Tips on How to Survive a Sniper Attack – Advise from Selco who Lived through SHTF

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This post is by Bernie Carr,

After the Las Vegas shooting tragedy, a lot of people have been wondering what would they do if they were in a situation like that.   What happened was a horrific situation, one that we cannot even imagine.  I thought I’d ask our previous guest Selco, founder of SHTFSchool, who has lived through a SHTF situation himself.  Selco lived through the Bosnia collapse in 1992, suffering for a year in a city with no infrastructure or rule of law, no electricity, running water or food available.   I asked Selco questions I was thinking about myself, and published his answers “as is.”

What an average person can do to prepare

SHTF:  If we are talking in the terms of SHTF then any crowded event is possible danger in terms of violence at all not only sniping.

Even before SHTF it getting more and more dangerous to be at the “crowded events” with all terrorist threats etc.

“Normal Time” Sniper attack in peace time (concert, mall, street etc.):  First step should be that you understand what happens when sniper starts to shoot at crowd – chaos, everyone runs everywhere and real danger there is not sniper anymore but to be run over by the crowd.

So the best was to prepare there is to carefully scan area where you are gonna be, if that is concert hall then you need to know what is the best spot to be (for example near exit, or in guarded area like behind pillars or similar.

You need to look, scan and conclude in every moment how crowd gonna react and where it is gonna run or move depending from the imagined position of sniper.

You need to have pre-set (planned) routes where you gonna move if sniper attacks.

It sounds hard, but actually it is quite easy to get into the mode where you simply scan area for routes, exits, covers and concealments.

Often in a chaotic gunfight people make stupid decisions and want to hide from rifle bullets behind couch, chair or something that is easily penetrated with fire from rifle.

As i said, when shooting starts (in crowded places) chaos takes place and that chaos is your enemy, but actually if you know what to do it is your friend.
While whole bunch of folks do not know what to do you should know what to do, where to go and run or hide and how.

So simply at the begining (or even before) of every crowded event that you really want to attend you need to do your homework:
-how many people
-how long
-type of event (with possible risks, for example level of threat)
-number and exact locations of exits (are they locked, how big…)
-possible direction of crowd moving based of possible location of sniper (and use to you)
-covers and concealments (definetly need to understands difference between this two)

Having on mind thought that you will be able to take down sniper (you are armed possibly) usually brings you more danger to get shot dead, we are talking here about sniper not about pistol attacker, so i would advise that only as an last resort or if you are really sure you can take it down.

Should people consider wearing bullet proof vests to crowded events?

Wearing bullet proof vest is good idea as long as it looks “normal” or in other words you do not want to stick out in any possible way.  (Editor’s note:  The key is not to look obvious in any way, best to be the gray man as much as possible.)


“Run, hide and fight” is often mentioned in advice dealing with an active shooter situation before.  Would this be applicable at all to a sniper situation; why or why not?


No, not really, or in most of the sniper attacks it is useless because most probably you do not have clue where danger is coming from, and if you did not cover all mentioned in 1st answer it is pretty useless to run, and then you do not have clue where to hide (in what direction and behind what…)

3rd step(fight) is most useless in most of the sniper attacks because it also can mark you as a next target (shot).
Actually to follow and memorize advise“run,hide and fight“ in that particular steps and order might be really dangerous because if you run where most of the folks run you may end up dead (because they did not follow advice of scanning area for best way out) .

Same go with step“hide“, because if you clearly do not have knowledge and preplanned set up of what is best “hide” it can work against you.

To fight sniper it takes much much more skills and training then reading few blog posts.
Most of the ordinary folks can not differentiate (discern?) gunshots from firecrackers then imagine how hard for them is to understand what caliber, what direction (position), distance, type of weapon (reloading time ) etc etc.

Once the shooting starts, what is the best way to increase chances of survival in a sniper attack?

If possible, notice (spot,understand) that sounds that everybody is hearing are actually gunshots (before everybody else understand that), and use that couple of seconds of shock and calm (moments when everybody else is asking each other:“ oh what is that? It sounded like shots, nooo, it can t be….“) and leave the area before complete chaos occur.

Use knowledege from (prior) scanning are (see 1st answer).

If it is impossible to go (run) then choose cover and concealment (much preferable is cover) based on direction of the attacker and direction where stampede of scared people gonna be.

Wait for the police, or in rare situations for the chance to eliminate attacker (only if you have training and it is clear that you can take it out nice , clean and fast)


Survival involves not panicking but being able to think on your feet.  It also means paying attention to your surroundings and taking into account  logistic factors all the time.  These are all good habits to have, whether anything happens or not.   A big “Thank you” to Selco for this great advice.  For more survival tips, visit Selco at SHTFSchool.  They offer unique and indepth courses at his online survival boot camp.


© Apartment Prepper 2017


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  1. I’d also say, consider carrying a small med kit. Not a boo boo kit, an actual med kit that can keep someone from bleeding out or dying from tension pneumothorax before EMS can get to them.
    A CAT/SOF-T wide/SWAT-T, a compact chest seal/petroleum gauze/ziploc and tape, some compressed gauze, and a pressure bandage/additional SWAT-T don’t take up that much room. But they could save lives, maybe the lives of your friends/family. Improvised tourniquets have a high failure rate, and having some prepared med stuff allows you some options before you have to resort to removing your shirt to try to control someone’s bleeding.
    Obviously seek cover/flee/fight if those are options, but maybe the shooting’s over or you’ve managed to get to cover while someone is shot and EMS has not yet arrived. Even if EMS does arrive in time, mass casualties are a horrible thing, ask medics who’ve trained for them, so any help you can do allows EMS to handle the situation a little bit better.
    Obviously proper training should be sought out for the use of tourniquets and other medical skills.

    1. Hi Pierce! You have read my mind – been working on a mini trauma kit article, now more motivated to get that finished. Thanks for the comment!

  2. There are some good comments here. Mostly what we have already seen, situational awareness, pre-planning escape routes, cover and concealment. All good. Now all the guy has to do is find someone to edit his posts for grammar and spelling. I know, I know, this is not grade school and not a spelling lesson, but clarity and precision is important to get points across to readers. Knowing the difference between advice, and advise is important.

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