Tag Archives: Orient

Applied OODA with a little help from First Person Defender

Warning: the video featured in today's post exceeds my typical limit of 6:00 for videos. However you only need to watch a couple minutes of it. Eric at the Gunmart Blog does a handy job covering his takeaways on this force-on-force training video, complete with Simunition, from First Person Defender. For context on the rest of this post watch the embedded video starting at 4:15 up to about 6:00.

You may want to go back and watch the beginning again because it happens in a fast and chaotic manner (like real life)- about 7 seconds into the scenario- quite a bit has happened already. The companion of the student performed an OODA loop that went something like this in the first 3-5 seconds:

  • Observe: bad guy with a gun
  • Orient: serious trouble! that guy just shot two rounds into the ceiling
  • Decide: better defend us before its too late
  • Act: draw- fire (get shot by bad guy)

And that was all before the student even drew his revolver and entered the gunfight with the bad guy. The student goes through a similar OODA loop although he wins the added stress of adding something like “oh shit- my buddy just lost a gunfight!” to his Orient stage. At that point I bet nearly every student follows suit and engages in a gun battle they can't win. Let's try to learn from this scenario so we can avoid living it.


I don't blame the guy with the revolver- many people are guilty of training to do exacty what we saw: identify threat, present weapon, engage threat. The problem with this OODA loop is the breakdown that occurs in the Orient phase.


The bad guy wants to do what? Oh, he wants to rob the place- either customers, the store safe or both. Trying to draw and fire against an opponent who already has a gun pointed at you is impossible to win. While is correct (and natural) to think that serious trouble is underfoot there was not an immediate need to engage in a losing effort.

Wouldn't it make more sense to leverage one of the best tools in the concealed carrier's toolbox? Yes- surprise!! Don't identify yourself as a threat to the bad guy when you don't have to-it's extremely likely that an opportunity to stop the bad guy will present itself.

Executing your tactical mindset fast enough to make that decision isn't easy. Watch this space for tips on how to sharpen your skills so you can make the right decision.