Most gun owners — myself included — probably feel they will never find themselves in a life-threatening situation without a firearm. After all, maybe a less prepared individual will be caught off guard, but certainly not me. Think again! It can happen to the best of us.

I got a reality check when Hurricane Laura unleashed its fury on Louisiana and Texas while I was away on vacation. I began to consider the ways that one could end up without any of his or her guns during a disaster. It is more of a possibility than you would like to think.

But How?

Have you ever flown somewhere without a firearm because you didn’t want the “hassle” of checking it through TSA? I’ve heard that excuse from plenty of people — even cops. The problem is that you could easily find yourself in the midst of a disaster once you reach your destination.

Friends of mine went to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to attend their son’s wedding this past June. The couple didn’t bother bringing along their Glock 17. They were staying at a top-of-the-line hotel downtown in a “nice area.” What could go wrong?

The George Floyd riots happened right outside their hotel. The couple barricaded themselves in their hotel room in fear — without their trusty Glock. They swore it would never happen again. What’s the lesson here? You’re not always going to have a second chance if you find yourself in a life-threatening situation.

Another situation in which you might find yourself without a firearm is when disaster strikes while you are away. This could be on vacation or a business trip. It could even be while you’re at work or out shopping. Earlier this summer, a home located less than two miles away from mine burned to the ground early one morning. The family escaped with their lives, but the home was a total loss. If the family had firearms, they were certainly destroyed with it. Imagine if this was an emergency and they needed them. Talk about feeling naked and alone.

Preaching Training

You can’t get enough (quality) training. There are quite a few survival training schools out there offering courses in both wilderness and urban survival. Schools that combine training for both situations are optimal. As you consider such training, make sure that the courses in question include making and using improvised weapons. Also, check the credentials of those who are running the programs before investing money and time.

Perhaps the most important school one could attend for urban survival would be a defensive/evasive driving course. Instead of shooting, your primary focus should be on driving your way out of the situation. This is especially the case during civil unrest.

One school that offers defensive/evasive driving courses is Lasorsa and Associates. Run by a former U.S. Secret Service agent, Lasorsa offers a wide variety of executive protection-related courses for anybody. The two-day Defensive & Evasive Driving Course is meant to increase survivability. It does this by teaching evasive driving concepts, accident avoidance and skid control. The driving techniques taught help keep you out of a dangerous situation and help you learn to extricate yourself from a trouble hotspot. As it states on their website, “You may have to use your weapon, but you will drive the vehicle.” Your first action should be to escape. Only as a last resort should you use your firearm.

Don’t Be Scared … Prepare

We are living in unpredictable circumstances, seemingly always waiting for the other shoe to drop. This can be quite terrifying. The only thing we can do is prepare. One must be ready to face a life-threatening encounter — with or without a firearm.

The easiest way to avoid being caught unarmed is to appreciate that the situations outlined are a possibility. Most of us don’t like to think about it, but we have to. Use proper planning and training to prepare yourself to survive without firearms. Pick up a quality book on the subject. If you live in an area where you can obtain martial arts training, consider taking a class. Every little bit helps. Continue to train and prepare for the worst of eventualities. No one ever complained about being too prepared.

About Scott W. Wagner

Scott W. Wagner is a criminal justice professor and police academy commander from Columbus, Ohio. He has been a police officer since 1980, working as an undercover liquor investigator, undercover narcotics investigator, patrol officer, SWAT team member, sniper and assistant team leader. Scott is currently a patrol sergeant with the Village of Baltimore, Ohio, Police Department. He has been a police firearms instructor since 1986 and is certified to instruct revolver, semi-automatic pistol, shotgun, semi- and fully automatic patrol rifle, and submachine gun.