When it comes to self-defense, understanding that the first threat you encounter might not be the only one is vital. In the realm of security and personal protection, we refer to this phenomenon as primary and secondary threats.
Primary and Secondary Threats Defined
In the security and self-protection world, primary threats refer to the initial and often overt attacks or dangers that individuals or groups face. These threats could include acts of violence, such as an armed assailant, an explosion, or other violent stimuli, where the immediate danger is clear and present.
However, secondary threats are less obvious and more insidious. These are the concealed dangers that follow the primary threat, often catching individuals off guard and creating additional challenges for those seeking to protect themselves.
Secondary threats may take various forms, such as
accomplices of the primary attacker, hidden weapons, or a concealed trap meant to ensnare the victim. Ignoring the possibility of secondary threats can result in a false sense of security, leaving individuals vulnerable to unseen dangers.
Understanding the Significance
For those engaged in self-defense and personal security, recognizing the existence of secondary threats is of paramount importance. While the primary threat may be the initial trigger for defensive action, failure to consider secondary threats can lead to dire consequences. This holds true not only for law enforcement and military personnel but also for CCW holders and security-minded citizens.
Real World Examples...
Let's take a look at a couple of real-world examples to emphasize the significance of primary and secondary threats:
Las Vegas, 2014:
In a seemingly ordinary setting, two officers were seated at CiCi's Pizza, having lunch. According to reports, two armed assailants, a husband and wife later identified as Jared and Amanda Miller, walked in and without provocation, shot both officers at point-blank range, killing them where they sat.
The Millers immediately fled to a nearby Walmart, where Jared fired a shot inside the store, causing panic among the customers. A concealed carry holder drew his weapon and followed Jared Miller, hoping to "get the jump" on him and neutralize the situation. Unfortunately, he didn't notice Amanda Miller nearby. As the armed citizen maneuvered into position to take a shot at Jared Miller, Amanda pulled her firearm and shot and killed the armed citizen from the side. He never saw it coming.
The bottomline: Sometimes the first threat you see isn't the only threat present.
In another tragic incident, a man with a history of violent threats against police set his house on fire and waited in a concealed position outside the structure for police to arrive. The individual's identity and residence had been registered within a law enforcement database due to prior threats.
However, during the 911 call for the fire incident, the dispatcher mistakenly input the neighbor's address who reported the blaze. Consequently, the alert did not activate, leaving the Leon County deputy, who was the initial responder, unaware of the situation. Shortly after the deputy arrived, the gunman ambushed the officer, shooting and killing him from behind.
The bottom line: Sometimes the first threat is a diversion from the real one that's coming.
Preparation for CCW Holders
Sadly, these are just a few examples of the violent dynamics that are primary and secondary threats. While those of us in military and law enforcement are acutely aware of these dangers, concealed carry holders, in particular, should be equally aware as well. Carrying a concealed firearm for self-defense is a significant responsibility, and understanding the concept of primary and secondary threats is essential to making informed decisions in high-stress situations.
The Importance of Comprehensive Training
To effectively protect oneself against primary and secondary threats, it is imperative you invest in comprehensive training. Static range practice and theatrical "scanning" after firing a string of shots won't prepare you for these types of encounters.
You need training that encompasses not only the technical aspects of self-defense but also the development of situational awareness and decision-making skills.
A Path to Enhanced Preparedness
In future articles, we'll share tips to help you cultivate these life-saving skills. If you're eager to develop a real-world skill set that will help you prepare for these types of threats, consider signing up for our online course, High Threat Pistol Tactics.
This comprehensive training program will develop your situational awareness, understanding of threats, and the practical drills you need to make yourself stronger, faster, and harder to harm. Click here to get started.
How are you incorporating your knowledge of primary and secondary threats into your training? Drop it in the comments below.