How does self defense start?

Recently, I received an email from a woman about concealed carry from a female perspective. This woman, we’ll call her Lucy, was seeking my advice because she had experienced a self defense scare of her own and wanted to take steps to protect herself and her children. Lucy hadn’t previously taken any self defense training, nor did she own a firearm. In addition to her concern about being able to protect herself, she was also concerned about having a gun in a home with her kids. Lucy’s situation got me thinking about my own family’s ‘holistic’ approach to self defense.

In my initial response to Lucy, I recommended speaking to her local law enforcement, but I’ve also compiled a few of the tips I’ve learned through self defense training I’ve taken for those looking for a starting place to learn to better protect their home and families.

Disclaimer: The Arms Guide is not a source of legal counsel. If you have any questions about the self defense laws where you live, speak with a legal professional.

Tip 1: Awareness.

It seems overly simple, but the best way to avoid danger is to first have the awareness to know that it may be around you. We’ve referenced Jeff Cooper‘s color codes of situational awareness and threat identification before, but we’ll touch on it again in this post. Cooper’s colors are an easy way to categorize and discuss situational awareness. Here’s a quick summary:

White – An individual in this level isn’t aware of potential threats around them, nor are they looking for potential threats. This is the lowest level of situational awareness.

Yellow – An individual in this level is keeping tabs of the environment around them, and those in it, to better anticipate a threat before one occurs. No threat has yet been identified.

Orange – An individual in this level of situational awareness has identified a potential threat and determines their response if the threat is realized.

Red – An individual at this level is enacting the plan to address the threat identified at Orange. They are engaged in an active self defense situation.

Living in the Yellow zone may at first seem stressful for those who haven’t previously maintained an awareness of the world around them and its potential dangers. However, once individuals begin to proactively keep an eye on the people in their environment, it becomes a lifestyle. Remember, the most effective means of surviving a self defense situation is to avoid one entirely. We can only do that if we are actively aware of the potential dangers around us.

Tip 2: Home Security

This measure goes along with the attitude we just covered in Tip 1. Proactively addressing your defense before a threat approaches can help prevent self defense situations before they arise. What measures do you have in place at your home to deter someone you don’t want inside from entering? Generally speaking, folks who want to break into your home don’t want to be seen doing it. Having the area around your home well lit can help discourage would-be intruders from even approaching. Having sturdy locks on your doors and windows is another step down that road. Making it more challenging for someone to get into your home discourages those looking for convenient entry. Getting an alarm system for the entrances to your home is in that same vein of protection through deterrence. Keep in mind that none of these measures are guarantees of keeping unwanted visitors from your home, but, especially when used in conjunction, they can go a long way toward ensuring that your home isn’t an easy target for those who may do you and your loved ones harm.

Tip 3: Get Training

Whatever means you pursue to better improve your self defense, get some information from experts on the subject. That doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from practicing on your own. But, if you’re interested in bettering your odds in a self defense situation, then learning from the best can serve you that much better, whether that means taking some martial arts classes, or finding a firearms training instructor. Self defense is subjective; only you can determine what will best suit your needs. Many self defense instructors recommend taking instruction from several trainers and implementing the techniques and measures that work best for you.

Tip 4: Consistency

I’ve mentioned already that there are many measures you can take to improve your self defense, but whatever you do, do it regularly. Unfortunately, bad things have a way of happening when we least expect it. So if you lock your doors at night, make it a habit to do it every night. If you carry a concealed self defense implement, like a firearm, carry it every day. If you rely on having your cell phone handy to call for help, always keep it charged. If you are consistent with your self defense measures, you don’t have to worry about beating the odds in the event of an attack; you’re already prepared.

Tip 5: Consider Self Defense Implements

I’m a concealed carrier myself, so, unsurprisingly, I’m a proponent of having a self defense firearm at my disposal, should a self defense situation occur. That being said, I understand that concealed carrying a firearm isn’t for everyone; however, that doesn’t mean you have to forgo self defense tools entirely. You may even want to consider less-than-lethal options, like the C2 Taser, pepper spray, or a kubotan. Find something with which you’re comfortable keeping on you, and learn how to use it.

Featured image courtesy of contributor Roob via

By Destinee

Destinee is also a vlogger. She publishes videos on weapons, gear, and fitness on her YouTube channel every Tuesday and Thursday.

Photo by Heath Ledger