Personal protection is never just ONE thing. If you think you are safe just because you have strapped a gun on your hip, think again. Personal protection is a system that includes education, training and equipment. All three of these elements need to be in place before you can feel as though you are truly protected. And even then, the dynamic nature of a violent assault requires that you continually “sharpen the sword.”

Personal Protection Education

The first word in the triad listed above is “education.” The old axiom, “knowledge is power,” is never more true than when it comes to personal protection and self-defense issues. If you try to look at the topic of personal defense education as a whole, the view can be daunting.

There is, quite frankly, so much to know that no one person could ever learn it all. Look at your defensive education as a journey. It does not have to be the overriding element of your life. But learning about personal defense is something you should do regularly, not just occasionally or infrequently. Start by exploring the options available to you and determining how they fit into your lifestyle. If you don’t feel ready to carry a gun every day, perhaps you could look into an alternative weapon or defensive system. But remember to consider the limitations of every type of defensive tool or system. There is no one-size-fits-all element that provides optimum personal protection.

Education also includes learning the laws of your state as they relate to personal defense. Doing this is the single biggest factor in keeping you out of jail following a self-defense incident. Yes, we have the right to self-defense, but with every right comes responsibility. Using force against another will always come under scrutiny. Someone will always judge your actions. If that judgment comes by way of a courtroom, your freedom and your life savings may be at risk.

Gear and Training for Personal Protection

Once you have begun your educational journey, you can combine your acquisition of equipment and your search for training. The best gear in the world will not overcome a training deficit, but you should still buy good gear. Don’t focus so much on name brands and the styles that other people are carrying; select your personal gear to fit your lifestyle and, more importantly, your body type. Gear needs to be comfortable. You need to be able to use it effectively and you need to be willing to carry it every day.

When it comes to training, be open-minded. Learn as much as you can from as many people as you can and apply that knowledge to your personal beliefs and abilities. Not everyone can be a Navy SEAL or an Army Ranger. So don’t hang your hat on such titles if the actions and philosophy don’t fit your personal needs. What you do need to focus on is the process that gets you prepared to do what it takes to defend yourself and your loved ones.

This path is very personal. If there was a simple roadmap, everyone would follow it and we would not need to be having this discussion. Only you can figure out what is right for you in the area of personal defense. Seek guidance from others, but the final decision must be a personal one.

Start now. You never know when the day will come.