The subject of carrying concealed has exploded recently, nothing surprising giving the deteriorating conditions. How much effort do you put at detecting potential dangerous situations.
Yes, believe it or not there is someone breaking into this subject who has limited knowledge on situational awareness or may not have even heard of it in the first place. Staying in tune with your surroundings cannot be emphasized enough and not just to avoid criminal exposure, but many other types of dangers. Keeping yourself in the present is key, not the past and not the future. Those are important, but to lesser degrees. You need to focus on what is happening right now! What is right in front of you and in your area.
I’m a big believer in the good old fashion “tactical pause”. Taught to me by a Vietnam frogman who ran point he emphasized the importance of stopping and letting your senses work for you, all of them. He would routinely and randomly stop and sync up with his environment. I incorporated this into my time as a pointman and it proved invaluable. Still to this day I incorporate portions of this technique in my day to day activities. It has paid off countless times. In case you are wondering, I’m not perfect. The times I didn’t made for tough lessons to learn, but they were there to learn. Reflecting back I can see had I paid more attention in some case the outcome could have been altered.
As we move from one activity to another, these are ideal times to take a tactical pause. I have found patience to be more valuable as I grow older and people expect things to happen at certain cues. For instance, when you pull into a parking stall it takes the average person a few seconds to gather their belongings and dismount their vehicle. If they are not paying attention they find themselves in vulnerable position and easy prey. Take a moment to look around your vehicle while you are grabbing your belongings, especially your blind spot. Once you dismount take another moment to look further out, push your observation out to cover as much as your route as possible. In these moments you quickly take in your surroundings before moving out. The key is looking for things out of place, if you see someone doing what you are doing that might be worth more attention.
As you get better at this game you will start to consider how you will respond to a variety of situations. Everything from common, to uncommon to catastrophic. Most of the time you come up with some standard responses to common events that can work for a variety of situations. It is the catastrophic you really need to think about and one point folks overlook is their terrain. Where are you when you start to feel the tide turning against you? What do you have as an asset and what are your liabilities. Probably the biggest is your weaponry and access to your loadout. How will your clear your cover garment, will it be with one hand or two? All that to get to have you worked your one hand clear or do you solely rely on a two hand technique.
Noah built the ark before the rain, practice your contingencies in advance. It is better to have some familiarity with common and catastrophic contingencies than to see them the first time in the real world.