Active Self Protection Self-Defense Checklists and Acronyms

John Correia is the founder of Active Self Protection, teaching people to develop the attitude, skills, and plan (ASP) to defend themselves and their families from harm.

John is a nationally-recognized subject matter expert in private citizen defensive encounters and law enforcement use of force, a master firearms instructor, martial artist, court-admitted expert witness, teacher of teachers, and former pastor. He reviews thousands of violent incident videos as true-life self-defense teaching lessons on his Main and his Extra YouTube channels.

The following is a collection of some of the acronyms and checklists John has created to assist in remembering self-defense techniques and mindset.

•   Vehicles are transitional spaces where threatening incidents can easily happen. Follow this LET’SS GO checklist IN NUMERICAL ORDER to quickly remove yourself from vulnerability:


  1. L ock your doors as soon as you get into your car.
  2. E ngine on.
  3. T ransmission in gear.
  4. S seatbelt buckled.
  5. S can your surroundings.
  6. G et organized.
  7. O n your way.

[ Read the SemperVerus article, Protect Yourself from a Carjacking ]

[ Read the SemperVerus article, Self-Defense Tactical Driving Tips ]

•   Play 4 Corners at the Gas Pump:

  1. Start the gas pump and set the trigger to continue the flow while scanning your surroundings.
  2. Lock your doors to prevent theft by a person opening an opposite door.
  3. As the gas is pumping, go to one corner of your car and visually inspect your surroundings 360 degrees.
  4. Go to the next corner and repeat.
  5. Repeat for the remaining 2 corners of your vehicle.
  6. Don’t pay attention to the pump; keep your eyes on your surroundings.

[ Read SemperVerus articles INTRODUCING YOU TO FIREARMS ]

•   Personal Self-Defense Starts With Asking Yourself:

  1. Am I going to carry a firearm or other defensive tool?
  2. Am I capable of using it?
  3. Do I have the requisite skillset to use it?
  4. Do I have my mind properly set in order to use it from an
    • emotional
    • psychological
    • spiritual


[ Read the SemperVerus booklet, The Case for Biblical Self-Defense ]

•   Commit Yourself, When Possible, To:

  • Avoidance
  • De-Escalation
  • Escape

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

•   Decision Making When Drawing Or Shooting Your Firearm
In this video, John explains the different perspectives of the following questions:

  • Can I shoot someone?” It may be legal, but is it worth the difficult legal aftermath?
  • Should I shoot someone?” Is the threat a deadly force or great bodily harm encounter?
  • Must I shoot someone?” Is there no avoidance or escape from the encountered threat?

Corollaries to the above are:

  • Can I draw and present a firearm in this situation?”
  • Should I draw and present a firearm?”
  • Must I draw and present a firearm?”

You are morally and legally justified to use deadly force self-defense as a last resort if you have objective, reasonable evidence of an imminent deadly force threat and you reasonably believe that your life or someone else’s is at immediate risk of death or great bodily harm.

[ Read the SemperVerus article, The 5 Elements of Self-Defense Law ]

•   The Law of Stupid Checklist:

  • Don’t go to stupid places
  • at stupid times
  • with stupid people
  • to do stupid things.

[ Read the SemperVerus article, 6 Laws of Mindful Self-Defensive Tactics ]

•   Risk Assessment Checklist:

  • What are the chances of the threat incident ending badly?
  • What’s the likely consequence of it ending badly?
  • What will that mean for my present and my future?

Risking Everything: your life, your financial future, your freedom if you do something egregiously wrong and you’re putting all those chips into the pot and betting all of them that it’s going to come out right for you when in reality it sometimes doesn’t.

[ Read the SemperVerus article, Biblical Lessons to Learn De-Escalating Skills ]

•   Good, Sane, Sober, Moral, Prudent Checklist:

This checklist raises the personally ethical bar to be better-than-merely-legal in the realm of self-defense use of force. This is John’s 5-part video series on what it means to be a good, sane, sober, moral, and prudent person in order to win the legal fight after stopping the physical threat in a self-defense incident. Click each attribute to view its video.

GOOD — “To be a good person means I focus internally on that which is whole, that which is right, that which is fitting, and that which is best for me and others.”

SANE — “Able to anticipate and appraise the effects of one’s actions. When we’re able to connect the actions that we take with the consequences of those actions or how they will affect others, then our thinking corresponds to reality. In other words, you use reason, logic, evidence, and experience to think and act in reasonable and useful ways.”

SOBER — “Marked by earnestly thoughtful character; unhurried and calm, not frantic; marked by temperance, moderation, and seriousness; not impulsive; showing no excessive or extreme qualities of fancy, emotion, or prejudice; self-controlled.”

MORAL — “I have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of the highest ideals of true joy and happiness, which is the idea of virtue, courage, justice, morality, and moderation. Those rights are inalienable; they can’t be taken away without due process. But other people have them too and I have to recognize, then, by a moral code, that my actions have no right to take that from others…. I’m a person of my word. I don’t seek, through deception, to harm other people, because I’m good and sane and sober, and I use force only as a tool of last resort in order to resist the unlawful, immoral use of force against me.”

PRUDENT — “The act of being fair, proper, or moderate; conduct marked by wisdom or judiciousness, circumspection, or discretion under the circumstances.”

John encourages us to “practice a life of spiritual fitness, which means living a good, sane, sober, moral, and prudent life, that you and your family have good strong relationships, that you love them and they love you, and that you and Jesus have a strong relationship. An awful lot of times people don’t think about the fact that they need to be ready for the unexpected; any day could be our last and as self-defenders and people who are preparing for things that could potentially and will happen in our lives, we need to do our best to settle our business each and every day so that we can cover our ASP.”

[ Read SemperVerus articles on the subject of SPIRITUAL FITNESS ]

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