How to Survive an Active Shooter Attack: Run, Hide, Fight to Live!

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In only four years, the world has witnessed a colossal 96.8% increase in active shooter incidents in the United States alone. It’s devastating mental health, heightening stress and even weakening our compassion for humanity and one another. 

An active shooter or hostile intruder is an individual actively occupied in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area by any means not exclusive to firearms. They may also use bladed weapons, vehicles, or any tool to inflict deadly physical force. Typically, there is no pattern or even method to their selection of victims. Most active shooter situations are unpredictable, evolve quickly, and are over within minutes.

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In mass cases, an active shooter will use a firearm. However, in rare scenarios, they may use other weapons and improvised explosive devices to inflict a more significant number of injuries while impeding law enforcement and emergency responders. Some improvised weapons are homemade, which may detonate immediately or have delayed fuses.

Type of Weapons Used in Mass Shootings!

  • 56% pistol
  • 27% rifle
  • 14% shotgun
  • 3% unknown firearm 

Violence has decayed our sense of safety and overall comfort and well-being. It’s made many of us unable to thrive in its aftermath. The frequency of mass shootings and consistent media coverage means we can’t escape this brutal attack on human lives, metaphorically speaking. But – we can arm ourselves mentally and physically for when and if it spawns, in real-time – as we hear it, see it, and live it. 

There are 400 million guns in circulation, and 8 million Americans became first-time gun owners between 2019 and 2021; naturally, this is how the world responds to fear and the sadistic existence of active shooters so close to home. However, not everyone has access to firearms for personal protection, but hard core, active shooting training is always abundant. 

Active shooter training exercises are prevalent, although they demand competent and qualified practice. A weak system is futile and could leave you worse off. FBI training stipulates three tactics you can use to keep yourself and others safe during an active shooter attack RUN, HIDE and FIGHT. Learning these strategies prepare and empower you to execute them for survival.


Run and evacuate are interchangeable, and they stipulate if there is an escape route, it’s critical to use it! This action is indicative of situational awareness, something I continually explore in my blogs – reinforcing its priority in our everyday lives. Every emergency response plan demands alertness and a keen perception of one’s surroundings. It’s a sense of place that I train my students to develop. 

This skill set drives you to seek out alternative exits that differ from your original point of entry and to also pay attention to the signs and locations of any stairwells. You should never deter from exit doors that read ‘ alarm will sound.’ This is also an essential tip to also pass on to your kids who may be reluctant or fear using these available exits. It’s also strategic when attending events such as concerts, parades, church services, and school functions. Identify an escape plan to include a primary meeting place if you and your family members separate. There will always be comfort in preparedness. 

Timing is Critical!

  • 66.9 % of all active shooter incidents ended before the police arrived
  • 69.8% of active shooter incidents ended in 5 minutes or less
  • 36.5% of active shooters ended in 2 minutes or less



If during a violent spree, an evacuation is inconceivable, finding a place to hide or barricade where an active shooter is less prone to find you is your next order of defense. The idea is to be entirely out of the shooter’s sightline and to yield protection if shots fire in your direction. This hideout could be a room or office with a closed door, and creating a blockade with heavy objects, such as furniture, is pivotal. Remember, hiding behind the door makes you a target if the frenzied shooter starts rapid firing, so it’s not a trusted hiding place. 

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If there is a lock – it’s wise to use it. It buys time, and every moment is critical for your survival, whether the active shooter is in your proximity or not. It’s also important not to trap yourself or limit your ability to move, as giving yourself space leaves you with more options for escape. Still, it’s also imperative to silence your cell phone or other devices – eliminating all noise sources is vital. With every tactic, your silence is a lifeline.

Frequently Targeted Active Shooter Locations!

  • 42% business
  • 21 % educational institution
  • 14% public open space
  • 10% government owned property
  • 5% residence
  • 4% place of worship
  • 4% hospital
  • 0.4% other


Fighting is your last resort for surviving an active shooter. In Krav Maga, we always instill getting out and getting away, but it’s not always possible. So, we train students to ambush the shooter, gain control of the weapon, and wait for law enforcement to arrive. It’s critical to be aggressive and relentless to incapacitate the shooter. It’s also advantageous to overwhelm your attacker. The fight is the climatic time to use an improvised weapon to save your life – to use a blunt force object by brute strike or bashing to inflict injury. I teach that learning to transform random objects into self-defense weapons is critical to your instruction in real-world protection. 

Also, if you can deduce the direction or path that the armed shooter is taking, you should look for an angle to rush them from the side or flank them; this is highly effective for people en mass, with the strategy to be to gang up on the shooter.

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How Active Shooter Incidents End!

  • The active shooter commits suicide
  • The active shooter and the police engage in a firefight
  • Unarmed citizens successfully restrain the active shooter
  • Armed shooters exchange gunfire and take out the active shooter

You can never know how the horror of an active shooter incident will end, nor is it something we should ever underestimate. You must use your training, and your intuition to utilize your most potent resource. You should factor in your proximity to the shooter on a rampage, and the unique circumstances. In my ‘Bullet Proof’ Tactical Gun Defence I explore these active shooter training exercises, as well as the most cutting edge, effective, and realistic techniques in the industry. They are intense, powerful and in the few minutes that you have to defend from a homicidal active shooter – they could save lives. 

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Top 5 Deadliest Active Shooter Incidents in U.S History!

  • Mandalay Bay Shooting/Las Vegas, Nevada, October, 2017:  58 killed, 500+ injured
  • Pulse Nightclub Shooting – Orlando, Florida, June, 2016: 49 killed, 50 injured
  • Virginia Tech Shooting – Blacksburg, Virginia: April, 2007: 32 killed, 32+injured
  • Sandy Hook ElementarySchool – Newton, Connecticut: December, 2012: 27 killed. 27+injure
  • Sutherland Springs Church Shooting – Sutherland, Texas: November, 2017: 26 killed, 20 injured

Teaching prevention, detection, and ultimately setting up for the initial strike to be one step ahead of the attacker, will always be in hardcore demand. My Knife Defense, Hero Program, Hero Training Camp, Bob Dummy F.I.I.T, Women’s Shield Program, Bully-Proof, and Larger Attacker Defense are dynamic systems indicative of real-world self-defense to sustain personal protection. Which one will empower you?





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