Too often we fail to look at the big picture regarding personal defense. The temptation is to say, “I'll get a gun, some ammo, a bit of training, and I'm good to go.”
The fact is that a person may have to deal with assaults, strong-arm robberies, and the like, where responding with deadly force might not be appropriate. Some experts would even point out that this sort of criminal attack is even more common than the life-threatening variety. A person armed with a gun and no other defensive skills is at a real disadvantage when confronted by an enraged motorist who is just intent on whipping your... uh... giving you a beating. The same is true of the purse snatcher or the drunk who just doesn't like your looks and is going to use his fists to rearrange them.
Some would argue that awareness is the critical element to avoiding such encounters. Well, please permit me to point out a real-life fact: While Condition Yellow should be our goal, none of us are as aware as we should be or think we are. Col. Cooper wasn't and you and I sure aren't. We can still come face-to-face with trouble and our degree of Condition Yellow won't make it go away.
For these reasons, it is always a good idea to have some training in hand-to-hand defense. You don't have to be a black belt in karate or even a Golden Gloves champ, though either one would be handy. But this sort of combatives training will go a long way towards helping you deal with those situations that don't call for shots being fired.
In addition, it is also appropriate to consider some sort of less-than-lethal defensive tools and learning how to use them. I have one friend who always carried a common walking cane when out in public. What is not readily apparent is that he has taken some training in stick fighting and is really impressive when he gets that old walking cane wound up.
This is also a good time to consider the use of pepper spray or tasers, where they are legal. While I have some issues with relying on such items when the attacker is armed with any kind of weapon, it will generally impress the strong-arm assailant and may very well bring the assault to a screeching halt. And, when properly applied, you can expect some screeching to be involved.
While an unarmed attack of any kind may not be life threatening, no one wants to take a beating. Take the time to expand your personal defense plan to deal with the unarmed attacker.