How to Survive an [Armed] Carjacking

Dear Brendan,

Start thinking about preventive measures you can take against an armed carjacker, a carjacker who has thought through and planned the attack. 

Hey, there are no easy answers and it’s difficult to predict what a criminal might do.  In many cases it will come down to calculated action versus a kneejerk reaction.  If an armed carjacker has the element of surprise on you that puts you at a serious disadvantage.  Simply sitting in your car only adds to the problem set.

Do you hit the gas or draw your handgun?  It all depends on so many variables.           

There are almost endless possible scenarios. It’s impossible to answer or play “what if” for  every one of them.  Ask yourself what are you going to do if you are alone, or with your children, boxed in traffic, stopped at a red light? Is your vehicle running or parked? Are you armed? Do you have prior training shooting from the inside of a vehicle or through car windows?

Only you know the answer to these questions and it’s ultimately your command decision to make. 

Real world training is important.  So is the proper mindset, but it takes both the physical ability and mindset coming together to execute when the chips are down.

Have you practiced drawing your gun and shooting your gun from a vehicle?  Have you trained this from the driver’s side and passenger side?  Have you practiced removing your seatbelt, maneuvering from inside your vehicle? 

Let me reinforce SA here again and say that avoidance is the best Course of Action, or COA, for dealing with any criminal.  However, avoidance is not always possible.  So the question is, “Are you ready to take action?”

 Do you have the proper training and mindset? 

Driving skills are like shooting skills; they’re both perishable skill sets.

You need to train and hone these skills.  Hone them to the point that they’re muscle memory.

Here is a recommended driving school you may want to consider. 

·       BSR evasive driving course

I understand time and cost may not allow all of us to attend such training.  However, you can find a remote area to practice simply putting your foot down, gas pedal to the floor, and practice breaking hard and fast at different speeds.

You should include training your family in immediate action drills.  Do rehearsals with your family for when a threat is imminent.  Practice specific command words with your family and what to do when they hear them.  This could be as simple as “Get out of the car” or “Move Now.”

When things go sideways should not be the first time your wife or kids are hearing these words.

Practice these drills every few months like a fire drill at school or work.  You want to make sure everyone knows what to do and how to react to such threats.  Think of your family as a team and every one on the team has a role or position to play.       

Let’s talk about setting up your vehicle.  This is similar to how you set up your everyday care (EDC).  You want to set yourself and your family up for success and not failure.  We spend a lot of time in our cars and we should think of them as a tool.  Think about adding a medical kit and other emergency supplies.

Here are four basic things you can do that will go a long way to increasing your safety.

1.)   Always lock your doors.  You need to get into the habit of doing this every day. 

2.)  Properly position your mirrors and use them.

3.)  Windows should be up at all times.  It is harder to break a car window than you may think unless you have a tool or weapon. 

4.)  It’s also smart to tint your windows if legal where you live.  Many criminals target inattentive women drivers.  However, if the windows are dark a criminal can’t tell who’s inside.

Is it a woman or man driving? Is the car full of bearded, tattooed knuckle draggers going out to the range? Is the backseat full of kids going to a friend’s house for a birthday party? 

If the carjacker can’t tell who-- or what-- is in the car, he is likely to pick someone else to carjack.   

I hope this has raised your level of SA and keeps you from ever being a victim of a carjacking.

Your Friend,

-Travis