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[How-To] Get Out of a Mob or Riot & Survive

We help you plan for a mob or riot and give you some tips and tricks to get out of a horde of angry people safely and efficiently.

Last year was memorable for many reasons, and one of those was the sheer number of riots and mobs that took place throughout the U.S.

Pew Pew Tactical Shooting with MIRA Safety Gas Masks
Yep, this about sums up 2020.

After having made it through 2020 (hooray! You did it!), it’s natural to ask yourself what you would do if you were ever caught in such a situation.

How on earth do you make it through a night of mayhem alive and in one piece?

Best Survival Books Group Shot
What skills do you have to survive?

If these are the questions that you’ve been pondering, you’re not alone.

So, to help you feel more confident in turbulent times, let’s look at some techniques to help you make it out of a riot.

We’ll cover what you should have on hand and how to implement actions to save your life in a mob.

Table of Contents


Survive a Riot or Mob on Foot

1. Wear Anti-Laser Glasses

One of the most nefarious technologies we’ve seen employed at riots recently has been the use of powerful laser pointers to blind people.

The degree of this blindness varies depending on the power of the laser and the accuracy of the “painting,” but there’s most certainly the potential for permanent eye damage here.

Green Laser
Lasers can easily damage your eyes.

Once you’re blinded in the middle of a violent crowd, you’re going to be easy pickings for those around you.

However, there are technologies we can use to protect ourselves against such. Mainly, I’m referring to anti-laser glasses.

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These are special lenses that you can wear that will allow you to see while simultaneously protecting your eyes against the effects of a laser pointer.

I highly recommend investing in a pair if you’re in an area where you think the rioters could employ such methods.

Just keep in mind that different colors of lasers require different types of safety glasses. No one pair will block out all types of lasers.

Lasers at 15 Yards
Different glasses protect against different styles of lasers.

As such, buying these types of eyewear is something of a probability game.

From my own anecdotal experience of what I’ve seen online, it appears as if green lasers are the most commonly used colors in blinding attacks. That may be something to take into consideration.

2. Get indoors ASAP

While violence can most certainly take place in businesses and homes as well, you stand a much better chance of evading it if you’re indoors.

There are a few variables that need to be taken into consideration, however.

Urban Prep Tips Neighborhoods
Your best bet is to get indoors.

For starters, if you enter a building, you need to know the location of the exits.

Putting yourself into a room where there’s only one way out could get you in trouble should an angry horde of people enter.

Molotov cocktails are a very common form of rioter weaponry as well. And, if one is thrown into the building you occupy, you could easily end up trapped in an oven.

So yes, while heading for shelter is important, make sure that it’s the right type of shelter.

Also, consider what type of shelter it is – a Best Buy or other store stocked with portable valuables might not be a safe place.

You’re in prime looter territory. The store will attract attention if it’s anywhere near the scene of a riot.

So, in summary, look for shelter with multiple exits and one that won’t attract looters either.

And if you’re at home – say, in your high-rise apartment – stay away from the windows.

Shots may be fired, and the further away from the windows you are, the better your chances are of evading stray bullets, broken glass, or incoming Molotov cocktails.

3. Move to the Outskirts of the Riot

This one is most certainly easier said than done.

If you find yourself caught in the middle of a riot, you stand a much better chance of making it through the night ok if you can get out of the riot (duh).

So, do what you can to put as much distance between you and the trouble as possible. The further you are from danger, the less risk you have of being injured by it.

To do this, continue to move. Stopping in any one place for an extended period (particularly out in the street) exposes yourself to a heightened probability of danger.

While hiding is most certainly an option (sometimes), if you’re in the midst of several hundred people, somebody will find you.

girls walking
Get away from the crowds…maybe with a bit more seriousness than this.

It’s best in these situations to get as far away as possible.

Avoid running when amid a crowd – this keeps unwanted attention at bay.

But once you get to where you have some breathing room, sprinting may very well be just the ticket to getting yourself as far from danger as possible.

4. Be the Gray Man

This is an oft-touted principle of prepping, but perhaps in no other situation does it apply more aptly than when it comes to riot survival.

It’s long been touted that cops are much more likely to pull over a red car for speeding than a car of other colors.

Posing as a Gray Man
Posing as a Gray Man

Is this because drivers of red cars are more likely to speed? No. Is it because cops just don’t like the color red? No.

The reason why is because a red car is more noticeable. It draws the eyes towards it when set amidst a background of other cars.

Same principle applies to riot survival.

If you’re in a crowd and dressed in a way that naturally draws the human eye towards you (e.g., bright clothing, wearing camouflage, strange hat, out-of-place backpack, a katana, etc.), you attract a lot more attention than you would if you were more discreet.

Denim Snake
One must blend in

What you want is crowd camouflage — disappear while in plain sight.

Wearing earth tones or darker colors, not wearing heavy garb in warm weather, not having a busting-at-the-seams military-style backpack strapped to you, not behaving strangely – these are all to ensure that you blend in the background.

Think about the life of a spy.

They constantly insert themselves into the very center of an enemy’s society and culture. Yet, they move about and gather their intel undetected. And all while under the very noses of their enemy.

If all spies wore pointy neon pink hats, it would be easy to point them out in a crowd, would it not?

Denim Snake
Maybe not this outfit.

But they don’t do this.

They seamlessly disappear while remaining in sight the whole time.

You’re going to want to adopt the same attitude to make it through a riot in one piece.

As such, it may pay to keep a quick change of outfit at hand in your office, vehicle, or EDC bag if you believe there’s a risk you could encounter a riot on your way home in the near future.

5. Avoid Confrontation and Know How to Deescalate a Situation

If you end up picking a fight with somebody, yelling at someone, or calling someone a name, you’re going to end up in a fight.

And not necessarily one-on-one, either. You’re potentially looking at one-on-20, if not more.

You will not win against those odds in a street fight.

Even if you’re a seasoned brawler, don’t forget there are no rules in a street fight.

You may fight with your hands and feet, but your opponents could use skateboards, sticks, tasers, pepper spray, and more. Again, you will not win that fight.

Martial Arts GunFighting Jacki
Even with martial arts skills, if your opponent has a gun or knife, things could get tricky.

So, avoid confrontation to the best of your ability.

I’m not telling you to shrivel up and whimper. What I’m saying is that the wise fighter can do a lot to avoid a fight in the first place. Discretion is the better part of valor.

If you end up in a situation where conflict looks inevitable, a basic knowledge of how to deescalate a situation could very easily save your life.

It’s best not to respond to every scream and insult with one of your own. Things will only grow more heated, with the result being a full-out brawl.

To assist in de-escalation, here are a few tips:

  • Keep your voice low and remain calm – By doing this, you can get your opponent to unwittingly mirror your behaviors. Humans copy the behaviors of other humans. If you can keep your voice calm and low against a potential aggressor, you can help “push” them towards doing the same.
  • Try to humanize yourself to the enemy – Say something along the lines of, “I’m just passing through man. It’s been a long day at work, my son has the flu, and my house is that way.” This helps to show you aren’t a threat, you can be related to, and it may garner some pity.

6. Stay in Shape

If you can’t run a mile, how do you expect to be able to run when your life depends upon it? You’ll get two blocks before you’re hunched over sucking wind.

Alexo Athletica Leggings PPT Shirt
Gotta get those steps in

Furthermore, if you look like you’re an easy target, you paint yourself as a target. At the very least, you need to be able to run a mile without collapsing afterward.

7. If You Fall, Time to Ball!

Being trampled is a very common cause of death in riots. If you do end up falling to the ground, getting up as quickly as possible is going to be your best option.

Definitely don’t want to be caught in this.

If that’s simply not possible, then curling into a ball may be the best position to protect your vital organs.

8. Have Several Escape Routes Planned Ahead of Time

Thorough knowledge of where you are is a must. If you’re driving home from work, only to find that rioters are blocking the street ahead of you to continue forward is dangerous.

Map and Compass
Have multiple ways to get to where you need to

You need to know alternate routes to your home, retreat, or rally point. Ideally, you should have all memorized.

I also keep a map in my glovebox with alternate routes highlighted, perchance I need to take a path that I’m not familiar with.

9. Stay Informed

In any type of battle situation, intelligence saves lives. Having proper intel allows you to make informed decisions.

How can you stay informed?

HAM Radio (1)
There are lots of choices when it comes to outdoor communications.
  • Having a police scanner (or a similar app on your smartphone, such as 5-0 Scanner) or radio
  • Stay abreast of current events
  • Keep a network of like-minded friends throughout your town/city
  • Monitor social media

This way, if there are people blocking traffic and dragging drivers out of their cars three blocks south, you now know to avoid that area.

With zero intel, you’ll likely drive straight into trouble.

10. Be Prepared to Fight

By this, I mean have a force multiplier on your person.

You will not be the best hand-to-hand fighter on the streets that night.

Alexo Athletica Leggings PPT Shirt
Having the means to protect yourself is imperative.

That’s why you need a way to even out the game. A weapon of some sort (and a few backups) is the way to accomplish such.

11. Don’t Get Caught in Bottlenecks

Funnels are where people get trampled to death. If four hundred people all decide to descend the same stairwell at once, somebody’s going to get hurt.

In a riot, wide-open spaces can be your friend.

Pay attention to the structures around you, and you’ll be better able to avoid getting caught in a deadly funnel.

12. Carry Gear Discretely

You do not know how long it’s going to take you to get home. You don’t even know if your house will still be standing when you get there.

Savior Equipment SEMA Backpack
This style might attract some attention

In either case, keep enough gear to survive for one to two days on your person and carry it discretely.

Tactical-looking backpacks – while great for comfortable carry during hikes –  are therefore out.

Here is what I carry:

Bug out bags.

I can easily distribute all of this between my pockets and an old beat-up bookbag that I have without it looking as if I’m carrying a lot of gear.

It truly doesn’t take up a lot of space at all.

13. Safety in Numbers

Twenty men stand a much better chance against a mob than a single man does. It’s because of this principle that I highly recommend moving in large numbers through a mob.

If you work in the heart of downtown, a riot has started, and your boss is letting everybody out early, this may be a principle that you want to consider.

Elk Hunting Family
Stick together if possible.

With everyone sticking together as they make their way to a set rally point, you all may stand a much better chance of making it home in one piece.

Just food for thought.

What About My Car?

No discussion on how to survive a riot would be complete without taking a hard look at what to do if you’re trapped in your car.

What if you’re in your car?

What do you do if you’re on your way back home from the hospital and a group of vicious rioters surrounds your car, beating on the windows, yelling obscenities at you, and so on?

This one is thorny.

You need to understand your state’s individual laws to know what the consequences could be if a protestor gets run over.

PSA AK74 Shooting Car
Yeah, you can’t always do this.

If you’re drug out of your car, though, that’s an entirely different issue, so here are some general rules to follow:

  1. Do your best to avoid escalating the situation.
  2. Getting out of your car amidst a crowd attacking your vehicle will likely result in being attacked.
  3. Know the specific laws regarding how you can legally act within a riot setting while in a car. This may (or may not) influence your behavior and give you a framework to act off.


Making it through a riot in one piece can be a rather harrowing experience. However, it’s not a completely helpless situation.

You can take actionable steps to better ensure your safety should you end up amid a mob full of very angry people.

Riots are inherently dangerous, but by following the above steps, you’ll have done a great deal to better ensure that you make it through the night without spending time at a hospital.

Are there other tips on riot survival, or do you have any experience using any of the above tips? Let us know in the comments below! For more survival-related articles, check out How To Survive at Sea, During Wildfires, Tornadoes, and Nukes.

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10 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar

    Much of this is common sense and instinct. Keep your situational awareness switched on. Don't attract attention. Don't be a target.

    August 2, 2021 6:50 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I lived next to a guy in Panama who had been caught up in violent riots in Africa some years back. Mobs blocking roads and swarming cars were very prevalent. So much so that folks took to outfitting their cars to help them escape, because if you were pulled from your car, you more than likely would be killed. Flame throwers and acid sprayers were the preferred outfitting. Acid sprayers prevailed because once the propane fired off the close mob move away, but overall the flames caused an escalation, and were only used as a last result if a clear a path out if available. The acid spray on the other hand, with misting nozzles affixed low on the vehicle would get the same results, causing most bare legged mobsters to start to dance about and move away from reflex without really knowing why.

    August 1, 2021 1:38 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    "3. Know the specific laws regarding how you can legally act within a riot setting while in a car. This may (or may not) influence your behavior and give you a framework to act off."

    All 50 states - in a nut shell; Unless the rioters have become an "imminent threat" to you the only thing you can legally do is drive away (not hitting anyone) or sit and wait it out. If they breach the car though in such a manner as to become an "imminent threat" to you then you can open fire only on the ones that are the "imminent threat". Running them down with the car is not easily explainable though because to run them down with the car strongly suggests they were outside the car thus not an "imminent threat" to you.

    July 29, 2021 6:15 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    "I can easily distribute all of this between my pockets and an old beat-up bookbag that I have without it looking as if I’m carrying a lot of gear."

    Let me just tell you right now the practical aspect having seen it happen time and time again, this concept is going to get you hurt or killed if you are actually near or stuck in a violent rioting activity or mob - NO...just NO NO NO, No external visible "container things" which means no book bag, no back packs, no bags, no boxes, of any size not even fanny packs - period period period.

    Violence and acts of theft or other acts in a riot are (mostly) spontaneous or opportunity based, a "heat of the moment" type of thing and "heat of the moment" violence is tunnel visioned and focused on one thought, you do not want that one thought to be you and you do not want the light at the end of their tunnel to be shining on you. If you have something "container like" visible in which there could be something of use or value that's the way violent spontaneous or opportunity based rioters are going to view it. Spontaneous or opportunity based violent rioters are going to want to know what is in there and they will be considering you as a target of their spontaneous or opportunity based acts to find out what you have. The most innocent people injured, sometimes killed, in a riot are those which are "carrying something" especially something "container like".

    It does not matter if you are or are not carrying or looking like you are carrying a large amount of gear- anything external visible "container like" is going to attract, or increase probability of attracting, attention to you at some point if you are stuck in or near a violent riot or mob.

    The other down side is if these "container like" things are attached to you they give an attacker something else to grab (especially fanny pack types of things) which leads to slowing you down which leads to a firmer hold on you. Yes I know, ya'll or someone thinking "I can unbuckle or slip out of it and run" (or something similar) - yeah, that's probably not gonna happen in real life for most people and if it does happen then you are "should have purchased a lottery ticket that day" lucky. They are going to outnumber you most likely and there will most likely be no place to run unless you run through them and they are not going to let you go easily even if you did "unbuckle or slip out of it and run". Next, that one second it takes to "unbuckle or slip out of it" is all the time they need to slow you down just enough for them to get a more firmer hold on you.

    If you are stuck in the violent riot or a mob its best to simply not attract attention to your self by having something they think they want and what they think they want is anything they want - If you are going to carry something it needs to be small and fit in your pockets, no external "container like" things period. If you are stuck in the violent riot or a mob you are not bugging out but rather are "surviving" in place until you can get out and if you attract attention to your self your chances of survival unscathed diminish. Having externally visible "container like" things with you draws attention to you.

    Next, If you are stuck in the violent riot or a mob and are carrying a "container like" thing (book bags, backpacks, fanny packs, bags, boxes, etc... ) it makes you look like, to the police, you were (possibly) "prepared" to participate in the violent riot or a mob. The police are going to view you as hostile, and no matter how much you disagree with being viewed that way its actually the correct way to view an unknown in the midst of a violent environment until its proven otherwise. Note the word "proven", not "thought" or "assumed" or "suspected" or "possibly" or "potentially" 'cause you say so - until "proven" and believe me the police are going to want you to "prove" it.

    Now, one other thing. Something that happens in every riot where police are deployed in riot control formations. That something is there is always some fool who is not part of things and innocent that gets between the mob and the police while they are trying to get to the police line for protection because they are fleeing the violent mob. Sure, they want protection and that's great, but running into the police riot control line is not the way to do it and that's because those riot control line cops are going to view anything coming at them as hostile until proven other wise and that's because the mob they were deployed against is most likely hostile. DO NOT RUN TOWARDS THE POLICE RIOT CONTROL LINE! When police deploy for riot control, (usually) on their outer perimeters used to "cordon" the affected area there are units which have as part of their function to assist those wanting to flee by letting them pass or providing direction or protection for those wanting to flee. If you encounter these units If you are carrying anything "container like" drop it and abandon it and move towards these outer perimeter units (do not run towards them) with your hands clearly visible and up and not holding anything (not even a cell phone) with fingers spread and tell them you are not part of it and are trying to flee the danger.

    What ever you thought was "survival stuff" in that "container like" thing is not worth your life or health, its not worth being viewed as hostile, and its not worth it at all if its going to attract violence to you. Once again, no external "container like" things if you are stuck in or near a violent riot or mob.

    July 29, 2021 4:29 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Some additional stuff:

      If you are stuck in or near a violent riot or mob and carrying something visible "container like" thing for some reason (which you should not be doing to begin with), for cripes sake's do not run or walk towards police (or national guard, etc) unless you ditch the "container like" thing first. Carrying a "container like" thing in or near a violent riot or mob and then running or walking towards police (or national guard, etc) with a "container like" thing makes you look like a suicide bomber because suicide bombers do that sort of thing and the police (in this day and age of "domestic terrorism") or National Guard is more likely to open fire on you if you move the wrong way at the wrong time. Put the "container like" thing down as soon as you see the police or national guard, even if they have not yet seen you, before you move towards them.

      July 29, 2021 5:06 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    16. Going on John’s excellent advice: if you can figure out who the mob is composed of based on their chants, banners, etc. it’ll help you blend in long enough to get away. You really do not want to give the impression of being on the opposite side.

    17. Local police will post updates on Twitter or other media. They may be quickly outdated but will give a general idea on what parts of town to avoid if you have to travel.

    18. When leaving, keep an eye out for police or counter-protestors. Police can’t tell if you were part of the mob or not and you will be targeted. Same goes for counter-protestors.

    July 28, 2021 6:01 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Well two out of three comments were useful. Thanks John for #14 and 15.

    July 28, 2021 4:44 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    15. If you are stuck in a moving mob group, move with them but obliquely towards the rear of the group until you get to the edge of the group then slow down and let them pass and leave you behind then get out of the area. Chant what ever they are chanting if they are chanting, if not chanting adopt the attitude of the group. Riots have mobs in groups, mob think psychology makes them think, for a while, anyone in the mob group moving with them and acting like them is one of them. If you start trying to force your way out of the group quickly and directly or act differently you are more likely to attract attention and be challenged or attacked.

    July 28, 2021 4:22 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    14. Don't be waving your gun around. If its a hand gun keep it concealed, if its a rifle keep it low next to your side and try to "conceal" it (by using your body to mask it) as much as possible. (don't stick a rifle under a coat or shirt for a few different reasons).

    Seriously. The number one class of people targeted by police are the ones with weapons showing. Its really hard to explain that you were "just passing through" on the way home if you get caught in the mob with an AR-15 or you are waving your hand gun around. Additionally, all it takes is for one person that's not you to fire a shot and the police or someone else are going to be lining up sights on the first person they see with a gun and here you are waving your gun around. For cripes sake, put it away if you want the best chance of not being shot by the police or someone else. Don't take it out unless you are in one of those "imminent threat" DGU situations. Plus, there is always some fool who wants to view you as the opposite side and you having a weapon showing makes them think that "gol darn it Ma, dat der is the enemy".

    July 28, 2021 4:09 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Also, it's important to remember that the police are mindless drones who follow their left-wing chief and mayor's orders. They don't care about you. They will arrest you for pretextual "brandishing" claims instead of confronting a mob of violent left-wing terrorists. That's what happened in Milwaukee, in Plano, outside Seattle and elsewhere. The police are not your friend and you should never admit anything to them or talk to them. They hate you because they advance their career by hating you.

    July 28, 2021 3:14 pm
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