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Sunday, December 9, 2012

10 Alternatives to Using Firearms in Self Defense

Funny We Might Not Be Home Security Sign

Original Article

First, let me tell you that a firearm is my preferred method of self defense in a life and death situation.  In such a dangerous situation, all other tactics pale in comparison when it comes to effectiveness.  However...there are a number of reasons where you will not/can not/do not want to use/have a firearm.  What happens if you find yourself in a dangerous situation then?  Here's some ideas:

  1. Escape the scene.  As this girl's experience shows, no confrontation is the best outcome of a dangerous situation.
  2. Hide.  Another good alternative.  In the case of burglars who are looking for a quick score, they probably won't be looking in the attic or the crawlspace when they break into your house so if you/your kid can get into the crawlspace and move as far away from the entrance as possible you may escape detection. Note that hiding in a closet is not a good idea since that is a common location for burglars to check.
  3. Run.  Probably the oldest self defense option in existence, running away from trouble may be your only option in some circumstances.
  4. Have an alarm.  A loud, audible alarm will scare off most people who are looking to steal something quickly (it probably won't do much for an assailant who is purposely coming to get you).  Having a home alarm system with a panic button and a car alarm system that you can activate from your key chain is a good idea.
  5. A well trained guard dog is another good idea.  Most people won't go through a snarling, vicious-looking dog to get to you.  Besides that, just the sound of a barking dog is often a good enough deterrent for your average burglar.
  6. Have a "panic room."  While a hardened, nearly impossible to access room in your house can be an extravagant expense, it will also keep an intruder from getting to you before help arrives.
  7. Take steps to stop a dangerous situation before it even develops.  This is pretty much common sense but it bears repeating: keep your doors locked when you are driving, don't drive in sketchy neighborhoods at night, don't go to an out of the way ATM at night, reinforce your doors and windows to make it more difficult to break into your home, make your home look active and lived in at all times, etc.
  8. Use what is at hand.  Pull a fire alarm, throw sand in your attackers eyes, pick up a cast iron frying pan.  Sometimes you will have no other option but to use what you can easily grab so consider your immediate options on a regular basis by playing "what if."  What if someone suddenly breaks in right now, what would I do?  And watch the Home Alone series of movies. Yes, I know it is fiction, but the principle is the same--what can you use when you don't have regular defensive options?
  9. Taser/Pepper Spray.  These items are better than nothing in a self defense situation but certainly not optimal.  With a taser you get one shot (and that one shot may not make contact with the assailant, their jacket may be too thick, etc) and pepper spray can be blown back to you which would not help at all in the situation.
  10. Using a knife, baseball bat, or hand-to-hand combat in a self defense situation is one of the least optimal method of defense.  Unless you are exceptionally skilled in these defensive arts and (hopefully) the assailant doesn't have a firearm, the possibility of a good outcome using any of these methods isn't great--you don't want to have to get this close to an assailant.
Finally, read this.
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