A mob is heading into your space. What do you do?

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Imagine this: you’re out for a nice evening with your wife. You decide that you’ll go see a movie at the local mall, maybe have a little dinner afterwards, and then head home for some much needed rest. A perfect date night, right?

Well, it certainly would be, right up until the movie theater you’ve chosen is invaded by as many as 900 teenagers. Not “invaded” as in “everyone decided to go see the same movie at the same time and ...

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If the police can’t come, what will you do?

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All over the country, police budgets are being slashed. For some counties here in Oregon, tax revenues have declined so sharply that police patrols are no longer 24 hours per day. What would this mean if it happened in your town?

A recent story out of Dallas, OR — a small town west of Salem, our state capital — illustrates the issues facing many people who live in non-incorporated parts of the country: there ...

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Gun people really don’t understand pepper spray. Not many other people do, either!

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A recent article about the failures of pepper spray got me to thinking: why don’t people understand what it’s really for?

Gun people (that is, people who own and/or carry firearms for personal defense) sometimes get a little myopic. Oddly enough, people who don’t like guns get a little myopic too. When it comes to oleoresin capsicum (“OC”, commonly called pepper spray) both sides have a poor understanding of its place in ...

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Are you defensively fit? This New Year, resolve to be.

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I know, I’m not big on the whole New Year’s Resolution thing either, but I’ve found that it’s easier to make lifestyle changes stick when there is more than one benefit to the resolution!

Lots of folks start off the New Year with a resolution to get into better shape. For most folks it’s about looking better or fitting into a specific piece of clothing; for others, its an understanding that excess weight can be a health issue unto itself.

One thing ...

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Wasp spray for self defense? This myth just won’t die!

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It’s happened again — a supposed “expert” says yellowjacket killer is an effective self defense weapon. True, or unabashed nonsense?

The internet is buzzing about a recent NBC news segment where a security “expert” recommended the use of wasp/yellowjacket/hornet spray as a good replacement for pepper spray (aka oleoresin capsicum or ‘OC’ for short), or even a firearm.

This strikes me as odd advice, as I’ve been sprayed with OC and once accidentally got a face of some wasp killer, and I’m ...

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Just because the environment is non-permissive doesn’t mean you’re defenseless!

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Given the choice, when face-to-face with an armed attacker I’d rather have my gun in my hand. Should I give up because I can’t?

One of the common memes in the gun control movement is that we must ban guns because the average person is completely defenseless against them. Oddly enough, there are a lot of people in the defensive shooting world who seem to have bought into that line of thinking ...

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How can YOU enhance your physical security?

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As I’ve said countless times, both in print and in classes, your personal safety isn’t just about buying a gun. Here’s some discussion on how to look at security in a more holistic manner.

I’m a “gun guy”. I don’t think I really started out to be one, but over the years it’s worked out that way. Why not? Guns are fun, they have intricate mechanisms and endless opportunities for accessorizing (which we all refer to as ‘customization’, lest we be ...

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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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How do you find self-defense blogs that are worth reading?

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There is no end of information on the ‘net regarding self defense, personal security, prepping, and other self-reliance topics. How do you find the usable needles in all those stacks of hay?

It’s no secret that the internet is chock full of information: good, bad, and ugly. It’s served to get rid of some of the most egregiously outlandish stuff that was common before the world wide web came into being (for instance, ...

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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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How can you really use situational awareness to be safer?

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Most people who talk about situational awareness don’t really understand what it’s about or how to use it to their advantage. Here are some reasons why that’s the case, and a resource for learning the proper role of situational awareness in your total self defense plan.

A few years back I wrote a very controversial article for the Personal Defense Network titled “The Myth of Situational Awareness”, wherein I pointed out ...

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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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The most under-used word in the field of defensive shooting: ‘context’.

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If you’re not training in context, then you don’t really know what you’re training for. How is that a wise use of your time, effort, and money?

One of the subjects I cover in my defensive shooting classes is the idea of training in context — that is, training in relation to your expected use. This seems like it should be self-evident, but surprisingly it isn’t.

This idea of context actually burst into my ...

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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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Staying safe in the depths of winter

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The cold weather gripping much of the country this winter should serve to remind us that safety isn’t always about the gun, but you’d never know that listening to some people in the self-defense business!

One of the things I often touch upon in classes is the need to look at your personal security in a holistic manner: that is, that everything is interrelated and you can’t ignore ...

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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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Reactions to a recent article: coming to terms with not being armed all the time.

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Most of the interaction we have here happen in the comments, but some folks prefer to send emails expressing their thoughts. Some of them are interesting enough to talk about.

On the recent topic of not carrying all the time (which I should have called “everyone does, but very few will admit to it”), I got quite a few emails thanking me for expressing a non-macho point of view. Glad to do it, though it’s not so much anti-macho as it is ...

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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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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 self defense article for you to read, and it’s not about shooting. It’s still important.

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I’ve mentioned Ohio-based self defense instructor Kelly Muir before. She’s on the forefront of teaching self defense not as a series of barely related skills, but as an integrated response.

She’s got a great article up at the Personal Defense Network, one which I highly recommend that everyone read.

Her remarks about physical fitness resonated with me. Thanks to lots of heavy chores around the farm my strength level is pretty good, but because of my general lack of ...

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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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Book Review: “Personal Defense for Women” by Gila Hayes.

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Personal Defense for Women: Practical Advice for Self Protection by Gila Hayes

It is only now that society is beginning to recognize what those of us who’ve been married for decades know all too well: men and women are different. ‘Equal’, as it happens, does not mean ‘the same’, and we are slowly coming to realize this. (Back to the future!)

Because we’re different, it’s difficult – if not impossible – for a man to ...

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A book you need: Meditations On Violence by Rory Miller.

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Gila Hayes over at the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network recently reviewed a book that I had to buy: “Meditations on Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence” by Rory Miller. Miller’s treatise is about violent criminal behavior – how it happens, why it happens, and what does and doesn’t work to counter it. It’s written from the perspective of empty hand martial arts (as opposed to the martial art ...

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