CCW Lifestyle Series # 12 – Situational Awareness and Color Codes

The following is part of a continuing series of articles intended to provide a starting point for those new to concealed carry. There is much to learn and great satisfaction to be had but figuring out where to begin can be daunting for newcomers. The intent of the series is to provide useful information for those beginning the transition to the concealed carry lifestyle.

Choosing the concealed carry lifestyle involves a reasonably challenging learning curve, at least to be done correctly it does. Buying the gun and getting the permit are the easy parts. Most instructors would agree that your firearm is your last resort and your time is much better spent learning how to avoid situations where using your firearm is your only option. Two concepts you should learn to keep yourself safe are situational awareness and color codes.

Situational Awareness

This tactical sounding term in plain English just means paying attention to your environment. Look around next time you’re out in public and notice how many people seem to be completely unaware of what and who is around them. Notice how many are focused on their cell phone and barely aware of where they are going. Criminals are predators and they look for prey. If you don’t want to get eaten, don’t look like food.

If you read accounts of crime victims, you’ll notice the victim’s description of the event often begins with “he came out of nowhere”. Criminals don’t come out of nowhere. Criminals are predators and they follow a process just like any other predator. Being aware of your surroundings can help you spot the process and take simple actions that will cause the criminal to look elsewhere for a victim.

John Correia of Active Self Protection often refers to transitional spaces. These are areas where people come and go freely such as gas stations, parking lots, convenience stores or anyplace else the public have access. Criminals hunt these areas like lions hunt waterholes. They select people that seem unaware or appear to be unable or unwilling to resist. Once selected they need to get close enough to the victim to attack. Once in position they attack (or come out of nowhere).

If you’re paying attention you’ll be able to spot these predatory behaviors and take evasive action long before the criminal is close enough to do you harm. Watch John Correia’s daily videos showing actual violent attacks. John analyzes each event discussing the criminal’s actions and what the defender did right and wrong.

Color Codes

The color code system was developed and taught by Colonel Jeff Cooper at Gunsite Academy. If you’re unfamiliar with Colonel Cooper you can learn a little bit about him here. The four colors describe four states of mental awareness.

  • White – White is the lowest level of awareness. In condition white the individual is unaware, not alert, and oblivious to his or her surroundings. Never appropriate in public. Possibly appropriate watching TV at home.
  • Yellow – This is described as a relaxed state of general alertness. This is not paranoid, head on a swivel alert, but just paying attention to your surroundings. In the book Left of Bang, authors Patrick Van Horne and Jason A. Riley describe learning how to notice things that are out of place in your environment. A great way to spot predatory behavior in time to not become a victim.
  • Orange – In this condition the individual is in a heightened state of alertness and is focused on a specific potential threat. The level of threat is unknown, but something has caught your eye that doesn’t seem right and could be a problem.
  • Red – This is the condition where one is mentally ready to fight. You’ve identified a real threat and are prepared to take whatever action is necessary.

The concealed carry lifestyle can be very rewarding and satisfying. Please take the time to learn all you can. Regularly take classes from professional instructors and train often. A great soup to nuts book on the subject for those new to the lifestyle as well as the more experienced is Tom Givens’ Concealed Carry Class. Learn, train, be safe, and enjoy your world.

The right to self-defense is a basic human right. Gun ownership is an integral part of that right. If you want to keep your rights defend them by joining San Diego County Gun Owners (SDCGO) in San Diego, Orange County Gun Owners (OCGO) in Orange County, San Bernardino County Gun Owners (SBCGO) in San Bernardino County or Riverside County Gun Owners (RCGO) in Riverside. Support the cause by listening to Gun Owners Radio live on Sunday afternoon or on the internet at your leisure. Join the fight and help us restore and preserve our second amendment rights. Together we will win.


©2020 Joseph T Drammissi

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