Do you know how to respond to a mass murder attempt?

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The recent attacks at Fort Hood and on the Jewish community in Kansas remind us that irrational attacks happen. How can you respond if you find yourself in one of these situations?

Attacks on large targets, meaning areas where many people congregate, are meant (or hoped) to result in mass casualties. The attacker(s) most often choose soft targets — places which are weapons-free zones by either edict or custom. Schools, for instance, make tempting targets because not only are they often ...

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Be honest: are you in any condition to run away?

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One of the most ignored aspects of personal security is your physical condition. Why is it important to be in the best shape you can be?

Over on Greg Ellifritz’s blog, he talks about running away from an attacker. It’s an excellent article and you should take the time to read it.

One thing he touches on is the physical component of self defense. As he points out, running away from an attacker ...

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What is the best defensive flashlight? Here are my favorites!

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Last time we considered the value of the flashlight as a defensive tool. Today, let’s look at the choices in the marketplace and how to make sense of them.

After much experimentation I’ve come to some definite conclusions as to what constitutes my “ideal” defensive flashlight.

* It has to be reliable above all else. It has to be able to withstand abuse, dirt, dust, perspiration, rain, and occasionally being dropped into a mud puddle ...

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What is the most useful self defense tool you can carry? How about…the humble flashlight!

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Is there something you can carry which can actually help keep you safe, to help identify and prevent trouble before it happens? The flashlight can, which is why I believe everyone who is interested in personal safety and preparedness should carry one.

While I spend a lot of time talking about firearms and shooting, I’ve also said (many times) that self defense isn’t all about the gun. The firearm is a specialized tool, ...

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Linking up with your family after an incident: an important part of your safety and defensive planning!

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The link-up or meeting plan is a staple of disaster preparedness. Did you know it’s a great tool for defensive situations, like a mass attack in a mall, as well?

There’s been an incident, and you’ve survived. How are you going to determine whether the rest of your family did, and how are you going to get everyone out of what may still be a danger zone? The link-up plan, that’s ...

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What is the first, most important thing you need to have for self-defense?

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Whether we’re talking self defense or the larger concept of self preservation, there is one thing that stands above all others in its importance. You can’t buy it, though there are people who will try to sell it to you!

I came to the self defense arena through the firearms world. That wasn’t intentional, it just worked out that way! People in the shooting community, some of them very sincere and accomplished, ...

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How to deal with unwanted contact: the “fishing expedition”

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I’ve said many times that self defense and personal security aren’t always about the gun. The concealed carry firearm is an efficient (and important) part of an overall self defense plan, but it is applicable to a very small number of situations. Far more numerous are those everyday interactions which seem innocuous, but hold the potential for violent escalation.

Knowing how to deal with unwanted contact is a skill ...

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Answer this question: why do you carry a concealed handgun?

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A while back the blog When The Balloon Goes Up had an interesting article: “Why do you concealed carry?” That’s actually a more involved question than you might think, as the article showed, and I think I’ve identified one reason why that’s so.

I’ve asked many students (and prospective students) why they carry or want to carry (CCW) a concealed handgun, and the most common answer I hear is that they do so to “be safer”. While I understand the sentiment, ...

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The tactical pen is an idea whose time has come, and now is going. What can replace it?

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As I often remind students (and occasionally other people in my business), keeping yourself safe is not just about the gun. The gun isn’t always available and sometimes isn’t the appropriate, let alone legal, tool.

Along with the gun you need some sort of defensive tool that can be used for those situations in which lethal force isn’t warranted. A high-intensity flashlight is a good choice, as it can be used to illuminate your immediate area (threat avoidance); ...
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How should you protect yourself from the knockout game attack?

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Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday! (Be honest, now: how many of you are taking advantage of Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals to get yourself something at a gun or outdoor store? Thought so!)

Over the last week or so quite a number of people have written to ask me about the “knockout game” which the media is making such a fuss over. The common query is about how to defend against this kind of attack, and could I give some ...

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Another reason for not taking responsibility for one’s own safety?

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Allow me to be a bit philosophical on this day before Thanksgiving.

Monday on Facebook I shared this link to a story of an intervention by unarmed bystanders in a knife attack on a young woman. I found this heartening, inasmuch as I’d been following an unrelated story a few days earlier that elicited some surprising reactions.

The earlier story dealt with a training session that’s becoming more and more common across the United States: teaching kids how to ...

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On not being armed: the discussion continues.

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Monday’s post precipitated a number of comments; here, on Facebook, and in my email box. Some of them were complimentary, some weren’t, while others were in the middle somewhere.

Many, I think, missed the point of the discussion. Allow me to illustrate with a question.

If there is a place where you cannot have your gun (because the law says you can’t), do you avoid that place altogether? I’m not talking out of principle – that’s another discussion entirely – but simply ...

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Do you carry a gun all of the time? I don’t, and you can’t if you want to have a life. Get used to it.

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Every so often I’ll get together with other people who are in the business of defensive shooting training. Invariably they are shocked – sometimes to incredulity – when I tell them that no, I’m not carrying a gun (whether I am or not – I just like to see the look on their faces) and no, I don’t carry 24/7 (nobody can, unless the never go anywhere.)

From their reactions you’d think I’d violated some sacred oath, or was insanely irresponsible, for ...

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New DVD: Using the knife as a defensive weapon.

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As I pointed out a few weeks back, I’m not a believer in the idea of a knife as an adjunct to a handgun. By that I mean I don’t see it as a less-lethal defensive tool in the way that many do; the knife is a lethal object, and use of one will be prosecuted as such in just about any court in the country. It’s lethal force, just a less efficient form of lethal force than the handgun.

That ...

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Considering the knife as a defensive tool: what are the legal ramifications?

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It’s rather fashionable in the self defense world to carry a knife as a backup to a firearm. At any ‘tactical’ event you’ll find people carrying a ‘fighting’ blade along with a ‘backup’ blade, and some practitioners advocate the knife as a primary tool for self defense.

There was a time when I espoused such points of view, but over the years I’ve changed my mind a bit. The knife is almost always considered deadly force, and brings with it some ...

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Progress before our eyes: a gun guy in a martial arts magazine!

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Back in April the Personal Defense Network published an interview with yours truly, wherein I opined that the future of defensive training would be integration: a fluid combination of both armed and unarmed responses. This month, we’ve been greeted with a big endorsement of that trend with the appearance of Rob Pincus on the cover of Black Belt Magazine.

The Black Belt article on Rob deals specifically with why and how unarmed combatives trainers should ...

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Stuff happens. Don’t let it happen to you, and think beyond just shooting.

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In light of the incredible earthquake in Japan last night, I’d like to instead remind everyone that self protection and personal security isn’t always about the gun.

Sometimes, it’s about the first aid kit.

Sometimes, it’s about the shortwave radio.

Sometimes, it’s about the camp stove.

Sometimes, it’s about the water purifier.

Sometimes, it’s about the emergency generator.

Sometimes, it’s about the stored food.

Sometimes, it’s about the solar battery charger.

I know that your neighbors laugh at these things; heck, there are probably more than a few readers ...

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A slightly different perspective on personal safety: first aid skills are a necessity.

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I’m sorta ‘into’ guns. If you’re reading this, I suspect you are as well. Because of this interest it’s tempting to focus on the gun part of safety preparations to the exclusion of everything else. No, I’m not talking about knives or canes or even empty hand skills, but rather the more mundane stuff like CPR and first aid and fire extinguishers.

Let’s be honest: it’s more likely that you’re going to need first aid (including response to life-threatening trauma) skills ...

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Striking a blow: empty-hand defensive techniques are important too!

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An area of defensive preparations where I’ve been quite deficient is in empty-hand techniques. I’ve been trained to shoot (obviously), to use a knife, and to use a Kubotan – but have learned precious little about using no tools other than what nature has provided.

The gun is an appropriate tool for encounters that happen beyond, say, two arm’s reach. Inside that space, however, the handgun is probably not the correct first choice. (It may come into play at some point, ...

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