Those balmy summer nights are approaching, and lots of new life activity is emerging from cold winter hibernation, including low life activity.
Traditionally people like to enjoy a nice summer evening’s stroll around the neighborhood, maybe taking a walk to the local store for an ice cream or to take care of some afterhours shopping. Or maybe you’ll walk home from your night shift or early AM job to save gas money and get some much needed exercise.
In any event, the more that people are out and about, the more the predators will also be out, and stalking around.
There’s even a heightened alert for possible random sleeper cell terrorist attacks and public areas and malls could be a target.
Mostly it will be the usual suspects of criminal neighborhood predators you would have to watch out for depending upon their frequency in the area you inhabit.
They won’t likely be targeting two or three tough looking men walking together who look like they could handle themselves. Dangerous predators, like serial killers and rapists, prefer to work alone and single out the more vulnerable lone woman or elderly persons. Especially if the potential victims are not paying attention and have a usual ‘routine’ like walking a small dog, or jogging the same route regularly, or leaving their place of work across a large not well lit parking lot or street.
Darkness is a breeding ground for bad activity and it gives the advantage to the predator. Even if you have your ASA (Acute Situational Awareness) mode switched to high, it is still difficult to see and assess the dangers often lurking in the shadows.
So how do we effectively shift the advantage more to ourselves?
Let There Be Light!
There are a lot of ways to protect and ‘defend’ yourself on the street. But as in previous Martial Arts discussions, to do any of them with a high rate of success in real application absolutely requires fairly extensive reality training and physical requirements.
For a variety of reasons, many people simply cannot afford to invest the necessary time, effort, and/or expense to develop these skill sets to become an undefeatable adversary. But there are a few specially designed street encounter defense tactics and equipment that require virtually no training, other than some minimal rehearsal, then doing a scenario visualization quickly in your mind ahead of every time you might be heading into vulnerable territories.
These use natural moves you already practice automatically in everything you do, and additionally require only determined presence of mind and emotional commitment to perform quick, decisive action which can provide a high percentage of successful defense. These work amazingly well to change the whole ballgame giving you odds to ‘hit a home run on the first pitch’! But first you would play a better ‘night game’ if you turned on the bright stadium lights.
Carrying a big stick is always good, but sometimes a bit too indiscreet. And many of us opt for pepper spray and other martial arts tools or improvised weapons. All of us should by now carry a tactical folder knife in our pockets, but the training with sprays and knives is not as easy as many think for optimal effectiveness. And for many pro defense experts, pepper sprays, especially the small ones many like to carry on their key chains, are way over rated.
But adding a bright flashlight to your personal self-defense mode, is sometimes even better, depending upon what it is attached to, and especially at night!
Didn’t You Get Your Concealed Carry Permit Yet?
Get a Concealed Carry Permit and consider a compact automatic with a below front rail to attach a high intensity tactical flash light.
For most serious 2nd/A citizens, carrying a concealed firearm is their best and first option, day or night. If you do carry you should learn how to use your handgun effectively at close distance if you venture into dangerous territory regularly. Actually, at VERY close distance. This means. that you don’t have to bemoan too much your inability to hit the bulls eye 9 out of 10 times at 25 meters because this is not really practical training anyway because your ‘target’ will likely BE less than arms reach in the common type of up front and personal assaults we are talking about here.
You’re not going to be a cop chasing armed suspects in a running gun battle shooting across major streets and public areas. You are just privately going about your own business and defending yourself almost exclusively only if someone intentionally gets dangerously too close to your personal ‘hands off zone’, and you can’t get away fast enough before they close the gap and attempt to harm you.
In this case it will be more important to get a grasp of instinctive shooting principles also known as ‘point shooting’. You must understand the necessity then to draw your pistol quickly and SAFELY from its position of concealed carry without accidentally having it go off before you get it out of your holster or pocket, or waist belt, or fanny pack, shoulder holster, etc.
That’s really all you’d have to rehearse as often as you could, like standing in front of your closet mirror and running through it a couple times before you went out (make sure you have an EMPTY chamber and magazine before ANY dry fire practice), then occasionally visualizing briefly in your mind, while going about your daily business and rituals, your reaction to a potential scenario.
This practice, along with a few deep breaths, also works wonders to help eliminate hyper stress and tunnel vision from if a real time ‘encounter’ is ever experienced.
I won’t go into any purely subjective debates here of exactly what type of gun to use. But for this type of street self-defense mission I usually recommend a proven DA Only, which means you can keep a round safely in the chamber without having a safety catch to worry about having on or off, because these don’t have safety ‘switches’ other than in the sense that the trigger pull/squeeze is longer and stronger to fire making it less likely to accidentally discharge like on the more sensitive single action triggered handguns.
Combination Single Action/DA handguns are good also but usually found mostly on full size guns and almost always have a safety included anyway which kind of defeats the purpose, IMH–but vastly experienced–O.
In the past typical CQB pocket pistols used to usually almost always snub nose revolvers, but with modern compact autos being very user friendly and handy and ultra-reliable and even affordable, they are now the first choice for most professional and private buyers.
Tactics to Apply for Your Self-Defense when Carrying a Gun
So you have absolutely determined that somebody is intentionally and aggressively following you and is imminently going to close the gap on your personal body space, while you are trying seriously to avoid any physical proximity.
What’s next? Don’t wait for them to make the first move. You are already in fear of your life, so pull your pistol and hold it ready in a comfortable close in position and stop so that the assailant can’t make an easy lunge for it and might not even see it yet because it’s dark outside and your gun is dark also.
Keep moving away up until the point you know he is going to physically stop or grab you and there’s nothing else you can do about it, then turn into a defensive posture and yell “Freeze, Police HELP!” This is better than ‘stop or I’ll shoot’. Technically this is not impersonating an officer, but it might make the perp ‘think‘ you‘re the police and he might immediately just run from that assumption. Hold your handgun pointing out but close in over your hip, and if he doesn’t stop immediately, but tries to put his hands on you or takes an offensive physical move, despite you shouting at him… SHOOT him.
If he’s right on you fast, don’t bring the gun up to eye level and try to aim. It’s too easy for him to try to grab or deflect your arm as he’s closing in. Just point it at the center of his chest while holding your gun from hip level and shoot. Keep firing until he stops or goes down, and you know you hit him.
At arm’s length encounters, you don’t even have to be a good shot, just a ‘reliable’ functional basic shooter and you almost can’t miss at that distance if you are pointing the gun at them when it goes off. Often in street Close Quarters Combat (CQC), the barrel of the victim’s gun winds up against the body of the attacker when it goes off. This is often intentionally a part of some ’extreme high speed’ combat martial arts multiple assailant confrontations of highly trained anti-terrorist agents and other specially trained professionals.
After you shoot someone, immediately also try to retreat further away to safety then if possible. If the threat is now over dial 911, and don’t tell the dispatcher details. Say only that you are a private citizen who was attacked and you defended yourself and shot the assailant, and give them the location to send the police. Also mention that it looks like he needs an ambulance.
That’s all, say nothing else, and wait for the police to arrive. Next dial your lawyer (whose number you should have on your #speed button before even your spouse’s, or mom’s) if you carry a concealed gun.
If the police get there while you are talking to your lawyer, let them talk to your lawyer on the phone if they want so he can tell them you are too shaken and distressed to make any further statements until you get down to the police station, and she/he is there with you.
Variations of this of course depend upon relative specific circumstances. Most reasonably intelligent people can tell the difference between the threat of bona fide psycho attacker/robber/rapist, and a slightly lost and emotionally distressed deaf mute, just trying to get help with directions getting home.
Again, depending upon where you’re at, and everything else, you probably won’t get into trouble for shooting either of them if you don’t say anything to the police and get a lawyer before ANY statement by you is made. You’d have to live with shooting someone you didn’t really have to shoot if you weren’t mentally prepared enough.
Think carefully, always, about responsibilities included in armed self-defense, and you will likely be alright.
Don’t ever forget–as unfortunately even a few police do these days–that you MUST be seriously afraid because you know that they are going to do serious physical harm to you and possibly kill you right now and there’s no way to get away, or get help in time. So unless you fight back with whatever you have however you can, you will be seriously harmed.
People sometimes ask me “why didn’t you just shoot the offender, instead of using physical hand-to-hand on him, it’s obvious he was trying to car-jack you?” And I say, “well…with my training and experience, I just simply was NOT afraid of a drugged out dipshit threatening me with a cellphone if I don’t let him have my car to drive himself home for another hit of dope.”
Because if he turned out to be some congressman’s nephew whose family decided to take the last few dimes I have in my life left from a lawsuit after I emptied my mag into him, I wouldn’t be able to articulate how is it that I was REALLY in fear for my life. It was bad enough the stupe didn’t listen to me and back off so I could quickly get in and drive away, but forced me get him a free ride in an ambulance and a nice visit to the ER with a broken nose, because that screwed up my whole night!
But it could have been a lot worse if I shot him. Always keep yourself in the right frame of mind.
When the Light Accompanies Your Pistol
If you travel or are out and about a lot at night, it will be an advantage to carry your pistol with an attached TAC-Light on the weaver rail mount below.
We won’t go into the varieties of TAC-Lights choices here except to say get the best you can afford that suits your ‘application’ with the brightest beam.
This in measured mostly in lumens now, and the minimum I would go with is a 200 lumen brightness with a strobe function.
These range from some inexpensive ones from China on the internet for around $20 to a couple hundred for professional police model. The flash in the photo here was attenuated by the camera otherwise it would all be just white in the picture but you get the idea.
There are special self-defense and assault training tactics with tactical lights because of the benefits of their usage in a variety of situations. The main detracting factor some consider is that they supposedly would make the friendly user the reverse target by the enemy homing in on the source of light with their own firepower.
While this may have some merit in an all-out military style combat firefight where concealment/cover is strategically important as the enemy is firing heavy MG’s and RPG’s, it’s not so critical in a personal self-defense situation compared to the blinding shock value a powerful light provides against specific assailants.
If you put a 200 lumen TAC-Light in the eyes of someone coming at you, especially at night, they WILL be instantly momentarily flash blinded and will lose their night vision. Or they will be continuously unable to see well enough to focus accurately if you can keep it focused in their eyes.
A strobe kept focused in the face of an attacker can also disorient them long enough to either allow you escape or give you a tactical defense counter attack advantage, by quickly sidestepping to flanking maneuver.
Or keep them at bay while bringing attention to your situation enhanced by your yelling and screaming for help. All that seriously diminishes any criminal’s desire to continue.
If you are walking alone in a dark private parking lot at night or an underground parking to your car where nobody is around, you are not pointing it at anyone indiscriminately. It’s not illegal to pull your TAC-Light mounted pistol while you are walking to your car and use it like a standard flash light–finger away from the trigger–to help to see where you are going, OR to shine it ahead if you are afraid, or to see if there is somebody suspicious following you.
In fact that alone would likely deter somebody hiding between the cars or buildings from continuing to approach and assault you as cockroaches hiding in the cracks usually scatter in bright light focus. But remember you can’t just pop off rounds at fleeing cockroaches, either!
Another less perceived but extremely useful benefit from a weapon mounted TAC-Light is so that you don’t accidentally blow away your junior sneaking into the house after a late night party mistaking him for an intruder, as we sometimes, tragically, hear about.
A Few Words about Non-Firearms Flashlight Weapons
If, for some reason, you don’t care to carry a pistol walking around at night but still would like an equipment advantage, there are a couple decent alternatives that fit the serious self-defense tool list which incorporate the tactical blinding light advantage.
One of these also serves as the old standby of the equivalent of carrying a lead pipe in your pocket which comes in several forms including the relatively inexpensive tried and true Mag-Lite, you can get anywhere for around 25 or 30 bucks.
Most habitual criminals would already have a built in knee-jerk cringe at the sight of one because these are a ubiquitous police tool used in place of the baton and bad guys are quite familiar with these from typical ‘midnight criminal tune-ups’ by cops.
So while perfectly legal to ‘open carry’ a Mag-Lite in your back pocket while you are walking down the boulevard for an evening’s stroll so that you avoid falling into pot holes big enough for a homeless person to call home, the sight of someone carrying one might be enough in itself to deter a potential alley rat trying to rip you off.
These come in various battery sizes and lengths but my favorite over the years is the one in the picture here that uses ‘C’ cell batteries so it’s a little thinner in your grip and handier and faster to swing, but just has hard hitting as the bigger ones, because speed is also a major part of the power force equation.
The trick is to hold it ‘reverse grip’ up by the front where the light bulb face flare’s out, while shining it in your adversary’s eyes.
This automatically puts you cocked and ready for an instant downward 45 degree arc hammer strike with it if you are assaulted.
So if somebody is approaching you in a bad way, you flash him in his eyes with a warning to leave you alone and if he gets close enough you quickly come down hard on him.
Usually a one blow knock down if you hit the target, but easily recoverable for another rapid follow up hit because the flared bulb end won’t let the flashlight slip out of your hand with a good grip.
What about Higher Tech Special Purpose Tactical Stun Baton Flashlights?
If you don’t live in a municipality that bans these highly useful personal defense tools without your consent, these work exceptionally well against even an assailant. Armed with a knife as you have three modes of deterrent with both impact and electrical stun gun effect.
Instead of flash blinding them and shooting them, you can give them a ’stun-jab’, dropping them down, and then run or handily finish the job with another stun or a whack with the baton function if they get too violent. They’re pricey, but worth it. Cops are even starting to use them nowadays, instead of the one shot Tasers besides their batons. They can have three tools all in one carry.
There are several companies that make them but the one I like is a nice a newer model by a company called ‘Streetwise” called the ‘Police Force’ baton for about 80 bucks.
A less expensive model is the ’Barbarion’ which is just as good, but not as compact.
The Sun – God of Small Hand Held Lights
Last but not least, for personal protection is the compact 600 plus lumen flashlights. There are some hand held lights out there now that are so bright that they almost amount to Star Wars blast beams, or at least a Coast Guard search light.
If nothing else, just by themselves, a six hundred or more lumen flashlight often mean the difference between night and day in saving your life, and I don’t mean just to signal the police chopper when you’re stuck on the roof of your house because the raging flood waters are climbing up to drown you!
A company called voidhawkflashlights.com has an interesting website with several models up to a 1000 lumens! I like the ’Mini-Raptor’ because it has a handy belt clip for quick access and it is about the right size do double as a Kuboton for hammer strike techniques.
A compact 600 lumen light is bright enough to cause continuous ‘flash blindness’ at a distance of several meters even in broad daylight! But after a person’s eyes have adapted to ’night vision’ which is the physical shape change of parts of the eyeball having to do with rods and cones sensory ability, an ‘eyes wide-open’ hit by one of these lights on an unsuspecting attacker will make him think the Sun exploded in his face.
He may even fall down in complete disorientation or twist and stumble off balance and away from you just from that. It will even leave one of those ‘sun spots’ on your eyes when you make the mistake of a direct glance into the Sun.
Try it on yourself, especially at night, and you’ll be quite impressed. Then see how long it takes for you to regain your night vision clearly once the light is no longer in your eyes.
You can practice escape & evasion techniques with a partner, or even combination counter attack moves using intense flashlight distraction.
When seconds count, this is a serious self-defense advantage to have.
This article has been written by Mahatma Muhjesbude for Survivopedia.