6 Laws of Mindful Self-Defensive Tactics

In his article, Pre-Contact Assessments & the 10 Laws of Defensive Tactics, trainer and use-of-force expert Ron Martinelli, PhD, reminds police officers how to make sound, legal, and reasonable decisions under stress in order to preserve the lives of citizens as well as their own.

The following extracts from that article are adaptations of those tactics that are appropriate for use by civilian and church security team concealed firearm carriers.

[ Read the SemperVerus article, A Prayer for Church Security Team Members ]

•   Your mouth and your mind are your two greatest weapons.
“The best fight is the one you don’t get into. Good verbal skills and sound tactics will keep you out of more critical incidents than any other defensive weapons or tactics you have.”

If you suspect, but are uncertain, someone is posing a threat to you, strip away the ambiguity of the moment by loudly telling the person to “STAY AWAY.” If he or she continues to advance, you know he or she is a threat and you can take immediate evasive or self-defensive action.

[ Read the SemperVerus article, Gentle Response De-Escalation Training for Church Security Teams ]

•   What you don’t know about people can injure or kill you.
Use acute situational awareness skills to scrutinize the potential threat. “Important safety concerns would be: What is the subject’s state of mind (angry, enraged, depressed, suicidal, psychotic)? Is the subject under the influence of drugs or alcohol? Is the subject armed?” Observe with enough space between you and the threat to avoid being “on the receiving end of an unprepared-for strike, kick, or weapon.”

[ Read the SemperVerus article, Chart: The Spectrum of Potential Threat Personas in Self-Defense and Church Security ]

•   Remember the “reactionary gap.”
“The reactionary gap is a formula that compares the distance between you and a subject with your ability to react to the assailant’s threat. In other words, the closer you are to your subject, the less time you have to react to the dynamics of his movement, threatening gesture, or weapon.” Negotiate the potential threat from “a position of distance, advantage, and cover.”

[ Read the SemperVerus article, Why 21 Feet Is Not a ‘Safe’ Distance ]

•   Control your environment and subjects. Don’t be controlled by them.
“Seek the best possible positioning….Make the maximum use of lighting, cover, and footing” in your surrounding circumstances.

[ Read the SemperVerus article, Situational Awareness: 14 Ways to Walk Like You Drive ]

•   Remember and watch out for the 6 hazards of contact.

  1. The subject’s hands
  2. weapons (obvious or hidden)
  3. the subject’s friends and associates
  4. escape routes (including yours)
  5. your environment and footing and
  6. available cover (objects a bullet can’t penetrate).

“For example, will wind, rain, bystanders, or an enclosed space obstruct your ability to us OC spray? Will a crowd or a constricted space preclude you from using your defensive impact weapon?”

[ Read the SemperVerus article, Video: Always Carry Pepper (OC) Spray for Non-Lethal Force Self-Defense ]

•   Fully understand the use, control, and limitations of your weapons.
“If you’re using a handheld aerosol weapon like OC, make sure you understand its dynamics. OC is an outstanding defensive weapon, but it has several limitations.” Avoid being your own victim “of direct, cross, and residual contamination.”

[ Read SemperVerus articles on the topic of Church Security ]

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