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What To Do If You're Being Threatened With A Weapon

What would you do if someone walked up behind you and pointed a gun at your back? Although it seems far-fetched, this is a possibility that you should be prepared for. Having a plan for unpleasant situations such as these is critical if you want to escape them unharmed. A face-to-face confrontation with a person holding a weapon may be the most frightening event of your life. There are steps that you can take to make the situation less dangerous, even if you have no self defense weapons or other tools at your disposal.

First, make sure that the situation is inescapable. If you have walked in on a burglary in progress, or have otherwise spotted someone pointing a gun, it doesn't mean that you should get in the middle of the situation immediately. If the gun is not pointed at you, escape if you feel safe doing so. This is particularly true if the armed assailant hasn't yet noticed you. If there is a weapon involved, never try to protect any amount of money or property. It's not worth risking your life to do so. Instead, call 911 as soon as you can, and stay safe.

If you cannot get away from the assailant holding the weapon, try to stay as calm as you can, even though your heart is racing. Make your moves carefully, avoiding escalating the situation. There is no reason to rush things along at this point. Instead, your strategy should be aimed towards buying yourself time for help to arrive or for the possibility for escape. If you are close enough to get a good view, make a mental note of the perpetrator's appearance, which can help police catch him if he escapes.
 
Keep talking to the assailant, letting them know that you are trying to cooperate. Maintain eye contact and try to stall for time. Comply with your armed attacker's demands for cash, jewelry, or other possessions. Do not try to 'play hero' unless you have law enforcement training. If you do so, you risk serious physical harm not only to yourself, but also anyone else with a gun trained on them. Do not challenge the perpetrator verbally or physically, or try to grab his weapon from him.

However, this advice is not to say that resistance is futile. In some situations, it is absolutely critical to fight back against your attacker. If the main purpose of the perpetrator is violence, rather than a robbery, you must defend yourself in order to escape unharmed. If you are carrying self defense devices, such as a stun gun or a pepper spray canister, use them as soon as you can to put an end to the situation.

Before using your self defense product to stop an armed assailant, check the reality of the situation. Are  you within range of the aggressor? Can you get a clear shot? If a gun is pointed at you from a distance, you may need to slowly close the gap while talking or pleading with the assailant. If you can, momentarily distract the assailant. Once you see your opportunity, move quickly and confidently to disarm the attacker.

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