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Armed and Responsible: Self Defense

Maybe you enjoy spending time in the great outdoors fishing, camping, or hunting. During those times, is self-defense from threats a priority?

If it isn’t, you’re not alone in that thinking. If you’re a woman, odds are that good defense of your own self isn’t a driving factor. Women have a tendency to focus on protecting others—usually their kids—before considering themselves worthy of that same aggressive approach to self-defense. It’s not at all uncommon for a woman to get into guns and self-defense because she became a mom or due to some sort of threat to her children’s well-being.

I’m going to tell you why it’s important to protect your- self first, not second, and not as an afterthought.


As women, we’re frequently cast in the role of care- taker and nurturer. This means putting everyone else’s needs first, whether that’s serving plates of food to others and settling for what’s left over or focusing on the physical well-being of family members before our own.

That tends to carry over into the arena of self-defense.

I’ve lost track of the times I’ve heard a woman—and some men, too—say they’d happily and readily die to save their kids. The problem is, there are a lot of flaws in that particular line of thought.

If you’re out of the fight, there won’t be anyone there to protect your kids. It doesn’t matter if your camp was attacked by an enraged bear or a violent stranger. If you’re down, who do you think will watch over the kids? My advice is to prioritize learning to successfully defend yourself first before taking on the larger responsibility of defending others.

Look at it this way: If you use yourself as a sacrificial lamb instead of properly defending your life, you’ll be broken and bleeding on the ground and unable to raise a finger to protect anyone else. You are not a sacrificial lamb. You’re a person who is worthy of protecting, even when—perhaps especially when—that protection comes from yourself.

Take the time to carefully select the right handgun for your needs, skills and hand size.


This part is about being improperly armed for self-defense purposes. An alarming number of women believe they can use a can of wasp spray as a defensive tool.

Other erroneous beliefs include defense with keys be- tween your fingers, stomping the instep of the attacker, screaming loudly and breaking a chokehold by clever use of your arms inside the attacker’s.

Firearms are often called equalizers, and that’s ex- actly what they are. A firearm is a tool that can be used to hunt game or to protect yourself from an immediate, credible threat. If you’re interested in a reliable secondary measure, consider pepper spray from a quality company like Sabre or POM. Whatever you use, it’s imperative you understand what it can and cannot do.


Let’s say you have a gun, but you haven’t gotten any training in its use. Maybe you’re thinking that gun could be brandished to “scare off” would-be attackers, or may- be you just hope to never be forced to use it.

Regardless of the reasoning, having a gun meant for defensive purposes with no knowledge or skills to back it up can be a dangerous thing. Shooting blindly isn’t an option. If you’re going to have a gun for self-defense, learn how to use it correctly and accurately.


Invest time in training so that you’re far more capable of defending yourself from an imminent threat.

Successful self-defense doesn’t start with the gun or pepper spray, it starts with your brain.

As a woman, you may have to work extra hard at re- minding yourself to practice self-defense first, because you’re worth protecting. Your mind might immediately jump to keeping your kids safe—and that’s okay, to a point. But in order to protect them, you yourself have to be alive and fighting. This includes times when you’re alone. Just because you’re running to the grocery store or going hiking alone doesn’t mean it isn’t worth taking your carry gun with you. That carry gun should never be relegated to use only when you have someone else to defend. I’ll say it again: Protect yourself first.

Aside from working to truly believe you are worth defending, there’s the matter of being willing to use your gun for defense against a threat. A willingness to draw and potentially fire a gun at another human being—even a human being who is actively trying to kill you—has to be considered in advance.

If you’re not willing to use your gun, it’s all the more likely it will be taken away from you and used against you. A defensive mindset that includes readiness and willingness to use force, up to and including deadly force against an immediate, credible threat, is absolutely vital.


You are worth defending. Your life has val- ue. Stop putting yourself not only second but third, fourth, or tenth on the list. Women are all too used to putting themselves last, and that’s not a recipe for survival.

If you’re struggling to see yourself as wor- thy, I’m here to confirm that you are, indeed, worth saving. And if you need the reminder: If you’re broken and bleeding on the ground, you can’t protect anyone.

Learn to defend yourself, first. Arm yourself and seek out good firearms training. You have value and are worth the investment of time and money to ensure you’re capable of pro- tecting yourself against a violent attack. Never forget that.

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