How To Deal with Multiple Attackers
Plenty of gun blogs and weapons experts will go into great detail about how to successfully engage multiple attackers. Unfortunately, the average concealed carrier is a far cry from Josey Wales-style gun play. And that's perfectly fine.
Out In The Open And Numerical Advantage
If you are dealing with multiple gunman, spread out, who know your position and are actively engaging you – let's hope they have poor aim because otherwise you're toast. Out in the open, you have about zero chance of neutralizing all your opponents before they finish you.
Good news – you're not going to worry about that right now because we're going to talk about all the steps you can take to avoid that situation.
Step 1 – Situational Awareness
If you missed the fact there are two or more armed attackers in your near vicinity, you lost. This happened recently in Detroit where a concealed carrier got caught in a gunfight with two armed thugs. Everybody got hit. Brave? Yes. But ultimately that's also a reality of this world. Close quarters encounters with multiple armed opponents is not going to end well for you.
Not a step but an important point: ammunition conservation versus incapacitating an enemy. Your pistol doesn't come with unlimited ammunition. Your enemy doesn't magically evaporate when he is hit with a bullet, thus it is important to carry a magazine carrier that allows you to carry extra ammo.
Step 2 – Cover And Concealment
In a gunfight, your first priority is to fight your way to cover. Concealment won't help you at this stage because your enemy already knows you exist. Cover is defined as anything that will stop your enemy from hitting you with bullets. In a multiple opponent situation, focus on hitting every single opponent that impedes your movement to cover.
Start with the opponent closest to you and work outwards. Your first priority is movement to cover but also understand that once you have actual armed enemies on the field, they're probably going to want to kill you – so that's the type of fight this is.
Step 3 – Establish Field Of Fire
From cover, you need to reduce your field of fire to something manageable. Trying to cover 360° with one pistol is impossible. If you can reduce it down to 180°, better. Ideally, you want your field of fire reduced to a space of between 20° to 12° because that closely matches your actual field of view (AFOV).
A small AFOV means you can maintain a high degree of concentration in that direction and establish judicious marksmanship on anyone entering or exiting through that channel. Having to maintain a large field of fire (>40°) exposes you to a great deal more risk. But, let's be honest – you're in a firefight. Your risk is already through the roof.
Step 4 – Maintaining Cover Or Movement
The only way to have good cover and a small field of fire is to essentially be back in a reinforced corner. Backing yourself into a corner is a strategic decision that should only be made when flight is ruled out. Movement in a combat environment is arguably as hazardous as staying in one place. Movement gives away your position and exposes you to fire. It also limits your ability to accurately return fire because once you begin moving, you tend to stay moving until you're incapacitated or out of the situation entirely. So, you'll have to decide which is more important – moving out of an area where active combat is happening or staying put until help arrives.
Anyone that advertises engaging multiple attackers as anything less than a recipe for disaster is a bad actor in this sort of discussion. The average person or beginner to the concealed carry community is not going to have the level of training and skills to dependably engage multiple attackers and survive unscathed. If it does happen – it's a miracle on top of a miracle. Most everything in combat dilutes down to the competency of your enemies versus your competency, with a mixture of luck and strategy sprinkled in. Let's hope you get the incompetent variety.
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.