I love my family. Their well-being occupies much of my time, effort, and worry. Among my responsibilities on their behalf is that I protect them from danger.
This post is intended to distill everything I've learned about self-defense and protecting my family and how to go about it in a well-balanced and intelligent manner.
To the women who read this. Support your husbands, brothers, fathers, and sons of sufficient age in the performance of this duty. They will be better men for it. I would proffer this post as a starting point. Be a steady influence for wisdom and soberness in this, for it is not to be taken lightly. Please do not harbor denial in your heart and hedge up the way thinking that you are exempt, that such dangers would never happen to your family, and other such thinking. This is necessary for the men in your life. Be supportive of the required changes and acquiring the proper tools for the performance of this duty that is within your reasonable budget.
We have witnessed the potential for violence that is in the world. Let us guard what is most precious against such.
It is much easier to be courageous, to have divine guidance, protection, and aid if we are right before God.
Repent of all sins. Bring yourself down in the depth of humility and acknowledge your complete dependence upon God for your life and blessings. Lean on His guidance and cultivate your ability to hear Him in all things.
Health is essential for getting the best performance out of your body. Your body's stress response is better when healthy. The ability to fire a gun accurately after sprinting a quarter mile with adrenalin surging through your body is much better when you have some semblance of conditioning. Firing a gun with accuracy, under stress, is difficult. You need every edge you can provide yourself.
You need to be as healthy as you reasonably can be. Your mind will be clearer and your body will respond with strength instead of weariness.
Start slow, but engage in regular conditioning and strengthening workouts. I recommend a cardio workout paired with something like 5x5 aiming for about 3 hours a week.
Cut the junk food. Eat more fresh greens. Don't over eat. Don't under eat.
Get adequate sleep. Especially if you are starting out on a workout program, your body will need extra sleep to recover. Your mind will be fresher, your active day will be more productive and fruitful, your body will recover better. If you struggle with sleep, better conditioning and better eating should help with that.
Tools of Protection
Purchase a pistol and become a master of it. It is the most flexible general use option available today. You can have it with you when you are out and about, or when you are working on your own property. During all those moments when you don't really expect to need to protect others, it can be on your person. Caliber is less important than personal skill (Exception: rimfire is less reliable and won't penetrate sufficiently and consistently from a pistol). The type of ammo is less important than personal skill, don't be afraid to load up FMJ if that's what you have.
A gun left at home in a safe isn't doing much to protect you or those you love.
You may have specific circumstances that requires personal adaptation. Such as working or living in non-permissive environments that leave you unable to purchase or carry a pistol. These should be things that you seek to change. Such places not only leave you with substandard tools, they either already are, or will be, more dangerous for you and your loved ones.
Training is essential to improve the skill in using a pistol. Low budget methods are to use training videos such as the excellent
Art of the Dynamic Handgun after which you may progress to live fire classes such as
Front Sight as your budget allows. Range and drill time should be planned for regularly with accompanying practice ammo.
Purchase ballistic armor. Many men willingly dive into guns as a sport, hobby, and some even as a necessity to
protect. Guns by themselves have always seemed incomplete to me. Ballistic armor is the logical pairing and is often overlooked to help increase your odds of not only coming home, but coming back home without deadly injury.
I recommend at least a IIIA plate or soft armor that goes in a backpack/briefcase/large bag that you regularly carry. If it is in your budget, outfitting your children's backpacks with a IIIA would similarly be good and if your wife carries, or could be convinced to carry, a large bag. Such bags are inconspicuous, and the armor panel generally fits into a water bladder section, which isolates it and hides it from casual eyes. They can nearly always be taken into even non-permissive areas without question or comment.
A full vest is also a wise precaution to own. It has better coverage and remains over the vitals for the times when you feel you need more protection and have the time to prepare.
Do what is reasonable in trying to keep at least one armored panel on you every day.
Home security and surveillance
Habits and equipment that will help you understand that your home is secure. Do a walk through before bed to ensure that everyone is home for the night and that all vehicles and doors are locked.
External security lightning is useful. Alarm systems are helpful even if you don't pay for 3rd party monitoring. Surveillance is helpful.
Taking a life may be required, and you should be at peace in understanding that in the defense of your family it is reasonable to kill an aggressor. If this makes you very uncomfortable, you should hold off purchasing a pistol until you have come to terms with proper employment of lethal force.
Coming up to speed in an emergency
We often hide from uncomfortable truths. I have witnessed deaths recently. Often we, most especially the men, refuse to grieve. To really accept what has happened. We wall off the pain of it and enter a state of denial.
This is not healthy short or long term. It also presents problems for needing to act on sudden changes. This willingness to ignore important changes will slow any transition to action if it is required.
No matter how good your preparations or skills, persisting in mental denial of what is, will slow your reaction time and ability to act to counter a threat. It is only through first accepting what is happening that counter measures can be acted upon.
Be hopeful and positive. There is evil in the world. We are not helpless before it and can often change things for good with well-prepared, timely, and God-inspired actions.
When you have the all your minimum steps in order, you may also find yourself inspired to take additional steps or get additional tools according to personal circumstance and need.