Criminal predators are generally cowards. Like animals, they wait for high reward targets while expending minimal energy. They like the odds in their favor. Therefore, they often travel and work in groups. Training for multiple attackers is necessary in the development of your defensive skills.
If you’ve taken our classes, even if just a level one class, we start to have you scan after running a drill. If your focus is just on the guy that’s coming with a knife, you will not see his buddy waiting in the shadows ready to launch.
In the above scenario, let presume you see all attackers and they are accounted for. You, as the person in the defensive role, need set a priority as to who is first and most immediately a threat. Is it the guy with the bat 5 five feet away? Or is the guy with the knife 10 feet away more immediate? Or is the one with the pistol 15 feet away? Fact is, any of them can kill you. Determining which takes priority eats up time that you cannot spare.
Instead of over-analyzing which is deadliest, engage the first person you see that poses deadly force then MOVE. Movement causes the attacker to rethink how they will engage you. You can keep contact weapons at bay briefly as well. Position yourself so that a gunman would need to shoot through his buddy to hit you. Think of the bad guy as a meat shield.
Just as in martial arts, try to stack up multiple attackers in a line so they are one behind the other. Your movement can facilitate this. Again, think of using the bad guys as a human shield from their co-workers. Now you can deal with them one at a time. Use walls and barriers to your advantage. Practice with dummy guns and SIRT guns in a controlled setting.
Even if your attackers are not armed, the legal theory of disparity of force may justify your use of your sidearm. This is not legal advice, it’s just something to keep in mind when facing potential life treating odds against you. Your response must reasonable and explainable. If you shoot one bad guy in a gang of thugs attacking you, and the others run away, you do not have justification to shoot the runners in the back. You would go to jail. If an immediate threat of grave bodily injury or death does not exist, you cannot use a gun.
So, getting that out of the way, we have a few more approaches to multiple attackers. One is giving everyone a helping. Boarding house rules. Everyone gets a first shot before anyone gets seconds. The logic here is that even a single shot can slow down, if not stop an attacker completely.
Another approach is multiple shots on the first attacker before moving on. Your sidearm is already on target. It doesn’t take much time to press the trigger one or two more times. Two or three well placed shots is much more likely to actually stop the threat. The downside is that the other threats haven’t been dealt with.
Look for cover. Generally we advocate keeping your cover at a bit of a distance to improve your field of view and to give you more angles to shoot to your advantage. However, if you are being shot at from several different angles you tend to hug cover. Your brain makes you. The good news is that it reduces the likelihood of being flanked. The downside is that you will probably lose sight of some of your attackers. Do not lose sight of your ultimate goal: staying alive. If chance to escape appears, take it!
The takeaway here is to train for multiple attackers. Become secure in the knowledge and presume if there is one bad guy there are others. If there is one weapon, there are two. Never take anything for granted when defensing yourself.
Back to the beginning. This is why we scan after the bad guy is neutralized.
Fight, assess, scan, top-off.
Training for a single attacker is good practice. Practicing for multiple attackers is the next level and puts the odds in your favor. Once proficient and prepared, it would make handling a single bad guy that much “easier”.
See you in class to take your skills to the next level!
Jim Benoit's thoughts on guns, gear, & training
CAJUN ARMS & TUSCARORA TACTICAL TRAINING
WEST CHESTER, THOMPSONTOWN, PA