Join Date: September 8, 2005
Location: Tacoma, WA
The best offense is a good defense. I always carry my brain and feet... the rest vary depending on the situation and environment.
I'll reiterate and ellaborate my other posting:
I look at this whole thing like a football team. You wouldn't go into a game without a solid offensive and defensive strategy! why approach self defense differently?
Lethal self defense situations are unexpected and rare, but still occur and I refuse to be a victim. Hence, I carry a gun generally a .40 with 10 shots and a folder knife. Why only 10 shots? MOST shootings are 3-4 shots; carrying 2 or 3 mags with 20, 30, 40 rounds seems ridiculous for a civilian (unless you have a specific need) in my opinion. I have 3 times the number of bullets in my gun than the average shooting. I'm comfortable with that. Add to that the added weight, inconvenience of a spare mag and the "printing" of yet another CCW item... I'm just not interested in carrying something that will never be practical (same is true with a utility tool or OC, it would just gather dust). In order for me to legally USE that gun, I have to be faced with a situation leading me to believe my life (or the life of another) is in danger of imminent serious bodily harm or death, each and every time I shoot. I cannot see in any realisitc scenario where I need to decide more than 10 times that my life is in danger. Some have said it's for fast reloads in the event of a magazine failure or jam. I have also all but ruled that out and know that my gun won't jam and if it does than I can clear it faster than someone can load a separate magazine. If I thought my gun would jam under stress, I'd get a different gun, possibly a revolver.
I'm physically fit, strong, and trained in martial arts. Someone could certainly whip my @ss and this could very well turn lethal during or after the @ss whipping. However, I can defend myself to some degree physically, generally long enough to gain the ability to draw my gun. That being said, it's a bad idea to engage in a fistfight and it'll be avoided unless I'm jumped; the only scenario where I'll get tangled in a fist fight. In that case I can likely grappled until I can can control of the situation and/or break free. I'm carrying a gun and can quickly draw and accurately shoot to counter any @ss whipping which may turn lethal.
IMO the most likely (both in occurance and really life threatening) "life threatening" scenarios involve an opponent with a weapon; as I don't have any lethal enemies, this will LIKELY come in the form of an armed mugging or armed robbery or car jacking. The most popular weapons, based on statistics from my city police department for assaults, robbings, etc. is the gun and knife. So, I've decided that's important enough to defend against.
Most criminal types commited to common violent crimes tend to carry knives or small caliber handguns that are cheap, use cheap ammo, are easy to use and easily concealable. These include the .32, .380, 9mm, .38, and to a lesser extent the .40.
Most human vitals are located center mass and in the head. Most trained shooters shoot center mass because it's easy to hit and the head is harder to hit. Non trained shooters just aim and shoot. Either way, center mass is about 35% of a person's body and contains most of ones' vitals. While I can keep most non-armed attackers subdued for at least long enough to get my pistol, there's little I can do to avoid getting injured if I'm shot or dying if I'm hit center mass. I own lots of $500 guns. Instead of buying another gun I've "invested" $450 in a comfortable, flexible, light weight level II vest which will stop the above mentioned "common" calibers in the parts of my body that are easiest to him, would likely be aimed at, and if injured would result in quick and painful death. The vest is passive (like a seatbelt, helmet, etc.) and requires no training or care. I just put in on and that's it. I have no statistics on the increased survivability, but if I were in a gun fight, I'd sure rather have 1 vest and 1 gun than 2 guns and no vest.
My real vulnerability comes with pointy objects and i've not developed any real strategy for handling them, other than to avoid them. They will defeat my ballistic vest and a person trained with a knife is a very real threat. My hope is to have enough time to draw and shoot. Further, it takes a REAL cold blooded person, or generally a person psychologically BENT on HURTING YOU IN PARTICULAR to stick a knife in you, particularly without any warning. So, while someone could jump from the shadows and backstab me, it's highly unlikely. Knife attacks, IMO, will likely be telegraphed at least for a moment to give me time to draw. I know, I know, a person can engage with a knife at 20 feet in 2 seconds.... but I can also run away while I'm drawing, right? Distance is my friend! If someone runs at me with a knife, you better believe I'm doing my best to distance myself while drawing. I can cover probably 30 feet in 2 seconds so as long as they're 5' away when I aim, I'll win.
In summary, I can adequately defend against most unarmed physical assaults. I can do a very good job at defending against (by dodging, taking cover, moving away, etc.) and countering (drawing and shooting) most lethal attacks if given about 2 seconds notice (and, other than the non-existent hit men in my life, who want to just kill me?). I am vulnerable to surprised lethal attacks, but my vest will stop small caliber torso shots from any direction, which would be instant death dealers. My offensive capabilities to return or counter an attack are good. I can have 10 shots with greater than 90% one-shot stopping power, and I'm hard pressed to imagine a realisitc scenario where I would need any more than 10 shots because urban predator BG types that want to rob you tend to flee when they're being shot or shot at.
Finally, if there were real professional cold blooded types that had a contract to do me in, nothing I carry or wear is going to save me. It is what it is. Play the odds and LIVE. HE who lives longest, wins!