Wide-Band Situational Awareness

Brought to you in part by Raven Concealment Systems.

Varg Freeborn of One Life Defense, a Primary & Secondary contributor, wrote a great article about situational awareness a couple of days ago. In it he addresses what he sees as a misconception in the armed community between “high intensity” awareness and “situational awareness.” He  (rightfully) describes some of what you so commonly heard at training classes and in “tactical” social media circles as clichés (you know the ones), then goes on to suggest ways to practically and practicably improve SA.

Here’s an excerpt.

“…Imagine if you taped a large cardboard tube over your eyes and you could only see through it. Then walk into a public place. You would literally have to turn your head in every direction to see anything and would experience a total loss of peripheral vision. Having too much SA intensity can have a similar effect on your ability to see and hear things…The counterpoint to this is that, if you are not acclimated to functioning at this higher level of intensity, your broader awareness diminishes.

That is why stories about people involved in lethal force events have no recollection of outside factors like how many rounds were fired…This happens because under the threat of death or imminent serious harm our focus of awareness becomes so amazingly intense we actually experience auditory and visual exclusion. Our brain simply blocks out everything it does not deem vital to surviving the threat…

I can personally vouch for this. I have experienced all levels of this up to and including auditory and visual exclusion. I can even remember specifically having tunnel vision for several minutes after the engagement, where I clearly did not see what was going on outside of the direction I was looking in even without a specific threat to focus on anymore…You may not have the opportunity to spend years on end in hostile environments so that you can develop this immunity, so you must cultivate a wide-band SA through training and conditioning.” 

His admonition about being a hard target (and the way acting thusly can get your ass whipped) is extremely well crafted. Here’s just a bit of that:

“While all of this may sound like good advice to not appear as a weak and easy target, the mistake is made by assuming that trouble only comes from bad guys looking for a weak and easy target! It’s simply not true. In fact, posturing this way can even incite the violence.”

There’s substantially more to read in the original article, and well worth your time. You can find that online at Primary & Secondary here.

Primary & Secondary is online here. One Life Defense is online here. You can follow Varg Freeborn on Instagram here, @onelifedefense.

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