I strongly encourage people to give some serious thought to selecting methods of personal defense that they will train with. Whether firearms, edged weapons, pepper spray or hand-to hand-defense, all require training. A combination of pre-determined decisions about different scenarios is critical. A combination of a defensive mindset combined with the physical skills training also is critical.
Under duress, your body and brain will do what they have been taught to do. Spend some time evaluating the best options for you and give some dedicated time to continue training. I carry Sabre pepper spray with me every day. I recommend training to draw it from concealment without taking your eyes off of the threat. Use the practice canisters to become familiar with the spray pattern and the distance it reaches. Implement a periodic training “touch up” to refresh your memory. Always carry it in a consistent manner so what you practice is consistent with your day-to-day method of carrying. Be safe, stay alert and keep training.
Here are my top five reasons pepper spray is an important part of your personal defense plan:
- Gaining Distance: In some situations, a person may not pose a lethal threat, but a blast of pepper spray may be necessary to provide time to gain distance and avoid the opportunity for the situation to escalate to a more serious level. Sabre recommends 12 feet between you and a stranger because it gives you time to react. Sabre has some good products with 10-12 foot reaching capabilities to allow you to initiate defensive reactions before a threat gets within an arm’s reach.
- Options: Carrying pepper spray provides you with options. For example, if you are out for your morning run and the neighbor’s dog charges you, instead of shooting the dog, a good blast of pepper spray can stop the threat. The owner may still be upset, but at least you didn’t shoot it! Now everyone has a chance to re-evaluate and the animal has a chance to recover. Also, if you are walking to your vehicle and are approached by a possibly homeless and intoxicated individual that wants to talk, if he ignores verbal warnings to leave you alone or stop walking toward you, at 10-12 feet you can help him change his mind about continuing that pursuit. If someone is just bothersome, using your firearm may not be the correct level of force to get him to leave you alone. This is a judgment call on your part about the seriousness of the threat, but at least you have given yourself an option.
- Jury of your peers: Imagine being in a court of law after having used your firearm to stop a threat during a critical incident. If you are asked if your only means of defense is your handgun, and you can only answer yes or no, you would have to say yes if you never carried or trained with anything else. If you have another options including pepper spray, you can answer no and may have the opportunity to explain why you thought that the threat needed to be dealt with using lethal force. But, a jury of your peers may perceive you as more responsible and less like a person looking for an opportunity to use your firearm. Some people participate in hand-to-hand or edged weapon training, but for the majority who don’t, pepper spray is an economical option to effectively deal with situations that may call for a less-lethal response.
- Skill Level and Confidence: Some people are not ready to carry a handgun for defense. Beginning shooters should receive training and develop
proficiency with their defensive shooting skills and drawing from concealment before deciding to carry. In the meantime, they should not be left defenseless. Pepper spray is an economical way to offer some type of deterrent. Carrying pepper spray is a reminder to stay alert. Sabre created practice canisters filled with water for different models of their pepper spray products that can be used to train with. It is important to train for this method of defense as well. Sabre offers a Civilian Safety Awareness Program that teaches the correct mindset, skills and spraying techniques for different products.
- Age and Accessibility: Not all people who want to protect themselves are of a legal age to possess a firearm. Students on college campuses, where firearms are not allowed, can use pepper spray as a method for defense. It is light-weight, affordable, easily carried and concealed. Sabre has a great College Safety Program available to students throughout the country. Accessibility is another factor to consider when it comes to the work environment. Some companies and employers have policies that prevent employees from carrying firearms on the premises. Where appropriate, pepper spray is an option for individuals to have in their work environments as a method of defense should a threat arise on the way into work, leaving work, or even throughout the work day. Another thought about accessibility, it is easier to buy a new canister of pepper spray when you arrive in a new city than just picking up a new firearm!
For more information about my recommendations of Sabre products, the Sabre training courses visit www.SABRERED.com.
For information about Archangel Tactical’s personal defense and firearms training programs, visit us at www.ARCHANGELTACTICAL.com