Concealed Carry Tips - How to protect yourself while using an ATM machine
The very nature of an ATM requires you to have your back facing away. With your back exposed, it's a great opportunity for someone to walk up and take advantage of that weakness. In this article, we'll discuss some concealed carry strategies you can use to protect yourself while you're at an ATM machine. Protecting you from the outrageous ATM fees that banks charge you, though, is unfortunately not covered in this article.
Going to a drive-up ATM, you have the advantage of getting a wide angle view of your surroundings. Avoid drive-up ATMs that are near shrubbery or other convenient spots for someone to lay in wait. A great strategy to adopt is consider how you would ambush you if you were driving up to that ATM. If it seems there are too many good answers to that question, find a different ATM.
When you arrive at the drive-up ATM, keep the car running. If you're driving a manual (not too common anymore), keep the vehicle in first gear with your foot on the clutch. This means if you see potential robbers rushing from rear-view or side-view mirrors, you have fewer movements necessary to get up and go. For automatic transmissions, consider leaving the vehicle in Drive with a foot on the brake. Obviously pay attention to ensure you're not sliding forward but that much will be clear because you'll notice the ATM slowly drifting away.
Don't worry about leaving your ATM card or your money – those are the least of your concern.
If you see people advancing towards you or trying to cut off your exit route, focus on escaping the situation.
Walk-up ATMs are actually the most dangerous because you're freedom of movement is even more limited. Your back will be exposed, normally, because the machines were designed to give you privacy while entering your PIN – not protect you from potential assault.
If there's a line of people behind you in the ATM, cant your back towards the nearest wall. This reduces the number of degrees you're effectively blind. It's not perfect and it's less than ideal but if you're in a pinch for time and money, make the best of it.
Just like drive-up ATMs, avoid walk-up ATMs that are positioned poorly. A lot of banks love silly looking tall shrubs next to their outdoor dispensers or at strange 90 degree corners which is really annoying. Whenever possible, try to position yourself with your back against a wall so at least you can direct some degree of attention outwards.
Alternate looking at the screen of the ATM to transact your business and scanning your horizon.
Don't worry if this looks silly – your safety is more important than appearances. If somebody is to close to comfort, turn around look them in the eye and ask for some space.
Lastly, always stay light on your feet and pivot with your hips. Use one hand for the buttons and keep the other close to your ccw holster ready to draw if needed. This can afford you some ability to scan your surroundings while you do your business. Do not depend on bank surveillance cameras to be of much use to you in the event you are robbed at an ATM, they can't protect you. Not all banks have high resolution cameras positioned around ATMs and most seem exceedingly less concerned with your well-being than that of their machines.
About The Author
James England (@sir_jim_england) is the contributing editor for Alien Gear Holsters. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and private defense contracting in Afghanistan.