Stay alert: How to survive an ambush attempt
By Arsenio Toledo // Sep 09, 2020

During a crisis, preppers and survivalists alike need to worry about ambushes. Due to the lack of institutions that can enforce law and order, the number of looting bands roaming the country looking for people who have supplies will grow. Here are the elements you need to take into account when dealing with an ambush, and how you can survive it. (h/t to


During the first days after SHTF, looters may be happy enough to simply ransack stores and warehouses. However, as these businesses get emptied out, they will turn to people, and an ambush is an easy way for them to get somebody with a loaded car or backpack. There are three elements to an ambush that you should be wary of: the stopper, the plug and the fire zone.

The stopper and the plug are both ways with which the looters can stop you from easily running away from an ambush. If you're on the road, this can take the form of some kind of roadblock or obstruction in front of you, the stopper, and a barrier that is placed behind you to keep you in that area, the plug. If you're part of a convoy, the looters can create a stopper and a plug by disabling both front and rear vehicles.

The fire zone is the area you are trapped in. This will most likely be an open area that provides the victim with little room to hide in. From here, the looters have an open view of their targets, and will easily fire at them from a safe distance.

An ambush does not necessarily need all three of these elements in order to be effective. What's important is that the looters have the element of surprise, and will use it to gain enough of an advantage to overpower you.

Now that you understand the elements to an ambush, here are ways you can defend yourself against one. (Related: How to deal with gangs, mobs, and looters when SHTF.)

Avoidance and escape

The two main things you can do to prevent yourself from falling prey to an ambush is to either avoid it or, failing that, escape it.

In order to avoid an ambush, you cannot be complacent. You must always be aware of your surroundings. Learn to recognize likely ambush locations by keeping your head on a swivel. Assess your surroundings and look for features in the terrain that would be helpful for looters. Also trust your instincts, especially if your gut is trying to tell you that that fallen tree isn't just a fallen tree.

If you cannot avoid an ambush, then your best chance of making it out alive is by escaping as quickly as possible. This can be done by learning to recognize gaps in the trap laid out for you. This can take the form of an inadequate stopper or plug that can give you enough room to escape, or it can be the fact that your attackers are poor shots and are not able to overwhelm you with enough accurate gunfire.

Whatever the gap is, find it quickly by learning how to assess your immediate situation while under a lot of pressure. Once you've found the gap, exploit it and get out of Dodge.

Fighting back against an ambush might be counterproductive, especially if you come face to face with a group that can keep you pinned down with an immense volume of accurate fire. Fighting back is only a viable option if it can provide you with a window with which to escape the ambush.

If you are armed, consider learning how to shoot while on the move. This way, you can easily move to cover and return fire without getting suppressed.

Surviving an ambush is not easy, especially because, no matter how well prepared you may be, you will not be able to fight back on equal terms. This is why learning how to avoid an ambush is the most important skill you can learn in order to not have your valuable supplies taken from you during one.

The firearms that you have will be some of the best tools that you can own that can help you survive a well-organized and deadly ambush. Learn more about how you can use guns to ensure your own safety as well as the safety of others at

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