Defend Yourself


Goal: Protect yourself, your loved ones and the stuff you need to survive.

All the parts in this series:

Look, we get it. Not everyone is comfortable with guns, and that’s fine. But three points need to be made. First, a gun is just a tool, no more, no less. Its danger and lethality are entirely dependent on the man or woman in possession of it. A gun is neutral. The soul of the human holding it is good or bad.

The second point is that, if you are serious about being prepared for emergencies, about being Ready Rated, then you have to include self defense in your thinking and planning. A riotous mob blocking the street may mean you have to detour and rely on our navigational recommendations. But it could also mean you need to defend yourself to even have a chance of detouring and making it home. You cannot nod your head while reading the rest of our recommendations and nervously skip over this part.

Third, if guns intimidate you or scare you or symbolize all that is wrong with the world or whatever, you have to get over it. Ask your friends who can take you to a shooting range. (If you live in California, they may be reluctant to admit it, but you do have friends who are into guns.) Ask them to start you off small so you can get used to the feel and, especially, the sound. Unsuppressed gunfire is quite startling if you’re not used to it. Then get professional training and only then would we recommend you buy a gun for self protection. By this time you’ll not only know how to use it but you’ll know what you want.

climbing down from the soapbox now…

Tasers, mace, knives, 9mm, .45 ACP ... whatever your preference, whether lethal or less-than-lethal, it's on you to protect you.

Whether or not you already carry a gun on you, we recommend a gun and two spare (full) magazines in your get-home bag. Maybe you decided to skip your everyday carry gun today, maybe you have it but it jammed, maybe you’re with a buddy who knows how to shoot but doesn’t have a gun on him and you guys are in a tough spot. Regardless, a backup is useful.

We prefer Sig Sauer handguns to Glocks for a few reasons, but that doesn’t mean we don’t respect and own Glocks, nor does it mean we don’t own and carry other brands. Even though our daily carry is a Sig, we’re spec’ing a Glock 19 for your get-home bag. It’s reliable, simple to shoot and parts can be found everywhere, thanks to its ubiquity. (In the next section we’ll explain how to carry it in your backpack.)

If you don’t like Glocks, that’s fine, go with whatever floats your boat, as long as it’s reliable and shoots the same caliber as your everyday carry gun so you’re not screwing around with multiple calibers under stress.

Alternatives include a bigger partner to what you normally carry (e.g., Sig P365X EDC + P320X in the bag) or a folding rifle (e.g., AR-15 with a Law Tactical folding stock). If you’re going to carry a rifle, either in your backpack or as a truck gun, consider a caliber that will punch through glass more predictably, like .300 AAC Blackout. If you want to see a great breakdown of different AR-15 options, including the why’s, check out Mike Glover’s video.

Final points on this topic. First, if you have a gun in your bag, do not leave it unattended. Don’t toss your car keys to the valet guy with your get-home back sitting in the back seat.

Also, if you’re not allowed to carry a gun or keep one loaded in your backpack, move to a free state. Sorry, but you cannot take responsibility for yourself and your own survival if your local government refuses to let you protect yourself.

Finally, if you’re not comfortable carrying a gun or if you’re physically restricted from doing so (e.g., severe arthritis), carry pepper spray and/or a Taser. In fact, these are good items to have in your vehicle already (e.g., can of pepper spray in the door pocket) so you have an escalation path if you’re threatened. Never hurts to have a step or two between using your fists and pulling your gun.

And to continue beating a dead horse, get good, professional training. To be Ready Rated, you need to have reliable equipment, but even more importantly, you have to know how to use it.

Check out Part 9 - The Bag to learn what we put all this stuff in.



We participate in Amazon's Associates Program, along with some others, which means that we may receive a small commission when you click on and buy any of our recommendations (at no extra charge to you). That being said, we don't really care if you decide to buy something we recommend or not, because our goal is to help you get prepared for anything. The reasons for our recommendations are spelled out in the articles, but they all boil down to one thing: this is what we think is currently the best option. Sometimes that means you'll buy it, sometimes not, that's fine. Just know that our recommendation was honest, unbiased and (hopefully) of value to you.

Apr 26, 2022

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