Situational Awareness - Subtle Things Matter

I live in a high rise condo building, I push the button to call the elevator to go down to the underground parking. The elevator door opens and I see two guys. Not particularly concerning, yellow+ but certainly not Red. I get on and push the button for the parking lot, the door closes and the elevator starts down. Then it hits me, when I got on there were no buttons lit up, the guys on the elevator had not selected a floor to get off. They rode down to the parking lot and got off with me. I politely “let” them get off in front of me and I slow walked my exit to let them create space. They walked away but kept looking over their shoulders at me. I got in the Barbie Jeep and was on my way. It just seem odd to me that they would ride the elevator with no destination, going past several floors and the street level lobby. Maybe looking for a victim?
I’m actually a bit disappointed in myself for not noticing the situation earlier, before the doors closed.


Good call, pucker factor in full mode! Good WWIDI exercise to be mentioned in home defense, CCW concepts. FWIW, I’m shamelessly gonna use it as a example, and a good example of situational awareness. Thank you for sharing. Gotta admit, I’ve never thought that scenario about catching the no button light on!
BTW, well handled - just glad it was someone of your mindset and not a statistic waiting to happen person.
Pat yourself on the back, you probably prevented a robbery, kidnapping, sexual assault or all the above!
:+1: :+1:


Great job @Mike164 noticing the buttons not lit. That was definitely time for the hair on the back of your neck to stand up. You did the right thing letting them exit first and maintaining space. If those guys had been up to no good you would have sensed it and had the drop on them. Excellent situational awareness brother.


In October of 2022. I had an incident. It was my SA that allowed me enough time to react that allowed me to be able to stop a possible situation before it escalated. I’m a huge believer in if it doesn’t feel right, listen to your mind/body when it’s sending you messages of something not being right.


Sometimes luck trumps skill. You were lucky.


Devil is in the details!


That would be a tough situation. Two on one in a small elevator. It would be hard, I think, to get to your EDC or OC and use with any effective capability would be very hard. Might need to an OC spray in hand as you get in the elevator.


I believe OC in a small, confined area would not be a good thing for the user.


Not a good thing for the other guys either. Not all OC sprays are foggers. I carry a streamer and practice “blessing “ the bad guy with the hot sauce. Once across the eyes and once down over the nose and mouth.


Given @Mike164 ’s level of training and experience in martial arts I like his odds in this scenario. I suspect these two sized him up and decided to look for an easier target. They likely realized they weren’t the only predators on that elevator.

If they didn’t set off my alarm bells before I got on the elevator and I realized they hadn’t selected a destination and I couldn’t make an immediate exit before the doors closed I might have chosen another destination myself aside from the parking garage. Maybe the main lobby in hopes there would be some witnesses.

I am not a big fan of elevators. I don’t like small rooms with only one easy way out that doesn’t work when you are between floors or the power goes out. Fortunately I live near a very small city that has very few elevators and the stairs are always an option when the tallest building you go in only has 3 or 4 floors.

I’m also not sure that pepper gel would protect you from the effects in such a tight unventilated space. Not to mention bringing it up to face level and spraying before they could restrain you would be a challenge. I might have subtly as possible pulled my pen out and had it ready to go.


Good point, practice spraying from hip level or slightly higher.


That seems very challenging to hit the face from waist level but I’ll have to give it a try sometime.

I can shoot from the hip with a pistol because my target would be the attackers pelvis. I’d be very concerned that while trying to aim for their face from the hip, with either a pistol or pepper spray that there is a very high chance of being redirected in the scuffle and hitting myself.




One thing I like about pocket carrying a little J frame revolver is that I can look as casual as can be with my hand in my pocket, and no one knows I’m holding a gun in my hand ready for an almost instant draw. There have been a couple occasions at gas stations when a group of not-too-nice looking guys rolled up that had me standing like that, at the ready, keeping the eyes in the back of my head wide open. Hopefully I never need to bring it out, and I can get away before bad stuff starts happening.


That is one of the things I really like when I pocket carry my little Ruger LCP Max. It would take longer to draw if I was surprised with no warning but if I see potential trouble coming I can practically have it held at low ready without anyone even knowing I’m armed.


I think because of life experiences, I am always going to trust my knives as a fall back. Not saying knives are better, I’m just comfortable with them.


I could see a knife or knives having some advantages in tight spaces. Especially for someone with the proper skills and training as you have.

Given my current training and physical abilities if I was faced with an imminent threat and was reasonably certain I had the time and space to get my pistol out and on target before an attacker could react I would prefer to go that route. If not I would use distraction and/or physical strikes to try and gain the space and time needed to get to my firearm. A knife for me is a tool of last resort. I just have a lot more experience with a pistol and am currently working on building my unarmed skills. One of these days I’ll get around to getting some much more solid knife training.

I made an earlier comment about grabbing the pen that always rides in my pocket. That would be for situations where I felt potentially threatened but wasn’t sure the threat was imminent. The pen gives me the option of having a tool out and ready to instantly respond while limiting the chances of being accused of brandishing a “weapon”.


I usually carry a tactical pen, a folding tactical knife and my pistol. I used to carry OC, and used that component frequently, but the collateral, unintended exposure was frequent enough, I stopped using it. I used fogs, streams, gels. For ME, I just didn’t like it. Yes, in some cases it worked as advertised. For me, my hand-to-hand skills are very good (well… were), and I just chose to go that route.
Because, if I’m in a that is self defense fear of SBI or death, and I cannot disengage and split, I’m not wasting my time with OC.
I know some will ‘yeah, but… and but if… this’, don’t. You do you. For ME, I had other options that fit in my wheelhouse better.
I strongly recommend knife combat skills. I tried for years to teach LEO’s it as formal training; but administration always only allowed SKD (spontaneous knife defense) for ‘legal reasons’. They said the knife was only carried and was to be used as a last ditch effort. Well, no s*it Sherlock; I’d think you’d want to know how to use it to its maximum benefit! Never mind they carried deadly weapon pistols! And every cop I knew carried at least one, if not several knives.
So… get training, but do your homework on the trainer, many are YouTube wonders with little practical, real world knowledge. I personally used and taught Fairbairn and Sykes, and Col. Rex Applegate methods, brutal and damned effective - yeah I know I’m dating myself.
Also, I noticed in defense cases involving a victim using a knife was often vilified more than a victim using a gun on the presumption that anyone using a knife - especially a tactical knife - must be overly violent and looking for a fight in the jury’s eyes. Not saying it’s right, that was just my observations.
Anyways cheers :beers:


10 out of 10. I would definitely read it again. Kind of checking to see if I have had a disassociative psychotic break :rofl::joy: Seeing as that has been my personal EXACT experience.


The family and I were in an elevator today. We were in a larger city/urban area. We walked in off of the street to the building that housed the parking garage. My wife’s spidey sense went off. As we entered the building, the man was on a phone standing at a counter looking like he was going to go through a side door. I read the entire situation as a maintenance man working the area (I still think I was right). As we walked in off the street, he ended the call and walked to the elevator ahead of us. He held the door for us and we followed him in. When we pressed the button, I realized he was going up and we were going down. He got off. Nothing happened. My wife then explained to our daughter why her spidey sense was going off. Had I not been with them, she would not have gotten on this elevator. I immediately thought of this thread. Regrettably, I had nothing on me. I should have at least carried a heavy duty pen, or a bigger tactical flashlight (I was legal to carry where we were, but had to drive through illegal areas to get there so I left firearm at home). Thanks to @Mike164 for opening this thread and sharing this experience.