How to Survive in the Line of Gunfire


1. Get as far away AS POSSIBLE.

An untrained shooter isn’t likely to be accurate at any distance greater than 60 feet.

2. Run fast, but do not move in a straight line.

Run in unpredictable/unrhythmic zigzags, which will make it difficult for the shooter to draw a bead on you. The average shooter will not have the training necessary to hit a moving target at any real distance.

3. Do not bother to count shots.

You will have no idea if the shooter has more ammunition. Counting is only for the movies. However, any glimpse at the weapon and remembered detail may provide crucial information to authorities once you escape.

4. Turn a corner as quickly as you can, particularly if your pursuer has a rifle or assault weapon.

Rifles have much greater accuracy and range, and the person may be more likely to either aim or spray bullets in your direction.

5. Once behind the corner, continue to stay low.

Untrained shooters tend to shoot at shoulder/chest height. If you stay low, such shots should go above you. If the shooter aims low, it is likely he will miss and hit the ground.

6. Do not overestimate your cover.

Even a brick wall may not stop high-caliber assault rifle ammunition.


It is very likely that you hear gun fire before you see it. Resist the temptation to run aimlessly; assess the situation first.

1. Get down and stay down.

If the intended target is near you or if the shooter is firing at random, get as low as possible. Do not crouch down; get at on your stomach and stay there.

2. If you are outside and can get to a car, run to it.

Lie behind a tire on the opposite side of the car from the shooter. If no cars are present, lie in the gutter next to the curb. A car may stop or deflect a small-caliber bullet fired toward you. However, higher caliber bullets—such as those from an assault rifle or bullets that are designed to pierce armor—can easily penetrate a car and hit someone on the opposite side.

3. If you are inside a building and the shooter is inside, get to another room and lie flat.

If you cannot get to another room, move behind any heavy, thick objects (a solid desk, filing cabinets, tables, a couch) for protection.

4. If you are face-to-face with the shooter, do anything you can to make yourself less of a target.

Turn sideways, and stay low—stray bullets are likely to be at least a few feet above the ground. If the shooter is outside, stay inside and stay away from doors and windows.

5. Stay down until the shooting stops or until authorities arrive and give the all clear.


The shooter is under significant stress, and any fired and missed shot is a saved life. Raise the probability of the shooter missing you by

  • Being out of sight

  • Being a small target

  • Not drawing attention