Today I want to talk a bit about self defense and personal safety. And honestly, this isn’t just personal. Keeping yourself intact is pretty darn important to people who care for you and depend on you.
This is a very personal topic, and what I have to say here should be considered my opinion and you should think this stuff through, as well as review any legalities that may apply for some of the things I’m going to suggest.
One more caveat before I start. You need to know what you’re doing. You have to be trained to some extent on your defensive options. How much training will vary based on your personal opinions, but DO NOT neglect this.
Some of you might be thinking that you don’t need pepper spray because you have a gun. Well, there’s an old saying here that’s quite relevant. When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem begins to resemble a nail. You MUST have a non lethal option to respond to an attack or danger.
Have a small key-chain can, and a pocket can. I would also suggest keeping a larger can … almost a bear style can … by the front door. When choosing a pepper spray, look for one with at least 2,000,000 SVU (Scoville Heat Units).
Having a folding knife is pretty important as well. Though I list it as a self defense item, it’s more useful as a general tool. Some people carry two knives … one for use, and one if you ever need it for defensive work.
I have mixed feelings about knives for self defense. Honestly, it’s probably my last choice. One of the assumptions you can make about a knife fight is that you WILL get cut. And since a knife is lethal force, I’m only going to use it if I can’t use my firearm for whatever reason.
I don’t buy into the concept of spending hundreds of dollars on a knife. I’ve seen people that spend $300 on a folding knife, and I just don’t get it. For me, they’re primarily a tool, and a last ditch defensive weapon, so I rarely spend more than $30 or $40 on a knife.
I like Kershaw knives, but really any decent folder will work. Just make sure that you play with it a bit, because some of these knives can be a little rickety.
I’m going to be blunt here, and some of you may not like it. If it is legal to carry a concealed weapon where you live, there is no excuse for you not carrying. You are putting yourself and your family in jeapordy if you don’t.
A handgun is the best option you are likely to have in any sort of life threatening situation outside of your home, and is hands down the only reasonably effective self defense weapon when your life is on the line.
Rudy’s Note: I know, a handgun isn’t as good as a long gun, but how many times are you going to be able to wander around with a long gun during your day to day life? Let’s get real here…
Some of you may have objections to firearms, but that thug who wants to knife you for your wallet or rape your wife doesn’t give a @%*$^%! about your objections. He absolutely will care about staring down the barrel of a gun. A handgun is what lets a 95lb woman fend off a 260lb would-be rapist.
Pick a gun that is big enough to do the job but small enough to carry around with you. I know that’s vague, but let’s put a bit more clarity on it. And by the way, fellow gun-nuts out there, this info isn’t really for you, since you probably have enough background to make your own calls on what to carry.
If you’re relatively new to guns, you should choose a semi-automatic handgun chambered in 9mm, .40S&W, or .45ACP. Yes, there are other choices out there, and if you’re experienced, knock yourself out. But whatever you do, do NOT let some gun shop cowboy talk you into a .22, a .380, or a .38 Special for carry purposes when you’re new to the whole gun thing.
You should also avoid expensive guns. Your first carry weapon should cost you around $450 – $550 or so, +/- a bit for regional differences. Make sure you buy standard capacity magazines unless you live in a repressive state that limits you to ten round capacity.
Invest in a good holster. The holsters that come with some guns are junk. I like the Kramer Horsehide IWB #3 but any decent leather or Kydex holster will work for you. The Kramers are expensive, but my oldest one is eleven years old and it is still in fantastic condition. They’re worth the money.
Be sure you get training. This is not negotiable. You should look for a class similar to this one, or this one. Every region has good training facilities, or you could go to one of the national schools. But I’m not kidding. This is non negotiable. If you are going to carry, get professional training. Ladies, do NOT let your husband teach you. It won’t work. Get a pro to teach you.