One of the most important aspects of any self-defense system is situational awareness. By paying close attention to your surroundings, and knowing which warning signs to look for, you can see a potential attacker coming and prepare yourself for quick action. Without situational awareness (SA) you might end up oblivious to threats right in front of your nose, and be blindsided by a sudden attack. Even if you're a trained martial artist or shooter with years of combat training, you're automatically at a disadvantage when your attacker has the element of surprise.

Carrying a concealed weapon is an excellent tool for self-defense. However, concealed weapons are also sometimes carried by dangerous criminals, muggers, and thugs. So, in order to avoid being taken by surprise when a malicious individual draws a handgun, it's helpful to be aware of anyone in your vicinity who might be carrying. Even if that individual ends up not being a threat, it's wise to keep an eye out at all times.

handgun-in-holster

In poker, a “tell” is an unconscious action that may reveal an opponent's true intentions. Similarly, there are many identifiable “tells” that might give away someone attempting to conceal a weapon. Keep in mind that many of these tells are far more subtle if the individual is equipped with adequate training, a high-quality holster, and appropriate clothing. Fortunately for us, most bad guys won't bother with those formalities, so their tells may be much easier to spot.


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The following threat identification infographic was created by Megan Jaegerman with input from former NYPD detective Robert T. Gallagher. It shows a few common mistakes made by individuals attempting to conceal a handgun. Law enforcement officers are often trained to spot these behaviors, and with a little practice, you can learn to identify them too. (Click here for a full-size version of this infographic.)

Concealed handgun infographic firearm pistol 1

We should also mention that this guide works both ways: if you carry a concealed weapon, you should be careful not to exhibit these behaviors. Otherwise, an attacker might notice you're carrying a weapon when you're trying to remain discreet. Also, even with a proper holster, printing through clothing can be a giveaway. Click here to read more about the importance of printing from our friends at RECOILweb.com.


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