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Posted on September 30, 2019 by in Training



Tactical profiling might be defined as the conscious act of assessing another person’s behavior and actions in order to predict a specific intent and/or assess their possible ability to cause physical harm or injury to others. It has nothing to do with race, ethnicity, or religion. For the purpose of the concealed carrier, it is an attempt to see and process clues, whether large or small, given off by a specific individual or individuals that they may harbor the intent and possess the ability to commit a violent criminal action against others.

“Guy” has been a law enforcement officer for over 26 years and currently works in federal law enforcement as a Federal Air Marshal under the Department of Homeland Security. His current assignment involves an insane amount of travel providing security on domestic and international commercial flights. A former patrol officer in the largest municipal county in North Carolina, Guy is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu brown belt, boxer, and Kenpo black belt.

I have known Guy for over 20 years and can attest that he has logged hundreds of training hours in firearms, tactical medicine, criminal behavior, and tactics classes.  He is more than a hired gun, he is a trained and highly skilled armed security professional whose job is to constantly be on the watch for dangerous people, including some that may be highly trained by foreign governments who are very good at avoiding detection.

Guy recommends that concealed carriers familiarize themselves with some of the most common “pre-assault indicators” that indicate that another person may be experiencing hostile feelings or contemplating violence against another. These are primarily involuntary non-verbal signals such as the following:

  • Facial expression: Clenching jaw or grinding teeth.
  • Breathing: Rapid breathing is often associated with high adrenaline levels. Persons attempting to control their emotions or attempting to avoid alerting others to their hostile intentions may sigh frequently or take deep breaths.
  • Hands: Clenching the fists or hiding of the hands is often associated with feelings of anger, hostile intentions, and/or presence of hidden weapons.
  • Blank stare: A person staring off into space and apparently unaware of what is going on around him or her is another clue that at any time the person may become violent.
  • Blading of the body and transferring weight to the balls of the feet: The first action is typically a prelude to throwing a punch, the second an indicator that the person is possibly preparing to move rapidly.

Most of us have seen one or more of the pre-assault indicators listed above in the past. A good thing about these indicators is that they typically provide us with at least a momentary opportunity to respond by attempting to either de-escalate the situation or disengage if possible. Concealed carriers should be prepared mentally and physically to use the amount of force necessary to defend themselves from the time they are aware of a potential threat all the way to the time that they are actually safe and secure.

Of more concern to Guy is the person making a deliberate attempt to mask their hostile intent in an effort to create an opportunity in which they can successfully launch and complete a violent action against others. This is a concern concealed carriers should share. Criminals will almost always evaluate both their intended victim(s) and surroundings as they don’t want to be caught, injured, or killed. This is usually stressful and often accompanied by frequent touching of the face, rubbing the neck, scratching the head, or hand gestures that conceal the face from view in an involuntary attempt to address their psychological discomfort. 

Guy noted that he is always on the watch for the following actions and behavioral patterns:

  • Target glancing:  If a criminal is after that which belongs to you or appears to be paying too much attention to your face, it may very well be because he or she intends to steal something of value from you or punch you in the head. 
  • Constantly looking around: Are they paying too much attention to what is around them and constantly scanning for possible threats to themselves?
  • Predatory movement. Is a party moving in such a way that suggests that they might be closing on me, adjusting their rate of travel to mine so as to keep up with me, or appear to be attempting to cutting me off?  Are they possibly trying to work their way to my flank, making it harder to keep an eye on them or otherwise placing me in a disadvantaged position?
  • Focus of attention:  Are they paying too much attention to me? Am I getting a hard stare? What happens when I look back at them?
  • Unusual actions or movements given the surroundings: Are they totally ignoring me when under normal circumstances they would at least glance at me when walking by (Guy noted that the use of cell phones has made this more common)?  Are they excessively nervous?
  • Manner of dress: Are they dressed out of synch for the season, weather, or occasion?
  • Surveillance-conscious: Are they using windows and mirrors to scan their surroundings in order to avoid being observed doing so? Persons skilled at escaping detection may reverse direction by going into a bathroom and immediately coming out and going the opposite way to see if another person has picked up on them. Guy noted that some of these persons can be quite stealthy and may have had formal training with a government agency or other non-government entities.  Concealed carriers should take note that there are experienced criminals who possess similar skills as a result of growing up in rough areas where they learned to commit thefts and other crimes without being detected.

The biggest difference between what Guy does and concealed carriers do is that concealed carriers have the advantage of being only responsible for themselves and their loved ones, and usually much more freedom in terms of being able to move away from their current location. That, and the knowledge that if they respond correctly as soon as they are compelled to ask some of the questions set out above, they don’t necessarily have to stick around long enough to find out what the actual answers are.

Steve Moses

Steve is a long-time defensive weapons instructor based out of Texas who has trained hundreds of men and women of all ages for more than two decades on how to better prepare to defend themselves and their loved ones. Steve has completed over 80 private-sector and law enforcement-only defensive weapons and tactics classes, and has trained civilian and law-enforcement officers in six states. Moses is a reserve deputy, former member of a multi-precinct Special Response Team, competitive shooter, and martial artist. Steve has written numerous articles for SWAT Magazine and other publications. Steve is a licensed Texas Level 4 Personal Security Officer and Instructor who was Shift Lead on a mega-church security detail for seven years, and has provided close protection for several former foreign Heads of State. He is currently an instructor at Relson Gracie Jiu Jitsu/Krav Maga in Tyler, Texas and Director of Training for Palisade Training Group (