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Personal Protection In Our Vehicles

Americans are ‘crazy’ about their cars/trucks. In 2020, there were 280 million vehicles on the road in the U.S. Americans spend 17,600 minutes (294 hours) behind the wheel each year and it is a place where we are relatively vulnerable to attack. According to the US Concealed Carry Association (USCCA), 115,000 murders and rapes start in a vehicle each year.

They also transport us to and from those areas where we tend to be more vulnerable because we feel secure. These include home, school, work, shopping, just about any place we can go. In addition, these sites also contain ‘choke points’ or transition areas we must go through making protecting ourselves and our family even more challenging.

As I drive around, I try to notice what people are doing while they are driving in their cars. A large majority, unfortunately, are immersed in their phones – while driving. This is a tremendous distraction and more dangerous than many imagine. According to the NTHSA, distracted driving claimed 3,142 lives in 2019, and 9 people are killed every day in the US due to car crashes that involved a distracted driver.

Carjackings are also on the rise. In Chicago in 2019, there were 501 car jackings and that number has more than doubled to 1,125 in 2020. But Chicago is neither the only nor the worst example of this disturbing crime trend. In 2020, Minneapolis police report carjackings in their city shot up 537%; Carjacking calls to 911 in New Orleans are up 126%; Oakland police cite an increase of 38%.

What can be done to prevent this type of crime from occurring? The best option is to not become a victim. VCA (Violet criminal actors) are targeting people that are distracted. For example, the mother who is taking her child out of a car seat, people that are unloading groceries, etc. - the sort of thing where your hands are tied up. Some occur after what seems to be a minor ‘fender bender’ (Video). These are called “Bump and Run” attacks.

What can you do? Pay attention (situational/environmental awareness), keep your eyes open. Drive by your destination once before parking. Evaluate - look and see what is happening. Is there anyone just hanging around? Listen to your sixth sense – if it doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t, and you will be better off avoiding the area.

What about resisting the carjackers? No one will or should ever tell you definitively what you should do in those circumstances. There are too many variables to consider and at times, the best thing to do may be to just let them have the car. I have said thousands of times, you do not own anything worth dying over. ‘Stuff’ can always be replaced. Having said that, if your life, or the lives of your family members are in danger, the use of lethal force may be justified.

The problem is many legally armed individuals have given minimal thought to fighting with their handgun in or from the confines of their vehicle. It is not the same as standing on the range in an upright position and offers its own set of challenges.

Drawing from a seated and restrained position, while not difficult, needs to be practiced. Your body position is different, and you must understand your physical limitations (flexibility, strength, etc.). Your field of view and movement may be restricted by the vehicle. The decision to stay in or leave the vehicle must be considered. If possible, just hit the gas and leave. If leaving is not an option, ‘Plan B’ goes into effect.

So, the long and the short of it is if you have made the decision to go armed, you need to be prepared to fight from in and around your vehicle – use it to your advantage and do not let it become a liability. GTAC’s Counter Car-Jacking course offers state of the art training for individuals who are concerned about their safety and the safety of their families.

Be Safe · Be Effective · Be Ready


The Director's Desk

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