Book Review: Facing The Active Shooter by C.R. Williams



My friend and fellow blogger, CR Williams was kind enough to send me a hard copy of his latest book, Facing the Active Shooter: Guidelines for the Armed Citizen Defender for me to review for you guys.

With tragedies like Fort Hood, Chattanooga, San Bernardino, Paris, Orlando, Istanbul and Dallas, Active Shooter training can no longer be just “Once in a Blue Moon” type training for the Armed Civilian, but something we train for EVERY TIME we hit the range. Why? because the likelihood of your average, everyday joe being involved in an Active Shooter situation is much higher than it was just 3 years ago.

The author goes over some of the statistics associated with Active Shooter incidents and here are a few that stuck out to me:

  • Duration of average Active Shooter event is 12 Minutes
  • 51% of the Attacks Studied occurred in the WORKPLACE
  • 49% of the time attacks ended BEFORE THE POLICE ARRIVED

If you take just these three stats and put them together, you get something that looks like this:

I need to be prepared for an Active Shooter ALL the time but especially while I am at Work. I need to be READY to EFFECTIVELY FIGHT (and not just hide) because these shootings are not over fast and most of them are over before the cops ever get there. My Safety is my RESPONSIBILITY and MINE ALONE!

Does that Paint a real enough picture or you? Good! Read on because C.R. has some more good pointers for you.

He discusses the often contentious online debate of what kind of chances a Civilian armed with’ just’ a pistol and maybe one reload really has against an active shooter (or shooters) armed with semi-automatic/automatic rifles?

The short answer without giving away too much of the ‘meat’ of the book away is this: The Armed Civilians chances are good when these 5 things are considered:

  1. You will most likely never face (at one time) more than 2 shooters
  2. ALWAYS Train to use Cover during a Gunfight. First FIGHT TO IT and then FIGHT FROM IT. Cover is Life.
  3. The Engagement distances you will most likely fight at are distances most people currently train at with handguns and in the event they are not, learning to shoot accurately at slightly longer distances is not a difficult thing to do.
  4. When displacing and using movement, always move sideways or at an Angle to the Flank if possible. This of course allows you to fight from the flank.
  5. Be prepared to make head shots if body armour is present or center of mass shots do not seem to be working.

The author then moves on to a very in-depth chapter on Suicide Vest and Bombs.  This is an integral piece of information to understand for Two reasons:

  1. In the Istanbul Airport attack we saw the aftermath of a terrorist who was wounded but still able to detonate his suicide vest.
  2. Like the author, I agree that something very similar to this attack and most likely one much larger and more coordinated is coming to CONUS very soon and we need to be prepared.

Instead of me ruining the entire chapter for you, check out this article.

After this C.R. moves into two very important subjects: Readying YOURSELF (both physically and mentally) and your WEAPON for battle. Two very good subjects for beginners here, particularly when talking about the “software” side of the equation, which as we all know makes up a very large part of the warrior ethos.



He then moves on to a section that I personally really liked: TARGETING THE HEAD. This is a topic torn right from the headlines.

  • In the Istanbul Airport attack we saw a wounded terrorist detonate his suicide vest. What IF a headshot had been made prior to this? Could lives have been saved? Absolutely.
  • In the Dallas Attack in July we saw an Active Shooter decked out with a Level IV Plate Carrier going toe to toe with LEO’s armed with AR’s. (Picture of deceased Dallas Shooter with body armor above). It is obvious our enemies are becoming better equipped and prepared.

The fact of the matter is this: If we are not integrating into our training making 3×5 index card head shots UNDER STRESS at distances of 25 to  50 yards (with and without supported positions) we are not drilling realistically for an Active Shooter. The author goes into much greater detail on this subject and IMO, this section alone in conjunction with the Tactical Outline section is worth the price of admission.



The Next few chapters after this cover some very detailed Gun Handling and Manipulation skills including COVERT Gun Handling, MOVING with the gun and CLOSE-IN Shooting Positions. He tops it off with a very well illustrated chapter on Supported Positions for LONG RANGE Pistol Shooting, which is not a topic a lot of firearm instructors discuss simply because LONG RANGE shooting with a pistol is seen as more of a gimmick than a tactical necessity. But as real world Active Shooter incidents have shown, being able to quickly and accurately hit at long ranges with a pistol (particularly to the Cranial T) is now a skill the Armed Civilian need in their toolbox in spades.

The Last chapter is one you can really tell the author put a lot of time and work into: An Outline of Tactical Options for Active Shooter Scenarios, or as C.R. puts it, to Put a “Framework on Chaos” for the Armed Civilian.  I absolutely love that!

I was going to go in detail describing this Chapter, but I think I have talked too much already. You guys are just gonna have to buy or download the book!

To sum it up, this is a book that every Armed Civilian needs on their bookshelf or hard drive. Why? Because the threat matrix for the civilian has changed folks. Yeah we still train for all the standard threats: Carjacking, Home Invasions, Robberies, etc.. But if we want to be honest about our chances of SURVIVING an Active Shooter, we have to get SERIOUS about Training and constantly be ready to ADAPT our TTP (Tactics, Techniques and Procedures) accordingly to the enemy threat.


Don’t be another “Sheeple” that winds up on the evening news bloodied and bewildered saying “I never thought something like this could happen to me…” 

Practical Necessity and Common Sense DEMAND we Train for the Active Shooter!


Facing the Active Shooter: Guidelines for the Armed Citizen Defender can be Bought at Amazon.

Also Please Visit C.R. Williams Website, In Shadow In Light for more good stuff!

Stay Alert, Stay Armed and Stay Dangerous!