How to Prepare For an Ambush as a Law Enforcement Officer

How to Prepare For an Ambush as a Law Enforcement Officer

As we get into the heart of summer and people are getting out more, we’ve unfortunately seen an increase in violence towards our Law Enforcement Officers (LEO’s). As much as I hate to read these stories throughout the country, where LEOs are being ambushed and murdered in cold blood, it’s important to get this information out.

 It truly breaks our hearts that not only do police officers have to deal with the most violent and hostile Americans on a daily basis, but now they have to be cognizant of being ambushed. This blog is dedicated to our LEO customers who are looking for advice and equipment to help save their lives.

Officer Down Memorial Page

If you haven't ever read through this website, it’s a sobering reminder of the danger our LEOs face every time they put the uniform on. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, there have been 28 officers shot and killed this year. Out of those 28, you can argue that at least 15 were ambushed. This is evidence that more than 50% of the LEOs shot and killed have been ambushed this year. I always recommend supporting organizations such as the ODMP because the money goes to the families of the fallen heroes. 


We’ve mentioned the LEOKA many times in past blogs, but have never really focused on the ambush stats. According to the LEOKA, ambushes are when assailant traps, lures and plans to kill an officer as they respond to a situation. The whole point of an ambush is to catch the officer off-guard and surprise them before they have a chance to respond. 

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The most common situations in which officers are ambushed in 2021 are serving warrants and traffic stops. As a former police officer, I know very well how dangerous a traffic stop can be. When I was in, we were trained that domestic disturbances were always the most dangerous because people are more likely to have weapons, drugs, and alcohol in their homes than in their cars. 

How Do I Mentally Prepare for an Ambush?

One of the scariest and most ominous parts about being a police officer is the fact that you can be killed at any moment, just for wearing the uniform. On one hand, LEOs all across the country are being taught to be more personable with the communities in which they serve. On the other hand, this can force officers into precarious situations that risk their lives even more to ambush attacks, like the one last week in Arvada, CO. As officers interact with more people, situational awareness is hard to maintain by yourself. 

 The best way to prepare yourself for anything is to improve your situational awareness. As oversimplified as this may sound, reading the body language of people around you, reading the environment (cars, trucks, where you’re at), and always leaving your trigger hand free has helped me and countless other soldiers and officers. 

Complacency is one of those things that you might not even realize you’re taking things too lightly. Complacency will get you into trouble more than any other issue, in my opinion, and can be easily fixed by maintaining your focus throughout your shift. Working 12-hour shifts makes it difficult, but your survival is worth the heightened focus.

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I know many officers serve or served in the military and understand the nuances of building relationships in the communities that they serve. As a former soldier, building those relationships in the communities where we worked probably saved us from more attacks.

However, we were ambushed every month or so by the same people we were trying to help. This is the same type of situation our officers are falling into now with more direct contact with civilian populations. 


Last week, we discussed the importance of LEOs creating an account for the Valor Program because of the free training provided by the government. The Valor Program offers multiple video-training modules, including the highly informative,  “Ambush Attacks Against Law Enforcement: Safety and Prevention Strategies”

Also included inside the Tactical Safety page of the Valor Program, are two other training modules that come with certificates; Ambush Attacks and Common Indicators of a Potential Attack. All 3 of these training modules can be done online at the convenience of the officer with a simple free registration. Any officer that becomes a member will learn how to specifically react to an ambush and the things to look out for. 


As you see with both the FBI LEOKA program and the BJA Valor Program, ambushes are going up. Officers have seen around a 50% increase in ambushes just from 2 years ago, according to the F.B.I.. Every officer will gain instant access to dozens of training modules that have been vetted and approved by the federal government. It’s a free program based on federal grants from many different law enforcement agencies. 

How Can ShotStop® Help Protect Police Officers?

Of the 44 officers killed by guns in 2019, 30 of them were wearing some form of body armor. This doesn’t sound very convincing for body armor because the context is often left out of the discussion. Of those 30 heroes killed in action, 13 of them were shot in the head or neck and we all know that there is nothing right now that will save you from that. It’s not practical for LEOs to wear combat helmets on duty. However, another 13 of those officers could have been saved if they were wearing ShotStop® body armor. 

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It’s no secret that many officers would rather wear a soft plate insert that is NIJ-Listed at Level 3A. Level IIIA body armor is only designed to stop a handgun up to a .44 Magnum, but there are so many other factors, such as age and condition of armor, is it properly worn, etc… 8 of those officers were killed when they were shot in the upper chest and an additional 4-6 were killed from shoulder and lower abdomen shots. 

ShotStop® can help save lives by providing hard plate inserts that are NIJ-Listed at Level 3 and Level 4. Many officers have stated that they don’t like to wear body armor because it’s too heavy, too bulky, and incredibly uncomfortable (especially for women). There is no way to guarantee that those officers killed would have survived with ShotStop® body armor, but we are confident that our Duritium® technology will hold up against anything you run into on the street. 


With the unprecedented rise in violence towards our Law enforcement community, there is a rise in personal protective equipment (PPE). If there was anybody armor that I would recommend for every police officer, it would be the Duritium® Level III + PA plate. It’s a multi-curve plate that helps fit more officers, male and female, big and small. 

The Duritium® Level III + PA plate is the thinnest and lightest NIJ 0101.06 Level III plate that you’ll find anywhere in the world t. I’ve worn soft armor that weighs around 2 lbs and bunches up from getting in and out of the patrol car. 

This plate is only 2.7 lbs per plate and is only 0.7” thick. You seriously have to hold the plate to even believe it will stop a 5.56x45mm 55 grain ball (M193), 7.62x39mm PS ball (MSC), 7.62x51mm 149 grain M80 FMJ with multiple hits. As always, we want you to not just believe our word, but the word of the federal government that our armor will do as it says

The Duritium® Level III + PA plate is almost the same weight as a soft armor insert and it offers protection against an AR-15, AK-47, and .308 rifles. The multi-curve design will offer more versatility, especially with female officers with larger bust sizes. The Level III + PA plate offers far greater comfort and allows the officer to move faster, have less restriction with their arms, and be able to move without the plate sliding around inside the carrier. Choosing the Shooter’s Cut will expose your shoulders, but will allow you to draw your pistol faster and reduce friction in cross-body firing. If you’re interested in even more protection, you should consider the Duritium® Level IV + HA plate.


Having the mobility to move freely without being restricted is paramount to staying effective in the field. As most of our readers know, Level IV body armor is the highest level of protection classified under the NIJ 0101.06 standard. Our newest plate is a Level 4 plate, which means it will stop anything shot from a handheld high-powered rifle. 

The Duritium® Level IV + HA plate will stop armor-piercing ammo from a Dragunov sniper rifle or even 30.06 7.62 x 63 black tip (M2 AP) rounds with ease. Traditionally, the biggest issue with a Level 4 plate is the overall weight tends to be in the 12-25 range for a full set. However, we’ve created a Level IV plate that is only 4.5 lbs per plate and still under 1” thick. Our  Duritium® Level IV + HA plate will give you the confidence in knowing that you will be protected if you're shot anywhere in your armor. 


In dealing with an ambush, there are many factors that will decide if you’re going to survive or not. However, if you want to increase your chances, the BJA Valor Program, the F.B.I., and the U.S. The Department of Justice has training programs to prepare you for an ambush. 

Being mentally prepared is a huge part of solving this puzzle, but it also takes physical protection and preparation. ShotStop® may not be able to provide the training, but we can offer the best physical protection you’ve ever seen in your life. We offer industry-leading deals for outfitting entire police departments. Add this discount with the industry-leading warranty of 15 years (all Level III Armor) and you get all the reason you need to give yourself the best gear for work.

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