How do you train to improve your situational awareness?

Just going to the mailbox is training! I count the number and color of cars, memorize license plates in the neighborhood, check neighbors windows, open/closed, time their comings and going’s.
Because of coronavirus my sleep patterns have changed, so doing surveillance at 3,4,5 in the morning has become a new hobby. If I catch you on my property I will of course do the right thing!!!:smiling_imp:
I do the same at a stop lights. To put it lightly if not rightly, Im actively, metaphorically, looking for the vermin that call themselves human. If I’m out in public, grocery shopping, whatever, consider me the predator. I’m looking for my next quarry! If I’ve learned anything from animal planet, it’s remain silent, stealthy and scrutinize everything in my path and surrounding area!
By the time I get to the grocery or a restaurant I’ve perfected the prowess of a lion from Tsavo, I am the ghost in the darkness!

I watch windows, doors, reflections, count steps, who’s going to the restroom, locate exit doors, fire extinguishers, items I can use as weapons in the event that deadly force is not authorized, exits in the most unlikely places. This may sound outlandish, but I’m on the hunt!
If I see you coming I will offer you tea and crumpets, polite conversation, if you cross me, you did so at your own peril! I’m sick and tired of rat like humans breathing my air!
I will say that having your head on a swivel 24/7/365 is tiresome, but totally required, there’s a little left radical, or whatever you want to call the vermin these days, behind every dumpster, behind every shopping cart, behind every coloring book! NO ONE IS TO BE TRUSTED! Simple answer RED TEAM it! Be the spy guy. NEVER EVER LET YOUR GUARD DOWN!


Am I inside my house locked in with alarms and multiple dogs around? Semi regularly.

Am I outside of my home? Depends how close you are to me. The closer you get the more aware of you I become.


Situational awareness is critical friends!

I think this is one of the most important subjects @Dawn could have posted about. Please put your phones up friends.


I can honestly say before joining the USCCA i was always in condition white. Pumping gas is something that keeps my head on a swivel, so much so that I often just end up filling the tank because I went over. I do make sure I look around before I stop to read something like ingredients. That said, I almost always wait until I have time to read before someone is within my bubble.

It is never perfect though, and I still catch myself not paying attention at times. I can only say as time goes by, I find myself more aware all the time. While I believe it is improbable to think anyone is aware 100% of the time. Simply by improving my awareness, I have noticed a lot more than I ever did before. Even if it is just paying closer attention to life as we go through it.


Interesting question.

Always pay attention to surroundings, watch mirrors or windows while walking, monitor mirrors on the car while driving or riding as a passenger, check all exits when entering a room or building, and never sit with my back towards the door or any exit if possible, and there was a time when I paid for my meals at restaurants in advance… in case I had to run (not only security and safety practice, was also once involved with EMS so an emergency call might have us running.)… always stop the vehicle at least a car length from the car in front, in case of emergency evasion and road block running… never box yourself in.

Travel to foreign nations, some with civil unrest and civil war… tends to keep you more alert. To be honest, some of that faded in the states, but it returned… not as sharp now, as getting older, we do slow down.

try to stay in practice by watching people, cars, see how far a car follows you, what details are noted, who is driving, who is walking in the same direction as you, and opposite you, and then try to describe them and check to see if you got it right.
Always stop and look, watch people, watch hands, check belt lines, ankles, check eyes, … look at clothing… head on a swivel.

Not as easy as it once was… cell phones and texts distract, but after checking the surrounding area, can respond to those. But they do take your mind off of the focus.


Very true. I have to make a conscious effort to be more aware, and while it’s working, I still catch myself getting engrossed in what I’m doing and not paying enough attention to my surroundings.
Folks that have been on active duty probably have a distinct edge here, and we should all take a page from their book on how to stay alive in a potentially hostile world.


Absolutely correct, if you look left, you lost the right. Knowing what’s on the left and the right at the same time is an art. If you have a cat, try as you might, you will never successfully sneak up that completely aware feline! It’s a game I play with my cat, takes extreme patience! Came close once!


Looking around and evaluating the situation and running what ifs in my head is something I have been doing since the 60s and 70s while still in school.

Part of me doesn’t trust anyone until they have proven in one way or another that they can be trusted (I am way to frequently disappointed in my fellow humans).

While in the Army and specially while in Germany during the cold war I learned some new techniques/skills and refined others.

My point is, I have never stopped doing this. I have tried to pass this on to my wife and children (some get it more than others). Stay sharp, pay attention, know were you are and pay attention to your surroundings. Play simple games when you go out. Ask your family if they understand why you choose the table/chair position you are at.

Hope that all makes since, I have found at times it is easier to teach family when they dont really know you are teaching them.



Girlfriend and I play a game of calling out things we notice. This helps each other noticing things that the other one might not have seen. We more code it to each other, Bird in a cage = Person in a car, peoples location or to take notice of a person we call out the clock position of any certain person such as, “9 O’clock” If she feels there is a potential problem she will say to me, “Orange sauce” then I reply, “heard” but that is in public. When we are together it is another thing, more straight forward.


That’s a hell of a memory you have. I’m aware but no where near that level. Don’t trust almost everybody. If shtf may need some folks. Most homes are indefensible when alone. Just me


A good investment done 15 years ago, impact resistant doors and windows. Helps with sound and electric bills.


This is an excellent way to plan scenarios and run them through your head, so that if or when something happens, it may not be a total surprise and you already planned some potential responses. Been doing it myself for decades, and including OCONUS, and in some not so friendly resort locations… and some not so bad.

Do it regarding driving in traffic, in no traffic, snowy weather, rainy weather, bright sun, road blocks and terrorists, car jacking… etc.

We may never think of everything, but putting the mind into the framework to respond is to me half the battle… .may 1/4 of the battle, but at least the start of the battle. :slight_smile:


I just do my best to be alert or pay attention. If I am in a restaurant I do a quick scan of who else is there, try to sit at a table rather than a booth , know where the exits are and try to have a view of the entrance. I walk with my head up so that I can be observant of my surroundings and am not surprised of potential problems. I am not paranoid, however, I am also not naive.


Excellent training exercise, I look around me constantly. Even while i am listening in a conversation with quick glances of people behind the person i am talking to.


This may be slightly off topic, but especially women shouldnt go to remote places alone! They should go in groups and not use headphones if jogging. There are cases of women disappearing, being attacked, or murdered while jogging alone. In 2007, there were 2 well reported cases in the Chicago suburbs. I think both are missing and just about everyone thinks the husband killed one of them. Just the other day a body of a woman was found a couple of days after going into the woods in the south suburbs. (Check Micala Siler on the internet for a really sad story of another jogger.)
Situational awareness needs to be taught repeatedly!! Each generation needs to be reminded, etc.!!!


Agree 100 percent @Dorcas. Jogging and wearing headphones is a distraction and can impede your situational awareness.


I constantly look around and ask myself the same questions I ask as part as my post shoot assessment.

The big question

  • Has anything changed in my environment since I looked last?

The follow ups:

  • Does anyone need to get shot right now?
  • Does anyone need to be a Person of Interest to me?
  • Does anyone need any attention (Post shoot I look for Medical attention)?
  • Am I in the best position to address whatever may come at me?

After millions of times running these through my brain, it’s become automatic and instinctive. Just like when I walk into a room I memorize potential exits and always sit where I can see the whole room and doors. Just habits…