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I’m sure most of you have seen TV shows, movies, or news clips about tasers, but the reality is that fictional TV and movie scenarios exaggerate or create complete falsehoods about taser and stun guns. Today, we want to talk about what these self-defense tools are, how they work, and dispels some myths.
Tasers is a broad term used to describe type of energy weapons designed for neuro-muscular incapacitation, typically from a distance beyond arm’s length. That is a very fancy way of saying that when used properly, the taser will override the signals from the brain to major muscle groups, causing the person to “lock-up” and not be able to move. These weapons are designed to stop an aggressor/attacker temporarily. In the civilian world, the shock is delivered for up to thirty seconds straight by products like the Pulse and Pulse+, allowing you ample time to escape. At no point does the attacker lose consciousness, it only incapacitates them.
A stun gun in contrast, relies on pain compliance at arms-length using electricity. It may sound the same, but the two key differences are that a taser can be used up to fifteen feet away from you, where a stun gun needs to be right up against an aggressor. Unlike in movies, a stun gun doesn’t knock people out. It applies a direct electrical shock to an attacker’s skin causing pain. The sound of the stun gun in conjunction with the pain is intended to deter and repel an attacker.
While they are both great options, the taser has a few features that can make it a better choice for most people. First off, the taser can reach out to fifteen, where the stun gun is limited to your reach. The taser can also be used as a stun gun once the cartridge has been fired. This can allow for a secondary means of defense if the attacker closes the distance and you miss with your initial shot. The Taser Pulse+ can also link with your phone and call 911 in the event you have to use it.
Many people don’t like the idea of carrying firearms and that’s ok! I would never ask someone to carry a gun if they weren’t comfortable with it. However, the taser or stun gun can still give you a degree of safety and security with the fact that you may be unarmed but not defenseless! There is also fantastic training offered for Civilian Taser users. At the writing of this article, there is only 1 Authorized Civilian Taser Instructor in the state of Kentucky: Safety Reloaded. Checkout the link below to view our taser and stun gun selection or to schedule your private taser lesson.
Armor is not a topic most people talk about. Many people tend to think of body and vehicle armor as only necessary for police, armed security, and the military. And while those professions take advantage most frequently from armor solutions, they are not the only ones who could benefit from it. Considering the frequency that the media covers shootings, I wanted to take some time to dispel some myths and help those on the fence about armor.
First off, Body Armor is legal to purchase and own in the U.S. for most people, except for felons and a few other state specific limitations. All states allow you to purchase body armor, however some require to be face to face in a brick and mortar store and not over the internet. There are also some state specific laws regarding when you can wear the armor, like certain states prohibit wearing armor in a school unless it is part of your assigned duties. The bigger issue comes from intent. If you are wearing armor for your own protection during everyday activities, you are generally allowed to do so. However, if you wear armor during the commission of a crime it elevates the degree of severity of the crime and can carry additional charges and penalties. I would encourage you to check your specific state for any restrictions.
Another myth out there is calling something bullet-proof. This is a misnomer in most cases, the same as saying a suppressor is a silencer. Armor is generally tested or certified to be bullet-resistant up to a standard of protection level. Meaning that particular type of armor is capable of withstanding impacts from several calibers within their level. For instance a level 3a will be able to stop a .357 and .44 magnum, it is also capable of stopping 9mm and .38 special. Now, it will stop those rounds from penetrating that armor up to a point. At a certain number of rounds, or specially designed ammo, the armor will fail. But up to that point, the armor is bullet resistant and can help protect your life.
Now that a couple myths are out of the way, lets talk about the different type of body armor. There is soft or hard ballistic armor. The soft is going to be more flexible, more concealable, and generally weigh less. The hard armor can be composites, ceramic, or steel. These can vary in weight from 2lbs to 20lbs per plate depending on your protection level and any other enhancements. The hard armor is going to offer a higher level of protection than soft and can usually take substantially more damage before failure than soft armor. But the soft armor is less conspicuous and often more comfortable for long durations.
Many people will look at armor and think of the police/military plate carrier style that can often be large and bulky. However, there are a ton of options today, from covert soft armor that is worn under your normal clothing, bullet resistant back packs, back packs that can convert into an armored vest, and many many more. Your specific needs will dictate what kind of armor you would need. If you are looking for something to wear that doesn’t draw attention, the soft covert armor or backpacks are best. If you are looking for more protection and modularity, then plate carriers may be the best option. They also make armor specific for children, teens, and armor designed to specifically fit women as well.
There are a lot of options in levels of protection and materials used in armor, but they can all offer more protection than your standard cotton T-shirt. The media loves to tell you about shootings, but won’t ever give you any help to protect yourself. The proper training and armor can help bridge the gap between the fear some news outlets portray and the safety in uncertain times that we all need. Armor is not meant to be scary, but to give you an additional layer of protection. Other skills like situational awareness, conflict avoidance, and self defense all tie together to help keep you and your loved ones safe. Contact us today to talk about our armor and training solutions to give you the peace of mind we all deserve.
Safety Reloaded was founded on the principals that everyone should be educated, trained, and prepared for the worst day of their lives. With those ideals guiding us, we continue to expand our business offerings to best suit our customers and their needs. We understand that there is some hesitation from individuals and churches to carry firearms, yet they have the want and need to keep those around them safe. With that in mind, I am pleased to announce that we are now the ONLY Authorized Civilian Taser training group in the state of Kentucky. Tasers are electroshock weapons designed to incapacitate an individual, or animal, to allow you to escape to safety.
With this expansion into the less-lethal market, we have begun carrying and stocking Taser Pulse, Pulse+, and Strikelights. We can offer hands on, practical training with your device of choice. This active approach can help you become more proficient and comfortable with these options.
Contact us today to get schedule training or buy your Taser!
I’ve talked about situational awareness before, but let’s dive in a little deeper and discuss other things you can do to help bolster your situational awareness. As with many of my blogs posts, this is for those who may not have any formal training or those who are looking to broaden their horizons. The purpose of these posts are to help get those just starting out to take the first steps in personal protection.
There are some key rules you should know when talking about personal protection, the biggest one pertains to those who legally carries firearms. Never go somewhere with a gun, you wouldn’t go without one. It really is a simple way to start looking at your surroundings. If you were unarmed, would you still feel confident and comfortable to go to that particular location? The example everyone uses is a dark alley in a big city that is dimly lit with large dumpsters on the walls concealing a ski-mask clad robber with a crowbar. Well truth be told, most of us probably aren’t living in a 1980’s New York murder mystery. But we do have strip malls that may not be well maintained or have abandoned shops in it. There are parts of parking lots that may have burned out lights that create a dark area at night. If you don’t feel comfortable parking your car in the area, you probably shouldn’t be there either.
The other BIG one is going to be hard for some of you to hear, but I’m going to say it anyway: get off your phone when walking or in unfamiliar areas. It’s hard for most of us to multi-task beyond walking and texting. Spending your time focusing on the tiny screen in front of you will make it nearly impossible to see what’s around you. You should be looking around and making brief eye-contact with people. I’m not suggesting staring everyone down to assert your dominance or looking over your shoulder every 15 seconds like a teenager who just shoplifted for the first time, but purposefully and naturally scanning the area for threats. A great game here is to look at people around you and identify people who are oblivious to their surroundings– the people absorbed in their twitter feed on their phone and have no idea what’s happening around them. As you look for those who are oblivious, make note of the people who aren’t staring at their phones. If those individuals are looking at you, glance by them with your eyes so they see you look at them. That short acknowledgement could be enough for some people to exclude you as a target because you saw them and could later identify them. Being vigilant in a small way can dissuade those from picking you as an easy target.
I know these two items seem overly simple and probably common sense, however, next time you are at Walmart look at how many people are lost in their own little worlds. Between their phones, grocery lists, and picking the perfect avocado many are completely oblivious to what’s going on around them or what to do if something did happen. Take the time to look around, maybe even identify alternate exits to avoid bottlenecks in the event of an incident. These are easy, free, small steps you can do to help better prepare and protect yourself and your loved ones.
Small bumps and bruises are bound to happen to everyone. Most of us are well prepared for the small scratches with our SpongeBob Band-Aids or Dora the Explorer ice packs. What else should we have readily available? There are a lot of pre-packaged first aid kits on the market, but they either fall into 2 categories: too light for most serious incidents like life threatening bleeding, or overly stuffed with Tacti-cool gadgets for the sofa-warrior. Let’s break down what most of us need for our everyday kits or car supplies.
First of all, this is not an all-inclusive list that will fit everyone but it is a basic set for most of us. There are plenty of first responders, security, and construction workers who would benefit from a more comprehensive kit, specifically built for their scenarios. But we as lay people should think about our kits in the same way that professionals pick theirs. What are the likely scenarios I will encounter? What do I need to survive that situation long enough to get advanced care? If you are long distant backpacking across the Appalachian Mountains, a splint and satellite phone may make perfect sense. Whatever your scenario, start with a basic kit, such as the one described below then add what else you need.
Basic supplies that should be in almost every first aid kits should include:
Band-Aids of varying size
Bottle or packets of baby Aspirin
Bottle or packets of Ibuprofen
Gauze or sponges
Undoubtedly there are items not on this that people are incredibly passionate about and believe they should be in every kit, like Israeli dressings or chest seals. That’s where you need to determine what you need for your specific application. Personally, I have several different types of first aid bags depending on the scenario, ranging from a truck bag with everything listed above to my bigger advanced care bag that is specific to critical dynamic incidents.
Everyone’s bag is going to be different, and everyone’s minimum items will be different. If you have someone with allergy issues, you may put Benadryl in your bag. Whatever you put in your bag, you need to make sure everything in it is organized in a way that you can easily access quickly, one handed, in an emergency and be able to describe its location easily without seeing the bag. Additionally, don’t put anything in your bag that you aren’t specifically trained to use. That is a nightmare liability scenario waiting to happen. Get training for what you think you may encounter every few years so you are prepared. First aid skills can atrophy over time. Take a Stop the Bleed class, Emergency First Aid Fundamentals, or Red Cross CPR and First Aid so you can be confident in your ability to handle any situation that may arise.
With a new year comes new challenges as well as renewed concerns. One of the biggest concerns is home invasions. Although it’s something most people would agree they worry about, not a lot of people actually take the necessary steps to make their home less attractive to potential burglars. Below are just a few of the options you can take that can help decrease the likelihood of someone breaking in.
First, if you have an alarm, SET IT! It sounds simple but the number of people I talk to that don’t set it blows my mind. The biggest 2 reasons are because of pets and just forgetting. Most alarm companies have motion sensors that can exclude animals automatically, so their motion doesn’t set off the alarm. But for those with Great Danes or other bears that are so monstrous that they could trip it, look at alarm system that don’t have motion sensors. Glass break, door, and tamper sensors are all better than nothing. For those who forget to activate the alarms when they leave or at night, technology can help here. Use your phone to set alarms in the evening and morning for setting it. Some of the more sophisticated systems can also detect that linked phones have left the property and automatically set the alarm for you.
Another simpler step is to make sure your doors and windows have adequate and working locks. With doors, we should be looking at the strike plates of the doors to ensure the length of screws in them are long enough to go through the door frame and into the stud beyond, if possible. If you have a deadbolt make sure to use it, and lock storm and screen doors. Sliding doors should have locking bars to prevent them from easily being opened from the outside. This is as simple as getting a 2×2 piece of lumber cut to length. All the first-floor windows should be locked, and blocked if possible. Its also important to look at the windows that tip in/out to make cleaning easier. Ensure they are locked into their track and can’t easily be pushed out.
There are countless home security checklist out there for free that delve into more details. The biggest thing you can do is look at your home the same way an intruder would. What is the easiest way for them to get in. What would slow them down or stop them at the spot?
As always you should always take additional training, such as the USCCA Home Defense Fundamentals class. The course offers lots of additional ideas on interior and exterior security, as well as developing and refining your own home defense plan.
This week for National Preparedness Month, let’s talk about making your plan for emergencies! There’s a plethora of emergencies that you can try to prepare for from flooding to space weather (think solar flares). Maybe you’re thinking that none of these could happen to me. They may or may not so it’s best to be prepared. What you need to focus on for yourself, your family, and your business is what are credible emergencies we may have to deal with. For instance, those in Ohio are less likely to see a hurricane and more likely to see a tornado. Florida is less likely to experience an avalanche, although it is Florida so let’s not rule anything out.
Start by determining what is a possible hazard for you and where you live. Also, think of areas you frequently visit like parents and grandparents’ homes or vacation spots. Things to consider are common severe weather for the area, population/city issues (riots and pandemics), power structure failures (dams and nuclear), and infrastructure collapse. Infrastructure collapse is a broad category covering everything from power outages, road/bridge maintenance (collapse/flooding), to a complete loss of government.
Now that you have your list of likely scenarios, let’s start planning for them. The broad strokes for planning for all these situations is the same. Identify the hazard and the impact, plan for immediate threats and long-term complications, and make a contingency plan for when the initial plan fails. For instance, let’s talk tornado. The immediate threat is, obviously, the tornado. Do you clear the area or shelter in place? That choice will depend on the size, direction, and proximity of the tornado. If its overhead, shelter in place. If its 1 mile out, gaining steam and heading your way, bug out.
Next, you survive the immediate threat, now what? What are the long-term complications? Is your home usable or is it a loss? If it is a loss, where do you go? If its usable, what’s the damage? Do you have power? What’s your backup to not having power for 3 weeks? Can you get food, water, groceries during that time? This is where you need to have stores of non-perishable items and fuel. Consider what you have to barter, cash may still be king, but a gallon of water may go a lot farther in a situation like this. Let’s say you have 2 weeks of food, 1 month of water, enough batteries and fuel to cook and survive at least 2 weeks. What is your contingency if something else happens?
You and your family survived, your house survived the immediate threat, your stores of supplies survived the initial tornado… but then Murphy’s law takes over and turns your plan upside down. Power has been down for 3 days and it’s getting cold at night. Your neighbor, in an attempt to keep everyone in their house warm, lights an oil lamp in the house and their cat knocks over the lantern. Their house goes up and the fire is spreading to your house. You and your family make it out, but you’ve now lost half your food, water, and fuel. What do you do next? What is your contingency? This is where having a secondary bug-out location with additional supplies can come into play. That secondary location doesn’t need to be another plot of land you own, maybe it’s an in-laws 250 miles inland or a cousin 2 hours south. These should be things you consider in your plans and create a network of people that can rely on each other in these situations.
Whatever the emergency, you need to survive first, then have a plan and contingencies after that. There is a famous quote that would apply to these scenarios too, “No plan survives first contact with the enemy”. Know that what you expect to happen and what you plan for, may go out the window immediately. Make your plans easy to follow and simple to understand. You need to be able to recall them quickly without referencing a 2” binder. And most importantly, once you have the plan, make sure your family knows it as well as you do.
Continuing National Preparedness month, we wanted to talk about bug-out bags. The bug-out bag should be something you can grab quickly that is already packed with gear and supplies. You can have multiple bags, depending on the needs and how long you expect to be away from your home. We’ve talked about them once before in our blog but we wanted to hit it again. The key to remember is that different situations, emergencies, and geographical location can change what’s in your bag. This post will cover our feelings of the basics, as well as resources for more in-depth information.
There are a lot of things to consider as you pack your bag. One key is to remember that the bag needs to be a fluid, evolving item. Not something you forget about in the back of your closet. It should be reviewed and upgraded as needed. For instance, as we are starting to get towards the fall, my bags are shifting to include more waterproof and cold weather gear. I am also switching my BBQ flavored MRE’s to Pumpkin Spiced ones. All joking aside, food is something you should pack and should be checking expiration dates periodically. These bags need to adapt to your changing environments and the hazards you expect to encounter.
There are tons of lists out there of items you “need” to have in your bag. I choose to have several bags, each packed for different scenarios. I have a 24-hour, 72-hour, and “Never come home” set of bags. Remember to pack for all members of the family as you think about these kits. Include pets and anyone nearby that may bug-out with you, that doesn’t live with you. Think parents, grown children, or kids that may not live with you full time. Here is my take on the minimum items you need to have in a 24-hour bugout bag for 1 person.
• Prescriptions for 3 days (just in case)
• Water (at least 1 gallon)
• Matches/Lighter/Fire Starter
• First Aid kit with tourniquet
• Protein bars/Trail Mix/High Calorie food that tastes good
• Clothes: extra shirt, underwear, and socks
• Flashlight and batteries
• Emergency blanket/sleeping bag
• Moist towelettes/hand sanitizer
Again, there are tons of lists out there to help guide your decision on what you could add. This is not meant to be an all encompassing list, but a place to start for someone who has never tried. There is a lot more in my back including money, extra ammo, and solar charger. But what I pack may not meet what you need. I pack ammo for protection and hunting, you may be in an urban setting where hunting isn’t feasible. Make decisions that are best for you and your family. If you are packing a 24-hour bag, pack comfort food that people will enjoy, your family may already be upset and scared. Goldfish and cheez-its in a time in uncertainty can make a difference.
I am going to sound like a broken record here but Google searches, Ready.gov, and Superesse Straps are great resources as you decide how to build your own bags. Google and Read.gov will give you the free minimum items that most everyday people could use. Superesse Straps takes those lists and puts them into another level, making sure that you are truly prepared. Whatever you chose to do, don’t put it on your “honey-do” list. Get off your phone or computer and go do it. Talking about it does no good if you aren’t prepared when all hell breaks lose, or SHTF.
September is National Preparedness Month! We will be releasing a few short blogs and links to resources to help you prepare. To begin, you should put together a plan. Each plan will need to be specific to your group, but below is a basic framework to follow.
First, you need to determine communications. If you are all together that’s easy, but what happens if some of you are at home, some are at school, and others working? It’s easy to say, “everyone has cell phones”, but as we’ve seen in times of national emergencies the cell towers can’t be the only means of communicating. They get flooded with traffic, or the towers themselves can be damaged.
Second, know if you are going to shelter in place, or bug-out! What are the reasons you would secure your home and bunker down, vs. when is it smarter to move to a secondary location? One easy one is when there is a Shelter in Place order, makes the choice obvious. But how will you secure your home? Do you have the materials on hand to do so? If it’s a hurricane coming, bugging out to a secondary location inland, or maybe even a tertiary location inland and on higher ground, may be the best option. When you think about these, remember communication. If cell towers are down, how will you communicate with those outside of the house that you made the choice to bug-out and to which location?
Lastly, you need supplies. If you are going to shelter in place you need to be prepared to securely and safely stay in that location for however long you see fit. As we have seen with the power outages in New England recently, many went 2 weeks without power. So, loading up your deep freeze may not be the best option if you don’t have secondary power and fuel to feed it. If you are bugging out, you need the supplies to get you to a secondary location and possibly back home. If you can’t go back home, do you have enough supplies stored at another location to survive?
There are a ton of resources including free ones from ready.gov and tons more if you just google it. If you want the Cadillac of preparedness documents that will give you the best start, check-out ICERS from Superesse Straps. They have a big library of documents (linked here) worth checking out. Everything from ICERS, bug-out bags, and target hardening. I have no affiliation with them and get no kickbacks, I paid for most of their library personally and I am telling you from my experience, it’s worth it!
In the next couple weeks I will also post blogs about building your bug-out bag, deciding to shelter vs bug-out, and more.