Situational Awareness

Written by Sean Baxter

On June 5, 2018
color codes


The color codes of awareness, popularized by the grandfather of modern pistolcraft, Col. Jeff Cooper, quantify one’s level of mental awareness by assigning a color to how much attention one pays to their surroundings.  While its important to understand how these levels of awareness may play into any situation, this is not to suggest that a person should remain at any one level, whether high or low.  Being in public, its better to have an awareness of where one is, the activities of those within proximity, and potential avenues of approach or egress.  All of this plays into how an encounter may be averted just by a simple application of avoidance or by the appearance of being a potentially difficult target.


Condition White: Unaware or oblivious to your surroundings.
Like the folks who fall into fountains while texting on their cell phones … you can Google that one.

Condition Yellow: Aware of where a potential threat may come from.
I see a dark area, I shine light into it or I avoid it. I see unsavory folks, so I cross the street.

Condition Orange: Alerted to a potential threat where you might begin to implement your defensive strategy.
Unsavory fella approaches you and your response is to create distance, yell (posture), and/or prepare a defensive tool.

Condition Red: Alarmed to an actual threat that requires you to defend yourself.

Condition Black: When you don’t know how you ended up holding a pistol that is at slide lock.

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