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Self Protection

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Self protection is exactly that – the ability to protect you and your family from outside threats.  These threats could be from wild animals, or from looters, gang members, or other ‘zombie’ types.  This does not neccesarily mean getting a gun. But this is an area that should be thought through.  In any type of disaster situation relying upon police support might not be the best idea.  Two situations that immediately come to mind are the Rodney King riots in LA and Hurricane Katrina.

I know people that live in the LA area and they said two things that happened woke them up to the realities of riots.  1) The police did not interfere.  No road blocks were set up.  No one in the area was warned.  I remember seeing on the news a truck driver pulled out of his semi by a group of men.  One of them smashed the driver in the head with a brick.  Ouch.  2) The police did not interfere with the rioters, but they did forbid the sale of guns and ammunition.  One of my friends in that area had a rifle, but no ammunition.  As the riots progressed and they saw that the police left, he got worried and went to find a box of ammunition.  No luck. All the stores had guns and ammunition locked up by order of the police.

Some options for self defense are below.  Remember that you and your families lives are affected by this decision – so choose wisely.

  • Friends
  • Martial arts
  • Knives
  • Guns

Friends
If you are worried about the other options you need to find a friend you trust that lives close to you.  With this option you are delegating your right to self protection to someone else.  So be sure you can trust this person with your life, because you are.

Martial Arts
In karate movies the hero beats the snot out of all the bad guys attacking him.  Good luck doing this in real life.  But learning how to defend yourself using martial arts is handy.  You learn how to use the body as a weapon, and your body is always with you and legal to boot.  Be sure to stay up on your practice so you can do the right moves under pressure.  What martial art is the best?  Whatever one you can learn and practice.  One important benefit to martial arts training is that you practice fighting so hopefully the initial shock of the confrontation is minimized.  You also gain more self confidence which may help avoid a situation by not looking like a victim.

Knives
This includes all bladed weapons. Knives are very intimidating, cheap, don’t require a lot of practice (maybe), silent to use, and easy to conceal.  However, you can not carry one everywhere (such as airports) and are illegal to conceal if the blade is too long.  If you are depending on a knife for protection you should learn how to use it.  Poking someone is easy to learn, but where do you use it?  What are you trying to target and why?  Where are the bleeders, immobilizers, or the death spots?  If the other person also has a knife and attacks you, now you are in a knife fight and that is not so easy to learn. It is wise to also remember the saying: don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.

Guns
If you decide to get a firearm for protection – learn how to use it!!!  If you don’t know what you are doing you are a danger to yourself and others around you.  Every single time I have taken a “newbie” pistol shooting the  same thing happens.  I have a semi automatic pistol and so I teach them how to hold it, aim it, squeeze the trigger, and to NOT turn around and point it at me!  So what do they all do?  Every one of them aims at the target, shoots several rounds, and then get all excited and hand me the gun – by pointing it at my face.  I now stand close to them so that when they turn around I am there to keep the gun pointing down range.  I may not have much of a face, but it is the only one I have and I want to keep it intact.

So what gun should you get?  Pistol, shotgun, assault rifle, what caliber, make, or model?    Much of this is up to personal preference and what you are preparing for. Once you have decided make sure you have adequate ammunition on hand. Guns work better with bullets 🙂

Pistol
Pistols have the advantage of being legally concealable (with a weapon permit), and easy to have on your person.  You can have a pistol on you and still use both hands to do things with.  Shopping, hiking, gardening, doing house work – all are possible to do with a pistol on your person. Try doing those things with a long gun :). To determine which is best for you go to a range and try different pistols to see what you prefer. It should feel comfortable in your hand and should aim naturally at whatever you point at. Try it out. Popular calibers to consider (for man sized targets) are: .357, .45, .40, 9mm, 38 special. Decisions about calibers bigger or smaller than these should be made carefully – based on size of hand and age of user. One danger with bigger calibers is penetration. Ideally the bullet enters the target and almost makes it to the other side. Bigger calibers will go right through, being a danger to anyone on the other side. The choice between semi-auto and revolver depends primarily on the ability of the user to handle potential malfunctions and simplicity of use. Semi-autos carry more rounds, but are slightly more complex to handle and sometimes jam. You need to know more to safely handle a semi-auto. They need to be cleaned well to minimize jamming and are therefore more maintenance intensive then revolvers. Revolvers have fewer rounds in them, but are simpler to load and use. They also do not jam and and work adequately even when not cleaned well.
While pistols are a good self protection choice they are harder to aim than long guns and are inherently more dangerous because it is so easy to point it somewhere without thinking (like someones face).

Shotgun
If you know you will not practice much you should consider a shot gun. They are easier to aim than a pistol or rifle, are very intimidating, and very dangerous at close range (out to 30+ yards depending on ammo used). There are several calibers to choose from – based on the size of the shooter. 12 gauge is the most popular, followed by 20 gauge and the .410. For self-protection you want a shorter barrel. Something with a 18-20 inch barrel is good. It should also have an extended magazine to hold more than the standard 3 for hunting. With a shotgun it is important to keep the extra rounds with the gun. Look into getting a side mounted shell holder and/or a sling that holds extra rounds.

Assault Rifle
Assault guns give you a lot of firepower in a hurry and are accurate out to 600+ yards. Depending on the scenario and finances optics can be added to increase the accuracy at longer ranges (you can’t hit what you can’t see). As with any gun tho you need to learn and practice.

Practice
Practice, practice, practice. Whatever your self-protection choice is you need to practice to become proficient enough to use it. With guns this includes practice handling the weapon, changing magazines (if semi-auto), changing cylinders (if revolver), drawing it, aiming, trigger squeeze (make sure it is unloaded if you do this). You need to be familiar with your weapon once you have it.

Parting thoughts. If something really bad happens 911 will not be able to respond. Without police help what will you do? What will be the consequences of doing nothing, of keeping your head in the sand and denying that anything bad will ever happen? Are you prepared to live with those consequences? Every choice has a consequence. Be prepared to live with the consequences of your preparation choices.