Chris Ryan: how these basic SAS skills can save your life from terrorists and crooks

By Rob Golledge | Crime | Published:

HE made his name as a daredevil SAS hero. Fearless, resilient, and, if needs be, deadly.

Now Chris Ryan’s mission is to keep you safe – whether it’s on the high street, on holiday, or in your home.

“It is not about making people paranoid, but about awareness and being prepared,” he says.

“And I’m not just talking about terrorist attacks. I mean keeping safe from phone or online scams, pickpocketing or from trouble overseas.”

Ryan, whose real name is Colin Armstrong, was born in 1961 in a village near Newcastle. In 1984 he joined the SAS. During his ten years in the Regiment, he was involved in overt and covert operations and was also sniper team commander of the anti-terrorist team.

During the Gulf War, he was the only member of an eight-man team to escape from Iraq, of which three colleagues were killed and four captured. It was the longest escape and evasion in the history of the SAS.

For this he was awarded the Military Medal. During Ryan’s last two years in the Regiment he selected and trained potential SAS recruits, he left the SAS in 1994. His work in security takes him around the world.

He has also appeared in a number of TV programmes, including Hunting Chris Ryan, Pushed to the limit (Toughest Families) and Terror Alert, and is a best-selling author.

His new book, Safe, is aimed at giving people practical advice about how to avoid becoming victims of muggings, abductions and car-jackings and also what to do if they are threatened or caught up in an attack. This includes advice on knowing when to run, how to escape attackers, and also if having to defend yourself is inevitable, how to fight. He urges people to grab any weapons at their disposal, attack as a group and be as loud as possible to turn the balance of power on attackers.


And he also gives advice on what to do in a hostage situation, which includes making alliances with you kidnappers and mentally preparing yourself for any torture, so that the physical shock doesn’t come with added mental horror.

“It is awareness first of all,” he said.

“The Government has done a great campaign for children telling them to run, hide, and tell – but there’s a lot of things you can do before that.

“There was a lot of basic stuff taught to me in SAS selection which we honed in Northern Ireland and other places.


“It is things as simple as taking a couple of minutes to locate the emergency exit in an unfamiliar hotel. I was in Spain once when in the middle of the night the fire alarm went off and the electric tripped affecting the signs. It took me 10 minutes to find the exit – those 10 minutes could be the difference. whether there is a fire or an attack”

And he has advice on how to deal with unsophisticated vehicle attacks, like the ones seen in Westminster, Berlin and Nice.

“When walking on the street you should always walk in the direction of traffic coming towards you – that way you can see what is coming towards you and it gives you more time to react.

“You also see a lot of people in the street with earphones in, this takes away one of your key senses. If that person is also looking at their phone then they have lost two and will significantly reduce their ability to react.”

Ryan also includes tips for travelling abroad.

“In South America a lot of organised crime gangs pose as taxi drivers,” he said. “So you touch down, get in the taxi and the next thing you know is you are driven down an alley to a welcoming party of violent thugs who, if you are lucky, just take your money, your bags, and leave you there.

“Even somewhere like Florida, where millions of Brits go on holiday, there are things people need to know about the rules around standing your ground, weapons, and the right to shoot people which will raise a few eyebrows.

“But it is not a book to get people paranoid. It is a guide and a series of very simple things which tells you how to keep yourself and your family safe from the perils of modern urban life”

l Chris Ryan is appearing at the MET Studio in Stafford Gatehouse Theatre on Monday (October 23) at 7.30pm. Tickets are still available for £14.50. Safe, published by Coronet, is available to buy on Amazon.

Rob Golledge

By Rob Golledge

Part of the Express & Star special projects team responsible for investigations and major stories from politics to counter terrorism


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