Active Shooter Guide for the Lone Wolves

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Active Shooter Guide for Lone Wolves

First, let me say it’s been too long Crows and I’m glad to be back – many thanks to Administrator Ryan, and Commander Black for holding down the FOB. Let’s get down to business. This active shooter guide will provide some helpful tips to the lone wolves. Many of our survival guides are based around team movement to contact, relying on teamwork to effectively eliminate the threat. In reality this might not work for everyone.

In fact, you don’t even have to be a lone wolf – you could easily get detached from your unit in theater and have to fend for yourself before you reestablish contact with your team. Not only are active shooters a threat in a combat theater, but they are a very real threat to your everyday lives i.e. Newtown Connecticut, Boston Bombings, and etc. Situations like this could become your reality in the blink of an eye, now what happens when you’re the only one armed? What’s your move…

In my experience, I’ve learned a four man team is somewhat impractical in an urban setting when in response to an active shooter… too many boots to trip over in close quarters. In fact a two man team would be much more effective. However, for this active shooter guide we will make due with an army of one.

Active Shooter vs Lone Wolf


At this point it’s safe to assume you’ve read the usCrow active shooter guides found in advanced tactical training; Active Shooter Guide, Tactical Shooting Guide for CQB, and etc. If you haven’t, be sure you do. Our guides and your continued training is what will make the difference when you face an active shooter by yourself. Why do I say this? In an urban environment you are more likely to encounter an untrained active shooter, statistically speaking…

The first usCrow survival guide you should read is the Building Clearing – Introduction to Tactical Raid Techniques guide. This guide will explain the fundamental techniques used when searching a building for an active shooter such as; corner rounding, bounding, and using cover/concealment to avoid catching a round to your ass.

During LFX (live fire exercises) and force-on-force training with your militia or survival group you can incorporate solo response to active shooter training. You can use simunition, airsoft guns, and paintball guns to simulate the 1v1 scenario, thus actively preparing yourself with the most realistic conditions. For all their puffery and fanaticism, airsofters have an edge on the training aspect over most militia members. Airsofters are often called ‘wannabes’ with their pristine load outs and lack of military training. In all honesty, they have it right. While they may be immersed in their own world, they still train religiously. Training, and muscle memory, that makes the difference when facing an active shooter.


Aside from your training being an advantage over the active shooter, the quality of your weapons will be a predominant advantage. Long rifles (i.e. FN Scar, AR15, M4, etc) should maintain precedence over your armory. Rifles such as these are a force multiplier, allowing you to effectively eliminate your threat(s) from greater distances than handguns and shotguns.

Don’t get me wrong, you can eliminate the threat without a high-speed rifle without all the knobs and buttons. Your pistol can get the job done. My preference has always been Glock, I’ve sent thousands of rounds down my Glocks with zero FTFs (failure to fire) and FTE (failure to eject)., and for the love of God if you’re going to get a Glock – get it chambered in .45 so one well-placed round does the trick.

As a well-trained badass you should take the time and effort customizing your sidearm to fit your personal needs. Such accessories and customizations include grips, night lights (Surefire Glock Attachment), strobe lights, and laser (Crimson Trace LG-442 Glock Attachment). Tactical lights are more useful than you realize, ever had a cop flash his lights in your eyes? You got pretty stressed out right? That same reaction will be to your advantage when you stress out your active shooter providing you an opening to operate within their decision action cycle.

Double stacking your magazines and training with active reloads/transitions will make the difference. Are you starting to see the theme yet? Train for this! Don’t read our guides and think ‘I got this’. I’ve spent thousands of hours training, because my training is what puts me at an advantage over the threat.

Simulate the Environment

Your training should include a multitude of distances that simulate urban environments where you’ll most likely encounter an active shooter. Such examples include hallways, reception areas, bathrooms, offices, parking structures, and etc. Your shooter could very well be within 75 to 150 feet. These distances should alternate during training to effectively prepare you for any scenario.

Tempo, Tempo, Tempo

I can’t stress the need for tempo. It is a fundamental rule for combat when showing a force-on-force reaction that will undoubtedly decide who prevails. When an active shooter situation arises and you are alone, do you wait? No. You take out the threat before the threat takes out an innocent, or yourself. You have to engage the target to throw. The more time you take to respond, the more innocent lives will receive shiny new toe tags.

The Active Shooter Scenario

That’s right, you’re clearing a building – stalking your target and you’re by yourself. You can’t forget no one is covering your six. That means before moving forward, you have to make sure you’re not moving forward while leaving an opening for a shooter to put two rounds right through your hard drive. Let’s run a for instance…

The shit has officially hit the fan and you haven’t made contact with your group who are six clicks outside city limits. You’re traveling through the city making your way towards them, using your surroundings for cover as you quickly move.

You have to move up Bourbon Street to connect to freeway where you’ll use the tree line as cover as you make your way to your group. You come under fire from a dimly lit four story building on the east side of the street. You chose this route because other routes were too densely populated, presenting more threats than advantages. You could reroute but it’ll cost you time and you still have the lovely inhabitants to encounter.

What are your choices? The timid man will try to hide and move around the threat. That is the wrong answer. That answer does not eliminate the threat who could;

  • Go to the rooftop for a 360 degree view and wait for you to expose yourself
  • Come down from his nest and hunt you down
  • Alert ground level personnel to your location

Many of you might be asking ‘Why even go inside the building?’ when you could wait for him to expose himself through the same window he fired out of. To be honest, you don’t know when that will happen and time is not on your side. Wait to take this one guy out and you risk exposing yourself to another threat – then you’ll have this guy shooting at you from above while taking fire street side.

The answer is clear – movement to contact – engage the threat. If you were aware of your surroundings you hopefully caught the flash from his muzzle and pinpointed the shooter’s location. He fired from the east side of the building, third floor up, and eight windows in from the south side of the building, thus providing a general vicinity of your active shooter within the building. You disappear from the shooter’s site who can’t see the south, north, and west sides of the building. Most four to six story buildings have an average of four conventional entry points, not including windowed entry points.

Assuming we’re post-apocalyptic here and this is an office building, we can bet the shooter is alone – but this does not guarantee he’s alone. You access the building at the rear north side through a service entrance. The fundamental rules for movement to contact in a confined space dictates you clear every room and dark corner before moving forward. Here’s what you know at this point;

  • Active shooter fired three shots without hitting you. He is most likely untrained or unskilled with a rifle. He got the drop on you and wasn’t able to put you down. I could eliminate a threat from another zip code, so the fact he wasn’t able to get a kill-shot tells me plenty
  • He is three floors up and there is no power to the building i.e. dimly lit building. So for him to make movement to your location he would need to take the stares, thus exposing him by the sound of his footsteps hurrying down the steps
  • He is not expecting you to come after him, and in all likeliness he thinks you ran off

Using this information it is safe to assume he is not on the first floor by the time you breech the building. Does this mean you should not clear each room? No. It does however mean you can quickly move through the first floor to the stairs immediately to the third floor. The stairs are typically at the rear of buildings near emergency exits so we know once we breach the third floor he will be 8 windows down on the east side of the building, approximately fifty feet down. Upon entering the stairs you must assume there is a threat behind every door and around every corner. Stairs automatically put you at a tactical disadvantage – since you’re alone you’ll need to continuously check your six.

What you should know as your moving through the building. Avoid flagging or alerting the threat to your presence. Expect the threat. When you open doors you clear left, then clear right before entering, then assume a dominating position that provides tactical control of the room. Upon breaching the third floor you’ll be in a fatal funnel where all fire can and will be directed at you, should the threat be alerted to your presence. By opening the door you could potentially get yourself flagged and you’ll have to identify cover immediately by breaching a room on the opposing side of the hallway you expect the shooter to be. Stay alert! You don’t know if he’s still where you expect him to be. You need to locate him without further exposing yourself.

This is where it gets tricky. You need to draw him out, and use unconventional methods. Such methods could be as simple as throwing something down the hall to cause a ruckus large enough to get the shooter’s attention, getting him to investigate the noise without exposing your location. Should he fall for the ruse he could easily expose himself to you and you’ll need to take out the threat at 50 feet. If this is the scenario you’ll be lucky.

If this doesn’t work you’ll need to conceal your movement, clearing the rooms until you get to the approximate area you expect your shooter to be. And hopefully he is where you think he is, making your job a little easier. Ideally, you’d have NVG’s (night vision goggles), Body Armor, some flash bangs, and filet mignon, but you most likely won’t and you’ll have to use your head. Think outside the box to obtain your objective.

In closing…

While this is a survival guide for a solo response to an active shooter I can’t stress the importance of having at least one person to back you up. Every modern building clearing and tactical raiding method requires the presence of a two man team. Being alone puts you at a severe tactical disadvantage, and you should make every effort to connect with your team. Alone and in a combat theater is no walk in the park people.

This guide goes gives you pointers to handle one untrained man in an abandoned office building, which is an entirely isolated event. In combat theaters you will encounter several people wanting to kill you, and you’ll be stronger together than apart.

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About Runik

Certified NRA Instructor, Certified Military Platform and Performance Orientated Instructor, Training Personnel, and Emergency Management. Currently working towards M.A. Emergency Management - 101ABN/82NDABN - Charlie Wardogs

7 thoughts on “Active Shooter Guide for the Lone Wolves

  1. Can’t you just burn the building down? Using fuel from a nearby vehicle. Block the rear exit door and wait out front, under cover for the evac.Traveling up two or three flights of stairs seems kinda extreme for someone your intending to shoot anyway.

    • A fire on Main Street would attract unwanted attention and pull enemy combatants your direction. The idea is to eliminate the threat quickly and effectively, while recovering ammunition, firearms, etc from your downed attacker.

      Every situation is different. In some situations a Molotov would make quick work of a threat, but not an office building where much more accelerants would be needed.

  2. great info . we have many groups in South Carolina . ever 4 months all of the groups have one big meet and greet for an entire weekend . we train together and share info . its a good time had by all . its good to have you back .III%

    • Roger that and remember slow is smooth smooth is fast and speed isn’t necessarily from A to B movement but the time it takes from your barrel from the low or high ready to the target and take the shot.

  3. Excellent information, that’s all I use is a. Glock Gen 4 , 21/45 love it and train often your right of the importance of training, and Welcome back !!!!

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