If you are thinking of purchasing a gun, or other "self-protection" device such as pepper spray or an alarm, then you are obviously concerned about your personal safety. You know it is essential to learn how to defend yourself, now more than ever! Today, not only do you have to worry about criminals, but now terrorists as well! What is this world coming to? Would you know what to do?
You may be thinking, "Well, I'll just get a gun!" Unfortunately, real-world tests have shown that overall, weapons (or other "self-defense" products) are often ineffective when it comes to self-defense. Why?
There are many factors that contribute, but the main reason weapons are ineffective is, if the weapon is not in your hand at the moment of attack, you will never get the chance to use it! But, the law does not allow you to walk around with a gun in your hand, and most studies show that people soon forget to carry the various types of self-protection devices they purchase.
Even if you have a stun gun or pepper spray in your purse or pocket, if you come by surprise, you will not have a chance to get it out before you get decked! Mace does you no good if it is still in the purse that just got snatched out of your hand! Tests prove that 90% of the time, you will never get the chance to reach for your weapon before you are hurt too severely to use it.
FBI statistics and Police reports from all over the country show that in more than half of all instances where the victim was able to get to a "weapon" (usually sprays are mentioned), the attacker knocked it out of their hand before they could use it. Police files are filled with tens of thousands of casualties of weapons taken away from the victim and used against them! It is estimated that almost one third of all gunshot victims are shot with their own gun! The figures are even higher when it comes to stun-guns and sprays.
This does not even include all of the incidences where the victim shoots themselves! Accidental discharge is the leading cause of gunshot wounds in both crime and non-crime reports. You may think that would not happen to you, but the reports prove that it happens to even experienced gun owners.
I know of a Police officer, even after intensive training, the first time he tried to use Mace against an unruly suspect, ended up spraying himself.
Unfortunately, most people have little or no training as to the safe and proper use of the weapons in their possession. Inadequate, or even improper training is the leading cause of accidental discharge involving guns, stun-guns and sprays. What do you think will happen when they attempt to use that weapon under the stress of a real attack?
There are literally millions of incidents reported where the victim could not get the weapon to work at all, mainly because of inadequate training! Even the most basic principles of weapon usage are often overlooked by owners. The figures are stunning (pun intended) of the number of incidents of stun guns that did not work when needed because of dead batteries!
There are thousands upon thousands of reports of guns that would not fire because the safety was on, and the user did not know, forgot, or was too too panicked to figure it out in time. In at least one incident I am aware of, the victim could not get his weapon to fire before the criminal took it away from him. Lucky for him, the criminal could not figure it out either.
Defective or Fraudulent Products
I'm sure you have purchased products that did not quite work as advertised. How can you be sure that the pepper spray you buy will work as well as advertised, if at all? How will you test it? Spray yourself? Spray a friend? We're not talking about perfume! I doubt you will get any volunteers to help you.
When the criminal attacks, it is too late to find out that the pepper spray is really just vinegar, or that the 10 million volt stun-gun does not deliver much more of a shock than shuffling across the carpet and touching a doorknob.
If you buy a police radar detector that is guaranteed to work, but does not, the result is a speeding ticket. If you buy "self-protection weapons" that do not work, the result can be severe injury or even death. Relying on someone else's guarantee is only a false sense of security that will only have bad results!
If you are serious about Self-Protection, your best self defense weapon is your mind. If you think about what has just been discussed, you will realize that 'weapons' will only help you in ideal situations, and even then, you need to keep a clear head to be able to use them properly.
But, crime does not happen in ideal situations!
Being able to think clearly, and knowing what to do, is your best weapon when it comes to self-defense. Second best is being able to use your feet. Now, that does not mean to start kicking! It means that at the first sign of trouble, you need to RUN! Escape is always a much better self-defense tactic than getting into a fight or a fight.
However, if you can not get away, your body is your best self-defense weapon! Since you can not always have a weapon in your hand, it is essential that you know how to defend yourself without weapons. But mindless flailing against an attacker does you no good at all. You need to learn the most vulnerable points on the human body. But even that is not enough if you do not know the most effective ways to strike them. You need to learn how to kick, not just where to kick.
Everyone should at least take a basic self-defense course.
What about Martial Arts?
Traditional Martial Arts are great for discipline, self-confidence, and exercise. They can help to produce the correct mindset needed when faced with a self-defense situation. But it typically takes several years to become proficient in the more complex techniques.
If you have the time to commit to a long-term training program, by all means, a martial art will provide the most comprehensive training. However, just as in choosing a self-defense weapon, you must do your homework before choosing a martial arts program. Many do not deliver the comprehensive training they promise, and most do not train you for realistic self-defense.
Far too many martial arts programs focus very on sports and competition. Sports and competition oriented martial arts are worthless as self-defense. They teach you to follow rules, and for the most part, there are no rules in a street fight. If you are conditioned to follow the rules, you can not do what is necessary in a dangerous situation. In fact, you will probably do the wrong thing, and get yourself hurt or even killed.
Seek out a training program that focuses almost exclusively on realistic self-defense scenario training.
Knowing how to handle yourself when confronted with violence is your only insurance against becoming a victim, or just another statistic in a police report. You have car insurance, home-owner's insurance, life insurance, health insurance …
What insurance do you have against being the victim of a violent crime? That type of insurance is only available through proper training. A long-term self-defense program offers the most comprehensive training, and therefore, the best opportunity to learn to handle almost any situation that may occur. However, if you do not have the time to commit to a long-term program, at least some form of weaponless self-defense training is better than none.
If you are serious about self-protection, your best bet is to first learn weaponless self-defense. Then, if you still want to purchase a weapon, do your homework before choosing the best weapon for you, and do not just read the instructions that come with it and think you are ready to use it.
- Take a class on how to use it effectively, how to handle it safely, and how to maintain it so it works when you need it.
- Take regular refresher courses so you do not forget anything about the weapon.
- Follow all maintenance procedures on a regular basis.
Your best bet is to learn weaponless self-defense and get the best weapon for you. Remember, you will never feel safe until you have all the tools necessary for self-protection. And the most important weapon of all is your own mind and body!
Strong, Sanford – Strong on Defense; Simon & Shuster, Inc.; 1996
Federal Bureau of Investigation – Uniform Crime Report; 2000