There are many roads that lead us to becoming self-reliant. For some, it unfortunately stems from a bad experience and for others the need happens more naturally. No matter what led you onto the path of self-reliance, I'm just thrilled that you are taking responsibility for your own safety.
It can be daunting trying to navigate this self-defense world when looking for resources to help, which is one of the reasons why I started SMT. I want to help you on that journey any way I can. Once you make the decision to take your personal protection seriously, you need to figure out what to do next. People have asked me if they should go buy a gun. Well, unless you have already made a decision that a gun is your self-defense tool of choice then my answer is always, "No, you don't need to buy a gun but don't rule it out."
For me, my path of self-reliance started long before SMT with non-lethal tools. However, through the years as my mindset shifted and I became more aware of the reality that bad people exist in this world, a gun became something that I considered and ultimately chose.
You’ve started to develop your mindset for self-defense but where do you go from here?
One of the best places to start doesn't even cost you a dime. It's absolutely free, requires no training, and you can start doing it right now. What it is? It's called situational awareness. If you're reading this post on your phone and walking down the street, then stop. Put the phone away and bring your head up. Simply putting your phone down and keeping your head up can be a life saver. Take it a step further and remove your earbuds so you can hear what’s going on around you too. These easy steps are free to do and will put you in a better position to detect and avoid any unwanted conflicts. It sets the stage and gets your mindset ready to make sure you are on the look out for potential threats and can avoid them.
When you're ready, you can start thinking about introducing some non-lethal self-defense tools. These tools, like pepper spray, stun guns, tasers, flashlights and even some edged tools will help to provide you time and space should you encounter an unfavorable situation. In addition to having tools like this at your disposal, another options is to take self-defense classes. Some self-defense classes will cover basics such as reviewing non-lethal tool options, situational awareness, and even have some hand-to-hand defense moves you can learn. If specific self-defense classes aren't available in your area, look into martial arts classes like Krav Maga or Jiu Jitsu. The foundation of these classes stem from close combat fighting so you'll learn hands-on how to maneuver with an opponent. Additionally, boxing classes are a great option as well as that helps to build the foundation on basic fighting moves. In boxing, I learned how to throw a proper punch, where my hands need to be in order to block, and what my defensive stance needs to look and feel like. There are also combative classes which focus on hand-to-hand combat training without the martial arts aspect. If you do plan on taking classes like any of these, then do your research, read reviews, and check them out on social media. It's important that you find an instructor that is focused on personal security or self-defense rather than piling up trophies in their studio.
For those interested in a firearm for self-defense, I applaud your choice because I know that your decision probably wasn't made lightly. I know how overwhelming learning about guns can be. However, it doesn't have to be. My recommendation is to find an instructor and take an introduction class. If you have no idea where your closest range is, then head over to the NRA Firearm Training website and look for student courses. From there, you’ll be able to find a course that is near you. All of these instructors (male and female) will be certified NRA instructors. So that means you will cover a set curriculum and a receive a consistent presentation. If you’re looking for an introduction class and also do some shooting at the range then consider the Basic Pistol Shooting course or the Home Firearm Safety course. All you have to do is show up with an open mind and willingness to learn. My first class was the Basic Pistol Shooting course and I’m glad I took that. Having an instructor gave me an extra level of comfort but also validated that what I was doing was actually correct. I ended up working with my instructor a few more times to help work on my shooting fundamentals. An instructor can also help give you confidence when going to the range on your own and setting up your lane on your own.
Alternatively, if you have a local range then stop by and ask some questions. Chances are they will be able to recommend an instructor or might even already work with a firearms training company. Your range might even have a ladies night which is becoming more common now. Being in an environment with other ladies that you can relate to and have had similar experiences as you will give you a positive learning environment and introduce you to a community of like-minded women.
Lastly, you can always seek out a friend. If you’re like me and live in an “unfriendly” state then you probably won’t have many, if any, friends that own firearms. But if you do and you are comfortable, then tag along when they go to the range. Be very careful though. Early on when you’re first learning it is very easy to pick up bad habits which may be difficult to unlearn them later on. If at the end of learning to shoot, you don’t think that a firearm is for you that is okay. You can fall back on non-lethal options. At least you are more educated on firearms and maybe even proved to yourself that you could do it.
As I mentioned earlier, whether it's self-defense classes, boxing, or instructor-led gun classes, do your research, read reviews, and check them out on social media. Social media is such a powerful word-of-mouth tool. Look up the instructors and classes to see if they are on Instagram or Facebook. If you find them, dig around their feeds to see if they post any photos from their classes. If so, see if they have tagged or mentioned students and read the comments. If you see any students mentioned, don't be shy about reaching out to them. Most people will be more than willing to respond to you with honest feedback. Trust me this works. I did exactly this when trying to find out about a holster I was interested in. I asked them what they thought about it and most all responded honestly. I ended up buying the holster.
I hope that this gives you the extra push you need to take the next step in becoming self-reliant whether it's with a non-lethal tool or with a firearm. Whatever decision you make be sure to set aside dedicated time to train with that tool, train your body and your mindset. Don't give up. I never had a strong support network when I was first starting to learn about firearms meaning I didn't have any friends that were into them so I used SMT as my outlet to share my experience. This community is great so don't be afraid to ask questions. I want to hear about your experiences as I continue to build this community so DM me on Instagram or send me an email.