What to Do In an Active Sniper Shooting Like Dallas

sniperLast month I wrote two posts, Some Thoughts on What to Do in an Active Shooting situation, and 16 Things You Need to Know When Caught in a Panicky Crowd or Riot.  This morning after watching the news on the 11 police officers that were shot in Dallas by a sniper, I reviewed these posts.  I wanted to see if the information that I published would have helped anyone. But first I want to express my condolences to the families and friends of the officers who were killed.  My prayers are with the wounded officers so that they will make a quick recovery.

Now back to the posts. When I re-read them, I realized that neither post fit the situation that occurred in Dallas. The first article did not really apply because of the fact that the shooters was using a rifle at a longer range. People weren’t close to him and there were lots of police on the scene.

So what do you do when there is a sniper?

For a much more detailed analysis of this dangerous situation and how to survive it, take a look at this book about surviving a mass shooting. Here are my own thoughts?

Before the shooting starts.

  1. Stay away from large crowds and potential problems.
  2. Pay attention to the people around you. Watch for people that are wearing heavy clothing on a hot day or carrying large bags or backpacks.
  3. Know how to get out of the area you are in, by at least two routes.
  4. Pay attention to what cover is around you, think ahead at all times.
  5. Don’t do anything that draws attention to you.
  6. Be a gray man

After the sniper starts shooting  in an urban setting

  1. Take cover, while trying to determine where the shooting is coming from and from how many different directions.
  2. Use cover and concealment. Understand the difference between the two.  Cover is something that will protect you from the sniper fire.  A concrete wall would be a good example.  Concealment is something that will keep the sniper from seeing you, but will not protect you from gunfire.  This could be a wood frame wall or a light vehicle.  If you have concealment when it is safe, try to move to cover.
  3. In case you are in a large group of people don’t just panic and join the stampeding crowd. The sniper may just be herding you into the kill zone of an explosive or another sniper.
  4. If the police are responding, in force and you have good cover, wait for them to rescue you. Don’t look around and let curiosity get you killed
  5. If you are a carrying a concealed handgun, I would not suggest that you immediately engage a sniper at long distances. All your handgun fire will probably do is draw attention to you.  However, you may choose to fire in an effort to pin him down so others may escape or subdue him.  But know the risks.  The police may have trouble determining if you are a good guy or a bad guy.
  6. Try to leave the area at your first opportunity.
  7. Don’t risk your life for property. Only risk your life to save others, whether it is by taking out the sniper or rescuing the injured.

Hope you never have to use any of this advice.



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4 Responses to What to Do In an Active Sniper Shooting Like Dallas

  1. Ed Harris says:

    A reliable reference explaining what types of building construction provide adequate protection from direct rifle fire is

    Penetration depends upon the range to the target and the type of material being fired against. At close ranges within 50 metres, 5.56mm and 7.62mm weapons perform much the same. Single 5.56-mm rounds are not effective against structural materials (as opposed to partitions) at close range, because of bullet fragmentation. Steel core 7.62x39mm rounds fired from Kalnasnikov series weapons penetrate similar to 7.62mm NATO Ball ammunition fired from medium machineguns.

    Even with reduced penetration which occurs at short ranges, interior walls made of thin wood paneling, Sheetrock, or plaster are no protection against 5.56-mm ball ammunition rounds. Common office furniture, such as desks and chairs, cannot stop these rounds, but a layer of books 18 to 24 inches thick can.

    Wooden frame buildings and single cinder block walls offer little protection from 5.56-mm rounds. The following common barriers in urban areas stop a 5.56-mm round fired at less than 50 meters:

    One thickness of well-packed sandbags.

    A 2-inch concrete wall (nonreinforced).

    A 55-gallon drum filled with water or sand.

    A 7.62mm (10cm thick) ammunition can filled with sand.

    A standard concrete masonry unit (CMU or “cinder block”) filled with sand (block will shatter and wall breached with multiple hits).

    A plate glass windowpane at a 45-degree angle (glass and bullet fragments spalling behind the glass can cause injury).

    A brick veneer.

    A car body (5.56-mm rounds penetrate but may not always exit, bullet fragments and spalled material inside vehicle may cause injury).

  2. Ed Harris says:

    Another similar active shooter false alarm SNAFU at LAX so closely following after the one in NYC suggests that terrorists could be probing out airports to gage the effectiveness of response. Anyone who flies frequently needs to be extremely vigilant because these things happening in different parts of the country prior to September is too much to be mere coincidence:


    • Moe Preparateur says:

      In addition to these two panics you have the “power outages” which have impacted multiple airlines/airports recently. I fly frequently so I plan to be on my toes.

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