Threat assessment when entering a public area



When entering a public arena, shopping mall, convention hall, or other such area, what do you look for in the area of your personal security? What dynamics do you consider in your personal assessment of the area that you are about to enter? In the image here, we have an indoor venue. What might stand out or look out of place to you in a setting such as this?


I always look for solid cover a concrete barrier or something of the sort. Nearest exit of course. I also observe the people around me looking for something that may indicate a fellow verteran or first responder.

In an event like the one pictured im not gonna try to be the first out the door. Im gonna get low and move with a purpose and try to avoid the panicked mob of people trampling themselves.


@Sheepdog556 I just finished Pat Mcnamara’s sentinal book, and its a good read that dives into reading situations and is a good reminder of a under valued type of training; prepardness and avoidance.

What branch of service?



Gotta use 20 characters to say Navy


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@Sheepdog556, @James

You bring up valid points - all points that I would look for and mention in a dialogue on the subject.


Usually big arena’s like this do not allow conceal carry so this is not a problem for me. When I go to the mall, which is very rare, I always know my exits, I pay attention to the carts set up in the middle of the mall, If it is early morning or later evening around closing I am careful about being in isolated areas as most malls are pretty desolate around me. Many stores have went out business and there is a lot of empty places. In Restaurants I never sit with my back to the door and always make sure I can see the door or front of the restaurant and know my exits . In parking lots I walk slowly past cars and never close them. I do not let my son get in the drivers side until I make sure no one is over there and after I check and make sure he is in and the door locked, then I put groceries in the back.

No matter where I am in public I always look for people acting nervous or out of place. Even at the Walmart one town over which is a nice area, lots of crazy stuff has happened in the parking lot. Carjackings, flashers, some lady trying to get my husband to go back in the store with her, scams, you name it, it has happened. People have been shot leaving the ball game in St. Louis and other events. You can never be to careful anymore.

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You nailed it - knowing whether you are allowed to carry is the very first step. Being 360 aware is key too. How you sit in relation to exits are another great line of defense.

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It took some time but now when my wife and i go out to eat she doesnt even ask she knows what table I’d like and where I’m going to sit at that table.

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My hubby is the same way…LOL… Him and my son always just let me sit first now.


Crowded venues like this one is infact a hard one to really depict because of where you could be seated. Look for safe area of concrete and or can stay low. Know exit areas around where seated as best as possible, check on way in to seat and remeber best way. Check people around you glacing them out. Since several venues will not let you carry inside there are other weapons you carry to do your best to get out…

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Observational skills are key no matter what you are doing or where you are. Situational awareness of exits, entrances and areas of cover are also key.

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I fully agree. Thats pretty much my meaning. Exits, and other ways out. Protection areas and so on.


I like sitting facing entrances and crowds in restaurants. In public places I probably look like a bodyguard unless talking to someone. Army training I guess. Be aware of your surroundings.

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I look for a place close to cover and about 20 to 40 yards from a exit or employee only sign. I prefer a employee only sign because people in a panic look for a exit sign…thats in a big place like in the picture.

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That’s an interesting strategy, @Keith. Have you found that employee only areas have additional exits? My only concern is that they would be high risk areas because there isn’t always an exit to the outside and, unfortunately, an employee could be the potential target in those situations.

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The movies is what gets me. If you sit up front and a shooter came in, the shooter would be behind you and most likely shooting up into the theater and you could potentially crawl to exit door. But if the perp is shooting up, where would you hide? If they are just spraying the seats even dropping into the floor won’t help much. The theater we go to has reclining seats so there is about 2 foot between you and the seats in front of you AFTER the seat is reclined. So if the perp started walking up the steps there is no place to hide. Where would you sit to have to best vantage point?


@TWeinzerl I think about that every time I go to the movie. Think about it just trying to figure it out at home. It’s just recently that I discovered you can CCW in theaters. I didn’t know that. I will definitely start carrying there once I confirm that it’s legal.

I asked the manager at BJ’s just the other day. She said it’s okay. I didn’t see signs but because they sell alcohol I thought it best to ask. CYA. I’m new to carrying so I’m learning a lot. But I’ve always been taught and am aware of my surroundings. I always say it’s an Army thing but in reality I was already that way before the military.


We were literally just talking about the movies here. I prefer to sit at home! I think I’ve seen one movie in the theater in the last year. There’s nothing coming out that is that interesting to me to put myself in that position.

We were also talking about going to sporting events. And even then, we said no to baseball and basketball… But football was a maybe :slight_smile: You have to remember, we’re in Wisconsin and some of us are diehard Packer fans! :football:


How About Them Cowboys!



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