Situational Awareness is a term used so often in the growing concealed carry community across America- but what exactly does this mean after you pass any required tests or certs and go on with your life?
More importantly, what is a basic framework that isn't a 30-step process (that most people won't memorize anyway)? Dangerous situations won't give you extra time for enough OODA flops to sort this out on your own through trial and error.
In the simplest of terms situational awareness is one layer of defense you can use to make yourself a less attractive target to a criminal (aka a predator). The value of this technique is that it signals that you are not going to be surprised as easily as someone oblivious to their surroundings. Task fixation in public places is just a bad idea. The central concept of situational awareness is “Do not make yourself a soft target (aka an easy mark)”- the idea is the same whether you're a US Marine in a hostile area or a stateside college student walking home from the library at night.
So what can you do if you are aware that an unknown contact is approaching because they already have started closing the distance between you?
- Use your Fence Technique : put both hands out in front of you in a nonthreatening manner and tell the unknown you cannot help them. This motion tends to make people pause or even stop. It also places you in a better defensive position: now your hands are up between you and the unknown contact, who I will now refer to as a threat.
- Now that you have bought yourself a second its time to move in a way that benefits you. Now move in a way that allows you to begin to orbit the threat while maintaining a safe distance. If you can, try to remain squared up to the threat and take one step to your 3 o'clock followed by another (if not, the main goal is to 'get off the X'). Now you can see what is/was behind you and without taking your focus off the threat.
Victims don't typically behave like this. The unexpected movement should disrupt any imminent ambush since now you can see what was behind you and you have assumed a flanking position to the threat.
No matter what happens from this point on in the encounter you now have made yourself an even less attractive target for any threat because you are not only aware but you also don't act like a victim.
Congratulations- you have just added a new technique to your framework.