View Full Version : THE Most Important Element in Self-Defense?

May 24, 2008, 08:31 PM
"If you had to choose, which is THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL element in a good program of Self-Defense?"

It's not an easy choice, but since it's my poll: I would choose situational awareness, avoidance being the easiest way to stay safe. After that, if it happens, it's an open question how it ends. I'd rather it didn't start....

I'm better at this since I've had my CCW. I was worried it would allow me to be blase' about danger. I find the reverse: I now try to avoid any hint of trouble, before it was to keep from being killed or hurt, now it's that plus wanting to avoid a split-second judgment upon which a life depends, as well as the potential of years in prison. I try to stay alert, and when I sense danger, to pay attention and not ignore it - especially when on foot at night, the time I CCW the most.

May 24, 2008, 09:22 PM
Awareness: Know where you are and be alert to your surroundings.
Willingness: Be willing to defend yourself.
Ability: Carry a weapon that you're good with and that is reliable.

Deaf Smith
May 24, 2008, 10:14 PM

Lots of things are so important it's hard to say one is the 'most important'.

Situational Awareness definatly is near the top.

Willingness to defend oneself without hesitation is also up there.

Having a vailable method of defense (I hesitate to say gun cause that might not be a feasible alternative in many situations or localities) is also up there.

Maybe just being lucky is at the top.

May 24, 2008, 10:55 PM

With good awareness you can often avoid situations before they become problems. The other stuff is needed too, as we don't live in a vacum. It all "blends" together to make a cohesive functioning part, the tools, training, awareness, etc.


May 24, 2008, 10:59 PM
No Brainer.


Even with just Awareness one without the drive to use force in his own defense can manage to avoid the vast majority of situations where it would be needed.

Without awareness the most tacticoolly armed world class shooter with a homicidal desire to shed blood can easily be taken unaware and be so far behind the curve he can never catch up.

May 24, 2008, 11:00 PM
its far better to avoid a confrontation than to win it by killing someone unless your mission is to kill someone. Situational awareness allows you to do that.

May 24, 2008, 11:19 PM
I would say other. My thought is "confidence". Confidence in my ability, my firearm and confidence in all of my surroundings, including bystanders.

May 24, 2008, 11:43 PM
I voted "other" because when it comes down to it mental preparedness is the most important factor. If you are not prepared to defend yourself without hesitation, awareness, skill, and gun/caliber will not matter.

May 25, 2008, 07:11 AM
I'll repeat and agree with the other posters, AWARENESS. "Let's get outta here!" is far better than "Get down!".

May 25, 2008, 08:26 AM
A fast set of legs to get you out of there. "Feets, don't fail me now":)

May 25, 2008, 09:12 AM
MIND(set) tops all in every conceivable aspect of any and everything. Always. That has been my observation.

May 25, 2008, 09:31 AM
i good, healthy relationship with one's Maker.

and awareness.

May 25, 2008, 05:53 PM
I voted awareness. The most important TOOL in a SD situation is your brain!

May 25, 2008, 06:08 PM
I voted other. To me the most important thing is mind set. That covers all other aspects. Situational awareness is very important, but total mind set includes this. Gun/Caliber choice has been proven over and over again to not be the most important. Shooting skill will only help you if you have a gun.

Having a mind set to never quit and to keep going no matter the obstacle will enable you to survive against some amazing odds. Whereas another with the perfect gun and best skills, but lacking the mind set to survive, will fail.

May 25, 2008, 06:21 PM
I have always felt the most important single aspect with regards to self defense, is the willingness, or ability to actually react.

May 25, 2008, 07:54 PM
Awareness is everything, don't forget to listen to that little voice in your head that is telling you something. My wife hate that I make her stop shopping and get out of stores when there is something that just doesn't feel right. The little hairs on the back of my neck have saved my hide more than just once.
my 2 cents.

May 25, 2008, 08:01 PM
I voted "other" that -other- being training. Appropriate training encompasses ALL other aspects of self defense or offensive aggression if required.

Deaf Smith
May 25, 2008, 08:03 PM
We were 'aware' the Japanese ,from the Sino-Russian war, could strike without any declairation of war. We were 'aware' they also had stuck major navial installions as they did at the first of the Sino-Russsina war. We were also 'aware' they were planning something since we cut off their oil. Still we did nothing.

Awareness does nothing if you do nothing.

May 25, 2008, 08:08 PM
I have to vote for confidence.
Even if one was aware of the dangerous situation, if he lacks confidence to deal with it effectively, he loses an edge.

Zak Smith
May 25, 2008, 09:47 PM

May 25, 2008, 10:45 PM
In my mind situational awareness is a totality of the circumstances and incompasses many different things. Your consciousness of your surroundings, your observation skills of those very surroundings, your willingness to avoid those situations (if possible), your willingness to use other options than your gun, your willingness to use the gun if necessary, your proficiency with the gun. I voted situational awareness but in my mind there is much more to it than that.

May 26, 2008, 05:48 PM
Having something to defend yourself with is also important but getting caught off guard is bad.

May 26, 2008, 06:37 PM
Grey Matter...It encompasses the options listed and many more..

May 26, 2008, 09:29 PM
oh wait - everyone seems to have forgotten the most important element of self defense:

don't ignore intelligence and warnings of an impending attack for 8 months.*

*just joking - please don't kick me out

May 26, 2008, 09:36 PM
i voted awareness but there's alot to be said for training. ie; being able to use your weapon like you were born with it in your hand!

May 26, 2008, 11:59 PM
i agree with mind set. however saying situational awareness is not bad as most people who have situational awareness also have the proper mindset to defend themselves or not be in a bad situation in the first place.

May 28, 2008, 02:10 AM
I voted for other. I do feel situational awareness is one of the most important aspects. If you can avoid trouble, so much the better. However, I consider mindset ultimately to be the most important. You can have all the awareness you want but, I think there is still always going to be the possibility of something completely unforeseen occurring. Mindset is ultimately what matters most IMO as, if you are attacked, you need to fight for your life with everything you've got and NEVER give up. 9 times out of 10, in my opinion, mindset is the one major factor differentiating losers and winners, in any context.

Lawyer Daggit
May 28, 2008, 02:30 AM
Clearly a willingness to defend yourself. Situational awareness prevents the other guy getting you first, but unless you have the willingness to defend yourself and kill- and a lot of people do not have this, you will not succeed.

grey sky
May 28, 2008, 05:59 AM
situational awareness dosnt mean your in condition red 24-7 as Barney fife would say "A coiled spring ready to act"
One can not stay in red like that it would /will wear one out.
That said awareness is the primary skill.

May 28, 2008, 07:41 AM
Clearly a willingness to defend yourself. Situational awareness prevents the other guy getting you first, but unless you have the willingness to defend yourself and kill- and a lot of people do not have this, you will not succeed.

Yet not being aware to what is coming will kill you while the aware person who may not have the drive to kill or be killed can avoid the vast majority of situations based on awareness alone.

Like the car commercials stressing safety, the safest way to survive an accident is not to have one. Likewise with life threatening self defense scenarios.

Scattergun Bob
May 28, 2008, 08:45 AM
Rule # 5. The BEST gunfight that ever was, was the one that never happened!

If that fails, Awareness and alertness may help us with the next task, decisively and aggressively attacking our opponent.

Good Luck & Be Safe

May 28, 2008, 09:02 AM
Gun centric folks usually choose awareness, because it suggests they won't ever succumb to distraction or surprise, and thus be in a position to either leave or deploy their firearm in a timely manner.

But... that's not always the case.

May 28, 2008, 09:04 AM
And that said, I voted "other" with mindset in... mind. Hit 'em, stab 'em, shoot 'em to the ground. What ever it takes to carry the day from your compliment of knowledge, skill, and ability. DOn;t have much of a compliment? Well, everyone starts somewhere. I sugegst you start today.

Oh, and don't get me wrong, situational awareness is important and refining and practicing it are quite valuable.

May 28, 2008, 10:01 AM
Erik, I can't speak for others but the reason I chose situational awareness is because all my tactical training and shooting ability goes out the window when I'm starring down the barrel of a 45. You will not get the chance to deploy your "other" if the bad guy gets the drop on you. Tactics and training are also very important.

May 28, 2008, 11:31 AM
all my tactical training and shooting ability goes out the window when I'm starring down the barrel of a 45:eek:

I have always said that there is something about looking down the barrel of a 12 gauge double-barrel shotgun that strikes fear into the heart of any man. The barrel of a .45 is similar and tends to make most forget anything they ever knew. :) I have never had that experience and do not want it but I think you are on to something in trying to avoid it if at all possible. :cool:

May 28, 2008, 12:26 PM
Situational awareness is the key! You can be the fastest gunslinger and the sharpest shooter in the world but if you have no clue what's going on around you...R.I.P.

June 5, 2008, 06:13 PM
Situational awareness.

I have never been in a confrontation I didn't want to be part of (except in the military).

I believe you can usually see this stuff coming from a long ways off, and take measures to slow its approach enough to extricate yourself from the scene of an impending crime, if you want to.

In fact, if you SUDDENLY find yourself in an uncontrollable situation, you likely were not as aware as you thought.

Now understand I'm sure there are things you can run into on the street that develop beyond your field of vision and suddenly blind-side you, however in the wide view I believe it comes down to percentages like: how often do you choose to be in "that" part of town. etc.

June 5, 2008, 06:17 PM
"Gun centric folks usually choose awareness, because it suggests they won't ever succumb to distraction or surprise, and thus be in a position to either leave or deploy their firearm in a timely manner." Or, being loaded for mice find themselves facing a wolf.

June 5, 2008, 06:27 PM
Actually I believe my .44 Special to be probably equally effective on wolves OR mice.;)

June 5, 2008, 06:41 PM
kind of a loaded question isn't it?

I voted SA but that of course is no argument against the others. The question that remains is how do you train SA and when does it become paranoia. I think people spaz about the other aspects because they are easier to quantify and control.

Just read a few threads and you will see stuff like:
What caliber is better?
What bullet is better?
I am shooting off to the left, help me out.
I have yet to see the post "should I stare off and daydream or pay the f#@^ attention.

Stay alert stay alive:)

June 5, 2008, 10:25 PM

Without it the others just don't matter.

June 6, 2008, 11:20 PM
I couldn't agree more with the statement about awareness while packing.:D Since I have been carrying I am way more alert to my surroundings. I guess it is the weight of the responsibility I have chosen to bear. And it is a heavy weight.:)
I think this alertness has me way more likely to see trouble coming and avoid it in the first place. This was not the case before I took on the responsibility of carrying a weapon.

June 7, 2008, 06:51 AM
Awareness. Knowing what's going on around you makes all the difference. It doesn't guarantee you won't ever be surprised; it does however, reduce the possibilities.

June 15, 2008, 01:06 AM
I voted other. I took a self defense class at college because i needed some extra credits and I was surprised to see that it was a pretty serious, and helpful class. It wasn't one of these arm bar/wrist lock, call the police classes. It WAS 1) run if you can, 2) Inflict as much pain and damage to the BG in a short amount of time(I.E. Gouge eyes, break a wind pipe, break an arm ect.) THEN run. I vote Running as most important in self defense, it should always be the #1 option if the situation allows it.

June 17, 2008, 10:41 AM
Better to be aware&have a Mouse.22 than to be unaware&have a Glock 26.

It applies to a lot of things ie. most of my first aid training always says to begin by 'surveying the scene'.

Also this makes the arguement for concealed carry rather than open carry.

When one 'open carries' one is helping everybody else<including the BG> be
aware...while maybe putting one's own self too confidently asleep.

There's also the tactical arguement that carrying a semiauto without a round in the chamber - is ironically better...because it forces one to be more tactically aware of situations, makes it harder for the BG to take away the gun and immediatly use it on you, and makes one focus on thinking more deliberatly about pulling out the gun.<ironically the way folks used to have to tactically think when carrying single action revolvers.>

June 17, 2008, 11:36 AM
Be aware, be fast, be accurate and be the last one standing.

June 18, 2008, 06:09 PM
HKfan, I agree there is a time and place for the nike defense, but if the lives of others is in danger, or your attacker has a gun and is determined to kill you, you may want to end the fight.

June 18, 2008, 08:52 PM

Rifleman 173
June 19, 2008, 04:19 PM
The most elemental factor in any shooting situation is: good tactics. Even if you are a mediocre shot, even if you have the biggest handgun or most powerful handgun around, if your tactics are poor then you die. You have GOT to have good tactics in order to make that good shot. All the other things involved in a shooting scenario are important too BUT the key is good tactics.