Greg Ellifritz writes about how a simple handshake can be used as a ruse to get dangerously close to you.
I feel conflicted about personal safety techniques that make you come across as rude or unfriendly, because the majority of the time the situation is innocuous and now you just look like a jerk. But, there’s always a way to handle the situation that helps you maintain a friendly rapport yet keep you safe. Greg’s article offers a few such suggestions for dealing with this case.
One I recently picked up and will work to employ is how to disengage from street approaches. You know the situation: dude walks up to you asking for a cigarette or a light or the time, and there’s a host of ways to break off contact. A favorite of fellow KR Training instructor Tom Hogel is to say “Yeah, about 4:30” and keep on walking. It works because it’s an unexpected response to their script and resets their OODA Cycle. The response I recently picked up comes from William Aprill. His response is “No, but THANKS!” and saying “thanks” in a very cheerful and earnest tone. I like this because it resets the OODA Cycle, it responds and ends the contact, and you don’t risk coming off as rude — which I think matters not so much to dude, but in the eyes of others, especially if this happens when you’re in the company of friends that may not regard personal safety in the same light as yourself.
What stood out to me more from Greg’s article tho was his closing remarks regarding handshakes and open carry:
Hock Hockheim also has some interesting information on handshake problems in this article. Have any of you open carriers considered this ruse? What if someone approached you in a public place and said “I commend you for carrying your gun openly and appreciate that you are providing a visual deterrent against criminals.” After saying this, he extends his hand to shake yours. Would you shake? If you are carrying your gun openly in a holster without retention, it might not be such a good idea!