Getting held up at gunpoint is a terrifying thought. As much as one does not want to even think about the possibility of it happening to them, you should because it happens more frequently than you may think. The average American’s likelihood of being robbed, assaulted, raped or murdered EACH YEAR is 1 in 250 (this is only reported cases so it’s actually more). With this being said, it is smart to be aware of such circumstances and be prepared in case it happens to you at some point in your life.

What You Should Do If You Get Held at Gunpoint

Stay Calm: If there is one thing to remember, it’s this. It may seem difficult to stay calm in this type of situation, but it is absolutely crucial because it allows you to think rationally. It will also decrease your likelihood of making sudden movements which is the last thing you should do. Also, staying calm will help you recall details later when you are describing the situation and the attacker to the police. Don’t become angry, overconfident and retaliate because it will make them feel threatened.

Be Compliant and Give Them What They Want: Most likely, their sole intent is to rob belongings from you. Put your hands up, tell them they can have whatever they want, and cooperate. Don’t defend your property–defend your life. A wallet is worth losing over your life. After all, valuables that are taken during a gunpoint will most likely be covered by insurance.

Make Eye Contact and Get Personal: If they look you in the eye, it will make them have to acknowledge you as a person who has family, friends and a life to live. If necessary, mention your family and other personal aspects to further humanize yourself to them.

Most likely after this, they will get what they were looking for and be on their way. Allow yourself a large amount of space from them before calling 911. However, if the attacker tells you to get in a car or come with them, this is when you need to think (and think quick) about your escape plan.

Look for ANY way to get away within 5 seconds. This is just enough time for you to get away without potentially getting shot. Try looking behind them as if you see something or someone in order to distract them and break their concentration just in time for you to run preferably toward any sort of civilization. Fight for your life and do whatever you can to get away. You DO NOT want to go anywhere with them because the chances of survival will dramatically decrease.

Keeping Yourself out of the Situation


When you are a victim of a gunpoint encounter, you may just be at the wrong place at the wrong time and there was nothing that you could have possibly done to avoid it. Nonetheless, there are also ways to decrease the likelihood of such attacks that you should keep in mind:

-Avoid dangerous areas as much as possible

-Carry a gun and take a gun course

-Avoid aggressive people and don’t fuel their fire

-Don’t be overly flashy with expensive clothing, jewelry. phones, etc.

-Avoid walking alone at night (especially if female and/or intoxicated)

-Know your surroundings

-Get trained in self-defense

The best advice that can be given when you are held up at gunpoint without your own gun and with no experience in self defense is to stay calm and be cooperative. However, know when to stop being compliant and when it is time to escape and fight for your life. Ultimately, try to avoid any situations that increase the likelihood of a gunpoint but also understand that it could happen to anyone.