The question was asked recently on social media, "Do you feel naked without your concealed carry gun?" If I relied on just a gun to keep me safe, yes, I would feel naked. Without my pistol, everything I rely on to keep myself and my family protected would be invested into that lump of metal and plastic on my hip, so if I didn’t have it on me, I’d be defenseless. Fortunately for me (and my loved ones), this is nonsense. I don’t rely on my pistol to keep all of us safe. The pistol is just one method of protection, but it is far from the only method I have at my disposal. I don’t rely on my gun. My gun is there only to augment what I already know.
It all begins with knowing there are threats out there who want to do us harm, and we will encounter them on the day of their choosing, not ours. Understanding that concept, that a bad day and a life-and-death struggle is not restricted to just the bad parts of town or the early hours of the morning, is the first step in living a secure lifestyle. Paying attention to what you’re doing, who's around you and learning the warning signs of a potential attack are skills that can apply to almost any encounter.
Nothing says, “I would really prefer not to deal with you right now,” like a blast of pepper spray to the face. Pepper spray is not a one-stop shot, but it can give you the time and distance needed to either get to a safer spot of move on to other more forceful means of self-defense. “Stun guns," or electrical shock devices, may not stop an attacker, but they can induce enough pain to let an attacker know you are not to messed with and give you an opening to get to a better, safer place. Like concealed-carry guns, there are laws governing the ownership and use of these devices in certain areas, so be sure of your state and local laws before incorporating these into your personal-defense kit.
Mankind has been carrying sharp objects around with us since we first figured out how to sharpen a flint rock, and we do so because a sharp, pointy object is a darn useful thing to have around. Carrying around a knife, even an innocuous Boy Scout knife, can run you afoul of the law in some jurisdictions, so pay attention to the laws of your city and state if you choose to carry one.
Modern technology has made today’s flashlights into an effective self-defense tool. Today’s pocket-sized, lithium-powered lights throw out hundreds, even thousands, of lumens which can blind an attacker indoors or in the night time, or dazzle them long enough in day time to allow you to get a head start on getting away. In addition to this, a heavy, solidly-built cylinder in your hand (aka a flashlight) makes a dandy striking tool if you need one.
When watching a nature documentary, have you ever noticed that predators don’t attack the strongest, toughest animals in the herd? Rather than attack the strong, a predator will focus in on the weak, isolated members of a herd, because they know their chances of winding up with a meal are greater if they don’t need to worry too much about having their teeth kicked in by their prey.
This applies to humans as well. Walking out of the store into the parking lot with your head in your smartphone, shopping bag dangling in hand, blissfully unaware of what’s going on around you sends a clear signal to human predators out there that you are ripe for the picking. In comparison, walking out into the parking lot with your keys in hand, checking the reflections around you for someone following you and scanning left and right anything out of place sends out a clear signal that you are not the best option out there and an attacker should chose someone else.
So am I naked without my gun? Hardly. Having a gun on my hip gives me more options, but it is far from my only option for defending my life.