Situation Awareness: Inherent Ability vs. Motivation


I got confused when I was recently asked for ideas about situational awareness training.

It appears to me, not as a technique to teach but something that derives from intuition. I assume that we are hardwired to recognize human predatory behavior. As time went by, wild animals as our primary opponents switched their places with criminals. Much like a dog lifts his hackles in a fight, the hair on the back of our neck is a sign—an instinctive alert that something is wrong.

Certain odd social activities are viewed as criminal behavior. Survival instinct teaches us that when a group of teenagers splits the direction, they may want to circle a possible victim as the wolf pack does. Often, we get worried when someone we do not know makes strong eye contact. These kinds of abilities have kept us alive as cavemen and continue to this day, although in a different way.

The more I pondered if certain awareness-raising skills are appropriate, the more reality seemed to set in. While you may be instinctually mindful of your surrounding environment, you must also be motivated to put that capability into practice.

Situation awareness involves many key aspects, including the lookout for possible assailants and the perception of a cover-up places, the determination of potential entrances, and the search for escape paths. Start with a well-known environment and build your skillset.
Situation awareness involves many key aspects, including the
lookout for possible assailants and the perception of a cover-up
places, the determination of potential entrances, and the search
for escape paths. Start with a well-known environment and build
your skillset.

My long-held conclusion is that most people do not keep vigils of conscience. Maybe it is because they do not have enough motive yet or they don’t realize the importance of situational awareness. Some of them who carry a gun think that they are fully capable of preventing any attack just because they are armed. After all, that is the reason why they have a firearm.

“Like most people, I did not realize that a defense is not likely to succeed when it is a reaction to the violence that has already commenced.”

Taking multiple practices and testing my skills in real-life scenarios, I realized that in the case of direct and personal attacks you will not be able to respond successfully without preliminary training. If it were a surprise attack, I would most certainly have low chances to succeed. Despite realizing the attack was inevitable, I found myself behind the time/power curve because the claim has always been that action beats reaction.

Situation Awareness – Practical Cases

Empty and tape your firearm so it is secured, in simulated scenarios measure your reaction time with a fake gun by using an Airsoft replica. One of the possibilities is a “bad guy” situation when someone armed demands cash. Make him point his gun at a friend, then grab your firearm and see if you manage to shoot him before he turns and shoots you.

Another suitable example to test is a carjacking or road rage attack. How much time does it take for you to reveal your weapon or get covered if the driver gets out of the car in front of you with a gun in hand? When these concepts of action and reaction are comprehensively taught, you will know that there can be no feasible defense in a direct assault, and a situational understanding to prevent encounters is the only key to survival.

Ability to React

The defense is a responsive reaction, by itself. Thus, due to the response time, the victim is in a vulnerable condition once an assault has begun.

When in a relaxed setting, like your local bar or when sharing a meal with mates, it is easier to let your guard down.
When in a relaxed setting, like your local bar or when sharing a
meal with mates, it is easier to let your guard down.

For an attacker, it requires less time to move four feet to injure someone than for the victim to move their trigger finger a quarter inch.

The brain of the victim must first detect the movement of the attacker, understand its sense, decide whether it is a deadly threat, determine a response and then actually make a move. In fact, the victim will be stabbed long before he can shoot his weapon, and more than certainly, he will be stabbed well before he acknowledges what is going on.

The Tueller experiment reveals that the assailant can on an average cross 21 feet earlier than any person can consider the attack has begun, draw, and shoot a firearm. If you are assaulted and your pistol is still in your holster, chances are slim that you’ll manage to use it. Thus, the greatest way to successfully ward off an attack is to foresee the confrontation and prep for it.

Importance of Situation Awareness

Situational knowledge includes a range of core aspects, like the lookout for possible attackers, the identification of cover-ups and protection, the detection of potential escapes, and the search for routes of exit. Being mindful of your environment and your surroundings will help you significantly.

  1. The trouble can be prevented when you actually avoid it. Keep your distance if you are monitoring your surroundings and you’re seeing something that looks like danger ahead.
  2. Acknowledging the trouble in advance will provide you with some time to develop a plan, look for a cover-up, and get your weapons ready (grab pepper spray, open your knife, lay hands on the guns, etc.).
  3. It is possible when the attacker realizes that his existence is known to you and you are ready for confrontation, he will try to track down an easier victim.

Once when I was wandering downtown with my friends, a bunch of street punks came to us. I thought they did not have the best possible intentions in mind. Incapable of avoiding the situation, we moved the two women to the safe side of our party and made strong eye contact with possible troublemakers with the aim of clearly showing that we were really alert about their presence and that we would not be helpless victims. Right after that, we noticed them changing their behaviors. They were not loud, gross, and dominant. Instead, they passed us gently. This scenario could have ended up in a completely different way if their presence had not been identified in advance.

Process of Choosing a Victim

Criminals typically do not pick a victim by chance. They are looking for an adversary they can effortlessly defeat. They tend to get 10 dollars from an easy victim then get in a fight for 50 dollars with a prepared opponent. In the sixties, street thugs were likely to persecute hippies, without struggling they would give up their valuables and not report them to the authorities. Nothing much has changed today. Attackers target people who are likewise unaware and not prepared.

Being aware of the environment that surrounds you will always contribute to your safety. Remain alert and attentive. Free of any psychological damage, you can spend your whole life in a cautious state. When you demonstrate carefulness, the attacker realizes that you are alert, that you are aware of your surroundings, and that you definitely know about his presence. The attacker will get the impression that you’re not the convenient victim he’s looking for.

How high is your situational awareness? Do you have any suggestions that you boost the situation awareness of our readers? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

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Hunting Magazine
Hunting Magazine
I’m an editor, hunter, writer, author, and photographer who lives and breathes the hunting lifestyle. The Out of Doors is my playground. I specialize in the daily management of the Hunting Magazine, publishing hunting industry-related content to the digital pages of our hunting journal.

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