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Don't overspend: basic self defense tools

Updated: 7 hours ago

There are options in the world for defending yourself that make sense: pepper spray/bear spray (might actually be the best for most animals), batons, knives, tasers. I'm sure you could add to that list. But when somebody is threatening the life of your loved ones and possibly charged with either adrenaline or a synthetic drug you need definitive intervention. Which means you need a firearm.

Don't beleive the hype: spend conservatively on you self defense needs. The cost of the list below right now (summer of 24), not including the red dot and WML, will be at least $1,300. Though you could opt for "the best flashlight" "the best gun" etc there are many options that are so good the extra cash is a practical waste. For many of you getting into shooting this sounds like a lot. That's because it is a lot. For those of you who have six guns already but lack the appropraite support equimpent: you may want to ask, "if my dog starts barking at 2AM, how am I going to carry those six guns into a fight?"

Basic Gear:

*Good hearing protection and impact rated eyewear or non negotiable for training

If we are looking to have the fundamental tools on hand for self defense I would recommend the following in order of importance:

1 Full sized handgun, in readily available caliber (ditch the 10mm, even the 45. 9mm will allow you to save money).  If you think you may want to transition to red dot at some point make sure you buy one where the slide is machined to receive an optic.

2 Single function (professional use) handheld tactical flashlight.  Surefire is the company to go to for this, we have been disappointed by streamlight handhelds.  Even if you opt for a WML later, having a handheld ready is a smart move.

3 Bleeding control type first aid kit, at least two tourniquets (Cat Gen 7, SOF, or SAM TQ, there are many others and some are effective but these seem to be tho most effective), a hemostatic gauze(s) and trauma bandage(s), maybe add in chest seals.

4 Gun Belt.  Not your dress belt or even your typical farmers work belt.  A true gun belt is usually made of two layers of leather or leather reinforced by nylon.  Try not to buy one that makes you look like a cop or a soldier.

5 Holster.  For home defense and training a “duty” style holster will help you keep things simple and safe.  Setting it up the way most cops do will allow you to train high stress with simplicity.  For everyday carry (disclaimer coming) an inside the waistband holster is ideal for concealment.  Disclaimer:  people have shot themselves a lot while trying to holster or unholster their guns.  Please get training.

6 Pouches: for magazines, medical and your flashlight

7 Weapon mounted light (WML). We recommend the streamlight TLR-1 HL or the surefire x300t (T for Turbo).  Some people poo poo the WML because in order to use it you have to point he gun at people who may or may not be threats. Many people will impulsively shoot whatever their muzzle is covering when they are startled. With training you will overcome the impulse to shoot whatever’s in front of you.

8 Red dot sight.  I was a huge proponent of red dots when I first started shooting and I still am.  There are a lot of reasons to buy a red dot.  However it’s number 8  for a reason.

Pro’s of a red dot,  Generally quicker (once you know what you’re doing) than irons to pick up at first and on every subsequent shot.  Generally more accurate.

Cons:  A good red dot is expensive (search for a “trijicon RMR” or a “Aimpoint Acro”). Red dots are electronic sights (circuit boards and the like).  Batteries are made by the thousands, I’m suspicious of QC on batteries.  Some red dots have battery compartments that have dubious torque specs, some compartments are held in place by the body of the optic.  Make sure the “Footprint” of the optic is the correct one on your slide.  Dust is a problem dirtying the lenses.  Rain is an absolute nightmare on optics with open emitters.  Most optics don’t co witness with standard irons (if your batteries dies you wont have any sights), which means you’ll want “suppressor height irons”.  Some of the larger optics (Delta point pro, Aimpoint Acro) won’t co witness with nearly any suppressor height irons.  I have wasted thousands of dollars on optics that don’t fit a gun of mine.  It’s number 8 for a a lot of reasons.

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