Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Get to Know a C2 Taser

The C2 Taser represents a step forward in personal protection technology. Tasers are well known law enforcement tools and some civilians have purchased police models for personal defense, but the C2 is the first model that is specifically designed as a civilian self defense product.

The C2 is useful because it adjusts well-known Taser capabilities for civilian use and adds additional features to make it an ideal piece of personal protection gear. Let’s break these down:

Probe Mode: Like other Tasers, a C2 will shoot a probe that, when it strikes its target, delivers an incapacitating charge. C2 Tasers maintain the shock for a longer period that police models because their intent is to allow the user to flee while the attacker is incapacitated. Once used in this mode, the C2 releases paper strips containing the Taser’s serial number so that police can easily trace the weapon and understand the chain of events.

Drive Stun: C2 Tasers also feature a Drive Stun mode for close range use. In Drive Stun, the Taser doesn’t incapacitate but it does dissuade attackers by inflicting pain and shock on par with many other stun gun models. Keep in mind that the Taser is larger than many of these, so if you’d like an easier to carry solution it’s a better idea to buy stun guns that are smaller – but remember that you need the Taser for ranged personal defense.

Ergonomic Form Factor: Police Tasers are modeled on firearms because police have extensive training in their use, making it easy to transfer the same accuracy and reflexive response to a less lethal alternative. The civilian model doesn’t require this kind of experience, and is modeled on the basic form of a number of household objects – remote controls, hand vacuums and other objects people handle every day – to make it easy to use. The ergonomic handle also allows for use by people with a variety of hand sizes. Furthermore, as the C2 Taser is designed to be dropped so allow escape, the handle design supports this without requiring further disengagement from a handle or guard.

Free Replacement: If you ever lose a C2 Taser in the course of using it to protect yourself, Taser International will replace the weapon for free as long as you submit a copy of the applicable police report. This policy supports the strategy behind the C2 Taser’s use: Activate it, abandon it, escape and report!

These features are designed to ensure that you’ll have no hesitation about using your C2 Taser in situations for which it’s intended. Used as intended, it can not only be very effective, but work hand in hand with law enforcement efforts. Visit us to find out more or purchase your own.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Five Tips for Self Defense on the Road

As Thanksgiving, Christmas and other seasonal holidays approach, many of you will be on the road to visit your family. Unfortunately, carjacking has become a real crime problem and there are always some dangers in less familiar places – even places you think you know, but don’t live in any more. Here are five suggestions that can help keep you and your family safe on a journey.

Don’t Stop in Isolated Places: Few places in the continental US are so distant from a mall, grocery store or other well-lit, populated location that you can’t go to these instead of stopping at the side of the road. Whenever possible, push on instead of stopping at a place you might not trust. This includes isolated urban areas such as nearly-deserted parking lots. Carjacking attempts often take place when you’re entering or leaving a vehicle some distance from help. In many cases, back country roads are not nearly as isolated as you think. Watch for signs warning you not to stop due to a prison being in close proximity.

Don’t Pick Up Hitchhikers: This is one of those common sense rules that many people still break. Some hitchhikers really are penniless free spirits, but many have their thumbs out because they have significant problems that keep them from owning a car, such as a criminal record that prevents them from getting a loan or drug problems that siphon their money. In some cases, hitchhiking is a tactic used in a carjacking, robbery or other assault.

Drive Awake and Alert: Be realistic about your ability to drive for long distances while fully awake. Don’t rely on coffee or energy drinks to get you through it; you need to be well rested. This doesn’t just help you drive safely, but keeps your judgment from being impaired in the face of a potential assault. Criminals look for fatigue and other impairments when the choose victims. If you buy pepper spray or a C2 Taser you’ll have more success actually using it when you’re alert and energetic.

Keep a Working Emergency Kit: Don’t just rely on your cell phone. Include blankets, warm clothes, blinkers, a flashlight, a first aid kit, food and water, along with a sign that says CALL POLICE to mount on your rear window if your car dies. The sign removes excuses for troublemakers to stop. In a violent confrontation, many of these items will be useful for you after the assault to administer first aid and other assistance. We have a useful 4 in 1 emergency tool that makes a great addition to your kit.

Plan Your Route Ahead of Time: In this age of cheap GPS devices it’s easy to just set out in a general direction and rely on your system to provide directions, but the reality is that not all GPS maps are accurate or complete, and they don’t always find you the safest route. If you’re trapped in a maze of one way streets the system may not let you get lost, but you’ll look lost ambling around and trying to reconcile landmarks with your map. This apparent disorientation makes you more vulnerable both because your attention is occupied and because attackers look for this kind of disorientation.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Self Defense Products and Tips for College Students

For many freshmen, college is their first taste of independence, where they’re living on their own, some distance from home and with significant new responsibilities. It can be more than intimidating – it can be dangerous. Let’s talk about the self-defense issues around college life and some of the self defense products and tips students can use to make their lives safer. Remember to check the laws in your area and your college’s policies.

Drinking and Fighting: Alcohol is far and away the most common source of violence on campus, leading to fights in and around bars between students, and students and locals. In many cases this resembles good old fashioned schoolyard bullying and the best thing to do is to resist being provoked. Travel in a group so that you’re less likely to be attacked on the way home and don’t let your friends provoke fights. You don’t have anything to prove, and it just takes a slip on concrete or a weapon to turn posturing into something life-threatening.

If you’d like extra protection, consider buying pepper spray. It’s easy to carry and can be used against a number of attackers at once, giving you a chance to escape. Just remember that no self defense product can compensate for poor judgment. If you escalate with insults and threats in kind, using any self defense product may look like assault.

Sexual Assault: Unfortunately, sexual assault is a persistent threat on college campuses despite improvements in policy, awareness and activism. Traveling in groups is always smart, but be aware that most perpetrators are known to their victims – they’re partners and acquaintances. Keep a close watch over your drinks – never leave them unattended – because you must account for the danger of date rape drugs – and limit your alcohol consumption. Women have a lower physiological tolerance for alcohol, so they may become unexpectedly and rapidly intoxicated when drinking in a mixed group. Finally, make sure there is always someone to “check in” with, who expects to see you by a certain time unless you specifically call in. (This is actually a great tip for general safety, not just the threat of rape.)

Do yourself a favor and take a self-defense course where they cover the specific issues around sexual assault, including use of force on people known to you. For self-defense purposes, a stun gun can be useful, particularly if you keep it on your person – not just in your purse, which might be some distance away if you find yourself in your dorm or apartment.

Theft: Students often underestimate the danger of on-campus theft. Colleges are heavily trafficked, poorly secured and contain the residences of largely upper and middle-class students, making them ideal for professional thieves. It’s also a sad fact that addiction, alcoholism and mental health issues often strike during college years, leading to students stealing to either support a drug habit or due to impaired impulse control. Personal danger comes into play when you interrupt a burglary in progress or have been targeted for mugging.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Integrating Self Defense with Your Quality of Life

Once you start to seriously consider owning a self defense product or otherwise preparing yourself for self protection it’s easy to get caught by fear. It’s a dangerous world out there, especially in economic times that have left so many people desperate. But the worst thing you can do is be paranoid. I run Self Defense ATL a little differently from other self defense product retailers because I believe self defense should be about improving an average person’s quality of life. According to that philosophy preparedness should help you feel happier, not more fearful. Let’s look at two common pitfalls in self defense attitudes and how you can turn them around into positive opportunities.

Alertness, Not Fear

Awareness of your surroundings and the people near you is a key part of successful self-defense, but many people explore alertness as a kind of constant, low-level fear. That’s not good for your mental health. In fact, getting caught up in asking yourself whether someone you see is a potential mugger or other threat can actually blind you, because you get absorbed in that one person.

Approach alertness with a positive attitude: one where you want to experience more of what surrounds you. When I go hiking I like to look at each sight as it comes, appreciate it and move on, stopping only for something that sets off my interest. You can take the same attitude toward being aware of your surroundings in everyday life. Focus on things which set off alarm bells and don’t look quite right when you see them, but for the most part, just note the things and people around you and move on.

Preparedness, Not Tension

You might respond with this: “I can be aware of my surroundings without being paranoid, but why would you carry a TASER or stun gun without feeling that way?” That’s a good question. The answer? Preparedness is about prudence, not being tensely afraid that something bad will happen to you. You already exercise prudence in your daily life, in a thousand different ways that don’t make you frightened of anything. You lock your car and home; look both ways before crossing the street and keep a flashlight on your keychain in case you have to look for anything in the dark. You carry an umbrella if it looks like it’s going to rain.

Treat your C2 TASER, cell phone stun gun or other self defense product like that umbrella, flashlight or car key: just another precaution you take to reduce your worries, not increase them. Carrying a stun gun may make you feel self-conscious and tense at first. This is only natural, because carrying a TASER, pepper spray or stun gun requires a certain amount of maturity. The secret is to become familiar with your self defense products. Read manuals thoroughly. Practice with them. Learn techniques that help you use them effectively. Once handling them becomes routine, they’ll become normal parts of your daily gear, ready when you need them, but never a burden.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Learn About TASERs on Youtube

We’ve been steadily adding new content to our Self Defense Products Youtube Account. Right now our primary focus is on the TASERs and Stun Guns we sell through our site. Our CEO David Brackman regularly attends gun shows to tell people about how TASERs work, how to use them, the law, and TASER International’s consumer policies.

We’ve combined several of Dave’s segments into a TASER Guide playlist. All of this material is culled from conversations Dave has with ordinary, interested Americans. That’s our core clientele. Dave does talk to security professionals and other people with a career-driven, above average interest in self-protection, but at Self Defense ATL we work hard to cater to regular folks.

We’re not alone, either. That’s why TASER International created the C2 TASER to cater to this growing niche. More and more Americans want less-lethal options for self defense. This need bridges the gap between popular opinions on self-protection and is common to both those who don’t feel comfortable owning a firearm and people who enthusiastically exercise their Second Amendment rights.

Dave’s talks on the C2 emphasize the features that are specifically designed for civilian use – the product isn’t just about style. For example, the unit releases paper with its serial number to ensure easy tracking by police and even uses a different electrical cycle designed to help users escape instead of closing and arresting in the way a police TASER supports.

Dave’s ability to communicate with people from all walks of life is what we think separates him from other presenters and salespeople, particularly online. So come visit!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Do Stun Guns Work? Watch and Learn

I regularly appear at trade shows to demonstrate how Tasers and stun guns work. Back in March a nice young man allowed himself to get a “taste” of what a small civilian model stun gun does. See for yourself via our Youtube channel.

That was just a little jolt to the hand but it was enough to get a healthy looking guy to double over. Aside from proving that stun guns are effective, this video includes a couple of insights about how they work, and how to best apply them.

First of all, notice how I pressed into his hand? You want to do the same whenever you’re called on to defend yourself. A stun gun is an amazing self defense product but it isn’t a ray gun. You want the electrical discharge to penetrate as deeply as possible, through skin and clothing. Thick clothing may impede the discharge but it won’t necessarily stop it. Nevertheless, press hard and aim for exposed areas.

Second, I went for this gentleman’s hand because the extremities are the least serious body parts to target – but the stun gun still works pretty well. In a self-defense situation you might aim for the neck, upper leg or the spot where the hip meets the torso, but if you’re being grabbed you can attack the arms and work your way in to the torso until you’re free to escape. This makes stun guns excellent for smaller individuals who have been grabbed, since an effective shock to the arm can persuade an attacker to let go.

If you want to buy stun guns and have any questions, contact us. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Case Study: Woman Uses Her Stun Gun to Protect Atlanta Area Officer

In January, Tanisha Cross of Lithona, GA did a very brave thing (link to news story): She used her stun gun (what the media have called a “taser gun,” though it was a different model, not a C2 Taser Gun) to help a police officer subdue an attacker. I want to highlight this incident because it represents the very best practices when it comes to using self defense products and highlights the specific advantages you have when you buy a Taser gun instead of a more lethal alternative.

Ms. Cross was on her way to Wal-Mart with her mother when she noticed a man attacking a DeKalb County police officer. The assailant had already stolen the officer’s radio and rubbed pepper spray in his eyes. She grabbed her stun gun, used it against the attacker, and protected the officer until he regained is composure. Eventually, the officer and a nearby security guard were able to effectively fight back.

That’s the story. Now read it at the link, and let’s look at what Tanisha Cross did right:

She asked to intervene: She got the officer’s okay before jumping in. This is important. Situations with police can escalate into life and death struggles, and the officer doesn’t necessarily know who you are. Furthermore, his duty to protect you may outweigh any benefit you can provide. Ms. Cross asked to help, making it absolutely clear whose side she was on, and ensuring that the officer really needed help.

Multiple strikes: Tanisha Cross didn’t treat the stun gun like a “magic wand.” She struck the attacker’s limbs multiple times to keep him from closing in, hitting or grappling with either herself or the officer. This highlights one of the main assets of a stun gun: its ability to prevent a stronger person from taking hold of you.

Weapon retention: Weapon retention was a major element in this altercation. At the time of the attack, the officer was trying to keep the perpetrator from grabbing his gun after losing his radio and in all likelihood (reports aren’t clear) having his own pepper spray used against him. Ms. Cross attacked the limbs, keeping the attacker from grappling for the stun gun while protecting the officer’s firearm: the most dangerous element in the conflict.

If you carry any sort of weapon you must always think of the consequences if somebody else gets it. Police need to carry firearms and you might choose to do so yourself, but having the option of a worst case scenario where someone shocks you with your own weapon instead of shooting you is a welcome option when you exercise your rights.

In short, we salute Tanisha Cross for her bravery, but more than that, we congratulate her form being smart. Applied intelligence is the most important self defense tool in anyone’s arsenal.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Four Self Defense Products No Hiker Should Be Without

I love hiking. It’s one of my main hobbies and what I use to keep active. Hiking is pretty safe as long as you’re prepared. That means taking adequate food and water, bringing your cell phone if there’s coverage, planning your route (and taking a compass to navigate if it’s rough terrain) and most important, letting other people know where you’re going. Make sure you always have a “trip buddy” in town who knows where you are and when to expect you back, who can make emergency calls if you don’t return.

Beyond that, it’s a sad fact that you should think of self defense as well. Crime isn’t just an urban phenomenon. Drug dealers pick up shipments in nature areas; addicts go there to use drugs out of sight. Beyond that, there are also human predators that look for unprepared hikers. And leaving aside human threats, don’t underestimate wild animals. During strange weather, many shy predators will come closer to people than normal because their normal prey species have gone elsewhere. Other animals have grown overly accustomed to people. This commonly happens with bears. While wolves almost never target humans, feral dogs might.

Don’t get paranoid – these are only possible threats. Nevertheless, it’s better to be prepared. Here are four essential self defense products to help you protect yourself on a hike.

Bear or Dog Pepper Spray: Keep bear pepper spray and dog pepper spray to repel members of these species when they get too close. Remember that when you encounter a strange animal, the best policy is to calmly leave the area without yelling or making sudden movements. Running may spark an animal’s predator instincts and besides, dangerous animals can run faster than you. And of course, humans don’t particularly like animal repellent either.

Boots: We don’t sell boots, but a proper pair really is an essential self defense product. Many people hike in casual footwear. That’s a big mistake. If you get lost or have to run from a threatening individual, twisting your ankle can be enough to kill you, either through exposure or when an attacker catches up. Ignore style; get a pair that fit you and suit the terrain.

Flashlight: A safety light (scroll down to see one that attaches to your cell phone) is not only important at night to avoid obstacles but in any situation where you might encounter variable lighting conditions, such as heavy foliage and overcast days. Any flashlight can serve as an impact weapon. The best ones for this are steel shot security models, but on a hike they may add extra weight. Pick one you can comfortably use in one hand and store without outing it in your pack – you don’t want to rummage through your gear in an emergency. Nowadays small LED models pack a punch

Knife: A self defense knife can be used to protect yourself when you feel the need to employ potentially lethal force. Besides that, the merits of a knife on the woods are too numerous to mention. You can cut a walking stick or can to help you walk, chop firewood into manageable sizes, cut rope – the potential is only limited by your needs and creativity.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Five Self Defense Tips for Drivers

Self defense is something you should not just imagine happening in a proverbial dark alley. Not all assaults are premeditated. It just takes a moment of desperation or anger to turn your daily routine into a dangerous situation. Cars are often silent witnesses to assaults as drivers enter and leave, or tempers get heated on the road. Here are five tips to help you effectively protect yourself in or near your car.

1) Drive Safely: This one seems like a real no-brainer, but a substantial number of assaults happen as the result of a fender bender, close call or other instance of dangerous driving. The other driver gets angry enough to attack or worse yet, is a criminal who has something to hide from the police. He doesn’t want to stick around – and he doesn’t want witnesses either. Drive safely, keep your distance from other vehicles and never drive to harass someone, no matter how angry you are – or how bad a driver the other guy is.

2) Call the Police First: If you get into any accident, call the police before you talk to the other driver and tell him you’ve done it. This takes any convoluted talk about keeping insurance out of it (a popular trick for fraudsters and the source of violent arguments) off the table right away. If the other guy has something to hide he might just get in his vehicle and take off. Fine – let him. Explain what happened as soon as the police arrive.

3) Don’t Leave Your Car to Confront an Angry Driver: If someone gets out of his car looking for a fight do not get out to try to calm them down or confront them. It’s not worth it. If you feel more threatened and your car works, drive away. Call the police, even if you’ve already called them before. In this case, the second call informs them of the angry driver and in the even of an accident, tells them that you’re not abandoning the scene.

4) Keep Pepper Spray or Other Self Defense Products in Arm’s Reach: If you own a cell phone stun gun, pepper spray or a similar self defense product you should be able to use it from your driver’s seat at a second’s notice. Your weapon should be securely attached to your person so it won’t fall anywhere it isn’t supposed to, and should not be in your glove compartment, where you’ll waste time grabbing it. If you go this route, make sure you have all the paperwork required by law in your jurisdiction, are legally entitled to carry the weapon, and when the police arrive, inform them that you are legally armed and wish to follow their instructions.

5) Never Let Anyone Force You Into a Car or Force You to Go Anywhere: Carjackings and attempts to force you into a car are always extremely dangerous situations, and you should consider them life threatening events to resist with any amount of force. Crimes where the perpetrator takes the victim to another location generally rank among the most dangerous, so you should consider escape your top priority, and even be willing to take risks you wouldn’t consider in other self defense scenarios.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Three Tips to Use a Taser Gun Safely

On Friday May 1st, Cobb County decided to arm its officers with Tasers, reopening a longstanding debate about how they fit into the police’s use of force continuum, and how good an idea they are – period. There are a broad range of opinions about them, ranging from strong, unconditional support to serious concerns about their safety. Now you can buy Taser guns from us so obviously, you know that we approve of them – but we support proper Taser use. Here are three guiding principles to pay attention if you choose to purchase a C2 Taser.

Appropriate Use: Most controversies involving Tasers ultimately boil down to inappropriate use. In law enforcement this happens because of a combination of officer stress and poor training, explaining why there are so many differences between Taser statistics in different jurisdictions. For example in Phoenix, AZ, police shooting incidents declined by a third while Taser use increased between 2001 and 2003 – an indication that proper training helped these officers save lives. In Houston however, the introduction of Tasers didn’t reduce shooting deaths at all. (Source: Wikipedia)

A Taser is one of the best nonlethal alternatives to injurious or deadly force out there – but it is an alternative to those situations, instead of something to use when you’re angry or frustrated. Just like a firearm, they’re dangerous based on what the user does. Tasers are serious self-defense tools to be employed in extreme situations – you’re not just “setting phasers on stun.” But in that role, they’re one of the very best options available.

Avoid Multiple Shocks: One characteristic of high profile Taser incidents is the use of multiple shocks over a brief period of time. A Taser is one of the safest self defense products for what it does . . . once. Evidence for Tasers contributing to serious injury and death is often controversial, but rest assured that these situations are also very, very rare and in many of them, the target was hit with multiple consecutive bursts.

Fortunately, the C2 Taser and other civilian models are designed to take this into account by automatically limiting the operating cycle to a maximum of 30 seconds. (Law enforcement models provide unlimited consecutive 5 second bursts for as long as the operator pulls the trigger). The C2 is programmed so that you will use it properly by default, giving you a chance to escape. So in most cases, this concern is not even an issue for civilian users.

One Solution Among Many: Like any self defense product a Taser has an appropriate time and place – in this case, it should be used when you feel someone represents a serious threat to your well-being. Don’t buy one for the same reason you’d buy pepper spray, for example. Pepper spray can be reasonably used when you want to deescalate a threat before it reaches its peak; Tasers fill the role of putting someone down when they need to go down right now. It won’t just scare them off, and you must be prepared for the responsibilities that come with all of a Taser’s possible consequences. Ultimately, it’s a powerful self defense asset when it’s used as part of a total strategy that includes personal awareness, health and a focus on avoidance and escape. A Taser will help you prevail in the most extreme situations.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

How to Use Pepper Spray: Five Steps

If you’re going buy pepper spray you might hesitate with the simple question: “How do I use it?” Fortunately, pepper spray is extremely simple to use. Nevertheless, you should practice and visualize how to use pepper spray in an emergency. (Make sure that when you practice, it’s with a substitute object the same size as the canister to avoid accidents.)

Proper pepper spray techniques can be boiled down into five easy steps. All of the above also apply when you buy mace spray, since “Mace” is actually a brand name – modern Mace is pepper spray.

Draw Easily: Make sure you can quickly and easily draw the pepper spray from wherever you keep it, but that when you put it away, it’s in a secure spot where it isn’t likely to fall out by accident. You may have to try out several locations and practice a bit to ensure a quick, smooth draw. Many pepper spray brands come with a carrying case. Consider using it. If it has a snap release or other two step process to draw, practice doing this quickly, but if you feel threatened, release the snap ahead of time.

Safety Release: The other aspect to consider is the safety. Become familiar with any safety mechanism on the pepper spray. When you practice, mentally note when you would release the safety and practice the movement with a substitute. (We do not recommend that you actually release the safety in practice in case of an accident.) This should be a smooth motion and part of the drawing process.

Aim and Posture: Pepper spray is designed to cause facial irritation above all else, so that’s your target. However, you should never just hold it in front of you. Using the spray should be part of an overall self defense posture. Keep in mind that the attacker may be striking or grabbing at you while you draw the spray. To defend against being struck, grabbed or jostled, take a step back so that your knees are bent and your feet are more than shoulder width apart. Taking a step back creates distance, and reduces your profile, making it harder for the assailant to hit you. Keep both hands up, protecting your face and body. Do not push the hand holding the spray out so far that your ram is fully extended.

Center and Fan the Spray: One handy tip for properly aiming pepper spray is to look at the attacker’s face while bringing the spray in line with your eyes. Move them in one unit. When people feel threatened they often close their eyes, but don’t do this! It won’t protect you from any spray that comes your way and blinds you to any movement from your attacker. Once you release the spray, fan it back and forth to account for poor aim, the attacker’s movements and other factors.

Yell, Fight and Escape: Yell. YELL! Yell throughout the entire incident! “Stop it!” is a good catch all. You should actually practice this, because in many cases, surprise over an assault may otherwise render you speechless. And once you’ve used the spray enough to create an opportunity, get away as fast as you can. Pepper spray takes some time to work, so you have to shove, hit and run fast in addition to using the spray. You should also be prepared for the risk of being hit by some of the spray, since it scatters and can be affected by wind.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Situational Awareness: The First Step to Using Any Self Defense Product

You need one critical thing to use a Taser gun, pepper spray or any other self defense product. That’s situational awareness: the ability to properly observe your surroundings, identify danger and understand your options for overcoming it. Without it, you won’t have an opportunity to protect yourself. You may not even see the danger coming.

Criminals rely on surprise; the kinds of duels you see in the movies almost never happen. Attackers don’t waste time threatening you first. They attack first, then threaten to exert more psychological leverage. The only exceptions are some bar fights and school fights, and in those cases, you can often get away simply by refusing to participate and removing yourself from the situation.

Situational awareness is one of the core concepts taught in policing and the military. You can notice things, but are you paying attention? Do you immediately think about your relationship with events around you? There are many ways of modeling this, including the OODA Loop in military aviation and SWOT Analysis in business and combat strategy. The average person can develop situational awareness by using a few simple principles.

Active Seeing and Listening: Many people walk down the street paying more attention to their inner monologues than the world around them. Instead, treat looking and listening as an active process. Look around you as you walk and think about what you see. Try to identify sounds. Don’t fixate on any one thing. As an avid hiker, I try to bring the sense of observation and exploration I feel on the trail with me around Atlanta, as it’s a very similar attitude.

Sense of Self and Others: You should develop a mental “landscape” where you pay attention to your place in the surrounding environment as well as where other people are. This includes paying attention to being observed. Are you being followed, or is someone just walking your way? How far away is from the nearest brightly lit location? Note that this is not paranoia or fear. Be cautious, but you should notice the positive as well as the negative. There are a lot of happy families and fun things out there. Notice them as well as potential sources of trouble.

Mental Rehearsal: You should mentally rehearse what you will do in case of danger. Do this as you’re out in the world. Where can you run? Would yelling for help do anything? How would you draw your pepper spray or a cell phone stun gun? Remember that you should assume a sudden attack without warning. If you do notice it coming, that’s a blessing. Visualize yourself resisting and surviving as soon as you make contact, and prevailing despite the assault. Again, if you do better that’s great, but be prepared for the worst.

Post-Situation Assessment: After the emergency, go through the previous three concepts. Look around to see if there’s more trouble. Assess yourself. After an assault you may have injuries you didn’t notice. Get away from other hazards and locate the nearest source of help. Even if you feel fine, do your civic duty and report the incident to the police. Even if they didn’t help you, your information helps them record and understand local crime trends.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Self Defense Products and Techniques for Aggressive Dogs

An aggressive dog is a really frightening thing to face. Dogs don’t follow human social rules, and stronger, pound for pound and are hard to predict. As social animals, dogs are deeply affected by how their owners treat them. That means that an innocent gesture can set a dog off because it’s reading signals into your behavior that it interprets as a threat or territorial challenge.

Don’t Approach Without Permission: Don’t go near a dog unless you have permission from its owner. Even then, you should approach slowly and calmly, without making eye contact. If you must touch the dog, be gentle and stay away from its face

Respect the Bark: Dogs bark for all kinds of reasons, but in most cases a dog you don’t know is barking to make you go away. The answer is simple: Go away! Don’t run, but calmly move away from the dog and the person, place or thing you feel the dog is defending.

Remain Calm: If you think a dog is considering an attack, the key is to avoid acting in a way that the dog can interpret as aggressive. Don’t make eye contact and keep your hands at your sides. Once the dog begins to lose interest, slowly back away and move on.

Don’t Run: Unless you’re an Olympic-level sprinter, any large dog can run faster than you. Worse, dogs are natural predators, so running arouses their hunting instincts, increasing their aggression level. Many larger breeds will instinctively attack your legs while you run, bringing you down. This is also a good reason not to try an kick an aggressive dog from a standing position.

Protect Your Face and Throat: Dogs tend to latch on and shake whatever they can grab. In the event of an attack use your arms to cover your face and throat, which are the vital areas most in danger from its teeth. Some experts counsel that you not try to release your arm from the dog’s grip, to avoid the dog from attacking more intensely or moving on to a more dangerous target. If you have a choice, let the dog get your non-dominant arm.

Get a Barrier: A big dog can cause serious lacerations and puncture wounds, so heavy clothing, a stick or a bag can help mitigate the damage. Don’t try to retrieve these objects.

About Fighting Back: If you’re concerned about encountering aggressive dogs it might be a good idea to buy pepper spray or a chemically similar dog spray. These are effective tools to ward off even large dogs, which are no more resistant to it than human beings. Aim for the eyes, not and mouth. If a dog latches on to you, many authorities advise you to remain calm, curl up and stay still until the dog loses interest. If the dog doesn’t calm down, however, you may have to hit back. Aim for sensitive parts of the face but always remember that your first priority is to protect your head and neck.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Self Defense and Property Crime: A Hot Issue in Atlanta

Atlantans have become particularly worried about crime in recent months, due to a reported rise in property crimes and a number of brutal murders, including the February 10th killing of cancer researcher Dr. Eugenia Calle. While anecdotes from citizens give them impression that violent crime is on the rise, too, this is disputed by police statistics. Who’s right? For the purposes of this article the answer isn’t important, but one fact is indisputable: property crime and violent crime go hand in hand. In Dr. Calle’s case, it appears that her killer’s motive was money, as he took cash, jewelry and credit cards that he later used in a spending spree.

Preventing and protecting yourself from property crime is one of the fundamentals of self defense. Where do you start? The key is to understand how burglars, muggers and thieves pick their targets, and why they steal in the first place. Here are two landmarks that apply to a great many criminals:

Addiction: Drug addiction is one of the most common motives for serious property crimes. Addicts have trouble keeping jobs, have impaired decision making skills and have a regular need for substantial amounts of money to keep up their habits.

Impulsiveness: Despite movies that show us meticulous criminal capers, most thefts are decided on the spot when an opportunity arises, or out of a sudden impulse, combined with a memory of a likely target.

As a result, you can’t be sure that simply not resisting a theft will ensure your safety. Even though we associate the term “career criminal” with a cool, street-smart professional, the average example is a desperate drug addict who isn’t thinking things through rationally. I’m not saying this to get you to sympathize with him – I’m saying it because this is what makes him dangerous. If he decided he’s going to hit you with a hammer and take your wallet, that’s what he will do, even if you would have given it to him in the first place. That’s the mental “script” he’s thrown together to commit the crime.

In essence, there are two ways to protect yourself from property crimes, or at least keep them from escalating into a threat to your safety: prevention and response.

Prevention: These measures make it less likely you’ll be hit in the first place. Make sure your home’s exterior is brightly lit and you stick to a routine of locking your doors – and you have sturdy deadbolts. In terms of self defense products, home protection tools that send a message that your home is more trouble than it’s worth are highly recommended. These include alarms and door braces. Some thieves will give openings a test kick or shove; if your doors and windows don’t budge, or it looks like an alarm will go off, they may move on to easier pickings.

Response: If the crime proceeds despite your best efforts you need to keep it from transforming into a violent attack on you and your family. Obviously, escape if you can. Gun ownership is a personal choice with pros and cons; exercise your rights at your discretion, but do your research, and take an accredited safety course. As an alternative, you can buy a Taser Gun. The C-2 model is designed for personal protection. If you get a Taser or buy stun guns make sure you get familiar with drawing them quickly and store them safely.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

How to Use a Stun Gun

If you buy stun guns from us we hope you never have to use them, but if you do, we hope you do a good job. This time around we’ll go over the basics of using a stun gun properly.

To make a stun gun work you need to understand the principles behind its operation. Contrary to what the name might suggest, a stun gun (or stun baton) doesn’t shoot anything or operate at a distance (get a C2 Taser for those capabilities). It’s a close range electroshock weapon. Current passes through two contact points. When pressed against a target, the current passes through it. This causes pain, muscle contractions and disorientation, though the exact effects depend on the area you hit on an attacker as ell as his clothing and specific physiology.

One you buy a stun gun your first job is to get familiar with the weapon. First of all, never touch the contact points, and don’t let the touch anyone or anything you don’t want to hurt. Second, practice testing the stun gun (a visible current will pass between the contacts) to ensure that it’s working properly. Third, learn how to rapidly disengage the safety. Finally, become comfortable carrying it in your hand with the safety engaged. Our cell phone stun guns let you do this without drawing unwelcome attention to yourself. It also gives you the element of surprise so that an attacker won’t pre-emptively disarm you.

When you need to use the stun gun, disengage the safety and press it against the attacker for one to five second – longer if there’s no reaction. Clothing can interfere with a stun gun’s operation and the current needs to pass between points on the attacker’s body, so don’t just lightly touch – push! Don’t “punch” with the stun gun, since it requires some time in contact with the target. A split second impact will have little to no effect.

The most effective targets for a stun gun are nerve clusters on the attacker’s torso. Many people recommend around the upper hip and below the rib cage. Used correctly, a stun gun will have some effect on almost any target area, however, and you can use it on an arm to persuade an attacker to let you go. Some authorities recommend working from the outside in, by using the stun gun to clear a grab before targeting the torso. The attacker may double up in pain, but remember that a stun gun doesn’t cause full paralysis or incapacitation. It gives you time to escape – that’s it. Use it to get away. If anything more severe happens to the attacker, consider that a lucky margin of safety. Count your blessings from a safe location.

The last importance piece of advice is to remember that a stun gun is not a shield! It’s usually not a great idea to wave it around to try and scare away an attacker. This just prepares them to defend themselves against the weapon and may inspire them to escalate the attack with their own weapon. If you feel threatened enough to let your attacker know you have it, you should actually use it.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Running Away for Self Defense: Five Tips

There are many situations where you can’t run away from an attacker in an emergency but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the option of fleeing as seriously as learning a technique from a course or self defense DVD, or by carrying mace, pepper spray or a Taser gun. But this aspect of self-protection is often overlooked. Let’s go over five quick tips on running away effectively.

Survive the Attack

The most important part of self defense is to resist the initial assault. If you don’t think you can get away immediately, put all of your energy into responding to the attack until an opportunity opens. This should be the central goal of any self-defense plan. People talk about “fight or flight” as if you must choose between one and the other, but drop that attitude. Self protection is your goal. This is something we can’t give you specific advice for. Every situation is different. If you manage to free yourself and get a second or two of lead time, it’s time to go.

Be Ready to Run

If you’re going to run, make sure you can run. This tip has two components. First of all, even though you shouldn’t be a slave to your fear of attack, consider wearing comfortable clothing you can run in whenever it’s convenient to do so. Secondly, this is one of the many reasons you should try to stay in shape. Short range running is an anaerobic activity, meaning the action if brief and intense enough to not use oxygen. Longer running is aerobic. This site isn’t devoted to fitness advice but to be brief, make sure you stay physically active at something you enjoy, and consider taking a fitness class so that you can keep going when you need to.

Don’t Corner Yourself

TV and movies have brought us some terrible examples of how to get away. It may be dramatic to run for a rooftop, but think about it; you’re just cornering yourself. It’s smarter to seek the ground level. Unless you have a building with a safe room, hiding in a confined space probably isn’t a good idea unless you really have no other choice.

Make a Scene – Get Attention

Muggers and other street attackers don’t want to be caught, so you want to draw as much attention to your situation as possible. Dignity be damned; run to crowds and bright areas and yell for help! Once again, running though back alleys like you see on TV is usually a bad idea.

Decide When You Won’t Run – and What the Law Has to Say

Remember: If you have a clear plan you’re more likely to succeed. That means you should decide when you aren’t willing to run away. We think deciding to run should be your default choice, but everyone has situations where they’d rather stay put and resist. What if you have to protect a family member? Are you willing to flee your home? These are very personal choices, so don’t make them in haste. You should also become familiar with laws in your state that say whether or not you’re obligated to retreat. The Atlanta region falls under the jurisdiction of Georgia’s “stand your ground” law, so your legal duty to retreat is limited, but don’t let the law be your only guideline. In our opinion, your safety is more important than your dignity. After that, the choice is up to you.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Three Home Self Defense Tips

Let's get back to basics today. I'd like to talk about three tips that apply to practically everyone who's ever thought of what they might do if somebody invaded their home. When you read these you may just protest: "Well, that's just common sense!" Unfortunately, the news is full of people who didn't think of a particular bit of common sense at a critical moment. They panicked.

Think about that for a second. Your ability to make rational decisions is one of the first things that stops working properly in a crisis. This is why police and other emergency workers don't just improvise logical plans on the spot. Even experienced members of these professions need to account for the way the human mind reacts to extreme stress, so they train to do certain things instinctively after they and their trainers consider the kinds of problems they might encounter. You may not be training for law enforcement, but you can still use that principle by thinking, preparing and practicing. Apply that to the following:

1) Start With a Safe Home

If you run down the stairs, fall when a handrail collapses and break your neck, no training or tool will help you. If your own home is a danger fending off an attacker becomes much harder. Think about how your home would stand up to running and falling. Prepare by fixing that wobbly step or replacing the broken light fixture. On a related note, never unsafely store a firearm or other self defense tool in your home. You might think getting to it faster will give you an advantage, but in fact, you should be practicing to get to a safely stored weapon. The last thing you want is for a family member to injure themselves with your weapon - or for a criminal to injure you with it.

2) Make Your Home a Burglar's Last Choice

Think: The average crook is closer to what you see on COPS than CSI: not too bright, impulsive (many steal with little planning beforehand - they just run into an open door) and often motivated by drug addiction. They need to find a simple, fast entrance into a home where they won't be seen. Prepare: Make sure your home is well-lit and obviously has multiple locks, including a high-quality deadbolt. These guys are more likely to be using a boot than a lock pick to get in. B&E criminals also hate dogs, so if you love them, it might be in your best interest to get a big, lovable, crime-preventing mutt. Alarms and cameras can also serve as deterrents. These precautions aren't just safe for you, either. They prevent accidental entrance by someone who thinks your home is someplace else, such as a neighbor's home or party. In several cases, people have been shot when they walked into the wrong house and the owners assumed they were thieves.

3) Learn How to Break In and Out

Think: Do you know how to break in to your house? Many people do. The time and noise it takes to do this can be a useful indication of how secure your home is, assuming you pick the most vulnerable point to enter. Aside from the fact that it can be handy when you lose your keys, breaking in can help you understand how a criminal might look at your home. That's not all, though: Can you get out safely without using the main doors? You should already have some idea of this when planning what to do in case of a fire, but this can also help you and your family avoid contact with home invaders. Prepare and Practice: Walk through the route and think about situations where you'd get out that way.

Once you've gone over these three tips you'll have a much better idea of the self defense products you need. We offer an array of personal and home alarms in addition to safety flashlights and self-defense weapons. Remember: Self protection is more than you and an attacker. It's about the whole environment around you. The better you know it, the better prepared you'll be.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Cell Phone Stun Gun Demonstration

You may or may not know this, but Self Defense ATL is on Youtube! Check out our Self Defense Youtube Channel, where we continuously add new product demonstrations and ads.

Today I'd like to show you two videos that demonstrate the Pretender Cell Phone Stun Gun. This is one of our favorite products because it fits our self-defense philosophy to a "T." It's designed for average people to carry around in daily life and use when they need to protect themselves. It's for when it's time to go - not just for show.

Here's an ad of ours with a dramatization of the Pretender being used.

Note that the woman in the dramatization doesn't need to employ much strength and uses the stun gun intelligently - she gets away as quickly as possible. (The next step is to call the police. Remember that even if they don't get the assailant right away, the description and data can help your community down the road.)

The next video is a practical information session with Self Defense ATL's David Brackman.

Here, he talks about its application at close range as well as the integral LED light. This also brings home an often confusing point: Even though "stun gun" is the common name for electroshock weapons, most of them are designed for close range use. Fortunately, their effectiveness doesn't rely on physical strength, so movements that normally wouldn't work with an impact weapon like a baton (such as a pressing motion with no "windup") still delivers the weapon's effect.

The Pretender isn't the only cell phone stun gun model we carry. Our Cell Phone Stun Gun Review page compares the models in our catalog.