Self Defense

A Layering Strategy for Defensive Weapons

I came across a post on Twitter which was meant to insult and demean people who carry a defensive pistol that got me thinking about layers. More specifically, layering strategies. I think we (human beings) to do apply layering strategies instinctively and it may appear as common sense, but applying a few thought exercises it seems to me like it could be a powerful tool for many applications. I’m going to explore this strategy and how I might apply it to defensive strategies, but before I do I’ll share the Twitter post that got me thinking.

Ok. There it is. Initially, I skimmed passed it as it seemed like a troll. Just somebody who got courage behind a keyboard to say something insulting against folks who carry or keep defensive weapons.

But regardless of the post’s intent, there is something worth exploring.

Defensive tools vary in their effectiveness at different ranges against an aggressor. They also vary in their legality depending on location. Thinking about the tools this way I began to consciously think about how I’ve layered them unconsciously.

Consider the following table.

0Bare hands0 yardsNoneNot applicable
1Blade / Striking Tool0 yardsSome depending on localeHigh
2Pistol1-25 ydsHeavyModerate
3Carbine25-100 ydsHeavyLow

The table doesn’t cover all the dimensions that can be applied to the layers, but it should illustrate the layering system.

The first layer or the foundation is using one’s bare hands as a defensive instrument. It may seem obvious. But I think they are the easiest to take for granted. From a defensive perspective, they can be used as defensive implements that just about everyone takes with them everywhere, are not regulated whatsoever, and don’t need to be concealed. They are also only effective at intimate distances. At them same time, training with them is easy to overlook (maybe that’s just me). I personally studied a few different martial arts as a kid and early teens, but I haven’t really (intentionally) trained with my hands (or feet) as an adult.

The next layer could be a blade or striking tool that could be carried on ones person. I personally carry a folding knife and flashlight with me everywhere I go. A few places will prohibit the knife and many less would prohibit a flashlight. The flashlight can be used as striking tool. There are some pens that have also been designed to function as a kubaton. All of the above can supplement bare handed self defense at intimate ranges where using a pistol maybe dangerous or impractical. All of these tools are much more concealable than a pistol and generally have much less regulation to comply with.

The defensive pistol is what seems to be next most obvious layer of defensive weapons. Depending on one’s capabilities, it’s perhaps the most effective tool at close distances. I suggested effective from 1 to 25 yards, but that is really dependent on the pistol itself and one’s ability to use it accurately as the distance increases. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I carry one with me wherever I am legally allowed to do so. It also happens to be the tool I train and practice the most with.

A carbine sized rifle seems like yet another layer that can be added as it increases the effective defensive range beyond pistol distances to 100 yards or more. However it also may add more regulation to contend with, definitely adds weight and bulk, and is much harder to conceal. Making a carbine significantly less practical to keep on one’s person everywhere. This leads to another aspect of the layering strategy – where these weapons are staged or made available. A carbine seems to be much more practical as a truck or home defense weapon (at least to me given where I live and where I find myself most days).

I suppose shotguns could be introduced as an additional layer between the pistol and the carbine. Bolt action (or long distance precision) rifles could be added as an additional layer after the carbine. But those layers are situational to each individual person, locale, and lifestyle.

My point is every person who is interested in self defense can look at these layers and evaluate which ones are commonly applicable to them. Then one could take that a step further and evaluate which layers could benefit from some training and practice.

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