The Survivability Onion


Founding Member
I was reading an excellent article today on the vulnerability/survivability of helicopters in a modern battlefield today, and the article used the "Survivability Onion" concept/model. In simple terms, the model describes the engagement layers between a threat and the loss of a platform.

I believe, this also applies to personal/home self-defense in an ever increasing unruly society with larger numbers of real/potential hostiles.

So, between the article and some others I've found, I will adapt/summarize the info to a more personal application.

Layer 1: Don't be there...(aka Avoid Exposure). Avoid high-threat situations/locations, and/or increase situation awareness since :poop:-hit can happen just about anywhere nowadays, i.e. flash mobs/thefts, BLM/ANTFIA riots, individual robberies/home invasion's.

Layer 2: Don't be seen...(aka Avoid Detection). If a threat cannot detect the presence of potential target then it can't be engaged. Reduce your vulnerability signature - don't travel alone, or travel in the presence larger numbers of people.

Layer 3: Don't be engaged:...(aka Deter the Threat). If a threat is willing to engage it is still possible to disrupt or deny anything that hasn't already occurred. And make ready to defend.

Layer 4: Don't be hit...(aka Avoid damage). At this layer of the "onion", all attempts to prevent being acquired and engaged have failed. At this point the key to surviving is to close the engagement as quickly as possible.

  1. You can avoid being hit by movement, staying out of the range of the weapon being used, getting into cover, escaping or evading, or otherwise gaining a decisive tactical advantage.
  2. You can also avoid being hit by rendering the threat unable or unwilling to attack with the use of force.
  3. You can avoid being hit through the use of distraction devices and/or techniques. If you have a remote car/home alarm at-hand activate it to distract the attacker(s), and/or use a repellent to blind/disable an attacker to buy time to escape the encounter and/or neutralize it.
Layer 5: Don't be damaged/penetrated...(aka Avoid injury). There is no guarantee against being hit so this layer of the onion is to try to reduce/eliminate damage with defensive aids.
  1. You can stop/resist edged attacks with clothing that resists cuts and thrusts.
  2. You can resist the effect of being hit with a bullet using ballistic armor (soft and/or hard).
Layer 5: Don't be affected/killed. Even if you are hit, it is vital to "keep fighting". As long as you can move, you can fight. If you can't fight (no weapon, no line of fire, no visible target), move to cover and apply IFAK self-aid. Contact emergency services to get trauma response rolling, since your efforts can only buy you more time, not a second chance.



My .02

As a bonus, one reference provides for those in urban areas to avoid detection and/or method to respond to oncoming threats.

Attempted Humor alert!

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