January is National Personal Self-Defense Awareness Month. What’s a better way to start the new year than by learning how to defend yourself or by refreshing what you already know? Below, we have compiled a list of 10 self-defense blog posts that everyone from beginner to seasoned defender should review. The diverse range of articles includes topics about situational awareness, avoiding trouble hotspots, less-lethal self-defense weapons, defending against a knife attack, signs you will be attacked, working from home, self-defense true stories and more.

“Self-Defense Weapons That Aren’t a Gun,” by Scott W. Wagner

Deadly force isn’t the only way to respond to a threat. Self-defense weapons for home or personal defense should successfully do two things: keep the defender out of reach of the aggressor(s) and be deployable against multiple subjects. Here are some examples of less-lethal self-defense weapons that meet those criteria. (Read more.)

“Being a Defender Beyond Firearms,” by Kat Ainsworth

It’s a misconception that your gun is your best defense. Yes, a firearm is a fantastic equalizer and the correct way to defend yourself against a life-threatening attack. But what if the situation dictates something a step below deadly force? How can other skills, such as physical fitness and first-aid training, play a part in facing a catastrophe? Part of being a responsible, well-rounded gun owner is being prepared to defend when a firearm is not required. (Read more.)

Have a Plan When Things Go Wrong” by Kevin Michalowski

Very few self-defense incidents play out as we imagine them. The dynamic nature of a fight and the intensity of the investigation afterward means the worst 10 seconds of your life could drag on for years. We play the “what if?” game all the time. What if the bad guy comes from your left side? What if you can’t back up? What if the best cover means you have to move closer to the threat? (Read more.)

“Situational Awareness Is Fundamental,” by John Caile

Take a look at the plethora of police-involved-shooting videos on the internet to see how quickly things can go bad (often with deadly results). You seldom have time to carefully consider your options; you have to act — immediately and decisively. Situational awareness can help. It is a habit that requires constant practice until it eventually becomes your default state of mind. (Read more.)

“Clear Indicators: 7 Signs You’re Going to be Attacked,” Steven Tarani

Environmentally speaking, situational awareness is knowing what goes on around you. Whether you’re at home, in your car or on foot, applying good situational awareness eliminates such potential threats as being surprised or otherwise placing yourself behind the action-reaction power curve. Failure to avoid or detect a potential or developing threat can place you squarely behind that curve, so control your environment — lest your environment control you. As far as situational awareness in the context of monitoring and controlling your environment, there are seven signs you can look for that may indicate you are about to be attacked. (Read more.)

“Home Defense: Plan, Prepare and Practice,” Bob Campbell

Protecting a home from unwanted visitors is a serious concern no matter where you live, and it requires appropriate training. Unfortunately, there is a lack of home-defense-specific training. But that doesn’t mean you should become lax when you prepare your home and take precautions. Homeowners and renters alike are more of a threat to invaders if they have a plan. Think things through, and keep practice flexible and frequent. With preparation, there is no reason to be a victim. (Read more.)

“Concealed Carry: Gun vs. Knife,” by John Caile

Most men and women who carry a firearm for personal protection have heard the old saying: “Never bring a knife to a gunfight.” But having a gun should never give you a false sense of security — even when your assailant is armed with “only” a knife. (Read more.)

 “Self-Defense: Held Up at the ATM,” by the USCCA

An ATM is a terrible place to get caught in a self-defense scenario. Kevin Michalowski, executive editor of Concealed Carry Magazine, answers a USCCA member’s question about what to do if you end up stuck in this situation. In this video he’ll talk you through several escalation scenarios, explaining when you should get out and when you should shoot. (Read more.)

“Staying Safe While Working From Home,” by Ed Combs

COVID-19 has greatly increased the number of people working from home, and it doesn’t look like such working arrangements will change anytime soon. For a lot of us, this means it is probably time for a refresher on home safety and security. After a year or so of millions of us working from home, it’s become clear that a decent number of break-in artists have decided they don’t much care about whether honest folks are at home when a break-in occurs. This can make for extremely dangerous situations, and responsibly prepared Americans need to brush up on the basics. (Read more.)

“The Mychael Waller Story: Father Survives Chicago Shooting,” by Sean Chaffin

On May 27, 2019, Mychael Waller, 25 years old, and his 5-year-old son MJ were attacked by an armed gang member as they walked toward the home of Waller’s girlfriend in the Little Village area of Chicago. Waller was forced to use his sidearm to protect himself and his son and to end the threat. “If I didn’t have my gun, my son and I definitely would have been dead,” he later stated. “As a father, we have instincts that take over — my training kicked in.” (Read more.)