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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.

 

There are 4 tips to consider for decisions about EDC options. My wife and I, recently, were discussing the topic of Everyday Carry (EDC). That conversation became the motivation to write this article. Prepping and survivalist interest is growing. Consequently, there are many people new to the jargon and concepts they are seeing on the internet. Therefore, it is helpful to keep in mind these four tips when considering what to carry for your EDC loadout.

Tip # 1: Assess Your Daily Environment

The first tip about EDC options is to assess your daily environment. The environment in which you will function everyday is the foundation for considering your EDC options. The world that we live in is not homogenous. My particular daily situation does not have the same nuances as someone else’s environment. Some people live and work in the suburbs, like Poway, California. Other people live in rural areas away from daily access to the high energy of a big city. Still, others live and commute within a highly urbanized metroplex, like Los Angles, New York, St. Louis, or Dallas-Fort Worth.

A particularly challenging daily environment to assess is one in which a person commutes long distances between work and home. I remember hearing about a professional athlete in California, who travels almost two hours, one-way, every day between his home and place of work during the season of his chosen sport. Thus, a person like that will have a unique set of EDC considerations. Therefore, it is essential to assess your daily environment.

As you assess your environment, you will want to ask and answer some crucial questions about your situation:

  • What is the level of crime in my area?
  • What is the most common kind of crime in my area?
  • How often will I be away from home?
  • How much and how far will I commute every day?
  • What is the type of transportation that I will use every day; car, bus, subway, train, taxi, carpool, airline?
  • What is the nature of the traffic in my area (easy, hard, frequent traffic jams, etc.)?

If you can answer some of these basic questions, then you may find yourself drifting into a discussion about getting home. Thus, you should be very thorough in assessing your daily environment.

Tip # 2: Assess Your Level of Readiness

The next important EDC tip in your item considerations is to assess your level of readiness. How physically fit are you? Do you have handicaps that require special equipment? Have you included an EDC, prepping, or survival line-item in your yearly budget? How proficient are you in self-defense, handling firearms, or using non-lethal weapons such as pepper spray? The point here is not to imply that you should shore up your weaknesses. Instead, these are influences in determining what items you should be considering for your everyday carry loadout.

For example, if you have never handled a firearm, you have no business carrying one until you get properly trained and licensed to carry it. If you have never had martial arts training with knives and weapons, then you have no business carrying a karambit knife because an internet personality demonstrated using one. Furthermore, how often on a daily basis will you be employing the things you desire to carry? Therefore, assessing your level of readiness should determine what you include in your EDC loadout.

Tip # 3: Assess The Practicality Of Your EDC Item Considerations

A third EDC tip concerns practicality. Now that you have assessed your environment and your readiness, you can now begin to think about what items to consider for your EDC loadout, in essence what are your needs? An important principle to remember is what works for someone else may not work for you. For example, some people carry an EDC backpack. There are many videos on the internet discussing what to pack in an EDC backpack. Remember the keyword in Everyday Carry is everyday. How practical is an EDC backpack to your situation? It might be overkill, especially if you are at your suburban house most of the day.

Furthermore, the practicality of your items will be influenced by your level of familiarity with them. Multitools are a favorite everyday carry item that you find as a recommendation on the internet. Yet, how often will you use something like that everyday? I remember in the military the only people carrying multitools every day were our vehicle mechanics. Why? They are fixers in their hearts. Thus, they discover that they need to carry a multitool. They need to be ready to repair, fix, attach, or detach something, even when they are not under a vehicle. Their experience dictates that they carry a multitool. Therefore, assess the practicality of your items along with your needs or requirements.

Do not put something in your EDC loadout that you will never use or will hardly use on any given day. Everyday carry items are intended for regular or frequent use. By definition, they are not for an emergency survival SHTF scenario. For example, I saw someone on YouTube recommending an ankle-mounted first aid kit as an EDC item. First aid kits or trauma treatment items, such as tourniquets, are, technically, emergency items. It is crucial for those off-duty medical professionals and first responders to carry emergency medical kits as everyday carry items. However, for the general public, emergency medical items should be part of your individual emergency survival kits. Furthermore, your personal emergency survival kit should be part of your EDC loadout.

Tip # 4: Learn The Art Of Modifying Your EDC Items

The fourth EDC tip is learning the art of modifying your EDC items. Many people are carrying a multitude of items on any given day. As you are assessing your daily environment and item needs, remember to be flexible. As you carry your items, you become used to them to the point of not noticing that they are on you. Then, you find yourself having to travel via airline, bus, or train. Suddenly, you are facing a TSA officer screening you, and you forgot to place your multitool or folder in the checked baggage. Now you lost that $180 Benchmade Griptillian folder or $100 Leatherman Center-Drive multitool even after putting them in the bin to go through the x-ray machine. Limit your “oops” moments by learning to modify your EDC loadout for each situation.

A good practice to employ in the art of modification is layering up or down according to the need. In the military, you are trained to modify your clothing as the climate dictates. Layering your clothing is an essential technique for the winter months and in cold weather conditions. This same technique can apply to EDC considerations. You may find yourself not carrying some items on the weekend. They are simply not needed. Similarly, you may find yourself adding items if you go out of town for the weekend with your family.

Concluding Comments

Everyone carries some kind of an EDC item, such as a wristwatch or wallet. However, as we consider carrying items beyond the obvious, it is essential to be thoughtful, diligent, and practical about what you include in your EDC loadout. There are at least three conventional approaches to EDC philosophy: EDC as items of regular or frequent use, EDC as items for personal defense, or EDC as items for emergency survival. Some advocates blend elements of all of these and call it Everyday Carry. The environment in which you operate and your level of readiness will determine what you carry daily. Remember that there is always room for improvement. So, choose your EDC items wisely and continue to improve your knowledge and experience. As a result, you will modify and enhance the things you carry with you every day