How To Deter And Prevent An Active Shooter


Places that advertise “gun free” and don’t have clear signs of surveillance are at heavy risk.  Most of the mass shootings and active shooters that make the news attack vulnerable or soft targets.

The easiest way to plan for an active shooter is to make your location difficult to hit.  That doesn’t mean you need to sandbag the walls and get a gunner up in the turret of your Humvee.  It just means making it visually clear that if someone decides to commit violence – he or she will be met with fierce resistance.

Methods For Deterrence & Prevention

Having visible cameras, notices of alarm systems, and not making your home or business a “gun free zone” are all great ways to deter a potential active shooter.  While there are no guarantees of a person’s mental state when he undertakes that sort of criminal act, letting him know that his acts will have an equal or greater reaction is a good way to communicate, “this is a bad idea”.

Active Surveillance Systems


This improves the odds of identifying a culprit in the act.  With multiple cameras that overlap their field of view, there’s a greater chance of recovering information that can be used to identify and track down an active shooter if he escapes.  It can also help exonerate those who defend against that aggression.

“Not A Gun Free Zone” Signage


Posting signs to let people know that carrying firearms – concealed or otherwise – is encouraged.  If you’re a bad guy looking to hurt, kill, or maim others, choosing a location where those people will likely be armed is very risky.

Heck, encouraging customers to come in armed is a great way to meet fellow law-abiding concealed carriers.  That’s one this one Texas man did for his 4th of July barbecue event.  It was probably the last place on earth anyone would think about robbing.

Encourage Employees To Carry Concealed

Even when a lot of visitors and customers are allowed to openly carry a firearm, many employees have to leave their concealed carry pistol in their vehicle.  The best measure to be ready to respond an active shooter is to have employees who are willing and able to carry.  Often times, employees are left in a position where they are unable to help.  Why not encourage them to respond?

Whereas armed guards are a visible deterrence against criminals, having a staff of employees capable of assisting is invaluable.  Obviously, there are jobs where it’s just physically not possible to safely carry a concealed pistol.  There are also employees whom aren’t legally allowed to carry.  Those factors can be addressed through company policy and educating your employees on safe workplace practices.

Train To Respond – Practice Firing From Cover And Movement

When an active shooter does appear, it’s more important to get yourself and others back from the fighting than to rush forward to engage.  If you’re armed and others aren’t, you’re in a position to be able to defend yourself.  Use that advantage.  When training, practice the following:

  • Assessing Threat (Looking left, looking right, locking on target)
  • Finding Cover And Concealment
  • Firing From Cover
  • Changing Magazines Safely
  • Tactical Movement From Target
  • Re-Engaging Target At Distance After Movement

In another article, we’ll go more into depth about some strategies you can use to train these particular skills.  Training and practice are essential because they’re precisely what you will fall back upon once a stressful situation appears.  If you’re trained to prioritize your own safety, you will prioritize it when a conflict occurs.

About the Author

GH is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and has served as a defense contractor in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. His daily concealed carry handgun is a Glock 26 in a Lenwood Holsters Specter IWB or his Sig Sauer SP2022 in a Dara Holsters Appendix IWB holster.

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