Unspeakable Times

Experts Share Advice For Being Held At Gunpoint  

Beth Elias
5k views 12 items

As safe as you try to be, you could still run into trouble. Luckily, you can learn how to survive an armed robbery. Sometimes the assailant only wants your money, not your life. 

So, what do you do if someone points a gun at you? Be sure to remain calm. This advice is challenging, but following it can raise your chances of walking away unharmed. Of course, it's also beneficial to develop safe habits and try to avoid an armed robbery in the first place. Avoiding visibly aggressive people, walking with a friend, and being aware of your surroundings are all common sense ways to protect yourself before tragedy strikes. 

It's probably not wise to fly off the handle, immediately become aggressive, or whip out a weapon, either. You don't want to antagonize the attacker.

Move Slowly

You may want to think twice before immediately tossing over your purse, wallet, or other valuables when a robber asks. Sudden movements are inadvisable. It's best to move as slowly as possible. State which movements you'll make before making them.

Remember, the person holding the gun probably wants your valuables much more than they want to shoot you.

Pay Attention

It may not be easy to notice small things about your assailant, but you'll be glad you did when you have to tell the police what happened. Vague description aren't helpful – a male in his 30s could be just about anyone on the street. Former police officer Justin Freeman advises robbery victims:

Imagine if you were to see five people with this person’s general features. What would distinguish your assailant from the others? It might be a hairstyle, scar, birthmark, tattoo, piercing pattern, or something else.

Create A Connection

If you’re being held hostage, forming a personal connection with the kidnapper can help you survive. If the situation allows, try talk to the person who abducted you. Former police officer Justin Freeman recommends:

Speak in measured, even tones, and defer to their intelligence and passion. Identifying with them creates a social connection they will have to overcome if they are deciding whether or not to kill you later.

Some suggest shooters who know about their victim's familial life are less likely to attack.

Stay Calm

Experts agree it's imperative to stay calm during a crisis. Being overly confrontational or aggressive won't help you deescalate the situation, and you certainly don't want to agitate the person holding the gun. If you're calm, they might remain calm too.

Additionally, if you force yourself to slow down and think critically, you become more aware of your surroundings and your attacker. This makes you more of an asset when you describe the situation to law enforcement.