he was dressed (remember under cover). No clarity of the situation.

Giving verbal commands is an excellent way to gain that necessary clarity. If they point the gun at you, you now have that necessary clarity which you didn’t have before. Before you only had an assumption, and you know what they say about assumptions.

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