Facing the Active Shooter eBook Review

I don’t think there is enough discussion about philosophy and mindset in the firearms community. Instruction is typically centered around tools and tactics. It is critically important to understand proper trigger control, sight alignment, movement, malfunction clearance, cover and concealment, etc. But it is also critically important to prepare mentally and emotionally before something terrible happens.

I like books written by CR Williams for two reasons: they are brief and they address the philosophical / mental aspects of self-defense in addition to the usual mechanical stuff.

CR’s book on Facing the Active Shooter is required reading for anyone interested in the preparing to face an uncommon but extremely dangerous threat.

Length and Topics Covered

This eBook is only 53 pages. It took me less than an hour to read it. It’s priced right at less than $4 as of this writing, and is also available as part of the Kindle Unlimited program that lets you read the eBook for free.

CR Williams assumed the reader already knows basic, intermediate, and advanced skills — or at least that they should know them and continue training them. Some of the concepts the reader should be familiar with include but are not limited to:

  • Moving before, during and after the gunfight
  • Drawing from concealment and from non-standing, non-traditional positions
  • The use of cover and concealment
  • The use of “battlefield pickups” and unfamiliar weapons
  • Knowledge of and aptitude in central nervous system (CNS) shots vs center of mass (COM) shots, and when it’s appropriate to focus on one versus the other
  • Setting and avoiding ambushes
  • Accurately shooting on the move
  • Understanding when to proactively reload your weapon (i.e., the “tactical reload”)

This frees Mr. Williams to cover aspects of responding to an active shooter that aren’t often covered by “tactics only” classes:

  • Defining the active shooter, and how they are different from the usual criminals we train to combat
  • Sub-defining active shooters: irrational, emotional shooters versus terrorist teams, and their behaviors
  • Understanding the “landscape” of your workplace, shopping mall, church, and outdoors where active shootings may happen, and how to use them to your advantage
  • Changing your tactics (if applicable) from an armed robbery, home invasion, or abduction-based scenario to deal with an active shooter scenario. One obvious example is not challenging an active shooter, something I’ve discussed before.
  • The importance of being able to make shots at longer than typical civilian defense distances
  • Techniques on preparing mentally for a violent encounter, especially an active shooter scenario
  • Formulating plans ahead of time on if you will flee, fight, or fortify depending on who is with you and what’s going on
  • How to deal with responders
  • How to deal with the aftermath of an active shooting

Food for Thought

Facing the Active Shooter is not a how-to manual. It is a starting point for you to see if you have the skills necessary to respond to an active shooting. It is also a prompt to discuss these situations with your friends and family.

It is impossible to plan for every situation, but there are some basic frameworks covered in this book that may make it easier for you to formulate and enact a plan — or several changing plans as the situation dictates.

CR Williams details basic strategies based on the number of attackers and the distance between you and the attacker(s). This is similar to my thoughts on when to deploy your bag-carried weapon, but CR presents it more like a decision matrix. This type of thinking and planning seems obvious once you start, but it’s a critical topic that you need to address.

The book challenges you to decide if your actions would change if you are alone or with friends and family.

Mr. Williams also goes into something common in professional sports but not often discussed in the self-defense community: the use of visualization. Some pro athletes visualize what may happen — good and bad — while they are performing. UFC champion Ronda Rousey and former UFC champion Jon Jones have discussed how critical visualization is for them, especially when things do not go as planned. Whether or not you decide to add visualization into your self-defense training regime is up to you, but the value of Facing the Active Shooter is that it makes you think about things beyond your boomstick.

Short and Sweet

At less than 60 pages for less than $4, Facing the Active Shooter is a must-buy and must-read for anyone who visits this site on a regular basis. It’s quick to read, but the thinking and discussions that follow may be lengthy.

I encourage you to read it in order to:

  • Formulate a blueprint of what skills you want to acquire, improve and maintain.
  • Construct a framework with how you may deal with different situations.
  • Discuss with your friends and family as appropriate.
  • Act if the time comes.

About the Author:

Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd is a regular guy and works to make Web sites and mobile apps easier for people to use. He spends his free time attending fight-focused firearm, knife, and combatives training, motorcycling, writing, and playing games. His daily carry is a Glock 19 pistol and an AR15 .300 Blackout pistol in a backpack.

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