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The four tips for building your self-defense system will ensure that your system is ready when your life depends on it. There are many videos on YouTube® that one can find about the various aspects of self-defense. A growing body of work is on building active-shooter kits or bags, setting up body armor, or building a firearms range bag. My analysis of these presentations is that they fall short in telling the viewer about some fundamental aspects of building your firearms-related kit. These presentations assume that the viewer is already familiar with the fundamental elements of self-defense, CCW, and the law. Therefore, we will cover these essential aspects of building your system.

1. Familiarity with Your Self-Defense System

The most basic level of building a self-defense system with firearms is Familiarity. Familiarity requires training and experience. An important question to ask yourself is, how familiar are you with some firearm or tactical gear that interests you?

Moreover, becoming familiar with your self-defense system means to train repeatedly with it. If you do not regularly train with your equipment and gear, you will fail to employ your system in an emergency.

For example, how efficient are you at pulling out that AR pistol from your deployment gear bag in the trunk or back seat of your car during the mad-minute of violent contact with a  criminal? It is nice to be able to create a well-equipped active-shooter bag. It is quite another at being able to employ those tools in less than thirty seconds under duress. The accomplishment of this essential aspect of your system requires repeatedly training to use it in a stress-induced training environment.

2. Practicality of Employment of Your Self-Defense System

Your self-defense system should be built on the principle of practicality. Practicality will influence the kinds of gear that will become part of your system. Many aspects of urban survival and preparedness revolve around having tactical equipment. Unfortunately, many do not understand such gear’s purpose or how to use it properly within its designed purpose. Thus, a key question is whether or not a piece of equipment is practical for you. For example, if you do not understand how to use, wear, and set up body armor, you may want to consider a different option.

3. Accessibility of Your Self-Defense System

One of the more essential considerations for your system is accessibility in an emergency. Some people will recommend nicely outfitted bags or backpacks to be stored behind the seat or trunk box of their truck or in the trunk of their car. However, how accessible is that gear in an emergency?

There is a reason that law enforcement professionals carry rifles or shotguns in a rack in their cruisers and wear body armor under their uniforms. There is not enough time when you are being engaged with gunfire to fumble around with your gear. Therefore, ensure that your system is easily accessible in an emergency.

4. Other Considerations Regarding Your Self-Defense System

Additionally, there are many aspects to consider when preparing to defend yourself with your gear. These considerations are: understanding the mad minute and violence of action, the psychological effects of using deadly force, understanding the effects of weapons ammunition, and understanding the law and your rights to protect yourself.

A. Reacting to Contact

Finally, as you build your firearm-based system, you will need to be proficient in reacting to contact using your gear. In other words, you should be skilled at reacting to life-threatening situations when engaged by a criminal. Again, this means training regularly with your equipment. The U.S. Army has a saying, “train as you fight.” Thus, train with your gear as you would use it during a sudden, violent encounter. Therefore, use your gear in the training scenarios that will simulate situations that you are most likely to face.

B. The Mad Minute

Our previous article on staying safe this summer briefly mentioned the mad minute and the psychological aspects of combat. It is one thing to train yourself by shooting at paper targets and plywood cutouts. By contrast, it is quite another matter when shooting at an actual human being. In the mad minute, the violence of action will render you incapable of thinking through the situation if you are not mentally and physically prepared for such an encounter. Those that adjust quickly will be able to shoot, move, and communicate more effectively in a life-threatening situation. Thus, you must train in such a way that stress and surprise develop your reactions to violent encounters.

C. The Psychological Effects

The psychological effects of using deadly force against another human being will change you in ways that you will not understand. The leadership of the United States military continues to seek ways to mitigate the psychological effects of combat on soldiers. The taking of another person’s life should not be glorified or admired in any manner. Thus, your mental and emotional health will gain strength by understanding the psychological effects that you may cause yourself when preparing to use a firearm. Are you ready for that outcome?

D. The Law

The legal aspects are just as important as the others mentioned above. Despite how one may feel about the law, second amendment rights, or self-defense, the law governs how and when it is legal to defend yourself with a firearm.

As you build your system, it is imperative that your understanding of the law reflects how you will employ your gear in an emergency. If you know yourself, your equipment, and the law, you will increase your chances of successfully defending yourself in an emergency.

Final Thoughts

Your firearm-based self-defense system is an integral part of preparing for an emergency. There are cost-to-benefit considerations to think about when attempting to build such a system. The system that you create for yourself should be highly individualized. Furthermore, if you cannot afford the time or money to train regularly, it is an indicator that you should be focusing on the creation of your self-defense system in other areas until you can prepare adequately. Remember, there are many components to building a sound self-defense system. It will take time to create one, but it will be worth it when you need it in an emergency.