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Left of Bang: How the Marine Corps' Combat Hunter Program Can Save Your Life
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Left of Bang: How the Marine Corps' Combat Hunter Program Can Save Your Life

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  1,949 ratings  ·  168 reviews
-- You walk into a restaurant and get an immediate sense that you should leave.

-- You are about to step onto an elevator with a stranger and something stops you.

-- You interview a potential new employee who has the resume to do the job, but something tells you not to offer a position.

These scenarios all represent LEFT OF BANG, the moments before something bad happens. B
Kindle Edition, 228 pages
Published June 18th 2014 by Black Irish Entertainment LLC (first published June 13th 2014)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
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 ·  1,949 ratings  ·  168 reviews

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Peter Bradley
Apr 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
My Amazon review -

There is a lot of value in this book. Foremost, the authors remind everyone to stay alert. Look for anomalies. If something doesn't seem to fit in, pay attention to it.

The other thing of value is that it provides a language and a heuristic for thinking about the world around us, particularly the behaviors of individuals from which we infer so very much while not being able to articulate why we inferred what we inferred.

I am a civil lawye
Jan 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is the best book on situational awareness I have ever read.

Left of Bang details the Marine Corps' Combat Hunter programs methods, which were developed to get Marines being deployed in the Middle East "left of bang," able to recognize and respond to events based on non-verbal and environmental signals.

Left of Bang takes tons of research in the field and turns it into something that anybody can use to assess what is going on around them, and take action if needed, which can range from the t
Sep 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
This was between 2 and 3 stars for me. It is about recognizing situations that could be potentially dangerous...noticing what's out of the norm and then acting on it. I'm not military and so much of this applied to the Marine Corps. Some of it was interesting, but mostly I felt it didn't apply. The authors eventually got around to applying these lessons to "normal" people.

I liked the title and the idea of this book, it just wasn't a fun read.
Jan 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
For fans of the Gift of Fear, this is a must read.
It's a detailed expansion of the premises outlined in that book. A substantial, thoughtful expansion and based on the program delineated for Marines.

I believe this is a book that should be read by everyone in the military or law enforcement (I can say that confidently, but not being involved in either) - but it's a strong must read for civilians with an interest in the topic.

The book is well, written, clear, and provides a outstanding conceptua
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Needs a bit of editing, as it tends to get wordy and repeats itself at times, but the information inside is great and very useful.

Really helped me put in perspective my day to day habits that made me vulnerable; specially poignant is a paragraph about people and their phones, and how if you raise your head from your phone a bit, you will see a mass of unaware people looking at screens, not noticing the world around them. Really made me turn around my phone usage habits!

I'm also much more observ
Dec 20, 2017 rated it liked it
This book would have been a great read before going on a deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan. This book is valuable for company grade officers and those in law enforcement. Because of where I'm currently at in my career, it didn't appeal to me. ...more
Son Tung
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Don't mind the 2 stars. This book has many valuable insights to learn from. The reason for my rating is it is not so radically different from What Everybody Is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent s Guide to Speed-reading People.
For the 1st one third of this book, author beats around the bush, a lot.
Oct 29, 2020 rated it liked it
The politics books club picked as its November 1 read Left of Bang: How the Marine Corps’ Combat Hunter Program Can Save Your Life, thus forcing me to read it in October, when I’m trying to only read nice Halloweeny books. Anyway, I’m not going to write a real lengthy review for this one because I’m going to instead yell about it on Zoom on Sunday.

This books is about combat profiling, mostly situational awareness and how to work through what counts as an anomalous circumstance. It would be an
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, audiobook
Rating: 2.5 I considered a 3 as the last couple of chapters were more what I thought the whole book was going to be about, which was applying the combat hunter program to normal people.

The first quarter of the book or so seemed like a sales pitch for how important classes like this are for marines. Then there was a lot on the history of why the program was developed because we're not taught how to make the best decisions in unsafe situations.

As I'm not a marine, I spent a lot of the time wishing
Henry Fellows Moss
A treasure trove of information about situational awareness and human behavior. The absorption of the material presented would be a valuable refinement of one's mother-wit. However, I should have liked to see more effort to teach the reader. More scenarios would have been helpful, for instance, especially if paired with analysis. Likewise, I'd have derived considerably more benefit from the book if it provided exercises and discussion for the material. The work would have been better if it had b ...more
Aug 04, 2019 rated it liked it
I gave it only 3 stars instead of 4 because it misses quite a bit from what the marine hunter combat program has. There is for example no discussion about tracking in this book. The only thing it covers is combat profiling. Over all though, it is a solid book with a good analysis of the required combat profiling skills. Easy to read and implement.
Ronald Aylward
Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
A must for military training and great for those who want to protect themselves.
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
A wealth of information and required rereading every so often...
Courtney Elizabeth
Wasn’t bad. The first 50 pages out of 200 probably didn’t need to be in there. All the good stuff was after that. I felt I got a more information out of The Gift Of Fear.
Thomas Pluck
Sep 04, 2019 rated it liked it
For police and soldiers. Very little citizens can use. But what's there is good. Unless you're law enforcement, stick to de Becker ...more
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
how spot bad guys, combat profiling, diffuse threat, shepherds sheep and wolves in sheep’s clothing, who don’t fit in, situational awareness, stages white yellow orange red and black, intuition a sense based on experience and knowledge, behaviors predict intentions, quick accurate decisions, criminal profile is reactive combat profiling is proactive, observe orient decide act, a good decision now with vigor verses perfect decision later, need tools to make good enough decisions identify few 3 cr ...more
Jacob Amey
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fighter-mindset
This book put merely; is about situational awareness with an emphasis on staying out of/away from troubling situations before they happen "Left of Bang."

I usually do not do reviews but was saddened to see so many reviews stating "This is a great book if you're in the Military or Law enforcement, but it didn't apply to me."

This statement is a dangerous one and shows, in my opinion, a lack of understanding of the world around you. This book applies to all walks of life particularly the civilian.

Tara Scherner de la fuente
Jun 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
Misogynistic piece of crap. Moreover, the first 10 chapters are just the author basically talking about how valuable the book is--it's got about 10 percent actual content.

I don't really consider myself a feminist, but my gawd, this guy makes it clear that if you're a woman, this book is not for you. If you aren't a strong man, this book isn't for you. If you are not a heterosexual, this book is not for you.

I'm a pretty average, middle of the road kind of person with a lot of conservative and li
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I would consider this a somewhat niche book, very much geared to professionals that engage in confrontations: military, law, security, protection. If you're looking for a more generalized, personal experience then steer toward Gift of Fear. The main effort is the detection and interception of persons intending to engage in violence. Left of Bang reads like an excellently researched, written and structured Field Manual (this is a compliment). From higher level concepts down to detailed instructio ...more
David Church
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As a member of a church security team and not having any type of law enforcement or military background, this book was essential and eye opening. The whole premise of how to recognize bad guys especially when they look just like the good guys is ridiculously applicable to church security. The supplemental resources available and online training tools offered make this book well worth the read. Seriously, read this if you are doing security especially at a church.
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5. The core idea (situational awareness and profiling are important) is good, but the book is low on information and full of filler, despite being short. The book is essentially a summary of USMC training, training which the authors now offer on a consulting basis, so to some extent it is an extended sales pitch.
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Left of Bang explains Unite States Marine Corps' combat hunter methods which were designed to help marines recognize and respond to would-be-hostile or hostile environment through non-verbal and environmental cues. This mehods can be utilized by conscious citizen too.

Left of Bang is a metaphor for preventing the attack, the first shot, the explosion etc. The authors advise “to think about an attack on a timeline, bang is in the middle. Bang is the act. Bang is the IED (Improvised Explosive Devi
Jun 01, 2020 rated it liked it
In contrast to Gavin De Becker's The Gift of Fear, and Lundy Bancroft's Why Does He Do That?, Left of Bang: How the Marine Corps' Combat Hunter Program Can Save Your Life tends to focus less on the real-life application of instinct and gut reaction, with respect to the every-day violence that occurs in our streets and homes, instead conjuring up a Chris Kyle-esque male fantasy of patrolling the streets of Kabul.

Ostensibly the actual goal of this book is to provide advice specifically to Marines
Cameron Copper
Dec 06, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: softback
Having never served in the military, this book was a fascinating look into the split second considerations that U.S. men and women are subjected to make on a daily basis, serving overseas.

Working in the business world, I was recommended this book by a clinical psychologist who works with Organizational Change Management. Often, he would refer to client interactions as being "Left of bang" and challenged me to read this book to better understand that reference. Having now read this book, I grasp
Paul Moore
Jan 27, 2018 rated it liked it
A good primer on Combat Profiling

I got this book to become more aware as a concealed carry civilian. Most of the book is geared towards Marines and soldiers in a counterinsurgency environment. However, I do feel that some basic tools were provided to me as a civilian carrying a concealed firearm to better prepare me stay to the Left of Bang. I've learned that gunfights seemingly "come out of the" and happen very fast. Being aware and practicing combat profiling skills may or may not help you. Fo
Mar 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Left of Bang is a great book. Yes, the authors spoke in MC jargon; however, all acronyms are defined for civilians. Though VanHorne & Riley speak primarily towards those who protect us (military/police/security), Left of Bang is essential reading for anyone who works in the public sphere and enters unfamiliar neighborhoods (social workers, nurses, care workers, housekeepers, college students). Looking back on my life this book would have been perfect for me after I experienced the trauma of losi ...more
Sep 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: security
"Left of Bang is not for combat warriors only. It's for you on the subway, you in a bad part of town, you with the sharks in the corporate boardroom. It's for your wife when she's home alone, or entering a dark parking structure, or walking with the kids on vacation overseas."

The book is written for Marines, but geez, women are Marines too. Women can be with the sharks in the corporate boardroom. Men can go on vacation with their kids. A greater proportion of the readers might be men, but the wr
Elizabeth Laborde
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This took a while to read, not because it was dull or hard to get through but because it was dense and full of information. In order to absorb the levels of details and knowledge the author has garnered in his military training and research, I needed to read it in smaller chunks. This novel was very helpful in terms of preparing for the novel I'm writing about a mall shooting incident. It would be helpful, also, for people in law enforcement, bounty hunters, people who are interested in surveill ...more
Pete Zilla
Jun 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: gwot
This book is about combat profiling and how it enables decision making, with the purpose of each decision to decide to kill, capture, or contact. For civilians outside a combat zone the decisions are run, hide, fight. The purpose of the book is to give you as much decision time and space as possible for those actions by helping the reader develops heuristics and identify “clusters” that provide warnings. I wanted to love this book. Look at the cover and all the amazing things that those amazing ...more
Ken Saunders
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
LEFT OF BANG gives readers a framework for collecting observations as they go through daily life. Unfortunately the focus is almost constantly on identifying armed terrorists in foreign lands, with a few exceptions usually related to identifying armed terrorists in airports or gang members in gang territory. There is no attention to the sort of relatable, everyday scenarios cited in the description. This book is too heavy on outlines within outlines and lists which get repeated so many times you ...more
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