Situational Awareness

The Importance of Situational Awareness for Concealed Carry

As a firearms instructor, I cannot stress enough the importance of acting responsibly when you are carrying a firearm. Being able to act responsibly requires proper training, education, and situational awareness. You need to be aware of your surroundings and the potential threats that exist. This is where situational awareness comes into play.

Situational awareness has become increasingly important when carrying a firearm and in various situations where your personal safety is at risk. Identifying, processing, and understanding information in your environment relevant to safety and security is crucial. Situational awareness means being aware of potential threats, such as suspicious behavior, unusual movements, or other signs of danger.

Why is situational awareness important for concealed carry? Several reasons:

Situational Awareness Helps To Avoid Potential Threats

By being aware of your surroundings and identifying potential threats, you can take steps to avoid dangerous situations. For example, if you notice someone acting suspiciously, you can move to a safer location or call for help.

It allows you to react quickly:

Situational awareness can help you react quickly and effectively in a dangerous situation. By being aware of your surroundings, you can identify potential escape routes or possible cover and take the appropriate action to defend yourself.

It helps you make better decisions:

Situational awareness also allows you to make better decisions when responding to a potential threat. By understanding the situation, you can determine the best course of action, whether calling for help, fleeing, or using your firearm in self-defense.

So, how can you improve your situational awareness when carrying concealed? Here are a few tips:

Be mindful of your environment: 

Pay attention to your surroundings and stay alert for any potential threats. This means being aware of the people around you and any objects or areas that could pose a risk.

Situational Awareness Crowd

For example, avoid using your phone while walking alone at night or wearing headphones in a crowded area. These actions can distract you and make you more vulnerable to an attack. If you are going to your vehicle, have your keys ready ahead of time so you do not have to try to find them as you are walking. Distractions shift your focus from your surroundings and make it more challenging to recognize potential dangers.

Trust your instincts: 

If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Listen to your gut and take action to stay safe. The lady in the picture below might be exposing her firearm too early and, in some states, might be considered brandishing. Still, there is nothing wrong with having your hand on your firearm when you feel uncomfortable or feel like something isn’t right.

If your gun is in your purse, you can stick your hand in it and act like you are getting your keys, but instead of grabbing your keys, you put your hand on the grip of your gun so it is ready to go. Do you pocket carry? If so, having your hand in your pocket and prepared to draw is a simple way to gain the couple extra seconds you may need to save your life.

Situational Awareness

I appendix carry and show my students something I call the “scratch and grab.” It’s a simple technique, but you have to be careful not to expose your gun in the process. You reach under your shirt like you are going to scratch an itch. What you are really doing is having your hand right by the grip and saving valuable time if you need to draw. Remember, with any of these suggestions, DO NOT BRANDISH YOUR WEAPON!

Practice Situational Awareness Drills

You can improve your situational awareness by practicing drills that simulate potential threats. This could include scenarios such as an active shooter, an armed robbery, or a carjacking.

Stay Informed

Keep updated with news and information about potential threats in your area. Local news, Twitter, and phone apps like Citizens are great ways to know what’s happening in real time. This will help you stay aware of potential risks and take action to keep safe.

Besides these tips, it is also essential to receive proper training in firearm safety and self-defense. A firearms instructor can teach you the necessary skills to handle and use a firearm safely and effectively. They can also provide guidance on how to improve your situational awareness and respond appropriately in dangerous situations.

My motto is “The best way to win a fight is not to get into a fight!

Situational awareness is a critical component of concealed carry. By being aware of your surroundings and potential threats, you can avoid dangerous situations, react quickly and effectively when necessary, and make better decisions about protecting yourself and others. So, make situational awareness a part of your concealed carry training and practice it regularly to stay safe and prepared.



Brian Armstrong grew up in a small farm town in rural Indiana and learned to shoot before he learned to drive. His career began as a firefighter and medic in Ft Wayne, IN. Throughout the years, he has owned multiple businesses, from construction to technology. His life has come full circle, and he is back to his emergency services roots, teaching emergency first aid and firearms courses.

Brian believes that the best way to learn “HOW” to do something is to first answer “WHY” you do something. He is an average guy with views like yours and is now sharing the knowledge gained from teaching, learning from others, and researching the topics you don’t have time to explore. Follow him at @LetsTalkDGU


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2 thoughts on “The Importance of Situational Awareness for Concealed Carry”

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