No, Really, Run in a Straight Line!

Its all too often that those of us even halfway interested in learning self defense tactics are presented with one of the various myths that never seem to die. Perhaps most egregious is the advice that one should run in a zig-zag line when attempting to flee an active shooter. The operating theory is that the intended victim will be harder to hit by changing their direction often, almost as if running from an alligator.

The most poignant example of this is perhaps Generation Kill, which took great pains to show the simultaneous danger, absurdity, and hilarity of the though through the use of “Rolling Stone”, the resident embedded writer. When coming under sniper fire, the Marines run straight and the reporter zigs and zags.

“Next time we come under fire, run in a straight line, you’ll live longer.”

Moving from the entertainment value to the truly real-world is Active Response Training, who sets up a small experiment simulating an “active shooter” event with someone of reasonable experience with firearms.

The results?

Run in a straight line!

Those shot at running straight line may have a hit rate nearly identical, running in a straight line gets one out of danger faster. With the vast majority of handgun wounds survivable, reducing the potential for being hit multiple times greatly increases the chances of survival.